Republicans Believe Their Fantasy-World

At first it seemed a bit amusing that Republicans were dubious about climate change and global warming. Conservatives, after all, do resist change. That’s the nature of being conservative.

Now, however, the amusement is no longer funny.

After last night’s presidential debate, Huffington Post spoke with Rep. Marsha Blackburn (R- Tenn), who is the vice chair of the House Committee on Energy and Commerce, obviously a position requiring a knowledgeable person. Here is what she said: “I do not believe in climate change. I think the Earth is in a cooling trend. It is not in a warming trend.”

The Post added, “Reminded that nine of the hottest years in the history of the planet have been recorded in the past decade, the Tennessee lawmaker once again insisted, ‘We have also seen the past 10 years a little bit of a cooling.’” Sure, I get it: the world is getting warmer and cooler simultaneously. Sure.

It is not just trump but most of the Republican party that seems to have fallen into a hole and emerged in a fantasy world that is severed from reality. They have started to believe their own lies, to dwell in their fantasy-world.

Were they not in positions of power and responsibility, I would simply pity them for their mental illness. That is not an appropriate response, however, when in fact they must be held accountable for their views and their decisions. The only apt response is anger: They are being inexcusably and dangerously irresponsible.

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Clinton vs. trump

Tonight’s debate was less interesting than I had hoped but it did make it clear that trump has pat answers while Clinton has policy proposals. His supporters don’t care about policies, so I assume they think he won.

Clinton did about as well as I thought she would but trump was twice as good as I expected. So, let’s see, let me do the math. I expect she would rate an 8 and he would rate a 2. Instead, I’d have to say he did much better than I had anticipated, so I’ll give him a 4. Which means she was twice as effective as he was.

But will either see much of a bump in the polls? I doubt it, though probably Clinton’s slight lead will be a bit more firm now.

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Geo Washington on Central Government

The second chapter of Edmund Morgan’s little book, “The Meaning of Independence,” is devoted to George Washington. In many ways it seems that, beyond Washington’s leadership in the Revolutionary War, his greatest contribution to the emerging nation was his personality: reserved, calm, steady, concerned always for that which was most honorable.

We no longer would define honor in the same way. After all, he was a slave holder who considered Africans to be inferior. Nonetheless, in his own time and context, Washington was truly an honorable gentleman who effectively presided over the tumultuous debates in the Congress which created the US Constitution.

Washington worried to the end of his days about the fledgling republic. One of his worries was that the federal government was too weak to sustain the union of such disparate colonies. He feared not only that the governmental structures might be insufficient but, more particularly, that the states valued the government so little that they sent to Congress less than the best representatives.

As a result, in Washington’s words, “party disputes and personal quarrels are the great business of the day whilst the momentous concerns of an empire. . .are but secondary considerations.”

Despite his worries, the United States has flourished as a nation, though threatened time and again by the very pettiness that Washington saw in our beginning. Such a threat has returned in our own day, obviously, with Congress — under utterly incompetent Republican leadership — unable to act on such pressing and non-political matters as funding to fight the Zika virus and funding to provide safe drinking water for Flint, Michigan.

George wold be worried again. . .

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Democracy’s Foundation in Virtue

I’m reading “The Meaning of Independence” by Edmund Morgan. His chapter on John Adams notes Adams’ conviction that “the ability of the American republic to sustain its independence rested on the ability of its citizens to sustain their virtue.”

In Adams’ mind, the newly formed United States could survive only by a radical insistence on independence from the decadent and corrupt governments of Europe, especially England and France. Even independence, however, could not in itself guarantee the success of the US. America could resist European corruption only to create its own unless its citizens were constantly alert to the dangers of moral corruption.

Perhaps that shows that Adams, a New Englander, was not so far removed from the Puritans who had first established New England, yet it also shows Adams to be a man of some real insight into the nature of a democracy. Without the mutual trust that comes from a shared commitment to justice and integrity, a democracy rapidly devolves into a fragmented battle site of opposing parties.

In this political season in America, we are proving just how ugly that can be. One of our major political parties has ceased to value virtue, justice, compassion. It values only its own status and a very small handful of pat answers (e.g., minimal taxation). And now the party has a candidate who is, by any rational measure, entirely devoid of any ethical or moral concerns.

trump and the Republican party are an immediate and serious threat to democracy in America. Think, for example, of the absence of ethical concerns shown by the Republicans in refusing to provide sufficient funds to fight Zika or to help Flint, Michigan, clean up its water supply.

Heartlessness is not one of the virtues John Adams had in mind as essential to America. . .

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Cruz Drops Principles

So Ted Cruz is voting for trump. I love the way these men — such as Cruz and Paul Ryan —  of high, uncompromising principle find it so easy to forget their principles. I’d call it deplorable.

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trump misunderstands the riots

Riots, which occur in waves in our society, are currently on the rise. In each case, the immediate cause is the shooting of a black man by police under circumstances that do not seem to justify the shooting. In other words, it seems the shootings are a sign of the racism that has plagued our country from the beginning.

Whatever may be one’s thoughts about the way the rioters make their point, the point itself is unmistakable. Only a willfully blind person would fail to see it.

donald trump does not see it, does not get it, does not understand what’s happening. He responds with talk of crime control. the problem is not that crime is out of control but that racism persists and is often deadly for our Black citizens.

Why does trump not see it? Because — as David Duke and KKK members recognize clearly — trump is a blatant racist himself. He does not consider racism a problem.

He is without excuse and so are his supporters. Period.

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Are We Still “the Home of the Brave”?

As I recall, there is a song we like to sing, called the National Anthem, which ends with the ringing words, “land of the free and the home of the brave.”

trump, jr., clearly a chip off the old block, says we shouldn’t let the refugees into our country because some of them might wish to harm us. To make his point, he used the image of a bowl of Skittles and wrote (in the kind of bad English he learned from his father), “If I had a bowl of skittles and I told you just three would kill you. Would you take a handful? That’s our Syrian refugee problem.”

According to the Cato Institute, the chances of someone in America being killed by a terrorist are something like one in 3.64 billion.

Most disgusting about the metaphor, of course, is that refugees are treated as if they are no more valuable than bits of candy. If you told me you had 3.64 billion refugees, terrified, hungry, impoverished, emotionally wounded, and very desperate  human beings — but one of them is a killer — I would have to be incredibly, immeasurably heartless not to say “Bring them in!”

A trumpie, of course, being entirely self-centered, simply does not consider the human value of the refugees and does not have the capacity for compassion.

trump is bringing out the cowardice in America. And the cowards love being legitimized. Shame on them. Shame, shame, shame on them.

As for me, I’ll keep singing that we are the land of the free and the home of the brave.

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