Posts Tagged Racism/Bigotry

DONALD TRUMP’S VINDICTIVENESS SEEMS TO BE BEHIND TWO SENSELESS IDEAS: ELIMINATING AFFORDABLE HEALTH CARE AND SLASHING THE STATE DEPARTMENT BUDGET BY 31%!

Donald Trump has said a lot of idiotic things, taken Tweetery to a new lunacy level, and he has accomplished absolutely nothing…in five months.  Remember all of those asinine Legislative “Acts” that he was going to pass “…on Day One!”  Did Mr. Know-it-all forget that Congress takes more time off than he does—including HIS Inauguration Day?

There are two major actions that Mr. Trump should have most definitely avoided:  Repeal and Replace “Obamacare,” and to slash the State Department Budget by 31%.

Just like any comprehensive bill, such as the (real name) Affordable (Health) Care Act, modifications should be made from time to time, just like what was done after Medicare, was first rolled-out!  Deep down inside, the real reason for eliminating ACA—and why Donald has disrupted it’s functioning—is to replace the huge tax cuts, assessed to the Top Two Percent of Taxpayers, which were lost when the Bush Tax Cuts expired.

And slashing the State Department Budget is reprehensible; because, those 170 State Department Embassies, Consulates and other installations, around-the-world, are the face of of the United States to many foreigners.  Those offices are used for many other purposes, besides diplomacy: Trade and Agricultural Officers work out of them, foreigners apply for Visas there, and its where Americans go when they encounter problems in other countries. Besides, USAID and other social agencies provide excellent assistance, from those offices, directly to rural villages and groups that need it.

In the case of both eliminating ACA and slashing the State Budget, there is no responsible reason, whatsoever, for Donald Trump to do so.  But, after analyzing these ideas, I definitely see a relationship.  Let me highlight each:

1.   Mr. Trump resents the fact that Affordable Health Care isn’t focused around him.  Even though Republicans have called for some form of Health Care for All, going all the way back to Richard M. Nixon, and perhaps even earlier, the GOP just never seemed to have followed through in legislating it!  Also, Trump is displaying his racism through his intention to eradicate the signature accomplishment of Barack Obama, our First Black President.

2. Additionally, Donald doesn’t seem capable of letting go of his hatred for former Secretary of State Hillary R. Clinton.  When it came to “dirty tricks”, Trumpie was far and away, the all-time champion, and definitely not the victim, during the campaign!  When Secretary of Defense James Mattis heard that State’s budget would be slashed, he said he was “…going to need more bullets!”  Mattis realizes that every dollar spent by State—especially in its various social programs—results in less dollars needed for Defense!

So, when Trump & Friends misrepresent why they needs to Repeal “Obamacare,” and he proposes slashing the State Department budget, the reasons are: his narcissism; racism; sexism; providing huge tax breaks to Mega-Billionaires; and slashing State’s budget to will help pay for the idiotic Wall!

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WHEN WE READ, OR SPEAK, OF HOW HORRIFIC THE MURDER OF CHILDREN IS, WHAT DOES THAT ACTUALLY MEAN?

The horror of the terrorist bombing, at last week’s Adriana Grande concert in Manchester, was indeed horrific.  And, as always happens with a young crowd, there were children among those killed.  Before responding to those evil acts, I believe that the British Authorities are currently trying to determine the “Who” and “Why”, before they establish a Plan of Action.  Everything must be analyzed in detail. (Sorry, Donald!)

But, is the life of a child any more valuable than that of:  a young mother, on a night-out, who works to support her young children; the middle-aged husband and father, who teaches in one of the poorest high schools in town; or the retired couple, accompanying their grandchildren?  Is one life worth more than another, especially when our very essence can be snuffed-out at any time…in a flash?

To me, all life is equally important; however, when it is one a yours—a spouse, a son or daughter, a grandchild; obviously you look at death differently.  I truly understand that!  And it doesn’t have to be terrorists to strike at our hearts, and at our very souls.  What did it take the mentally unstable mass murderer, at Sandy Hook Elementary School, in Connecticut, to execute 20 first graders; or the drive-by gang shooting, taking the life of a little seven year-old girl, playing on her front porch in Miami?

