Archive for August, 2017

Here we go again…again

Watching the television reports from Houston has restored my faith in America. When the chips are down, America rallies. When the Japanese bombed Pearl Harbor, the military recruiting stations could hardly keep up with the numbers of young men signing up to join the fight. When New England was smashed by four consecutive Mondays of severe snow in 1978, plows from as far away as Wisconsin moved east to get the streets cleared and the snow melted. When Sandy devastated the Jersey shore, contributions and equipment took over to aid those who had lost everything. Now, once more, American grit is coming to the fore with volunteers from around the nation coming to the aid of the people of Houston and its surrounding areas. It can best be summoned up by the words of one single volunteer shown moving a man in a wheelchair from a nursing home onto a vehicle to move that man to safety…”I just want to help,” he said, and that’s probably what would escape the lips of every professional and amateur volunteer who is wading through the waist-deep, dangerous deposit left by Hurricane Harvey.

Despite the heroism of the volunteers, first responders from everywhere, and the efforts of the American Red Cross, there will always be those who see tragedy as a way to profit. The Texas attorney general is already taking a look at one store that was charging $99 for a case of water. Some hotels were doubling the rates for their rooms. Looters were everywhere to be found which might well explain why some folks were so reluctant to leave their homes. It’s unfortunate but this, too, is a part of the American psyche. Thankfully, it’s a much smaller part than that of the heroics that we are watching on the nightly news.

It will, undoubtedly, take years to know the final cost of what storm ravaged towns in Texas, Louisiana, and perhaps other states will be. With more than 32,000 in shelters right now, how many more will have to be saved by the Coast Guard and the Air Force is anyone’s guess. What frightens me the most is how Washington will proceed in helping the victims of this disaster. Two years after Sandy, billions of appropriated dollars were still not paid out due to the bureaucratic hogwash that various governmental agencies put victims through to get aid. Now is the perfect time for the men and women of Congress to throw aside their political differences, appropriate the necessary funds to help Texas, and ensure that those funds are distributed with a minimum of bureaucratic bullshit.

“Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it’s the only thing that ever has.” Anthropologist Margaret Mead said that. Thoughtful and committed well describes the volunteers and the professionals in Texas. It’s unfortunate that so many people in the bureaucracies of government are neither thoughtful or committed. Granted, there are many wonderful civil servants who wish nothing more than to help those who have been devastated by one natural disaster or the other. The problem appears to be the number of regulatory stumbling blocks that have been placed in their way that prevents them from clearing claims more quickly.

One of the most difficult tasks of government, whether it’s local, state, or federal, is to reduce the number of bureaucracies once they have been created. And just like Topsy, once created, they just grow and grow and grow, all too often because someone’s relative needs a paycheck. In a report released in 2013, it was noted that “Over the past three years, the Government Accountability Office (GAO) found 162 areas where agencies are duplicating efforts, at a cost of tens of billions of dollars.” In one instance, it was said that each of the branches of the military were creating their own camouflage uniforms without consulting with the other branches. As the GAO issues its annual report to Congress regarding the redundancies, it should be noted that all of the redundant agencies have been created by Congress. It really makes one question the wisdom of Congressional leaders. Even after the first GAO report was submitted, Congress took any kind of action to reduce the overlaps and redundancies on less than half of the recommendations.

I tend to be very harsh in my criticism of the United States Congress. I am that because of the stupidity of political partialism and in part because of the pork barrel politics that takes place at the federal level. If a project proposed by a certain Senator or Representative is worthy, it should be able to stand on its own and not have to be added to some bill that may have fifty or a hundred other addended projects. Perhaps I’m being naïve but that’s just how my mind happens to work.

If Mr. Trump is concerned about Federal Tax Reform, which right now looks to benefit the rich and screw the middle class once more, perhaps he would be wiser to take a hard look at the 23 different federal agencies that are running hundreds of programs to support renewable energy, or any one of the hundreds of duplicate agencies performing the same tasks. This is where our waste is. Think of it this way: You have a family budget, so much for the rent or mortgage; so much for groceries; so much for utilities such as heat, light, and water usage. What if Dad paid all of those bills and then Mom did the same thing without bothering to tell the old man. Seems kind of wasteful, doesn’t it? Basically, that’s what Congress has done with our taxpayer dollars. They have created a bunch of federal agencies performing the same tasks and merely costing you and me more money. Trump is right when he says that he wants “to drain the swamp.” The problems are (a) he doesn’t know where the swamps are; (b) he doesn’t know how to work with Congress to get the action required to eliminate the redundancies; (c) he has his priorities screwed up. If that continues to be the case, I can only say, “Good luck, Texas, because you’re going to need it if you are to rebuild the areas destroyed by Happy Harvey and his horrendous hits.

