#NeverTrump, I feel for you. What’s your alternative?

I think I made my position regarding my choice of candidates in the GOP nomination fight pretty clear while it was going on. For those who don’t want to go back through the record, I’ll summarize here: First choice, Carly Fiorina. Second, Ted Cruz. Rubio had a shot at second place but he got too cozy with establishment GOP leaders, in my opinion. 

In case you’re wondering: no, Donald Trump was never on my list.

So when the #NeverTrump movement began I certainly could understand their perspective and I even respect their steadfast adherance to their principles. But I’d like to ask them, seriously and calmly, what is the alternative they are proposing to voting for Trump in the fall? Now, far too often when this question gets asked, people dive in with a couple of well-worn tropes that I’m not interested in.

Trump’s the only one who can win this election! Sez you. I saw an interesting comment the other day where someone said that Trump and Hillary are the only 2 people the other one could actually beat.That’s clever and amusing but it’s also true. And besides, it’s not the question, here.

Trump’s a Democrat/Liberal/stinky-face-jerkwad who’s never been a conservative and will lose this election big-time! This one’s no better than the argument that he, alone, can win. The #NeverTrump team has been brutally clear about why they don’t think he’s fit for office. I don’t need yet another repeat.

We have to vote for Trump to stop Hillary! Fascinatingly, this is the exact inverse of the argument being handed to Sanders supporters right now in the effort to make them vote for Clinton. And, again, it’s not the question. I don’t need someone to tell me how bad Clinton is. I’ve already written a post on Madam Above-the-Law and I already know she’s a disaster-in-waiting. Also not the question.

I want to hear from #NeverTrump folks about what they are proposing people do. Surely they can’t be suggesting that conservatives vote for Clinton. So what are they suggesting?  I’m posting this on Facebook, also, to see if I can get some commentary there. Word of warning, tho – for this post and (hopefully) this post alone, I am going to remove comments left that fall into the categories above. I’m not interested in another hash of why Trump’s da MAN or why he’s a jerk or why Hillary is so bad we don’t want her to be President. I want to know what the proposed alternative is as envisioned by the #NeverTrump folks. 

Thanks for your help on this.

3rd Party Candidates: Johnson/Weld ain’t Libertarian

With both the Democratic and Republican nomination processes complete, the 2 parties are now in the interesting position of having candidates that a significant number of Americans just don’t like. And I mean both of ’em. Donald Trump on the GOP side has managed to alienate most of the conservatives in the party and is on record saying that he can win without them; that he doesn’t need them and doesn’t care if they vote at all. Hillary Clinton on the Democrat side clearly won the nomination due to collusion between her campaign and the DNC. The leaked e-mails demonstrate that beyond doubt: Sanders never had a chance because the party made damn sure he didn’t. Conservatives on the right and socialists on the left are madder than hell at the respective party they’ve supported for years and they’re looking at alternatives seriously. One of those is the Libertarian ticket of Johnson/Weld. I certainly gave them a look, myself, and I’ve finished my assessment: they ain’t Libertarians.

Johnson’s recent commentary on the matter of religious freedom is certainly instructive. He claims that such a concept is a “black hole” and that government should be regulating people’s actions to avoid discrimination. He conjures up people claiming the right to shoot and kill someone on the street and justify it based on their religious beliefs – something no one in the US has done, I might add, and something generally held as invalid except in the more Muslim areas of the world – while dismissing entirely the question of whether a photographer should be forced to take pictures at a gay wedding. And he dismisses it as a non-issue while even admitting that such a thing actually did take place! Quite literally no actual Libertarian I know agrees with him on the matter, not at all. He’s inconsistent with his notion that our government should adhere to the Constitutional limitations placed upon it and that’s the defining characteristic of a Libertarian. 

Bill Weld supports gun-grabbing and, though he’s trying to wave it off now, he’s actually had a hand in enacting some of the very “gun-control” measures Libertarians decry. His support for the concept of eminent domain for the purposes of giving property over to private enterprises so they can develop the land into something that might generate more tax revenue is equally bad and anathema to Libertarians.

In short, these 2 arent’ the Libertarians you’re looking for. And it would take more than a dismissive wave of the hand to make that truth invisible. For conservatives, particularly, they are no improvement over the other candidates thus far.

We return you to your regularly scheduled blogging…

Sometimes you might not know it from looking at some of our fellow bloggers’ posting schedules but life does go on outside of a blog. Over the last couple of weeks I’ve completed a move to a new job and that pretty much sucked the air out of the blog. That’s done, I’m now beginning the new routine which allows me to pick up parts of the old routine… like blogging! Thanks for your patience and… here we go!

