Archive for the ‘#trump’ Tag

Bye Bye, Trump   1 comment

Reading the Tealeaves

If there’s any message I gleaned from the 2022 Midterms it’s that Donald Trump shouldn’t run for President in 2024.

That doesn’t bother me because I never voted for Trump. I don’t like him. I was pleasantly surprised by his policies. He kept (most of) his campaign promises, which was refreshing from a politician, but that didn’t mean I liked him personally. I didn’t care about mean tweets. I’m all for free speech and nobody wields free speech quite like Trump. When media heads exploded over his tweets, I found it entertaining not because I liked Trump, but because I recognized he was trolling the media and that needs to happen. The legacy media needs to be trimmed back to their intended purpose, which is not to judge those who aren’t like them. Admiring his ability to cause such stress is not the same thing as wanting him to be president.

I do think the country needed the four years of his presidency. The combination of lower taxes and reduced regulation gave us enough of an economic bump to survive covid. He also inspired a fighting spirit in his constituency that we’re going to need to get through the tough times ahead.

That doesn’t mean he needs to be president again.


Trump’s Covid Response Hurt the Country

Yes, I know. Covid would have killed “everybody”. That’s not actually true. It had an untreated death rate of less than one-half of one percent, mostly in the elderly or those with comorbidities. A lot of people, including myself, got covid and survived. It was the flu or a bad cold for 99.7% of people. In 3% it was a bad disease and in a tiny fraction of those, it resulted in death, but usually as a consequence of another condition that would have resulted in death eventually – cancer, morbid obesity, old age.

Trump outsourced his authority to the CDC and a politically-climbing failure of a virologist who didn’t have a clue of the economic and social damage his lockdowns would do. Sixty percent of small businesses closed, and most will never reopen. If you don’t live in the United States, you might not understand the importance of the small-business sector in American life. They provide 60% of the jobs in the United States. So that approximately 50% of American companies no longer exist to provide jobs is a problem. If you want to know why people are participating in the job market these days, that’s one reason. There is a large sector of the American population who temperamentally unsuited to work for large corporations or government. They either become entrepreneurs or they work for an established small business that will put up with or even embrace their non-conformist behaviors.

By shutting down small businesses and allowing corporations to remain open, Trump skewed the economy away from its capitalistic foundation toward a more corporatist fascistic formulation. He deeply hurt his base when he did that.

They’ve Had Time to Think about It

In 2020, they saw no viable choice. Trump had hurt them, and the alternative was a senile old man who seemed moderate. He didn’t seem that bad. How bad could Grandpa Joe be?

It turns out, pretty bad. Biden promised unity, but then within a week of his inauguration gave a speech saying unity was doing it his way. He wasn’t planning to compromise and if we didn’t like it, we would regret our resistance. With speech after speech and action after action, Biden showed himself to be anything but moderate and made Trump voters very nostalgic for him, but not enough to vote for the candidates he backed.

Need an example?

In recent weeks, Trump has begun to attack Ron DeSantis. Why? Because Ron DeSantis is being put forward as a presidential candidate in 2024, which threatens Trump’s own plans. DeSantis is 30 years younger and he has a great record of not hurting his people during covid. He protected the vulnerable, allowed the healthy adults to continue their lives, and Florida’s economy thrived. Florida became one of the go-to destinations for people escaping California, New York, and Massachusetts. For his success over the last four years, DeSantis was rewarded with a historical reelection result.

But if Trump is so powerful with conservatives, why didn’t his jabs hurt DeSantis?

Trump’s era has passed. Hurting the people during covid was one cause. January 6 was another. No, I don’t believe Trump instigated the riot. I’ve listened to his speech many times and he specifically told his audience to be peaceful and he didn’t mention entering the building. What they did after the speech came from them, not him. But that doesn’t mean he reacted well to the riot. He could have stopped it much sooner than he did and people instinctively know that.

Meanwhile, DeSantis is firm and reasonable and gets good results. People know that. They see the contrast. So while they still might admire Trump’s ability to make reporters apoplectic, they want DeSantis’s brand of governance. DeSantis’s overwhelming victory in Florida the other night makes that very clear.

It’s Now the Post-Trump Era

Trump will be 78 years old in 2024. If we didn’t think 78 was too old to be the president before 2020, we should know it now. Yes, Trump is robust in comparison to Biden. What will he be like when he’s 82? He wasn’t very good at organizing his administration when he was a decade younger. It’s no doubt in the back of heads that we don’t need another old man running the country next presidential term.

We need to move on. Trump needs to move on. Don’t fight with DeSantis. The country needs a sane conservative who understands the people are able to make their own decisions and who is willing to fight with Congress to fix issues that need to be fixed.

That’s DeSantis, not Trump.

Posted November 10, 2022 by aurorawatcherak in politics

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Ode to the Republic as She Lies Dying   Leave a comment

Ode to the Republic as She Lies Dying

Rioters storm the Capitol and are any of us surprised?

A Banana Republic Sprouts

Image for post

When I wrote this post a few days ago, I was focused on the history — the recognition that banana republic elections tend to spawn banana republic reactions. Violence becomes an inevitable and regrettable “solution” when oppressed minorities perceive no peaceful options remain. The veterans of Athens, Tennessee, had their government stolen from them through fraudulent elections and they sought to require its return. Nobody died, but that was just a happy accident. One reason I don’t condone violence is it has a scary tendency of hurting people who aren’t even involved in the conflict. Had the veterans of Athens stood down and waited for the next election, would things have gotten better? We’ll never know because that’s not what happened. They secured the ballot boxes by violent means and the votes vindicated their actions. I was not calling for violence, merely pointing out that elections that lack transparency set society on fire and that ignoring the right of the people to petition their government for redress of grievances is like spraying gasoline on a bonfire. It could have been avoided by the current sheriff of Athens simply allowing people in to watch as he and his deputies counted the ballots. But then he would have definitely lost and that wasn’t what he was after. So the battle was on.

