Month: January 2017
Coming January 20th at 6:00 AM PST/7:00 AM MST
Stay tuned for the Premier of “The Great American Presidential Apprentice,” the new world leader Reality TV show you don’t want to miss is coming this January 20th. As President-Elect he has nearly caused one international incident after another from China, to Japan, to NATO and then throwing in a Russian Hacking denial or two for grins, but he’s just getting started. Just wait until he becomes President on January 20th. Populist autocrats all around the world can’t wait either.
Watch as he fires Congress while his supporters cheer with glee. Then watch him fire the Supreme Court as they cheer some more. And then watch him fire the Constitution but not before steamrolling over the Bill of Rights amidst ever more louder cheers (even the beloved second amendment does not get a reprieve). In addition to his Constitution defacing antics, “Draining the Swamp” will take on a whole new Reality TV meaning as he successfully convinces us that he needs to fill up the swamp in order to drain it.
No Presidential Press Conference will be as much fun to watch as the ones he has planned for his “Press on Trial” segment. All those nasty people in the press corps will be put on trial and then, you guessed it, fired. Watch as he deflects attention away from questionable lawsuit settlements to some poor group of Broadway entertainers whose only crimes were that they asked that the rights of others be respected.
Watch as he dismantles your democratic institutions right before your very eyes, magically and then replaces your republic with a fiefdom. The White House will never be the same. In fact, it won’t be because it is being renamed. Henceforth, it is now, “The Great House.”
So, tune-in on January 20th! It will be like a having a Political Rally right in your very own living room! America will be great again!!! And, oh, by the way, he is also renaming America to the “United States of Greatness,” but, then, soon to be just, “Great, the Country,” because he intends to fire all the States too. Additionally, everyone must now salute the red, white and combed-over flag.
And, for all of you who belong to questionable faiths who should not be let into the country, don’t forget to wear your official state issued religious identification badges because, afterwards, you might win an all-expense paid trip to his new resort, “The Taj Mahal Luxury Internment Villas,” near the new wall site. And don’t pay any attention to those bellhops who look like armed guards. As long as you don’t go anywhere, they won’t bother you.
*Check local listings for availability and times (times may vary).
It really is beside the point whether the Russian hacking actually helped Trump win the election. I don’t think that the intelligence communities ever claimed that they had such evidence. The CIA, FBI and the other intelligence agencies repeatedly claimed that the evidence only showed that the Russians were responsible for hacking our computer networks and that this effort was intended to benefit Trump. Trump repeatedly denied that the Russians could be responsible; over and over again, doing as much as possible to cast doubt upon and discredit the various intelligence agencies at every chance he could. Now it appears that Trump might concede a little bit by acknowledging that maybe there was some hacking by the Russians but careful to qualify that this hacking didn’t help him win the election.
While it is difficult to quantify, it is not difficult to understand how the result of the collected hacked information appearing on WikiLeaks, each week a new set of hacked data presented during the campaign, kept negative attention focused on Clinton’s e-mail server scandal and alleged Clinton Foundation issues. It is difficult to argue that this did not have an effect on the election. But, even so, the not so easily quantifiable presumption that there may have been an effect on the election is distinct and separate from the election result itself which, obviously, is something we can easily quantify. So, absent other evidence, it could never really be argued that the election result is not valid based upon this presumption alone without a great amount of difficulty.
Regardless, Trump continues to put his self-interests above his country. If the President-Elect is unable to comprehend the duty he has to protect the security of his country even above his own interests, how can he be expected to protect its people and the democratic values our country holds dear? Is this really the type of characteristic we want in a President?
The fact that we have a President-Elect who is so insecure about his own election result that he would think the evidence that implicates that the Russians hacked our systems necessarily implies that his election result is invalid may be another indication of just how lacking in character and unqualified a President-Elect we have. Most normal statesmen (and/or stateswomen) would be more worried about protecting our country rather than protecting some less meaningful election result. The last President that might have been accused of having this much insecurity is Nixon.
Interestingly and similarly, that President also went to great lengths in his efforts to protect his 1972 election result even going as far as becoming involved in a conspiracy to cover-up a crime. It’s amazing how more things change the more they remain the same. So, if anyone had any doubts before, it’s pretty clear to me now where this Presidency is headed.