Outrage unanswered: It’s the lack of resolution to the outrageous that keeps anger escalating

For better or worse, we’re living in the age of social media and near-instant, near-omnipresent access to news and events in this country. An event that might have been known to 20-30 people in a small town and never spread further than that 100 years ago will be known to millions across the world in a matter of hours or minutes today. And unlike hearing something on the news delivered by some professional talking head, snippets of information from all corners of the world are shared with you by friends and co-workers in your circle of acquaintances. That puts the imprint of the personal on these things and, I think, makes you care more about a given situation than you otherwise might.

This effect gets amplified, I believe, when you’re talking about something that would be genuinely offensive to an individual were they present. And when someone out there goes out of their way to be offensive to someone you respect you want to see that offense dealt with appropriately. When it’s not – when it appears that no consequence comes to the offender – the sense of offense both escalates to outrage and continues to smolder in the back of one’s mind, often coloring one’s perspective of future events.

I’m more than aware that the news industry thrives on outrage. They’re less interested in resolution. But the media isn’t the only party at fault in some of these cases. In the last month there’s been plenty of attacks, literal and otherwise, on members of law enforcement throughout the country. Those of us who are generally supportive of police have become even more sensitive to calls for actions against the cops and are more sensitive to incidents of just plain disrespect and disregard for them. Last week there were 2 such incidents that made the social media circuits.

In Washington State a Chinese restaurant got more attention than they wanted after an employee told 4 deputies there that they, and law enforcement in general, were no longer welcome there because they made the other customers “nervous.” The reaction was swift as the news of that went viral and people started venting at the restaurant’s owners. On the heels of hundreds, if not thousands, of harsh reviews and vows to never do business with them again, the owners told reporters that it was “all a misunderstanding” and that they were happy to serve police officers there. The Sheriff apparently had a talk with them and posted an update on the Office’s Facebook page saying all was ok now.

In Shelby, NC, a Zaxby’s restaurant had employees that heckled a couple of cops that showed up for dinner and apparently dumped so much hot sauce into their food that it was inedible. Zaxby’s said they were sorry and would investigate the matter. A few days later both Zaxby’s and the police department issued statements that the investigation was closed to their mutual satisfaction and that no further statement would be made.

How the hell does an employee tell police officers that they’re not welcome – and that statement was confirmed to the Sheriff himself on a phone call with the owner, by the way – and that be a “misunderstanding?” Well, reporters tell us it was a language barrier. They tell us that – apparently – neither the owner nor the employee (the owner’s son, by the way) speak English very well. And that the son witnessed people at a nearby table who were visibly upset about something and he assumed it might be that those people don’t like cops. (The report says the people in question had spilled soup or drinks on their table and, presumably, were upset about that, not the cops.) When the officers came up to pay, the son apparently told them the people didn’t like the cops being around. Things went downhill from there. But that doesn’t make a lot of sense and the follow-up call to the owner resulted in him confirming to the Sheriff what his deputies had been told, not suggesting that his son had made a mistake. So what was it? The owner’s son made an assumption based on nothing? (And why would you automatically assume anyone upset in the vicinity of a cop must not like having cops around?) Or was it that the owner didn’t pick up on that in time to overrule his son’s statement when asked? We don’t really know.

And Zaxby’s supposedly did an investigation. What did they find? We don’t know. They don’t want to say anything other than “the matter is closed.”

In neither case was the offense really answered. In the Zaxby’s case particularly you have a deliberate action taken that caused the offense and the persons responsible… get to remain completely anonymous among us. Was there a consequence for their action? We don’t know, but the tone of statement sure indicates there wasn’t one that met the seriousness of the offense.

Now, I’m not suggesting that we, the public, are owed full access to the management deliberations of a private corporation. We aren’t, plain and simple. But there’s a consequence to that, too. The outrage in unanswered, the offense unresolved. The feeling of a gross unfairness – an injustice – being allowed to simply drop on a group we care about with no ramifications for the parties responsible simply sticks in place. It’s additive; we hear about another one here, one there, and pretty soon it feels non-stop. It’s easy for that kind of feeling to become personal and that will then color our responses going forward.

I think letting the lawyers convince us to never give out details in matters like this is a net mistake.

Convention week: Decision time for GOP

This week brings the GOP Convention in Cleveland where the nominee for the party’s ticket in November will finally be decided. From 17 possibilities it comes down to 1. This year’s convention is less of a celebration party than an actual decision event, of course. The Trump juggernaut has continued from start all the way down to this finish line but the party is divided as I’ve never seen it before.

