Trump-Don’t-Care: More than a nonhealthcare plan, it’s public policy

So, yeah, of course he did. Trump couldn’t get his crappy healthcare bills passed through the legislative process because, amazingly, there are still a few Republicans who refuse to completely sell their soul to the anti-Christ incarnate residing in the White House. So, Trump did what any aspiring dictator would do, if the democratic process doesn’t work, he’ll just make commandments from his throne. So in yet another abuse of executive powers, the poor rendition of an orange Putin imposter dismantled the ACA with a stroke of a pen. He keeps claiming it will make insurance so much more affordable, despite all the numbers which say the opposite. The CBO says it will cause insurance rate hikes as large as 25% by 2020. 2020 is not that far away, people. That is literally two years and two and a half months from now. Okay, sure if you are super healthy you might be able to buy a junk policy that does basically nothing a bit cheaper, but not by much once those rate hikes hit. And then, if you actually have to use it… goodbye insurance premiums you can ever hope to afford! Trump doesn’t care if you actually have access to decent healthcare. All the best medicine and resources are commodities reserved for those who can afford it. He doesn’t care if sick children die because they are just weak links in the gene pool. If the parents wanted healthy kids, they should have been rich. He doesn’t care if poor people die because he thinks they are stupid. His logic: if poor people were smart, then they wouldn’t be poor, would they? He literally equates wealth to competence. While there may be some merit in a self-made multi-millionaire/billionaire being a pretty smart person, that does not genetically transcend through the sperm and ovaries to their offspring who hit the conception lottery. Trump is a testament to this truth.

But not giving a rat’s skinny butt about people is not isolated to the administration’s stance on healthcare. Nope. It is a general, broad-spectrum domestic policy. Just take a look at the disasters. Harvey and Irma earned a rapid and reasonable response from the administration because those are voters who are in states with people he sees as his supporters. There were also a whole lot of white people affected and wealthy people. Can’t forget the wealthy people, with whom Trump immediately likes to identify. Further, helping these people also helped his donor buddies. Lifting the Jones’ Act immediately in order to move fuel was an economic decision that was good for his cronies. If it helped out a lot of people in need, then that was a bonus good for ratings. But with Maria, a whole different scenario emerged. Now, Puerto Rico actually isn’t that far away. A two hour flight from Miami gets you there. It takes that long to fly from Dallas to Las Vegas. But somehow Trump has tried to paint the island to be hidden in the far reaches of the ocean, or “big water,” as he sometimes calls it. He wants everyone to think it is ridiculously difficult for our military, you know, like the Navy with its vast fleet of ships, to reach. Despite knowing well enough in advance to ensure a rapid response by the military, Trump did not bother to order the USNS Comfort to the island until a week AFTER the hurricane hit. He did not suspend the Jones Act until eight days AFTER Puerto Rico was demolished. And the administration had a great response, initially, as to why they did not see a need to suspend the outdated restriction on domestic shipping. They said they felt US ships could handle it fine, we didn’t need foreign assistance and that it was not economically advantageous.

But, of course, Puerto Rico isn’t full of Trump supporters and voters. It is a poor island that the US invaded and forced under US rule, subjecting the people to citizenship, thus making them eligible to be shipped off to war, and squeezing the small economy for taxes without giving them representation in congress. Trump likes ranting about Puerto Rico’s debt and claiming their real disaster is of their own making. But the truth is that the restrictions imposed on Puerto Rico, without the benefit of representation or power to vote, has placed the territory in a no-win position of perpetual economic distress. Conservatives don’t want to make them a state. They feel it would be just handing the Democrats more electoral votes because it is a minority-majority. However, if the restraints on Puerto Rico were lifted so that their economy could blossom, without the advantage of statehood, they would likely seek independence from a nation who really does very little for them. BUT- those are nuances completely lost on Trump. He doesn’t care. All Trump sees is a bunch of poor minorities and that is a perfectly good enough reason to not care if they live or die, or how they go about doing so.

