2-20: Hoover-Haunted America

Hoover Hovers

Names on buildings matter. Ask Donald Trump. Which is why I resent—and remain totally befuddled by—the continuance of the FBI building in Washington, D.C. still bearing the name of the reprehensible J. Edgar Hoover. Unless FBI really stands for Federal Blackmail Institute.

Hoover reigned unchecked over his personal clandestine empire for half a century. While his tough talk about gangsters, communists, and Nazis garnered blissful praise among his countrymen, his well-known and well-documented hatred for Martin Luther King and Robert Kennedy, among many others, was overlooked, if not out-right forgiven. J. Edgar Hoover was a patriot, the lazy wanted to believe.

For anyone who holds dear the notions that America is a republic, a democracy, and a nation of law, the tyrannical power Hoover wielded must be abhorred. J. Edgar Hoover was a bum.

Rumors abound that Hoover remained in power untethered because he held “dirt” on politicians, up to and including presidents. He threatened them, one after the other. He degraded the mighty and manipulated the masses. We survived Hoover, but as a nation we did not come out unscathed. His life is an historical blot. Only Death was able to end his monomaniacal ruthlessness. Why is his name still on that building?

Today, a new crisis has arisen.

Lefty that I am, Trump is not my guy; but he is our president. I accept that. I don’t like his cabinet appointments, I believe he is eroding our standing in the world even worse than “W” did, and I fear that he will eviscerate the commonweal by sledgehammering the Affordable Care Act, Social Security, and other government programs that reflect our empathetic nature as a people. That said …

The Constitution does confer broad powers to the president. Scary, maybe, but there you have it. The assumption John Q. Citizen hopes to be true is that, when POTUS acts in our name, he does so having pondered deeply the exhaustive information provided to him by subject matter experts.

Therein lies the rub.

President Trump can’t be bothered reading. He has all but declared open warfare with “Intelligence.” Because he has said that he does not trust the many agencies that gather, report, and summarize sensitive information for him, their prime consumer, they have allegedly decided to withhold information from him. I agree 100% with the career professionals who believe that Steve Bannon and Jared Kushner do not belong anywhere near national security briefings. But, alas, I do not have a say in the matter.

I don’t trust Donald Trump to “do the right thing” ever. But my opinion really doesn’t matter. Nor do I trust our Big Brother organizations to decide independently which data bits they will provide to, or withhold from, the president. Is this a Constitutional crisis? I don’t know.

I do know that I do not want federal employees, avowed agents of the government, making unfettered, unilateral decisions about the manner in which they choose to perform their jobs. Hoover is dead. Long live democracy!

End

Release the tax returns!

[I write about politics in this blog 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.]

2-13: Road to Political Perdition

Here is a story I missed last week. Saw it over the weekend at Huffington Post, reported by Sam Levine.

Michigan GOP Official Resigns after Calling for ‘Another Kent State’

Unbelievable! The article begins,

A Michigan Republican Party official has resigned his position less than a week after he called for “another Kent State” after protests at the University of California, Berkeley.

Dan Adamini’s comment was a reference to the 1970 incident in which members of the Ohio National Guard shot at student protesters [on the campus of Kent State University, Ohio], killing four and wounding nine.

He resigned as the secretary of the Marquette County Republican Party on Wednesday, after he faced widespread backlash over his comment.

Backlash? Is that all? Adamini was not exercising free speech, he was yelling “fire” in a crowded auditorium. He does not offer any explanation or express any remorse for making the comment. He does, however, rationalize the resignation of his secretariat.

“I have always been intent on being helpful to anyone I associate with, and at the moment, all the hatred and anger and threats are being directed not only to me, but to other members of the party … It’s made it impossible for me to be helpful. The desire to not be a distraction and a hindrance to the work of the party is what prompted me to do this.”

The work of the party!? Is this what we have become?

Violence is unacceptable.

The incident at Berkeley included what became a violent protest against the scheduled—then cancelled—appearance of Breitbart News’s Milo Yiannopoulos, a proudly self-proclaimed spokesperson for the political far-right. The eruption of violence was wrong and should be prosecuted as any illegal act.

Blood will have blood,” Macbeth bemoaned to his wife after he had slain King Duncan, thus foreshadowing his own ultimate demise.

