Making Sense of What's What

Welcome to Making Sense of What's What!!!

This blog is devoted to addressing those issues which impact our daily lives. Political, educational, relational and transitional issues are all grist for the mill. Life is personal and my need is to personally share with you those things and issues that impact me and others of us as we move through our daily experiences.

Thank you for checking in.

Saturday, November 9, 2019

Our Impeachmenet Drama: What It Is Really All About...

In the midst of our current Impeachment drama, we are facing numerous examples of hypocrisy on the part of the GOP.  Their cries of ‘fowl play’ are amazing for the blatancy and transparency of their lying about the truth of the House process of inquiry regarding Trump’s behavior. There is also a thickly coated hypocrisy as the GOP criticize the Democrats for the very things that they did as they attacked Hillary Clinton with conspiracy theories regarding her email and Bengasi, that were proven to be baseless.

The GOP’s first lie is to say that the closed hearings are excluding the GOP’s involvement in the proceedings. That is patently not true.  Members of the he GOP are present in those meetings and have equal assess to listen and question those who are being examined by the various committees.

A second lie is that there will be no public hearings provided, for the public to have access to what is being said in private.  To begin with, the transcripts of what has been shared have been made known to the media and public.  And, there are scheduled public hearings being arranged so that the public will have the opportunity to hear from informants what is being said about Trump’s behavior that is serving as grounds for his Impeachment.

The third lie is that Trump is being railroaded in secret, behind closed doors, in the same fashion as people are treated in Russian interrogation sessions. Does the GOP really think that all 108 thousand people who didn’t vote in the last Presidential Election added to Clinton’s nearly 66 thousand voters are really that stupid? And, it needs to be added that Trump’s ‘I am always the victim’ shtick is getting very old and predictable. Anyone with a modicum self reflection would wonder why it is that there are people don’t like me? Could it be you words and/or actions that turn people off?

Then, you have the sophomoric arguments by the GOP regarding whether or not Trump has done anything wrong. And  if he did do something wrong and is guilty of violating the Constitution, does what he did raise to the level of seriousness as to lead to his removal from office? Anyone who has read the facts of the matter, if they are true, can only conclude that his withholding of House appropriated funds for Ukraine’s defense against Russian attacks, unless Trump gained ‘dirt’ on Biden, his potential foe in the 2020 Presidential campaign, is a crime against the Constitution. Simply put, Trump committed bribery, which is an impeachable offense. His many other examples of obstruction of justice individually or collectively would be grounds for Impeachment on their own.

And, the final insult to the American people by the GOP, is to perpetuate   lies in their defense of Trump. They do this by misstating the truth, answering a question with a question, ‘what abouting,’ all over the place, talking over the person who is doing the questioning in interviews, obviously sticking to ‘talking points’ regardless of the questions being asked of them. What is at stake in this matter is whether the House and Senate are going to defend their Constitutional Duty in addressing Trump’s behavior, and in up holding the basic Constitutional reality of ‘separation of powers.’ Or, are they going to play the politics of self-serving survival.  

Being leaders in a democracy is not child’s play.  It requires adults addressing adult issues that arise in order for our very political, governmental, public service and defense institutions to be maintained and improved upon. Our very survival as the United States requires thoughtful, honest adult responses to those who want to destroy our very way of life.   

Wednesday, February 20, 2019

What More Could We Ask For? A Delusional Donald, Serving As A Putin Proxy, Who Is Also, ‘In Love With Kim Jong-Un’?

We have finally reached the point where C.N.N. has resorted to using ‘alternative cameras’ to mockingly and sadly highlight the delusional world in which Donald Trump is living.  His Intelligence experts ‘need to go back to school,’ ‘I know more than the generals,’ ‘I know more about I.S.I.S.,’ ‘I asked Putin about interfering with our elections, and he said that he didn’t. ‘I love Kim Jong-Un, we have a great relationship and North Korea is going to denuclearize the Korean Peninsula.’

Can a delusional person be trusted to lead the United States? Do you feel safe with this guy in the position to talk with such enemies as Russia and North Korea and make decisions or commitments with these folks that will determine our fate as a society, and do so in meetings that involve no advisors being present?

His lies can be seen as an extension of his delusional thinking. He doesn’t know how to separate out truth from his fantasy world. He says what he says when he says it regardless of whether what he says is true or not. How can anyone feel safe when relating to someone like this?