We aren’t finished with disasters, however. Pop over to the West Coast and have a gander at it. Yeah, it is pretty much on fire. Over five thousand homes have been destroyed. Businesses and communities have been laid to ashes. Forty-one people are dead and hundreds missing. More than one hundred thousand people are still under evacuation orders. While the state of California battles these enormous fires to the north, more keep popping up through the state due to unusually high temperatures, low humidity and the strong Santa Anna winds which blast through the region this time of year. But not a peep out of the wanna-be president. Why? Well too many people in California don’t like him and that state didn’t vote for him. It has also been hot spot for anti-Trump protests and its metropolises are sanctuary cities in defiance of his anti-immigration policies. So, all things considered, Trump doesn’t care if California burns to the ground and everyone dies. He took days to respond to relief requests. Those days could have meant resources which might have saved lives. Just like in Puerto Rico, Trump exercises the death penalty for those who disagree with him. While he may not be putting a bullet in their head or a noose around their neck, willful, spiteful  negligence still costs lives.

So, healthcare, disasters, what ese? Hmm? How about his war mongering? Yes, Trump’s ever pulsating need to puff out his chest and demand respect he has neither earned nor deserves, has led to social media saber-rattling, publicly insulting the leaders of other nations, threats to abandon our treaties and honor our commitments, and outright bullying of smaller countries. Yeah, that sounds like leading the free world, right? Trump has done nothing to promote diplomacy around the world. In fact, he literally scoffs at it and calls it pointless. He earnestly believes might is all he needs. He chooses threats to bully the world, but is it even listening? He has systematically turned allies into wary acquaintances. He is pushing enemies to the breaking point. Why? Probably because there is no greater distraction than war. He is pushing buttons in hopes of a war, eluding to its inevitability constantly, for two reasons. First, because he believes war unites the nation behind the banner of Old Glory and no one can criticize him because he is the Commander In Chief of our brave military. He has a ridiculous number of scandals and a very uncomfortable criminal investigation festering around him at the moment, which he blames for his low approval ratings. Actually, he blames it all on fake news and says it is all made up. I’m pretty sure Mueller doesn’t have a Grand Jury for naught, however. And, well, no matter how often he tweets, Trump doesn’t act like an innocent man and his mouth is frequently his own worst enemy. Second, and truly the most petulant, Trump wants to play with his army men. He does not see our sons and daughters, sisters and brothers, mothers and fathers, aunts, uncles, cousins and friends as people. He does not recognize that the treasure of our military is not the bombs and guns and planes and warships, but the men and women who wear the uniform. They are the national treasure. They are the measure we use to determine the need for conflict. The test for any politician should be, “is this important enough for my child to sacrifice his or her life?” Not how much money it will cost, because money is replaceable. Lives are not. Trump’s wonton and flippant march towards conflict does not ask that question. It shows an eargerness to play with soldiers’ lives like they are expendable to his whims. He doesn’t care if they die. He doesn’t care if they are injured. He doesn’t care if they are captured or tortured. In fact, he likes soldiers who aren’t captured, as he has told us. Trump doesn’t care.

Oh, we can keep going. Education? Trump doesn’t care. Environment? Trump doesn’t care. Endangered species? Trump doesn’t care. Fair wages? Trump doesn’t care. Protecting the Social Security safety net? Nope, Trump doesn’t care. Fair tax laws? Yeah right… he thinks fair equals tax breaks for him. He doesn’t care about anyone else. Equal rights for all, nope. Trump doesn’t care.

Here is the breakdown, unless your name is Trump, and you profit from it, Trump doesn’t care. That is his broad-spectrum policy on everything. Simple and easy to remember: Trump Don’t Care.

Resist. Fight. Speak.

We are One Woman, One World.

Ann Lavendar Truong

Shout out to Anne Coffer, great friend and amazing colleague and author. She has a new book out, just released, that is fantastic, Edge of Ridiculous . I loved it! Get it! Read it! Then tell her how awesome she is! 

