Author Archives: William W. Starr

Sad But True

Down what excrement-filled path is Donald Trump leading America?

It might be one that takes us directly into war with North Korea. Or Iran. Trump’s incompetence, his juvenile mindset and his mental instability are threatening our nation. And that’s not just idle imagining. His crude, weak words about Secretary of State Rex Tillerson and Armed Services Chairman Sen. Bob Corker worry our allies and embolden the country’s enemies. Respect for the U.S. is is diminishing with both.

The fact that the Secretary of State called the President a “moron” is so far beyond any modern precedent. Trump’s belittling of Corker, a much-admired Republican who is knowledgeable in foreign affairs, suggests that Tillerson’s label is, all-too accurate. Sad.

Nearly every day brings new reminders of Trump’s growing detachment from the presidency. Instead of confronting issues like North Korea, Iran, destruction in Puerto Rico, he focuses on pro football players, an ESPN analyst and his wife’s statements. There is nothing too small and insignificant and meaningless for Trump to spend huge — very huge — chunks of his time on them. Sad. Very sad.

Trump is by any measure a chump. Successful businessman? His tax returns might confirm that — when pigs fly. His has managed to bankrupt gambling casinos (how can anyone be that financially stupid?). His golf clubs in Scotland are losing millions of dollars. Respect for Trump among his business colleagues disappeared a couple of decades ago.

Decent human being? Not with his comments of support for neo-Nazis, his apparent comfort with white supremacists, his words of disdain for Hispanics and other minorities and his disgusting words about assaulting women.

His leadership? Non-existent. He has not been able to get any of his signature legislative proposals though a Congress dominate by his own party. That’s largely be cause he isn’t interested in doing any real work to get his measures passed, preferring to use harsh, inaccurate words to criticize opponents and supporters. His is a record of almost total failure of achievement.

So, what can we say of Trump? How about calling it as he is: a lying, bullying, abusive, weak, inept, crass, narrow-minded, thoughtless, man-child who is manifestly unfit for this or any other public office. His is and remains a disgrace. Sad but true.

Screw the Consumers

Could there possibly be a more greedy, profit-focused, customer un-centric industry than the airlines?

As it turns out, yes indeed there is. Welcome to our exceedingly unfriendly credit collection agencies Equifax, Experian and TransUnion. Let’s focus on Equifax because it’s the one in the news these days after allowing a credit hack that has affected 143.5 million Americans. Equifax “allowed” that hack because it took grossly inadequate security measures to protect the confidential data of its victims. The company calls them customers, but they are victims.

The Equinox CEO has resigned as a result of the hack. Bully. The company and its two competing agencies ought to be the subject of rigorous new laws to limit their operations and the damages they can and are causing to so many millions of innocents. Even now as Equinox is attempting to allow victims to freeze or lock for free their stolen accounts, Experian and TransUnion are charging and want to increase their fees for those actions. That’s reprehensible. Onerous. It deserves more than a Congressional reprimand.

Customers ought to be able to alter their records at these companies at any time with out being charged for it. After all, these agencies make their profits from the organizations who purchase the collected information they have acquired. The money they make from customers — let’s just stick to labeling them victims — is just plain greed. Congress, it’s time to stop this. It’s disgusting corporate behavior that is anti-consumerism at its worst. Let’s fix the issue at hand and then seek legitimate and much-needed reform to prevent recurrences.

Small Hands, Small Mind?

Donald Trump’s latest target for his juvenile animosity and bullying is something larger than the individual men and women he has spoken against. This time he’s expressing his unhappiness with the NFL’s concussion protocols, suggesting that the league is turning sissy by attempting to limit the most obvious head damage-inducing plays. And he wants NFL owners to fire players who don’t stand for the National Anthem.

This is the President of the United States. A man who has so much time on his tiny hands.

This from a man of severely limited ethics and even more limited intelligence, a buffoonish loser. And maybe that explains it.

Years ago, Trump filed legal actions against the NFL, which he lost. And this is a man-boy who can’t stand losing anything though throughout his career he has lost much more than he’s ever won (think bankrupting gambling casinos, an achievement to awesomely inept it staggers the imagination).

Trump is also confronting something more serious than football players. He Asian antagonist is Kim Jong Un, a dangerous, possibly crazy, North Korean leader who at the moment seems to be the saner of the two men. Trump calls Kim “rocket man.” Kim refers to Trump as a “dotard.” Yes that’s utterly childish, but then again, so is Kim’s outburst. These are the leaders of two nations with catastrophe-causing weaponry, and they sound like first-graders. It would be amusing it it didn’t carry such potentially tragic implications.

So how to deal with Kim? Ignore or humiliate him publicly. Look instead to the Republican health care proposal, a woebegone bill that no one believes is a good bill. Trump wants it passed just so he can claim he’s won something after losing most everything he’s proposed (think immigration the wall, etc.) mever since he got into office.