Adamini and his ilk need to be reminded that the U.S. Constitution supersedes eye-for-an-eye vigilantism. This is the remark he tweeted: “Violent protesters who shut down free speech? Time for another Kent State perhaps. One bullet stops a lot of thuggery.”

Time to Worry

Thank goodness that at least this fool is not an elected official. But he is an apparatchik, and that scares me. Party fanaticism like Adamini’s has spawned personal animosities which has replaced genuine patriotism in America. Do we really want to continue along the road to political perdition? I don’t.

End

[I write about politics in this blog 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.]

1-27: Another Despicable Cheney

[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.]

[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 Huffington Post.]

Shades of Cheney

I believe wholeheartedly that draft dodging, chicken hawk, former Secretary of Defense, former Vice President of the United States of America Dick Cheney is a war criminal. In addition to the countless corpses left in the wake of his neocon assaults on humanity I believe he benefitted financially through the award of no-bid war zone contracts to Haliburton, the company he led before he weaseled his way into the George W. Bush White House. And today Cheney’s shameless daughter, a Republican Representative from Wyoming, carries on the family business of evil.

With the exception of added subtitles (in bold) the article below is presented as in the original, in its entirety. These are scary people.

Liz Cheney Supports Waterboarding, Attacks CIA Torture Report

PHILADELPHIA ― Rep. Liz Cheney (R-Wyo.) praised President Donald Trump’s reported decision to order a review of how the U.S. is handling the war on terror ― opening up the door to reinstating banned interrogation techniques previously used by the nation’s intelligence gatherers.

False Bravado

As Republicans in both chambers met outside of Washington to discuss their agenda for the year, Cheney told reporters she supports a review, and tore into the Senate’s CIA torture report. Cheney also asserted that waterboarding works, and that it helped in securing crucial information leading to the capture of al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden (a debunked theory).

“It’s been clear, certainly since we stopped the enhanced interrogation program, we’re not even in a position anymore, frankly, where we’re very often capturing people,” Cheney said. “We have nothing to do with people when we do capture them.”

Family Allegiance, Family Curse

Coming full circle in the debate over whether officials should use enhanced interrogation methods to extract information from prisoners, the freshman congresswoman echoed her father, former Vice President Dick Cheney, on Wednesday, arguing that waterboarding is not torture.

Ignorance

“What we know is that the enhanced interrogation program provided some of the information, and some of the evidence, that eventually led us to be able to locate, capture and kill bin Laden,” Cheney said. “I do support enhanced interrogation, I think that it’s something that clearly has helped us in the past to save lives, and so I was glad to see President Trump take that step.”

Ineffective Brutality

Cheney said she expects the review, once finished, to reveal the “usefulness” of interrogation techniques like waterboarding ― a method used in the CIA’s detention and interrogation program for years. That CIA program was investigated by the Senate Intelligence Committee, and found to be more brutal than the CIA originally disclosed and ineffective in producing intelligence. Some details of the investigation were released in a 2014 report.

False Expediency

“The use of enhanced interrogation has been ― when it was in use ― very limited,” Cheney said, “limited to only three people who were waterboarded and used in a situation where we had to get information to save American lives.”

Orwellian Mumbo-Jumbo

“It’s the responsibility of any chief executive, any commander in chief to make sure we use every tool at our disposal,” she continued, “understanding that it’s not torture. We don’t torture, we haven’t tortured. What we’re talking about is the ability to get information from people who don’t want to provide information and who have information that could well save American lives and prevent attacks.”

False Narrative

Reminded that the Senate torture report refuted those claims, and pressed for evidence that such techniques were, in fact, useful in finding the courier that led intel officials to bin Laden, Cheney lambasted the document. (The full report remains classified.)

“That report was actually put together without interviewing a single person who was involved in the program, and you have people on both sides of the political aisle,” Cheney said.

End of Article

*****

The illustration at the blog’s top is the Combat Infantryman’s Badge. The blogger is a Vietnam Veteran, 1966-67. He is an author and past state chaplain for a major veterans organization. He welcomes comments on posts and encourages readers to subscribe to PTSDOutreach.com; two points: 1) it is free, 2) posts appear directly in your e-mail in-box.

