9-30: What’s Wrong with Hillary?

[I write about politics because of the direct link I see between the words and actions of politicians and Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. America’s political class manipulates our military as though they were pawns in a global game of chess. To them, PTSD is merely an unfortunate cost of war.]

The Huffington Post lead with this headline Wednesday.

Stop Pretending You Don’t Know Why People Hate Hillary Clinton

So, with a little format editing I will present their hypotheses and counterarguments.

Untrustworthy

Fact checkers rank her as the second-most honest prominent politician in the country. (And her opponent as by far the least.)

Transparency

Her opponent refuses to release his taxes and the current administration sets records for secrecy.

Ties to Corporations and the Financial Industry

Yet some support a walking tax shelter …

 HP goes on.

In truth, the Hillary haters seem to resent her more than disagree with her. They demand to be humored and catered to. They hold her to wildly different standards than her male counterparts. They regard her with an unprecedented degree of suspicion. Above all, they really, really want to see her punished. And an aggressive male presence—even if dangerously incompetent—seems to comfort a great many of them….

Bad news for the haters: History is decidedly unafraid of “the woman card.” It doesn’t care how many people will stand on tables today and swear they’d feel the same if she were a man. It will see us for what we are—a sick society, driven by misogyny and pathetically struggling to come to terms with the fact that women do not exist solely to nurture….

Rolling Standards

When the Bush administration was discovered to have erased millions of emails illegally sent by 22 administration officials through private, RNC-owned accounts, in order to thwart an investigation into the politically motivated firing of eight US attorneys, just one talk show covered it that Sunday.

When (Governor) Mitt Romney wiped servers, sold government hard drives to his closest aides and spent $100,000 in taxpayer money to destroy his administration’s emails, it was barely an issue.

When Hillary Clinton asked Colin Powell how he managed to use a Blackberry while serving as Secretary of State, he replied by detailing his method of intentionally bypassing federal record-keeping laws:

I didn’t have a Blackberry. What I did do was have a personal computer that was hooked up to a private phone line (sounds ancient.) So I could communicate with a wide range of friends directly without it going through the State Department servers. I even used it to do business with some foreign leaders and some of the senior folks in the Department on their personal email accounts. I did the same thing on the road in hotels.

 

Or is the real scandal that

her family runs but does not profit from a charitable foundation awarded an A grade by Charity Watch, a four out of four star rating by Charity Navigator and responsible for helping 435 million people in 180 countries get things like clean drinking water and HIV medication? Because the AP seems super concerned that she encountered people who donated to it—specifically Nobel Peace Prize-winning economist Muhammad Yunus—in her official capacity as Secretary of State.

Donald Trump, On the Other Hand

It should at this point be observed that her opponent is a shameless con artist who has built an empire bilking people with fake businesses, fake universities, fake charities and, now, a fake campaign.

 Voters, it seems, are his easiest marks yet.

HP’s Bottom Line

It’s time to stop pretending that this is about substance. This is about an eagerness to believe that a woman who seeks power will say or do anything to get it. This is about a Lady MacBeth stereotype that, frankly, should never have existed in the first place. This is about the one thing no one wants to admit it’s about.

Are we just not ready for a female president? What do you think?

 

 

 

 

 

9-29: Argument Pro: Edward Snowden, Patriot, Deserves Pardon

[I consult and consider many sources in search of appropriate subject matter for this blog. Often I find material that is best left (mostly) untouched by me, e.g., today’s piece comes from an e-mail I received from an organization called Demand Progress.]

Last week I blogged about whistle blowers. Serendipitously, I received the e-mail below which I have transcribed entirely and without edit; anything in bold was bold in the original. After the signature box at bottom of the e-mail there is a “Donate” button–the only thing I omitted.

I am not endorsing this position, nor am I encouraging anyone to donate to the cause. Further, I ask for–and will publish–any reader’s reply that opposes Ms. Kizer’s point of view.

(From) Demand Progress

Paul,

As the movie launching this week reminds us, Edward Snowden’s whistleblowing revealed the NSA’s massive, secret – and unconstitutional – surveillance programs.

He took a huge personal risk to bring these programs to light. And his actions launched a vital national debate on whether the NSA should be spying on innocent Americans.