Links: More ways to find me or colleagues of mine to check out!

AnnLavendar.com     LeeLooPub.com   Author Mishka Williams BrickWilson.com    UtimateGalacticUniverse.com

Hope. Not Hate.

What is terrorism? Well, we will get to that. Why don’t we start with: what first comes to mind when you hear, “Terrorist,” shall we?

Picture a terrorist in your mind. What does he or she look like? How do they speak? What language? What religion do they practice? Where do they come from?

Thanks to a rather opportunistic re-branding strategy by the Alt Right (synonymous for racist, white supremacist bigots),  the first image conjured when thinking of a terrorist is typically that of an adult, male, Middle Eastern decent, Islamic Jihadist. I’m not saying there aren’t Middle Eastern terrorists. Obviously there are.  But they are far from the only terrorist organizations in the world, and certainly not the first of modern times. And, in fact, some of these are only terrorists by perspective. It truly is amazing the difference perspective makes.

We call them terrorists because they attack both military and civilian locations. We call them terrorists because they believe our civilian casualties are acceptable collateral damage to send a message to our leaders. Let’s look at some acceptable collateral damage.

On July 6, 2008, forty-seven people in a wedding party, including thirty-nine women and children, were killed by three bombs. The bride was among the dead. Nine others were wounded.

On May 19, 2004 forty-two civilians were slaughtered by bombs and gunfire at a wedding party. Among the dead were eleven women and thirteen children.

On November 8, 2008 thirty-seven civilians at a wedding party were killed by bombs, twenty-three children, ten women and four men, in a housing complex where they had gathered for the celebration. An additional twenty-seven people were injured, including the bride.

On December 12, 2013 four bombs struck a wedding procession killing ten people, including the groom’s son from a previous marriage, and injuring twenty-four.

These are just Wedding  examples, not even all of them. The list gets really long when you throw in schools, funerals and hospitals.  The truth is, sometimes the idea of who is a terrorist depends on what side of the bomb you are sitting. If someone bombs your entire family to attempt to assassinate one or a handful of individuals they claim may be present, who would you call the terrorist? The person(s) they want to kill or the ones which said your family’s lives are so insignificant that they are disposable? Would it make you hate the target for bringing this on your family or, perhaps sympathize with them? Would you think that maybe they have good reason for attacking the monsters who killed your family?

Fighting terror with terror only incites more hate. It feeds the ‘us versus them’ mentality, a mainstay of xenophobia. It is not, however, reserved for terrorists we don’t understand, who live across oceans. We suffer it right here at home, neighbor to neighbor. Xenophobia is the bedrock of racism. Fear what is other. Anything other. It is contributing to the racism epidemic in our country. Yes, fear of terrorists is playing a part in the very public displays of racism today. Why? Because once the hate starts spilling out, the floodgates are washed away and restraint becomes near impossible.

We are not even a full generation cycle outside of segregation, meaning there are still many people alive today who lived in that reality. Though I am in my mid forties, I can recall attending a predominately white elementary school as a second grader in a small East Texas town and seeing the very uncomfortable black children who were specifically bused in to meet the judicial desegregation orders. When they first arrived, they stood against the wall looking unsure and frightened. We were poor, so that was the only year I lived in a school district like that. Most of my young childhood we lived in predominantly black neighborhoods and school districts. I believe this is why that memory stands out. I had spent most of my time playing with black children and that was the first time I had really cognitively seen or recognized society treating them as different. And sure, racial slurs were common but I was too young to understand their real meaning. I had no outside concept of anything different. However, so you can have an understanding of how embedded racism was in our society, let me give you an example.