1-26: No More Torture

[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.]

[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.]

Torture: Why Is It in the News Again?

Headlines of torture bleed off internet sites today. Yes, torture. Suddenly that ominous, Medieval scare-word has returned to American vocabulary. Do not let barbarism define us.

Here is what people everywhere can read about the discussion in America.

Jordain Carney, The Hill

McCain to Trump: We’re not bringing back torture

Senate Armed Services Committee Chairman John McCain (R-Ariz.) pushed back Wednesday against an effort by President Trump to revisit controversial enhanced interrogation policies, saying, “We are not bringing back torture.”

“The President can sign whatever executive orders he likes. But the law is the law,” McCain said in a statement. “We are not bringing back torture in the United States of America.”

Tim Mak, The Daily Beast

GOP Pushes Back on Draft Trump Black Site, Torture Order

A top Republican leader pushed back against a proposed presidential order that would reexamine more aggressive interrogation techniques against terrorist detainees, telling reporters that torture is illegal.

Employing waterboarding again “would take a change in the law, and Congress is on record,” Senate Republican Conference Chair John Thune told reporters Wednesday afternoon. “With respect to torture, that’s banned… we view that to be a matter of settled law.”

Media Matters for America

Joe Scarborough Shut Down By Sen. McCain after Claiming Sleep Deprivation Isn’t Torture

On the January 25 edition of MSNBC’s Morning Joe, host Joe Scarborough complained that “suddenly” so-called “enhanced interrogation techniques” became “abhorrent” after public outcry over abuses during the George W. Bush administration. After it was reported that President Trump may sign an executive order that would “order a review of the Army Field Manual to determine whether to use certain enhanced interrogation techniques” again, Scarborough said that he “see[s] absolutely no problem about doing a study on enhanced interrogation techniques.” He added later in the segment that “there has been such a broad brush put across this entire topic of, quote, ‘torture.’ Suddenly sleep deprivation is torture.”

In the final hour of his show, Scarborough, who previously told a former naval intelligence official that he was wrong in saying that waterboarding doesn’t work, asked Sen. John McCain (R-AZ), a former prisoner of war in Vietnam who experienced torture, to “define torture,” inquiring whether “sleep deprivation and other techniques like that” in fact “fit” McCain’s personal “definition of torture.” McCain shut Scarborough down, stating unequivocally that “extreme sleep deprivation is certainly not allowed and, again, it is very clear and laid out” in both the Geneva Conventions and the Army Field Manual …

A J Vicens, Mother Jones

Trump Is Reportedly Considering Reopening CIA “Black Site” Prisons:

A draft executive order follows a suggestion by his new CIA director that he might be open to torture.

President Donald Trump is considering reopening the notorious CIA “black site” prisons, undoing the ban imposed by President Barack Obama, after his new CIA director suggested he’d be open to using torture methods on detainees.

The administration’s plans were reported by the New York Times on Wednesday after the paper obtained a draft executive order titled “Detention and Interrogation of Enemy Combatants.” The order would roll back many of the restrictions on detainee interrogations and detention that Obama put in place, including one that gave the International Committee of the Red Cross access to all detainees in US custody. But in his daily press briefing on Wednesday afternoon, White House press secretary Sean Spicer said the draft was “not a White House document.”

The CIA’s black sites were a series of facilities located in various countries around the world where the CIA detained, questioned, and often tortured detainees with practices including waterboarding, confinement in small boxes, beatings, and extreme sleep deprivation.

I say again, do not let barbarism define us. The use of torture demeans us as a people. It is wrong.

*****

The illustration at the blog’s top is the Combat Infantryman’s Badge. The blogger is a Vietnam Veteran, 1966-67. He is an author and past state chaplain for a major veterans organization. He welcomes comments on posts and encourages readers to subscribe to PTSDOutreach.com; two points: 1) it is free, 2) posts appear directly in your e-mail in-box.

12-7: Army Stands Down at Standing Rock

[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.]

[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 is based on reporting at the Huffington Post.]

