Wednesday, February 27, 2019

Hypocrites and Scoundrels

You can't complain about Cohen's unreliability and dishonesty on the one hand and defend Trump (in spite of his well documented dishonesty and unreliability) on the other. Not, and be taken seriously.

Indeed, reasonable people and history will call you out as a defender of lies and atrocities. A hypocrite. A scoundrel.

They're saving a place for you on the garbage heap of history, GOP defenders of this administration. And, Lord willing, it won't be long.

Tuesday, February 19, 2019

On the Reasonable Opposition to this Current Administration

Some on the Right keep referring to opposition to Trump amongst liberals to be indicative of "Trump Derangement Syndrome," as if to say there were no rational, moral, just reasons to stand strongly opposed to this administration.

The reality is, of course, this is just not true. Disgust and concern about this particular president are reasonable, given...

* his unending false claims,
* his attacks on the press,
* his objectification and harassment and assault of women (all of which is based on HIS OWN testimony, he who boasts about bedding married women, ogling half naked teen-aged girls in a dressing room he used/abused his position of power and wealth to gain entry to, who boasts about assaulting women, grabbing them by the crotch and being able to get away with it because of his fame, wealth and power! These are his OWN words, not scurrilous unsubstantiated rumors),
* his famous loathing and distrust of reading, experts, scholars and science,
* his clear moral failings - from his self-confessed greed, to his cheating of employees, his cheating on his multiple wives, etc, etc...

None of these faults are secrets or hidden knowledge. None of this is made up attacks by liberals. Most of it is just based on his own words and boasts. And the fact is, it's NOT just liberals who note all these very real failings. Unknown numbers of conservatives have made the same observations... including prominent GOP and conservative politicians, promoters, supporters and scholars/thinkers.

The Wikipedia list of Never Trumpers runs into the hundreds of prominent conservative republicans who would not vote for him in the general election and who have opposed him, pretty strongly.…/List_of_Republicans_who_opposed_…

And here is a small sampling of what some of these conservatives have had to say about the fundamental unfitness for office of this man...

CONSERVATIVE George Will, on Trump...

"It is urgent for Americans to think and speak clearly about President Trump’s inability to do either."

"This seems to be not a mere disinclination but a disability. It is not merely the result of intellectual sloth but of an untrained mind bereft of information and married to stratospheric self-confidence."

Trump, who he says has a "combination of impulsivity and credulity" that makes him "uniquely unfit to take the nation into a military conflict."

CONSERVATIVE General Colin Powell, on Trump...

Powell called Trump a "national disgrace" and "international pariah"

"Yup, the whole birther movement was racist,"

"I don't know that he can do that [be a moral leader]... because right now that is not the way he is acting..."

On the media attacks. "How can a president of the US get up and say that the media is the enemy of Americans...?"

THE CONSERVATIVE Weekly Standard has called Trump...

“a serial liar,” “a singularly dishonest figure,” an egomaniac who can’t help boasting that his nuclear button is “bigger” than Kim Jong-un’s (or do his small hands just make it look bigger?), a policy ignoramus, an ingrate, an adulterer, a president distinguished by the “sheer volume” of his “crazy statements and actions.”

CONSERVATIVE Andrew Sullivan on Trump...

Sullivan saw America, a country that “has never been so ripe for tyranny,” following the same path, with Trump as the upper-class traitor rallying the envious, frustrated masses against the political establishment in order to make himself ruler. Sullivan is sounding a different alarm these days. The danger Trump presents is not fascism—he is too scatter-brained for that—but incompetence and buffoonery. By January 2018, in the same magazine, he was seconding Wolff’s warning of the White House’s “chaos and dysfunction” and comparing the President to a drunk driver lucky enough not to have crashed...yet.

"we knew that people in the White House had leaked it, in both an astonishing betrayal of confidence, and a clear attempt to warn the country of the unique danger this unfit president poses."

CONSERVATIVE Max Boot, on Trump...

"it’s time for President Donald Trump to be removed from office via the 25th Amendment because he is clearly “unable to discharge the powers and duties of his office.”

“I was outraged when he came down the escalator at Trump Tower, denouncing Mexicans as rapists and drug dealers, and my outrage has not diminished at all since.”

THE CONSERVATIVE Open Letter in opposition to Trump (there were at least two versions from dozens (~122) of conservative experts on foreign policy), on Trump...

"...we are united in our opposition to a Donald Trump presidency...

His vision of American influence and power in the world is wildly inconsistent and un-moored in principle...

His embrace of the expansive use of torture is inexcusable...

His hateful, anti-Muslim rhetoric undercuts the seriousness of combating Islamic radicalism...

his insistence that Mexico will fund a wall on the southern border inflames unhelpful passions, and rests on an utter misreading of, and contempt for, our southern neighbor...

He is fundamentally dishonest...

We commit ourselves to working energetically to prevent the election of someone so utterly unfitted to the office." 

There was a second letter on similar themes that included...

