Tag Archives: Donald Trump

‘Liberals have to avoid Trump Derangement Syndrome’

Read the commentary by Fareed Zakaria from the Washington Post here. Copied below in its entirety:

I didn’t really believe that there was such a thing as Trump Derangement Syndrome — hatred of President Trump so intense that it impairs people’s judgment. It’s not that I didn’t notice the harsh, unyielding language against him — I’ve said a few tough things myself — but that throughout the campaign, Trump seemed to do things that justified it. Once elected, instead of calming down and acting presidential, he continued the stream of petty attacks, exaggerations and lies. His administration seemed marked by chaos and incompetence.

And then came the strike against Syria. On that issue, Trump appears to have listened carefully to his senior national security professionals, reversed his earlier positions, chosen a calibrated response and acted swiftly. I supported the strike and pointed out — in print and on air — that Trump was finally being presidential because the action “seems to reflect a belated recognition from Trump that he cannot simply put America first — that the president of the United States must act on behalf of broader interests and ideals.” On the whole, though, I was critical of Trump’s larger Syria policy, describing it as “incoherent.” My Post column was titled, “One missile strike is not a strategy.”

From the response on the left, you would have thought I had just endorsed Trump for pope. Otherwise thoughtful columnists described my views as “nonsense” and a sign that the media has “bent over backward” to support Trump. (Really?) One journalist declared on television, “If that guy could have sex with this cruise missile attack, I think he would do it.” A gaggle of former Obama speechwriters discussed how my comments were perhaps “the stupidest” of any given on the subject.

White House speechwriters must have written the lines that President Barack Obama spoke on Sept. 27, 2013, announcing the U.N. deal in which the Syrian regime agreed to give up its chemical weapons stockpile. “This binding resolution will ensure that the Assad regime must keep its commitments, or face consequences. We’ll have to be vigilant about following through.” (My emphasis.) In other words, the Trump administration watched a violation of Obama’s 2013 deal and enforced it in precisely the manner that Obama had implied. Which is why virtually every major Obama foreign policy official — Hillary Clinton, Thomas Donilon, Leon Panetta, David Petraeus — has supported the Trump administration’s action, as did U.S. allies in the region and beyond.

The strikes were discreet, measured and intended to convey a signal, and yet at the same time were designed to ensure that the United States did not descend further into the Syrian civil war. In other words, they were very Obama-like. Two senior Obama officials I spoke with told me that, were Obama still president, he would have likely ordered a strike similar if not identical in scope. Presumably, those former speechwriters would then have used different words to describe the same strikes.

Conservatives seem to understand Trump’s about-face better than liberals. Many of Trump’s strongest backers — Ann Coulter, Michael Savage, Laura Ingraham — are distraught by Trump’s embrace of Obama-like policies. Andrew McCarthy wrote in National Review, “When it came to foreign policy, I was worried that the 2016 election would be a case of Clinton delivering the third Obama term. Instead, we have Trump giving us the third Clinton term.”

Liberals have to avoid Trump Derangement Syndrome. If Trump pursues a policy, it cannot axiomatically be wrong, evil and dangerous. In my case, I have been pretty tough on Trump. I attacked almost every policy he proposed during the campaign. Just before the election, I called him a “cancer on American democracy” and urged voters to reject him. But they didn’t. He is now president. I believe that my job is to evaluate his policies impartially and explain why, in my view, they are wise or not.

Many of Trump’s campaign promises and policies are idiotic and unworkable. It was always likely that he would reverse them, as he has begun to do this week on several fronts. Those of us who opposed him face an important challenge. We have to ask ourselves, which would we rather see: Trump reversing himself or Trump relentlessly pursuing his campaign agenda? The first option would be good for the country and the world, though it might save Trump from an ignominious fall. The second would be a disaster for all. It raises the quandary: Do we want what’s better for America or what’s worse for Donald Trump?

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I started listening to Fareed Zakaria on CNN last summer, when I was stuck in Boulder Manor. I don’t agree with him very often, but indeed it would be good for the country if the Left would try to act in a rational way. The Democrats, already seriously wounded at every level of government, do themselves no favors by giving in to Trump Derangement Syndrome.