Parallels then to now are writ in neon

To read more … follow the link.

Posted January 8, 2021 by aurorawatcherak in Medium Articles

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Broke Clock Right Twice a Day   Leave a comment

I’ve opposed Lisa Murkowski since she became my senator, but she’s right this time.

Medium Link

Princess Lisa — Bane of Alaska

Lisa Murkowski became a Senator because Daddy gave her his seat. If you’re unfamiliar with Alaska’s politics — here’s the short version. Frank Murkowski was the junior senator from Alaska for over 20 years when he decided to run for Governor of Alaska and won. One of his first acts as governor was to fill his vacant US Senate seat. There were a number of highly-qualified candidates — including Sarah Palin (who would take Frank’s governorship away from him four years later), but Frank appointed his daughter, an Anchorage attorney who had been in the State Legislature and whose constituents accused of being a Republican in Name Only.

She’s proven herself to be exactly that and there are plenty of Alaska voters who don’t support her, but somehow she pulled off a win as a write-in candidate after she lost the GOP primary in 2010. I’ve never voted for her. I always support someone else in the primaries and I voted Libertarian in the general last time. I don’t like nepotism. I don’t like Lisa (small-population state, so yes, I’ve met her). I don’t like her politics.

But even a broken clock is right twice a day.

I was a Never Trumper before the phrase was coined, but I don’t hate the consequences of many of Trump’s policies. The economy shows he’s not a complete idiot and the economy affects all of our lives. Even in Alaska, where there’s been an oil-price-related recession for the past six years, we feel the improvement over the Obama administration’s policies. I honestly believe Trump is a buffoon and a crooked businessman, but I also believe impeachment should be reserved for egregious crimes, not for doing the job of president in rooting out American corruption in allied nations. I wanted a full Senate investigation with every witness possible called because I firmly believe the investigation would pull down the Departments of State and Justice, the FISA court and half of Congress on both sides of the aisle. It would wake the country up to the incredible corruption that has been growing at the federal level for decades. And, yeah, it might bring down Trump too, but I’d happily sacrifice him to a legitimate draining of the swamp. Never Trumper. Don’t really care what happens to the man.

But I also think the unconstitutionally conducted, highly partisan nature of the current impeachment proceedings are just opening the door to impeaching every president going forward. This is NOT the way to get rid of a president you don’t like. Mount candidates who have something worthwhile to say and you win the next election. Don’t use impeachment to try an distract voters from how truly bad your candidates are. Reserve impeachment for egregious crimes — not having sex with an intern and trying to root out the corruption of American officials in foreign countries. One is the stupidity of man and the other is the job of the president. Even going back to Andrew Johnson — firing your cabinet member though Congress had passed a law saying you couldn’t do that — even Republicans recognized it was a partisan maneuver designed by Republicans to remove him from office by any means necessary and voted for against partisanship.

Lisa Murkowski is right

“I worked for a fair, honest, and transparent process, modeled after the Clinton trial, to provide ample time for both sides to present their cases, ask thoughtful questions, and determine whether we need more.

The House chose to send articles of impeachment that are rushed and flawed. I carefully considered the need for additional witnesses and documents, to cure the shortcomings of its process, but ultimately decided that I will vote against considering motions to subpoena.

Given the partisan nature of this impeachment from the very beginning and throughout, I have come to the conclusion that there will be no fair trial in the Senate. I don’t believe the continuation of this process will change anything. It is sad for me to admit that, as an institution, the Congress has failed.

It has also become clear some of my colleagues intend to further politicize this process, and drag the Supreme Court into the fray, while attacking the Chief Justice. I will not stand for nor support that effort. We have already degraded this institution for partisan political benefit, and I will not enable those who wish to pull down another.

“We are sadly at a low point of division in this country.”

Partisanship is Killing the Country

We aren’t improved by engaging in partisan assaults on our institutions of government. Trump isn’t the real threat any more than Obama was. They’re both just front men for an undercurrent philosophy that wants control of what used to be a culturally strong, economically vital nation — a nation that could rise again if only given the chance. Neither side is particularly right or good. We might even argue that there is no side — that it’s all political theater designed to keep us enthralled so the power-brokers can use citizens as mere pawns for the benefit of the party elite. Just look at the deficit. The Republicans harangue against debt when Democrats are in power — as well they should because debt is dangerous to the stability of a country. Democrats complain Republicans are wasting money that should go to the “poor” whenever the Republicans are in charge (although this time, they’ve found it difficult to do so after the outsized deficits run by Obama). Is there a dime’s worth of difference between the parties beyond their rhetoric? I fail to see it. So is partisanship about the issues or is it about keeping us enthralled by partisan politics so we won’t start asking inconvenient questions?