“He weakens U.S. moral authority as the leader of the free world. He appears to lack basic knowledge about and belief in the U.S. Constitution, U.S. laws, and U.S. institutions, including religious tolerance, freedom of the press, and an independent Judiciary..."

The letter predicted that Trump would be the “most reckless President in American history.”

Asked in 2018 about that letter (written in the 2016 campaign), one of its signers has said...
“I think every word has turned out to be true, and worse.”
I could go on and on with conservative after conservative raising grave concerns about the basic unfitness for office of this con man. Of course.

So, for those who see and recognize all of Trump's very obvious failings and who have decided that the lies, the sexism, the racism, the cheating, the ignorance, the greed, the petty vindictiveness, the lack of experience and knowledge and just basic human decency... who see all that and have decided, "Well, I can STILL support him... all of those lines that he has crossed are not THAT serious that I couldn't still support him..." well, that's on you.

But I'm asking you to have the integrity to frame the opposition to Trump in an honest manner... people of good will from across the political spectrum have looked at these obvious reasonable, temperamental and moral failings and have decided that these are lines that MUST not be crossed and thus, we must oppose him and his agenda. NOT because of mindless hatred, but based on concern about these very serious moral failings. It simply isn't mindless liberal ill will and hatred, not in the real world.

NOTE: I'm just stating some reasonable points here, and I'm not looking for any real discussion (either from those who'd want to criticize the un-thinking conservatives who wrongly mischaracterize  the motivations of WHY people oppose Trump, nor from Conservatives. However, IF any conservatives wish to comment here, they may, but I request that they begin with acknowledging a few realities:

* Given the reality that this president regularly repeatedly makes false claims and attacks the media with false accusations, AND
* Given his deplorable behavior towards women and teen-aged girls...

It is not unreasonable to be strongly opposed to this administration. I understand the notion that there are some lines that ought not be crossed and, while I may disagree with the notion that Trump has crossed multiple lines, I recognize the reality that people from across the political spectrum DO believe this in good conscience.

Further, I will gladly concede the reality that many/most of these same people who think Trump has crossed multiple lines would ALSO oppose a Democrat who crossed the same lines. That is, if Ralph Jones is the next Democratic candidate for president and Ralph makes multiple false claims nearly every single day and of the sort of false claims that Trump has made AND if Ralph also made a habit of calling the press the enemy of the people AND if Ralph also laughed about using his wealth and privilege and power to behave as Trump has towards women and girls... IF all of that were true (or even part of it!), I recognize that Dan and those like him would also oppose this Democrat candidate, because for Dan and people like him, it's about the behavior, NOT about the partisan politics.

If you can agree with these basic realities, you may comment here.

If you can't agree with these realities, then you're not agreeing with reality and I don't think anything you have to say will further the conversation.

Wednesday, February 13, 2019

Power Corrupts... Men?

I've been doing some reading on the research about gender differences in levels of corruption in positions of power. There appears to be some smattering of evidence from different research that suggests (as many of us, no doubt, would suspect) that women in positions of power tend to have less corruption.

Again: Women in positions of power tend to have less corruption in the gov't (or office) than when men are in positions of power.

Important note: The research, thus far, does NOT appear to be saying that Women are Less Corrupt than men, or that women are inherently purer/better than men (although, that certainly has been my experience... just saying'!)... it's just noting that when women are in positions of power, there tends to be less corruption.

Other research I've read suggests that testosterone has an effect on tendencies towards corruption and, since men have more testosterone than women, they tend to be more corrupt. But that's not a conclusive finding, just some data that's out there and a theory that's floating.

I'll cite some of the readings I've done below.

It COULD be that, because women have had the option of being in positions of power, that they have just not yet grown as corrupt as men tend to sometimes grow and that, given time, they will become more corrupt. 

It COULD be that the women who try to gain positions of power are doing so specifically to promote our better ideals of human rights, freedom from oppression, etc (as opposed to running on themes of "shrinking gov't," or "reclaiming our way of life," or "tax relief for the wealthy, cuz... trickle down...," for instance).

We just don't yet know.

It sounds like the research is not conclusive. However, as the first article cited below notes, at worst, there appears to be NO negative effects that result from electing/hiring more women to positions of power in terms of corruption and, at best, there is an improvement.

Add that research and information to the reality that women and other minorities are way under-represented in positions of power and I say we have a compelling case to make 2019, 2020, 2021 and beyond some Years of Women (along with other Minorities!)

Get out and vote.

[Caveat: This does not need to be said for anyone with an adult level of reasoning or understanding, but OF COURSE, this does not mean vote for women, even if they have no great wisdom or appropriate expertise or moral character or honest, etc. Of course, no one would argue that, and only a simpleton would feel the need to bring that up, I'd hope... or perhaps, a charlatan.]