BTW, I still despise President Trump personally, but it seems that wiser heads can persuade him to do the right thing — at least in some cases.

— MRW 

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‘What a country — where even the vacuous have a voice.’

Read the Charles Krauthammer column from the Washington Post here. Copied below in its entirety:

Under the big gray cloud, amid the general gloom, allow me to offer a ray of sunshine. The last two months have brought a pleasant surprise: Turns out the much feared, much predicted withering of our democratic institutions has been grossly exaggerated. The system lives.

Let me explain. Donald Trump’s triumph last year was based on a frontal attack on the Washington “establishment,” that all-powerful, all-seeing, supremely cynical, bipartisan “cartel” (as Ted Cruz would have it) that allegedly runs everything. Yet the establishment proved to be Potemkin empty. In 2016, it folded pitifully, surrendering with barely a fight to a lightweight outsider.

At which point, fear of the vaunted behemoth turned to contempt for its now-exposed lassitude and decadence. Compounding the confusion were Trump’s intimations of authoritarianism. He declared “I alone can fix it” and “I am your voice,” the classic tropes of the demagogue. He unabashedly expressed admiration for strongmen (most notably, Vladimir Putin).

Trump had just cut through the grandees like a hot knife through butter. Who would now prevent him from trampling, caudillo-like, over a Washington grown weak and decadent? A Washington, moreover, that had declined markedly in public esteem, as confidence in our traditional institutions — from the political parties to Congress — fell to new lows.

The strongman cometh, it was feared. Who and what would stop him?

Two months into the Trumpian era, we have our answer. Our checks and balances have turned out to be quite vibrant. Consider:

1. The courts.

Trump rolls out not one but two immigration bans, and is stopped dead in his tracks by the courts. However you feel about the merits of the policy itself (in my view, execrable and useless but legal) or the merits of the constitutional reasoning of the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals (embarrassingly weak, transparently political), the fact remains: The president proposed and the courts disposed.

Trump’s pushback? A plaintive tweet or two complaining about the judges — that his own Supreme Court nominee denounced (if obliquely) as “disheartening” and “demoralizing.”

2. The states.

Federalism lives. The first immigration challenge to Trump was brought by the attorneys general of two states (Washington and Minnesota) picking up on a trend begun during the Barack Obama years when state attorneys general banded together to kill his immigration overreach and the more egregious trespasses of his Environmental Protection Agency.

And beyond working through the courts, state governors — Republicans, no less — have been exerting pressure on members of Congress to oppose a Republican president’s signature health-care reform. Institutional exigency still trumps party loyalty.

3. Congress.

The Republican-controlled Congress (House and Senate) is putting up epic resistance to a Republican administration’s health-care reform. True, that’s because of ideological and tactical disagreements rather than any particular desire to hem in Trump. But it does demonstrate that Congress is no rubber stamp.

And its independence extends beyond the perennially divisive health-care conundrums. Trump’s budget, for example, was instantly declared dead on arrival in Congress, as it almost invariably is regardless of which party is in power.

4. The media.

Trump is right. It is the opposition party. Indeed, furiously so, often indulging in appalling overkill. It’s sometimes embarrassing to read the front pages of the major newspapers, festooned as they are with anti-Trump editorializing masquerading as news.

Nonetheless, if you take the view from 30,000 feet, better this than a press acquiescing on bended knee, where it spent most of the Obama years in a slavish Pravda-like thrall. Every democracy needs an opposition press. We damn well have one now.

Taken together — and suspending judgment on which side is right on any particular issue — it is deeply encouraging that the sinews of institutional resistance to a potentially threatening executive remain quite resilient.

Madison’s genius was to understand that the best bulwark against tyranny was not virtue — virtue helps, but should never be relied upon — but ambition counteracting ambition, faction counteracting faction. 

You see it even in the confirmation process for Neil Gorsuch, Trump’s supremely qualified and measured Supreme Court nominee. He’s a slam dunk, yet some factions have scraped together a campaign to block him. Their ads are plaintive and pathetic. Yet I find them warmly reassuring. What a country — where even the vacuous have a voice.

