Showing posts from November, 2016

Trump's Legacy

With a view toward resolving the Global War on Terror, Donald Trump looks like he could be a useful idiot after all, possibly for two terms. The fact that he is hiring a security team highly disposed to vindicating our fighting forces, along with his own evident interest in the Middle East, hints that he will redouble our efforts to stamp out Islamic radicalism like we did with Naziism seventy years ago.

If we undertake to defeat Iranian state-sponsored terrorism, the "simple" step of killing the theocracy from the top down seems to be an obvious objective. How different is that from taking out non-state actors like Anwar al-Awlaki? This would spark wholesale cultural upheaval in Iran and give popular democratic movements an opportunity to step in. In Arab countries, chopping off Shia's head would alleviate centuries-long tensions between Sunnis and Shia, giving radical Sunni groups one less reason to be so pissed off. I can picture A. Khamenei hunkering down like the Fu…

A Possible End to The 4th Turning

Lately, Al Qaeda and it's more evil offspring, ISIS, have been the center of attention in the erstwhile named Global War on Terror. In terms of state-sponsored terrorism, however, no organization exceeds the Iranian Quds force record for defiance of the U.S. in the Middle East. All three networks must be defeated to extricate us from our current fourth turning. Expect a lot more U.S. military activity in the region under our next Commander-in-Chief.

According to an op-ed in the the New York Times
Mr. Trump’s immediate position on the Iran deal will be one of the first critical tests for his presidency. [If the treaty is abandoned,] because the international coalition that previously supported sanctions on Iran will not be put back together, America’s economic leverage on Iran will be much weaker, increasing the likelihood that Iran will ramp up its nuclear program, and in turn, increasing the risk of American military action.
In addition to forestalling the Iranian nuclear progra…

Nimrod in Winter

"Take a deep breath," says Maryland governor Larry Hogan, while we wait to see what The Donald does to calm the concerns that most Americans harbor over what our clunky process of selecting a President has cranked out. "But don't hold that breath," Hogan should have added, since the likelihood that a Trump presidency will succeed in assuaging those concerns is sadly dim, given the season we are in - Winter in the secular cycle of American history.

Photo by Michael Taggart PhotographyIn their prophetic book, The Fourth Turning, Neil Howe and William Strauss, explain that Winter in the 80 - 100 year secular cycle always culminates in a climax of the crisis before moving us into Spring where rebuilding takes place. We have yet to endure the cathartic climax that will allow our country to put behind us the troubling period that began with the attacks of 9/11/2001, shaking our nation to its core. Only after we have emerged from the crisis will we be able to embark on…

In or Out

Commentators have remarked on Donald Trump's tendency to select people for his cabinet who agree with him, by-and-large. These will be the public faces of his inner circle, circumscribing the value set insiders in the Trump administration will need to uphold. Cross that line, and you are liable to be blackballed.

Favor with the administration will mean a lot under President Trump. He does not easily deal with those he views as outsiders. A psychological profile based on writings, speeches, and behavioral history pegged Trump as a grandiose narcissist comparable to President Andrew Jackson, as well as in having anger as a primary driving emotion. Like Jackson, as a strong authoritarian figure, Trump will have a mandate to keep the good in and the bad out. Jackson gave an example of such abuse of power in the 1820's with the Indian Removal Act, deporting 45,000 native Americans to reservations, including 4,000 Cherokees that didn't finish the journey on the Trail of Tears.


Drawing the Battle Lines

In the continuing protests, there has been a shift in emphasis from directing ire at the President-elect to protesting the principles that he brings to the office. The Green Party-supported rally to celebrate the death of the TPP sounded this chord - calling for a stop to Trumpism, not just Trump. This widens the field to include not only the cronies Trump is surrounding himself with, but also the emerging flock of haters that helped propel him to office.