But three years later, Snowden is still being forced to live in exile and threatened with likely spending the rest of his life in prison if he ever comes back to the country he loves.

We have less than 125 days to push President Obama to officially pardon this important American whistleblower.

Tell President Obama: Pardon Edward Snowden now!

Presidential pardons are about justice. They are for when the legal system has failed, or the laws are unjust or when our consciences demand it.

Snowden made his sacrifice not for personal gain, but because he knew it was the only real way to expose the unconstitutional spying programs he witnessed.

So when the White House tries to claim Snowden “is not a whistleblower”1 because he didn’t follow the “proper” whistleblower process, they’re just playing cynical word games.

Intelligence contractors, like Edward Snowden, are NOT protected by the Intelligence Community’s whistleblower protections. The Intelligence Community’s own lawyer, even admits it.2

Even had Edward Snowden followed the “proper” process, his whistleblowing wouldn’t have been protected.

Presidential pardons exist for exactly this kind of extraordinary situation. It’s time that President Obama uses that power to recognize Snowden’s public service.

Sign and share the petition to President Obama: Pardon Edward Snowden now and let him come home!

Snowden acted out of desperation and patriotism to inform Americans of the unconstitutional mass surveillance the NSA was conducting.

Even former Attorney General Eric Holder agrees: “I think that he actually performed a public service by raising the debate that we engaged in and by the changes that we made.”3

Snowden stood up for our rights. Now it’s time we stand up for his.

Stand up for Edward Snowden and tell President Obama: Three years is enough. Pardon Snowden and bring him home!

Thanks for standing with us,

Kate Kizer
Campaigner
Demand Progress

Sources:
1. Politico, “White House: Snowden ‘is not a whistleblower’,” September 14, 2016.
2. The Intercept, “Giving Intelligence Contractors Whistleblower Protections Doesn’t Have to Be “Complicated”,” November 6, 2015.
3. The Guardian, “Eric Holder says Edward Snowden performed ‘public service’ with NSA leak,” May 30, 2016.

PAID FOR BY DEMAND PROGRESS (DemandProgress.org) and not authorized by any candidate or candidate’s committee. Contributions are not deductible as charitable contributions for federal income tax purposes. Join our online community on Facebook or Twitter.

9-28: Oh, Donald

[I write about politics because of the direct link I see between the words and actions of politicians and Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. America’s political class manipulates our military as though they were pawns in a global game of chess. To them, PTSD is merely an unfortunate cost of war.]

Donald, Donald, Donald

It turned out to be not much of a presidential debate after all. Rather, it seemed like an hour-and-a-half of a mommy chastising her little boy. He was that bad … and unprepared. And what about all that sniffing, or was it sniveling, Donald Trump was doing throughout the event. [To my knowledge I have never been in the presence of someone on cocaine, but I have seen reenactments many times on TV and at the movies.]

More’s the pity if Trump was not on some antibiotic or antihistamine or something stronger to blame his impotence on. At least he would then have an excuse for his puerile performance. Howard Fineman of the Huffington Post wrote, “Republican nominee Donald Trump turned in the worst ― and I mean worst ― debate performance in modern times.” Hillary Clinton’s walking pneumonia miraculously morphed into a talking pneumatic hammer that pommeled her hapless opponent throughout. Of course I for one am happy she beat on him so badly.

I admit that Clinton’s “likeability” numbers are not much better than Trump’s. So let’s just call that factor a wash–a tie–and both sides will simply have to accept that. Fair enough? Now, since it is estimated that between 80 and 100 million viewers watched the debate in real time, I find it utterly incomprehensible that any significant percentage of them–much less half–could still envision Trump as POTUS. He’s lucky that time ran out on him and saved him by the bell because he was just a few incoherent syllables away from attacking Clinton via references to her personal life–specifically bringing up Bill Clinton’s infidelities. In the spin room after the debate Trump said he did not “go there” out of respect for Chelsea Clinton.

Yes, I believe he would have gone there because he had nowhere else to go. He rarely answered the question asked. He always drifted off topic. His mindless interruptions were nauseating. And his obvious lack of preparation was insulting to those of us–I hope all of us–who take this election seriously.

 

9-27: Horses Leave Hoof Prints on Your Heart

[I consult and consider many sources in search of appropriate subject matter for this blog. Often I find material that is best left (mostly) untouched by me, e.g., today’s short piece comes from a flyer I found on the counter at a VA clinic.]