Over the past two years, Trump has become more and more isolated from others on whom he should be depending for counsel and understanding about the issues that reality demands that he, as President, or someone, on his White House staff, needs to address. He is painfully ignorant about the very issues that are at the center of our daily survival as a society.  And, he offers no indication about having any intellectual curiosity or interest in finding out about the daily life issues that a President of the United States needs to address, like reading the daily security briefings. Politico recently reported that his schedule includes, ‘Executive Time’ which constitutes 9 hours of watching television or tweeting, and this is, apparently, done on a daily basis.

He demonstrates no empathy for anyone else.  His pulling children away from their parents as a part of his deterrence policy against the rapists and the evil brown skin ones who are crossing our southern border. Or, his disregard for federal workers who are being forced to go without paychecks because of his egoic need to win his confrontation with the Speaker of the House over his ‘be all, end all,’ wall, his 4th Century solution that will keep the evil hoards out of our neighborhoods.

Then, on a dime, he can turn everything around and everything is fine, ‘we have been building the wall, we have the money. Imbedded in such a turn about assertion is the fact that our government shut down didn’t have to happen.  According to this pivot on Trump’s part, there was no issue about the wall not being built that required the shutting down of government and 800,000 federal workers to have to go without paychecks. In another breath, he asserts that ‘the tear gas we are using on women and children who are attempting to cross our southern boarder is ‘very safe.’ And, none of this is being done in a psychiatric unit or a mental health facility. Rather, it is being done on national television, in front of our very eyes, on a daily basis. 
It is also delusional, on our part, to turn a blind eye to the reality of Trump’s history of financial dependence on Russian funding sources that have ties with Putin. His sons have both publically asserted that Trump has received most of his loans from Russian investors. He is also beholden to a Saudi Arabian Prince for saving him from bankruptcy on two different occasions.  It is also magical thinking on our part to not acknowledge that his people have been involved with Russians before and during our Presidential Election Process, at a time when Putin was actively attempting to undermine our election process.

He often will telegraph his areas of vulnerability to the world by saying that people better stay away from his tax records or financial dealings with others who would raise concerns about to what extent he is beholden to foreign power brokers. What would make a sane person tell those who are charged with investigating his background and behaviors where to stay away from in their investigations? If he didn’t have something to hide, why say anything in the first place?

Even more glaringly, it would be delusional on our part to dismiss how his behavior is undeniably serving as a Proxy for Putin on the world stage and domestically. He is doing more to advance Putin’s global goals than Putin has been able to do in the past 18 years.  Under Trump, we have weakened our position in relation to our allies, including NATO. We have distanced ourselves from economic agreements that have provided stability to large portions of the free world over the past 80 years.

He is getting the United States into trade wars with China and others and using tariffs as a tool to get his way, at the expense of the soybean farmers of the Midwest and the cost of producing a car for Ford Motor Company. He is doing things domestically that are causing alienation between American citizens, undermining our working and labor class, our judiciary, our very rule of law, our efforts to provide for medical care, clean water and air. Our Congress and the likes of Mitch McConnell have been a rubber stamp for his destructive behaviors.

His ‘Make America Great Again’ is another example of his delusional thinking. In fact America’s economic strength was what promoted its recovery, during the 2008-9 Recession, while other nations struggled to regain their financial footing. In addition, America’s military strength, rather than weak, is second to none.

His desire to go back to the 1950’s as a return to our golden years was another fantasy, in that industries of the 1950’s have become antiquated due to new technologies and changes in the desirability of America producing coal and steel in today’s world.

The economic gap between the middle or working class and the wealthiest is continuing to grow and is, in itself, a source of concern in maintaining a viable economy.  According to Robert Reich, 80 percent of American’s live from paycheck to paycheck. 84 % of the stock market is owned by the richest 10% of Americans.  Our national minimum (not living) wage has been cemented at 7.25 since 2009. Nothing Trump has done in 2 years has improved one aspect of the economy, except for the wealthiest top 10% of our citizenry. Ask the worker’s of the Carrier Plant in Indianapolis about his promises to keep jobs in the United States.
We need to do more than just watch this poor, suffering, ignorant person stumbling around, placing our citizen’s safety in doubt and our place in the world community in jeopardy. Our trying to treat this as an occurrence that the finer points of Constitutional law can rectify is living in a delusional world of our making. Congress must take steps to remove Trump from office before he destroys more individual lives, or further damages our standing and safety in the world community than he has already done.

Nowhere in his two years in office has he protected or defended the Constitution of the United States against our adversaries.  His defense of Putin and Un, against the advice of his various intelligence agencies should be enough proof for those of us who are living in the now of the real world, that he should be removed from office. He is simply not living up to his Constitutional Oath of Office: 'I will faithfully execute the Office of President of the United States, and will, to the best of my Ability, preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States.'