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“There is a front moving down from Canada. It has paralyzed Quebec and is promising to be the worst blizzard that New England has seen in over 75 years. Residents are warned that we are expecting more than eight feet of snow from this first storm, and it appears that there are prospects of both a second and third storm to follow. We’re not kidding here, folks. You have just about five days before this first blizzard hits. MEMA and the American Red Cross are preparing to open shelters for those who do not feel they will be safe in their homes. Get prepared now.”

Okay, you’ve been warned. You’re a New Englander. You’ve lived through the Blizzard of ’78, the snows of 2013, the horrors of Hurricane Eustis in 2028, and you believe that you’re immortal, inviolable, and invincible. Nothing can get to you. You’re Superman, Wonder Woman, and the Hulk all rolled into one. Why are you not worried? Why are you these super heroes? Why do you not have a care in the world about this impending disaster? Simple, you have your checklist. You know how to prepare. You take responsibility for you and your family and you take that responsibility seriously. What do I mean by that? Once you were informed that a major storm was headed your way, you immediately checked to ensure that the pantry was filled with non-perishable food, that all medicines were current and up-to-date, and if not, that they were refilled as insurance. How was the supply of bottled water, batteries for flashlights, back-up batteries for electronic devices, candles, and other necessities?

It’s not difficult to be prepared for emergencies. If you live in an area where certain types of disasters occur on an annual basis, you understand the need for pre-disaster-prep. A friend of mine lives in California, near the San Andreas fault. He has an evacuation bag hanging from his bedpost. In it are a pair of work boots, a few cans of food, some bottled water, a can opener, wooden matches, and several other emergency items. Is he prepared? He’s not too concerned, because he knows that he can grab that bag in the event an earthquake should happen at night. He knows there will be a great deal of broken glass in the area, hence the work boots. He is responsible and prepared.

I recognize the Hurricane Harvey was of epic proportions. I recognize that 51 inches of rain can do a hell of a lot of damage and that preparing for such a storm may be difficult. However, if I know a week ahead of time that such a storm is going to hit, I would do one of two things: (1) pack the kids in the car and fill the trunk with critical documents, non-perishables, water, etc., and get to higher ground, as far away from the storm as possible, or; (2) evacuate to a shelter when I was advised to do so by people who were far more aware of the impending danger than me. It floors me that people who were told to evacuate didn’t do so. I’m shocked when I hear people say that they didn’t know the storm would be “this bad.” When someone complains that she was trapped in the house with her two kids who didn’t have insulin for their pumps, I want to call her irresponsible and stupid. There was plenty of notice on this storm. There was time to prepare. There was time to get to shelters on high ground. There were buses to take evacuees to safe centers. Instead, many people chose to stay in homes they knew would be flooded. They chose to put the lives of rescuers on line when they could have just as easily rescued themselves. What could they possibly have of such value in their houses that they would opt to stay rather than do what they were told by those more knowledgeable? It just boggles the mind.

It’s difficult for me to fully express my admiration for the men, women, and young adults who have pitched in with power boats, jet skis, high trucks, kayaks, and other rescue vehicles…they are amazing in their dedication to their fellow man. The Coast Guard, National Guard, and the good ole “Cajun Navy” have been terrific in their efforts to guide stupid people to safety. It bothered the daylights out of me to hear a person say, “We’ve been in this shelter for three days without showers, and the floor is littered with debris, and….” Yadda, yadda, yadda. I want to say, “Hey, bitch, grab a broom and recruit others to help you clean up some of this debris. You were rescued. Now do your part. Stop complaining and start helping.” That, I’m quite certain, would be met with surprise or shock that I would dare ask an evacuee to do something to help him or herself. Granted, these people have lost everything. Granted, they are a little dazed right now. Granted, their lives have been changed forever. And it is now time to admit that, suck it up, and begin the rebuilding process. If that rebuilding begins with grabbing a broom, so be it. If it begins with finding a way to create showers for those wishing to take them, so be it. Don’t stand around and complain. Get off your butt and do something. Rescuers can only do so much. The rescued now must face some pretty harsh facts, and complaining to television cameras is no way to begin rebuilding their lives.

