Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Tired of Too Much Trump? Fatigue Factor Sets In

The fatigue factor is setting in. Donald Trump and his gang that couldn’t shoot straight is overwhelming me. There’s too much to write. If I miss a day the accumulated copy weighs me down. So here’s a “in case you missed it”  blog including random thoughts on news of the days of jaw-dropping, head shaking awe …

Did you see Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross wax ecstatic about the lack of protesters and dissenters in Saudi Arabia during Trump’s transactional relationship building trip to the desert kingdom?

“[The] thing that was fascinating to me was there was not a single hint of a protester anywhere there during the whole time we were there,” Ross told a global audience on CNBC. “Not one guy with a bad placard…”

Even after the CNBC newswoman suggested Saudis do not have the freedom to protest, Ross maintained his devotion to the repressive regime. 

Bibi’s Slip of the Tongue: After Trump’s visit to the Western Wall, Israeli prime minister Bib Netanyahu lauded him for being the “first acting president” to stand before Judaism’s holiest site. 

Bibi had it right. Though he meant to say “sitting president,” Trump’s presidency is an act, an act of arrogance, idiocy, cruelty, meanness and braggado. 

Trump’s buffoonery was on display during their press conference when he volunteered that he didn’t mention Israel during his meeting with the Russian foreign minister and ambassador in the Oval Office, thus providing tacit recognition that he spilled confidential information to our adversaries. 

Compare Notes: After visiting Yad Vashem, the memorial to six million Jews slain during the Holocaust, in Jerusalem Tuesday, Trump left the following note signed by him and his wife, Melania: 

“It is a great Honor To Be Here With All of My Friends.

So Amazing & will Never Forget!”

After his July 23, 2008, visit to Yad Vashem, candidate Barack Obama wrote:

“I am grateful to Yad Vashem and all of those responsible for this remarkable institution. At a time of great peril and promise, war and strife, we are blessed to have such a powerful reminder of man’s potential for great evil, but also our capacity to rise up from tragedy and remake our world. Let our children come here, and know this history, so that they can add their voices to proclaim “never again.” And may we remember those who perished, not only as victims but as individuals who hoped and loved and dreamed like us, and who have become symbols of the human spirit.”   

CBSnews.com provided more context: “Then-president George W. Bush inscribed a brief message-- ‘God bless Israel’-- a few months earlier, in January 2008.

“Bill Clinton, who visited the memorial in his first term, was optimistic about the prospects for Middle East peace when wrote this in the book:

‘Today we have come one step closer to the time when the people of Israel will live in peace with all of their neighbors, when the awful events of death and destruction memorialized here will be banished to the past.’ 
“During her time as secretary of state, Hillary Clinton, Mr. Trump’s Democratic presidential opponent in the 2016 election, left the following note in March 2009:

“‘Yad Vashem is a testament to the power of truth in the face of denial, the resilience of the human spirit in the face of despair, the triumph of the Jewish people over murder and destruction and a reminder to all people that the lessons of the Holocaust must never be forgotten,’ Clinton's note said. ‘God bless Israel and its future.’”

Okay, our current White House occupant is not a wordsmith. You’d think, however, that someone, someone in the administration would know better, would know the proper way to convey a message that is more than just “amazing.” 

Apparently not.

Killer Eyes: Last month Arkansas, with the approval of the U.S. Supreme Court, rushed to execute as many death row inmates as it could before its lethal chemical cocktail mix could no longer be used. 

I’ll forego commenting on the appropriateness of capital punishment, but I would suggest one change to the execution protocol. I would like any district attorney, governor and judge who favors an execution to have to witness the administration of said death penalty. It might not cut down on the number of executions but it would remove any shield they may have in meting out the ultimate punishment.

Comp Time Blues: There was a time several years back when human resources consultants advised that employees wanted more free time than more wages for overtime work. That idea is being incorporated in the Trump Administration’s proposals that comp time replace overtime pay.

Back when I worked for The New Haven Register chalking up comp time was the norm. There was, however, one flaw, a big flaw, in that practice—I was still required to file all the stories I would normally have to submit. 

Channeling Presidents: Unless I missed it, I must admit I was surprised Trump did not channel President Harry S. Truman when it came to defending his daughter’s creative talent. 

Truman’s daughter Margaret received less than flattering reviews for her singing from The Washington Post, prompting the plucky president to write the music critic, “Some day I hope to meet you. When that happens you’ll need a new nose, a lot of beefsteak for black eyes, and perhaps a supporter below!”

We should also hope Trump does not channel one of his presidential heroes, Andrew Jackson, who defied a Supreme Court ruling, famously stating, “(Chief Justice) John Marshall has made his decision; now let him enforce it.” 

Given all his judicial involvements Trump may well have to confront judgments not to his liking. 

He might find comfort in conjuring up the image of Woodrow Wilson, often considered a great president for “making the world safe for democracy,” but who discriminated against Afro-Americans and immigrants he thought were a threat to national security.

“I am sure the country is honeycombed with German intrigue and infested with German spies,” Wilson wrote in 1915 to one of his advisors. 

Once America entered the war against Germany, Wilson signed the Sedition Act of 1918 which restricted speech and the expression of opinion that criticized the government or the war effort. Convicted offenders could be imprisoned for five to 20 years.

Perhaps it is a good thing Trump is not a student of history.