Which brings us to this: Trump says he’s disinviting the NBA champion Golden State Warriors from a possible White House visit. Trump says because the players indicate a lack of enthusiasm for meeting the President, he is “withdrawing the invitation.” The catch here? The White House has never extended an invitation to be accepted or rejected.

Trump is a foolish, small-minded, pitifully incompetent person. A disgrace. America is much the worse for his administration.

The Nashville Statement

Bigotry resides not merely in the hearts and minds of neo-Nazis and white supremacists and their endorsers but also apparently inside a large clump of evangelical so-called Christians.

Earlier in the week a group of some 150 white self-described conservative people signed an agreement known as the Nashville Statement which is nothing more than a blatant commitment to intolerance to lesbians, gays, bisexuals and transgender people. The statement suggests that anyone who might be an L.B.G.T. person is immoral, that only heterosexuality is a permissible way of life and anyone else is “disordered.”

The signers include some well-known evangelicals, wackos, right-wing bigots, editors at conservative publications and a host of hangers-on. Many of them — all? — are supporters of Donald Trump, and therein lies the suspicion that this statement is not so much a statement of Christian principles but one with a political focus.

Consider: these signees condemn anyone not heterosexual as immoral. Yet they blindly ignore Donald Trump’s behavior. Cheating. (He committed adultery at least twice.) Lying. (Every time his mouth opens.) And what of his comments about grabbing women. Surely they are at least immoral and grossly sexist. And his demeaning of those of other races and nationalities? Where’s the Christian response to that? Where’s the outrage? Where’s the “Statement.”?

And where in the name of Christianity to we find that Christ rejects anyone because of sexuality? We are all sinners. Christ even accepts Donald Trump, though if would be nice if those alleged “Christian” signees noticed that Trump said a while back that he has never asked God for forgiveness. And what in Trump’s life bears the least witness to a moral, Christian sensibility in either his personal or professional life? Ever?

The Nashville Statement smells. It deserves the denunciation that most people are giving it. It is wrong, wrong-headed, hurtful and positively an anti-Christian document that should shame its signees. We are all better than that, or should be.

Courage-less

Another rat left the festering sewer that is Donald Trump’s White House today. This time is was Steve Bannon whose departure will not be bemoaned, mostly because it still leaves the chief architect of division and disgust in office.

And how long will Trump’s uncontrolled incompetence, stupidity, cowardice and mental impairment continue to roil America? The answer, sadly, seems to be until a few people in the Republican Party decide to put their country before their party. And that prospect seems dim indeed. Republicans are choosing to condemn Trump’s words and activities without naming him, but they clearly have no intention of taking the kinds of actions that are required to push Trump out of office.

In other words, there are no profiles in courage to be seen anywhere in today’s GOP. The Republicans will do anything to hang on to their offices, and they are frightened that acting on Trump will cost them political office. It might. Of course, it would be the right thing to do for America, but as we say, courage is in short supply these days, even as the White House becomes more and more mired in scandal and immorality.

Exposing Bigotry….

While political leaders on all sides strongly condemned the violence and racist thugs who promoted it in Charlottesville, VA., the President of the United States did not join in. Even 24 hours after the event, he could not; instead journalists got an email from an unnamed White House spokesman saying what Trump did not.

Is that because President Donald Trump is stupid, because he’s a racist himself, or perhaps just doesn’t want to offend his base voters: white racists? You can come up with your own answer of course, but there’s a long record of evidence that suggests our President is at heart a racist bigot.

Consider: He regularly condemns Hispanics and Muslims, whether terrorists or law-abiding citizens. He refuses to speak up against whites who commit racist crimes (including all of the police shootings of blacks you can recall). He denounces terrorists only when they are a minority and never when they are victims. There were displays of anti-Semitism at many of his political rallies in 2016. There are many, many more going back through his career including, when he was much younger, pleading no contest to an investigation into his refusal to rent apartments to African Americans.

Donald Trump may not be a racist bigot, but it can be argued quite clearly that his words and actions show that he is. That’s why the Nazis and bigots at the Charlottesville rally spoke so highly of Trump, finding it easy to adapt his political slogan with their vow to “take back America” for white people.

The people at that rally were thugs, among the lowest of our society. Why would anyone — why would President Trump — suggest in any way that the violence opposing their actions is some sort of moral equivalency? It most assuredly is not, and for President Trump to protest violence “on many sides” is crude, insensitive and false in very way.

Donald Trump remains a moral and ethical disgrace to the high office he holds.

Return of Judas

President Trump declared — in another of his addled tweets — that he no longer wants to allow transgenders to serve in the U.S. military. What a cruel, ugly, politically cynical act. And oh-so typical for this morally corrupt man.

The President said he reached this conclusion after conferring with generals and military experts, though he has provided the names of no one, including his own Secretary of Defense, who is said to have been blindsided by the tweets. No, this was Donald Trump’s decision, made with the sole intent of appeasing his radical conservative base.