I’m not in Houston. I’m not in that perilous situation. I’m the guy who would have evacuated when told to do so. I’m the guy who would have gotten to the shelter and asked, “What can I do to help?” I’m old, but I can still do a few things to ease the job of other volunteers. You really don’t have to look too far to find someone who is worse off than you. The question is, are you going to help them or are you going to be the complainer who thinks only of your own situation?

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The plane banks and wings its way west now, the sun reflecting on its wide fuselage, back out over the sea, its deadly cargo not yet even delivered…but it will be…soon enough. Soon enough, the message of death will land on a city of one and a half million residents, a city that will no longer exist once the message is delivered. The residents will never know…a blinding flash of light and almost instant incineration. The fortunate ones will be caught on the street. Their minds will not have the opportunity to even process what is happening to them. Those in the high-rise buildings, protected by their steel and concrete may, with luck, have a second or two to begin to understand the enormity of what is taking place. Those in the underground, waiting for trains or subways, may have a minute or so before the fireballs envelop them and turn them into smoldering embers. One million souls cast out in less time than it takes to sing, “Oh say, can you see by the dawn’s early light.” This is the light of darkness. This is the light of a war we pray never to see.

Philadelphia, the cradle of liberty, birthplace of the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution, home to the liberty bell and the first Continental Congress…gone…ash…hurricane force winds destroying Devon, Blue Bell, Wyncote and Bryn Mawr. Devastation in Haddonfield, Swarthmore, Narberth, and Fort Washington. Why? What did those people do to invite this apocalypse?

Could it all happen? Could we see Philadelphia, Chicago, New York, Washington, Boston, Los Angeles all disintegrate in fractions of minutes or even seconds? Sure, it could happen. I don’t know that we have a weapons system that could detect and destroy planes or missiles approaching our cities before they wreaked havoc. I’d like to think that we have such systems in place. However, if we cannot protect our voting machines, what confidence can I have that such a weapons system will work when or if the time comes when it might be needed?

Fortunately, the world has some reasonably cool heads of states desperately working to ensure that a scenario such as the one above never takes place. Unfortunately, the United States does not appear to have a cool head of state. Instead, we have a hot head, an out-of-control ignoramus who, despite his posturing, has never really negotiated a real deal in his life. He says he has, but who’s to believe him? He is an inveterate liar, a narcissist, a self-centered egotist who is capable only of bluster and threats. Who can say when all that hardline talk may fall on the ears of an enemy of America who finally says, “Ah, screw this. Bomb the son-of-a-bitch.” Most assuredly, the US would retaliate, but would it be too late to prevent catastrophes in several of our major cities.

Does all of this sound like a fantasy. Consider the number of lies that Trump has told – it’s now well over 1,000 – and think about what we haven’t heard, what he’s said when the microphones weren’t turned on, when he didn’t bother to tweet. Consider how quickly he has thrown his supposed friends under the bus of public scrutiny with claims that they were grandstanders or incompetents or disloyal to him. This is not a dictatorship where all members of the king’s court must pledge unfailing fealty to the leader. This is a democracy, where healthy discussion and even disagreement should be encouraged even in the highest circles of power. Without that type of discourse, the democratic process fails and the dictatorship becomes more probable.

I’m pushing 83 years on this earth, but I have children and grandchildren, and I don’t want to see their lives destroyed by some megalomaniac who is so self-absorbed that he fails to understand his responsibility to the peons beneath him. It has become apparent that Mike Pence is nothing but a yes man with little spine and even members of his own family seem to be avoiding him. Unless General Kelly and a few others can rein this madman in, I truly fear for the future of America. People laugh and tell me that I’m being too pessimistic, that ‘they’ would never allow his alt-right mentality to reach the point of putting the entire nation at risk. I cannot help but wonder if these are people cut from the same bolt of cloth as proud Germans were in the mid-thirties. I hope and pray that I’m wrong. I hope and pray that our systems of checks and balances will work and bring this mad dog to heel or impeach him to hell out of office.

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Frivolity at its best

I’m crushed; I’m devastated; my dreams of purity have been shattered. My 100 percent natural spring water from Poland Spring, a company my family has cherished since its founding in 1845, the company that supplied this wonderful elixir to my ancestors…is nothing but ground water? What’s with that? You can’t even trust bottled water these days? Is that what I’m being told? What-is-this-world-coming-to?

