Noblesse Oblige

I went to the Post Office to mail a bill this afternoon.
You’re not allowed to park — or even stop — in the drive right in front of the door, but that was OK with me. It was a little crowded in the parking lot, but in a minute I found a spot not too far from the building, parked and went in. I dropped my envelope in the slot, which always gives you a good feeling of accomplishment, doesn’t it? Then, because there was nobody else in the place, I went over to the counter and bought some stamps. Boom! Two errands done!
 
As I walked out the door I spotted a guy, Hispanic, work clothes, 55-ish, starting to walk across the drive, heading for the Post Office. Just our little community, running errands, mailing bills, doing stuff. In another ten steps we would have crossed paths. But we didn’t because just at that moment a very handsome gentleman, well-dressed, distinguished salt-and-pepper hair, rolled up in a black hundred thousand dollar AMG Mercedes, blocking both of us from proceeding.
 
Handsome Dude stopped in the no-stopping zone, zipped down his driver side window and waved a couple of envelopes at the man on foot. I couldn’t hear what was said, but the man on foot took the envelopes, waited for the Benz to move away, and proceeded into the P.O., presumably to run his own errand and the big shot’s errand, too. The big shot watched carefully, to make sure his ad hoc emissary followed orders and didn’t open his mail.
 
I don’t hate rich people. I have rich friends. At least they seem rich to me. But if you don’t have two minutes to mail your own fucking letters, and you think strangers on the street should be willing, or maybe grateful for the chance, to do your petty little chores, maybe you have been too rich for too long.
 
My Big Regret for today is that I didn’t ask the guy in the Benz if he wanted me to take his dry cleaning, but I never think of those things in time.

Is the Second Amendment Really the Last Word on Gun Rights?

Supreme Court Justice John Paul Stevens
Supreme Court Justice John Paul Stevens

Here’s another reason to vote IN EVERY ELECTION, especially the one in November of this year.

After slow-walking President Obama’s judicial appointments for eight years, Republicans are now packing the federal courts with right-wing judges, who will be making decisions about how you may live your life for the next 30 or 40 years. These are lifetime appointments and a handful of these judges will one day sit on the Supreme Court, and make further partisan decisions about gun proliferation in the United States.

In our 250-year history, it has only been ten years since a slim majority of the Supreme Court misread the 2nd Amendment and decided that everybody has a right to own a gun of any kind. That could change if we VOTE THE REPUBLICANS OUT NOW!

At New York Magazine, Ed Kilgore sheds light on how we might one day recover from the damage of the 2008 Heller decision:

Not So Long Ago, the Second Amendment Didn’t Guarantee the Right to Own a Gun

Nothing Is Sacred

I have tried to write this three times now.

There is so much B.S. surrounding the Trump Condolence Call Controversy that I keep getting sidetracked trying to include all of it. Here’s what I want to say: John Kelly is a dinosaur, and his defense of Trump is dishonest at best.

He says it’s a “sacred” thing to join the U.S. military. Of course he thinks so — he’s been in the Marines all his life. He doesn’t know better. All those young people have their reasons for joining, but it’s absurd to call it sacred. The army represents mankind’s worst failure — the failure to figure out a way to come together in peace. No doubt this was not on the minds of enlistees, but that just goes to show the pervasive influence of patriotic thinking.

Kelly and Trump have both said they knew what they were signing up for, but those kids couldn’t know what they were signing up for. No kid thinks s/he is ever going to die, much less get blown up or torn to pieces by machine gun fire. Snap out of it, General. They are not engaged in a “sacred” mission. Whatever they may think they are doing, you and I know they are defending our right to rule the world. I suppose you could call that a “sacred mission.” But honorable? Maybe not.

Kelly says the people around his son and the four who were killed two weeks ago were “the best people on earth.” How the hell does he know that? No doubt some were great people and some were assholes, but Kelly is telling us that simply by virtue of their participation in the U,S. military, they are sainted.

General Kelly also spent a little time waxing nostalgic about the place of women in the good old days, saying they were “looked upon with great honor.” Who knows why he brought that up, but could any public figure be more out of touch with the reality women have faced and continue to face in this country, from casual sexual harassment to unequal pay and treatment in the workplace? We have a long way to go in this regard, but even though we’ve made some progress Kelly seems to think women were better off in the past.

Kelly also took the opportunity to attack Florida Congresswoman Frederica Wilson on bogus grounds, which she easily refuted the following day with video evidence. To be clear, I don’t think he was lying about the congresswoman. He probably got misinformation from a staffer in the White House, someone who long ago lost sight of the difference between fact and fiction.

