Which Should You Trust, Donald J. Trump Or Your Lying Eyes?

Who are you going to believe; Donald Trump or your lying eyes…and ears…and gut?  Tough decision, huh?  After all of these months of ignoring people of color while belittling them, calling them any derogatory name that popped into his mind at the time, virtually labeling them as the scum of the earth, refusing invitations to speak at organizations like the NAACP, refusing to immediately disavow David Duke and other white supremacists who endorsed him and hiring Stephen Bannon – the head of Brietbart – as his campaign’s Chief Executive he now wants these same people to believe that he is now ready to embrace them and that he wants to be president to all of the people?  In light of the fact that he hired Kellyanne Conway as his latest campaign manager, what reasonable, intelligent person wouldn’t believe that he is suddenly a changed man and is so not a racist?  Probably all of them.

But you have to hand it to Mr. Trump, he is one tough customer.  He can say the most ridiculous things then – although they are on visual and audible record – if he sees or senses that people do not like what he said, do a one-eighty and deny that he ever said those things.  And he can do it with a straight face and without the slightest sign of embarrassment.  It’s amazing!  A person like this can fool a lot of people and Mr. Trump knows this and that is why he is making this pivot…at least for now.  Anything to win, right?  I must admit, with the way that he goes back-and-forth on issues I can’t help but to wonder how he really feels.  I wonder if he even knows how he really feels.

What we have to go on though are our eyes, ears and gut.  If he can just convince us that Donald Trump is telling us the truth and it is these things that are lying to us he is home free.  With his background and reputation there is no doubt in my mind that he believes that he can do this. Yeah, who are you going to believe, me or your lying eyes…?  Well given the option, I am going to believe what he wants to label as my lying eyes, ears and gut and I hope that you will believe your eyes, ears and gut as well.

I think that it was Chris Matthews who said on one of his recent shows that Kellyanne Conway could talk the legs off of a desk.  While this might be true, she will never be able to convince me that Donald Trump was suddenly miraculously changed and he now cares about all people of color, their life situations and that he now wants to help them to get to a better place in life.  Hopefully, she will not be able to convince a single other person of color that this is the case until Mr. Trump has shown by his actions that he has changed.  That would take a very long time; certainly longer than the 80 or so days that are left before the election.

Caveat emptor (Let the buyer beware) American voters; especially the people of color that Mr. Trump is now working to sell his miraculous change persona to.  Don’t buy it!  If your eyes, ears and gut are telling you that the product is deeply flawed then it probably is and you should accept those feelings and act accordingly.  In the words of the late Maya Angelou, “if someone shows you who they are, believe them the first time.”  She also said; “I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.”  How has Donald J. Trump made you feel?  I know how he has made most people of color feel; and it is not a warm and cozy I sincerely care about you feeling.

Sometimes my eyes, ears and gut tell me that Mr. Trump does not care if he wins the election, in reality does not want to win the election and is hoping that he does not win it because he knows that he is not qualified to be president and he is scared that he will not be capable of doing the job.  What I think that he wants to do at all costs, however, is to become as well known in America and throughout the world as he can so that he can position himself to acquire as much money as humanly possible as a result of his candidacy after he loses.

If he is not purposely trying to lose, it certainly appears that he is doing everything within his power to do exactly that.  Check his record since he entered the race to become president.  You will find that he has already offended almost everybody and his brother at one time or another.  After all, what the hell does he have to lose…except maybe accidentally winning?  And if my eyes, ears and gut are right, wouldn’t winning be just terrible for him…and us too?

Eulus Dennis – author, Operation Rubik’s Cube and Living Between The Line

Republicans Team With Koch, Donors Trust And Other Rich Conservative Supporters In Their Quest To Amend The Constitution

Republicans are very quietly working at the state level in their efforts to bypass congress and amend the United States Constitution and elected Democrats at federal and state levels had better pay attention.  Not only should our elected officials pay attention but Democratic and Republican constituents should pay attention as well.  These constituents should pay attention because far too often our elected officials allow their political ambitions to take priority over their fiduciary responsibility to those who elected them.  This time and in this particular case, all of those who have been drawn or will be drawn into this web that these Republicans have constructed were likely or will likely be convinced to abandon their fiduciary responsibility after considering the deep pockets of those who are funding this effort.  These funders are many of the same people who fund their reelection efforts.

