Political Musings

About the Category: Donald Trump’s hallmark behaviors include hypocritical speech, paranoia, projection, and bullying. It seems unlikely that his personality will change once he is in the White House. Time permitting, look here for on-going documentation of such behavior including links to insightful and/or humorous responses to Trump’s antics.

Give President Trump a Chance? I Did, We Are Done

Over the past few months the refrain, “give Donald Trump a chance,” has been bandied about by a few friends and colleagues.

As the less powerful member of the president-citizen dynamic, I thought it was Trump’s job to reach out to me and let me know he would be my president too.

But regardless of my bristling at being told to “give him a chance”, nobody would have been happier than I to learn that Trump wasn’t in favor of class warfare (against the poor and middle class), gender warfare (against women), and race/ ethnic warfare (against minorities). His actions and words during the general election indicated this is where he stood but perhaps he was just playing his side against common decency.

So here we are, Trump’s first Monday in the Oval Office. Let’s see what he has been up to (and to be more than fair let’s skip past his self-aggrandizing authoritarian speech at the CIA on Saturday and his “alternative” facts about inauguration crowd size that he spun all weekend through Sean Spicer). Let’s just focus on policy:

Trump vs. Hard-Working Americans… Get Ready to Spend More on Your Home Loan

About 1 million households were going to be eligible for $500 annually of relief on mortgage insurance premiums through the Federal Housing Administration (FHA) loan program that boosts the economy by helping lower-income and first-time home buyers purchase homes. The Obama Administration put this relief in place because the Fund which oversees the insurance had, “recovered from the financial crisis almost a decade ago.”

This had been intended as a way to get first-time and lower-income home buyers a little financial relief when purchasing a home. Trump undid this measure as his first official act. Trump officials did not respond to Reuter’s questions about the reasons for the policy reversal. So much for his man-of-the-people campaign promises.

Get the Details: Rueters, As Trump takes over, U.S. ends plan to cut mortgage premiums

Trump vs. Women Around the World… The Global Gag Rule is On

The news is just breaking (1/23/2017) that Trump will reimpose the Global Gag Order.

First imposed under former President Ronald Reagan, the rule prohibits groups getting U.S. aid abroad from providing abortions or counseling patients about abortions, even if their funds for those activities come from other sources.
– Reuters

While abortion is itself an important health care service, this rule will also mean many aid organizations will have less money to provide cancer screenings, flu shots, and other reproductive health services (birth control, pre-natal care, etc.) to women in developing nations.

Get the Details: Reuters, RPT-Women’s rights face a daunting new year worldwide, campaigners warn

Trump vs. Racial/ Ethnic Minorities… Voter Rights, On Hold

The Department of Justice (DOJ) was to be in court on Tuesday, January 24 trying to undo Texas voter suppression law SB14. Previous rulings on SB14 declared and upheld that:

…the record as a whole (including… the legislator’s knowledge that SB 14 would clearly impact minorities disproportionately and likely disenfranchise them) shows that SB 14 was racially motivated.

Trump’s DOJ is not so sure that this is a problem (disenfranchising minorities has been a key part of GOP strategy for decades) and they’ve asked for some more time on this issue to get their argument in order. So I guess we should just sit around and wait for Donald Trump and his nominee to head the DOJ, Jefferson Beauregard Sessions III, to fight for the voting rights of minorities. Does anyone want to place a bet on Donald Trump and Jefferson Beauregard fighting against voter suppression of minorities?

Get the Details: The RMS, Trump Justice Department moves to delay Texas voting rights case

Meryl Streep, Donald Trump, Meghan McCain, & Samantha Bee! All in One Post!

The Backstory: Meryl Streep was given the Cecil B. DeMille Award at the 2017 Golden Globes. During her acceptance speech she spoke her mind about Donald Trump and the 2016 presidential election. The full contents of the speech were published by the New York Times. Streep spoke about how much the election of Trump hurt her heart. She spoke about how Trump’s mocking of a disabled reporter offers implicit permission to bullies everywhere to behave at their worst.