The News:

Army Halts Construction Of Dakota Access Pipeline

OCETI SAKOWIN CAMPGROUND, N.D. ― Federal authorities have halted construction of the controversial Dakota Access Pipeline amid growing protests that were expected to draw some 2,000 U.S. military veterans.

The Department of the Army has denied the final easement required for the $3.8 billion project to cross under Lake Oahe in North Dakota … Instead, it will conduct an Environmental Impact Statement to examine the impacts and explore alternative routes …

Jo-Ellen Darcy, the Army’s assistant secretary for civil works, said in a statement: “The best way to complete that work responsibly and expeditiously is to explore alternative routes for the pipeline crossing.” …

The tribe and demonstrators have raised concerns about the threat the pipeline poses to water and sacred Native American sites….

The Standing Rock Sioux Tribe and all of Indian Country “will be forever grateful to the Obama Administration for this historic decision,” Tribal Chairman Dave Archambault II (said). He noted his hope that the incoming Trump administration would respect the decision….

Why did this happen?

I would like to believe:

  • It was the right thing to do.
  • The American government truly cares about the rights of all its citizens and the diversity of cultures that make us who we are.
  • The brutality already spewed against peaceful protestors (e.g., the use of water canon in the bitter Dakota cold) overstepped legal authority and common decency.
  • Native Americans are American citizens.
  • Native American culture must be preserved.
  • Peaceful assembly and protest are legitimate actions protected by the First Amendment.

And how about those Veterans?

I would also like to believe that the presence of Veterans who pledged to form a human shield between armed, uniformed agents of the Government and their indigenous brethren and fellow protestors had something to do with the Standing Rock decision. I don’t know if this decision is irrevocable or not—and I have already heard speculation that the incoming administration could, in fact, reverse it if it chose. For now, I want to believe that we who are governed have a say in how we are governed.

Pure courage was on display at Standing Rock. And the willingness of Veterans to stand so readily for this cause makes me proud.

*****

The illustration at the blog’s top corner is the Combat Infantryman’s Badge. The blogger is a Vietnam Veteran, 1966-67. He is an author and past state chaplain for a major veterans organization. He welcomes comments on posts and encourages readers to subscribe to PTSDOutreach.com; two points: 1) it is free, 2) posts appear directly in your e-mail in-box.e is an author and past Chaplain

 

 

12-6: Racial Incident at Chili’s Revisited

[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 is actually comprised of two articles from the Daily Kos.]

Accept Nothing Less Than Zero Tolerance for Ignorance and Bigotry

We simply cannot accept racist actions any longer. When any one among us is subjected to ridicule or harm of any sort because of race, religion, ethnicity, or color, we are all diminished. Period.

Below are two separate articles that expose current overt racism in our country. There are many other reported acts—Today!—of anti-this and anti-that, including an assault on a female Muslim police officer in New York City and her child. The first is actually a follow-on to an incident reported on previously in this space. The second shows what happened—and what should happen—to an overt, acting out racist.

Veteran Who Was Refused Free Chili’s Meal on Veterans Day Now Getting Death Threats

A few weeks ago, veteran Ernest Walker’s story appeared on social media and news sites. After going to a Chili’s to get a promotional free Veteran’s Day meal, he was refused after some old racist … complained. Chili’s subsequently fired the manager who had acted terribly and privately and publicly apologized to Walker. But since Walker’s story went viral, things in Texas have gone from bad to worse.

No American should ever feel afraid at home … or anywhere.

“We’re afraid,” Walker said. “My wife is terrified.” …

“We’ve received phone calls, and it’s always a restricted line,” Walker explained. “People are saying, ‘hey, we know where you live.’”

The Bigger Man, The Better Person, The Hero of This Story

Throughout all of this, Walker has been nothing if not a truly generous person. He wasn’t angry with the older white man who clearly thought that a black man couldn’t be a war veteran, and he has said that this event should be a learning tool for everyone.

He and his supporters are hosting a free luncheon for vets next month.

“This country right now is wounded,” said Walker. “There needs to be a healing process. For the people that reached out to me from all different colors, races, creeds and religions, that lets me know there is hope for this country.”

… and then there is this:

Pennsylvania man hurls vile, racist insults at cameraman and protesters, promptly gets swift justice

 

A Pennsylvania man identified by Butler News as “John Pisone”  … took time out of his busy day to stop and harass a group of people protesting against fracking in Pennsylvania.

