THE SQUAD

Democrats need new leadership. The obsession to entrap President Trump has completely overwhelmed the party. Trump is likely to win if liberals don’t focus on real issues affecting the nation. Consider the following case in point

For the last week, in the middle of a hot and heavy contest between 20 (or so) Democratic candidates for president, all the news focus has been on the phenomenon oddly called the squad. The group consists of four congressional Democrats, women of color that include Reps. Ocasio-Cortez, Omar, Pressley and Tlaib.

Donald Trump, sickened by negative remarks by the squad relating to America, said the group should return to their countries of origin if they are unhappy with the US. As an aside, three members of the squad were born in this country, and all are citizens.

The remark by the president was stupid, inflammatory and racist, so naturally it became a focal point of Trump haters and even some moderate politicians. Given the attention that the remark has received you would have thought Trump committed a crime against humanity. There’s no excuse for the president to speak about the four firebrands so aggressively, but they certainly have been saying things that rub Americans the wrong way.

The squad wants America to focus on their radical perspectives and their suggestion that revolution and socialism are the answers to our social and political problems. It’s no wonder that there has been such a backlash from conservative corners.

During the past few days, Trump supporters have been reminding America that the squad has made some pretty outrageous statements, proved they are inexperienced, assured us that they are biased against some groups (in particular Israel and Jews) and they are demanding socialistic changes. They outwardly spurn capitalism and exceptionalism. Given their government experience and lack of understanding of lawmaking and compromise, it’s a wonder that they are the center of attention.

In fact the squad has been a pain in Nancy Pelosi’s ass. There’s a heated presidential campaign going on and no one is talking about the contenders. Everyone is focused on the squad. If Ocasio-Cortez were 35, would she be a presidential candidate?

In just a few short months this woman defeated a relatively strong Democratic incumbent, has been the focus of magazines and liberal talk shows, endorsed several idiotic new entitlements (with no idea how to finance them) and led the effort to drive Amazon away from New York City along with billions of dollars of proposed expenditures for jobs and infrastructure. Some people, including Democrats, are starting to believe Ocasio-Cortez is a menace.

Back to the business of the House of Representatives. After years of wheeling and dealing, Pelosi is addled about how to deal with squad. She is encountering the same issue as Trump and all conservatives. If you criticize a female person of color, you’re may be labeled a racist, bigot and or sexist. Is Pelosi a racist? I don’t think so. I actually empathize with the House Speaker. The decades she’s spent building her reputation is being dashed by inexperienced rebel-rousers.

And what are Biden, Sanders and the rest of the presidential socialists thinking about as the squad is getting all the ink? They should also be bitter that the liberal media is most interested in nailing Trump (in part by labeling him racists at every occasion). The liberal infrastructure is crumbling before us. Does anybody recognize the irony as it relates to the squad?

Trump is going to keep antagonizing the squad and keep them in the public’s eye. His base will be overjoyed and the electorate will continue to wonder who the Democrat candidates are and what they stand for.

The Racist Card

I decided to delve into an extremely controversial issue inspired by President Trump’s comments about four congresswomen. The issue is the use of the word “racist.”

Before continuing I should stipulate the following:

  • Trump frequently makes comments that some people can easily interpret to be racist.
  • The president’s recent comment that the four congresswomen referred to above should “go back to countries from which they came” was an inane and unproductive racist blathering.
  • I do not endorse any of the perspectives of the four congresswomen.
  • These women have an absolute right to speak their minds. And I have an absolute right to disagree with them.
  • Many comments made by the women are wrong, exaggerations, naïve and hurtful to the president, Republicans, Democrats, Nancy Pelosi and most importantly to our country, in my opinion.

 

With this in mind, I remain very sensitive about expressing my opinions about a number of social and political issues, especially those relating to race relations, women, entitlements and immigration.

Why you ask? Because if I disagree with a liberal perspective the “default” charge against me will inevitably be that I’m a racist and/or a bigot.

Some people characterize this phenomenon as minority privilege. In other words, if you are a member of a minority group you have free rein to say whatever is on your mind. If you are not of a minority, you are a racist if you criticize a minority or downtrodden group.

While in a heated discussion about restitution (relating to slavery and all the actions over the years that have disadvantaged blacks), my opponent said my perspective was racist. For me, that effectively ended the conversation.

It should be noted that we are on opposite sides of many controversial issues. But he, like many of my liberal friends, is quick to use the racist card, and say I just puppet what I hear on Fox News. I could just as well say that CNN, MSNBC, ABC, NBC and CBS are the sources for his competing opinions.