Look, I can see where someone who pours a tin of Johnson’s baby powder into their crotch for 50 years might wind up with cancer or a large mound of baby powder, and I can understand that if you marinate a steak in Coca-Cola overnight, the steak will disappear leaving nothing but bone, and can you imagine what that does to the lining of your stomach…but ground water as opposed to pure, unadulterated spring water is just going a bit too far. Just how deceptive can these companies be? Perhaps it’s not the companies that are being deceptive but the legatees who are suing these companies frivolously with claims that they can’t really substantiate.

We all know the case of Stella Liebeck, the 79-year old woman who spilled a McDonald’s coffee in her lap and suffered third degree burns over six percent of her body. McDonald’s, like Starbucks and many other places that serve hot coffee, serve it at between 180 and 190 degrees, far above the 130 to 140 degrees that one might make at home. Originally, Liebeck asked for $20,000 to cover the cost of her skin grafts and hospital bill. McDonald’s refused – big error – and Stella wound up, not with millions, but with $640,00…frivolous, I think not, and to think McDonald’s could have gotten out of it for 20 grand…ouch.

When I think back to the number of injuries that I received while working for the Great Atlantic & Pacific Tea Company, I think I might have been able to retire by the time I had reached 18. However, you didn’t bitch, wail, or sue. This was the fifties when you were just thankful to have a job and be making under a buck an hour. If the power went out, you hand-cranked a cash register to get the customers on their way. If everyone else was busy and a truck arrived with 250 cases of canned fruit and vegetables, you unloaded that truck, slit the cases, marked the cans with the appropriate prices, and then unloaded the whole thing on to the shelves of the store…and you didn’t complain. Some of you are probably saying, “Yeah, and you walked ten miles to school…uphill both ways.” No, that wasn’t the case, but I don’t believe we were as quick to seek out legal advice about litigating against our employers or anyone else for that matter. It just wasn’t done. Then again, many things have changed, some for the better, some perhaps for the worse.

Defense attorney, John R. Fitzpatrick of Denver “…had an outrageous case about 10 years ago. A 35-year-old woman believed she was at risk for breast cancer and had a surgeon perform a double mastectomy. The reconstruction didn’t use a traditional breast implant, but instead used the patient’s abdominal tissue. The patient developed a romantic interest in the surgeon and wrote him several suggestive love letters. When he rejected her advances, the patient filed a lawsuit claiming that her breasts now ‘twitch’ when she has sexual activity,” said Fitzpatrick. “Her lawyer found an expert who said this must be the surgeon’s fault. The case went to trial. Her lawyer wanted to put on a demonstration to show how the breasts twitch, but the judge wouldn’t allow it. The trial lasted five days before the judge finally threw it out.”

You think I’m making this stuff up? It’s impossible. Yes, I taught creativity and creative problem solving, but some of the cases I’ve found are so off the wall that it would take a Hollywood science fiction writer to come up with the plots. And speaking of Hollywood, here’s a frivolous lawsuit that involved that esteemed institution. “Criminals need not bear the responsibility for their crimes alone when the real money is in Hollywood. In 1996, the family of Patsy Ann Byers sued Oliver Stone, Warner Brothers, and others involved in the making and distribution of the movie Natural Born Killers for an unspecified amount. They claimed that the movie caused Sarah Edmondson and Benjamin Darrus to go on a crime spree which resulted in Edmonson shooting Byers during a robbery, leaving her paralyzed from the chest down. The lawsuit was originally filed in 1995, against Edmonson and Darrus, the actual perpetrators of the crime spree. Stone and the others involved with the film were added in 1996. The portion of the case aimed at Stone and his associates was dismissed in 2001.

Finally, here’s a heartwarming story that will just tug…at something. “Jennifer Connell arrived at the eighth birthday party of her nephew Sean, who, overjoyed to see her, leapt into her arms. Connell, apparently not expecting such affection, fell backward and broke her wrist. Like any loving aunt, Connell decided to sue her 8-year-old nephew for $127,000 for “negligence and carelessness” because the boy “should have known that a forceful greeting such as the one delivered by the defendant to the plaintiff could cause the harms and losses suffered by the plaintiff.” Don’t they teach kids anything these days? It seems poor Aunt Jennifer suffered greatly, pointing out that at a party she attended afterward, she was unable to hold her hors d’oeuvre dish without great difficulty. The jury listened to her heart-wrenching story, deliberated for 20 minutes and awarded her nothing. Connell later said her insurance company had forced her to sue.”
I suppose things could get worse…but when?