I still won’t vote for her in 2022, but Lisa Murkowski’s right on this issue. The House conducted an undercover, rushed and flawed impeachment for partisan purposes. They chose charges that have no criminal correspondence and then failed to make their case beyond a reasonable doubt. They then expected the Senate to do their job for them, but they insisted the Senate only call the witnesses the House managers wanted. They were going to dig in their heels and refuse to allow them to widen the inquiry into the Huner Biden Affair, the Steele Dossier, Carter Page, and the FISA court warrant. There was no way the Senate trial could be made fair under those rules because it’s not abuse of power if Biden (with Obama’s permission) really did stop an inquiry into Burisma. If one president does it and it’s okay, then how can it be abuse of power when the next president does the same thing? Continuing the partisan show would just expose the Senate — as the impeachment has exposed the House — to be seen as a political kabuki theater of the absurd. I’m not arguing that the Senate isn’t absurd. I’m trying to show you that the process has been so flawed because it’s not about what the president did. It’s about who wins the 2020 election … by any means necessary.

Elizabeth Warren Publically Threatened John Roberts and the Supreme Court

I’m not sure what Warren thought she was going to accomplish. I can speculate. Nancy Pelosi and Adam Schiff designed the House impeachment to make Trump unelectable in 2020 and to assure Democrats would increase their majority in House. I think that failed because they failed to make a “beyond a reasonable doubt” case in the House. Their case had so many holes they even convinced a couple of Democrats to vote against it.

The Senate trial was also designed to make Republicans look partisan and flip the majority there in the fall. I don’t know if that was successful before Warren asked her question, but I think she sunk Democratic chances. She also sunk her own chances to be President of the United States.

“At a time when large majorities of Americans have lost faith in government, does the fact that the chief justice is presiding over an impeachment trial in which Republican senators have thus far refused to allow witnesses or evidence contribute to the loss of legitimacy of the chief justice, the Supreme Court and the Constitution?”

Warren made herself look wholly partisan and divisive and she convinced Lisa it was time to stop sitting the fence and vote on more witnesses or not. Lisa, who is really a left-leaning centrist, doesn’t want to destroy the system that gives her a comfortable living, so she voted to reduce the partisanship by shortening the show. I wouldn’t be terribly surprised to see Lisa running for President in 2024 as a centrist or even an independent candidate.

What’s This Impeachment All About?

That’s the question we ought to be asking ourselves. Did this sort of nonsense happen in the Clinton impeachment — the Nixon impeachment — the Johnson impeachment? Those were partisan attacks treated like trials rather than Wild West shoot-em-up theater. I’m torn between saying the Democrats lost their minds and are now unable to conduct themselves as grownups or sticking with my original analysis that this is all some massive bipartisan show to distract the public from something bigger — perhaps just to keep us from asking the more important questions —

Government This Dysfunctional

When a system that has acquired such outsized importance in our nation becomes so dysfunctional, it begs for thoughtful analysis. For me, the answers are:

Get rid of partisan politics. Either eliminate both major parties (though they may be doing this to themselves by their behavior) or get rid of all ballot-access laws so that third parties can have viable, full-throated voices in the election process. Currently, the barriers for entry for third parties are far too high, which means people are left voting for the lesser of two evils instead of a candidate who represents their personal values.

Reduce the federal government back to what the Founders envisioned. Return us to a state-based federation cooperating on a few issues that make us all safer — immigration, national defense, and interstate trade. Render what happens in Congress and the White House less important.

Ask yourself — how are these people any smarter than I am? Why can’t I be in charge of my own life without their guidance? Why can’t I work through my local and state governments to tell the federal government what to do rather than the other way around?

If watching the impeachment has not taught you that all of Washington DC has been taken over by the lunatics, you aren’t paying attention. Go spend a week on You-Tube watching the whole mess from both sides and you’ll agree with me.

And, when you do, decide to take control of your own life, because truthfully, we don’t need the elites to tell us how to live our lives. Let’s govern ourselves so that the lunatics no longer have jobs. We do not need them to tell us how to live.

Lela Markham is an Alaska-based novelist and blogger interested in a wide variety of topics, often from a libertarian viewpoint.

Posted February 6, 2020 by aurorawatcherak in politics

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Racism is a Two-Way Street   Leave a comment

As the title suggests, this article is not really about the US attack on Iran. Issues rarely exist in isolation and sometimes when we talk about one issue, we find other issues that need to be addressed.

President Trump just (probably) started an unnecessary war with Iran that will only make the situation in the Middle East worse. I’ve criticized him for it. It’s not a winnable war and it just creates bogeymen for the Iranian regime to use as a recruitment tool.

President Barack Obama

In discussing this, though, I’ve been clear that we’re not helped by criticizing President Trump while excusing the very similar actions of prior presidents. As the most-recent former occupant of the Oval Office, President Obama’s actions are open to criticism. Trump, acting under the War Powers Resolution, didn’t seek congressional approval because he doesn’t need to for 60 days. I disagree with any president using that power absent a direct assault on the American mainland, but that’s what exists currently.

Obama wanted to go to war in Syria and asked Congress to approve a 60-day foray into a country that had no history of attacking US forces. Congress declined to authorize the war and Obama then proceeded to arm the Al Qaeda factions that became ISIS and dropped thousands of drone missiles on Syrian targets. The US Congress didn’t declare war, but I’m pretty sure the Syrian people felt they had. There’s nothing like a drone missile coming through the roof of your house and killing you as a declaration of war. That overrules a vote of Congress every time.

But, as I alluded earlier, the situation in the Middle East is not really the subject of this article.

President Donald Trump

My even-handed criticism of the similar actions of two presidents prompted an accusation of racism. I couldn’t possibly think President Obama was a genocidal monster for dropping thousands of drone missiles on civilian targets unless “there’s some racial element” in my thinking. I would have loved his economic policies if his skin were white. Yeah, I would have been fine with that $6000 annual increase in health insurance premiums if it had been caused by a white president’s policies.

