Wednesday, March 1, 2017

Hysterically Ignorant

As I surf around social media I am continually struck by the ongoing vitriol against President Trump. It is mean, intense and relentless.  I've read a few articles that there is a lot of the stuff coming from relatively few sites, most off shore.  There is also a lot of speculation that many of the people spewing the worst stuff are being paid by the usual suspects.  I sorta hope that is true because it is honestly really disappointing and disturbing that so many of my fellow Americans would speak and act so hatefully.  But I don't know.  What I do know is that most of it is hysterically ignorant.  I think most who rant and rave just take their info from a familiar source, which may or may not be truthful.

I happened on a post over on Facebook from a guy who was responding to a question about working together to accomplish some things that both sides can agree on.  I've seen these before but never as comprehensivly hateful (and mostly wrong) as this guy is.  So I thought it might be useful (or at least interesting) to take all of his points and provide a bit of a counterpoint (in red).

"Several of my conservative friends have said that we should "work together" with the president and the Republican majority because they won the election and Trump is "everyone's president." This is my response:

•I will not forget how badly he and so many others treated former President Barack Obama for 8 years...I will not apologize for being against President Obama for the majority of his Presidency.  I have said many times that he wasn't my guy, but I gave him a chance.  He pretty quickly lost me but I gave him a chance.  And I've talked to many who felt the same way.  But there are were so many things that I couldn't agree with and that I thought endangered our country that I wound up strongly believing that he was the worst President of my lifetime and most likely in the bottom 3 in history.  But I never, ever made hateful, demonizing remarks about him.  And I didn't see remotely as many as I see for Trump.  So I'm not buying this.
•I will not "work together" to privatize Medicare, cut Social Security and Medicaid. I've heard the uninformed say this over and over again.  To be clear, this is BS.  There are some responsible economists and Congressmen who have pointed out that these programs are a trainwreck and need to be fixed, but there is no political will to do it.  This is a demonizing fantasy that won't happen.
•I will not "work together" to build a wall.The wall is a border.  As in a sovereign border.  Of our country.  If you don't beleive in borders, well then I don't know what to say except to read my post titled "Illegal" a few days back.  There is really only one place in the world that has open borders where people can flow freely back and forth.  That's Europe. And it ain't working out too well.  
•I will not "work together" to persecute Muslims.Don't know where this comes from.  Maybe he's referring to the travel ban.  I've written about this previously.  The ban is not a ban on Muslims.  It's targeted at countries that can't control or vet their immigrants coming here.  85% of Muslims are not impacted.  And it's temporary.  Other than that, I don't know what he's talking about.
•I will not "work together" to shut out refugees from other countries.We are talking a temporary travel ban from the worst of he worst countries until we get our shit together.  Don't know how that is shutting out refugees.  The truth is that we take in more refugees than any other country in the world. Period.
•I will not "work together" to lower taxes on the 1% and increase taxes on the middle class and poor.I'm not a tax genius and I don't think this guy is either.  This is an old accusation.  And it's bunk. I heard the Treasury Secretary being interviewed today.  The tax cut they are working on is clearly targeted to reduce corporate taxes to stimulate growth and a tax cut to benefit the middle class.  Period.
•I will not "work together" to help Trump use the Presidency to line his pockets and those of his family and cronies.Another old, general accusation for which there is absolutely no evidence of nor any motivation for him to do this.  He's a billionaire for goodness sakes.  
•I will not "work together" to weaken and demolish environmental protection.This one is in the eye of the beholder.  He is reducing regulations.  There is no denying that.  But I would argue that the pendulum had swung so far to the extreme when it comes to environmental issues, it wouldn't be so bad to come back a ways toward reality.
•I will not "work together" to sell American lands, especially National Parks, to companies which then despoil those lands.This is total fabrication.  No evidence of this.  It's fake news.
•I will not "work together" to enable the killing of whole species of animals just because they are predators, or inconvenient for a few, or because some people like killing them.This comes out of left field and makes no sense.  Don't know what he's talking about, but it's bullshit.
•I will not "work together" to remove civil rights from anyone.Since he didn't offer examples, I don't know what this is about.  I've never heard President Trump talk about removing civil rights.  Think about that.  How and why would he do this?  Again, it makes no sense.  