That base, in this instance, includes a number of groups who call themselves Christian but who joyfully practice a nasty discrimination against people of other races and sexual identities. They are among those who voted for Trump in 2016 and who must now be coddled since the President has shown no interest in pushing for a health care bill to replace Obamacare that those same groups consider “must” legislation.

With health care failing, Trump went for the lowest he could aim: the few thousand transgenders men and women who have given their lives to military service for their cow try. By the ay, in case you’ve forgotten, Donald Trump never served in the armed forces. He claimed a fake injury to dodge the military. Of course, on the bright side, the United States was unquestionably safer with Donnie Trump not in the service.

And why exactly is this about-face so ugly? Back during his campaign, Trump vowed on more than one occasion to look after the rights of the LGBT community, calling for them to support his campaign because he had their back. And then came his tweet yesterday, his betrayal, his act of a pathetic Judas.

It Just Gets Worse

So now we know for sure: the Trump campaign eagerly pursued help from the Russians to defeat Hillary Clinton. We know this because of emails from Donald Trump’s dim bulb son (like father, like son) who rushed to accept an offer by a hostile foreign government to interfere in our election. That is stunning and disgraceful and may potentially — if we are fortunate — bring about the demise of this administration sooner rather than later.

Does it amount to criminal collusion, a conspiracy, or treason? We’ll have to await the judgment of the congressional and FBI investigations before final conclusions can be made. But the evidence so far tells us very clearly that the smoke from all the Trump-Russia issues has been traced back to a fire.

We know positively now that Donald Trump and his family and his aides have lied, repeatedly, about whether there have been connections between the campaign and the Russians. We know that there is a clear and established pattern of lies, and that the President of the United States and his family can no longer be trusted or believed. As if they ever could.

Read over that again. The President is a proven liar, now seemingly incapable of knowing much less relating the simplest of truths. He is a man of stunted intelligence, bereft of ethics and morality whose rank egotism and abysmal leadership skills are demeaning and imperiling the nation he misgoverns. And we are discovering that his family members and aides, with all their naivete, incompetence and foolishness, are scarcely better.

Contemptuous and Uncaring

What kind of America are we coming to when the large majority of members of one of our two major political parties is so contemptuous and uncaring about the health of millions of their fellow men and women? It staggers the mind and — regrettably — raises questions about the humanity of many of the Republicans in the U.S. House and Senate.

We know the House of Representatives last month approved a health care bill that was so terrible even President Trump recanted his original praise and decided to label it “mean.” Now we know the Senate has created its own version of that terrible bill which, in its way, is equally awful if not somehow even worse. This amounts to a national disgrace.

The Senate proposal would in a few years eliminate much of the money that funds the nation’s Medicaid program that serves tens of millions of Americans including people of modest means as well as our poorest and least healthy citizens. And to do this, it would take the money saved by this shameful action and use to to cut the taxes paid by America’s richest people. Yep, take from the poor and give to the rich. Robin Hood must be turning over.

More to the point: how can this possibly be justified by a tiny, privileged and financially secure group of Republicans (96% white and male, by the way) who hold sway over an entire nation’s health care? And if you have any questions about what’s the aim of this proposal, consider that the other big beneficiaries are health insurance companies, also overseen by a cadre of white males (numbering somewhere over 96%).

So, to sum up quickly: the least able men and women and children in our society will be stripped of their health care funding to provide tax breaks for rich people and insurance companies.

To repeat: how can this be justified by the Republican Party? It is inhumane, it is mean, it is appallingly inconsiderate, and it may well cause the deaths of millions of Americans prematurely.

Please write your congressmen and women very, very soon and tell them to oppose any such measure on the grounds that it is simply and terribly wrong. Tell your friends, speak up, make noise, and do it quickly before it is too late for America.

A Quick End to Unity?

Well, the admittedly far-fetched notion of political unity apparently didn’t last even 24 hours for President Trump. He had barely finished his decent call for national togetherness when he launched a series of twitter feeds in which he reminded us of what a small-minded man he is.

In his tweets — the basis of which was to proclaim his victimhood in the on-going and deepening Russian collusion investigation — the President once again called out “crooked Hillary,” a continuation of the baseless slur he directed at his Democratic opponent in the 2016 election campaign.

He did this in the quick wake of the Democrats Versus Republicans baseball game, which generated at least a few hours of relief from rank partisanship in the Congress. Of course, leadership usually falls from the top, but in this instance the basest lies at the top. We apparently can expect no “unifying” follow-ups from Mr. Trump.

Only yesterday I was expressing hope, hope that the shooting of Congressman Steve Sclalise would produce something — anything — that might temper the tone of our politics. But with the President showing so quickly his disdain for any kind of reconciliation, there is no reason to expect there will be any meaningful changes.

So, full steam ahead, sad to say; rancor, partisanship and all their nasty companions are on the way back. Thank you Mr. President.