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Let’s laugh at hate

I don’t like you because of what you are; I like you because of who you are. I don’t dislike Jews because they’re Jewish, or Blacks because of the color of their skin. I won’t cross the street to avoid a group of Asian adults who are walking down the street toward me any more than I might cross the street if I saw a group of white kids who looked like a bunch of hoods walking toward me. My point is that I don’t understand how anyone with an ounce of brain power or common sense can condemn an entire race of people without even knowing who they are. How can one say that a Catholic is better or worse than a Protestant or a Jew or a Buddhist or anyone from any other religion? The answer, quite simply, is that there isn’t an ounce of brain power or a shred of common sense in these hate groups that condemn just because they want to hate and hurt. It’s all that simple.

Have I never been mad enough to lash out against another human being? Yeah, once. It was in a high school basketball game when I thought a player from another team did something to one of my teammates. It is the only time in my life that I completely lost it. ‘It,’ in this case, got me thrown out of a game for fighting, and to this day, I cannot remember any of it very clearly.

When it opened in 1949, the Rodgers and Hammerstein musical, South Pacific, was considered highly controversial because of discussion of interracial marriage and because of the song, “You’ve Got To Be Carefully Taught.” The show was a smashing success. It’s messages were of racial tolerance, not intolerance, that it’s acceptable for people of different races to fall in love with one another. In addition, the message was that we are not born with hatred in our hearts. “We have to be carefully taught…to hate all the people our relatives hate…” According to NPR, “When the show went on national tour in the 1950s, two Georgia state lawmakers were repulsed after seeing it, and said a song justifying marriage between races was offensive. One of them, Rep. David C. Jones, wrote in a letter, “We in the South are a proud and progressive people. Half-breeds cannot be proud.”

It makes me wonder how much hatred is just under the surface of America. We certainly saw examples of it in Charlottesville. We see it in one form or another every single day. Oscar Hammerstein, in writing the lyrics to the song, may well have been drawing on his own background of knowing what the Nazi’s had done to the Jews.

“You’ve got to be taught
To hate and fear, you’ve got to be taught from year to year
It’s got to be drummed in your dear little ear
You’ve got to be carefully taught.
You’ve got to be taught
To be afraid of people
Whose eyes are oddly made
And people whose skin is a different shade
You’ve got to be carefully taught.”

So where was Dylan Roof taught to hate Black people to the point where he felt it was his duty to kill nine of them? Where did Timothy McVeigh’s hatred develop that he had to bomb a building in Oklahoma City? Where did James Alex Fields, Jr. develop a hatred so severe that he would ram his car into a group of people he didn’t even know? Seems to me that the answer is rather obvious. The environment in which these and many, many other people grew up was an environment devoted to hate rather than love, intolerance rather than tolerance, violence rather than peaceful protest.

The question now is, “What the hell do we do to reduce hatred in America.” The leadership in this fight is certainly not coming from the White House. Donald Trump is a hater, a bigot, a divider as opposed to a uniter. We often think of soldiers as being our fighters in the war on war, yet General Kelly and General Mattis seem to be the voices of peace and reason in the current administration. Perhaps that’s because they have seen what war and hatred can do…and it’s not a pretty picture.

You and I, Americans, white and black, yellow and brown, gay and straight, old and young, must live our lives in peace and tolerance despite what our supposed leader is doing. It’s true that social media makes it all too easy to lash out in anonymity, and if we have been raised to lash out, it will continue. However, it’s up to us who were not raised that way to counter that with messages of hope, peace, and yes, a whole lot of humor. Laughing at the haters just confuses the living daylights out of them!

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Have we become so ‘vanilla’ that we are no longer willing to admit that this nation, this magnificent, glorious, wonderful land of ours went through ugly and horrific growing pains to get where it is today? Have we allowed a small group of malcontents to subtly dictate to us what we can and cannot view as part of American history? What’s next? Do we close Plimoth Plantation, Williamsburg, and other such educational icons because we can trace their teachings to something that we would just as soon forget? Let’s get rid of the statues of Christopher Columbus because his landing on these shores wasn’t the first, and he didn’t know where the hell he was in the first place. Let’s grow a pair, America. Let’s stand up and admit that what we did through slavery was a part of the great American tragedy…but…let’s not try to cover it up, say it never happened, shut it up in the closet and forget about it.