When terrorists use bombs or automatic weapons to kill those who are enjoying life, having fun and not particularly hating anyone, there is no selectivity as to who dies in such attacks.  Consider that there were also a number of Muslims who worked at the World Trade Center, and were killed when Saudi terrorists crashed jetliners into the Twin Towers.  Once again, by such desperate acts, the terrorists merely reflect their own ignorance, hatred and insecurities.

The murder of anyone—regardless of sex, religion, race, ethnicity, sexual preference— is equally horrendous.  I prefer not to point to those of any one group as being particularly saddening, however, because that implies a higher value, to some lives, and perhaps, a lesser importance to others.

And lets’s not kid ourselves:  as a nation, we Americans do not have clean hands.  Just consider how many civilians have been needlessly killed—“collateral damage”, it’s called—in the unnecessary wars in which America has engaged.  Therefore, in a way, we are no better than the terrorists!

NOTES:

#1. I am including a prior post, written just after the Paris Attacks, in November 2015.  In it, there is a marvelous letter, from “Le Monde”, written by the father of an infant, advising his little son—when he grows-up—not to hate the people who killed his mother.   It’s good advice for Britons, and its good advice for us!

#2. I am also including a post, from the “In Saner Thought” blog, which I have recently come across, and follow.  The linked post gave me the idea of placing the terrorist attacks, which caused the deaths of children, into some sort of context.

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DONALD TALKS ABOUT FIGHTING STREET CRIME, BUT HIS ACTIONS SAY OTHERWISE!

Donald Trump spoke today, in Washington, D. C., at a memorial service for police officers, who were killed in the line-of-duty.  As usual, I personally didn’t care much for Trump’s style; because, however well-intentioned his words might have been, they did not correlate with any plan to understand it.  

In amongst his rhetoric, Donald Trump always seems to have an “Us-versus-Them” scenario in mind, especially when it comes to the Black-White relations on our nation’s streets, which is generally were police officers are killed.  Additionally, he always seems to side with the police officers, in any confrontation  ,without considering the possibility that, perhaps in some cases, the officer might have acted without provocation.

I have several relatives, as well as friends, who are either active or retired from law enforcement.  And, I sincerely believe that most in their profession are dedicated men and women, and they are deeply committed to serving and safeguarding the public.  But, I believe that Donald Trump should work toward understanding the situation, including all possible causes, and only then can he work toward solving the long standing problem.

Donald Trump, and his Attorney General Jeff Sessions; however, seem to be escalating the street crime problem, rather than diffusing it.  The whole “Black Lives Matter” movement reflects the evils of Racism, which had never been settled—400 years since Black Africans were first forcibly brought to America, and sold into Slavery.

For instance, many of the incidents of police officers shooting Black Men have stemmed from the police harassing the Black Men, rather than just giving them a ticket or a warning, as they generally would to a White Man.  AG Sessions further raised the level of distrust last week, when he announced that he was asking the Courts to hand-down the harshest sentences possible, even for non-violent crimes.  WHY?

Part of the racial distrust, which is at the heart of the heightened street crime, is due to the fact that many more Blacks and Latinos are in prison, than Whites.  Also, minorities often get harsher sentences for the same crimes.  A rational person might conclude that the Trump Regime intends to make the problem worse, rather than better.  Is that how Donald Trump might chose to remember those officers who were killed in the line-of-duty?

NOTE:  Please consider me a rational person.

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THIS ST. PATRICK’S DAY, NOT ALL OF THE IRISH EYES WERE SMILING!

As the Irish are one of the oldest, and most easily assimilated groups of immigrants, St. Patty’s Day has come to be a day of celebration, not only for the Irish, but for many Immigrant groups.Ω even those who might seem to be flying under the radar—because they are of European stock. But they realize that Trump’s racially-motivated immigration ideas today could turn against all other groups tomorrow.  So, they stand together! 