It is impossible, especially on the internet, to counter allegations of racism. My private life speaks for itself. I live in a very diverse state, have friends of all races, and nobody I know personally thinks I’m a racist. But these days, on the internet, you’re guilty until proven innocent and there’s no exculpatory evidence you can present that will convince the ideologically-possessed of who you are in real life. We’ve all become monkeys throwing poo at the bars of our cages and don’t engage in reasoning if you don’t want to risk getting some on you.

I’m withholding flinging poo and continuing to reason instead.

Racism is more varied than we realize

Racism is treating another person differently because of the color of their skin. Racism doesn’t look at anything as more important than skin color in determining the character of the person being evaluated.

Racism is not specific to race. White people can be racist toward people of color. Black people can be racist toward anyone who isn’t black. As an American Indian, I have heard many of my cousins make clearly racist statements about both whites and blacks. Increasingly in our modern times, some white people actually sound racist toward whites. It’s the whole “privilege” argument — that just because your skin is pale brown, you somehow have a better life and the societal skids are greased for you toward success, ignoring the very real barriers to success created by affirmative action that provide legs-up for minorities.

Anytime you treat another person differently because of the color of their skin you are showing racism.

Why can’t we criticize Obama’s warmongering?

Why do some people who loudly object to Donald Trump’s largely unprovoked aggression in the Middle East refuse to criticize Barack Obama’s very real history of unprovoked aggression in the Middle East?

The US has no vital interests in the Middle East. We should continue to peaceful trade with Middle Eastern countries but stop our military and covert interference there. But in order to do that successfully, we need to acknowledge that our warlike behavior has been promoted by successive presidencies. It’s not a Republican problem or a Democratic problem. Both major political parties are warmongers. We need to be able to criticize all of those who promote unnecessary wars equally based on what they did or are doing. To be critical of presidents with white skin while giving Barack Obama a pass because his skin color is dark brown — that’s racism.

Posted January 4, 2020 by aurorawatcherak in Uncategorized

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Interesting Take on Society   Leave a comment

Have you seen the latest Joker movie? I wasn’t sure I wanted to go. There’s the money – about $18 a ticket here in Fairbanks — but Brad convinced me to go since it isn’t yet cold enough to worry about needing to warm our car mid-movie. (Yes, Alaska – a very challenging place). Brad knows me, though. I love to analyze films, to figure out what they’re trying to say to their viewers. So Friday night date, movie. And while in the line to buy tickets, we ran into our son and his girlfriend who were going to see the same movie.

Image result for image of joker

The reviewers of the movie all seemed to cite it as “dangerous,” fearing it might inspire insurrection groups to identify the character as a hero and imitate him. Others condemned the film’s “willful unpleasantness” and “rare, numbing emptiness” (we call that nihilism). Still others draw a connection between Joaquin Phoenix’s depiction of the character and the validation of “white male resentment” seen on the political right.

As an observer of social psychology, however, I saw Joker’s commentary on the phenomenon of collectivism (what another commentator called “de-individuation.”) The film’s true evil (the Big Bad, if you will) is a broken, frustrated society that latches onto random, almost purposeless acts of violence, imbues them with deeper meaning, and uses them as justification for mass violence and brutality. On the way to the car, Brad asked me “What was the political message?” and I didn’t find Joker to be a political movie. It’s a psychological one, showing the dangers of group action and the power of group narratives. Our son’s girlfriend was so impressed with my answer that the young folk asked the old folk to hang out and discuss it. This is a synopsis of about three hours of drinking coffee and three thinkers and a construction worker psycho-analyzing a fictional character.

In Joker, Gotham City is broken, but no one class or group shoulders the blame for the dysfunction. Arthur Fleck is failed by every level of society – mugged and beaten by a street gang, brutalized by rich young bankers, abandoned amid the de-funding of the public mental health care system, and permanently scarred by his own family. Lots of blame to go around. And yet, every class in Joker seeks to shift the blame for society’s woes. The rich denigrate the working class and the working class dehumanize the wealthy. A TV host (played by, ironically, Robert DeNiro) mercilessly teases Arthur, and all classes share the same glee at his televised failures.

In their desperate need to find someone else to blame, the masses of Gotham condemn “them” (I think they were “the one percent”). Society then elevates Arthur’s purposeless act of murder into kind of social rebellion. The populace knows zero significant details about the killing — no motive, circumstances or even the identity of the perpetrator — but imbues it with shared meaning. They’ve already constructed their narrative and will fit a random event to match it, and thus declare Joker a hero.

When Arthur’s identity is revealed in the movie’s climax, hordes of protesters are already ready to revolt. Another purposeless murder by Arthur sparks riots. On the brink of public suicide (akin to suicide by cop in mass shootings, perhaps), Arthur issues a rambling rant where he blames the elites for the state of Gotham, claims credit for the earlier killing, and decides to enjoy one last bit of senseless violence.

From a psychological perspective, Joker is an incredibly realistic and damning depiction of group dynamics. Unlike previous versions of the Joker by Heath Ledger and Jack Nicholson, Joaquin Phoenix’s Joker has no plans, no real motives, and no overarching point to make. He’s a victim of both circumstances and his own impotent rage. He doesn’t manipulate or use other people to achieve his ends, probably because he has no actual ends to achieve. In this version of Gotham, everyone is awful to everyone, and it is society that makes Joker what he is, not by their treatment of him, but through their mythologizing and romanticizing of his purposeless actions.