The anti-Trump opposition flatters itself as “the resistance.” As if this is Vichy France. It’s not. It’s 21st-century America. And the good news is that the checks and balances are working just fine. 

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Strangely, the Democrats have failed miserably in their role as the opposition party, so our country is fortunate that the courts, the states, Congress, and the media (despite their appalling ignorance of checks and balances and the separation of powers) have stepped up. Or maybe NOT strange at all, in view of the two clowns the Democrats had running for their party’s nomination. Hell, if I were Senate Minority Leader “Chucky Boy” Schumer (D-NY), I’d cry for REAL:

— MRW 

Trump vows to round up able-bodied young ‘travelers’ and send them to labor camps in the wilderness

DEMAND ACCOUNTABILITY, STOP ENABLING BAD BEHAVIOR!

By Max R. Weller

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Civilian Conservation Corps Camp Elmore, VT ca. 1930s

It’s an idea I’ve often touted on this blog — creating a 21st Century CCC and putting the lazy ne’er-do-well potheads and alcoholics to work, away from all temptations that they’re far too weak to resist, and even requiring them to attend GED classes in addition to performing manual labor for at least 10 hours per day, 6 days a week (only Sundays off).

President-elect Trump will shortly make it official, and announce that I will be the czar of Put the Bums to Work, which will begin with a camp here in Colorado — the state that is now the focal point of shiftless youngsters from all across our country because of so-called legal marijuana. (PBW camps will be alcohol- and drug-free).

I thought it best to publish this notice ASAP, rather than wait until next April 1st . . .

Housing First residents leave $250,000+ apartments to panhandle for liquor money, and more

DEMAND ACCOUNTABILITY, STOP ENABLING BAD BEHAVIOR!

By Max R. Weller

In the five weeks or so since I returned to my old neighborhood around N. Broadway & U.S. 36, I’ve observed no fewer than seven clients of Housing First at 1175 Lee Hill — the $8M project with just 31 apartments right next to Boulder Shelter for [Transients and Sex Offenders] at 4869 N. Broadway — panhandling on the corner as if they were homeless people in real need of cash to purchase life’s necessities; you know, food, clothes, camping gear, bus fare, etc. Every penny you give to these pampered HF BUMS goes to rotgut vodka, beer, cigarettes, and marijuana. This is why I’ve been “flying” this sign the past few days:

HELP BOULDER’S / SOBER HOMELESS PEOPLE / Thanks!

It’s been very well-received, and I’m grateful for all the other kinds of support (besides money) I’ve gotten from old friends in the area. This past few months has been difficult for me, both physically and emotionally, and I struggle every day not to give up and become a Housing First-eligible alcoholic myself.

leehill

(At the time I created this meme, I’d underestimated the cost of each unit; thus the corrected figure in the title of this post.)

I call it Trump Anxiety Disorder, and I suffered from it to some degree myself before realizing that none of this blowhard’s crazy ideas that would legally require an Act of Congress will ever come to pass. Apparently, Trump himself has quietly abandoned The Wall, The Mass Deportations, The Blanket Ban on Muslims Entering the U.S., and Arresting Hillary Clinton . . . He sounds more like an establishment Republican every day — ROTFL! How do you supporters of the President-elect feel about your hero now? Me, I’m greatly relieved. BTW, I posted this on Facebook the day before the election:

I don’t want to hear a single gripe from anyone who voted for The Donald after Hillary is elected POTUS tomorrow.

YOU Trumpistas are responsible for putting another Clinton into the White House by your unbelievably misguided support of the fake Republican. Any real Republican would have defeated her easily. IT’S YOUR DAMN FAULT!!

An edit is obviously in order, and here it is:

I don’t want to hear a single gripe from anyone who voted for Hillary now that Donald Trump has been elected POTUS.

YOU Clintonistas are responsible for putting a foul-mouthed idiot into the White House by your unbelievably misguided support of the weakest Democratic candidate since McGovern in ’72. Any other Democrat would have defeated him easily. IT’S YOUR DAMN FAULT!!

See: Hitler finds out Donald Trump has won the presidential election.

