My interests are somewhat eclectic and that is reflected in my posts. I have provided a drop-down lists of categories so you can zero in on things that might be interesting to you. In particular, you might enjoy my fiction pieces in the category Short Stories.
I am beginning to feel a little sorry for Donald Trump. He finds himself in a job that is way more difficult than he had imagined and for which he is utterly unprepared, unqualified, and incompetent. As a result, his first four months have been a seemingly unending string of jaw-dropping blunders and demoralizing failures. According to voices within the White House, he hates the job. I don’t blame him; it’s a job I wouldn’t wish on my worst enemy. He is in way over his head and has neither the intellectual capacity nor the personal temperament to do anything about it.
I would like to share a recent experience I had attending an Episcopal church.
My wife and I have been church exiles (self-imposed) for several years. Recently we started attending an Episcopal church here in Bellingham. The Episcopal Church is a branch of the Anglican communion world-wide, having split off from Anglicanism as a result of the American revolution, but remaining very much Anglican in theology and practice.
I had never attended an Episcopal Church, nor did I know much about them. Nonetheless I came with some expectations. I expected to encounter a liturgical church service relatively devoid of life and energy. I also expected to find something theologically liberal. These expectations, of course, reflected my lack of knowledge and experience. The Sunday morning services we have attended so far were indeed highly structured and liturgical, most everything coming out of the Anglican Book of Common Prayer. There as also a certain lack of spontaneity; predictability being the operative word.
Yesterday the United States of America attacked Syria. The attack was limited to an air force base. It was the Trump administration’s response to Syrian President Assad’s apparent use of chemical weapons against his own people.
I have some initial thoughts about this.
According to Michael Flynn’s lawyer, Flynn wants immunity to testify at hearings into Russian election meddling and possible collusion with members of Trump’s campaign team. Flynn was Trump’s first National Security Advisor but was fired just a few weeks later when it came out that he had tried to hide some inappropriate and possibly illegal meetings with agents of the Russian government. A number of other Trump campaign staffers have similarly denied contacts with Russian agents and subsequently were forced to admit that they had lied.
58% of Americans fear that Trump’s deportation plan will deport too many illegal immigrants who should NOT be deported because they have lived here peacefully for a long time and do not represent any threat to the nation.
The decision by the President and the Speaker of the House to indefinitely postpone the repeal of Obamacare has significant political ramifications far beyond the fate of Obamacare. To cite one fairly obvious case, House Speaker Paul Ryan’s political career is probably toast. Watch for a rebellion in the Republican House caucus, supported by the White House, to have Ryan removed from his position as Speaker. Trump hold Ryan personally responsible for the embarrassing fiasco, and his modus operandi is “Don’t get mad, get even.”
In the first two weeks of Donald Trump’s Presidency, he issued an Executive Order banning legal immigration and legal refugees from selected mostly-muslim countries. It was blocked by the federal courts, in part because it was badly written and badly implemented, and in part because of numerous problems with legality and constitutionality.
The President abandoned that one, and came back with a second Executive Order two weeks ago. This one was well written and well thought out, and left out some of the more egregious elements found in the first one. A federal judge has blocked this one as well. Here’s why.
Iowa Congressman Steve King recently tweeted a decidedly racist comment, and then doubled down on it in the face of the furor it caused. He could be ignored were his position not so startlingly reminiscent of the German Nazi’s position in the 1930’s, and were he not a United States Congressman.
The Trump administration has put out an RFP (Request for Proposal) for designs for the Wall. In an article about how some architects would like to find a way to make the Wall beautiful as well as effective, this stood out to me:
“Janet Napolitano, the former secretary of Homeland Security and governor of Arizona, once said, “You show me a 50-foot wall, and I’ll show you a 51-foot ladder at the border.” Yet we persist in not only maintaining that wall but expanding it. The border wall is a symbolic and real barrier. It aims to create a neat binary in a complex world. North vs. south. The United States vs. Mexico. Legal vs. illegal. Us vs. them. The polarizing effect is both insidious and intentional.”
At a cost of several tens of billions of dollars, the Wall will do little to stop the flow of illegal immigrants into the United States. But it will send a powerful message to the rest of the world about what kind of nation America has become. That America is a far cry from what our founders envisioned, a far cry from what the French envisioned when they gifted us with the Statue of Liberty, a far cry from Ronald Reagan’s shining city on a hill, and a far cry from what every modern President has championed right up till the current one, who has a very different vision of America. Donald Trump’s America is dark, divisive, and ugly place.
The President’s new travel ban from six specific mostly-muslim countries (Iraq was dropped from the list) is unlikely to pass muster with the courts. It is a much better thought-out order than the first, is more limited in scope, and avoids much that was especially objectionable in the first one. But it still contains the two fundamental problems that the courts called out for the original order.