De-individuation is a phenomenon where crowds assume a collective identity and become willing to commit even the most heinous acts, as seen in the Stanford Prison Experiment, but also Nazi Germany, Communist China, the old Soviet Bloc states, and Southern slave plantations. De-individuation is seen when crowds assume a collective identity, diffuse individual responsibility among themselves, and become willing to commit mass riots and lynch mobs because they come to believe that simple numbers equate to moral action. The collective identities of de-individuated groups result in biased recollections and interpretations of events that devolve into horrifying violence.

This is exactly what happens in Joker. All Arthur Fleck does is commit relatively aimless murders and issue a relatively incoherent angry rant on television. The true villain of the movie is the broader society that latches onto these actions and words and imbues them with nonexistent meaning to justify their own crimes.

As a novelist, I recognize that fiction reflects reality. In the search for meaning amid an increasingly polarized and hostile political climate, groups come together and lionize monsters. While the mass murderers Che Guevara and Mao Zedong are praised by many on the political left, their self-aggrandizing brutality ignored in favor of the mythologized virtues of socialism and communism, the nationalist ideologies responsible for mass tragedy in the past are lauded by those on the political right. Feelings of disenfranchisement and resentment produce violent mobs on both ends of the political spectrum, hence Antifa and the Proud Boys.

Brad walked away from the film with a deep sense of discomfort. Call him “Everyman”. Like most American moviegoers, he prefers simple, somewhat cartoonish evil villains who he can assume are “the other” because they don’t prompt any self-reflection. None of us want to identify with the villain. We prefer to see a message against our ideological opponents rather than our own potential for immoral behavior. Brad served as our “normal” control as Keirnan, his girlfriend and I analyzed the movie at a hole-in-the-wall restaurant afterward.

We agreed that like the hordes of Gotham, we seek to villainize those who disagree with us while excusing the behavior of our in-groups. Such circumstances make instances of mass violence and de-individuation all the more likely.

Joker is not about Trump and the alt-right any more than it is about Antifa and the radical left. It is about the apolitical dangers of group de-individuation. We need such examples outside the psychology classroom because otherwise, the examples will be on the news. We’ve already seen it in the Antifa riots and Charlottesville. We need uncomfortable films like Joker to show us the dangers of grouping up and allowing apolitical psychological forces dictate our interactions with our fellow humans and, heaven forbid, our government policies.

Why Should I Care?   Leave a comment

This is Brad as Lela is away getting her brain expanded.

I didn’t, in the end, vote for Donald Trump, but I supported his candidacy for president. Lela talked me into casting a vote for Gary Johnson, but the fact is, I wish I’d voted for Trump. I think, if every voter who thought he’d shake up the system but felt intimidated by the Trump-haters so stayed home or cast a no-win vote had actually voted for him, he might have won the “popular” vote. Lela would be so proud of me for pointing out that this vote doesn’t exist … but it sure does seem to matter to a lot of people.

Some of those people are friends, who ask me why I still support Donald Trump as he crashes around the world risking wars, surrounded by FBI investigations at home and not delivering on Obamacare. How can I, an evangelical Christian, not reject him and wish I’d voted for Hillary?

Well, first … Hillary Clinton … you’re kidding, right? She failed to prevent four wars while she was Secretary of State … and those are just the ones we know about.

But why don’t I care about Stormy Daniels? Why aren’t I morally outraged by his cheating on his wife … with a porn star. Don’t I care that he paid off the porn star to keep her quiet until after the election? Where’s the moral outrage that surrounded Bill Clinton’s infidelities?

I think Melania Trump has every right to be angry with her husband. Lela would certainly make me pay if I embarrassed her in public in a similar fashion. But let’s face it. We’ve been here before. Kennedy, Clinton … Trump himself. He’s on his third wife and admits to be a serial philanderer. But the difference between Trump and Kennedy or Clinton is this alleged affair happened when he was a private citizen. In fact, there’s a 2011 interview with Ms Daniels where she confirms the encounter with then-Mr Trump.


We knew who he was when just about 50% of the voters put him in office. This isn’t news to me or my father or the many people I know who voted for him. These were the reasons Lela wouldn’t vote for him, while at the same time she acknowledges that the whole news now means very little to her. Trump is a cheesy clown reality star who likes to grub in the mud. We knew that before we elected him. He never promised us anything different and Trump voters didn’t care then. Why would we care now?


So when my friends try to label my continued support of President trump as some sort of numb moral surrender along with millions of others in a beaten populace, I don’t agree. I think we’re growing up and recognizing that politicians are not us. They are all corrupt in one way or another. What matters is how they do their job.




PBS and CNN keep saying Trump is doing everything wrong, but his missteps appear to be working. Those friends who question me about why I would support Trump are talking about expanded business in their area. Some of them work for corporations that gave out bonuses with their tax refund. Lela comes from her job telling me about how road permitting delays have been cut by 75%, saving millions on construction projects.

Kim of North Korea is willing to talk about giving up his nukes. Since GHW Bush, there’s been this strong idea that there had to be multi-lateral talks – seven ambassadors in a room to gang up on Kim — in order to make any progress with him … and they made no progress. Trump says he’ll meet with him personally and Kim starts talking about concessions. It’s too early to tell if that will be successful, but it sure seems like that has a potential for progress.

Israel is no longer being kept waiting in the lobby of the White House as they were during the Obama administration. It seems Trump has won over Japan and Taiwan, but he’s also brought the State of Alaska and the Chinese together on a potential gas pipeline and export agreement. Unlike Obama, whose red line was imaginary, Trump has put teeth to Syria’s throat, which Lela doesn’t like, but I think is a good idea.