The most popular rendering of "Trumpism" is the one that the University of Maryland students have raised their outcry against, i.e. the xenophobic aspects of the Trump agenda. Implicit in the slogan "Make America Great Again" is "We are Better than You." So by getting rid of non-citizens, we can instantly prove how much better we are without those encumbrances. The Green Party platform shows a much more diplomatic understanding of relationships with foreign citizens and includes the inspiring goal that …

The Heroes Emerge

Nearly as shocking as the election victory of Donald Trump was the seemingly spontaneous emergence of high schoolers in the public arena to protest that victory. We didn't have any of that at the high school I attended in the early 1970's, though colleges were commonly besieged by protests against the Vietnam war. Back then, Trump had his own conflicts to deal with as he was being sued by the Justice Department over discrimination against black rental applicants. The Selma to Montgomery freedom marches of the prior decade probably made some impression on the young Trump, but not enough for him to allow blacks to rent from him. He will probably also too quickly dismiss the kids marching against his pending presidency as spoiled, unfair, and provoked by agitators, but miss the threat that they pose to his longevity in that position.

Many city high schools had walkouts yesterday by demonstrating students, including some in Silver Spring, Maryland. Some combined their numbers with…

The First Casualty of the Trump Presidency - The Trans-Pacific Partnership

After Trump's election win, the Green Party did not miss a beat. The leadership called for all members to resist Trump and the two-party system that excludes the left from American politics. You can take that only so far without crossing a line that would constitute a felony, but the end result may turn out to be the overthrow of the President.

The Green Party is calling for activists to support  Flush the TPP and Occupy Inauguration. All the while, protests are mounting all over the U.S., including Baltimore. We are close enough to Washington, D.C. to lend our presence to some direct action.

The first of these, a demonstration to warn Congress against passing lame duck legislation to approve the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), starts on Sunday. Organizers advise activists to not be complacent with noises coming out of Congress and the White House about taking the TPP off the agenda, though it seems plausible that they would be reluctant to pursue the treaty with a President-elec…

Carbon Profligates Should Share the Wealth

At the Conference of Parties (COP) 22 in Marrakesh, Morocco, the question of reparations for climate damage by developed countries may come up again after it became a sticking point in Copenhagen and was finessed out of the agreement in Paris. The Green Party of the U.S., while it embraces environmental justice, doesn't take it that far. Nor is it necessary. To begin with, pushing for countries to compensate others for their losses doesn't get at the source of the emissions at a level that will incite prompt remedial action. It is also questionable justice if parties are retroactively punished for lawful actions.

At COP 21, Dr. James Hansen made it clear that the treaty would not be enforceable and that putting a fee on emissions would be a preferable approach. Rather than exact transfers from one country to another, the carbon fees would be collected internally and distributed to the respective citizens of the country of the carbon profiteering corporation. The fee would thus…

Green - The Party (You Didn't Know) You Want

Do you think it is any coincidence that the richest state in the country sits on the north side of the repository of all of your federal U.S. tax dollars? Maryland is the wealthiest state in terms of per capita income and millionaires per square mile, so it would appear that the capital in The Capital is being leveraged for private gain not too far away. The rising tide has also kept 90% of boats from grounding, keeping Maryland ahead of most states with respect to poverty rates. This privileged position makes it improbable that any Green Party candidate would succeed in winning an election in Maryland, especially when the Maryland Green Party platform is that of the parent Green Party of the U.S.

One of the reactions that the idea of the somewhat socialist Green Party provokes is that wealth would disperse to the undeserving masses, but why should it, instead, concentrate in the hands of those closest to the halls of power? Is the ability to direct the affairs of a democratic society…

Green is Good

Intentionally, or not, the new, fascinating CBS TV series "Bull" made a subtle contribution this week to promoting Hillary Clinton's election. The episode featured a female commercial airline pilot on trial for alleged pilot error resulting in the fiery death of 70 passengers. The defense's closing argument was capped with a picture story that asked the jury to identify the hero among a group of children being accosted by a bully. The hero, to the surprise of some of the holdout jurors, was a girl who snitched on the bully. In spite of the odious character opposing her, Hillary Clinton must still overcome the same unconscious bias that some of the jurors harbored.

In my first ever casting of an early vote, I had my ballot scored in less than a minute, not for Hillary, but for two women, nonetheless. Jill Stein and Margaret Flowers, both doctors, were my picks for President and Senator. My Green Party affiliation steered me to these choices, though I know much less ab…