Thursday, July 27, 2017

Of Values and Tradition

In his apology, the Chief Scout Executive for the Boy Scouts of America Michael Surbaugh wrote: "The invitation for the sitting U.S. President to visit the National Jamboree is a long-standing tradition that has been extended to the leader of our nation that has had a Jamboree during his term since 1937. It is in no way an endorsement of any person, party or policies."

In other words, Trump was invited out of habit. "Tradition", if you really must.

He goes on, however: "Trustworthiness, loyalty, kindness and bravery are just a few of the admirable traits Scouts aspire to develop."

Trustworthiness? Trump is a habitual liar. The NYT list helpfully provides sources you can check yourself.

Loyalty? Trump is, at the moment, attacking the first senator to endorse him. His business dealings left a trail of betrayed partners. Alaska gave him a nearly 15-point win over Clinton, but because their senator voted against the Obamacare repeal, he is threatening retaliation on the state. Don't take my word for it, look those up.

Kindness? Even die-hard supporters would agree (gleefully) that Trump is an asshole. He insulted women, Muslims, Mexicans, a disabled reporter, a POW war hero, foreign leaders, you name it.

Bravery? Trump got five deferments from military draft. He played squash, football, and tennis, but somehow had a bone spur that exempted him while other young men of his age fought and died. Whatever you thought of the Vietnam War, he certainly didn't seem to do anything except to find ways to avoid it himself.

In other words, Trump exemplified none of even the short list of what Scouts aspire to, so inviting such a counter-example shows a remarkable lack of judgement, and hiding behind "tradition" is a feeble excuse. It's something of a tradition for champion sports teams to visit the White House, but many have declined because of Trump. You simply cannot paper over the words and deeds of this man.

When Tradition contradicts your Values, there's no avoiding a choice, and the Scouts certainly chose just as Republicans have. It's deeply disappointing to have no more doubt that so many Americans are such utter hypocrites.

Saturday, May 27, 2017

So It Begins

The key thing to understand about martial law is that human rights violations are not a sad accident. While in the best case they are not the main intent, they are nonetheless an accepted cost.

Like chemotherapy that is basically drinking poison in the hopes that it kills the cancer before it kills you, martial law hopes to harm the rebels/terrorists/criminals far more than it harms innocent people. When the tool involves the suspension of the mechanisms that are meant to favor the protection of the innocent even at the cost of freeing the guilty, it is guaranteed to harm or even kill innocent people. That's the whole point of the tool.

This is why martial law must be used as an absolute last resort, and as narrowly as possible. You wouldn't want a doctor who prescribes chemotherapy for a nasty cold, and you do not want a president who jokes about soldiers raping people when he declares martial law.

Wednesday, April 5, 2017

Republican Empathy

Fetus: Life is precious! Abortion is murder!

Day-old sick baby: Health care is not a human right, fuck off.

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Not Aware

White House "not aware" of Manafort's ties to Putin surrogate.
Earlier, White House "not aware" that Flynn was a paid agent of Turkey, and "not aware" of his secret communication with the Russian ambassador.
First of all, given Trump's now obviously uncontrollable temper, why does he not seem angry at all that his staffers are hiding relevant and embarrassing information from him?
Secondly, a White House that cared about doing its job would be investigating who else has serious conflicts of interest.
But we see neither.