‘Donald Trump is a unique threat to American democracy’

Read the editorial in the Washington Post here, copied below in its entirety:

By Editorial Board

DONALD J. TRUMP, until now a Republican problem, this week became a challenge the nation must confront and overcome. The real estate tycoon is uniquely unqualified to serve as president, in experience and temperament. He is mounting a campaign of snarl and sneer, not substance. To the extent he has views, they are wrong in their diagnosis of America’s problems and dangerous in their proposed solutions. Mr. Trump’s politics of denigration and division could strain the bonds that have held a diverse nation together. His contempt for constitutional norms might reveal the nation’s two-century-old experiment in checks and balances to be more fragile than we knew.

Any one of these characteristics would be disqualifying; together, they make Mr. Trump a peril. We recognize that this is not the usual moment to make such a statement. In an ordinary election year, we would acknowledge the Republican nominee, move on to the Democratic convention and spend the following months, like other voters, evaluating the candidates’ performance in debates, on the stump and in position papers. This year we will follow the campaign as always, offering honest views on all the candidates. But we cannot salute the Republican nominee or pretend that we might endorse him this fall. A Trump presidency would be dangerous for the nation and the world. 

Why are we so sure? Start with experience. It has been 64 years since a major party nominated anyone for president who did not have electoral experience. That experiment turned out pretty well — but Mr. Trump, to put it mildly, is no Dwight David Eisenhower. Leading the Allied campaign to liberate Europe from the Nazis required strategic and political skills of the first order, and Eisenhower — though he liked to emphasize his common touch as he faced the intellectual Democrat Adlai Stevenson — was shrewd, diligent, humble and thoughtful.

[Read the transcript of Donald Trump’s interview with The Washington Post editorial board]

In contrast, there is nothing on Mr. Trump’s résumé to suggest he could function successfully in Washington. He was staked in the family business by a well-to-do father and has pursued a career marked by some real estate successes, some failures and repeated episodes of saving his own hide while harming people who trusted him. Given his continuing refusal to release his tax returns, breaking with a long bipartisan tradition, it is only reasonable to assume there are aspects of his record even more discreditable than what we know.

The lack of experience might be overcome if Mr. Trump saw it as a handicap worth overcoming. But he displays no curiosity, reads no books and appears to believe he needs no advice. In fact, what makes Mr. Trump so unusual is his combination of extreme neediness and unbridled arrogance. He is desperate for affirmation but contemptuous of other views. He also is contemptuous of fact. Throughout the campaign, he has unspooled one lie after another — that Muslims in New Jersey celebrated after 9/11, that his tax-cut plan would not worsen the deficit, that he opposed the Iraq War before it started — and when confronted with contrary evidence, he simply repeats the lie. It is impossible to know whether he convinces himself of his own untruths or knows that he is wrong and does not care. It is also difficult to know which trait would be more frightening in a commander in chief.

Given his ignorance, it is perhaps not surprising that Mr. Trump offers no coherence when it comes to policy. In years past, he supported immigration reform, gun control and legal abortion; as candidate, he became a hard-line opponent of all three. Even in the course of the campaign, he has flip-flopped on issues such as whether Muslims should be banned from entering the United States and whether women who have abortions should be punished . Worse than the flip-flops is the absence of any substance in his agenda. Existing trade deals are “stupid,” but Mr. Trump does not say how they could be improved. The Islamic State must be destroyed, but the candidate offers no strategy for doing so. Eleven million undocumented immigrants must be deported, but Mr. Trump does not tell us how he would accomplish this legally or practically.

What the candidate does offer is a series of prejudices and gut feelings, most of them erroneous. Allies are taking advantage of the United States. Immigrants are committing crimes and stealing jobs. Muslims hate America. In fact, Japan and South Korea are major contributors to an alliance that has preserved a peace of enormous benefit to Americans. Immigrants commit fewer crimes than native-born Americans and take jobs that no one else will. Muslims are the primary victims of Islamist terrorism, and Muslim Americans, including thousands who have served in the military, are as patriotic as anyone else.

