This is a fascinating interview with one of the players in The Lincoln Project. It is satisfying to hear the words of a conservative, a Republican, who at least respects some of the most basic norms of our government and society. I have no doubt I will have numerous differences with these folks in the future, but I welcome them as useful allies in the effort to deny Trump a second term, which would clearly be disastrous for us and the world. It’s not a quick read (not too long, either) but it’s well worth your while to read.
The longtime Republican strategist discusses his opposition to Donald Trump, his involvement in the Lincoln Project ad campaign, and why he thinks Mitt Romney would have made a great President.
Yesterday, an article in PoliticusUSA was published under the headline, “Trump Wasted An Entire White House Meeting Trying To Convince His Aides That He’s Mentally Fit.” I’m of the opinion anyone who studies Trump carefully will have no problem seeing this as a predominant feature of his personality. After all, he really is a malignant narcissist, a sociopath, a man with a complete and total lack of humility, humanity, and empathy . . . among other things. I shared the article on Facebook with the following comments:
This serves to highlight the main problem I have (and most of us have) with him as President. How can he serve the interests of the nation when he’s far more interested in how he looks, the optics, than he is on any accomplishment that benefits the American people . . . and I don’t mean corporate America? Kinda reminds me of the concept I’ve held dear since I first became politically active in the sixties: some people are more interested in “being” right, than in “doing” right. These people, who are intent on winning regardless of the cost, need to be avoided.
This also reminds me of something one of my first year law professors said to me. I’m working on a blog post about it and, recently, I hunted him down. His name is Kenneth Cloke and he’s still living and working in Santa Monica, where he’s a mediator and conflicts resolution systems designer. Lately, I’ve tried to articulate the saying and I have yet to convince myself I’m getting it right. There seems to be some nuance missing that I can’t put my finger on, but I’m going to attempt it here.
During a conversation we were having about leftist politics, Ken said “If I had to choose between someone who had the right politics, but was lacking in humanity, and someone who had the wrong politics, but was a humane person, I would choose the latter.” I suppose this is why, despite my being a Marxist, I am always looking for ways to work with people who don’t share my political philosophy. It’s how I’m able to vote as a Democrat. Everything about the Democratic Party, in my estimation, is far more humane than anything about the Republican Party. Also, I think it’s much easier to find compromise with someone who respects your humanity and hard-ass ideologues generally aren’t inhabiting that space.
Over the last few years I’ve spent most of my social media time on Facebook, with Twitter fairly close behind. My goal on both is to attempt to inform, entertain, and educate others on things I think are important, like politics, the economy, society, religion, and numerous other things I think are valuable to be informed about.
I will freely admit to being highly partisan; in these perilous times I would suggest it’s impossible not to be, given the stakes . . . our freedom, the lives of immigrant children, western democracy.
This blog, however, has remained a place for me to share my thoughts about what’s particularly important to me. Yet I seem to have had trouble filling this location with much content, considering how long I’ve been blogging and how (relatively) few pieces I’ve actually published. This is especially true in light of the fact I frequently post to FB more than a dozen times on any given day; more if there’s a lot going on, less if I’m busy elsewhere.
I’m changing that. In fact, I’ve been changing it for the past couple of weeks. For most of the last year and a half I have been concentrating on my position as Business Manager for Quantellia, LLC and not paying any attention to this blog. I’m not posting as many as four times a day and, actually, believe I will be posting even more frequently. Most of these will be fairly short, but I will still write some longer posts, especially since I’m gathering my thoughts for a book.
So, here’s a meme—actually, I prefer to think of it as a work of art—I encountered on Facebook. The person who posted it where I found it pointed out how the artist used the shadow of the child’s hand to create an Adolphian mustache on the Tangerine Tyrant. It’s him, dontcha think?
After a couple weeks of breathless anticipation, endlessly hyped by Trump TV . . . er . . . Fox News, the ballyhooed Nunes memo was finally released, creating a giant thud as it fell flat on its face. After all the buildup and breathless hyperbolating over it being set to expose the worst scandal in United States history, it was a real let down, though you wouldn’t know that by the response of the Knucklehead-in-Chief or his band of merry sycophants.
As I have mentioned before, I’ve been spending time learning how to use Photoshop to create my own renditions of the news or other things that catch my fancy. I’ve got two of them related to this debacle. One I created is based on an earlier “confrontation” where something Mueller had done was written off by the right as a “nothingburger”. I’m afraid I can’t quite remember what that something was, but I obviously reacted to it. I didn’t do much; merely found a great shot of a hamburguesa tremenda, then added some words.
The second one took a bit more work as I had to create a series of layer masks to represent what I envisioned. Generally, I put these together, then post them to Facebook and, at times, to Twitter as well. I’m working on remembering to post them here too.
Here they are, with added captions.