This piece refers specifically to a venue in Monmouth County, New Jersey. If you know of a similar program anywhere else, please let us know.

www.hoofprintsontheheart.org

Hoof Prints on the heart, Inc. is a 501c(3) Nonprofit organization dedicated to providing Equine-Assisted Activities and Therapies to individuals who are working through personal and emotional challenges in all stages of life. Under the guidance of a licensed counselor and professionally trained staff, children and adults who may be experiencing feelings of anxiety, depression, and isolation will have the opportunity to receive unconditional acceptance through a genuine connection with horses, in a peaceful and idyllic setting. Located in beautiful Millstone Township, NJ, the heart of picturesque Monmouth County horse country, Hoof Prints on the Heart offers participants a chance to reconnect with nature and explore alternative solutions to common every-day problems by actively engaging with caring and compassionate staff and equine partners in a safe, fun, and therapeutic environment. In addition to helping people Hoof Prints on the Heart gives many horses an opportunity to have a purpose long after their show career ends.

Facebook: Hoof Prints on the Heart

Bona Fides: About Jenni Tevlin

Jenni is a National Certified Counselor and NJ-State Licensed Associate Counselor. Jenni is a results-oriented human resources and project management professional, with change management, risk management, organizational readiness, and compliance experience. Jenni has a flexible work style, a high level of emotional intelligence, and MS degrees in Animal Science and Psychological Counseling.

 

 

 

9-26: Debate Preview

[I write about politics because of the direct link I see between the words and actions of politicians and Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. America’s political class manipulates our military as though they were pawns in a global game of chess. To them, PTSD is merely an unfortunate cost of war.]

Watch Tonight’s Presidential Debate

Get Your News Firsthand, Decide for Yourself

Georgia Logothetis gathered blurbs from a slew of pundits regarding what we might expect from tonight’s debate. I offer them for interest value–high, low, eh–but mostly I encourage you to make your own decisions, come to your own conclusions.

I confess, no surprise, at this point I support Hillary Clinton. But

  1. I want Clinton to convince me she deserves my vote.
  2. I want to hear and evaluate for myself what Donald Trump has to say.

Here are snippets from Logothetis’ collection.

Aaron Kall’s, USA Today

[The] tactics that worked so well for him in the primaries will be difficult to replicate in his trio of upcoming debates against Clinton…. Trump won’t be able to brag about his major polling advantage…. And despite his longstanding disdain for super PACs, Trump officially endorsed one in July.

Trump will also find it difficult to repeat his attacks on moderators…. The gravitas of the moderators combined with Trump’s implicit endorsement of their selection will make it difficult for Trump to attack them during the debates….

Russell Berman, The Atlantic:

The two contenders are diametrically opposed in just about every way, from their visions of the country, to the policies they propose, to the way they comport themselves on stage. Trump is the improviser, a charismatic salesman whose penchant for jokes, insults, and bluster served him surprisingly well in the Republican primaries. Clinton is the epitome of practiced caution, a candidate with a well-known comfort for policy and preparation who rarely deviates from her script.

Glenn Kessler, The Washington Post

Presidential candidates rarely come to the debates with fresh facts. Instead, they rely on claims that have been scattered in their stump speeches for many months — claims that The Fact Checker has already put to the Pinocchio Test….

The list is longer for Trump because, frankly, he has been exceptionally fact-challenged in this campaign….

 From the Huffington Post:

Trump team builds ‘psychological profile’ of Clinton for debate

Donald Trump’s team has created a detailed analysis of Hillary Clinton’s debate style — including her body language and verbal tics — with the goal of helping the GOP nominee exploit weaknesses during Monday’s debate …

The “psychological profile,” as the analysis is being called, is based on a statistical analysis of videos from 16 years’ worth of Clinton’s debates, dating back to her 2000 campaign for Senate in New York, according to the operatives. They said it was assembled with assistance from a political data firm called Cambridge Analytica that specializes in “psychographic” modeling of voters and donors, and that Trump’s top advisers have been pleased with the results.

The advisers believe that the profile proves that Clinton has significant weaknesses and that they have identified her ‘tells’ — words, phrases or gestures she uses when she’s unsure of an answer, or is trying to deflect her way out of an uncomfortable question….

