Israel Might be the Last Country Trump Can Bully, Kinda

Gulf Shores     Hello, America!  Read the papers and take notes.  This is what it looks like when we go from being the worlds’ greatest superpower to just another weakling in the school yard.  Like the comedian used to say, “We get no respect.”

At the last minute we demand for some unknown reason that an Iranian tanker being held by the British in Gibraltar for months be turned over to us, and what does our closest ally, Britain do?  Turn it back over to Iran, that’s what.  Who cares what the US says about Iran and our little go-it-alone sanctions?  Nobody much.

Trump on some kind of ego-drug trip meets with the President of Pakistan.  Says, hey, youse, how about I mediate the dispute in Kashmir between y’all and India?  This is something I’m good at.  Just look at the progress I’ve made in the Middle East.  India’s Modi, another authoritarian my-way-or-the-highway guy, within two weeks moves troops into Kashmir, cuts off the internet, ends statehood, and holds the largely Muslim population in their part of the disputed territory claimed by India, virtual prisoners.  What’s America going to do about that?  These are two nuked up world powers.  What do they care about Trump bloviating some more?  If he were to bother that is.

North Korea?  Boy, we’ve done a great job there bringing world peace.  How many missiles did they test today?

Don’t even start me on Russia.  I’ve been there.  Moscow and St. Petersburg are great cities.  The people were wonderful.  The government?  That’s another story.  They’re trying to develop a nuclear-powered long-range missile that isn’t part of any disarmament treaty, but, hey, we’ve torn all of those up anyway.  Lost five of their scientists in a test the other day. What do we care?  Our scientists tried and failed to do this twenty years ago.  What makes the Russians think they can solve this puzzle?  What were they, the first in space or something?  And, besides, Putin and Trump are back-slapping buddies.  They sure wouldn’t interfere in the elections of the most powerful country in the world, would they?

Trump told Turkey, don’t buy any jets from anybody but me.  Turkey flipped us off and now is threatening to go after our Kurd allies at their border.

China is giving us the red ass.  Trump’s trade war is his own personal Vietnam that he doesn’t know how to pull out of, even as it threatens our economy and the world’s.  Meanwhile he has to bailout farmers for billions and pulls back on his latest threats until after Christmas tacitly acknowledging his trade mess hurts US consumers.

Syria?  Afghanistan?  Iraq?  Let’s just not talk about it, ok?

We’ve become so weak and ill-regarded that we can only bully very small countries.

On second thought, that’s not exactly true either, since you just mentioned Venezuela, didn’t you?

Looks like the only country Trump can bully is Israel.  He tweets that he wants to bar two of the squad.  Republicans, Democrats, and Israeli groups in that country and the United States go crazy about how stupid it was for him to carry his personal, political vendetta to another country, and how even more moronic it was for Israel’s Prime Minister to buckle his knees to the bully.  The next day, Israel relents so that Palestinian-American Congresswoman Rashida Tlaib from Michigan can visit her 90-year old grandmother and relatives living on the West Bank.

Wait until we see how itty-bitty Denmark slams the door on Trump’s hand when he brings up wanting to buy Greenland, for goodness sakes.

This is what it has all come to in less than three years.  Sadly, we all know, it can get even worse.

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Please enjoy Shakedown from Bob Seger & the Silver Bullet Band.

Thanks to KABF.

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Up-Standers, Answer the Call!

fhupstanderNew Orleans  I’m a “what’s next” guy. Good news or bad news, how do we respond, what do we do next. Resilience. Problem solving. Whatever, I try to manage the present and prepare for the future, respecting the past, but always trying to stay in motion to move forward. Not surprisingly, that’s been my personal response to the Trump victory. I understand and respect that it is not everyone’s default mode or reality though.

We were fortunate to have our daughter in town this weekend visiting. She was in for the traditional Scorpio celebration for her mother, grandmother, and herself. We had hardly ordered before she was asking how, or maybe not so much asking as telling us, people, particularly women and people she knew in the LGBT and minority communities, were feeling the changes in the national temperament. She was hearing and feeling real fear. She and many of her friends and colleagues felt they were being looked at differently and with more hostility than in the past. There were too many reports of recent catcalls. Her friends were on red alert, especially among men. If a man even looked at them cross eyed in this new environment, they were arms up and ready to respond. It was fight not flight, but overall still tinged with fear.

This was not an encouraging report from the land of millennials. What was encouraging was her report that people were issuing the call for more up-standers. I don’t even know if up-standing or up-standers are real words, but they probably should be. Up-standers are not bystanders. She had heard the term from elementary school teachers who talked to children about being up-standers as a response to bullying in school. Other children needed to be ready and able to be up-standers to stop bullies.

Calling for up-standers in all situations seems exactly the right response to these times and, in my view, all times. Men, women, and all people of good will who care about each other and this country need to be prepared to stand in solidarity and call out instances of misogyny, racism, ethnic slurs and prejudices, religious intolerance, and more. We all have to be ready to stand up and say, that’s not right, stop!

One of the depressing speculations during the recent election on the impact of women speaking out on sexual harassment is that a Trump victory along with many of his supporters, including the majority of white women, rationalizing his remarks and assaults, or even worse, denigrating the women coming forward as incredible, rather than forcing this into the open so that it finally could be stopped in the workplace and elsewhere, would in fact force in below the radar once again, making it harder and riskier for women to come forward in the future. We can’t allow that, and my daughter, her mother, and grandmother are right, they can’t be expected to carry the weight. It takes all of us committing to being up-standers and standing up and speaking out everywhere and anywhere that we hear or see instances of this effort to destroy the basic human rights of anyone, anywhere, whether the same or different than we are.

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