Monthly Archives: December 2017

Make America Weak Again

Humorist P. J. O’Rourke famously said, “Republicans are the party that says government doesn’t work and then they get elected and prove it.” After 11 months of total Republican control in Washington, the United States has been weakened across-the-board. Here are ten ways that Donald Trump and company have diminished American society.

1. Inequality: Rather than lessen the gap between the rich and poor, Trump has increased it.  The Republican “tax reform” plan, championed by Trump, benefits corporations and the rich, at the expense of everyone else.  Writing in The New Yorker ( ) John Cassidy noted that Republican leadership promised revenue neutrality, simplicity, and fairness. “The final bill is a corrupt, budget-busting hairball.”  Republicans claim the tax bill will increase the deficit by $1.5 billion over 10 years; however, “If you adjust the numbers for a series of accounting gimmicks, such as expiration provisions that are unlikely to go into effect, the real cost seems likely to come out at more than two trillion dollars.”

By 2027 the tax bill will lead to tax increases for 87 million households.  Because the bill adds to the deficit, it is likely to lead to decreases in social programs including Medicare.  On the flip side, the Republican tax bill is loaded with special benefits for corporations and the rich; Donald Trump will see his taxes lowered.

2. Healthcare: Rather than build upon the Affordable Care Act the Trump Administration has weakened it.  When he was running for President, Trump made bold promises about his new healthcare plan: “No one will lose coverage. There will be insurance for everybody. Healthcare will be a lot less expensive for everyone.”  None of these promises was fleshed out in GOP legislation.

Instead Trump settled on a “repeal first, replace later” strategy that would have ended the Affordable Care Act.  When this strategy failed, Trump decided to kill the Affordable Care Act by stages.  The Republican “tax reform” plan ends the “individual mandate” aspect of the Affordable Care Act.  This action will dramatically alter healthcare economics and ultimately lead to the loss of healthcare for 13 million Americans.

3. National Security: Rather than strengthen the U.S., Trump has made the America more vulnerable to attack.  He has accomplished this by three specific actions:  First, Trump has made it clear that he does not support the traditional U.S. alliances, such as NATO, the United Nations, the WTO, or others.  Trump, by his words and actions, has indicated that his “America First” doctrine means that in all important decisions — such as the worldwide effort to ameliorate global climate change — he is willing for the U.S. to go its own way.  (For example, Trump is willing to consider a unilateral attack on North Korea.)

Second, by his immigration actions — particularly his ban on travel from Muslim majority nations — Trump has made it clear that Muslims are unwelcome in the U.S.  This impacts all our alliances in the Middle East.

Third, by his biased treatment of Israel, Trump has made it clear that he no longer supports the “two state solution” or other historic U.S. diplomatic efforts in the Middle East.  (Trump made this clear by his decision to recognize Jerusalem as the capitol of Israel.)

The net impact has been to isolate the United States in the world community.  This will impact our national security and have secondary effects; for example, in 2017 international tourism to the U.S. has declined more than 10 percent.

4. Global Climate Change: Trump’s “National Security Strategy” is based upon U.S. economic strength and military might and ignores the threat of global climate change.  This is consistent with Trump’s studied indifference to the subject and his declared intent to take the U.S. out of the Paris Climate Accords.   We’re weaker because global climate change threatens U.S. economic strength and our military prowess.

5. Trade: As of the end of October, the U.S. trade deficit in goods and services had increased by 12 percent since Trump became President (  Trump talked about renegotiating trade agreements but hasn’t done it.

6. Public Health: Trump has weakened the Center for Disease Control and set up the U.S. to be vulnerable to a pandemic.  (  “America First” doesn’t work during pandemics.

7. Jobs & the Economy: While the economy has continued to grown under the Trump Administration, there’s no evidence that this has produced meaningful change for working families.

The U.S. Gross Domestic Product grew 3.3 percent in the third quarter.  The Dow Jones Industrial Average has increased by 5000 points.  The economy has added roughly 190,000 jobs and the unemployment rate fell to 4.1 percent.  Nonetheless, wages have not kept pace; they have risen only 2.4 percent.

8. Public Confidence:  In November, 2016, only 33 percent of poll respondents thought that the country was headed “in the right direction.”  This past November the number remained at 33 percent.

