Wednesday wanderings the first week of March

Well, March Madness will be thrust upon Americans later this month, so everyone get ready for the various brackets for the NCAA basketball tourney. Madness may be the operative term for the world these days, but please note things are usually not as bad as reported, as good news is vastly underreported and does not have as high a bounce as a negative news.

Here are few thoughts as a wander this Wednesday.

The Coronavirus will be more prevalent than first thought, but it seems not as deadly as other viruses. Still, those who are not in good physical shape with breathing issues, circulation issues, obesity issues, etc. should be prepared to more abruptly deal with symptoms. Sadly, since the US president has made this a personal political issue, listening to politicians talk, whose first mission is to protect the Trump brand, is not reassuring. I want to hear from experts.

Many financial people have forewarned that using stimulus tools to prop up an economy and stock market when it is going pretty well is not the best time to deploy them. When they are used now, what will you use later? The economy is still doing pretty good, but has been softening for more than a year. And, the stock market has been in need of a downward adjustment for some time. But, the president views the stock market as a key barometer, so he takes it personally when it falls, even though, he has little ability to control it long term. Yesterday, the market did not react very well to the Federal Reserve lowering interest rates 50 basis points (1/2 %). To me, it was seen as a panicky move, but smarter people than me will have to judge this (note, the market got a bump today in reaction to Biden’s success in the primaries).

While I like Bernie and will vote for him if he is the nominee, America breathed a sigh of relief yesterday with former VP Joe Biden’s rebound performance. As an independent and former Republican and Democrat, I am fiscally conservative and socially progressive. I very much believe in helping people with opportunities and to climb a ladder when disenfranchised. But, we need to pay for things. Right now, we have $23 trillion in debt and it is projected to increase to over $35 trillion by the end of the decade. We must deal with this obstacle, while we do other things – pay for infrastructure improvements, shore up the ACA, Social Security, etc. With this in mind, while both are good people, Biden will be better positioned to bring folks together to do that – Democrats, independents and even some Republicans.

If Bernie wins the nomination, I hope he pulls in a more moderate Democrat as his VP candidate. If Joe wins, it would be great if he tapped someone a little more progressive than he is. One of the dilemmas is the Democrats need to think about the future, as neither person is a spring chicken. I like listening to folks like Pete Buttitieg, Andrew Yang, etc. as they have a well-considered ideas, even if you don’t agree with every thing they say.

Whatever happens, Democrats need to vote for their candidate as four more years of the most corrupt and deceitful president in my lifetime, including the corrupt Richard Nixon, will not be good for America. I have said and written this to Senators and my Congressman, but regardless of party, we cannot have a president who acts the way this incumbent does. He is a national security risk and quite simply, America is no longer trusted as before, because the president is not trustworthy. Plus, we cannot lose sight of more aggressively addressing climate change and environmental degradation that have been made worse and would deteriorate more on his continued watch.

“Truth is not the goal”

After media pressure, Facebook closed down a fake news site in North Carolina. As reported in The Charlotte Observer in an article called “Facebook takes down NC Facebook page with fake news” by Zachary Eanes, after a few months of publishing fake news and garnering 50,000 followers, the site was closed. A person contacted by the reporter said the following in response:

“‘Truth is not the goal’ behind the stories shared. ‘Getting Trump reelected is the ultimate goal.'”

That line is worth rereading. In essence, the truth does not matter. I have been echoing the premise the Republican party can no longer claim to be the “law and order” party as too many of its leaders have aided and abetted the corrupt and deceitful actions of the president. And, it can no longer claim to be a party of truth, the decline in truthfulness having started long ago, but made worse by the deceitful actions and words of the president.

It should be noted the site included a number of articles pushed by Russian disinformation sources. This is on top of a radio station in Iowa, which appears legitimate, but is using the Russian sputnik radio feeds for sources of disinformation. There is a reason Trump and Russia want you to believe Ukraine did all the election meddling. Trump wants Russia’s help again.

Let me be brutally frank. The biggest purveyor of fake news is the guy who says those words the most. His name is Donald Trump. Taking the president at his word is a fool’s errand.