Our disagreements and engagements are a microcosm of why our country is so divided, and our leaders can’t get a damn thing accomplished. From my perspective liberals are protectors of free speech so long as what is said does not stray from liberal ideology.

As an example I offer the outrageous misbehavior of Berkeley students who rioted to prevent a conservative from speaking on campus. Berkeley has been an iconic defender of free speech, and now violent liberalism has dashed its reputation.

Trump is culpable in the agonizing battles between liberals and conservatives, Democrats and Republicans, women and men, people of color and white folks, etc. He feels obligated to express in an unfiltered manner whatever is gnawing at him in tweets. He truly believes that keeping things stirred up increases his political capital. I think he’s acting juvenile, and his behavior is not befitting a US president.

But the Democratic Party is not going to survive by inciting revolution. America is too great of a place to be subjected to violence on its streets, no matter what the four congresswomen say. Our nation has come a long way from the days when blacks were enslaved and women could not vote. Just look at the composition of Congress if you doubt this. Blacks and women have never been more powerful socially or politically. And there is more to come.

I suggest that Congress and all of our elected officials lead the way to negotiated solutions for our country. The use of the word “racist” should only be applied when it really exists, and not as a default comment in heated debate.

 

How’s Trump Doing?

It’s going to drive liberal Trump haters insane to hear that the president is scoring huge victories in spite of his frightful attitude and undiplomatic demeanor. The biggest issue, relating to the election, is the surging US economy.

The stock market hit new highs on Friday. There are competing influences impacting the markets, but generally there’s a lot of positive momentum. However, Federal Reserve Chief, Jerome Powell, said the following “. . . trade tension and a weaker global economy [are] weighing on the outlook and [he] said the Fed was prepared to act.”

Some economists think Powell is intentionally ignoring the strong jobs report and the potential ‘trade truce’ with China. Currently most are expecting a move by the Fed at its next meeting. Critics of such an action say it is an accommodation to Trump. Others point out that problems in Europe, including Brexit, and an economic slowdown in China justify some loosening by the Fed. Who says the Fed is apolitical?

In the meantime inflation is not a pressing problem and consumers are spending at a rapid clip. The former gives license to the Fed to keep interest rates down.

The old adage, “It’s the economy, stupid” is apropos. Trump is going to get a boost in the election if the economy continues to improve, unemployment stays under control and wages for the middle class increase.

Making it more disheartening for Trump naysayers is the possibility that the president may actually negotiate a favorable trade deal with the Chinese. I’ve been saying all along that the US can have a great impact on the Chinese economy. Tariffs are one way to exert this advantage. The US buys far more products from China than China from the US. Tariffs will decrease the current trade imbalance, and this will increase worker furloughs and bankruptcies in China.

One of the most important issues for Xi Jinping is keeping Chinese industry running at full speed and keeping workers on the job. Frankly it’s more important for Xi, personally, to smooth relations with the US regarding trade than any other area of disagreement between the countries.

What can the US gain from negotiations with the Chinese? One thing is respect. US economic strength is far more influential than military might, although America is still, by far, the most powerful nation in the world. China needs favorable economic conditions. Many of its industries are highly leveraged, especially banks, which cannot deal with large credit losses.

Moving to other areas, Trump is going to make a deal with Kim Jung-un. In fact, it wouldn’t surprise anyone if a nuclear disarmament treaty is indirectly a part of a US trade deal with China. If I were Trump I would make a NOKO accommodation a required element of the trade negotiations.

Kim is in a position to solidify his regime for decades but he needs desperately to end economic sanctions and to have US become a trading partner. This can only happen if Kim gives up the nukes. If he walks away, economic sanctions will eventually be his downfall. Once again the US’s economic might can ultimately be more powerful and be less expensive than going to war.

The ayatollahs of Iran are on a road to oblivion. By continuing to threaten commerce in the Straits of Hormuz and stoking terror elsewhere in the Middle East, Iran is losing support of the European Union, especially Great Britain. Attacking oil tankers is a stupid and unproductive strategy that my earn Iran a few hundred cruise missiles as a warning. Similar to other countries mentioned above, US economic sanctions are disseminating Iran.

Trump was absolutely justified in abrogating the Iran nuclear deal. Most importantly it gave Iran a pathway to nuclear arms in about a decade.

Domestically, the majority of Americans are not enamored by the actions of Trump. In fact so many despise him that they will not give him credit for his successes. And further, too many Americans would be happy to see the president fail even if the country suffers. This group includes the liberal press.