This effort that is being funded by the Koch brothers, Donors Trust and other rich conservative supporters is quietly moving forward, virtually beyond public notice, and is well on its way to getting the support of enough states to summon a convention of the 50 states for the purpose of considering amending the U.S. Constitution.  Efforts to amend the Constitution have been tried and failed so many times before that many politicians who do not support this effort are probably ignoring it.

But I will take this opportunity to remind all of the states, with special emphasis on Colorado since that is where I live, of the Republicans’ REDMAP effort that was extremely successful and which likely played no small part in the success that this current effort is having.  To put the gains made in this movement’s current success in the words of Michael Wines; in his August 22, 2016 article in the New York Times entitled ‘Inside the Conservative Push for States to Amend the Constitution’ he said, “But as Republicans have surged to control of state legislatures and moved sharply rightward during the Obama years, what was once a pet project of the party’s fringe has become a proposal with a plausible chance of success.  Some of the former Republican presidential candidates, including comparative moderates like John Kasich and Jeb Bush, have endorsed a state amendment convention.”

Wow!  The Koch brothers, Governor John Kasich and former Governor Jeb Bush; these are powerful people!  With people like these supporting this effort, especially quietly – after all, these are politicians who love publicity – elected Democrats at the federal and state levels had better pay attention now.  At least with REDMAP, which Democrats seem to have ignored until it was too late, it is a situation from which Democrats can eventually recover.  In the case of a successful effort by Republicans to summon states to a convention to consider amending the Constitution, the ability to recover from what transpires at such a convention could be impossible.

Although it is hard to determine what the Republican Party will look like post Donald J. Trump, whether he wins or loses it will not be the same.  Mr. Trump has managed to pull a lot of blue collar workers into his camp and many of them are likely Democrats.  However, what has already been determined is that the Republican Party has for a long time been and currently remains a party of the rich and powerful.  Most of the laws and rules that are currently in place that favor the rich and powerful were fostered and are still supported by this party.

Since Republicans have lost much of their power to pass laws, in large part due to schisms in their party, and it appears that they could lose more of their control on congress after the 2016 election and going forward, this latest effort to amend the Constitution might be their best chance at clinging to some vestiges of power.  Elected Democrats and their constituents and Republicans who have much to lose if a convention to consider amending the Constitution takes place should not take Republicans who are behind this effort lightly.

These Republicans, the Koch brothers, Donors Trust and all of the other rich conservatives behind this effort are desperate and determined to win.  If middleclass America hopes to have any chance of coming back, reestablishing its position as the backbone of America and reestablishing its rightful chance to have a fair shot at achieving the American dream, all of us must monitor this effort to amend the Constitution closely and assure that it is not successful until American citizens fully understand the true purpose behind it and the impact that it could have on all of us.

The best way for the everyday American to assure that they are not used as pawns in the political fray of those who at times are unsure as to whether they should be true to their Party and/or political ambitions or those constituents who elected them is to get and stay informed.  Armed with this, we can and should let our elected representatives know how we feel on relevant issues and hold them accountable to conduct themselves accordingly by way of their vote.  If they do not do this then we can and should replace them.

So get informed on the issues and stay that way and always exercise your right to vote.  And remember, whether you are a Democrat, Republican or Independent your vote is the most important one of all…unless you don’t use it!

Eulus Dennis – author, Operation Rubik’s Cube and Living Between The Line

Republicans Want To Have Their Cake And Eat It Too

In the case of Supreme Court nominee Merrick Garland, Republicans want to have their cake and eat it too.  In other words they want to put off holding confirmation hearings on judge Garland until they know whether Donald Trump will win the election.  If he does they will hold the hearings subsequent to January 20, 2017, which will be after he is sworn in as president.  If he does not win then many of them want to confirm him before Hillary Clinton is sworn in so that she cannot withdraw his name and submit the name of a more liberal candidate.