In fourth grade we lived in a very black community. As I said before, we were quite poor, so we lived in what was then called HUD Housing. They were apartment projects which scaled the rent based on income. Just cross the street from us was the grocery store; the only grocery store in our tiny town of about 2,000 people. In that grocery store, in the produce department, they sold a variety of nuts and they always had a big pile of Brazil Nuts, except that is not what they called them. In fact I didn’t even know that was what they were until I was in High School in the late 1980’s. No, they sold Ni**ger Toes by the pound. I kid you not. That is what it said on the sign, without the asterisks. I never really thought about it at the time. That was what they were, as far as I knew. I didn’t have perspective to understand how horribly wrong that was. But every single black person in our town had to shop there and they had to see that sign every single time they went through the produce department. They didn’t have other options to buy groceries. I can specifically still remember that sign there as late as 1981, and it was likely there longer, I just don’t have a specific recollection of it.

Today, I use that memory as a reference point. It really explains the out-lashing of public racism and xenophobia we see today. We had a period of relative public calm, where people were careful not to say racist things so publicly, but the racism didn’t just go away. Those people who perpetuated this ‘us and them’ mentality to feel superior, they didn’t just disappear or even have a great and sudden change of heart. No. Their fear did not abate. Their desire to be superior did not vanish. They just became quiet and built up more and more hatred, festering in their resentment of a world demanding they change. They infected society in quieter ways to subvert the people they saw as lesser beings. They clung to their skin color like it was a badge and wrapped it around religion, distorting the value of self worth and the integrity of faith with their obsessive bigotry.  They found ways to quietly demean minority groups. They created and cultivated a culture of fear and distrust among minority communities and built policing systems which targeted them and evolved prisons into new slave labor camps. They were quiet terrorists, right here at home. But not free to espouse their hatred. Not free to publicly define superiority on their own terms.

Foreign terrorists provided an avenue to release that frustration. Not by becoming terrorists (indeed, why the KKK wasn’t deemed an illegal terrorist organization and threat to public safety suggests the government had already crossed that line domestically), but by hating them, painting them as evil and, in so doing, also labeling anyone who resembled them the same way. Finally, a socially acceptable venue to vocalize their hatred of others. They were able to call upon ancient religious conflicts and reignite them (Christianity vs. Islam of the Crusade periods). However, these radicalized Islamic terrorist groups are relatively new. They spawned after the unsuccessful war against the new nation of Israel, believing an urban terrorism tactic would prove more successful. The general idea being that if they made it miserable for Israelis to live there, they would eventually leave.

While this may sound like a terrible thing, a little perspective gives a lot of illumination. This was really not just about hating Jewish people and, truly, no one can condone terrorist acts, but understanding both sides in this conflict is the only way to ever resolve it. I am also willing to wager many of us would feel the same way in their shoes and may even resort to the same tactics.

Imagine, please, that the world came together and just decided, yes, the Palestinian people deserve a homeland, so they just took the United States and said, “That is no longer your country. It belongs to these people now. They are going to make the rules and laws and you will have to abide by them. They may or may not allow you citizenship and equal rights. Many of you will be required to relocate.” So what would we do? Well, probably say, “Like hell!,” and declare war, but with the backing of the entire world behind them, we would be alone and not likely win. We may be tough but we are not take on the entire world by ourselves kind of tough. Then what? When our war doesn’t work, what do we do? Would we just be content? Where would we go if most nations closed their doors to the mass of our refugees? While this is greatly simplified, it conveys the basis for the position in the Middle East that began this specific terrorism threat which has spread across the world, lashing out at not only Israeli interests, but those who support the Jewish nation. From there, the radicalization morphed into a jihad, seeking to not only subvert Israel, but also competing Islamic factions. The  perpetuating civil unrest is largely fueled by stagnation in their economies, with only one export sector of substance: oil and natural gas and foreign interference in regional affairs.

Please note, I am not taking sides in the Israel/Palestinian conflict. I am not blaming the Israelis or Israel for terrorism. This is just history and it is served without blame. It just is what it is. Israel is a fact. It is there and has been for almost 70 years. I like dealing with reality and feel the region needs to adjust.  But if we want everyone to eventually get along, we do need to understand and accept all the motivations which have caused the conflict to begin with. Understanding without prejudice. We can have empathy for both sides in this equation. In fact, we must.