"Importantly, the study does not find that women are “inherently less corrupt” than men, and found no correlation found between corruption and gender in other occupations. Some critics worry that as equality improves, women will get more corrupt as they become ingrained in the existing political structures and networks. However, the study found that there is a stronger negative correlation between corruption and women’s representation in parliament in countries with higher equality. Thus, the policy-making role is what enables women “to impact corruption,” not some inherent difference between the moral character of women and men.

Overall, the study shows that another benefit of promoting gender equality is reducing corruption in politics."

[The article also notes that the places with least corruption are also the places with most gender equity, so, go figure... Interesting reading, below... ~Dan]

“When people with high testosterone are given social power, they start to believe they are entitled to special treatment and that they can exploit others for their own purposes. This means they don’t think the rules, even the law, apply to them; they can play by their own rules...”

Tuesday, February 12, 2019

Transitive Property, Basic Reason. Rational Consistency and Shit...

Someone was asking me a question, having a problem with some basic understanding of basic reasoning, so I'm just pointing to the transitive property to help them understand.

IF Dan opposes racism, and
IF Mr X supports/fans racism,
THEN Dan opposes Mr X

IF Dan opposes anti-Semitism, and
IF Ms Y supports anti-Semitism,
THEN Dan opposes Ms Y.

It doesn't matter how many substitutes one gives for the second condition, Dan will still oppose racism/sexism/anti-Semitism.

That is, it doesn't matter...

IF Dan opposes sexual assault, and
IF a GOP politician commits sexual assault,
THEN Dan opposes that GOP politician


IF Dan opposes sexual assault, and
IF a DEMOCRAT politician commits sexual assault,
THEN Dan opposes that DEMOCRAT politician


IF Dan opposes sexual assault, and
IF a Green politician commits sexual assault,
THEN Dan opposes that Green politician

It doesn't matter WHO you insert into the middle condition, Dan is opposed to the bad/harmful behavior, and thus, will always be opposed to that behavior.

It's really not difficult to understand.

So, having said all that, if someone says to me, "But what if it were a Libertarian politician who committed sexual assault... THEN would you oppose them?"

The question is a stupid one and has already been answered. WHY? Because I've already made it clear that I'm opposed to sexism, slavery, racism, sexual assault, etc... there's no need to ask what has already been answered, because I'm consistent on my opposition to harm.

Now, IF you are a pathetic partisan hack who SOMETIMES opposes sexual impropriety (i.e., when it is a person not in your group/party), but SOMETIMES gives a pass to sexual impropriety (i.e., when it is a person IN your group/party), THEN asking them to clarify is rational.

But I'm not inconsistent that way.

Ultra conservative fundamentalist type, Al Mohler, has pointed out that the GOP/conservatives who support Trump have lost their credibility and any sense of high moral ground as/when they've embraced Trump but opposed Clinton for much less sexual impropriety, he isn't wrong. He's pointing out the petty hypocrisy of such immoral and irrational conservatives, and rightly so.

But I'm not them.

So, go ahead, ask me if I'm opposed to slavery (or sexism, or sexual assault, etc) if it's THIS person, but don't be surprised if I just laugh at your inability to understand reason and reality and laugh off your hypocrisy and irrationality.

Saturday, February 9, 2019

WTF, Virginia Democrats?!

From a CNN news story about the recent revelations in Virginia politics about top leaders in the Democrat Party...

"While we believe that anyone accused of such a grievous and harmful act must receive the due process prescribed by the Constitution, we can't see it in the best interest of the Commonwealth of Virginia for the Lieutenant Governor to remain in his role," the group added.

Late Friday night, both of Virginia's powerful Democratic US senators -- Tim Kaine and Mark Warner -- called on Fairfax to resign in separate statements.

US Rep. Bobby Scott, a Viginia Democrat who sources tell CNN was approached by initial Fairfax accuser Vanessa Tyson a year ago with her allegation of assault, said that if either allegation against Fairfax is true, he must resign.

"The recent allegations against Lt Governor Fairfax are disturbing and extremely serious," Scott tweeted. "Both allegations must be investigated immediately. If either is found to be true -- and there appears to be significant corroborating evidence -- then the Lt Governor should resign immediately."
Former Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe called for Fairfax to resign soon after Watson's allegations surfaced, something he did not do after Tyson's allegations were made public in a lengthy, detailed statement.

"The allegations against Justin Fairfax are serious and credible," McAuliffe said in a statement. "It is clear to me that he can no longer effectively serve the people of Virginia as Lieutenant Governor. I call for his immediate resignation."


Yay, Democrats, holding people accountable and taking credible charges seriously. Good for you.

Lead the way, by example. SOMEone has to.

Yet another serious sign as to why we MUST start voting for women in serious numbers - their representation should be at least 50% in political offices, given their representation in the population. And, given the very bad history that so many men in power have of abusing power, I'd suggest it's time for something like more than 50% representation of women and minorities.

The White Guys had a good run. It's time to release the power that white men have enjoyed/abused for so long and for, we the people, to give women, people of color, gay folk, transgender folk, and immigrants a turn, see if they can manage to avoid the temptation of letting power corrupt.