The Response: Many responses came Meryl Streep’s way following her statement. Some folks applauded her bravery for speaking up. Some folks confronted her for using her award as a platform for making a political statement. One comment stood out from the rest and that was a tweet from Meghan McCain (daughter of Arizona Senator John McCain):

The Problem: There are a couple of problems with Meghan McCain’s tweet. First, it is a problem that Meghan McCain might be right. So what then? Is Meryl Streep supposed to say nothing when she feels and sees indecency from her president-elect? Is Meghan McCain not supposed to point out what she feels and sees the consequence of speaking up to be? If anti-intellectuals have a problem with Meryl Streep articulately speaking from a place of goodness and decency then America’s in some serious trouble – and it appears it is.

The second problem is that Meghan McCain is part of the problem. Who knows what her intentions were when sending the tweet but it seems like McCain was telling Streep to shut up about Donald Trump’s indecency because it was just inciting more indecent people to his defense. McCain’s position highlights the problem with pretty much all Republicans right now — they’ve lost their moral compass so entirely that they have lost all touch with American values like standing up for the oppressed and basic decency. Let’s assume that Meghan McCain has some basic level of morality. Then she should know Donald Trump is morally challenged and that Meryl Streep’s assessment (even if you don’t agree with where she said it) is spot on. And yet Meghan McCain’s tweet did not decry an America where anti-intellectuals are so screwed up that they cannot hear legitimate criticism of Donald Trump without freaking out.

The Satirist: Samantha Bee got embroiled in the Meryl Streep – Donald Trump saga as only Samantha Bee could. Please enjoy this Full Frontal take on Donald Trump tweeting reviews of Meryl Streep movies.

Donald Trump’s Silver Spoon Success

While we live in an era where facts are often challenged, it is an unquestioned fact that Donald J. Trump was born into a very wealthy family. He was raised with wealth and privilege. When he got started in business, he did not do it all on his own – he “borrowed” millions of dollars from his father. He worked for his father and shared in some portion of a huge inheritance when his father passed away. Since Donald Trump hasn’t released his taxes, it is unclear as to the exact number but Trump has likely received millions from his father and his father’s estate (Marco Rubio claimed $200 million at the Feb 25, 2016 GOP debate).

There is nothing wrong with being born to a wealthy family. I would have been happy to have been born with a silver spoon in my mouth. However, the nepotism that comes with such a birthright does blur the lines between achieved success and given fortune. In 1974 Fred Trump made Donald the president of his real estate company and overnight Donald Trump’s net worth increased by around $40 million. This makes me think of the expression, “sometimes it is better to be lucky, than to be good.” Donald was certainly lucky but there is some question as to whether he is actually good at business.

The Problem: Trump supporters have claimed that Donald Trump will be a great president because he is great at business, evidenced by his great wealth. But that conclusion might not pass muster. Since Trump has been less than transparent with his financials it is equally likely that Trump is an incompetent business man whose wealth is exaggerated and built on a bedrock of questionable business deals and outright theft. If that is the case, then we, the American people, should be very concerned with how we will be “doing business” with the rest world.

As Politifact states:

And while Trump is quick to boast that his purported billions prove his business acumen, his net worth is almost unknowable given the loose standards and numerous outright misrepresentations he has made over the years. In that 2007 deposition, Trump said he based estimates of his net worth at times on “psychology” and “my own feelings.” But those feelings are often wrong—in 2004, he presented unaudited financials to Deutsche Bank while seeking a loan, claiming he was worth $3.5 billion. The bank concluded Trump was, to say the least, puffing; it put his net worth at $788 million, records show. (Trump personally guaranteed $40 million of the loan to his company, so Deutsche coughed up the money. He later defaulted on that commitment.)

And it is worth mentioning a 2015 article from the The National Journal by S.V. Date that argues, “by putting his inheritance into the stock market back in the 1970s, Trump might have been ‘really rich’ without all the drama.”

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