But Trump presses forward with aggressive comments and distortion of the truth. He seems to relish opportunities to slam his opponents in fiery rallies and on social media. These are unproductive, but Trump says he must defend himself from fake news and unfair treatment by his opponents.

All this is a sideshow to the main attraction, the 2020 elections. Trump looks like a winner mostly because Democrats have moved too far left. A socialist will not be elected in America, at least not yet. Also, Americas will grow to understand that every entitlement can’t be free. The country cannot provide new entitlements without cutting critical services elsewhere, no matter how much they increase taxes. American voters will understand this problem as the debates and the political rhetoric continues to ramp up.

Beto Says America Is Based Upon White Supremacy And Slavery

The age-old adage than politicians must go radical in the primaries is in full bloom.

The latest outrageous comments were made by Beto O’Rourke to a group of immigrants this week. Beto says the US was founded on the concepts of white supremacy and slavery. Further he commented, “ . . . every single institution and structure that we have in this country still reflects the legacy of slavery and segregation and Jim Crow and suppression, even in our democracy.” It’s no wonder that the boy wonder, who lost to Ted Cruz, is being lapped by the Democratic field of candidates.

Beto made these untoward observations to attract the votes of people of color, plain and simple. His vision of America is warped and completely ignores the progress that has been made as America struggles with being the most diverse country in the world, a proverbial melting pot, if you will.

It hasn’t always been easy adjusting to wave after wave of immigrants over the years and striving to rid ourselves of the stench of racial inequality. But Americans have thrived as Irish, Italian, Polish, Jewish, Mexican and Muslim immigrants flooded into the country.

Every time a new group asked the US to give them a new lease on life, Americans have come through. But there are always roadblocks and minefields to negotiate.

As far as blacks are concerned, the fight continues. But one should appreciate that never have people of color had more influence politically and socially than they do right now. For sure there are laggards, bigots, supremacists and skinheads that despise everyone. These people are not representative of America today.

Beto’s comments are an insult to Americans, and they are totally misinformed. The guy wants votes so he keeps telling minorities and the downtrodden that there is no hope in America, unless they elect him. That would be a frightful mistake.

Beto adversaries, the rest of the gaggle vying for the Democratic nomination for president, are similarly inclined. They are exaggerating the circumstances affecting minorities and degrading many Americans and companies that have done so much to push forward progressive changes. Money spent trying to give people a better life is never mentioned, nor are the good intentions of philanthropists and socially conscious people outside of the Democratic Party.

From time to time our country has setbacks. They are to be expected. The president’s attitudes and perspectives are often interpreted by critics to be sexist, racist and misogynistic. I understand and agree with many of these observations. But Trump’s tenure is just a fleeting moment in history. His missteps will be rectified by his successors.

Democrats are doing themselves a disservice by trying to convince voters that socialism and increasing entitlements without quid pro quo are the solutions to our problems. They would be better off if they encouraged the downtrodden to change their focus to self-improvement. More money, that the country cannot afford, is not the answer. It’s jobs, family solidarity and community that will improve America. The goal should be to get people more work, not more welfare.

Democrats need to take a class in arithmetic. If they did, they would realize that entitlements are going to bankrupt America and exacerbate income inequality, economic conditions and America’s security.

An Iranian Confrontation Is Inevitable

A significant clash between Iran and the US is becoming more imminent every day. In most cases antagonists share responsibility for dangerous standoffs. In this situation Iran is the principal culprit, while the US is merely striving to keep the world safe. It’s useful to examine the objectives of Iran and the US and why tensions are escalating.

Iran is imperialistic and overtly intrusive in its region. It’s the most powerful Shiite country and justifies its aggressive behavior on religion. Zealots that rule the country frequently misinterpret their holy scriptures. For years cruel, antisocial and militaristic actions have been undertaken in “defense” of the Shiite perspective.

It all began when Shiites separated from Sunnis. The violence in the Middle East has been spurred by the hatred that fomented over centuries between these religious sects. The current predicament arose when the Shah of Iran was ousted in 1979 and Iranian clerics took control of the government. The coup culminated when the US Embassy in Tehran was overrun and 66 Americans were taken hostage. The situation lasted 444 days and ended when the newly inaugurated president Ronald Reagan released $8 billion of frozen Iranian assets. Reagan also promised sever repercussions if the hostages were not freed immediately.