Wrap Your Mouth Around This Puppy
Jerky is Such a Disappointment When You’re Expecting a Thick, Juicy Steak
Based on recordings of things Teh Donald™ has actually allowed to plummet out of his fabulously wealthy piehole, this video pretty much sums up many (not all, but many) of my feelings about the man and his followers. I understand the fear some white people feel, though I think it’s ridiculous of them to do so. I’m pretty sure what really scares them is the realization of how terrible people of color have been treated and, since they’re so good at projection, they’re assuming white people are now going to get as good as they gave.
As a straight, white male I really do understand what many of them feel. However, as one who works hard to understand others, and who believes empathy is an important tool for anyone who wishes to live in a reasonably civilized, respectful, and well-adjusted society, I am of the opinion they’re making things worse for everyone, including themselves.
So . . . here it is folks. I can hardly think of a better way to characterize the blatherings of our first reality show presidential candidate. This is YUGE!!
One of the, shall we say, more charming practices of my Rotary Club is that of having someone play the role of “Ratfink” at most meetings. The Ratfink usually resembles either a stand up comedy routine or a roast. Either way, members of the club are generally involved, though when the roast format is used it can get a little snarky . . . to say the least.
My club’s last meeting was treated to a bit of a roast and, for the first time in the slightly over two years I’ve been a member, I was the butt of the routine. The presenter was a gentleman who is a political operative for a local, Conservative Republican of some stature and I know him reasonably well. He and his wife recently celebrated the arrival of their second child and I believe he is a good, devoted husband and father. We are Facebook “friends”.
Let me say something about Rotary International, in general, and my club, The Rotary Club of Simi Sunrise, in particular. Without getting into too much detail, I have come to see Rotary as a challenging, useful organization with goals I have no trouble agreeing with. The motto “Service above self” has always been dear to me, though my experience with it was mostly exhibited in how I performed my job and in my willingness and ability to help others around me. The Four Way Test is also a statement of principle I am in complete agreement with, to wit:
Of the things we think, say, or do
Is it the TRUTH?
Is it FAIR to all concerned?
Will it build GOOD WILL and BETTER FRIENDSHIPS?
Will it be BENEFICIAL to all concerned?
Now, I truly have a hard time arguing with these principles, yet have no trouble recognizing there are some for whom they are merely words and the reason they are involved in Rotary is either because they’re looking for business or social connections or because it’s a way to be “charitable” without too much effort. I do believe those people are a small minority, though. But, I digress.
I live in what I believe is a reasonably conservative city; the home of the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library. My Rotary Club consists of some very (did I say “very”?) politically conservative individuals. I make no secret of my political proclivities, which tend to lean far to the left and many of my fellow Rotarians, like last meeting’s Ratfink, are Facebook “friends” who, since I am pretty prolific in my postings, must see some of the stuff (sometimes rants) I post. I do fret a little about upsetting them too much, as I believe we all want the best for our City, though we may disagree on how to get there. I do not question the motives of most, while reserving judgment on some who I believe are either horribly misguided or total assholes.
That Fat Bastard is at it Again!
The man who served as Ratfink, however, is not one of the latter. He had me stand up, which is customary during a roast-like rendition of the role, and pointed out that one of the “drawbacks” of being as vocal and public as I am on Facebook is that others who might not agree with me can see who I really am (or something like that). I should point out, at this stage of my life I don’t much care. In the “Land of the Free and the Home of the Brave” I have had to spend the vast majority of my life being very careful what I said in order to avoid being ostracized. I don’t plan on going to my grave without showing my “true colors”, so to speak.
He then went on to point out to me that Santa is a Republican, evidenced by the fact he wears red. Now I’m quite certain there were many watching who relished this bit of roasting I was “receiving”, though I couldn’t see as I was at a table closest to the front and I was facing forward toward the speaker. I quietly took my medicine and, when he was finished with me and moved on to the next person, I sat down. However, when he was finished and was returning to his seat, which was only a table away from mine, I audibly pointed out my conclusion that Santa was actually a socialist, as he gives toys to children everywhere in the world. Never mind that red is in most of the world considered a color of revolution and that the old Soviet Union’s and the current People’s Republic of China’s flags are mostly red.
I haven’t had the opportunity to speak with him since, as we had a wonderful program of carolers provide us with entertainment and, afterward, everyone scurried off to their jobs or whatever it was their day was going to bring them. We also won’t have our next meeting for another two weeks as both Christmas and New Year’s Day fall on Thursdays, which is the day we meet. However, I know I will be speaking with him. In fact, he has offered to help introduce me to the right people within our City government so I can introduce my concepts regarding the future of work, the collaborative economy, and the use of social media to facilitate the governance and conduct the business of the City and its inhabitants. I’m looking forward to it.