•I will not "work together" to alienate countries that have been our allies for as long as I have been alive.Well, I would bet that this guy isn't a national security genius.  We make shifts in foreign policy all the time.  We have allies today that were enemies yesterday.  We need to be able to negotiate from a position of strength and make alliances that are in the best interest of our country. 
•I will not "work together" to slash funding for education.I guess this is about Betsy Devos and the Dept of Education.  So that is the smallest and newest cabinet department.  There's a strong argument that we don't even need it.  All they do is hand out federal grants and make regulations, and we could find someplace else to do that.  But as far as slashing education, I think the real issue is allocation.  Instead of blindly handing out funds to appease the NEA, who no friend of children, he will relook at vouchers and charter schools.  There are some great news stories out there that should be evaluated.
•I will not "work together" to take basic assistance from people who are at the bottom of the socioeconomic ladder.Today, 43 million people are on some form of food stamps.  43 million.  During Obama's 8 years, 94 million people left the work force.  Mostly it was because of a lack of jobs and realizaiton that in many cases the government would take care of them.  Now I'm all for giving people a hand up.  Everyone could need that at some point.  But with Trump we've got a guy that realizes that we need jobs.  We need jobs to give people self respect.  We need jobs to give people a chance to care for their families.  We need jobs to get people off the dole.  And most importantly we need jobs to rebuild the middle class.  Because the definition of a healthy society is a healthy middle class.
•I will not "work together" to get rid of common sense regulations on guns.What is common sense to one person is confiscatory government overreach to another.  How about we just rely on the Constitution.  Go read the 2nd amendment.  We have hundreds of millions of guns in this country.  That horse has left the barn.  What we need is responsible gun ownership and education.  The other thing we need is to get guns out of the hands of bad guys.  I could get behind any program that does that.
•I will not "work together" to eliminate the minimum wage.The minimum wage argument is a ruse.  It's an excuse to protest.  The truth is that the minimum wage is designed for entry level workers.  It's not meant to support a family.  But if those who think raising the minimum wage to a point that small businesses are impacted (and we're almost there) it will backfire.  Check out what some of the fast food outlets are doing with robotics.  Check out price hikes at restaurants.  People will always find a way around it.
•I will not "work together" to support so-called "Right To Work" laws, or undermine, weaken or destroy Unions in any way.State after state is moving to become Right To Work states.  Becuase the truth is that Unions have mostly outlived their usefulness.  Many of them are nothing more than political advocacy organizations.  Why should a worker be forced to pay dues to an organization that isn't doing much except making the fat cats at the top rich and advocating for a candidate that they may or may not like.
•I will not "work together" to suppress scientific research, be it on climate change, fracking, or any other issue where a majority of scientists agree that Trump and his supporters are wrong on the facts.Facts.  Whenever I see someone spouting about facts on this subject I cringe.  On any of these issues there are scientific experts on both sides.  How about we slow down a bit and invest in the independent research.  Nothing in this area is urgent.  It won't impact my grandchildren's grandchildren.  So how about we slow down, stop destroying whole industries and figure it out?
•I will not "work together" to criminalize abortion or restrict health care for women.No one in the Trump organization wants to criminalize abortion or restrict health care for women.  I assume this is about Planned Parenthood.  Those folks have proven to be pretty nasty.  I have no problem removing federal funding ($500M/yr) from them.  But the truth is that legalized abortions is the law of the land.  It is settled.  The other truth is that there are plenty of sources of women's healthcare for anyone who wants it without relying on PP.  But if they can stay in business through private donations, so be it.  I want abortions to be safe, legal and rare.  And I think most thinking Americans believe the same thing.
•I will not "work together" to increase the number of nations that have nuclear weapons.Don't know where this came from expcept for some musings during the campaign.  No one wants this to happen.  
•I will not "work together" to put even more "big money" into politics.Blaming Trump for this is breathtakingly disengenuous.  Trump financed his own campaign.  Hillary was the one who took the big bucks from the highest bidder, including that sleaze George Soros.