The Trump litany of victimization has resonated with many Americans whose economic prospects have stagnated. They deserve a serious champion, and the challenges of inequality and slow wage growth deserve a serious response. But Mr. Trump has nothing positive to offer, only scapegoats and dark conspiracy theories. He launched his campaign by accusing Mexico of sending rapists across the border, and similar hatefulness has surfaced numerous times in the year since.

In a dangerous world, Mr. Trump speaks blithely of abandoning NATO, encouraging more nations to obtain nuclear weapons and cozying up to dictators who in fact wish the United States nothing but harm. For eight years, Republicans have criticized President Obama for “apologizing” for America and for weakening alliances. Now they put forward a candidate who mimics the vilest propaganda of authoritarian adversaries about how terrible the United States is and how unfit it is to lecture others. He has made clear that he would drop allies without a second thought. The consequences to global security could be disastrous.

Most alarming is Mr. Trump’s contempt for the Constitution and the unwritten democratic norms upon which our system depends. He doesn’t know what is in the nation’s founding document. When asked by a member of Congress about Article I, which enumerates congressional powers, the candidate responded, “I am going to abide by the Constitution whether it’s number 1, number 2, number 12, number 9.” The charter has seven articles.

Worse, he doesn’t seem to care about its limitations on executive power. He has threatened that those who criticize him will suffer when he is president. He has vowed to torture suspected terrorists and bomb their innocent relatives, no matter the illegality of either act. He has vowed to constrict the independent press. He went after a judge whose rulings angered him, exacerbating his contempt for the independence of the judiciary by insisting that the judge should be disqualified because of his Mexican heritage. Mr. Trump has encouraged and celebrated violence at his rallies. The U.S. democratic system is strong and has proved resilient when it has been tested before. We have faith in it. But to elect Mr. Trump would be to knowingly subject it to threat.

Mr. Trump campaigns by insult and denigration, insinuation and wild accusation: Ted Cruz’s father was involved in the assassination of President John F. Kennedy; Hillary Clinton may be guilty of murder; Mr. Obama is a traitor who wants Muslims to attack. The Republican Party has moved the lunatic fringe onto center stage, with discourse that renders impossible the kind of substantive debate upon which any civil democracy depends.

Most responsible Republican leaders know all this to be true; that is why Mr. Trump had to rely so heavily on testimonials by relatives and employees during this week’s Republican convention. With one exception (Bob Dole), the living Republican presidents and presidential nominees of the past three decades all stayed away. But most current officeholders, even those who declared Mr. Trump to be an unthinkable choice only months ago, have lost the courage to speak out.

The party’s failure of judgment leaves the nation’s future where it belongs, in the hands of voters. Many Americans do not like either candidate this year. We have criticized the presumptive Democratic nominee, Hillary Clinton, in the past and will do so again when warranted. But we do not believe that she (or the Libertarian and Green party candidates, for that matter) represents a threat to the Constitution. Mr. Trump is a unique and present danger. 

Melania speaks from the heart: Michelle Obama’s heart, that is

DEMAND ACCOUNTABILITY, STOP ENABLING LYING POLITICIANS!

By Max R. Weller

Read the story from CNN: Campaign denies Melania Trump’s speech plagiarizes part of Michelle Obama’s.

If the would-be First Lady had done the same thing on a college class assignment to write a speech, she’d have received an “F” and possibly been referred to the Dean’s Office for disciplinary action.

What an embarrassment to our country! Wasn’t it bad enough that she came to America on a phony visa — as did many other female foreigners “working” for Trump’s modeling agency?

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As to Donald Trump himself, he remains so confident of victory in November that he has begun working on his Inaugural Address to be delivered in January. It so happens that the Homeless Philosopher has obtained a copy of the first draft, and I must admit I’m very impressed by its closing paragraph:

With malice toward none, with charity for all, with firmness in the right as God gives us to see the right, let us strive on to finish the work we are in, to bind up the nation’s wounds, to care for him who shall have borne the battle and for his widow and his orphan, to do all which may achieve and cherish a just and lasting peace among ourselves and with all nations.

Words for the ages, to be sure . . .

donald-hillary-800

“Don’t worry, Bill, I’ll help Hillary get elected.”