Sure, Donald Trump might have toasted Irish Prime Minister Enda Kelly with green beer, on Thursday, and both men had-on green ties, and the fountain on the White House’s south lawn glowed green, for a day or two.  The undocumented Irish find little solace in those hollow events, however, due to the fact that they entered the    U. S. on perfectly legal Visas, and remained here after they had expired.  Besides the Irish, many others, like the Polish, the Mexicans, Nigerians, Filipinos, etc., are hard-working taxpayers, who are raising families here.

Perhaps the Irish won’t be the first group to be deported; but, how can they ever be sure that, as Trump or some other demagogue like him, works their way down the list of nationalities that, at some point, they might be next!  As much as Trump talks about creating jobs, he doesn’t realize that immigrants often are the reason for economic expansion as they add (usually) younger workers, entrepreneurial and technological skills, and they also increase the consumer base, as more spenders can grow the economy exponentially.

Undocumented immigrants normally enter the U. S. incrementally, and they are eventually assimilated into our society.  Unfortunately, racist actions do make it difficult for some, such as today’s Muslims, and of course blacks after centuries of living in America!

In 1981, 120,000 Cubans came ashore in Miami, in just two months time, and they were quickly assimilated into the local, very large Cuban-American community.  That many refugees, arriving in one area, and being quickly assimilated was, of course, an aberration.  Even though some of those “Marielitos” were, as Donald Trump would say, “Bad Hombres”, their proportion generally pales when compared to the overall percentage of criminals in American society.

So, while Mr. Trump was toasting Prime Minister Kelly at the White House, Joe McHugh, Ireland’s Minister for the Diaspora and International Development visited the Aisling Irish Community Center, in Yonkers, N. Y.  Aisling is one of a number of community centers that provides social services, health screenings and other assistance to, what it calls, the “forgotten Irish”.  Staff members at Aisling, and other such centers, say that anxiety is peaking because of Trump.  Minister Joe McHugh, said, after his visit: “They live in fear.” But why?

Is this what America has come to:  like those billionaires, who have more money than they could ever hope to spend, and they just seem to want more?  Everyone of us are descendants of people who had come from somewhere else–even the Native Americans.   And for all of those “god-fearing Christians”, I surely wonder how you can mouth the words: “Do unto others…”

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DON’T ASK ME TO ORGANIZE MY RECOMMENDED BOOK TAB!

I’m sure that some people would find the “Books that I recommend” list much easier to use if everything were organized into quite distinct categories, such as: Politics; History; Science—or, at least, Fiction and Non-Fiction.  But, that’s not how my mind works.  It’s just too cluttered!

Consider the most recent addition (and yesterday’s post): “Three Days in January”. President Eisenhower left the Presidency 57 years ago; but the real story, I believe, is a combination of:  World War II and Early Cold War History; reflections back to our Founding Fathers, and what their intentions were, with regard to the Constitution; contrasts of the Leadership styles between Ike and JFK, and the lack thereof with Trump. and, lastly, the peril which the Military Industrial Complex might present today, especially in the hands of a Fool.   Now tell me, how would you categorize that NY Times Best-Seller?

“Freeman” is a well-researched historical novel about Racism in post-Civil War rural Mississippi.  That book, not only depicts the reality of how both blacks and whites regarded one another, at the time; but, it also provides some insight as to Racism, as it is today in America today, and particularly, in the rural South.

“Moneybag” is nominally a book about baseball; but, it is really more about the use of statistics in player personnel management.  The Oakland A’s had one of the very smallest budgets in Major League Baseball; however, for a time, they compiled better Win-Loss records than all but a few of the league’s 30 teams.  The A’s realized that some of the more pedestrian statistics, such as: on-base average; total bases and “small ball”, won more games than often considerations: physical looks: home runs and fielding.  For the owners, that approach was more “cost-effective”.