Since then the relationship between the US and Iran has deteriorated as Iran has frequently supported terrorist groups in the region that resisted American involvement in the area, especially US support of Israel.

Notwithstanding all this, the primary objective of Iran has been to expand the influence of Shiites at the expense of Sunnis. When all is said and done, this is the most important issue for the ayatollahs.

One of the ways to accomplish this goal is to create unrest in Sunni strongholds, in particular Saudi Arabia, which is the most powerful Sunni country. Additionally it is the wealthiest nation in the region. To be clear the Saudis have also supported efforts to destabilize Shiite controlled areas.

Iran has spent huge amounts of money building a large and supposedly imposing military force, which often times is unleashed across the Middle East to further the causes of Shiites. Syria is a primary example of Iranian efforts to destabilize the region. With Russia, Iran has supported the corrupt and evil regime of Bashar al Assad.

The only way for Iran to build military credibility, in its mind, is with a nuclear arsenal. And so Iran began to develop/buy the technology to enrich uranium as a first step in assembling a nuclear weapon.

From the outset the US has had a policy to never allow Iran to develop a nuke. The reasons for this are clear as a bell. Iranian leadership is driven by religious zealotry that could encourage the ayatollahs to employ a nuke at a stressful moment against Israel or a Sunni adversary. Moreover, Iran, with a weapon of mass destruction in its possession, would use its military might to threaten other Middle East countries.

The Obama administration appreciated the ramifications of an Iranian nuke and attempted to delay its development. Disregarding the long-term policy that Iran would “never” have a nuclear capability, Obama and his negotiators essentially delayed Iran’s nuclear program for a decade or so.

The Trump administration recognized this terrible diplomatic blunder (many say the Iran nuclear deal was signed to afford Obama a “legacy” achievement). Donald Trump was unmoved by Obama’s faux diplomatic ploy and abrogated the agreement.

What are the reasons why Iran should never have a nuclear weapon?

  • Iran, in a fit of religious paranoia or passion, might employ a nuke in the Middle East.
  • Iran has never given the global community any reasons to think it would responsibly use a nuclear capability.
  • Iran has publicly said it wants to obliterate the State of Israel. The quickest way to do so is with a nuke.
  • The threat of mutual destruction may not be effective when dealing with religious zealots.
  • Iran will use its nuclear power to harass and threaten Sunni regimes.
  • Iran cannot be trusted and will likely violate the provisions of any treaty.

Trump has voided the Iran nuclear deal and ramped up economic sanctions to force it to renegotiate. Iran is resisting and is now enriching uranium, which is mostly forbidden by the original deal. Other signatories that include Europeans want to reinstate the Obama deal because they have economic arrangements with Iran, a shortsighted perspective.

Iran has begun a program of relatively minor attacks on oil fields and oil tankers. It has encouraged increased terror activity in the region. In the meantime, the Iranian regime is under great economic stress that could destabilize the government.

Trump should promise to retaliate in kind against any Iranian aggression. And he needs to have a grander military plan in case of future escalations of military action.

Iran should never have a nuke. It would be a replay of the North Korean fiasco, in which a small time megalomaniac is threatening peaceful countries with a nuclear strike. So far Trump has played the right cards. Backing down would be a drastic mistake.

 

 

 

America Is Ageing Rapidly

A few days ago I viewed a CNN program about ageing. The guest speakers indicated that all signs pointed to a significant increase in the average life of Americans, and that there will likely be many more people that live past the age of 100.

The reasons for longer life are many. Science, medicine, prevention and treatment of disease, healthier eating habits, cleaner water and a better environment are all playing a part in a dramatic phenomenon that will enable us to survive to advanced ages, and have a good life style.

But the implications of extended live around the world are sometimes problematic. Generally most countries are not replenishing the deaths of people with new births. This has the impact of increasing the average age of people across the globe.

As we all know the older we get, the more we must rely upon medicine and treatment to fight off disease and to contend with our ageing bodies. This means that over time health care will become even more important than it is today. Access to and affordability of drugs to deal with high blood pressure, diabetes, heart disease and other ailments affecting our vital organs will become more critical.

The social implications of old age are also daunting. Older people require more attention from their families. Often times the elderly move in with their children and dramatically impact the social order of their family units. The cost of health care, food and shelter are not insignificant items for many people, and they will become increasingly more burdensome.

It’s expected that many ageing adults will want to work longer to support themselves. This may result in a shortage of employment opportunities for younger, especially considering the automation of industry. Is reaching 65 a reasonable time to retire? If you expect to live to 90 or older, would you be happy with the prospect of sitting at home watching TV for 25 more years?