For example, according to one of the sources, an operative who works with the campaign, Trump’s debate prep team believes that the profile proves that when “she doesn’t know the answer, she says this, etc.” The goal, said the operative, is to get Trump to recognize the tendencies, “so when he hears her say ‘X’ he knows what is going on, and can respond accordingly.”

[I don’t know what that means, but there it is.  –paul]

Also of Interest:

Ted Cruz Endorses Donald Trump

Really? Really!

Despite the palpable animosity displayed by both men for each other, Cruz now says:

After many months of careful consideration, of prayer and searching my own conscience, I have decided that on Election Day, I will vote for the Republican nominee, Donald Trump. […]

A year ago, I pledged to endorse the Republican nominee, and I am honoring that commitment.

Dial in, Discern, Decide

9-23: “They (Wells Fargo) Ruined My Life

[I consult and consider many sources in search of appropriate subject matter for this blog. Today’s piece’s concept comes from Walter Einenkel’s blog.]

Life Altering Events in the Work Place

Walter Einenkel quotes former Wells Fargo banker, Bill Bado, who said, “They ruined my life.” Einenkel continues:

Bado not only refused orders to open phony bank and credit accounts. The New Jersey man called an ethics hotline and sent an email to human resources in September 2013, flagging unethical sales activities he was being instructed to do.

Now, how do we–Americans, that is–feel about whistle blowers? This is how the largest bank in the world deals with this annoyance.

One former Wells Fargo human resources official … said the bank had a method in place to retaliate against tipsters. He said that Wells Fargo would find ways to fire employees “in retaliation for shining light” on sales issues. It could be as simple as monitoring the employee to find a fault, like showing up a few minutes late on several occasions.

“If this person was supposed to be at the branch at 8:30 a.m. and they showed up at 8:32 a.m, they would fire them,” the former human resources official told CNNMoney, on the condition he remain anonymous out of fear for his career.

And so, over the past five years Wells Fargo fired more than 5,000 employees, not necessarily as whistle blowers but as sub-par performers, where par was somehow having every Wells Fargo client have eight separate accounts with the bank. The lowest level employees scrambled, even cheated with a wink and a nod from managers, to bloat the corporate spreadsheets which, in turn, larded the fat cats with multi-million dollar bonuses.

Gee, too big to fail? Nope, let’s keep growing, even if our growth spurts are as fictitious as Jack’s bean stalk seeds.

Two Other Cases to Consider

Edward Snowden

Is former National Security Agency contractor a whistle blower or a traitor?

Chelsea Manning

Is former U.S. Army Private Chelsea Manning, formerly known as Bradley Manning, a whistle blower or a traitor?

Whether you decide whistle blower for both or traitor for both or any combination of the two, perhaps you will acknowledge that Snowden and Manning wrestled with the same ethical dilemma before they decided to act against established protocol. Who is more evil, if evil at all, the whistle blower or the perpetrator of egregious acts?

Connection to PTSD

A combat soldier knows that every step taken while on a mission carries the possibility of the soldier having to make a moral decision … in an instant. If that soldier fires a shot–and the shot is proved unnecessary–the military institution might justify it as “training.” Training therefore becomes a blanket authorization for soldiers in combat to fire their weapons while ethical questions are supposed to disappear. As I type these words, they ring hollow; so I will be more specific.

In Vietnam we often patrolled what were called “free fire zones,” which meant that anyone encountered who was not wearing GI jungle fatigues was categorically suspected to be the enemy … and therefore could be shot just for being there. In every instance I can remember, inhabitants of free fire zones were warned days in advance, usually by air-dropped leaflets, that we were coming.

The question I always asked myself was, where were these subsistence farmers supposed to go? And so I encountered numerous indigenous Vietnamese people in free fire zones. (They may or may not have been Vietcong.) If there was no weapon visible, not a shot was fired. But sometimes these areas were bombed before we grunts had to make our way through elephant grass, jungle, and rice paddies and we found hooches and the families in them destroyed.

They were warned.

Where were they supposed to go?

A soldier confronting an unarmed person, enemy or not, does not/should not follow the blanket order to shoot. Employees must also make difficult moral and ethical decisions when it comes to dubious tasks they are expected or directed to perform. None of this is easy. What I know is that neither military ineptitude at the flag level or corporate corruption in the board room will end until generals and company leaders are fired, lose their pensions, and when appropriate go to  prison. Until then, the little guys and gals will continue to bear the brunt of bad situations they did not create.