•I will not "work together" to violate the Geneva Convention.I assume this is about waterboarding.  President Trump has said he will follow the lead of Secretary Mattis who is against it.  But I have to say, I agree with Trump.  There are some instances where using something like that is justified.  
•I will not "work together" to give the Ku Klux Klan, the Nazi Party and white supremacists a seat at the table, or to normalize their hatred and racism.This is the ultimate in fake news.  Trump is not remotely racist.  I assume this is about Bannon who has taken a bad rap in the media.  There is no evidence that he is racist.  None.  This is also about this so-called Alt Right movement that many think somehow is a major force in supporting Trump.  The Alt Right is a group of about 5000 (at most) racist assholes who are wack jobs.  They have no impact.  They are irrelevant.  And we all need to be aligned that these guys have no standing and should be shamed.  And I think, from what I've seen, the Trump administration agrees.
•I will not "work together" to deny health care to people who need it.No one is trying to deny healthcare.  They are trying to fix a very broken Obamacare system that is cratering.  
•I will not "work together" to deny medical coverage to people on the basis of a "pre-existing condition."Every plan I've seen contains a pre-existing condition capability.  That is not going away.
•I will not "work together" to increase voter suppression.This is an interesting one.  I've never understood why asking for an ID to vote is voter suppression.  It doesn't make any sense.  I need an ID to drive a car.  I need an ID to fly on an airliner.  I need an ID to cash a check.  I need an ID to buy beer.  There are many, many, many areas of life where I need an ID.  So why not to vote?  It doesn't make any sense.  But that is the law in many places.  I would strongly support requiring and ID to vote.  If that means I'm suppressing the vote, so be it.
•I will not "work together" to normalize tyranny.I don't even know what to do with this.   Where is the evidence of tyranny?
•I will not “work together” to eliminate or reduce ethical oversite at any level of government.Again.  Where is the evidence that ethical oversight is going away?
•I will not "work together" with anyone who is, or admires, tyrants and dictators.I can only assume that this has to do with Russia.  Every President in recent history has had as a goal to reduce tension and reset relations with Putin.  It has never worked, and I suspect won't work this time.  Putin is an asshole.  And I suspect that Trump knows that.  But he's keeping his powder dry.  So people can speculate all they want, but Trump knows that Putin is an asshole.
•I will not "work together" to give less support to government employees.Ha Ha.  The bureacracy in government is way, way, way out of control.  I don't know the best way to reduce it, but I'd do something dramatic.  Like reduce by 30% and get rid of 50% of contractors.  Don't know if the numbers are right, but something dramatic.  Bureaucrats administer regulations.  There are too many of both.  Reduction would be good.
•I will not "work together" to find ways for the billionaires to cheat the system.Billionaires don't have to cheat the system.  They are smart folks.  They got billions by being smart and hiring smart folks.  And I want smart, rich folks who've had to work to make their money running things.  It makes a lot more sense than turning government over to bureaucrats who have never really done anything.
•I will not "work together" to implement a hiring freeze at government agencies.A hiring freeze is the minimal that needs to be done.  There needs to be a freeze and then a dramatic reduction.
•I will not "work together" to suppress reporters' right to ask questions the administrations does not like.I won't get into a whole fake news discussion, but no reporters have had their rights diminished.  The Trump administration has not done anything that hasn't been done by otheres.  And if I were in their shoes, I'd be trying to flumox some of the biggest liars at every turn.
•I will not "work together" to bully any country, big or small.The world is a big, ugly, unforgiving place.  We do best when we are strong.  We are not bullying when we negotiate from a position of strength.  
•I will not "work together" to craft a message diminishing women and young adults.I'd love to see the evidence of this.  I've not seen anything that equals diminishing.  There has been some private discussions released that were not flattering to Trump, but that is hardly diminishing women
•I will not support anyone that thinks its OK to put a pipeline to transport oil on Sacred Ground for Native Americans. And, it would run under the Missouri River, which provides drinking water for millions of people. An accident waiting to happen.He's talking about the Dakota Access Pipeline.  The story provided by the protestors and the obliging media has proven to be wholly false.  The pipeline is safe, it's not on Indian land, the Corps of Engineers has worked with the tribes every step of the way, and there are thousands of pipelines that are perfectly safe.  My advice here is to follow the money.  See who really benefits from this protest.  
 This is my line, and I am drawing it.
•I will stand for honesty, love, and respect for all living beings." Me too.
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