Tag Archives: donald trump

What is a Progressive?

I wrote this article for the Urban News back in December.

In November 2016, it is time for us to reassess who we are. What do we believe in? Since Hillary Clinton’s devastating loss earlier this month, I have heard a lot of … well, crazy talk. “Let us move to Canada.” “Let us impeach the president elect.” “Let us move to California and secede from the union.” And there been hundreds of others.

Does this sound very similar to the garbage that conservatives were spewing when Barack Obama won in 2008? We laughed at that rhetoric then and we called it crazy talk. We scolded conservatives and asked them if they truly love this country. Now, we need to look in the mirror and decide if we truly love the United States of America. Our talk about resistance and overthrow is, for the most part, wrong. It is treasonous.

So, as a progressive, what do you believe in? Now, I cannot speak for everyone, but I can tell you that I believe in a society in which the individual is given an opportunity to reach his or her fullest potential, no matter what side of the tracks they grow up on.

This means that I believe in public education. Not vouchers. Not charter schools. I want our public schools to be the best in the world.

We need to teach our children how to think critically. This doesn’t mean teaching our kids who to pass a winner-take-all test. Continue reading What is a Progressive?

Wow, what a mess! American Politics

Sometimes, no, most of the time, I scratch my head and try to figure out how we got here. How did we end up with Donald Trump in the White House and Republicans with majorities in both the House and the Senate? As with most things these days, I believe the answer is complex. I think it is easy to blame Hillary Clinton for running one of the worst campaigns in history. We can also blame the media for giving Donald Trump nearly unlimited airtime for months on end. I guess we could blame the Democratic Party for not fostering a selection of good candidates that would relate to America. We can go back and blame the media again for giving us a steady diet of complete drivel – reality TV.

First, I think we have to examine our election process. Again, media plays a big role. 30 or 40 years ago when a candidate was running for president, they would sit down with the voters of Iowa and New Hampshire. Those Americans were chosen to be the gatekeepers. They would weed out the knuckleheads from the serious candidates. If you are an average citizen, you had little or no knowledge of the inner workings of Iowa and New Hampshire. It was rare that you ever heard a speech from Iowa. You did not hear the town hall meetings nor the country fairs. Now, with 24 hour television, radio and blogs, nothing goes uncovered. Every time a candidate blows their nose, it is reported on three or four networks. We know exactly what type of Kleenex was used. Our whole political process, over the last 20 years, has changed from discussing policies on how to make America better to something much more superficial. Our political process has become the ultimate reality TV show. It is about gaffes, zingers, one-liners and who had their “oops” moment like former Texas governor Rick Perry. Bernie Sanders is talking about serious policy issues. Boring! Look Trump is throwing around a bottle of water pretending to be Rubio. Now, that’s funny. That’s entertaining.

For the most part, you and I can probably give an average political speech without breaking a sweat. You know the average Republican will talk about cutting taxes, restricting abortions and flexing American military might around the world. The average Democratic speech will talk about better jobs for the average American along with higher wages, fighting corporate corruption, clean air and clean water and, never forget, keeping America strong. While there is nothing wrong with any of these goals, Americans have heard it all before. Yet, the standard of living of the average American has been stagnant or falling since the late 1970s. Americans are tired of hearing the same old drivel. Many politicians have become nothing more than noise boxes sounding like Charlie Brown’s teacher.

I am not saying that some politicians have done some fabulous work. They have. What I am saying is that for the average American, who is 40 or 50 years old and makes $40,000 a year, not much has changed. He or she has seen Republicans and Democrats in the White House and they are still working as hard as ever. They have little or no savings. In order to send their child to college they are going to have to take out gargantuan student loans which they have no way of repaying. This is the problem. This is the exact problem which Donald Trump tapped into. He spoke differently. He never specifically said he was going to do this or that, he spoke in a broad terms – I am going to make America great again. He tapped into the frustration of middle-class America. He basically told us that he was going to give us the tools so that we can be prosperous again.

Although identifying the problem in our American society is relatively easy, figuring out how to fix the problem is far more challenging. What thoughts do you have?

Donald Trump’s Muslim Ban – Update

In my opinion, the best lie is the one that is just a little bit tainted with truth. Those lies are the best lies. About two weeks ago, President Donald Trump (yeah, it still does not sound right) signed an executive order which asked for increased scrutiny of persons wanting to immigrate to this country from several lands. I say several lands because if you actually read his executive order, first of all it is kind of a headache because it is long and nonspecific. The order does not actually say Iraq, Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan and Yemen. So, let us actually read what the order says I hereby proclaim that the immigrant and nonimmigrant entry into the United States of aliens from countries referred to in section 217(a)(12) of the INA, 8 U.S.C. 1187(a)(12), would be detrimental to the interests of the United States, and I hereby suspend entry into the United States, as immigrants and nonimmigrants, of such persons for 90 days from the date of this order (excluding those foreign nationals traveling on diplomatic visas, North Atlantic Treaty Organization visas, C-2 visas for travel to the United Nations, and G-1, G-2, G-3, and G-4 visas).

Now, this whole thing gets complicated. It appears that President Trump’s executive order refers to the “Visa Waiver Program Improvement and Terrorist Travel Prevention Act of 2015.” This was a bill that was tacked onto the Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2016. So, it is kinda hard to say that this was a Obama administration initiative. The bill was actually written by former Congresswoman Candice Miller, Republican. To make matters even more confusing, this bill, HR 158, simply canceled the Visa Waiver Program. So, essentially, what this did was force travelers from Syria and Iraq to get visas the old-fashioned way through interviews at the American consulate. So, President Obama had the choice of signing this huge omnibus spending bill into law which would allow the government to continue to operate or to veto it because of this bill which was tacked on by Congresswoman Miller. You tell me, does this sound like an Obama program?

So, because this is an confusing enough, Donald Trump said, “My policy is similar to what President Obama did in 2011 when he banned visas for refugees from Iraq for six months.” Um, this is not exactly true either. So, in response to the May 2011 arrest of two Iraqi refugees on terrorism charges in Bowling Green, Kentucky, the Obama administration decided that immigrants from Iraq deserved increased scrutiny. This was not a ban. It was increased scrutiny. So, on one hand, Donald Trump was right President Obama did do something in 2011 and his policy was relatively similar… Kind of but not really.

This is not the kind of thing you should NOT be arguing over at the water cooler. It just is not worth it. There are tons of details and for the most part, when you are arguing over water cooler nobody knows the details. The reason I bring this up was because I heard the argument in the emergency room. Two doctors were going at it. One was accusing the other of hypocrisy because “Obama did the same thing.” No, Obama did not. Go back and read. While it is important to engage our fellow Americans. It is not important to discuss the details of a ban that is a ban verses Obama’s ban that was not a ban. Got it.

Finally, I think that the President has the power to control who is coming into this country. I think that’s in the Constitution. I don’t think that we can argue that. Instead the argument is what kind of convoluted nonsense did Trump put in his executive order.  Oops. I just got an email from my (our) constitutional scholar Linda Monk. I was wrong!!! Article I gives the power of immigration to Congress and NOT the president.  Article I, Section 8 – The Congress shall have Power to establish as uniform Rule of Naturalization. There it is in black and white.  Article II deals with the President. It says in Section 2 – The President shall be Commander in Chief of the  Army and Navy of the United States, and of the Militia of the several States, when called into the actual Service of the United States. The president’s powers with regard to immigration are implied. So, Congress needs to pass a law restricting immigration from those 7 countries. That would be lawful!