Let’s start with John Stumpf, Wells Fargo CEO.

9-22: Who Is in Charge?

[I consult and consider many sources in search of appropriate subject matter for this blog. Often I find material that is best left (mostly) untouched by me, e.g., today’s piece, which comes from various places.]

With regard to the U.S. bombing of regulars in the Syrian army last week it seems several scabs have been scratched.

On the World Socialist Web Site we find:

“Everything suggests that the attack…… was deliberately committed by forces inside the US government hostile to the ceasefire….Claims that US fighters were unaware of who they were bombing are simply not credible, and are flatly contradicted by other accounts in the media…”
— Alex Lantier

The Smirking Chimp headline roars:

Rogue Mission: Did the Pentagon Bomb Syrian Army to Kill Ceasefire Deal?

This provocative, bold-faced question begs another: who is in charge of U.S. military affairs, the White House or the Department of Defense?

The Chimp’s Mike Whitney says,

A rift between the Pentagon and the White House turned into open rebellion on Saturday when two US F-16s and two A-10 warplanes bombed Syrian Arab Army (SAA) positions at Deir al-Zor killing at least 62 Syrian regulars and wounding 100 others. The US has officially taken responsibility for the incident which it called a “mistake”, but the timing of the massacre has increased speculation that the attack was a desperate, eleventh-hour attempt to derail the fragile ceasefire and avoid parts of the implementation agreement that Pentagon leaders publicly opposed. Many analysts now wonder whether the attacks are an indication that the neocon-strewn DOD is actively engaged in sabotaging President Obama’s Syria policy, a claim that implies that the Pentagon is led by anti-democratic rebels who reject the Constitutional authority of the civilian leadership (emphasis added). Saturday’s bloodletting strongly suggests that a mutiny is brewing at the War Department.

This is a claim not to be taken lightly by any of us. Our history was forged on the principle that the supreme leader, so to speak, must be a civilian; our future as a democratic state depends on it.

The world is watching.

The chasm that’s emerged between the Pentagon warhawks and the more conciliatory members of the Obama administration has drawn criticism from leading media outlets in the US (The New York Times) to high-ranking members in the Russian cabinet. On Saturday, at an emergency press conference at the United Nations, Russia’s UN ambassador Vitaly Churkin referred to the apparent power struggle that is taking place in Washington with these blunt comments:

“The big question that has to be asked is ‘Who is in charge in Washington? Is it the White House or the Pentagon?’ …Because we have heard comments from the Pentagon which fly in the face of comments we have heard from Obama and Kerry…”

The old adage about political differences ending at our shores apparently does not hold sway anymore. The current argumentative state of presidential debate does nothing to assuage this condition. The New York Times reported on the incident, saying that Secretary of Defense Ash Carter

“was among the administration officials who pushed against the (ceasefire) agreement … although President Obama ultimately approved the effort … at the Pentagon, officials would not even agree that if a cessation of violence in Syria held for seven days — the initial part of the deal — the Defense Department would put in place its part of the agreement on the eighth day…

“I’m not saying yes or no,” Lt. Gen. Jeffrey L. Harrigian, commander of the United States Air Forces Central Command, told reporters on a video conference call. “It would be premature to say that we’re going to jump right into it.” (“Details of Syria Pact Widen Rift Between John Kerry and Pentagon“, New York Times)

Food for Thought

(Whitney) Think about that for a minute: Lt. General Harrigian appears to be saying that he may not follow an order from the Commander in Chief if it’s not to his liking. When exactly did military leaders start to believe that orders are optional or that the DOD had a role to play in policymaking?

This is serious stuff, folks. Let’s hope the subject comes up in next week’s debate. It certainly wasn’t broached in the so-called Commander-in-Chief Forum hosted by Matt Lauer.

9-21: State of Women Veterans

[I consult and consider many sources in search of appropriate subject matter for this blog. Often I find material that is best left (mostly) untouched by me, e.g., today’s piece from the Department of Veterans Affairs.]