So, if he’s doing his job well, despite almost monolithic opposition in the American press  … what do I care about a sexual affair from 12 years ago?

Posted April 24, 2018 by aurorawatcherak in politics, Uncategorized

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Grab the Guns & Then Worry About Due Process! Seriously?   1 comment

I made no secret of the fact that I thought Barack Obama was a wannabe dictator. I believe he thought the presidency gave him unlimited powers to do whatever he wanted and he entered office thinking that is exactly what he would do. I think he got real-world woke-up by incidents like Fast and Furious (otherwise known as the Gunwalker case) and he adjusted his tyranny accordingly, realizing that he needed at least to pretend to pay lip service to the Constitution.

President Donald Trump (courtesy haven’t gone after President Trump for his many forays into unconstitutional rule because he’d had plenty of detractors and I prefer to focus on the underlying principles of liberty rather than the politics of a particular policy.

Until today.

Apparently, in an Oval Office meeting with Congressional Democrats and Republicans, the Dictator in Chief announced that, for the good of everybody, he believes we should “go after the guns first and worry about due process later.”

Wow! I surely hope his base supporters are stunned and gathering rocks to begin the stoning. This has much further-reaching implications than just gun control. He’s proposing to violate the 4th, 5th and 6th amendments. Private property rights and due process are the backbones of American liberty and what sets us apart from many other countries. Lose those rights and … well, you haven’t got any rights left at that point.

So, folks, Trump supporters, wake up and smell the coffee burning. This guy that you elected hasn’t got a clue what rights mean. He’ll reach into your lives and take your means to defend yourselves — to defend your right to freedom of speech, religion, conscience, association and he’ll do it without ever going to court. Oh, yeah, he’s paying lip service to court at some point after he’s violated your rights … after your means to resist has been taken away.

The logical process here is evident. It’ll start with people who are actually dangerous, but it won’t stay there. President Obama wrote an executive order that said that anyone who received any sort of guidance in managing their disability benefits could not own a gun. It didn’t matter why and there are a whole lot of conditions where perfectly sane and safe people need help managing their disability benefits. He at least allowed for some form of due process, but you were disallowed from owning a gun until you’d been through the process. Trump rolled that back in the early days of his administration, but not because he cared about natural rights but because he had advisers who were pushing him to do it as an indication to his voter base that he actually cared about their lives.

So the die was already cast. First it starts with legitimately dangerous people. Their private property will be seized from them and they’ll have to fight through the courts to prove they should get their personal property back. Unlike a very difficult system where you wait to prove you can exercise your rights before you are allowed to, your property has been stolen and your rights suppressed and good luck getting either your property or your rights back. Anyone who has studied civil asset forfeiture knows that’s a fool’s errand.

But governmental mission creep never stays where it starts, so the administrative state will then start defining the meaning of dangerous downward. We saw that with Obama. If you need help with your benefits, you shouldn’t own a gun. Really? You have no right to the means to protect yourself against violent assault by criminals? Wow, way to make yet another disenfranchised victim group. Thank the Constitution he’s not our president anymore, but unfortunately his anti-rights stances still taint the Executive Branch. Under his administration, if you were a combat veteran, you were considered a potential terrorist. Ditto if you were a member of an evangelical church or someone who had espoused libertarian beliefs. And, trust me, the administrative state agrees with that assessment because it serves their purposes. It is a whole lot easier to control a disarmed country than a personally armed one.

But more than that – it starts with guns being taken without due process (and due process after the fact NEVER works out well for the poor person caught in the system) and then it grows from there. Houses, cars, children — we already have that going on at the state level, but this has the potential for rendering the Constitution null and void.

Come on, folks, remember why you voted for Trump in the first place? You didn’t want Hillary to continue the Obama era oppression and she was promising that she would. I suggested at the time that Trump was play-acting being a conservative and that we would regret that you voted him in.

We’re there now.

So don’t allow President Trump to get away with this. Call him on it! Demand that he protect our natural right to self-defense or promise him he’ll be out on his ear come 2020. He is under the mistaken impression that the voters will reward him for gun control and also violating our 4th, 5th and 6th amendment rights. Don’t let him get away with it.

Remember, there will be third parties running in 2020. You’re not stuck with two bad choices. Think out of the box and you might be pleasantly surprised at the benefits your rebellion fosters.

Key Points   Leave a comment

It appears the FBI relied on a dossier produced by an anti-Trump British spy, using Kremlin contacts to persuade a FISA court to issue a warrant to spy on Trump aide Carter Page. Christopher Steele produced this document while being paid to dig up dirt on Donald Trump by Hillary Clinton’s campaign.

The FBI put Steele on its own payroll, until they caught him lying about leaking to the media.

Image result for image of rod rosensteinOkay, so people make mistakes.

In their requests for search warrants, the FBI never told the FISA court judge their primary source was a 35-page dossier delivered by Steele that their own Director James Comey described as “salacious and unverified.” Comey, who made the call to exonerate Hillary of criminal charges for imperiling national security secrets, even before his own FBI investigation was concluded.

Assisting Comey was Deputy Director Andrew McCabe, whose wife, running for a Virginia state senate seat, received a windfall of $467,000 in contributions from Clinton bundler Terry McAuliffe. McCabe was discharged from the FBI several days ago. Seems that in late September 2016, the New York field office informed him it was sitting on a trove of emails between Anthony Weiner and his wife, Clinton aide Huma Abedin, which potentially contained security secrets. It’s unclear when McCabe told his boss Comey this information, but Comey didn’t tell Congress for a month.