My thoughts?  If they continue to try to pull off this partisan stupid stunt, Secretary Clinton should definitely withdraw Judge Garland’s name if she wins and turn their Republican dream into the nightmare on 261 Russell Senate Office Building.  As a matter of fact if she wins, in light of the current political atmosphere, she should immediately ask President Obama to withdraw his name.  This does not mean that judge Garland is not a good man who is undeniably qualified to do the job; what it means is that President Obama compromised and nominated him in good faith in order to get the Republicans to act quickly to place him in office and avoid the need for the Supreme Court to operate with eight Justices and they balked.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has already had his cake for too long and he still insists that he will not allow confirmation hearings for any nominee while President Obama is still in office.  So since he has had his cake so long and insists on continuing in his stubborn ways perhaps Democrats should spare him the pain of trying to figure out whether or not he can have it and eat it too.  Besides, by the time that he figures things out his proverbial cake would surely be stale.  And I’ll bet that he wouldn’t like stale cake anyway: I’m sure that I can’t but maybe one of his Democratic colleagues in the senate could get a drink with him and find out for sure (an inside joke.  It is only funny if you know the details behind it.).

With pandemonium being worthy of becoming the current watchword in the Republican Party thanks in large part to their standard bearer Donald Trump, one would think that Republicans would be doing everything in their power to assure that he would be the very last person to nominate a Supreme Court Justice.  Unfortunately, it seems that Party loyalty and Party unity trumps that (pun intended).  Because although Mr. Trump continues to make a mockery of the American political process and make America the laughingstock of the world, Republicans refuse to withdraw their support from him.

The fact that Republicans are reluctant to withdraw their support of him has emboldened Mr. Trump.  This is reflected in the fact that even though his campaign is already embroiled in controversy over those who are running his campaign and the accusation that he is too cozy with Russia and is enamored with Vladimir Putin, he recently signaled his intention to continue with his campaign of divisiveness and hatred by hiring Breitbart News Chairman Stephen Bannon as his campaign’s chief executive.  In addition, and hopefully on the positive side, he hired Kellyanne Conway to be his new campaign manager.  Ms. Conway is a well respected Republican pollster who is expected to portray The Donald as a softer and gentler Donald Trump.  And given her reputation, she is likely to succeed in doing this.  But don’t buy it!

This message goes out to all African Americans, all other people of color, women in general, veterans and all of the people of various religions and ethnicities that Mr. Trump has so nonchalantly insulted.  I implore you; do not let this experienced thespian fool you with his soft words.  Ms. Conway might be able to coax Mr. Trump into using softer and gentler words but let there be no doubt, he is and will remain the same old Donald J. Trump.  Do not allow Kellyanne Conway to normalize Mr. Trump with soft words and a facade of kindness.  The only thing that he really cares about is Donald J. Trump.

Just taking into consideration one perspective, that of a woman, Ms. Conway may not agree with the demeaning things that Mr. Trump has said about women and so, therefore, is only doing her job.  Many of us do that.  We do it until we reach that line that we have drawn in the sand, which we are unwilling to cross.  If Ms. Conway does not believe in Mr. Trump, his message to the American people, the direction in which he intends to take America and how he intends to get us there then she has not yet reached her line in the sand.

Mr. Trump is a dangerous man who does not have the temperament or gravitas to be the President of the United States of America.  The sad part is that most Republicans realize this and agree with all of those – Democrats, Republicans and Independents – who openly acknowledge it but yet there are those Republicans who still refuse to rebuke Mr. Trump and withdraw their support of him.  If they decide that they will withdraw it the implication is that the timing must be right so that it will have the least negative impact as possible on the Republican agenda.  They are doing this even if it means putting America at risk by potentially putting her fate into the hands of Donald J. Trump.

Mr. Trump likes to make comments like “I don’t like to regret things” and – in appealing to African Americans in an effort to get their votes, “What the hell do you have to lose.”  We can only hope that this is not the same line of thinking and logic that those Republicans who are stubbornly continuing to support Donald Trump are using.  If it is, America is in a real dilemma!

Eulus Dennis – author, Operation Rubik’s Cube and Living Between The Line

Police And Politicians Are At It Again

Why is it that when the police injure or kill someone the police release everything that they can find that is bad about the person that was injured or killed but refuse to release available video tapes or anything about the officer(s) that injured or killed that person?  That is exactly what happens far too often in America and that is exactly what is happening in the case in Milwaukee, Wisconsin where a police officer shot and killed Sylville Smith.  Is there any wonder why citizens around the country are having problems with trusting the police; police who are supposed to protect and serve them?

And what about the politicians that we elect to represent all of us?  Governor Scott Walker of Wisconsin is the one who decides whether or not the video tapes that captured what happened during this shooting will be released.  Up to this point, he has opted not to release them.  Why?  That remains to be determined.

