HELLO

Whether you're a fan of my OSCARBLOGGER site, or if you're just casting your way 'round the web, I hope you enjoy my new blog: WHISPERING IN A WIND TUNNEL. Here I will discuss issues of politics, religion, race, gay rights, gender, you know, the big stuff.

Tuesday, August 15, 2017

YET ANOTHER NEW LOW

"Trump comments were good. He didn’t attack us. He just said the nation should come together. Nothing specific against us.
He said that we need to study why people are so angry, and implied that there was hate … on both sides!
He said he loves us all."  -A Blog Post from the Daily Stormer, a White Supremacist Website.
It'a story that keeps developing and keeps getting worse.  Last Saturday, in Charlottesville Virginia, white supremacists, many carrying Nazi flags, held a truly terrifying rally.  Although the ostensible reason for this rally was to protest the removal of a statue of Confederate General Robert E Lee, it's real driving force  was an attempt  to display the excitement felt by the racist right in this country at the fact that they helped elect a president that they feel is sympathetic towards their beliefs.  Or, as former Klu Klux Klan leader David Duke put it, "We are going to fulfill the promises of Donald Trump. That’s what we believed in, that’s why we voted for Donald Trump."  The rally then got violent as counter protesters arrived, and eventually a deranged twenty year old man drove into a crowd of those counter protestors, killing one woman and injuring many others.  All in all, it was a dark and ugly day for America.  And then president Trump went and made it worse.



As the situation got uglier and uglier, Trump inevitably had to make some kind of statement.  Speaking in a bored monotone, clearly annoyed at missing his golf game, Trump at first seemed to be issuing a standard presidential statement, until he paused and repeated the now much analyzed phrase, that there was violence on "many sides".  He also did not once mention any of the white supremacist groups at the rally by name.  Yes, we now live in a country where a president can look at a literal Nazi rally and not condemn them by name.  It's clear why he feels this way: he and his advisors realize that a large part of his unlikely victory lay in the white resentment and anger exhibited in the rally; that these marchers and the voters who agreed with him were his base.  Furthermore, Trump's bloated ego clouded his mind and showed him a group of people cheering for him, so he couldn't condemn them; not when they supported him so strongly.  They saw him as being as wonderful as sees himself as being.
While it was good to see quick and strong criticism of Trump's comments, I am unmoved by the fact that many Republicans also were critical.  Where were they we he was making racist comments on the campaign trail?  Paul Ryan once described Trump's attack on a Mexican American judge as the "textbook definition of racism", why then did Ryan wind up supporting Trump?  The fact of the matter is that the Republican party has been playing up white resentment to get an electoral advantage for decades.  Trump is just the inevitable culmination of the racist dog whistles blown by the likes of Ronald Reagan and George H Bush.   The party lost all credibility on this issue the day they decided to make an unexperienced egotistical bigot their party nominee.  Don't tell me you're surprised that a hateful campaign produced a hateful president!
It should be mentioned that on Monday, Trump finally gave a stronger statement in which he called racism evil.  While his words (which he obviously didn't write) were an improvement, it still was a case of a little too little, a little too late.  If he really hates racism, why is his Attorney General Jeff Sessions, a man who was considered too racist to be a judge back in the 1980's?  Why is one of Trump's top advisors Steve Bannon, a self proclaimed member of the white nationalist alt right movement?
Amazingly, this has all gotten even worse!  Today, Trump gave a press conference in which he ignored his stronger words delivered on Monday and doubled down on his original comments.  Conjuring up some imaginary image of the violent "alt left", Trump implied that many of the marchers were not actual white supremacists (did he not see the flags?) and that the violence that occurred happened because of the alternate protestors attacks.  He failed to mention that the man who plowed into a group of anti-Nazi protestors was described by a former teacher of having once written a paper that was “very much along the party lines of the neo-Nazi movement,”.  Instead, as Trump put it:  “You had a group on one side that was bad. You had a group on the other side that was also very violent.  Nobody wants to say that. I’ll say it right now. You had a group on the other side that came charging in without a permit and they were very, very violent.”  Words fail me as to how many excuses one man can make to not condemn a racist rally in the proper way that an American leader should in 2017.  So I'll just close this by quoting  David Duke again in a tweet:  “Thank you President Trump for your honesty & courage to tell the truth about #Charlottesville."



Wednesday, August 9, 2017

DANGEROUS SABER RATTLING


During the 2016 campaign, Donald Trump broke precedent by using blunt, unsubtle rhetoric time and time again.  This especially applied to his talk about the military and his expected roll as commander in chief;  saying he would "blow the shit" out of Isis, and use "waterboarding and a hell of a lot worse" on suspected terrorists were common statements from him.  These childish comments were often mentioned when people like myself said that he lacked the proper temperament to be president.  Sadly, his base seemed to love him for it.
So here we are, less than a year into his presidency, and already that blunt talk of his may lead to some dangerous consequences.  Recently, in the wake of the UN passing sanctions against his country, North Korean leader Kim Jong-Un has ramped up his own threats against the US, discussing the possibility of attacking Guam, which has an American base.  He has even raised the specter of launching  nuclear missiles at the US, although according to the New York Times, there's some debate as to whether such an attack is possible.  Trump's response to these threats was something no president has every publicly said before: he said that North Korea faced "fire and fury like the world has never seen."  Although the implied use of nuclear weapons against our enemies has been part of American foreign policy since the late 1940's, no president has ever so openly and forcefully threatened another country in this manner.  The fact that he made those comments while vacationing at a golf course adds to the surreal nature of what this country has become since he took office!

To be fair to Trump, there are no easy answers to the problem of North Korea; Kim Jong-Un is an absolute unstable dictator, and the new round of sanctions will probably have little affect other than making him angrier.  He seems determined to develop more and stronger weapons, realizing that the possibility of a vicious nuclear strike will prevent invasion from other countries.  Despite all of this, Trump's approach of threatening some kind of a massive attack is frightening and over the top; hopefully he and his advisors realize that both a nuclear strike or a military invasion of North Korea would be an epic disaster, with perhaps millions of lives being lost.  Given those stakes, it's terrifying that the fate of the world now rests in the hands of two hot headed, egotistical men.  All we can hope for now is that the people around them are smarter and more level headed then they are, and that they will listen to them.