Prior to 9/11/01, the US had a few scares dealing with these foreign terrorists, the small trade center bombing in the 1990’s, the hostage crisis during the Carter administration, and various issues at U.S. Embassies, etc. While it did cause immediate concerns, people were overall just far too busy hating the Soviet Union and fearing the cold war would heat up into a nuclear war. In fact, the IRA was a whole lot scarier. Not to mention, we had our own issues with civil rights going on coast to coast to be too bothered for too long. When the Cold War ended, we went along doing our own thing, oblivious to the interference our government played in foreign, regional conflicts in the Middle East, such as Iran/Iraq. But 9/11, and a festering of inability to vocalize hatred and fear of ‘other’ quickly changed the public discourse. Suddenly, people were free to hate again. It was okay to fear someone different. Not only was it okay, it was downright patriotic. We fought an unnecessary war in Iraq based off the spurring of that fear. Finally! Someone to hate right out in the open!

More racism. More xenophobia. It wasn’t gone. But fear begets fear. Before long, people become restless that their hate was socially limited. They felt their rights had been impinged upon by stifling their freedom to hate and belittle others. (they called it “political correctness, though most of us just call it good manners) Once bigotry starts seeping through, it pushes and pushes until it’s an uncontrollable flood. Their right to entitlement felt jeopardized for too long. After all, they never stopped being racists. They never stopped seeing themselves as superior. Their old prejudices didn’t disappear. And that brings us to today. Today we are a nation boiling over with hate, apoplectic, trying to decide who we hate the most:  the blacks, the Mexican immigrants, the Muslims, the Chinese, the poor, the Liberals, the Conservatives, the Religious Right, the non theistic, the corporations, the socialists, the wealthy or the sick?  Can there possibly be enough hate and enough fear for everyone? At the core of it all is the racist generations who imparted their false elitism on to their children. In some homes it was openly hateful, while others passed their bias on in more subtle ways.

True, it fades some with every generation, but don’t forget who our political leaders are and how they have been affected by race and prejudice over these years. Don’t forget how many of these predominantly white men tried to impede social justice and equality. A majority of these older politicians were a part of segregation. They grew up in it or grew up in the desegregation era which harbored a great deal of resentment. I have personally known judges and lawmakers who still refer to black people by the N word behind closed doors.

This is what we are witnessing when we see the calls for Muslim bans, Muslim registries, building walls, publishing crimes committed by immigrants, deporting people who should be given paths to citizenship, deporting military veterans who served under the promise of citizenship, hate crimes against LGBT, legalizing LGBT discrimination in our communities and schools, treating black people as though their skin color is enough to warrant fear of life or personal safety and shooting them for things like faulty tail lights or walking home minding their own business. It is all xenophobia, it is all racism. The fundamental cowardice of our nation is prevalent in our fear.  We fear the terrorists and so we become terrorists ourselves, instead of mantling our courage to face a foe and ask them why; instead of facing those we do not know or do not understand with brave acceptance. We see someone who looks different from ourselves and fear them instead of embracing them as brothers and sisters in humanity. We see the practice of other religions and have so little faith in our own that we must destroy them to feel safe in our eternity.

It takes a great deal more courage to open our arms and minds to change and welcome the unknown than to fling insults and brandish might to drive the unknown away. Racists, bigots, supremacists, xenophobics in all shapes and sizes, they are all cowards.

Now we are faced with a choice as this fear has reached an apex n our society. Who will we be? Will we flex our muscles, shout insults and perpetuate the cowardice by trying to push away all that is other? Or will we have to courage to disband our hate? Even those of us seeking equality and justice for all in the name of humanity? Yeah, our hate, too. Can we let the hate we see and hear from others pass over us and have the strength of will and character to, “Be the change you wish to see in the world,”? We all have our flaws. We are each different and unique. But when we unite under a common cause, in peace and with resolution, we have great power, far more power than hateful cowards brandishing their fists. We have the power to instill hope, justice, equality and undeniable human rights to everyone who calls this nation home. Hope is stronger than hate, for it looks ahead to the future, instead of walking blindly backwards, eyes affixed to the past. We already know what is behind us. let us look with eager eyes to the future and make the choice to peacefully resist those who have mistaken their cowardice for courage. Resist those who would drag us all to repeat the failed past of their tainted memory. The future is forward. Hope. Not hate.