A recent Qunnipiac poll found that 56 percent of respondents believed that Donald Trump was not fit to serve as President.  These respondents were disturbed by Trump’s demeanor and believed that he does not respect women or people of color.

9. Comity:  Trump’s foreign policy is “America First.”  Trump’s domestic policy is “White men first.”  Numerous polls suggest that women, people-of-color, and members of the LGBTQ community feel less safe with Trump as President.

10. Morality: Trump does not believe in the Golden Rule, does not believe “I am my brother’s and my sister’s keeper.”  He does not believe in making America great but only in enhancing his personal power.  Trump’s not a builder; he is a destroyer.


Trump Should Resign

The news story of the year has not been Donald Trump; it has been the “#MeToo” movement, where brave women denounced sexual assault and harassment. This movement brought down Alabama Senate candidate Roy Moore. Now it has prompted new demands for Trump’s resignation.

Sexual assault is one of many reasons why Trump should resign from the presidency.  The most important reason is his lack of moral leadership.

Whether we like it or not, the President of the United States is an archetype.  His behavior serves as a model for many Americans.  The President is, by virtue of his position, someone that dominates the daily discourse of American society.  We are influenced not only by his decisions but also by his daily actions.  Good or bad, the President sets an example for our children and other impressionable members of our society.  In addition, the President represents us to residents of foreign countries.

After Trump won a bitterly contested presidential election, many Americans resolved to give him the benefit of the doubt.  “Let us give him time in office,” they said, “perhaps he will rise to the challenge.”

Trump has not risen to the challenge.  On January 20th, many of us believed that Trump was pathologically amoral.  Eleven months watching him in the White House, have convinced us that our assessment is correct.

On December 12th, USA Today ( a scathing editorial, “Will Trump’s lows ever hit rock bottom?”  The editorial was in response to Trump branding New York Senator Kirsten Gillibrand as a whore — someone who would trade sexual favors for campaign cash — with this tweet: “Lightweight Senator Kirsten Gillibrand, a total flunky for Chuck Schumer and someone who would come to my office “begging” for campaign contributions not so long ago (and would do anything for them)…”

USA Today remarked: “Donald Trump, the man… is uniquely awful. His sickening behavior is corrosive to the enterprise of a shared governance based on common values and the consent of the governed… Trump’s utter lack of morality, ethics and simple humanity has been underscored during his 11 months in office.”

USA Today detailed six categories of Trump’s “sickening behavior.”

1. He lies nonstop.  ” As of mid-November, [Trump] had made 1,628 misleading or false statements in 298 days in office.”

2. “Trump takes advantage of any occasion — even Monday’s failed terrorist attack in New York — to stir racial, religious or ethnic strife.”

3. He routinely demeans women.  “When accused during the campaign of sexually harassing or molesting women in the past, Trump’s response was to belittle the looks of his accusers.”

4. “Trump has shown contempt for ethical strictures that have bound every president in recent memory.  He has refused to release his tax returns, with the absurd excuse that it’s because he is under audit.  He has refused to put his multibillion dollar business interests in a blind trust and peddles the fiction that putting them in the hands of his sons does the same thing.”

5. He hasn’t done his job as President.  “As of last week, Trump had failed to nominate anyone for 60% of 1,200 key positions he can fill to keep the government running smoothly.”

6. He enthusiastically supported the deplorable Alabama Senate candidate Roy Moore: “Trump summed up his willingness to support a man accused of criminal conduct: ‘Roy Moore will always vote with us.'”

And, of course, we have every reason to believe that Trump cooperated with Russians to subvert the 2016 presidential election.  Now Trump seems determined to undermine the Mueller investigation into this treachery.

Sadly, it’s not surprising that Trump has failed as President.  What is surprising is that he continues to have the support of the leaders of the Republican Party and that only a handful of  Democratic Senators — including Gillibrand — have called for his resignation.

However, the American public has turned on Trump.  A new Public Policy Poll ( ) indicates that “53% think Trump should step down to just 42% who think he should remain in office.”

Donald Trump is a moral cancer afflicting the US body politic.  We have to excise this cancer before it fatally corrupts our country.  Trump must resign.