VA aggressively implementing measures to prevent suicide among Veterans

Testimonial

When I came home from Iraq in 2004, I struggled to control intrusive memories about awful things I’d seen in the war — and the intense emotions those memories triggered. At the same time, I felt overwhelmed by the pressure of trying to help my then-boyfriend recover from the traumatic brain injury he sustained during the deployment. One night, it seemed as if the only thing I would be able to control was how my life ended, and I sat staring at a gun for what felt like an eternity. Luckily, I got help, and today I’m thriving.

Key words for me: struggled, intrusive, intense, overwhelmed

The recent VA report on suicide shows that my experience with these challenges was not unique. In 2014, after adjusting for differences in age, the risk for suicide was 2.4 times higher among women Veterans when compared with their civilian counterparts. That year, the rate of suicide among civilian adult women was 7.2 per 100,000; their age-adjusted rate of suicide had increased by 39.7 percent since 2001. Meanwhile, the rate of suicide among women Veterans was 18.9 per 100,000, and our age-adjusted rate of suicide increased by 85.2 percent over the same time period.

VA has been aggressively undertaking new measures to prevent suicide among all Veterans. These include expanding the Veterans Crisis Line, using predictive analytics to identify those at risk and intervene early, expanding telemental health services, providing free mobile apps to help Veterans and their families, and leveraging VA Vet Centers and readjustment counselors. VA is also conducting proactive outreach to Veterans needing care, through channels including Make the Connection and this powerful new suicide prevention PSA.

Proactivity

VA has also taken steps to specifically bolster physical and mental health services for women Veterans:

  • VHA’s Mental Health Services held its first National Women’s Mental Health Mini-Residency, during which approximately 200 mental health providers from across VA attended an intensive three-day training on gender-tailored mental health care that addresses women Veterans’ unique treatment needs.
  • VA has enhanced provision of health care to women Veterans by focusing on training and hiring designated women’s health providers (DWHPs) at every site where women access VA, with 100 percent of VA Medical Centers and 90 percent of Community-Based Outpatient Clinics having DWHPs. VA has now trained nearly 2,500 providers in women’s health and continues to train additional providers to ensure that women Veterans have the opportunity to receive their primary care from a DWHP.
  • VA operates a Women Veterans Call Center (WVCC), created to inform women Veterans about VA’s benefits and services. As of February 2016, the WVCC received 30,399 incoming calls and made about 522,038 outbound calls, successfully reaching 278,238 women Veterans.

These efforts are making a difference. According to the research, we know that women Veterans who are not using VA care have a much higher rate of suicide compared with those who are. In fact, compared with the general population, the risk for suicide among VA users has decreased since 2001 — for both men and women.

Spread the word; help save a Veteran’s life.

9-20: Mike Pence, Woe Is He

[I write about politics because of the direct link I see between the words and actions of politicians and Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. America’s political class manipulates our military as though they were pawns in a global game of chess. To them, PTSD is merely an unfortunate cost of war.]

Anonymous Sources

Joan McCarter “reports” the dead enders Mike Pence ran into when he returned to his former place of business, the capitol. She openly admits that everything she has written is hearsay, since journalists were not permitted to attend any of the meetings Pence had with his former colleagues. So let’s share the grain of salt, even though the gist rings true to me. McCarter writes:

An otherwise friendly morning meeting with House Republicans turned awkward when Mr. Pence was pressed by Representative Jeff Fortenberry of Nebraska about Mr. Trump’s difficulties with women, said two House Republicans who relayed the conversation. Mr. Fortenberry told Mr. Pence that his young daughter had come to him and said, “Daddy, Donald Trump hates women,” according to one of the lawmakers, who both insisted on anonymity to recount a private conversation.

Fair enough.

“It’s just not true,” Mr. Pence shot back, arguing that Mr. Trump was improving with women, the two House Republicans said.

… with what women?

Mr. Pence faced resistance again when he met privately with Senators Mike Lee of Utah and Ted Cruz of Texas, neither of whom has endorsed Mr. Trump. Mr. Lee pressed the governor on his reluctance to denounce Mr. Duke and the so-called alt-right movement more explicitly, stressing “that Republicans must identify David Duke’s racism as deplorable,” according to Conn Carroll, a spokesman for Mr. Lee. […]

Why is that so hard?