Other FBI plotters were Peter Strzok, chief investigator in both the Clinton email server scandal and Russiagate, and his FBI girlfriend, Lisa Page. Both were ousted from the Mueller investigation when their anti-Trump bias and behavior were exposed last summer.

Then there was Bruce Ohr, associate deputy attorney general under Loretta Lynch. Ohr’s wife was working for Fusion GPS, the opposition research arm of the Clinton campaign in 2016, and Bruce was in direct contact with Steele.

Virtually all of this went down before Robert Mueller was named Special Counsel, but the legal principle “fruit of a poisonous tree” may just cast a cloud of suspicion over whatever charges Mueller will bring.

If Mueller has given up trying to prove Trump collusion with the Kremlin and moved on to obstruction of justice charges, Deputy Attorney Rod Rosenstein moves into the crosshairs.

Any obstruction scenario must center on Trump’s firing of James Comey and his boasting about why he did it, but not only did Rosenstein discuss firing Comey with Trump, he went back to Justice to produce the document to justify what the president had decided to do.

So, where does that leave us? If this were an ordinary situation, I’d say the Obama administration would be in trouble, but we all know that reality never seems to play a role in Washington DC investigations.

Posted February 19, 2018 by aurorawatcherak in Ruling class

Tagged with , , ,

Why Do We Focus on A Person Instead of What Matters?   1 comment

When Bill Clinton was president,  he was taking the country in a direction that many of us were uncomfortable with. This created push-back. The conservative movement had been around for a long time as a group of writers and commentators who mostly talked among themselves, but hadn’t real political power over the 20 years of its existence. In the prior few years since Reagan had set aside the decidedly-unfair Fairness Doctrine, conservative talk radio had given them a larger voice and wakened up a lot of people to the difference between what they valued and what Bill Clinton wanted.

Image result for image of donald trumpThe conservative push-back against Bill Clinton resulted in the Republican takeover of the House of Representatives for the first time since 1940. And for a brief exciting time, we saw principles being discussed. As a young mother struggling to raise our daughter while my husband was in school, it was exciting to hear that those on welfare would now be expected to work if they wanted to receive benefits and that there would be limits set on how long they could receive those benefits. I could hope my taxes (what the government was stealing from my paycheck to give to these deadbeats — and yeah, they were deadbeats) might go down eventually.

But something happened. The conversation shifted from principles (reducing government, spending less, taxing less, taking responsibility for your own life) to a person – Bill Clinton. Make no mistake, Bill Clinton isn’t a good guy. He’s a sexual predator. There’s certainly been plenty of evidence looked at and ignored over the years that he and Hillary are crooks. That is not my point. I want to understand why we started talking about what he was doing while president rather than about how his policies were affecting us and why we needed to change those policies?

I think it has something to do with the danger to the State of that line of thinking. The last thing any president wants is to have his power curtailed and that’s where the conservative conversation would have eventually led. As people rediscovered the Founders and read the Constitution, people were beginning to understand that the power of the presidency had grown incredibly over the last 100 years. And understanding that might lead to the people demanding the presidency be scaled back to Founding Era power levels.

The co-opting of the conservative movement was subtle and it certainly had help from Bill Clinton’s sexual immorality, but we’ve not really moved beyond that dynamic. When Bush 2 was president, the liberal-progressives mostly talked about him. They hated him, even though it is hard to see why. He expanded federal control over the local education systems. He expanded Medicare. He gave them a lot of pet projects they’d been dreaming of since the 1994 Contract of America had set them back on their heels. But despite him giving them what they wanted, they hated him.

The other day on Twitter someone posted that “evangelical Christians have gotten over Trump’s sinful ways, but they still haven’t gotten over Obama being black.” I called baloney on that. I never cared about Obama being black. I don’t know any (white) evangelical Christians who are racists and cared about the color of his skin. They objected to his policies and you can be against the policies of a president without it being racial. Obama’s policies STANK for the middle- and working-classes. We were drowning and he was throwing us anchors that shut down the businesses that paid us to work for them rather than lifelines that would keep us afloat until the economy recovered. That had nothing to do with the color of his skin and everything to do with how his policies were affecting us.

So, now Donald Trump is president. I don’t like him personally (which is why I didn’t vote for him). But some of his policies seem to have had a great effect on the economy and that helps many evangelical Christians who are working- and -middle-class. So many of them are willing to ignore who he is as a person and support him because of his policies. Heck, if this economy continues, he might get my vote in 2020.

But probably not simply because there are other policies of his that I object to and I am a policy voter. I didn’t vote for Mitt Romney because his policies didn’t match my values. Did I think he would be better for the economy than Barack Obama? No, not really. He would have gone even further into Obamacare and probably tweaked it so it “succeeded”  until most people began to think they couldn’t live without it. I’m all about people being responsible for themselves, so I didn’t like Mitt Romney, the Republican socialist, so I didn’t vote for him.

I do have a point with this post. The problem with politics is not really with who we have in the White House. It’s taken a long time for me to get to this place, but I’ve come to understand that the presidency itself is the problem with government and has been pretty much from the beginning. It has too much power. It can write its own laws through executive orders. It has so many loopholes where it doesn’t have to work with Congress to get things done. It doesn’t matter if there’s a Republican in the office or a Democrat. Both have too much power and they follow policies that harm people. It’s a problem with the Institution of the Presidency not with the guy or gal who sits in the leather seat behind the nice desk in the uniquely shaped office.

What If You Passed A Test … And Nobody Cared?   Leave a comment

I like tests. Puzzles fascinate me. I don’t even mind cognitive tests because I used to work for a mental health agency and so they don’t scare me.