We are One Woman, One World.

Ann Lavendar Truong

Shout out to Anne Coffer, great friend and amazing colleague and author. She has a new book out, just released, that is fantastic, Edge of Ridiculous . I loved it! Get it! Read it! Then tell her how awesome she is! 

Links: More ways to find me or colleagues of mine to check out!

AnnLavendar.com     LeeLooPub.com   Author Mishka Williams BrickWilson.com    UtimateGalacticUniverse.com

Sources:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Deh_Bala_wedding_party_airstrike

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mukaradeeb_wedding_party_massacre

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wech_Baghtu_wedding_party_airstrike

http://www.newsweek.com/wedding-became-funeral-us-still-silent-one-year-deadly-yemen-drone-strike-291403

https://www.thenation.com/article/us-has-bombed-least-eight-wedding-parties-2001/

https://wikispooks.com/wiki/US_Bombing_campaigns_since_1945

http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/pages/frontline/shows/target/etc/modern.html

To Trump: Hear My VOICE.

Trump’s VOICE is hateful and nothing more than a propaganda machine to push his divisive rhetoric. When they do not have a story for “illegal” immigrants, it will quickly turn to the “legal” ones. This will become (and in many places already has) a war against anyone who is not a citizen, or doesn’t “look” like a citizen; more xenophobia at its worst.

My husband is a legal permanent resident, since the ’70’s. He is supposed to be 100% protected from deportation. He grew up here, escaping Vietnam as a small child. Legal residents are now scrambling to naturalize into citizenship because they are afraid those promises, like the one made to him,  will become meaningless, that with the stroke of a pen, the rights and safety they were guaranteed will be invalidated.

And how long until even their right to protest or have an opinion is stripped from them? How long before their opinion of our president or his policies  becomes a qualification or disqualification for legal residence or citizenship? How long before an immigrant protesting is stripped of their legal status and deported, their assets seized? With a stroke of a pen it can happen. As those who have been illegally detained by customs officials despite the judicial ruling against the Muslim Ban can tell you, the power of the Presidency is far reaching, and most especially in relation to immigration. It has the power to effectively silence dissent in the immigrant population.

I am ashamed of a country that has caused such fear among the people who live in it, turning them blindly upon one another. I am ashamed that our promise to the world, to all those seeking opportunity, safety, hope and freedom, has been rendered a lie. It is up to us to destroy that lie, to raise our flag into the air and wave its promise truthfully to the world once more.

People should never be illegal. We will never save ourselves by hiding, closing our doors, and fearing our neighbors. Cowards are never heroes and they never forge a path to greatness. We must stand together and be brave, to resist against the clamoring of cowards lost in the nonsense of their fear. We must fight against those who spur and use that fear to their own greedy ends.

I will fight for my husband. I will fight for my neighbors. I will fight to restore the idea of what our country should be, for our hope and our future. So, if Trump wants a VOICE, he can hear mine. Because, resisting him is my birthright. I do not fear retribution. Unlike those I am willing to fight for, no stroke of his pen can take my rights or my voice away. He cannot silence me or those citizens who stand with me. Together, we can ensure a future where every person has a voice, where no one is silenced, where being alive is not a crime… Where birthright is replaced by birth and rights are inalienable.

We are One Woman, One World.

Ann Lavendar-Truong

photo credit: AP/John Amis

Links: More ways to find me or colleagues of mine to check out!

AnnLavendar.com     LeeLooPub.com   Author Mishka Williams BrickWilson.com    UtimateGalacticUniverse.com