As the video [not included in this blog] starts, Pisone is chastising the protesters, questioning if they’ve ever had a job. Only seconds later, he turns to cameraman Tom Jefferson (who is black) and lets loose a vulgar string of obscenities:

Pisone: This xxx right here (pointing at the camera).

Unidentified protester: What did you say?

Pisone: Yeah, xxx. This xxx xxx right here …

Protestors: You better get out of here!

Pisone: I don’t give a xxx. He’s milking my xxx tax dollars.

Protestors: You better leave! You better get out now!

Pisone: I don’t give a xxx what you have to say.

He repeatedly made … noises at the cameraman and continued his racist rant …

Tom Jefferson uploaded the video to YouTube and it didn’t take long for outraged internet sleuths to contact his employer, MMC Land Management, who promptly fired John Pisone, releasing the following statement:

Justice Prevails

Today, we were disgusted to learn that one of MMC’s former employees used racial slurs and made racially charged comments during a peaceful protest in Mars, Pennsylvania, outside of work hours at a location with which we have no affiliation. We are sorry that this incident occurred. Whether at work or not, we do not condone hate speech – EVER. Inclusion and diversity are among MMC’s core values. We believe in equality for everyone, regardless of race, age, gender identity, ethnicity, religion or sexual orientation. MMC has terminated this employee and will never do business with him again in the future.

Unemployment Benefits for a Fool?

Looks like good ol’ boy John Pisone is going to be milking our tax dollars in the near future as he is going to have a hard time finding employment now. And for good reason.

*****

The illustration at the blog’s top corner is the Combat Infantryman’s Badge. The blogger is a Vietnam Veteran, 1966-67. He is an author and past state chaplain for a major veterans organization. He welcomes comments on posts and encourages readers to subscribe to PTSDOutreach.com; two points: 1) it is free, 2) posts appear directly in your e-mail in-box.

 

 

11-17: Chili’s

[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 by Rebecca Shapiro which appeared in the Huffington Post. There is a political component to this story which I chose to leave out; it is racist and divisive. While I am really sick of the blatant racism in our country, Mr. Walker’s story transcends that ugliness and, in the end, reveals the heart of a true patriot.]

Many national food chains offered gratis meals to veterans on Veterans Day. Very nice gesture. But at least one customer, described below, ruined the sentiment.

Chili’s Apologizes for Taking Meal from Black Veteran on Veterans Day

U.S. Army veteran Ernest Walker started recording video when a manager at a Chili’s restaurant in Cedar Hill, Texas, questioned his military service and took away his food.

Like some other establishments around the country, Chili’s offered free meals to veterans and active military service members on Veterans Day. Walker wrote on his Facebook page that he was eating at Chili’s with his service dog … when an elderly customer … (political reference omitted) came up to him. “He said he was in Germany, and that they did not let Blacks serve over there,” Walker wrote.

Welcome home, thank you for your service.

Years ago a Vietnam Veteran told me why he never joined one of the service organizations. He told me he went to one of the local clubs to have a beer soon after his return from combat. A member sat down next to him and declared, stupidly, that “we had bigger bullets.” To this day I have no idea what that idiotic statement means. It resulted, however, in one less recruit for the organization.

More stupidity

Soon after, Walker said the restaurant’s manager approached him and said that a fellow customer said Walker was “not a real soldier because [he] had [his] hat on indoors.” He asked to see identification, and continued to question Walker. Eventually, he took his food away, even though Walker showed him his military ID and discharge paperwork.

[After] Walker posted the video … protesters organized outside the Chili’s restaurant to support him. Chili’s … said it elevated the situation to the highest levels of the company, and “fell short” on its “goal to make every guest feel special.”… (more politics omitted)

Since Walker’s story made headlines, supporters created a GoFundMe page to buy dinner for the veteran…. Walker wrote on Facebook that he was honored someone would create a page for him, but wanted to raise money on behalf of his fellow service members.

The Better Man Prevailed

“There are thousands of hungry Veterans that are Forgotten and Homeless,” he wrote. “So I challenge America to raise enough money to Feed A Million Soldiers.”