Thursday, November 29, 2018

Observations On How Trump Attempts To Destroy Our American Values And Way Of Life

Donald Trump lies, denies, deflects any semblance of truth away from himself and ”gaslights” everything. When he talks from his delusional world, he sounds like the guy who is rousing up his base…when he talks about reality, he is incoherent, rambling, his thinking is fragmented and on a level of a fourth grader with language processing issues. What’s the difference?  When he is in his delusional world, he is at one with himself and has his delusional reality mastered…when he is talking in the world of reality, he is at a loss, stumbles all over the place and is an embarrassment to himself, to the citizens of the United States and a joke to citizens of the world. He makes claims that the tear gas we used on immigrants at the Mexican border are “very safe.” He blamed immigrants with children “for being in harm’s way.”

His past two years as President have been a time of destroying programs that were set up to assist and protect members of our American Family.  He has attempted to undercut our national security agencies, our judicial institutions, he has supported those who want to destroy public education, and reversed programs that ensure clean water and clean air. His has attempted to dismantle those regulatory efforts to make sure that when seniors seek information on their retirement programs, they are assured to have their welfare the center piece of their negotiations with their consultant, not the financial welfare of the consultant or the company he represents. His insistence that global climate change is not true despite the recently completed comprehensive report on the negative impact on climate change and our economy because 'I’m too intelligent to believe the climate change report.' At another point he asserted “I don’t believe it, that if every other place on Earth is dirty, that’s not so good.”

He has had dealings with Russians to gain loans for his various business ventures. Both of his sons have publically stated that the majority of their money has come from the Russian Oligarchy and, yet, Trump denies having any business ties with the Russians. He has receive loans from the Saudis that have bailed him our of two bankruptcy situations, and he says he has no ties with the people who our CIA have identified as having murdered Saudi Washington Post journalist, Jamal Khashoggi.

Trump’s time in the Oval Office is a freak show playing in front of our faces every day of the week.  Sadly, there are those who are ill informed, unschooled in how government is suppose to work, poorly versed in the writings of the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution and, as a result, are easily influenced by the Fox News and other propaganda producing sources. 

Trump’s need to be the center of attention runs his efforts to do away with bilateral negotiations, people working together for the benefit of all and, instead, wants to be the center piece for making a deal…he wants to be the big deal maker that his delusional world says that he is. His ignorance about the facts and history of addressing issues involved with negotiations is evident in everything he touches. In addition, he was totally unaware that Putin mocked him in Helsinki when he offered to have his intelligence people join together with our CIA and FBI to find out about our election problems. Before that he was manipulated by Kim Jong Un to believe that North Korea was to be trusted to ‘denuclearize’ the Korean Peninsula when, in fact, reports have indicated that their program has expanded.

We deserve and can do better than this as American Citizens.  Our job is to listen, to learn about issues and to participate in our electoral process.  If people are getting exercised about some person or issue, use that conflicting energy as a warning that someone wants you to believe something that might not be true.  All of us are ignorant about something…ignorance is overcome by becoming informed…that is something we can all achieve. Our form of government depends on informed consent.  Without being informed, we are at the mercy of people like Donald Trump and Fox News, Putin and Un. There are facts and we need to be able to separate facts from opinions. Contrary to what Trump asserts, there is no such thing as alternative facts.  Alternative facts are a lie. And, we need to know the difference.

Friday, November 2, 2018

Trump's Delusional World On A Collision Course With American Values, Part II... The Portrait Of A Malignant Narcissist

With each passing day of his Presidency, Donald Trump is presiding over and orchestrating the demise of the United States, as we know it.  On so many levels the United States is wasting away through the slow death process that results from Trump’s delusional thinking, his ignorance, his of lack truth telling, his lack of regard for civility, his acts of cruelty against others, and for his deliberate attempts to undermine our American social, political and legal institutions. Trump is aided in this decline by a gutless, seemingly morally bankrupt GOP dominated Congress. The Congress appears to be transfixed by watching the slow motion train wreck that is going on before their very eyes.  

Trump’s emotional reactivity and his inability to maintain a sense of control over his emotional inner world are on full view for all to see.  His ‘tweet tantrums’ reflect his intolerance for and lashing out against those who he feels are critical of him.  He becomes consumed with anger when he feels attacked, and will relate on Twitter in ways that reflect the lashing out of an emotionally troubled prepubescent. His “James Comey is an untruthful slime ball,” is one such response that clearly reflects behavior that captures Trump’s emotional development and unfitness for the Presidency.