What he did do, however, was activate the National Guard.  In light of this and the current efforts that many of our elected officials are making to obstruct or completely block American citizens’ right to vote, we need to ask ourselves how those that we elect to represent us actually view us.  Is it like lofty lords sitting in high places looking down upon us like we are a bunch of little irritating ants scurrying around that they feel no compelling need to squash but no real need for except during their election cycles so they tolerate us: And even then, not all of us but only those of us who look and think like them and who will vote for them?

We have a policing problem in America and have had for a long time now.  It does not matter that Sylville Smith was black and that the policeman who shot and killed him is black!  And by the way, the fact that the policeman who shot and killed Sylville Smith is black is about the only information that the police have released concerning this policeman and the shooting.  That is likely because the police and those politicians linked to this incident felt that this would be beneficial to them.  What really matters is that the police and the communities that they are supposed to protect and serve do not trust each other and that what is happening in police departments in Milwaukee and around the country is not conducive to correcting that problem.

I have written and posted many articles to this blog before stating that it will take courageous police officers who are willing to break the so called ‘blue code’ or whatever other name that cops might apply to not ratting out other cops even when they are abusing their authority whether or not it involves deadly force, to even begin to reconcile police and those whom they police.  But this can be done and healing can take place.

What we in communities throughout America must realize is that we too have a part to play in this reconciliation effort.  We must step up and stand up for what is right, and support our police officers, no matter how unpopular it might be, when they are in the right.  We are in a situation in America right now that can be somewhat associated with the proverbial question “what came first, the chicken or the egg?  In other words, should citizens who have long been treated unfairly by unscrupulous police officers while their fellow ‘good’ police officers stood by, for the sake of preserving the ‘blue code’, and winked at them abusing their authority be responsible for initiating what needs to be done to bring about this reconciliation or should the police departments be responsible?

I do not believe that the solution lies in a definitive ‘citizens’ or ‘the police’ answer.  Instead, it lies in the courage of one person no matter who that one person might be, to take that first step.  Report that cop who is abusing their authority to their superior officer and push things as far as they must be pushed or, if faced with roadblocks, as far as you can push them.  A citizen should support that police officer if they are in the right no matter how unpopular it might be.  And they should also do their part in applying and keeping pressure on those politicians who can and should do something about the policing problems in America.  If violating the ‘blue code’ and going outside of the popular thing to do happens simultaneously, so much the better; but it must happen either way if America’s policing problem is to be solved.

I don’t know which side will prove to be justified in the recent shooting and killing of this black man by the police in Wisconsin.  Neither do I know how things will ultimately turn out with respect to the choice between staying with the status quo or making an effort to begin the healing between the police and those whom they protect and serve.  But I do know which of the two choices that I hold out hope for and that choice is the beginning of healing.  Because without healing, any perceived progress is nothing more than a mirage.

Eulus Dennis – author, Operation Rubik’s Cube and Living Between The Line

The Donald J. Trump Enablers Vs A Ripple of Hope

I usually follow politics pretty closely especially in a presidential election year. Whenever I watch TV during those times, I usually find it hard to tear myself away from the cable news stations. But it has been different this year because almost every time that I turn my television on they are talking about something that Donald Trump said. It usually isn’t anything that is worth hearing because when he speaks it regularly involves the letter ‘I’ or the words ‘my’ or ‘me’.

Too often many of the things that Mr. Trump says have little regard for the truth, seem to be purposely meant to obfuscate, have already been walked back, walked over and walked forward again and many times are rife with flat out lies. Despite this, he continues to shamelessly move forward and always attract large crowds. Perhaps that is why the media feels obligated to cover him even as he refers to them as the ‘lowest form of life’. As a result, he dominates media coverage, whether it is positive or negative, and that seems to make him happy.

Although I have watched cable news less often lately because this media constantly covers Mr. Trump and he regularly repeats the same shallow and meaningless rhetoric, I have also watched it less often because I have too often found myself feeling depressed and angry during and after listening to him. It is like there is so much negative information about everyone involved in any way with politics except Donald Trump that it seems to eat away at any faith that I still retain in our political system and that someday, someway and somehow we will make progress toward improving it. I also began to feel that his methods were akin to brainwashing and he was slowly sinking his hooks into me.