Chili’s and so many other establishments on Veterans Day showed good faith and a generous spirit that should not be dissuaded by the ignorance of a single manager and the asinine arrogance of a demented customer.

*****

The illustration at the blog’s top is the Combat Infantryman’s Badge. The blogger is a Vietnam Veteran, 1966-67. He is an author and past state chaplain for a major veterans organization. He welcomes comments on posts and encourages readers to subscribe to PTSDOutreach.com; two points: 1) it is free, 2) posts appear directly in your e-mail in-box.

 

10-13: Has He Hit Bottom Yet?

[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.]

 [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.]

“Trump is the worst major-party candidate this republic has ever produced.”

Above is the title of an article in Foreign Policy magazine, a 40-year-old publication that has never endorsed a candidate for president. But Donald Trump has managed to coerce even FP’s editors to take a stand. He’s that bad! They write:

In the nearly half-century history of Foreign Policy, the editors of this publication have never endorsed a candidate for political office. We cherish and fiercely protect this publication’s independence and its reputation for objectivity, and we deeply value our relationship with all of our readers, regardless of political orientation.

It is for all these reasons that FP’s editors are now breaking with tradition to endorse Hillary Clinton for the next president of the United States….

Fortunately, not only is Trump opposed by a worthy candidate, but his opponent is, on foreign-policy and national security issues — all of the areas we cover here at FP — one of the best qualified candidates this country has produced since World War II.

Trump really is in over his head. And now, despite his barrages of bravado, he is not man enough to admit his incompetence and ignorance regarding the qualifications for governance in a republic. He has surrounded himself with sycophants all his life, a losing strategy when considering his bankruptcies and failed ventures.

This from Hunter at the Daily Kos:

… Trump Dump: Trump declares war on Paul Ryan, John McCain, and the last shreds of decency

The support of Hillary is quite strong, but the majority of the endorsement is an evisceration of Donald Trump’s dangerous lack of experience, inflammatory rhetoric, and general disregard for almost anything.

The article goes on to point out specific indecencies that have spewed out of Trump’s pursed lips in recent days. Daily Kos quotes from Foreign Policy.

… [Trump] has repeatedly demonstrated his ignorance of the most basic facts of international affairs, let alone the nuances so crucial to the responsibilities of diplomacy inherent in the U.S. president’s daily responsibilities.

He has repeatedly denigrated the U.S. military — its leadership, service members, veterans, and the families who stand behind them. He has also derided the intelligence community….

[Remember, PTSD is a sign of weakness, says Trump the Draft Dodger. –pd]

He has treated the press with derision … He has shown such a complete disregard for the truth that he has arguably done more than any other single individual to seek to usher in a new and unwelcome post-fact era in America’s political debate.

He would therefore put at risk our way of life, our freedoms, and our alliances. His reckless behavior has already undermined America’s standing internationally…. [W]ere he to claim the Oval Office, he would be a destabilizing force that would undercut American leadership instantly and for generations to come….

Pardon me. I have to go wash my hands.

10-12: Buffet Snuffs Trump’s Bluff

[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.]

[All cited material below appears in multiple sources.]

Trump Is a Blood-sucking Weasel

No one I know likes to pay taxes. Most people I have ever spoken with about the topic also fear making a mistake so they hire an accountant to “do” their taxes or take their shoe box to H&R Block or a similar firm. Then there is Citizen Trump who says paying $0 in federal income tax for at least 18 years makes him “smart.”

In Sunday night’s debate Donald Trump claimed, with no supporting evidence, that Hillary Clinton’s billionaire friends such as George Soros and Warren Buffet did the same, i.e., they paid no personal federal income tax.

Buffet Debunks Trump’s False Allegations

Buffet says the following to Trump:

My 2015 return shows adjusted gross income of $11,563,931. My deductions totaled $5,477,694, of which allowable charitable deductions were $3,469,179. All but $36,037 of the remainder was for state income taxes.

The total charitable contributions I made during the year were $2,858,057,970, of which more than $2.85 billion were not taken as deductions, and never will be. Tax law properly limits charitable deductions.

My federal income tax for the year was $1,845,557. Returns for previous years are of similar nature in respect to contributions, deductions, and tax rates.