Racism in America is not history. It is fact. It is as much a fact today as it was 200 years ago, three or four hundred years ago. Why? Because people are people and naturally suspicious of those who aren’t the same skin color; don’t practice the religious beliefs of the majority; dress differently, or do anything that will allow those “in control” to eliminate them. Let’s face it…humans, for all their humanity, can be pretty darned cruel when it comes to the treatment of their fellow members.

“Stand against hate” say the signs but they are held by people who would have no trouble hating. “Stand up to bigotry” say other signs, but they are held by people who are, in fact, bigots. We all have the capability to be haters and bigots. We try, most of us anyway, try to get along with our fellow man – that’s a generic word that includes everyone although some feminists might say it’s bigoted – and we try to keep open minds. Then an event happens and we say something like, “Those damned Muslims,” or “Those damned blacks,” or “Those damned priests,” tarring all Muslims, all blacks, all priests with the same brush. I wish that white supremacists, neo-Nazi’s, and other hate groups would go away, just as you do, but they won’t. They won’t in the same way the Muslim jihadists, black, brown, yellow, and other color gangs won’t go away. Bad priests, ministers, teachers, and other abusers won’t go away. But, we will survive. You and me as well as they are all part of what makes up this country that we call the land of the free and the home of the brave.

Was Robert E. Lee a traitor or was he a just a man of strong beliefs. Were these people to whom the South pledge honor “bad” people or were they just fighting to keep in place an idea based on ignorance and tradition? Don’t answer…because you don’t know…and neither do I. Neo-Nazi’s, white supremacists, Ku Klux Klansmen, and other hate groups aren’t interested in statues. Statues just give them another bandwagon to climb on to spew their venom. One newspaper put it pretty concisely when it reported, “White Southerners who equate Old South symbols with regional pride rather than hate are even more on the defensive since neo-Nazis, Ku Klux Klansmen and other extremists became the face of the fight over Confederate monuments.” The report went on to say, “With more than two dozen relatives who fought for the Confederacy, Robert Castello literally wears his Southern pride. The visor, suspenders and ring he donned Thursday were all emblazoned with the familiar design of the rebel battle flag.

But Castello, whose Dixie General Store sells Confederate-themed hats, shirts, stickers and signs in rural eastern Alabama, said he doesn’t have any use for overtly racist groups like the Klan. “When I was growing up it was like a badge of honor to be proud of your Southern heritage. It was taught and it was part of who you were,” said Castello, 58. “To see it denigrated down to the point of Nazis is disgusting.”
A leading Southern heritage organization, the Sons of Confederate Veterans, had no official involvement in the bloody protests in Charlottesville, Virginia, and its leader condemned the white supremacists who rallied for preserving a statute of Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee. “It’s painful to watch, for lack of better words,” said Thomas V. Strain Jr., the group’s commander. “It was our family that fought, and it was our families that died, and now we have these knuckleheads hijacking the flag for their own purposes.”

Are statues honoring Confederate soldiers and heroes disconcerting to African-Americans? I’m not black, so I really don’t know, but why now? Why has it taken this long for Black America to say, “No more; tear down these symbols of hatred and bigotry?” Say what? Lee and Davis and those tens of thousands of husbands and sons thought they were right…and they were willing to fight and die for what they thought was right. John Henry, owner of the Boston Red Sox, has had that team for 15 years, yet only now is he asking that Yawkey Way be renamed because the Red Sox were the last team to integrate? C’mon, John, you’re just jumping on a bandwagon yourself. If you’ve had 15 years of what you are calling “nightmares,” you’re full of Boston beans…or other ‘stuff.’

Let us think all of this through very carefully before we take drastic action. Perhaps these statues should remain as symbols of what we never wish to see happen in our country again. Confederate flags, the Rebel yell, and assholes who just want to hate…yeah, those we should remove from our nation. Symbols of pride and honor, no matter what some may think, should remain for all to view and to consider their precise meaning.

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You just don’t have it

“And we’ve gathered together the best minds in the world of manufacturing – and they’re all good friends of mine – and they’re going to give us some wonderful advice, through this manufacturing council, on how to bring more jobs into the manufacturing sector.”