There are serious financial considerations as well. Many older people plan for a 10 to 15 year retirement. If their lives in retirement increase to more than 15 years, how will they be able to support themselves?

And finally the life styles of 80, 90 and 100 year old people must be considered. Do you really want to have an extended life without having things to keep you busy, like work, meeting with other people your age, hampered by decreased mental capacity, without vision to read the newspapers or to even watch TV? Individuals and society must define acceptable conditions for extended survival in general. The definition is certainly not vegetating in an old folks home. Quality time with family is always a high priority. But this sometimes puts undo pressure on other family members.

The ability to have, or not have, a good life style could make euthanasia a more desirable alternative. The social, ethic and moral ramifications of ending people’s lives in large numbers is an important issue that will get much more attention as time passes by politicians, religious people and ethicists.

In the future education requirements may change as well. We are currently being trained to work for 30 or 40 years in a job. Will we need new training to work another 20 years in a role that is compatible with physical and mental capability? Training of retirees could well become a very significant political issue.

Our entitlement systems will come under increasingly more stress as well. If we retire at 75, 80 or even 85, should we receive support from the government beginning at 60-65? This is a prime reason for current fiscal problems at the federal and state levels in America (people are living longer than expected). It’s a contentious subject that needs to be addressed as we live and work longer. It’s unrealistic to expect government to support us for more than 20 years after retirement.

Another important concept discussed during the CNN broadcast was how younger people could potentially link up with retirees to help them with creative projects. Learning from the mistakes of the past is an important part of progress moving forward.

Here are some facts and predictions for living until 100:

 

  • Number of US centenarians in 1990- 37,306 (0.0150% of total population)
  • In 2010 53,364 (0.173%)
  • Odds of living to 100 if you are 65 today- men 3%, women 5.8%, either member 8.7%.
  • There are about 500 thousand centenarians in the world. The number is expected to increase to 3.7 million by 2050.

How Trump Will Win Or Lose In 2020

Currently, polls have President Trump losing to all the major Democratic candidates in head-to-head contests. What may happen between now and the Election that would enable Trump to capture a second term?

The first thing to consider is the polls themselves. It appears that Trump’s base continues to be about 40% of the electorate, obviously not enough to win a general election. He needs 10% more support to gain a majority. Keep in mind the winner must win the majority of electoral votes to claim the presidency. But unless another anomaly occurs, the winner of the popular vote will also be the victor in the Electoral College.

The obvious place for Trump to gain a majority is with independents. Because this group is the least vocal, it’s sometimes hard to read their state of mind. A thriving economy will certainly have a positive impact on Trump’s fortunes with independents, especially since economic conditions are already moving forward at a good clip. The opposite, a poor economic outlook, would be a huge problem for the president.

Trump is treading on thin ice in a number of areas diplomatically that could lead to military action. Specifically these might involve Iran, North Korea and any number of hot spots around the world, in particular, the Middle East. A military strike against either of the countries above will not help Trump’s cause in 2020. However, a resolution of one or both brewing conflicts would substantiate the administration’s tough negotiating style.

Economic warfare is another issue that can make or break the president’s campaign. A positive end to the Chinese standoff would be a huge win for Trump. His unwavering strength in conversations with his Chinese counterpart could be a disaster or a monstrous step forward for America. Moreover a win against China will greatly impact other trade confrontations under way with Europe, Mexico, Canada and Japan.

Turnout will be a big factor in the 2020 Election. Certain groups historically have not been reliable at the polls, in particular young people and blacks. Both groups are overwhelmingly supportive of liberal candidates, but they must go to the polls to exert their influence. High turnout will greatly enhance the prospects of Democratic candidates. The bigger question is whether liberal aspirants will inspire millennials and people of color to ensure their participation.

There are a plethora of other possible events that could sway the electorate, one way or the other.

If Republicans effectively label Democrats as socialists, the latter will lose votes. Given the persuasion of most liberal contenders, this campaign strategy should be a winner for the G.O.P. The country is not, nor will it ever be, anything but a capitalistic society that rewards hard work, ambition and creativity.

A terrorist attack is always a big risk for liberals as it validates all of the paranoia of Republicans. Conservatives are much more aggressive in their rhetoric against enemies of America that as of late include unbridled illegal immigrants on the southern border. The right’s desire for a strong homeland has always been an advantage.