Wednesday wanderings with a head full of wonderings

As I do a walkabout, thinking deep thoughts along the paths, I wonder about a few things. In no particular order:

If these climate change naysayers believe they are right, what is the downside of moving toward more renewable energy that uses less of our dear water and does not pollute the environment? What is the downside of planting more trees and protecting mangroves in marshes? If they are wrong and we don’t do enough, we cannot reset the clock. From a risk management standpoint, it is beyond foolish. Quoting the conservative former prime minister of Australia Malcolm Turnbull, he refers to the beliefs of the naysayers in his own party as “idiotic.” I should add a key reason I left the Republican party in 2007 was its stance on climate change.

The UK decided to forego sending its bigwigs to a global security conference in Munich last week. It is not surprising the level of pushback they received from other attendees and fellow Brits. Regardless of Brexit, that global security thing is a tad important. Call me crazy, but when you go it alone, it becomes more important to make sure the country is secure. I have long worried about Brexit and I do not have a great deal of confidence in those leading the country to do what is needed to govern these issues. I hope it goes better than I fear.

Of course, having just said the above, I don’t have a great deal of confidence in those leading the US efforts either. I would love to trust the US president, but I find it hard to do so given his track record of corruption and deceit before and after the election. What the president is doing now is no different than how he has always operated, he is just on a bigger stage. I think we should put the onus on the followers of the president asking them to convince us why we should not believe the incumbent is the most corrupt and deceitful president in my lifetime, which includes Richard Nixon, who was crook.

Many years ago, I believed the US Congressional leadership was privy to the best information to make informed choices. Sadly, I do not believe that to be true. The information may be there, but I see a terrible tendency to listen to much less informed opinion hosts and, even worse, conspiracy peddlers. When Obama was president, Senator Ted Cruz pushed a conspiracy theory that Obama was taking over Texas, when he knew the military was merely doing exercises. Rather than be a leader, Cruz became part of the problem.

Yesterday, Senator Tom Cotton pushed a conspiracy theory that China invented the coronavirus as a weapon, without any proof. We already must contend with an untruthful president who listens to conspiracy theories. He was even impeached over a discredited theory being pushed by the Russians, but he is still pitching it, not having learned his lesson. “60 Minutes” even noted Sunday night that Trump refers to an Ukraine owned entity in his conspiracy discourse, but the entity is actually owned by US investors with no Ukrainian involvement. Sadly, the president’s lying is par for the course. Back to my earlier point, why not trust the president? He needs to give me reasons to do so.

Well, the walkabout at least gives me exercise, even though it does not permit me to solve any problems. We need people in position of leadership to act like leaders. At the very minimum, they should tell the truth more than they do not. As for the US president, taking him at his word is a fool’s errand.

Forget the original Jesus, follow the new savior

It saddens me the US president is the most corrupt and untruthful president in my lifetime, including Richard Nixon. It further saddens me that some Christian leaders are whitewashing his indecency saying he is God ordained. Really?

At the National Prayer Breakfast last week, the US president followed a speaker who rightfully shared the teachings of Jesus about loving your enemies. He was followed by the US president, who forewarned the first speaker that he might not like what the president was about to say.

The president then proceeded to trash and ridicule all of his critics. With disdain, he took aim at Senator Mitt Romney denigrating his use of a faith to come to a conclusion the president did wrong. He then ridiculed Speaker Nancy Pelosi for saying she would pray for the president.

Conservative author and pundit David Brooks has described the president as lacking empathy and common decency. When we need someone to galvanize Americans or lament over a tragedy, he is not up to the task. He has followed the Machiavelian tactics of dividing and conquering. Even at a prayer conference.

I am not alone in saying the president is a threat to our democracy, running the country in a regal fashion. Yet, he is also a threat to the teachings of Jesus that Christians adhere to.

What may have been even more sad than a corrupt and indecent person trashing and ridiculing his enemies are two things. First, Mitt Romney delivered a heartfelt speech about voting his conscience following his religious upbringing. Second, after the president trashed Romney, people at the prayer conference cheered.