All the while that all of this is going on, because of his divisive approach in his efforts to win the election by means of divide and conquer – pitting groups against one another based on their darkest fears; based on his rhetoric I got a strong feeling that he couldn’t care less about anyone who looks like me. Even if that wasn’t the case, I felt that instead of including people who look like me in his ‘make America great again’ rhetoric he was suggesting that we go back to the times when people who look like me ‘knew our place’.

Consequently, I began to feel even more disheartened because I started to question how so many white people could be in support of Donald Trump. Is it because they feel the same way that he does? Certainly they know that he is not qualified to hold the position of President of The United States even if based only on the way that he comports himself; and his lack of qualifications go far beyond that.

In light of all of this and with all of the Washington Republicans and elite Republicans who are supporting Donald Trump it is not hard to become angry and discouraged and for various groups to want to coalesce with those who look like them in order to protect their interests. After all, even Rience Priebus – the chairman of the RNC – recently stood on the podium with Mr. Trump and urged Republicans to help put him in the White House.

Under the circumstances and given that there has never been a ‘welcome’ mat at the door of the Republican Party for minorities, that is a significant enough signal to many groups that it is time to circle the wagons. As for me, Mr. Trump’s behavior – along with the support of him by the previously mentioned Republicans, has become enough for me to reflect on the hatred and divisiveness that he has been spouting and consider what if any impact that it has already had and possibly continues to have on me.

While some of the depression and anger that caused me to back away from my regular diet of cable news for awhile was still simmering just beneath the surface of my calm outer facade, I came across and watched a documentary on KRMA channel 6, a PBS station, entitled “A Ripple of Hope.” The part that really commanded my attention was Senator Robert F. Kennedy’s speech in Indianapolis on the day that Dr. Martin Luther King was shot and killed.

His speech took place during the evening and it was extemporaneous. The crowd was a mixed crowd that contained large numbers of black and white people. Some of those in the crowd were aware that Dr. King had been assassinated and others were not. One black woman who commented in the documentary said that there were many people in this crowd that were armed and who had expressed a desire for and intention to extract revenge on white people.

There were a lot of people traveling with Senator Kennedy as well as others who were not traveling with him who told him that he should cancel his prepared speech and not go to the rally. Among those who felt that he should go was one of the ‘Big Six’ civil rights leaders, John Lewis. John Lewis not only felt that Senator Kennedy should go to the rally but said that he must go. Representative Lewis felt that it was incumbent upon Senator Kennedy to speak to this crowd because he believed that it would have a calming effect upon them.

The same black woman who said that many in the crowd were armed and wanted to extract revenge on white people said that she was terrified. Then, she said – and I paraphrase, this small white man got on the stage and spoke. When he calmed the crowd and told them that Dr. King had been shot and killed, it got real quiet; you could hear him, she said in a tone that expressed amazement at how eerily quiet it actually was. She went on to say how courageous this small white man was.

In his short speech he did not condemn those in the crowd who were black and/or tell them how wrong they were for feeling the way that they did; instead, he told them that, and again I paraphrase, I can understand why you are angry and want revenge; because it was a white man who killed Martin Luther King. I feel your pain because my brother [President John F. Kennedy] was also killed. And it was a white man that killed him. But this is not the America that I know. You can choose to be angry and filled with hate and a desire for revenge or you can chose to work together with white people to make America great. After he finished his speech, everyone went home without any violence.

All of those Republicans who are supporting Donald Trump while armed with the knowledge that he is unqualified for the office that he is running for and that he would likely do great harm to our nation if he is elected are enablers who are knowingly enabling him. They are doing this for political reasons involving loyalty to their party and for personal political ambitions. And they should be embarrassed and ashamed of their behavior.

But as regards those American citizens who are Republicans who support Mr. Trump, as strongly as I feel about him and his divisive tactics and how he must feel about people who look like me; and how it should be all but impossible for them to not see the hatred that he constantly spouts and uses for purposes of his self-aggrandizement, I am compelled to think about that ‘small white man’.

I am compelled to think about the courage that he displayed and the speech that he made to that potentially hostile crowd on the day that Dr. Martin Luther King was shot and killed. I know that all white people do not feel the way that Donald Trump’s rhetoric says that he feels about people of color and those of various religious and ethnic groups. I also know that it is incumbent upon me to exercise the same kind of courage that that ‘small white man’ exercised when he opted to attend the previously mentioned rally. And that means that I must respect those white peoples’ feelings and empathize with them while at the same time encouraging them to get beyond those feelings and work together with all people of color, religious and ethnic groups to make America even greater than it already is.