Trump’s ignorance is staggering as his lack of interest in learning about what needs to be understood in order to govern as the world’s leader in matters of defense, economic issues, and human rights throughout the world.  Instead of being briefed by those who are still on his staff, who are informed and manifest adult maturity, he turns to Fox news who is still fighting the Clinton and Obama Presidencies with conspiracy drenched theories that have been proven dead and buried on many fronts by noteworthy informed sources. 

Fox news has become the role model for ‘fake news,’ and the belief that opinion is equal to facts in its importance to understanding reality. Fox news is Trumps source of inspiration and information. News medias outside of Fox are fast becoming targeted by Trump with threats to increase libel laws in an attempt to eliminate all who speak against his perception of reality. The print media is also under attack for the same reason.

 In his first week in office, Trump’s insensitivity strained relations with the President of Mexico and the Prime Minister of Australia. In his first year in office, in addition to withdrawing the United States from the Paris Climate Accord, and NAFTA, he has withdrawn American leadership in a world that we, as a nation, have spent eighty years attempting to build and strengthen, providing economic support, stability and safety for citizens throughout Europe, the Middle East, Asia and the Americas.  He has opposed the Iran Nuclear Treaty without his having any understanding about Iran, the history of the treaties creation, the issues that had to be addressed to arrive at an agreement. He has provoked the heightening of tension on the Korean Peninsula and initiated a trade war with China that will have a detrimental impact on various areas of our economy including our soybean farmers and those very people who supported his candidacy.

Added to this list of actions is his reversal of fifteen of President Obama’s Executive Orders. Three of Obama’s orders come to mind as examples of Trump’s attempts to destroy Obama’s legacy.  He has reversed clean water and clean air directives. He has reversed insuring that those who seek advise from a retirement program, have the assurance that it is the client’s best interest that counts and not the best interest of the salesman or company.  In effect, Trump supports the polluting of streams with the waste from coal mines, the polluting the air with relaxed emissions standards and subjecting retiree’s to greedy, predatory sales people around retirement issues.

During the 2016 Presidential Election, his need was to create a believable message for those who might vote for him including the unemployed of the Rust Belt.  He promoted the notion that his supporters are all victims. He did this by asserting that our American economy is flawed. In truth, our economy is the strongest in the developed world and demonstrated that strength by how it survived the 2008 recession. 

His idea about ‘Making American Great Again,’ is to return American back to the 1950’s in the days of strong coal and steel production. In fact, our steel industry will never be competitive in this current world because the American steel industry is obsolete. It is obsolete because over the years, it never upgraded its technology and equipment. 

The coal industry is being moved to pasture due to newer forms of less expensive energy that are making the coal industry and the need for coal miners obsolete, as well. Such assertions on his part give those, who are former coal and steel workers false hope that the coal and steel jobs will once again support their livelihoods.
 But for those coal and steel workers who are out of jobs, a con artist cons and sells his snake oil to those who want to believe. Trump’s plan is pure magical thinking and his word has been proven, over time to be worthless. His promise to the workers at Cutter Industries to keep their jobs was not kept. As of January 10, 2018 The Washington Post reports that Trump has made 2,001 false or misleading claims in 355 days which amounts to 5.6 false claim a day. As of October 30, 2018 his false or misleading claims have escalated over six thousand and average 30 each and every day.  The question needs to be asked, who in their right mind would believe anything Trump might say?

Trump phantasy world reflects his sense of vulnerability and poor self-esteem. As a result, he compensates for this by creating an exaggerated sense of self-importance and entitlement. His phantasy world allows him to make statements like “I know more than the generals,” or “I know the system better than anybody, I am the only one who can fix the economy.” “I could shoot somebody on Fifth Avenue and not lose any votes.” “I am a very stable genius.” “Nobody has more respect for women, nobody.” Speech and Language Pathologists have indicated that Trump’s thought process and use of words is between the 6th and 8th year level of cognitive and language development. 

His lying is another aspect of his phantasy world. He can say anything because anything means nothing to him. He is able to live with his misstatements of fact because he has no mediating concern for right and wrong.  His recent statement about our trade deficit with Canada serves as an example of this. He readily admitted that he did not know the facts of the matter and yet, in a discussion with the Prime Minister of Canada made the statement that Canada owes us, when, in fact, we have a trade surplus with our northern neighbors. Such misstatements, such ignorance is not only embarrassing, it makes the United States the laughing stock of the world. They are also dangerous. 