The Rape of the United States of America

2017 political news contained two preeminent images: Donald Trump and sexual assault. Trump’s objective has been to be dominate the news each day.  Nonetheless, beginning with revelations about the sexual behavior of movie producer Harvey Weinstein, Trump tidings were pushed aside by reports of celebrity sexual misconduct.  (Time Magazine recognized this by naming “the silence breakers” their persons of the year.)  The two images are connected. Trump has been accused of sexual assault.  And the Republican Party is engaged in systematic rape of American workers.

A little over a year ago, Donald Trump’s presidential campaign was momentarily derailed by the release of a salacious recording where Trump bragged about assaulting women: “When you’re a star, they let you do it, you can do anything… grab them by the pussy.”  Amazingly, Trump survived this.  His most ardent supporters came to regard the recording as “fake news.”  Mainstream Republicans adopted the attitude, “Whatever Trump may have done in the past, he’s preferable to Hillary Clinton.”

During 2017, Donald Trump put his imprint on the Republican Party and, in the process, “normalized” sexual assault, for the Party faithful.  We see this in GOP support for Alabama Senate candidate Roy Moore.  Multiple women have come forward with tales of Moore’s sexual misbehavior — one of the women was 14 when Moore assaulted her.  The mainstream Republican response is, “Whatever Moore may have done in the past, he’s preferable to the Democratic candidate.”

Republicans have adopted the dubious ethical maxim: “the end justifies the means.”  And they have gone farther; they’ve adopted the tactics used to denigrate sexual assault victims.  We can see this in the Republican tax plan that passed the Senate in the early hours of Saturday, December 2nd.

The first of the Republican tactics is the lie.  Trump claims that the women who accuse him of sexual assault are lying.  Alabama Senate candidate Moore also claims that the women who accuse him of sexual assault are lying.  Similarly, when confronted about problems with their tax bill, Republicans respond with lies; for example, the tax cuts will benefit America’s working families — when actually the GOP tax plan will primarily benefit corporations and the wealthiest one percent.  Republicans have also lied about the impact of the tax bill on the economy; they claim it will cause the economy to grow because of the “trickle-down” effect — when actually there is little evidence that the GOP tax plan will have long-term positive impacts on the economy (to the contrary, there is a lot of evidence that increasing economic inequality will have long-term negative consequences).

The second of the Republican tactics is to demean the victim.  Trump and Moore have suggested that their accusers came forward because they wanted publicity.  Congressional Republicans have argued that the rich deserve tax breaks because they’ve worked hard to make their money and, in contrast, the poor do not deserve tax breaks (or social services) because they have not worked hard (this conforms to the long-time Republican contention that the poor are shiftless).

It’s only a small step from the Trump and Moore statements to the classic rapist contention: “she asked for it.”  In court, rapists often attempt to discredit their victims by claiming the woman “asked for it,” suggesting that the assault victim was a person of loose morals or “incited” the rapist by dressing in a provocative way.  Similarly, Republicans in Congress are suggesting that working-class voters “asked for it” because they have not amassed enough funds to be able to pay for social services.

A recent study of 41 convicted rapists ( found they had three dominant justifications for their behavior: 79 percent opined, “it is a dangerous world and you have to treat others as they would treat you.” 51 percent described women as sex objects, “whose function is to be sexually available to men.” And 44 percent “expressed feelings of entitlement, assuming that as a man they could take what they wanted from the woman.”

Sadly, these horrific sentiments are similar to those expressed by Donald Trump and other senior Republicans.  Trump infamously never apologizes, stating that when he perceives he is under attack, he responds in kind.   This is an expression of Trump’s governing philosophy, “it is a dangerous world and you have to treat others as they would treat you.”

Furthermore, Trump historically has treated women as sex objects.  And it’s hard to imagine any American who expresses a stronger feeling of entitlement than does Trump.  This is shown by his remark: “When you’re a star, they let you do it, you can do anything… grab them by the pussy.”

With regards to their tax plan, the Republican leadership has expressed similar feelings of entitlement.  Witness the statements of Trump, Secretary of Treasury Mnuchin, Secretary of Commerce Ross, and Chief Economic Adviser Cohn.  They’ve all made comments to the effect, “When you’re rich, you can do anything…”

During 2017, Donald Trump put his imprint on the Republican Party.  In the process, he “normalized” sexual assault and encouraged congressional Republicans to rape America’s working families.