If Donald J. Trump and that ‘small white man’, Robert Kennedy were placed side-by-side, the principles and values that each man espouses were displayed alongside them and as an American citizen one was tasked to choose which of these two men that they would prefer to be their leader it seems that the choice would be an easy one. But when all of the different perspectives and nuances are interjected into the mix and those driving forces are constantly emphasized and skewed toward our insecurities and darkest fears, maybe the obviousness of this choice is not so glaring after all.

That is why that as voters we must always stay informed on the issues and select the best candidate based on our knowledge of those issues and not based on sound bites. So whether you are a Democrat, Republican or Independent stay informed and always vote. Why? Because your vote is the most important one of all…unless you don’t use it!

Eulus Dennis – author, Operation Rubik’s Cube and Living Between The Line

Hillary Clinton Should Be President. I’m With Her

There is every reason why Donald J. Trump should not be President of the United States and myriad reasons why Hillary Clinton should be.  Secretary Clinton’s dedication to America and her professionalism are too strong to allow her to get down into the mud with Mr. Trump and mudsling with him to try to prove to naysayers that she is trustworthy and infinitely more qualified than he is to be president.

Besides, she does not have to do that because she has proven time-and-time-again to those who questioned her trustworthiness but still gave her a fair chance that she has true grit, that she can be trusted, and that she will deliver on her promises to them.  Her track record supports this!  She has proven over decades that she is a hardworking and dedicated woman who means what she says and says what she means.  Like all of us, Hillary Clinton is not perfect.  She has flaws.

She has many scars and is hardened by (political) battle but those scars and her public battle hardened persona are a result of years of fighting for what is right; fighting to make America even greater than it already is.  That persona has nothing to do with the lack of trustworthiness and everything to do with being a politician – and let’s tell it like it is, especially a female politician who has been swimming with sharks for years.  That persona does not make void her impeccable qualifications and render her untrustworthy.  She deserves to be president!  She deserves to become the first female to occupy the Oval Office and hold the title of Commander-in-Chief!

Most of the turmoil that has generated the outcries about how incompetent and untrustworthy she is has been instigated by many of the same people who spent millions of taxpayer dollars on investigating what happened in Benghazi in hopes of finding a smoking gun that would damage Secretary Clinton.  When that did not work because someone in their Party – House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy – committed a gaffe that pulled back the curtain and revealed the real reason behind the Benghazi Select Committee, they finalized their findings shortly after this gaffe.  But they are currently spending millions more taxpayer dollars investigating the so called Clinton emails scandal still in search of a smoking gun that will damage Secretary Clinton and derail her run for president.  The real reason behind this investigation is the same as the one that was behind the Benghazi investigation.  Eventually, the curtain will be pulled back on that investigation as well and the real reason for it will be revealed.

Even with Donald Trump as their standard bearer, a man that they loathe and are still trying to somehow remove and replace in a way that they can spin as fair, they refuse to publicly admit that he is far less qualified than Secretary Clinton is to lead America.  They are so blinded by their ambition and desire to unify their party that they are willing to risk shortchanging America and possibly destroying the Republican Party.  Even though in the recent past some of them have publicly said that he is unqualified and unfit to lead the country, because of partisanship and to maintain party unity they continue to attack secretary Clinton in an effort to put Mr. Trump in the White House.

Secretary Clinton is a tough and dedicated woman whom America should admire and whose love of country and dedicated service to America is beyond reproach.  Although I am fairly sure that she would dismiss it with the wave of a hand as unnecessary sympathy because she is just doing her job, sometimes when I look at that involuntary weariness expressed on the face of that worn and scarred public persona, knowing that there is a real person underneath; that of a wife, a mother, a grandmother and a daughter, I can’t help but to feel sympathy for her.

Perhaps it is better put to say that I empathize with a hardworking, dedicated public servant who is doing everything that she can to serve her country despite those things that she is forced to deal with as a result of American politics yet obliged to deal with in order to provide that service, which she has sometimes labeled as and verbalized as ‘her privilege’ to serve.  Maybe put this way she will not be compelled to dismiss it with the wave of a hand.  She may be tough but after all, she is human.  I’m with her.  I will vote for her and I hope that she wins in November.  Vaya bein, Secretary Clinton.

