22 November 2016

Another Day, Another Insult

He says I will experience the trauma of the election viscerally and emotionally for a month—for 30 days. In Jewish custom that is the period of mourning known as sh’loshim. This follows immediately from the intense experience of shiva, the seven days immediately following the burial. Sh’loshim serves as a means to ease back into the regularity of a normal life as the mourner resumes many of the activities that shiva has forbidden  
     But this body will not stay buried and continues to haunt my days and my nights. Why I can’t cease mourning is because I feel that with this election horror I have failed my children and I recognize no relief in my lifetime to this tragedy. David Brooks writes in The New York Times (damn, I swore I’d stop reading the newspapers!) “Those of us in the opinion class have been complaining that Trump voters are post-truth, that they don’t have a respect for expertise. Well, the experts created a school system that doesn’t produce skilled graduates. The experts designed Obamacare exchanges that are failing. Maybe those of us in the professional class need to win back some credibility the old-fashioned way, with effective reform.” I’m not certain to what Brooks refers: as if the school system exists as an isolated entity outside the entire culture. And that culture has been dominated by behavior and language from first a candidate for President and now from a President-elect that any school would forbid. The front pages of any newspaper in the country speaks of crime not committed by those who Trump accused during the campaign as rapists and drug-dealers, but by greedy white collar business people. Why didn’t Trump speak against the CEO of Wells Fargo under whose watch millions of dollars were taken illegally from unsuspecting average people. Trump is not the first to use obscenity and denigration when speaking of others, but even today our President-elect accused The New York Times of being “nasty.” I read from the BBC news-feed that Trump called reporters “liars” and referred to journalists as the “lowest form of humanity.” I am talking about the language of a head of the government (and a President of the United States in our global condition is also a leader of the world) who demands that the exercise of free speech by the cast of Hamilton requires an apology but whose use of language insults the ears of too many and whose conflicts of interest endanger the very welfare of the United States. We seem to have elected a man who does not give evidence of understanding the Constitution that he will have to swear to uphold. And David Brooks turns the blame on the schools? And to the experts who created a flawed Affordable Care Act? As I recall, it was the Republicans who demanded that the original plan be altered almost completely out of shape, and have vowed over the years to repeal the act. “Out, out, damned spot,” they have screamed.
     The experts did not create a school system that doesn’t produce skilled graduates; Brooks doesn’t name names!! I know not a few experts whose work to which the government might have better attended. I am not clear to which experts Brooks refers, but for the most part they do not appear on my list. The failure of the economy can not be attributed to the failure of the schools: that is an absurd charge any more than the economic upturn during Bill Clinton’s administration could be the result of superior schooling. If Brooks needs to fix blame, then perhaps he might look to the greedy CEOs whose incomes have risen to obscene levels while the jobs and salaries of actual workers has dramatically fallen; look to the Republican majority in Congress that denies funding for projects that might employ the unemployed; look to the years of No Child Left Behind, sponsored and supported by the Bush Administration; look to the Congress that will not do its job of governing! Oh, the list goes on and on and on. To lay the blame on the school system is to continue to protect those most culpable: those in the government who actually have the power to effect real change and to hold culpable those who indeed are so.
     Let Brooks hold the President-elect and his henchmen to the fires: the anti-Semitic, racist and misogynist Steve Bannon, the racist Jeff Sessions, newly appointed candidate for Attorney General; the Islamophobe William Flynn as candidate for National Security Advisor. The President-elect  who will not denounce the Nazis who thrill at his election and offer the Nazi salute in their joy. Nor has Trump rejected the approval of him by the KKK. I think the press needs to be more vigilant and accurate in its reporting of this on-coming storm and be very careful whom they intend to blame. To David Brooks and the press corps, I say, “Et tu Brute?”

20 November 2016

20th November 2016: Day 12 of the Horror

I read in The New York Times: “Donald Trump has reversed course and agreed on Friday to pay $25 million to settle a series of lawsuits stemming from his defunct for-profit education venture, Trump University, finally putting to rest fraud allegations by former students, which have dogged him for years and hampered his presidential campaign.” It seems that though Trump has “previously a real estate mogul who derides legal settlements and has mocked fellow businessmen who agree to them.” I cannot recall the last time a President-Elect has had to settle a suit of this (or any) size before taking the inaugural oath to honor and protect the rights guaranteed by the Constitution of the United States. I wonder if the little box on the right side of the check is large enough to fit in all of the necessary zeros to make up $25,000,000.00.
     I read in
The New York Times: “Mr. Trump played host to three Indian business partners who are building a Trump-branded apartment complex, raising new questions about how he will separate business from politics.” Sam lies dying. He looks up at the people surrounding his bedside. “Is my wife, Zelda, here?” “Yes, my darling,” Zelda sobs. “I’m right here.” “And my two sons, Steve and Frank, are they here?” “Yes, Father,” Frank responds soberly, “we are both here with you now.” Sam turns his head feebly. “Morris, my brother, where are you?” “I’m here Sam, I’m here.” Suddenly, Sam sits up with great energy and thunderingly calls out, “Well, then who is minding the store?”
     That is exactly my point! who is minding the store?  Trump has handed over the country to a cadre of racists, anti-Semites and misogynists while he continues to take care of his own personal business—abusing the nation’s time to manage his own private affairs. Tweeting demands for an apology for a legitimate use of free speech. One wonders whether he would just love to order the close of the show! But as of now he is just barely managing to stay out of court. I sense there must be more settlements to come before 20 January 2017. If he weren’t so dangerous then this man might be a joke.
     My friends tell me (well, mostly it is Mitchell to tell the truth: the others are somewhat terrified) that the pendulum will swing and that all will be well again . . . but I don’t have confidence at all in this hope. I maintain the sense that at the head of government sits a man who attained the post as a game and now is prepared to return to his original focus: making money and grabbing pussy.  
     I am appalled and terrified. That’s it. I cannot sleep. I walk about with an ache in my gut that all will not be well enough again.