Image result for image of trump's cognitive test resultsThe news that President Trump passed a mental acuity test was welcome news. I think the country is better off if the president doesn’t have Alzheimer’s. And a 30 out of 30 score indicates that he doesn’t.

By the way, most 71-year-olds could not score a 30 out of 30. In fact, many people in their middle-years would struggle with reverse serial sevens. I can’t pass that particular one without counting on my fingers. How do I know? Brad, Keirnan and I took the test last night.

Keirnan is 19 and suffers from bipolar, so he’s been through this test once before — and scored a 30 out of 30. The doctor was so amazed that he could do reverse serial sevens from 100 into the negatives that he just let him go until Keirnan said he needed water to continue. The kid has a diagnosed mental illness, but he doesn’t have dementia or any other sort of cognitive disorder. And bipolar, with appropriate medication, doesn’t really negatively affect his life. It’s just something he has to manage – like if you have diabetes or asthma. That attitude toward mental illness as a condition that can be managed comes from familiarity with mental illness.

Brad sucks at remembering sequences of numbers. So do I. I often can’t remember a phone number long enough to dial it — which is why I write them down — and have since I was about 15 years old. I passed the immediate recall on the assessment and the delayed recall because I knew it was important to remember them. Brad, however, flunked the delayed recall question. It doesn’t mean he has dementia. He didn’t flunk the assessment overall, just that one section.

I didn’t do so well on the tap for the letter A. It’s deliberately hard and none of us did well on it, though we all passed. Keirnan almost lost a point on it because Brad was saying the letters way too fast and he made two errors which is still allowable to get a perfect score.

So, the results of our tests mean very little. It was a fun exercise and we now understand what President Trump was tested on. We know that none of the four of us has dementia.

Well, our family knows that, but I think we knew it before we took the test. President Trump’s supporters are probably relieved that what they thought was true has been proven true, but his detractors don’t care.

“Well, this is a really easy test,” someone on the radio said while I was brushing my teeth this morning.

Yeah, if you’re mentally fit, it is an easy test. If you have dementia, it’s not.

“There are other tests that would show his mental fitness better.”

Yeah. there are. If I were President Trump, I’d request a full psychological assessment. They take about two hours and they include some of the same questions as the Montreal Cognitive Assessment. They would detect mental illness such as bipolar, schizophrenia and major depression and they would also indicate whether screening for personality disorders is in order.

I don’t think anyone seriously believes a successful businessman in his 70s has been a schizophrenic for decades. But that doesn’t matter to his detractors. Even if he took a full psychological assessment, they’d insist the results were wrong. And of course, they’d insist he be assessed for “Narcissistic Personality Disorder”.

Let’s talk about that for a moment. First, it’s not a disease. It’s a spectrum of personality traits. Most people fall somewhere on the scale. I took the assessment and I scored in the bottom 30. I took the test as if I were Donald Trump and he scores pretty high on the scale. According to the psychiatrists I worked with, so does Barack Obama and George W. Bush, Lincoln, George Washington, John F. Kennedy, Bill Gates, Steve Jobs, Angela Merkel, Elon Musk, every psychiatrist except the one you’re speaking to at the moment, and almost all of the actors in Hollywood.

Basically, anyone with any self-esteem at all will score at least at the lower end of the scale. That doesn’t mean they are crippled by NPD. It means they know their worth and there’s nothing wrong with that. If they don’t know their worth, there’s another personality disorder they might qualify for.

People who aspire to be President of the United States typically score in the top 70% of this scale. Why? Because it takes a lot of chutzpah to believe you can be one of the most powerful people in the world and do the job competently. Some of these narcissists were so certain they’re right that they declared independence from Britain and founded a whole new country. Others decide to challenge NASA in the space race or create a company that dominates the tech world. A narcissist found a way to stop the scourge of polio. Some day a series of narcissists will cure cancer. Narcissism, evidenced by the belief that God was on her side, allowed Mother Theresa to minister to the poor of Calcutta and eventually be named a saint.

Look behind almost every successful and well-known person and you will find a degree of narcissism. But that doesn’t matter to Trump’s detractors. They don’t see that their own idols were often as narcissistic or more than the object of their Derangement Syndrome. They don’t care what the truth is, they only want what they want …

Which is itself a sign of scoring pretty high on the Narcissistic Personality Disorder spectrum.

Yeah. It doesn’t surprise me that it’s mostly the young and liberal who hate Trump to the degree that they don’t care what the tests say about his mental fitness. Baby boomers, who themselves scored higher than their parents on the scale of narcissism, raised a generation of raging narcissists. Everywhere you turn, you find scores of people who believe they have a “right” to other people’s stuff because they’re “special.” That narcissistic trait is a liberal ideal and I find most liberals to be at least moderately narcissistic. They believe they know better than everyone else how we all should live our lives and they cannot be dissuaded from that belief. They will do anything to force others to comply with what they consider to be best practices.

So, maybe it’s not surprising that they are allergic to everything Donald Trump does. Narcissists usually can’t stand to be in the room with other narcissists. It steals the limelight from them. It explains, to a certain degree, the conservative opposition to Barack Obama, himself a raging narcissist. Conservatives also believe that they know better than everyone else how we should all live our lives. It pissed them off that Obama thought he knew better.

Which brings the question — in this day where nobody knows humility, can anyone actually lead us? And should they try?

My fear is that a society of narcissists would have a good deal of trouble staying out of each other’s business without a government to impose some boundaries and, yet, as long as they have a government, they will seek to use it to insinuate themselves into everyone’s business.


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