Eulus Dennis – author, Operation Rubik’s Cube and Living Between The Line

Shelby County v. Holder; A Supreme Court Decision

With all of the hoopla surrounding the 2016 election I could not help but to reflect on the decision that Chief Justice John Roberts made in 2013 when he elected to side with four other justices to gut the Voting Rights Act.  According to an article in the New York Times Magazine by Jim Ruttenberg dated July 29, 2015 entitled ‘A Dream Undone’, Chief justice John Roberts “declared that the Voting Rights Act had done its job, and it was time to move on.”  Move on to what; all of the bills and laws seeking to obstruct or block legitimate voters’ from voting who have the right to vote?  Laws, some of which were put into place on the same day that the Supreme Court gutted the Voting Rights Act and many of which are now being struck down by courts throughout the country.

Many Republicans expressed strong support of Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell when he refused to hold hearings to confirm or reject President Obama’s nominee, Merrick Garland, to the Supreme Court to replace Justice Antonin Scalia.  This nominee is well respected by Democrats and Republicans and has an outstanding resume, which delineates his qualifications to become a Supreme Court Justice.  Nonetheless, most Republican senators have refused to even meet with him because they are holding out hope that a Republican will win the 2016 general election and they can get a bona fide conservative nominee that will be nominated by a Republican president.  The confirmation hearing for Judge Garland has yet to take place.

Republicans now have their nominee and he has promised that he will nominate a conservative to replace Justice Scalia and said that any future nominees during his tenure will also be conservatives.  But there is a problem.  Their nominee is Donald J. Trump and establishment Republicans loathe him.  They and most political pundits laughed when he announced that he would run for president and said that he would drop out early in the race especially with the quality of candidates that he would be pitted against.

When Mr. Trump dispatched a number of those candidates early on and continued to whittle them down during the primaries, establishment Republicans threw up roadblocks that they thought he would be unable to negotiate.  It failed.  As he continued to knock off their stable of top-flight, highly touted candidates, they tried to find a way to prevent him from getting enough delegates to win the nomination outright.  That failed too.  Now that Donald Trump is the official nominee, with each passing day, he is driving them ever closer to the edge of insanity; and now they are rhetorically asking the question, what if he withdraws from the race?  Ha!  I’m sure that that is going to happen.  After all, that would make him his own poster child of losers.

I can see why Republicans would want to assure that they retain a conservative-leaning Supreme Court if that court will continue to make decisions like Citizens United and Shelby County v Holder.  Republicans say that they are an inclusive party that wants to build a bigger and more inclusive tent that exemplifies the so called fact that they want to represent all of the people.  We have already witnessed how determined and sincere they are about building that tent; they gave up on it before they ever really got started.  The matter is now exacerbated by the fact that their 2016 standard bearer has pulled back the curtain and revealed the kind of party that they really are.

This does not by any means mean that all Republicans share the same kind of racist and divisive views that their nominee spouts on a regular basis.  But by remaining quiet when he does these things and refusing to withdraw their endorsements of him raises eyebrows and one certainly cannot be faulted for believing that they are, at the very least, tacitly in agreement with him and therefore complicit in what he is doing.

It does not matter if they are doing this only for the sake of party unity and to assure that a Republican occupies the White House as president come January 2017.  And it does not matter if they are doing it because they believe that the only way that they can assure that Republicans can maintain a conservative Supreme Court is through party unity at all costs.

There is no valid argument that can justify winking at the things that Donald Trump has said and done.  Frankly speaking, one could argue that such behavior is just as bad as actually harboring the same feelings as Mr. Trump and it is just as destructive to America because it depicts a false picture of who we really are as Americans.  And tacitly agreeing with his racist and divisive views for what one might even consider the noblest of reasons is dangerous and will have the same cancerous effect, it will rot America from within until it is arrested and, hopefully, ultimately eradicated.

Eulus Dennis – author, Operation Rubik’s Cube and Living Between The Line

Do Paul Ryan and Those Republicans Who Support Trump Still Have Their Dignity?

If anyone were to ever ask me about Republicans who support Donald Trump for president I would answer by starting with Speaker Paul Ryan.  I would start with him because he is the number one Republican elected official and because he is (was?) a rising star in the Republican Party.  I can’t recall whether or not it was before or after he endorsed Donald Trump but he said that Secretary Clinton was so irresponsible that she should not be allowed to receive classified security briefings.   And Speaker Ryan believes that Donald Trump is responsible and should receive these briefings?  Based on the following quote from Speaker Ryan, that must be the case.