Massive protests are occurring regularly around the world. The latest is in an unlikely place, Hong Kong, as it fights against China’s efforts to stem the tide of personal freedom. If unrest grows in the US, it will probably be in support of one or more liberal causes. This form of expression is very powerful and will benefit the left. The likely issues include income inequality, racial inequality, health care and women’s reproductive rights.

Right now the scales are tilted towards Democrats. But their field of candidates is weak and untested. Nevertheless it would be hazardous to place a bet on the outcome of the 2020 Election at this time.

Incivility In Government

What has become of American politics? How could our government and the two major political parties behave in such a dysfunctional manner? Who is responsible for the current state of affairs?

Dirty politics and bad blood between the president and Congress is not a new phenomenon. It’s existed since the time our country was founded nearly 250 years ago.

Even before our nation was formed in 1776, the leaders of the revolution were fighting with each other about states’ right, slavery, commerce, banking, voting rights and how to control the dominance of the more populous states. It finally came together and our forefathers crafted a wonderful document we call our Constitution.

The animus that exists between Republican and Democrats has hit an all-time highpoint. The venom, mudslinging and lies that are prevalent today have made it impossible for the federal government to do its job. The vacuum resulting from the ineffective and conspiratorial Obama years paved the way for a mean-spirited, narcissistic megalomaniac to win the presidency. Our country was so brutalized prior to his introduction that it scorned “the establishment” and the mores that enabled America to thrive with its two-party system. We elected a man who was not part of Washington and now we are paying the price.

Consider the way that Trump governs, bad and good. For one thing the president had no idea how the federal government operated. It’s not a dictatorship. The president is the most powerful man on Earth, but he does not have absolute power. He needs to collaborate with Congress to implement policies, spend money, go to war, make treaties, appoint justices to the Supreme Court, etc. The president is responsible for creating an agenda for the country and convincing lawmakers to approve his ideas, even if the opposition party controls Congress or part of it.

Donald Trump was the undisputed autocrat of his real estate empire. For his whole life he gave orders to his sycophants, and they did his bidding. When he moved into the White House he attempted to govern similarly, and his administration has and continues to fall flat on its face.

Exacerbating the situation has been Trump’s inability to recruit and retain high quality people to advise him. One person cannot operate the federal government. Obama never learned the same lesson. This inability to keep together a strong cadre of insiders to deal with a myriad of problems every day has resulted in probably the most ineffective administration in history.

Similarly Trump convinced himself that, as the leader of the greatest country in the world, he could bully leaders of other nations. His tendency is to strong-arm people he negotiates with, including heads of state and other politicians. This worked well for Trump as he bought and sold buildings and casinos, but it’s been a disaster during his two plus years as president.

Trump resents anyone who resists his will. He has to be right all the time. He never admits missteps. Americans prefer leaders that have the courage to trust and listen to others and are not embarrassed to accept a better way to accomplish shared objectives.

But one of the worst characteristics affecting Trump has been his propensity to belittle anyone who takes a contrary position. This includes firing cabinet members and advisors wantonly. Political opponents are fair game and have been since the 2016 primaries. Assigning childish nicknames to those who disagree with him is just not befitting a president. Trump has not hesitated to use the same tactics on domestic politicians and world leaders.

It feels like we have a spoiled child in the White House. If he doesn’t get his way he has a snit, and watch out. Heads roll.

The president speaks off the cuff too often. Some may find this to be refreshing and entertaining. Unfortunately, going off script results in inconsistencies, and even accusations of lying. Fact checkers have had a field day with his transgressions ever since he miss-estimated the attendees at his inauguration.

And finally there is character. How many times have you heard that Americans don’t want their children to grow up to be like Trump? The president must be a role model. Sadly our president has a long history of bad behavior that includes misogyny, racism, self-importance, aggression, untruthfulness, exaggeration and so on. He is not one that should be emulated in most Americans’ opinion.

But there is another side to this story. Donald Trump has ignored tradition and recrimination. He never apologizes for America, whereas, too many presidents and politicians have spent much time doing mea culpas for the past. American leaders often feel the need to say they are sorry for historical actions taken against people worldwide. They say America is too prosperous, too aggressive and too invasive. It does not support the needy at home or around the world. Everyone in America is rich while millions are starving to death in Africa. Obama spent eight years saying he regretted the actions of America. Trump has not spent one minute doing so.

Donald Trump was elected to change the direction of the US. We were losing ground to our greatest rivals and enemies. We were being abused by immigration policies. All of our trade partners imposed tariffs on us that were higher than what we imposed on them. NATO was underfunded The US used its economic might to make gains diplomatically. Trump is turning all this around and making a lot of enemies in the process. In this day and age of ever-dwindling resources and huge deficits, the country can no longer operate frivolously.