Charlottesville occurs.

“And we’re disbanding the manufacturing council because the people who want to be on it, and there are a lot of great manufacturing minds who want to be on it – and they’re all close, great friends of mine – don’t want to be associated with the fake manufacturing people who conned their way onto it in the first place.”

Does this sound like a plausible scenario? When you’re anointed by little Donny J, you are the most brilliant mind in your field and a lifelong friend of Trump’s. The minute you back away or do something that displeases him, you’re ignorant and a grandstander who never knew how to do his or her job in the first place and, after all, he hardly even knew you. He reminds me of the man who paints himself into a corner and then gets really pissed because the paint doesn’t dry faster…not my fault; it’s the fault of the paint.

In this battle of unknown giants, I’m beginning to think that Kim Jong Un is the sensible adult in the room, particularly now that he’s called off plans to launch four missiles into the waters off Guam. In a show of defiance, Trump has refused to call off the war games exercises with South Korea, thus proving that he has the biggest bat in the battle of the schoolyard bullies.

It appears that every time Donald Trump opens his mouth, he doesn’t just put his foot in, he does it just to change feet. Presidents do not get into pissing contests with reporters. Presidents do not call press conferences and allow media representatives to set the agenda for the meeting. “I’ve asked you all to come here today in order that we may let you know how are plans are proceeding to rebuild the infrastructure of the country, one of the promises I made to America in the campaign. I will not be taking any questions, but I would like to introduce the folks who have worked very, very hard – many long hours and many meetings…and they’re very good people, and they will tell you what we will be doing over the next several months and years.” And then you introduce the people…no bullshit, no arguing, no telling reporters to shut up and sit down, no mention of anything about your previous remarks on another topic. Introduce your speakers, thank the reporters for coming and bid everyone a fond adieu…then get the hell out of there and fast as your little Donny legs will take you. In doing this you have achieved several goals: (1) You have demonstrated leadership by thinking the media for being there; (2) you have let everyone in the viewing area know that you are fulfilling a campaign promise; (3) you are showing confidence in your ‘team’ by letting them handle the briefing; (4) you are letting any remarks you may have made previously on any other subject speak for themselves by not addressing them no matter how much you are taunted to do so…this also gives you the appearance of being presidential…even though the rest of us know it’s just a façade; and (5) well, five never occurred because you screwed up one through four. Had I been your counsel, when we got back to the suite, I would have bitch slapped you upside the head and called you every nasty name I could think of

What Trump doesn’t understand is that while he may have gotten away with bullying and yelling in the board room, that attitude and that arrogance will not work with the American media. Hell, it’s even wearing thin with his support base. Did he have a point about Washington and Jefferson? Sure, they were slave owners. They were also founding fathers, and that carries a great deal more weight than a statue of “the boys who wore the gray.” Face facts Mr. Trump, there is no way in hell that you can justify the hate-filled neo-Nazi’s, White Supremacists, members of the Ku Klux Klan, outlaw biker gang members, and other racists who went to that rally in Charlottesville looking for trouble with the people who came to protest that hatred. Were the counter-protesters wearing helmets? Only if they were smart enough to realize who they were going to be facing. Obviously that black man who was beaten and spit on by eight members of the ‘free speech movement’ (that ought to make you gag) didn’t know what he was getting into…oh, wait, he wasn’t a part of either group. Why, then, should he have been attacked? The answer to that is that eight on one make it pretty clear that the ‘free speechers’ didn’t have to worry that he might kick the crap out of them if they were only two or three in number.

Donald, you have lost the support of nearly 70 percent of America. It is time for you to claim poor health, and step aside. You have lost the support of probably 90 percent of Congress, thus making it nearly impossible to get any part of your agenda passed during the next four years. It is time for you to admit that America was not (and probably never will be) ready for your management style. By your very words and actions, you have demonstrated your inability to govern effectively. Rather than uniting the nation, you have succeeded in emboldening a fringe element that wishes to tear it apart, thereby demonstrating your lack of understanding of how America progressed to its position of world leadership long before you were even born. I do not know, I do not care what excuses you may put forth to explain your recent behavior. You are not qualified under any circumstances to be the leader of this wonderful country of ours. Please, please go away and find something else to do with your life. It will make the rest of us feel much more secure.

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