According to an article in Real Clear Politics posted by Ian Schwartz on July 6, 2016 Speaker Ryan said “…But I don’t think she should get classified information, and I think the [Director of National Intelligence] DNI should block it given how recklessly she handled this from the start.  It is Hillary Clinton or Donald Trump.  Yes, Donald Trump is far better to be commander-in-chief than Hillary Clinton in my mind.”

Back on May 25, 2016, Josh Barro wrote an article about Speaker Paul Ryan in Business Insider entitled ‘All Paul Ryan has left is his dignity, and he must not let Donald Trump steal it.’ In that article, Mr. Barro said:

“Ryan cannot do anything about the fact that Trump has ruined his plan to work with a Republican president to dramatically reshape how the government taxes and spends.  Ryan’s grand plans for 2017 are in ruins, whether he endorses Trump or not, and whether Trump wins or loses.”

“That means the only thing of value Ryan has left is his dignity – and it would be quite irrational for him to allow it to be taken from him.”

Well Mr. Barro, welcome to Trump world, the irrational world that Mr. Trump – against all odds – has somehow managed to create; or better put, to conjure up.  A short time before the writing of this article, Speaker Ryan endorsed Donald Trump.  Based on your tool of measurement, Speaker Ryan no longer has his dignity.  And based on his silence about the totally unacceptable things that Mr. Trump has said since he endorsed him and his refusal to withdraw that endorsement, he has sealed that loss of dignity.  Only time will tell if he will ever be able to regain it.

All of the other Republicans who have thrown their support behind Donald Trump have also lost their dignity.  They put love of the Republican Party and political career above doing what is right and even the retention of their dignity.  It is unlikely that any of those politicians who have endorsed Mr. Trump would publicly admit that they did so for party and/or career purposes.  But when they are in the privacy of their own homes and look at themselves in the mirror I believe that they can’t help but to recoil in shame and feel the pain.  They hurt for themselves, they hurt for their children and grandchildren, and they hurt for the American people.  In the privacy of their own homes they feel the pain because political spin does not work there; it cannot fool the man in the mirror.

There is no doubt that the choices they are faced with and must make are hard ones, but those choices come with the territory.  We elected them to make those tough choices.  Just recently, Donald Trump said some harsh things about two Gold Star family parents, Khizr and Ghazala Khan, one of whom spoke at the Democratic National Convention.  What that parent said about Mr. Trump was unflattering and most people, just like Donald Trump, would likely have retaliated with angry rhetoric whether or not what that person said was true.

But Mr. Trump is not ‘most people’, he is the Republican nominee to be president.  His better judgment should have forbade him to respond in the way that he did; but it didn’t.  Therein lies the problem: he could not resist!  He could not help but to respond with angry rhetoric!  He has done this kind of thing many times before and all of those Republican politicians who have endorsed him know that this is a major problem for someone who aspires to occupy the Oval Office and yet they tenaciously preserve those endorsements of him.  Why is that?  Why do they do this when they constantly have to repudiate the things that he says and distance themselves from him?

The Gold Star parent who spoke at the Democratic National Convention implored Speaker Ryan and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell to rebuke Mr. Trump for the many demeaning things that he has said about Muslims, minorities and women and asked that they withdraw their endorsement of him.  So far, they have refused to do so and Mr. Khan said that their refusal to withdraw their endorsements is based strictly on political reasons.  This is likely the answer to the ‘why is that?’ question that was previously asked and, sadly, he is simply stating the obvious.

To be clear, despite the anger and frustration that is gripping our country, Hillary Clinton should be the victor in November.  I hope that she will be because she has a proven track record that says that she is prepared to lead America in these daunting times.  Mr. Trump, on the other hand, has no meaningful record that says that he is capable of leading America and he has yet to reveal any plans as to how he will lead America if he is elected.  The record that he does have is that of a narcissistic braggart and heartless blowhard with a temperament that falls far short of someone who aspires to hold the esteemed office of President of the United States of America.  Which candidate will it be?  The choice is yours, America.

Eulus Dennis – author, Operation Rubik’s Cube and Living Between The Line