Trump changed it all. It hasn’t been pretty or polite or tactful, but he’s getting the job done. Trump puts America first, and why shouldn’t he?

The blowback from Trump’s adversaries has been relentless and shameful. It’s one thing to criticize policy, it’s another thing to attack the president and divert his attention away from important issues. Democrats wanted to boot Trump from office before the new president-elect moved into the White House. Their tactics have been despicable. And in all fairness, Trump has responded in a similarly inappropriate manner.

So where do we go from here? We are about to experience the dirtiest and most vicious presidential campaign ever. Democrats are swinging far left, socialistic left, and are not pulling any punches with each other or towards Trump. The president thinks Democrats are out to get him and are lying, spinning, spying and pleading with the electorate to approve an effort to impeach him. This is because none of the empty suits vying for the Democratic nomination will be able to defeat Trump in 2020.

 

The Pope’s Performance Is Deplorable

Pope Francis has once again proven he is not going to be a proponent of change in the Catholic Church. Consider the following quote from the New York Times: “The Vatican on Monday flatly rejected what it cast as the notion that individuals can choose their gender . . .”

The Church has officially dashed the L.G.B.T. community by declaring, “acceptance of flexible ideas of gender pose[s] a threat to traditional families and ignore[s] the natural differences between men and women.”

Francis is digging in his heels every time he makes a new announcement about non-traditional life styles and age-old unproductive dogma. His promise to be more “tolerant” has not been kept. His supposed crusade to lead the Church out of the dark ages has not commenced. His commitment to clean up the horrible and disgraceful actions of his priesthood has fallen flat. The only thing the leader of the Catholic Church has proven is that he is cut out of the same cloth as his predecessors, and his only concern is the reputation of the Catholic Church.

Perhaps the pontiff is getting bad advice from his advisers and colleagues about what his flock expects of him, or maybe he really is a conservative who has no intention of cleaning up the missteps and sins of his fellow priests. In order to get the pope back into the good graces of his followers he needs to aggressively change many perspectives of the Church. The following are a few obvious examples.

The genie is out of the bottle relating to sexual abuse. Thousands of young boys have been raped and abused over the past century. Many lives have been destroyed. Who knows how widespread this behavior has been since the Church was founded over 2,000 years ago? Additionally, it has become public that even female worshippers and nuns have been the subjects of attacks along with young priests by older priests.

Every one of these accusations needs to be investigated and guilty priests must be defrocked immediately. When possible these criminals should be turned over to civil authorities for appropriate punishment.

The Vatican should form investigative groups around the world that can work on this project full time. Emphasis must be placed on exposing the abusers who are still living, rather than chasing ghosts. This process would surely be a great embarrassment to the Church and take many years to conclude. It is only then that the individuals that were abused will be able to find some closure in their lives.

Related to these crimes are those affiliated to Church leaders who protected sexual criminals. They are equally culpable with the abusers themselves and should be sanctioned similarly. This group will likely include pastors of small parishes as well as bishops, cardinals and even popes. Enablers are guilty of sexual abuse by allowing known offenders to run rampant among innocent churchgoers.

The Church needs to change its holier than thou arrogance and update its tenets. The list of changes that needs to be made is extensive.

Birth control is a perfect issue that demonstrates how antiquated the Church is, and how it does not address the needs of a changing world. To begin birth control is not a sin. Practitioners of it will not be sentenced to eternal damnation. It is a necessary, healthy and effective way to stop bringing unwanted children into the world. Moreover, it’s a critical method in lesser-developed countries to combat excessive population growth, starvation, poverty and disease. Many Catholics in impoverished areas do not practice birth control because their priests have taught them that it is a sin.

Abortion is an essential element of a woman’s basic right to care for her body. Policies (legally and spiritually) that allow aborting fetuses, before they are viable, are a perfect way to end the unproductive abortion controversy. The Church should lead this effort, especially since half its members are women. It’s barbaric to say it is a mortal sin to control the size of one’s family.

The number of gays and lesbians coming out seems to be increasing at frenzied pace. The right to choose one’s sexual preference is not in the domain of Church. There is no conceivable damage to society when two loving people of the same sex want to share a life together. The Church’s dogma on this issue is not empathetic and creates turmoil. The pope’s dismissive attitude towards this group of people is shameful.