The victim here seems to be the good standing of General Kelly himself, heretofore seen as a stabilizing force amid the chaos of the Trump White House. At first he looked like the life preserver we could cling to for safety from the ignorant, childish president. Now it looks like he’ll be going down with the ship, too.

About the Previous Thirteen Posts

I’m a political junkie.

So when big political events take place I can’t resist going in that direction here on revision99.  But by the time of Donald Trump’s election to the office of President of the United States, Facebook had lured me away from this blog, and I posted my comments about this profoundly incompetent man there, instead of here, where they belong. Later I tried to “catch up” by copying my Facebook posts and pasting them here (the “previous 13 posts” of the title), but Trump and his circle of miscreants generated so much daily outrage fodder at such a high rate that I just couldn’t keep up with them, so I abandoned that effort.

In any case, no one needs me to tell them what damage Donald Trump is doing to the country. I won’t try to document everything, and I’m not going back to finish my copy and paste project.

Emoluments

Is this just going to become “normalized?” (Story here.)

Trump Famil Ribbon Cutting

Click the image to read the Washington Post article by Zephyr Teachout. The President of the United States is on the take. He could have set up a blind trust. He could have begun selling off his companies. He could have NOT RUN FOR PRESIDENT if he didn’t want to comply with the Constitution.

Republicans Not Concerned About Flynn

For those who were scratching their heads in December,

Devin Nunes: “MUST track down leaks!”

…wondering why Vladimir Putin did not respond in kind to President Obama’s expulsion of Russian diplomats as part of the sanctions leveled for Russia’s meddling in the presidential election, here’s your answer: Mike Flynn.

In his illegal phone conversations with Russian officials he apparently let them know that they need not worry about those sanctions, once Donald Trump was sworn in. Wink, wink.

Flynn was forced to resign over this but, as I predicted last night, Republicans in Congress are not the least bit interested in investigating this scandal, or making any effort to answer the question “What did Donald Trump know and when did he know it?”

Out Like Flynn

The Associated Press and New York Times are reporting that General Michael Flynn has resigned as National Security Adviser. (Story here.)

This comes just a couple of hours after he had “the full confidence of the president.” Given his obvious criminal and unethical behavior both before and Michael Flynnafter he (and Trump) took office, this turn of events was inevitable, and I’m sure he was ordered to resign. Trump’s inner circle is no doubt hoping that, now that he’s gone, there will be no investigation, as that would surely implicate others in the new administration. They’ll be saying “It’s over, nothing to see here, let’s move on, the nation has more important problems, blah, blah, blah.”

But can you imagine how this would go down had Hillary Clinton been president? Every committee in Congress would open investigations, and they would continue for eight years. Of course, Republicans control both houses of congress, and run all the committees, so there won’t be any investigations of the Flynn scandal.

It’s time for the mainstream press to hitch up their big girl pants and look into this, no matter how long it takes or where it leads.

Product Placement

I’m not going to pretend that this pisses me off any more than everything else Donald Trump and the gang are up to.

The Trump Administration is looking less like the second coming of the German Nazi Party every day, and more like a Keystone Kops comedy. Their barrage of Executive Action signings are mostly just photo ops, and the one they really got behind — the Muslim Ban — has now been stayed by a federal judge and the stay has been upheld by a panel of the 9th Circuit. This is not to say that they won’t hurt a lot of people before it’s over, but at least there is hope that they won’t bring down the Republic.

But Donald Trump’s refusal to divest himself from his businesses, create a blind trust and stop hiding his financial dealings from the American people remains the most serious of his betrayals. While the president gets some legal leeway in this matter, there is a reason all previous presidents have taken steps to separate themselves from business activities while in office. Doing a good job at being president should be the only thing on Trump’s agenda. Instead, he remains the owner of his company, and stands to benefit WHILE IN OFFICE from income generated from it.

He has tweeted in support of his daughter’s clothing line. Ivanka herself has advertised jewelry she is selling as having been worn on a 60 Minutes interview. Melania has recently admitted in court that she plans to enhance her own wealth as a result of being First Lady. The whole family, not to mention Trump’s sycophantic staff (see Kellyanne Conway article), is trying to cash in.

Trump has serious ethical and criminal issues. He must address them now. We need a president focused on the nation, not on getting richer. If he wanted to remain in the business world he should not have run for president.