Statistics has also played an increasingly important role in general decision-making theory.  Much of what is pointed-out, by Michael Lewis, the author of “Moneyball”, is based on the insight of the two Israeli Psychologists, who are his main subjects in “The Undoing Project”.  Those psychologists won the Nobel Prize for, get this, Economics, in 2003.  Their research has led to: the creation of the new field of Behavioral Economics; revolutionized Big-Data studies; advanced evidence-based medicine, and helped rationalize government regulation.

NOTE:  If anyone can devise an algorithm, which will organize my “Books That I Recommend” tab, please send me the “For Idiots” version, so that it can install itself.

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NICHOLAS KRISTOFF’S OPEN LETTER TO TRUMP VOTERS

NOTE:  This is an open-letter that Nicholas Kristof wrote, in his regular NY Times column, to awaken all Trump Voters:

Dear Trump Voters,

You’ve been had. President Trump sold you a clunker. Now that he’s in the White House, he’s betraying you — and I’m writing in hopes that you’ll recognize that betrayal and hold him accountable.

Trump spoke to your genuine pain, to the fading of the American dream, and he won your votes. But will he deliver? Please watch his speeches carefully. You’ll notice that he promises outcomes, without explaining how they’ll be achieved. He’s a carnival huckster promising that America will thrive with his snake oil.

“We’re going to win, we’re going to win big, folks,” Trump declared Friday at the CPAC meeting, speaking of his foreign policy.

Great! Problem solved. Next? He then outlined his take on drug trafficking and what will surely be his outcome:
“No good. No good. Going to stop.” Wow! Why didn’t anyone else think of that?

Similarly, all looks rosy for tax outcomes: “We’re going to massively lower taxes on the middle class,” Trump said. But that seems like a classic shell game.

The Tax Policy Center estimated that Trump’s tax plan (to the extent that there is one) would hugely increase the federal debt and give middle-income households an average tax cut of $1,010, or 1.8 percent of after-tax income — while the top 1 percent would save $214,690, or 13.5 percent of after-tax income.

Trump made more than 280 campaign promises as a candidate, and a few — such as infrastructure spending to create jobs — would be sensible if done right. But there still is no infrastructure plan, and The Washington Post Fact Checker is tracking 60 specific campaign promises and found only six cases so far of promises kept.

It’s still early, and Trump has nominated a smart conservative to the Supreme Court and followed his campaign line on issues like barring refugees.

But while you voted for Trump because you put faith in his gauzy pledges, I bet he will do no better with campaign promises than with marriage vows.

Health care will be one of the greatest betrayals. On Friday, he described his plan: “We’re going to make it much better, we’re going to make it less expensive.”

Yet the steps that Republicans seem likely to take on health care will hurt ordinary Americans.

For example, Trump seems poised to weaken the contraception mandate for insurance coverage and curb funding for women’s health clinics. The upshot will likely be more unintended pregnancies, more abortions, more unplanned births — and more women dying of cervical cancer.

The biggest Trump bait-and-switch was visible Friday when he talked about giving Americans “access” to health care. That’s a scam his administration is moving toward, with millions of Americans likely to lose health insurance: Instead of promising insurance coverage, Trump now promises “access” — and if you can’t afford it, tough luck.

This promise of “access” is an echo of Marie Antoinette. In Trump’s worldview, starving French peasants wouldn’t have needed bread because they had “access” to cake.

Many of you voted for Trump because he campaigned as a populist. But instead of draining the swamp, he’s wallowing in it and monetizing the presidency. He retains his financial interests, refuses to release his taxes or explain what financial leverage Russia may have over him, and doubled the fee to join Mar-a-Lago to $200,000.

The greatest betrayal of all will come if, as some of his advisers recommend, he “reforms” and tears holes in some of the big safety net programs like Medicaid, Social Security or Medicare. Medicaid is particularly vulnerable.

Trump howls at the news media, not just because it embarrasses him, but because it provides an institutional check on his lies, incompetence and conflicts of interest. But we can take his vitriol: When the time comes, we will write Trump’s obituary, not the other way around.

