Presidential Flag Foibles

7F30F6C5-753F-415C-8826-AE9A7A0F53DFThis morning, breaking with the tradition of flying the flag at the White House at half-staff upon the death of a sitting U.S. Senator through the senator’s burial, Donald Trump ordered that the flag flying over the White House be raised to full staff.

This did not go over well, particularly with veterans. American Legion National Commander Denise Rohan wrote a letter to Trump earlier today in which she said, “The American Legion urges the White House to follow long-established protocol following the death of prominent government officials.”

Rohan’s letter continued, “On the behalf of The American Legion’s two million wartime veterans, I strongly urge you to make an appropriate presidential proclamation noting Senator McCain’s death and legacy of service to our nation, and that our nation’s flag be half-staffed through his internment.”

A few hours later, Donald Trump released a statement saying, “Despite our differences on policy and politics, I respect Senator John McCain’s service to our country and, in his honor, have signed a proclamation to fly the flag of the United States at half-staff until the day of his interment.”

Hmm. The wording of Trump’s statement is eerily similar to that of Denise Rohan’s letter, isn’t it.

It took significant pressure from a group representing U.S. veterans and even members of his own party in Congress to get Trump to do the right and decent thing. And yet some recent polls have shown Trump to have 90% approval rating among Republicans.

Seriously, Republicans?

Stupid Is As Stupid Does

60CE4100-365A-4A3D-9724-0FD8AAFC0EE5You’ve probably seen this photo of these two buttholes at a recent Trump rally wearing t-shirts that read, “I’d rather be a Russian than Democrat.”

Is this really what Republicans believe? Does their hatred toward Democrats actually translate to their taking sides with the country, a declared adversary of American — and global — democracy, that meddled in the 2016 election to help Trump get elected and is likely continuing to meddle as we move toward the critical midterm elections in November?

What has happened to the Republican Party that once claimed to be the party that was tough on Russia and stood for family values? Has negative partisanship become so intense that they are willing to believe the worst about Democrats and to rationalize away the sins and crimes committed by Donald Trump and his cronies?

As Bill Maher said on his HBO show last night, the new Republican mantra seems to be “Better red than well read.”

And as Forrest Gump said, “Stupid is as stupid does.”

In Other Words — The Blue Wave


46C78B12-BBAB-45D0-A617-3D88E564EF9AIn the two years since Trump was elected, a lot of damage has been done.

The President, his Cabinet, and the Republicans in Congress (and Vladimir Putin) have been fiddling while our nation is burning.

Like me, many voters are fed up and angry, and in less than three months Americans will go to the polls.

We will be sending an important message.

A big blue wave is coming.

2E64CDA9-9659-4EFF-AA52-38290AED6E9FThis post is written for the “In Other Words” prompt from Patricia’s Place. Today’s word is “wave,” and the rules are to write a story or poem of five lines or less using the word “wave.”

This is the first time I’ve participated in Patricia’s In Other Words challenge, but when I saw what the word was, I couldn’t stop myself.

Yes, I Suffer From TDS

TDSTrump Derangement Syndrome (TDS) is a mental condition in which a person has been driven effectively insane due to their dislike of Donald Trump, to the point at which they will abandon all logic and reason.

I admit it. I suffer from Trump Derangement Syndrome. But it’s not because I’ve abandoned all logic and reason. It’s because I’m still clinging to logic and reason.

You see, I think any rational, thinking person should, as I do, believe that Donald Trump is a threat to our American democracy. I see disturbing connections between how fascism and authoritarianism took hold in other countries and what is occurring in the United States at present. And it scares the shit out of me.

And apparently I’m not alone. The American Psychological Association noted in a recent survey that 57% respondents said “the current political climate” was a top source of angst in their lives. More people were stressed out by politics than about their family responsibilities (49%) or their health situation (also 49%).

Many people, myself included, are feeling more depressed because of the state of the world. We have a sense of hopelessness, futility, and fear about the future. And it’s not that we’re insane, that we’ve lost touch with reality, or that we’ve lost the ability to think clearly.

It’s because we see what’s happening before our very eyes and there seems to be nothing to be done to stop it. Trump now owns the Republican Party and virtually all Republican members of Congress, especially congressional leaders like Mitch McConnell and Paul Ryan.

Trump has stacked his administration, as well as the judiciary, with sycophants who unabashedly defend him and all of his abhorrent tweets and actions. The man is dividing this country like never before since the Civil War and he’s putting the delicate threads of the American democracy through the shredder.

Yes, Trump drives me crazy. But it is not me who is insane. It’s Trump himself and those who throw themselves at his feet who have lost touch with reality.

In my humble opinion.

Chipping Away at the Fouth Estate

89C7E486-BB48-4F09-9D7E-A8345427C1F9Are you ready for this? According to a new public opinion survey conducted by Ipsos, 43% of Republicans think Donald Trump “should have the authority to close news outlets engaged in bad behavior” (i.e., being critical of Donald Trump). This includes media outlets such as CNN, The Washington Post, and The New York Times.

In addition, 48% of Republicans believe that the news media is “the enemy of the American people.” And 80% of Republicans said “most news outlets have a liberal bias,” while 79% of Republicans said that they believe that the mainstream media outlets treat Trump “unfairly.”

I don’t know about you, but I find this very sobering. It illustrates how effectively Trump’s anti-press drumbeat has shaped public opinion — at least among Republicans — about the role the media plays in covering his administration.

Censoring the press and shutting down news outlets is a tactic used by autocratic and totalitarian regimes in order to silence political enemies, dissidents, and the opposition. It is not something that one would expect from a free and democratic society.

In fact, freedom of the press is guaranteed in the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.

As former U.S. Senator Christopher Dodd said,

When the public’s right to know is threatened, and when the rights of free speech and free press are at risk, all of the other liberties we hold dear are endangered.

You may recall last month, when Trump was speaking before a group of veterans, he said, “Just stick with us, don’t believe the crap you see from these people, the fake news.” He followed that up by saying, “And just remember, what you’re seeing and what you’re reading is not what’s happening.”

Yesterday I wrote a post, “Hook, Line, and Sinker,” in which I lamented, “The sad and disturbing thing is that too many people are buying — hook, line, and sinker — what this con artist [Donald Trump] is selling.”

This Ipsos survey demonstrates just how naive and gullible (and either brainwashed or brain dead) Republican voters have become.