The decision time has arrived for individual members of the party or those who, like myself, aren’t registered members but are closely aligned. There are many of us who never liked Donald Trump as the man to carry the Republican banner forward. I had 2 candidates during the primaries, myself, that I supported and I continue to think that either of them would be monumentally better for both the party and for the nation as a whole than Trump. Both of those candidates had their days at the ballot box, however, and more of my fellow… well, supporters of the Republican agenda felt that Trump was the better choice than what I thought. Such is life in a democratic community. I got my say, we held the vote, and my point of view lost.

So, what now? Aside from comments like this, I’ve pretty much held my tongue on the matter. Trump’s supporters’ commentary to the contrary, the nomination hasn’t been made, yet. When the party nominates him in accordance with the rules of the party’s convention then – and only then – will the decision be actually made. Then and only then will the decision then be mine: do I support the party’s nominee or not? There are consequences either way. Trump’s supporters and the party officials themselves have certainly made clear the ramifications of not supporting Trump, if he’s the nominee. But there are consequences to me if I do and, in spite of the dismissive attitude by Trump’s supporters toward those personal consequences, they are very real.

It is one thing to have someone I don’t really like win an election. It’s entirely different if they did so with my active assistance. The question for me is whether those consequences that I will carry in my soul outweigh the consequences to a candidate’s or party’s political aspirations. That’s a question I must answer.

But, all of that is premature at this point. Right now, I want to see what happens in Cleveland. If the supporters of the opposition party are the supporters of democracy that they claim to be, they’re going to leave us alone to make our decision. I have little faith that they will because… well, I don’t see that they actually support democracy. But, again, we’ll have to see.

Be safe and sage, delegates. We await the results of your work.

Assumptions and the evil they do

Just yesterday I had occasion to write about my usual admonition to avoid jumping to conclusions based on early reports in the media regarding crisis events. This week saw a lot of those, with the shooting of a man in Baton Rouge, one near Minneapolis, and then the craven ambush of Dallas police officers. I wrote a little about the Dallas situation on Facebook but I didn’t really address the matters in Baton Rouge or Minnestoa because while the Dallas shootings of police officers working security at a protest march very clearly wasn’t something that was justified by law, the shootings of the 2 men elsewhere weren’t so clearly defined. They were killed by police officers who engaged with the men as the result of a call to do so. That means I need to know a lot more before I come down on one side or the other.

The situation in Minnesota appears to be turning out to be quite different than the picture that was painted on the basis of the girlfriend’s video. The couple was not pulled over for a busted taillight – they were pulled over because the driver matched the description of the perpetrator of an armed robbery. The report of the girlfriend that says the police shot her boyfriend and then left him in the car while he bled to death is also at issue because we now have video evidence that police were attempting to revive the man beside the car before the medical teams arrived. And this is just in the span of a couple of days. As I’ve said, the investigation is ongoing. We need to await the facts.

Since I mentioned the shooting in Baton Rouge, let me also mention that the man who was killed absolutely resisted the police and the gun found on his person wasn’t legally carried by him. Again, we need to get the facts before we start fanning the flames of anger.

Dallas attack on police still has a lot of unanswered questions

It’s been my experience that pretty much everything said in the 1st 24 hours’ worth of reporting on a crisis situation is usually wrong. That’s something I noticed back when I worked at the airlines. When a plane would crash – thankfully a rare event and something that never happened to the airline I was working – people would come out of the woodwork with explanations aplenty about what happened and how the plane was taken down. Almost without fail, the initial reports were wrong. Sometimes they were closer to the truth than others, but they were still wrong. That’s when I developed the attitude that it’s best to wait for the actual investigators to get in there and get to work before drawing any conclusions.

It goes without saying anymore that reporters for new agencies don’t do investigative work any more.

The attack on the Dallas police was no “drive by” or sudden flare-up of violence. This was a planned, coordinated attack. You don’t have thoughtless thugs setting up overlapping fields of fire from elevated positions targeting specific persons out of a huge, moving crowd. And I am seriously doubtful that it was something that popped up in the last 2 days. This attack has the feel of something that was planned with great care and detail, complete with recon and battlespace intel. My feeling is that the plan was made some time ago and what the attackers were waiting for was an opportunity to apply it.

The Black Lives Matter protest appears to have been a peaceful one, from all reports, and I, personally, don’t think the protest marchers or the people who set it up have anything to do with it. The accusations that BLM is somehow responsible for this are unwarranted in my view.

The Dallas police had initially identified 3 people as involved but, according to the latest reports it now appears that a single shooter did all of this. Hard to believe but, again, I’m awaiting the details of the investigation.

In the meantime, my prayers go to the families of these officers, to their friends and fellow police, to the people of Dallas who had this happen in their midst. May God grant them strength, may he grant eternal life to the fallen, may he grant the community the strength of will and the compassion of peace to resist the hate that seeks to infect us