Mr. Pence was greeted warmly by Senate Republicans when he joined them for a lunch of Chick-fil-A sandwiches, but received a firm rebuke from John McCain of Arizona, the chairman of the Armed Services Committee. Calling Vladimir V. Putin, the Russian president, “a thug and a butcher,” Mr. McCain said Mr. Trump’s embrace of the autocratic ruler was unacceptable, according to a Republican official present who also insisted on anonymity.

There was a time when I could have been a McCain supporter. But notwithstanding the paragraph above, he still claims, as he said early on, he will support the Republican nominee, no matter who it is. To me, that’s placing party over country and I simply can’t accept that … from anyone … of any party.

If Pence thought he had a future in politics, he should now be rethinking a return to radio show talk hosting, from whence he came.

9-19: Trump Ends Birtherism Canard. Period

[I write about politics because of the direct link I see between the words and actions of politicians and Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. America’s political class manipulates our military as though they were pawns in a global game of chess. To them, PTSD is merely an unfortunate cost of war.]

Sweet Memories

Remember, oh five or so years ago, when Donald Trump sent a team of experts to Hawaii to once and for all discover the truth about the place of Barack Obama’s birth? “What they are finding is ‘unbuhleveable,” he claimed at the time. Well, we never heard or saw what they found; in fact, we never even heard who they were, what sources they searched, or what they allegedly found. Liar. He even demanded to have Obama’s college transcripts made public. Fool.

Fast Forward

Last week Trump uttered magnainmously a simple, declarative sentence, stating that Obama is, indeed, an American. But he couldn’t leave it there. Instead of just ‘fessing up to his long-standing, campaign-launching absurdity, he had to add that it was Hillary Clinton’s campaign that actually started the prevarication. Liar.

Trump Followers

Setting aside the fact that Obama is black–a huge omission to be sure–I have another theory as to why so many people were/are so eager to jump into Trump’s looney bin.

Back in the day, there were 13 British colonies that decided to rebel against their tyrannical king, they declared independence, they fought and won a war that established the United States of America. They explored, they pioneered, they migrated, they plundered, they settled on territories far beyond the boundaries of the original colonies. Then, to justify Anglo expansion and usurpation, some wordsmith coined the magnificent term “Manifest Destiny.” It was God’s plan all along that (mostly) white Protestants rule all the land from sea to shining sea.

Most Americans bought into the blatant fallacy that all men (forget women) were created equal. The Chinese who immigrated through the port of San Francisco might harbor a different view on that, as might the Italians and Irish who entered the land of Milk and Honey through Ellis Island. But for all its flaws there was this wonderful new place cartographers had to deal with: the (48) United States of America. “We” were/are hard working, self-reliant, industrious, generous people. And despite the facts that are so evident, we considered ourselves tough but non-belligerent. We never deployed our military except in the service of others. False. We never licked our chops over annexation of other lands beyond what is now known as the continental United States (the lower 48). False. In 1959 Alaska and Hawaii entered the union as states, 48 became 50, just like that.

My Theory

When Trump declares he wants to make America great again, I believe he is whistling directly to the Anglos of old–not all, but many–even and especially those who need scapegoats for their own less-than-desirable circumstances. Mexicans take their jobs, Chinese take their jobs, Jews take their jobs, Italians take their jobs, and Irish need not apply. Would these white, fly-over-country Americans, who comprise the majority of our citizenry, be better off in Alaska or Hawaii? Maybe so, maybe not. One thing for sure, though, they would be ethnic minorities in either state.

The U.S. did not grant statehood to Alaska and Hawaii because the people in those places shared ethnicity (Caucasian) or lifestyle. Arguably, the most famous American born in Hawaii is Barack Obama, while the most famous American born in Alaska is Sarah Palin. The great majority of Hawaiians are of Asian descent (Chinese and Japanese), Alaskans are mostly what we now refer to as Native American (e.g., Inuit).

Imagine instead of Palin and Obama those states sent us an Asian-American and an Eskimo to run for national office. The right would go nuts. We need Hawaii’s deep water ports in the Pacific and Alaska has oil and other natural resources that suit our purposes. “We” don’t need their inhabitants to set up cabanas and igloos in Washington, D.C.

So I believe that much of the willingness of people to challenge Obama’s citizenship is due to the fact that those same people don’t really accept the full statehood of Alaska and Hawaii.