Let’s not get distracted by his howls or tweets. What’s most important at this moment is not Trump’s theatrics, but the policies he is putting in place in areas like health care and immigration that will devastate the lives of ordinary Americans.

Trump’s career has often been built on scamming people who put their faith in him, as Trump University shows. Now he’s moved the scam to a much bigger stage, and he boasts of targeting Muslims, refugees and unauthorized immigrants.

Please don’t cheer, or acquiesce in these initial targets. The truth is that among the biggest losers from Trump policies will be you Trump voters, especially those of you from the working and middle class. You were hoping you’d elected a savior, and instead Donald Trump is doing to you what he did to just about everyone who ever trusted him: He’s betraying you.

The sooner you recognize that, the sooner you can fight back and push for policies that will protect your health care and Social Security, defend the integrity of our election system and protect your own interests. You have a false savior, and you will have to turn on him to save yourselves and our nation.

Note from Mr. Kristoff:  I invite you to sign up for my free, twice-weekly email newsletter. Please also join me on Facebook and Google+, watch my YouTube videos and follow me on Twitter (@NickKristof).

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THE TRANSGENDER POTTY BROUHAHA HAS NOTHING TO DO WITH REST ROOMS, AND EVERYTHING TO DO WITH SEXUAL DISCRIMINATION!

NOTE:  With minor changes, this is a repeat of a prior post, which was first published on March 1, 2016.  I have tweaked it slightly, in order clarify some points, and to update it for the ignorance of the Trump White House.

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The equality of the Constitutional Rights of all Americans—regardless of age, sex, race, religion, ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, etc.—are guaranteed under our Constitution.   As some Republican-led states have tried, in various and devious ways, to circumvent these rights, the U. S. Supreme Court has reaffirmed them over and over again.   But these ignorant attempts, costly to the taxpayers, continue on.

Usually such legislation has been initiated by individual states, and anointed with seemingly benign titles; however, those are merely dog whistles to excite the political base.  In fact, the true intent of such laws is often quite different from advertised.  Titles such as “Pastor Protection” or “Women’s Protection”, or suggesting that they are intended to protect small businesses, are really smoke screens.

Such laws can only be intended to deny specific constitutional rights of others.  here can be no other relevance!  Who’s going to sue a clergymen whose religion does not condone same-sex marriage for not performing a ceremony?  Or suing a caterer or pastry shop that refuses to provide services for an LGBT event?   Or a woman getting an abortion without having considered the various implications ahead of time?

This month (March 2016), North Carolina and Mississippi passed laws that require transgender persons to use rest rooms, in schools and public buildings, that confirm with the sex noted on their birth certificates.  (Who carries a Birth Certificate?)  Now, consider how asinine this is.  Would a woman who was born a man look for a urinal in the Ladies Room?  Likewise, would a man who was born a woman really try to use a urinal in the Mens Room?   In each case, they would go into a stall to…(well) GO.

These states have already seen major companies decide to cancel expanding facilities there.  Similarly, bills such as the current  “Potty Bill” have resulted in major sports leagues and national conventions shifting their biggest events to other states.  And as expected, individual tourism is seeing a fall-off, as well.

Such legislation truly serves no purpose!   As noted, there is nothing to see here!  The LGTB Community is not a haven for sexual perverts, no more than the general population.  And unfortunately, the larger cities, which tend to be more open-minded, will generally be the losers when corporate  expansion, sporting events, conventions, and tourism will be lost!   So, the areas that are trying to do the right thing are the ones that pay the price—for Bigotry.

More recently, the Trump Regime has suggested that such laws should be left up to the individual states; however, that is a lame attempt “not to take a stand”!  Just considering the past inane attempts to pass racist and bigoted legislation, by the individual states, just points-out what a patchwork quilt of laws, with conflicting values, America will have!  But, as the original post notes, isn’t “Who Goes Where” really a question of Reality?

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