It is becoming more obvious every day that many individuals are struggling with their sexuality. They feel they don’t fit into society because neither of the current sexual categories (man or woman) accurately represents their perspectives. The pope’s callous response to people sorting out their sexuality is truly unfortunate and ignorant.

And finally the Church has taken advantage of its status over the centuries to accumulate hundreds of billions of dollars. It has the gall to continue to solicit poor parishioners for more contributions. Just like well-endowed universities and colleges, the Church should begin a program to liquefy holdings and return the proceeds to its needy members around the world.

The Catholic Church is at a crossroads. It will either become a relic of the past or regain its influence. This will be dependent upon how priests interface with parishioners. It will also depend upon resetting antiquated ideas and reconsidering the definition of sin.

 

Millennials And The 2020 Elections

Millennials around the world are clamoring for more responsibility in every aspect of society. It makes one wonder how millenials in the US will respond in the 2020 elections.

Americans are very idealistic in their early years and have grandiose observations about what is wrong with the country. It happened big time in the 1960s when civil rights and the Vietnam War dominated our lives causing massive protests and civil disobedience. Today the issues are different, but just as important to young people.

What are some of the most important issues to millennials?

From an individual perspective, young people have been complaining on end that they are saddled with significant debt, in particular loans used for higher education. Not many colleges have done much to rein in ever-higher tuition costs in recent years. However, some institutions have taken dramatic steps to give more scholarships in lieu of loans that must be repaid. For some schools, huge endowments have made entitlements readily available. Other wealthy institutions should be encouraged to do more, rather than increasing investment assets.

The irony is that some students are breezing through college taking courses that have little relevance to the jobs they ultimately apply for. It would be wise for students to take courses that are affiliated with areas they wish to pursue after graduation. History majors are soliciting administrative positions, for instance. It would also be beneficial for schools to offer more classes that teach students trade skills.

The pressure of high debt has impacted the number of marriages among millennials (they are less and later in life), the timing of having children and the ability of young people to buy homes (and move away from their parents). It’s unfortunate that some life decisions are directly related to the amount of money one has in the bank.

More generally, young people think the previous generation has been screwing up things for them prospectively. Many believe the government is too intrusive, and there are too many restrictions and laws that impede their lives. Prohibition of the sale and personal use of marijuana are major items for a large number of young people. Additionally this same group feels the government is spying on them and invading their privacy.

Scores of young people are sympathetic to the plight of the downtrodden and to income inequality, more so than their parents, or so they think. Somehow being successful and becoming well to do is considered evil and all Americans in this category (the 1%ers) are not paying their fair share. Note: the definition of “fair share” is debatable and highly elusive.

Related to the life styles of the rich and famous are young people’s concerns for those who need assistance. What they believe is that every conservative either does not want to help Americans that ask for support, and that Republicans purposely elect leaders and lawmakers that perpetuate poverty in the country.

In fact most rich people are inured to paying an oversized share of taxes in the US. The frustration for 1%ers is more related to irresponsible government spending and the inability of free-spenders to creatively fund entitlements.

Over time young generations must assume responsibility and take over the government. America is at a crossroads, as older politicians are unable to pass the baton. Ironically, Democrats that include most millennials, have three seventy year-olds seriously contending for the presidency. And, in the House of Representatives, the top leaders are all significantly over seventy. In the meantime, several young (and mostly female) neophytes defeated incumbent Democrats during the mid term elections.

What has been the response of the Democratic establishment? They have threatened anyone who assists a Democrat in an effort to replace an incumbent Democrat.

Our Congress is chock full of old white men whose time has come to retire. Both parties are suffocating because old dogs don’t do new tricks, and old incumbents don’t want to give up their seats. Term limits are desperately needed on Capitol Hill and throughout all government.

Let’s discuss Democrat presidential candidates. The old adage that you must be radical in the primaries and moderate in the general election has already come into play. Every Democrat has either overtly or implicitly espoused socialism- that’s how far left the group has come. Their proposals are idiotic, too expensive and totally pie in the sky. They’re promising new entitlements that cannot be delivered.

Increasing taxes on the wealthy is the only source of new revenues for Democrats. There has been no thought given to abrogating entitlements that are no longer productive or doing what they were intended to do.

There are plenty of young people in the Democrat’s mad rush to regain the presidency, but none of them are leading the group. The Democrats are headed towards a real catastrophe next year that will become more obvious in the impending debates.

Young people have some important decisions to make. Many may just stay home on Election Day as they have done historically. Let’s hope not.