18 November 2016

19th November 2016

The Trump ascendancy is but a little more than week old and already it seems a farce. People come and go through what seems some a revolving door and the only ones thus far who seem to be in charge are men with very suspect values. Ensconced in the Trump Tower is Trump himself sitting like a Mafia don whose capos bow and kiss his ring and beg for a lucrative and powerful position in the new administration; and the president-elect looks imperiously down from his window on the population below—both physically and figuratively. With no experience in foreign policy, economic matters, or issues of national security, he gathers someone—anyone!—who can offer for him the pretense of competence. And inanely he continues to broadcast his progress and plans with 140 character tweets. I fear what is to become of us. This farce leans now not towards tragedy—no, that would be too noble an end—but towards some unstoppable disaster and then the ship of state will surely sink.
     As Attorney General, an avowed racist, a Republican who in 1986 couldn’t even pass through a Republican Senate committee for a federal judgeship as a result of his statements that the NAACP and the ACLU were un-American institutions; for Chief of Staff a man whose website broadcasts anti-Semitic, racist and misogynistic views; and for National Security Advisor a retired general fired by the Obama administration for his absurdist views about ISIS as an existential threat. And head of them all is a man who boasts of his aggressive sexual behaviors; espouses racist and misogynistic rants; threatens the economic stability not only of the United States and the world; uses language and images impermissible in our schools and public spaces; and who promises to lower taxes for his rich compadres while the rest of us sweat and strain. But a man who as yet doesn’t have a clue what is going on down there on the streets of any city in the United States or the world.
      And where is our supposed Free Press exposing the heinousness of at least Rudolph Giuliani who had no trouble defaming Hillary Clinton for activities he thrived at while circling the globe making speeches which earned him in 2006 almost $10 million dollars? Today the man who in his last divorce whines that he possessed $7,000.00 now owns three expensive homes and has bank accounts that might feed a good deal of the homeless in New York City. Is Paul Krugman the only honest journalist working at The New York Times?
     The sense of doom that pervades the community is overwhelming, and the hard rain that falls today here bodes ill for the next four years, if in fact, under the leadership of these mean and incompetent rulers, we survive those years. The sense of grief many feel mourns the loss of hope and promise.

16 November 2016

16th November 2016

I read in a headline in today’s The New York Times that “Firings and Discord Put Trump Transition Team in a State of Disarray.” I read in another headline that “Giuliani’s Ties Raise Question For State Dept.” I read that “World Allies Struggle to Contact Leader as Stave Improvises Protocols.” I read that Chris Christie has been demoted from his position as head of the Transition Team. And I read that Steve Bannon of Breitbart News whose public positions smacks of racism, misogyny and anti-Semitism, at the least, has been appointed Presidential Chief of Staff.

     Giuliani’s credentials for the position of Secretary of State can be reduced to his having been mayor during the attacks on the World Trade Center on September 11, 2001. Other than his lucrative business dealings with his “friends all over the world,”¾his words¾Giuliani has no experience in the politics of international affairs. The Times reports that “He vaulted to national prominence because of his leadership after the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks, and he still views the world through the prism of that day.” Of course, Chris Christie has just barely avoided criminal implication in the Bridge Closings meant to punish the Democratic Mayor of Fort Lee for not endorsing Christie during his run for the governership of New Jersey. Two of his henchpeople have been convicted in conection with the heinous affair that created chaos and danger for at least three days on toll lanes on George Washington Bridge leading to New York City. There is nothing to say about Steve Bannon that has not already been said in horror from the Democrats and Republicans and even Conservatives still active (though that word is problematic when applied to government these days) in governing. There is grave concern for the activity and direction being taken by the new administration.
     And I wonder: what was anyone expecting from a President-elect who has absolutely no experience in public office, public affairs, or diplomacy and whose deportment and language can only be described as crude, hate-filled and incendiary> What to expect from his cadre of self-serving vindictive, often incompetent individuals who approach governing as a child might approach the toy section of a big department store: “Oh, boy, can I have this? Or that?” “Wow, look at that! I’d love to play with that next.” I think of Kurtz: “The horror. The horror.”