Billion with a “B”

Mark Sumner reports: In a single year, Warren Buffett gave $2.85 billion to charity—and still paid his fair share of taxes.

I no longer want to see Trump’s tax returns. I don’t care. It doesn’t matter. His narcissism and, by definition, selfish temperament have revealed enough to disqualify him as a potential leader.

  • He doesn’t like POWs.
  • He doesn’t like Mexicans.
  • He doesn’t like Muslims.
  • He doesn’t like immigrants.
  • He views PTSD as a sign of weakness.
  • He supposedly accepted a Purple Heart from a “man on the street” and said “I always wanted a Purple Heart.”
  • He claimed to a TV reporter that he has made many sacrifices in is life, sacrifices such as “building” things. That, of course, shows no sacrifice … and when this paper titan’s enterprises crumble, he declares bankruptcy and writes them off on his taxes.
  • He speaks crudely about women “in the locker room” and then claims he loves and respects all women.
  • Enough! I don’t care what he likes or doesn’t like.

… and, sadly, I don’t think we have seen the last/worst of this charlatan.

 

10-7: Michael Moore Voting for Clinton

[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 bounces off one of my favorite bloggers, The Rude Pundit.]

The Necessity of Michael Moore: Live Talk Edition

Last (Thursday) night, with about a day of advance notice, shambling filmmaker and … provocateur Michael Moore came to my place of work, a college, to give a talk about the current election…. I’ve been a fan of Moore’s … because, agree or disagree with him, he is sincere behind his snide attacks on stupidity, complacency, and cruelty. He believes, perhaps naively (although, at 60, it’s hard to call him that), that we can toss aside the (stuff) that divides us and we can make the country better….

Yes, we can!

Moore gave the starkest, most frightening explanation of how Donald Trump could end up winning the presidency against Hillary Clinton. For him, it all comes down to Rust Belt (mostly white, male) Americans in Ohio, Pennsylvania, Michigan, and Wisconsin….

For them, Trump is a voice they needed to hear, Moore said, someone who isn’t afraid, someone who can say, “(screw) you” without consequences, someone who can say to Ford that he’ll put a 35% tariff on cars not made in the United States or that he’ll compel Apple to make iPhones in this country. It doesn’t matter whether or not he can do it.

He can’t! He knows it and so do we … and so does running mate Mike Pence.

The truth doesn’t matter.

What matters is that these isolated, angry white men hear this and it gives them irrational hope that they can get back some of what they’ve lost or that they’ve perceived they’ve lost, a little power and a decent amount of cash.

Is this what it means to “make America great again”? Even during the vice-presidential debate Pence could only mouth words like “that isn’t true” or “nonsense” when confronted with verbatim comments from Trump.

Voting for Trump turns Americans into “legal terrorists,” Moore said, and their votes “are Molotov cocktails thrown into a machine they want to blow up,” … Moore concluded, a few months later, they’ll understand that Trump isn’t gonna do any of (what) he said he would. Betrayed again.

We can’t take that risk.

Moore Addresses Voting 3rd Party 

… “Voting that way just makes you kind of like Trump. You’re being narcissistic. You’re only voting that way because it makes you feel good to say you didn’t vote for Trump or Clinton.” Sometimes, Moore continued, “you just gotta suck it up and vote for the good of the country.”

Connection to PTSD

The first book manuscript I submitted to publishers bore the title Betrayed. [Hellgate Press asked if they could change the title to After the Storm.] I wrote this book with hostile intent, specifically aimed at former Secretary of Defense Robert McNamara who had just released In Retrospect, his memoir of the Vietnam War. Our points of view differ.

Moore claims that Trump, if elected, will betray his supporters, particularly rust belt workers who are now either unemployed or under-employed. Trump has no clue what it means for a worker to be tethered to a factory or a mine and then cut loose. All he has to offer are words–I wouldn’t call the blather he spews rhetoric.

So it is Moore’s use of the word “betrayed” that riles me. At 19-years-old, I had left college and gone to work in a factory. Poof, just like that, I was drafted (1965) to fight in a war that no one, including the SECDEF believed in.

For me, Trump eats from the same trough McNamara dined at and orally excretes the same bile.