I trust everyone has had a wonderful Christmas, Hanukkah, Festivus (for the rest of us) or whatever (if any) holiday you might observe. We also just experienced the Winter solstice; the shortest day of the year and many have celebrated the beginning of a new cycle in which the days will now begin getting longer until the end of June. Truly a festive time of the year. Now we have New Year’s revelry before us and I have a lot of work to do for the first time in quite a while. I wish everyone who comes to my little slice of the blogosphere much joy and happiness. With those two, prosperity is a relative thing and, of course, I wish for your health and well-being as well.
Two day ago I came across a graphic that was shared on Facebook and decided it was worthy of writing a blog post. Not so much because of the graphic, but because it gave me the opportunity to test out explaining an observation I have been making lately. Unfortunately, the graphic I chose to illustrate the theory turned out be photo-shopped and wasn’t real. I am sorry I chose to perpetuate it. I should have been more careful and for that I am deeply regretful. Not because the photo did any harm to the Romney campaign; inasmuch as it quite easily (based on past experience) could have been true, the damage is minimal, but because it served to compromise my integrity, which is something I work very hard to not do.
So . . . I wish to be very clear here. I am sorry I published it. It’s not real. For those reading this who are uncertain of the controversy, I herewith submit the photo I was bamboozled by, which I have labeled Exhibit A, alongside the photo from Zazzle, labeled Exhibit B, which was the main piece of evidence that convinced me I had been mistaken. There were a couple of people who pointed me to the official Romney website store, which stated the following, “All Products are Made in the USA”. However, these are politicians we’re talking about here and, as far as I’m concerned (whether it’s the Romney campaign or the Obama campaign), the only thing that proves is it says “All Products are Made in the USA”. ¡Punto, final, y redondo!
The ironic thing about this particular post is that, until two days ago the busiest single day I had experienced on this blog was slightly over two years ago. It was from a post I wrote thanking the gentleman who found my iPad after I had left it behind during a medical crisis involving my youngest daughter. I’ve had days that came close, but my post of two days ago more than doubled the number of readers I’ve had in a single day. A Pyrrhic and bitter accomplishment at this point.
I doubt any apology will be accepted by some and that’s OK. I could have just let it go. In fact, I apologized immediately on Facebook and even pointed out the fallacious button on a local Facebook group devoted to discussing local politics and business but, partly because the most active people tend to be politically active as well, sees its fair share of discussion on national issues. Now I’d like to offer a little explanation.
I wanted it to be true! Yes, I admit it. To be honest, I think electing Mitt Romney as our next President would be disastrous. I can find a lot of things to be pissed off at Barack Obama (and the Democratic Party, for that matter) about, but at least there has been a reasonable amount of social progress during his administration. As well, he inherited an economy strapped by two unfunded wars, a giant Medicare pharmacy giveaway, and some of the stupidest tax policies designed to benefit the wealthiest of all Americans at the expense of most ordinary Americans. So, I won’t, at this point, go into much detail as that isn’t my purpose in this post. I just want to point out a few things that made it easy for me to believe the Romney campaign would have their buttons made in China.
More than 10,000 torch-bearers during the 2002 Winter Olympics, which Romney holds up as one of his crowning business achievements, were contracted out to a brutal dictatorship in Myanmar (Burma). Read about it here.
Senate Bill 3364, the “Bring Jobs Home Act”, which provides up to a 20% tax credit for bringing businesses back to the U.S. and denies tax deductions for outsourcing expenses incurred in relocating a business outside the U.S., was blocked by Republican Senators. More here.
Romney has not only been labeled by his former Republican primary opponents as a “Vulture” Capitalist, the National Venture Capital Association has specifically disowned him as one of them (though it’s killing them to do it). His company, Bain Capital, is well-known for its role in shipping jobs overseas.
Let me sum up. I published a photo of a Romney-Ryan campaign button that was inauthentic. I used it to make a point about what I see as more evidence that Republicans “project” their own shortcomings and insecurities on others. I wanted to believe the button was authentic. There is substantial reason for me to have believed that. I have a bit of egg on my face. I am sorry. Mitt is still a jerk. Don’t vote for him. I trust I’ve made virtually everyone happy now. 🙂
Since my retirement from Pratt & Whitney Rocketdyne in 2010, I have spent quite a bit of energy on developing work as a social media marketer for small business, a business manager for an AI software development firm, and as an editor/proofreader for a number of business books and a couple of novels, as well as a two-year return engagement at Rocketdyne from 2015 to 2017.
I have decided to stop actively pursuing business in these fields and am now positioning myself to be a writer. I have done quite a bit of writing over the years, but I’ve never really attempted to make any money at it; at least not specifically. I’m starting out with a couple of memoirs and, currently, I’m studying the craft, creating a detailed outline and timeline, and honing my skills as a storyteller. Pretty sure I’ll be writing some fiction as well.
The views expressed herein are those of the author. Any opinions regarding the value or worth of particular business processes, tools, or procedures, whether at his former place of employment, at a current client's enterprise, or in general, are his responsibility alone.