Jesus said to treat people like you want to be treated. The new savior said to make people fear you and destroy your critics.

Pandora’s Box is a foreboding example for the GOP

Per Wikipedia, “Pandora’s box is an artifact in Greek mythology connected with the myth of Pandora in Hesiod’s Works and Days. In modern times an idiom has grown from it meaning ‘Any source of great and unexpected troubles’ or, alternatively, ‘A present which seems valuable but which in reality is a curse.’ Later depictions of the fatal container have been varied, while some literary and artistic treatments have focused more on the contents of the idiomatic box than on Pandora herself.”

This literary example comes to mind as the Republican Senators may now be fully opening Pandora’s Box, if they acquit the US president with no admonishment. They may not ever get a chance to put the president back in the box and my guess is they won’t be able to. Mind you, I believe the evidence is pretty compelling that the president is every bit as guilty and more. Sadly, he has dragged others into his mess, as is his usual modus operandi.

What they are missing because of fear and blind allegiance is this is the point of reckoning where they could have saved their party and democracy. This point may be looked back on in history as the watershed moment when the GOP leaders failed to act upon. The argument that the president’s position is above the law is absolute BS. We are not a kingdom and, if our president is corrupt and untruthful as this one is, he needs to be removed from office.

As an independent and former GOP and Democrat voter, I do not care what party is represented in the White House. But, when the incumbent dishonors the position to the point where 63% of Europeans do not trust him, trusting Putin and Xi more, what does that tell you?

Taking the US president at his word is fool’s errand. But, this is not new. His attorney and fixer, Michael Cohen said under oath, “Donald Trump is a racist, he is a con-artist and he is a cheat.” Under oath, Cohen said he sent out over 500 strong arm letters to people and entities to not reveal any negative news about Trump. The most succinct quote about Trump comes from Thomas Wells, another attorney who worked with Trump, when he wrote before the election, “Donald Trump lies everyday, even about things of no consequence.”

The evidence is overwhelming in my view, based on the testimony of duty bound public servants under oath who testified at great risk. But, the key reason I know Trump is guilty beyond his modus operandi, is because he said he is not. When one lies like the president, the story is fluid, like retreating lines drawn in the sand.

Republican Joe Walsh on Trump

The following are excerpts from an op-ed written by Republican Joe Walsh, who is running against Donald Trump. I fully recognize he is adversarial to Trump as a candidate, but this is one of two people who are saying Trump does not and should not represent the GOP or America. The quotes speak for themselves.

“Donald Trump has visited Iowa fewer than five days since he took office, but tonight, four days ahead of the Republican Caucuses, he’ll descend upon Des Moines for one of those grandstanding rallies that have become his trademark: A spectacle long on self-indulgent bravado and lies, and short on substance and unity.

In typical form, the President will leave as quickly as he comes, spending just a couple of hours in Iowa campaigning for his reelection. He’ll listen to no one, he won’t engage in dialogue with any student, parent, or senior citizen, and he won’t take a question from one single Iowa voter. He never does. He’ll bask in himself on stage, and then he’ll get out of Dodge. One more reminder that Donald Trump doesn’t care about the hardworking people of Iowa. He cares only about Donald Trump.

I believe our country is strong enough to turn the page on these last four years if we rise up and act, but I fear for our country if we are forced to endure four more years of Trump.

I’m exhausted by this President, a narcissist who makes everyday about himself. Our country deserves a President focused on our country’s pressing issues, like our falling-apart infrastructure, broken healthcare system and rapidly changing workforce. Most of all, we deserve to have a president who is capable of basic human decency.”

I find it of interest, Walsh saying he is “exhausted” by the president. Many use the same term or its sister “wearied” in defining the impact of this president. What I find interesting is the lengths the GOP and its leadership have gone to squelch dissent in their party to avoid making the president look bad. No witnesses must be called. Fox News airing the Democrats case with no audio. Walsh and Bill Weld cannot get on certain states’ primaries. Last time I checked, this was supposed to be a democracy.