Most recently, through a Tweet, Trump warned “ Russia vows to shoot down any and all missiles fired at Syria. Get ready Russia, because they will be coming, nice and new and ‘smart!’ You shouldn’t be partners with a Gas Killing Animal who kills his people and enjoys it.” Is this the behavior; are these the assertions towards a hostile nation that we expect from the President of the United States?

Trump also plays to the needs of his “base,” those who support and encourage him.  He is aware that there is upset with the way the white dominated society is declining in America. Barak Obama’s election to the Presidency drove the last nail into the coffin of the myth of white supremacy. Now, with Obama, those who used to be members of the slave class can be in the driver’s seat of our nations aspirations.  Conservative and Alt-right folks don’t like that fact and feel ill at ease about such realignment in American’s social structure.

Added together with this, is the ‘browning’ of American society.  There are more and more people in our American Family that are non-white.    He is the spokesman to rile those whites to act out against such realities. His emphasis against immigrants allows him to use the practice of scapegoating to mobilize his base against those who are new to our country, who speak languages other than English and whose religious beliefs are other than Christian. 

On another level, Trump is completely unconcerned about the feeling and needs of others. His ‘who would vote for a face like that?’ response to Carly Fiornia as a potential Presidential Candidate in 2016 is one such example of this behavior. His ‘Crooked Hilary, throw her in jail’ comments, his comment about John McCain being a war hero, ‘he was a war hero because he was captured.  I like people who weren’t captured. More recently, he referred to the Dictator of North Korea as “little rocket man.”

In truth, Trump creates and thrives on chaos, conflict and confusion.    His going from the Russian Probe, to his current trade war with China and other nations, to his affairs with a porn star and a Playboy Bunny, the firing of significant staff, his bombing of Syria, all of which creates a fire storm around him. The more he creates commotion, the more secure he feels at being at the center of the world he has created. Such outer world confusion mirrors the inner world confusion that rages on within him. Such chaos also serves as a way of deflecting attention from any single issue.  And, with the sheer number of issues in motion at the same time takes the edge off of any single matter so everything becomes a blur to someone looking in from the outside.

He also demonstrates a kind of cruelty that pours salt on the wounds that he inflicts on others. Trump’s public abuse of his staff, his threatening to fire someone, then reversing his decision, only to fire the person in the media, or through a Tweet has become a common practice.  Secretary of State Tillerson experienced a termination tweet while on a trip to Russia.  F.B.I. Director Comey was addressing FBI recruits in Los Angeles when he found out about his firing on television.

Nothing highlights this sadistic aspect of Trump’s personality more than his treatment of DACA immigrants.  This group had the assurance from President Obama that they were not to be deported from the United States. Trump even assured the DACA group that they would be safe from deportation.  He even asserts “the immigration solution should be a ‘bill of love.’ Instead, he changed his mind and put a deadline on DACA immigrants to register to remain in country.  He then proclaimed his intent to end the program so that all are subject to deportation. Where things stand with DACA individuals, in this moment, remains up in the air.

 His use of ICE agents to round up and tear families from one another is unconscionable and should be unconstitutional due to lack of affording people their due process rights.  Under Trump, the ICE agents are frightening reminiscent of Hitler’s Gestapo. His method of trying to keep the ‘murders, rapist and drug traffickers out of the United States’ is to make any immigrants’ life in the United States, a living hell.  He knows not nor cares about our promise to those “Give me your tired, your poor…Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free…The wretched refuse of your teeming shore…Send these, the homeless, tempest-tossed to me…I lift my lamp beside the golden door.”

So, in the final analysis, we have a President who manifests all of the symptoms that Erich Fromm, the social psychologist termed Malignant Narcissism. He coined the term in 1964.  He refers to this “as a psychological syndrome comprising an extreme mix of narcissism, antisocial personality disorder, aggression and sadism.  Often grandiose, and always ready to raise hostility levels, the malignant narcissist undermines families, organizations, communities and nations in which they are involved and dehumanizes the people with whom they associate.  The malignant narcissism is a severe mental sickness representing ‘the quintessence of evil.’ He characterized the condition as ‘the most severe pathology and the root of the most vicious destructiveness and inhumanity.” Psychology Today, February 22, 2017

In Trump, we have someone who it is easy to dismiss or treat as a clownish man-child. All the while, he casts a dark, foreboding cloud over our way of life.  Our Congress can no longer sit on its hands and allow him to do what he wants. We need to take seriously Erich Fromm’s warning about such a person. Trump is unfit for the Presidency and we need to prevent him from continuing to destroy our essence as a people and as nation.