There is still a mistaken belief in some corners of public opinion that there was something offensive and inappropriate about the speech Brandon Dixon gave at the end of the performance of “Hamilton” that Mike Pence attended a few months ago in November. This belief, which gained popular attention by comments Trump made on Twitter, deserves to be properly reconsidered. Mike Pence, in his own words, wasn’t offended nor should he have been. Pence may have recklessly left it open to others regarding judgement, and that might have also propelled this mistaken belief that there was something offensive said, but, the comments made by Dixon were quite benign and perfectly appropriate. Dixon’s brief comments are as follows:
“We, sir — we are the diverse America who are alarmed and anxious that your new administration will not protect us, our planet, our children, our parents, or defend us and uphold our inalienable rights. We truly hope that this show has inspired you to uphold our American values and to work on behalf of all of us.”
It was a short, respectful and positive statement. Additionally, it was a plea intended for proper and respectful consideration. The idea that this is an inappropriate comment is absolutely absurd. The statement promotes the core concept behind the production of “Hamilton.” Ironically, this incident highlights the whole reason why we revolted against England. Our pleas were not being properly considered by the king. The notion that political statements should not be made in this Broadway play is also ridiculous given that the whole play is a political statement that celebrates our American heritage and our American ideals. Our American ideals of liberty and justice can never be inappropriate no matter where they are spoken.
Furthermore, from an interview after the incident, Pence commented, “When we arrived we heard a few boos, and we heard some cheers. I nudged my kids and reminded them that is what freedom sounds like.” Pence’s statement contradicts another prevailing misconception that the “boos” Trump may have tweeted about was a result of the plea made by Dixon at the end of the play (Trump tweeted that the “Hamilton” cast “Harassed” Pence). The “boos,” according to Pence, happened before the play even began, before the statement was read aloud and not by the “Hamilton” cast but by random members of the audience who, obviously, were exercising in their own way, albeit, somewhat unsophisticatedly and not very respectfully, their freedom of speech. In any case, the “boos” definitely were not sponsored by nor were they encouraged by the “Hamilton” cast. And, to be honest, after watching the video, there seemed to be more cheers than “boos” for Mike Pence when he walked into the auditorium.
“Hamilton” is a play about dignity and diversity, how an illegitimate, but brilliant foreign born child of a British merchant from minor aristocratic origins rose to become a founding father of our nation. The comments Dixon made were perfectly legitimate given the content and the context of the play and the nervous aftermath of the recent election. People want reassurance from our President-Elect that he will be what he said he would be: “the President of all.”
But, that is not what we get. What we get instead is the exact opposite. Instead of addressing their legitimate concerns, the President-Elect only re-enforces those concerns with tweets that seem more suited to ones a despot might use to inflame public opinion against his supposed enemies. The statements tweeted by Trump should never come from a President of the United States. Those tweets should never come from someone who is the representative of all Americans and they definitely should not come from someone who is responsible for being the face of American democracy for the next four or eight years.
What we have is a President-Elect who is “Tweeting” the truth and our country away into oblivion with provocative statements that continue to speak only to his base but sometimes sucking in any other poor unsuspecting citizens sitting on the sidelines who fail to wrap their heads around the dangerous game Trump is playing. These are victims who fail to understand how they are being manipulated by Trump’s perverse and un-statesman like comments. Trump has not changed since the election despite the apparent false hope some of his supporters have that he will act more presidential once he takes office.
I am not sure who can persuade Trump to change. But the threat his current actions pose to our republic is real. The statements he makes similar to the ones made about the cast of “Hamilton” are only meant to distract and manipulate the public away from other focuses. It may start out small like removing focus from his Trump University settlement but it may progress into bigger things like the realization our liberties have just been snatched away from us because we were too busy focusing attention on something that required no focus of attention at all.
The comments that former Defense Secretary Robert Gates made before the election that Trump is “beyond repair” should be taken seriously. Because, if that is true, if Trump really is “beyond repair,” it only means one thing for our country: America itself may be “beyond repair” after Trump gets done with it. Unfortunately, by electing Donald Trump as President, America has decided more Polarization is required which is a big enough threat to our country on its own but with that comes this even greater threat to our republic that his reckless tweeting and his provocative statements can permanently damage our democratic institutions and our standing in the world to a point where they become “beyond repair.”
Trump’s Tweets about “Hamilton”:
Donald J. Trump @realDonaldTrump 19 Nov 2016
Our wonderful future V.P. Mike Pence was harassed last night at the theater by the cast of Hamilton, cameras blazing.This should not happen!
Donald J. Trump @realDonaldTrump 19 Nov 2016
The Theater must always be a safe and special place.The cast of Hamilton was very rude last night to a very good man, Mike Pence. Apologize!
Donald J. Trump @realDonaldTrump 20 Nov 2016
The cast and producers of Hamilton, which I hear is highly overrated, should immediately apologize to Mike Pence for their terrible behavior