Wake Up Call

Dear Editor:

Kelly Ann Conway is the best thing that ever happened to candidate Trump. She has succeeded in modulating his abrasive tone.  She is so sweet as she deftly deflects and defends the indefensible.

Under Conway, Trump’s penchant for attacking others who exhibit his own character traits has been elevated to an art form.  Hillary Clinton is the bigot.  She is the liar.  She is corrupt.  She is the expert at “pay to play”.  She is the one who cannot be trusted.

When it comes to his lack of fitness to serve as President, I do not know where to start.  Ironically, Glenn Beck gave me an idea.  Beck is the one who calls himself a “Constitutionalist”, even though he was fanning the flames of revolution on Fox just a few years ago. The Constitution provides for elections.

Say what you will about his efforts to stay sane, Beck accurately noted 8/24/16 that, “He (Trump) has riled up the angriest people in the Country.”  Having spent a lot of time doing it himself, Beck is well-suited to make such a statement. His demagoguery helped create candidate Trump.

Beck then added, “We are in massive trouble if he is elected.  Donald Trump is frightening and we had better stick together (to defeat him).”  I would add that, unless he is soundly defeated, the Country will have lost.

When folks such as Glenn Beck start sounding the alarm bells, I suggest it is time to get serious.

Mr. Beck, speaking on “The Last Word”, said Breitbart’s “Steve Bannon (Trump’s latest “golden boy”) describes himself as a Leninist—a destroyer of everything.”  Beck himself is “gravely concerned about the future of the Country”.  Beck added a great deal more.

This election is one that—more than any other in history—we had better follow closely.  To me, it is not overstatement to say that Trump is a danger to the Republic.  Voters should do their best to keep track of candidate Trump’s inflammatory rhetoric, his ongoing bullying, and incitement to payback.  As establishment conservative journalist George Will said a month ago, “The Republican Party better make sure he loses.”

What am I talking about?  What alarms a person of George Will’s stature, among others too numerous to mention?  If you do not know, do some reading of books and articles written by people who cannot be easily conned.

Hillary Clinton is no saint.  But she is not the devil incarnate either.  Thirty years in the public spotlight have brought plenty of mistakes.  While putting the best face on them that she can, she has owned them.

Call it hyperbole if you like, but I will take it a step further. If Trump loses a close election, we may be in nearly as much trouble as we would be if he becomes President of the United States of America.

Sincerely yours,

Gary Kent
Albion, NY

Revisionist History

When one examines the positions Donald Trump has actually taken in contrast to his current recollection of them, the disconnect is often striking. Yet he assures us that, “I will never lie to you.”

In an interview with Howard Stern in 2002, he clearly stated his support for invading Iraq. On Monday, 8/15, he once again flatly boasted about his opposition to the invasion. Earlier in 2002 he did tell Neil Cavuto that he opposed the intervention.

On 8/15 he again faulted Obama and Clinton for pulling out of Iraq in 2011. According to him that withdrawal made the rise of ISIS possible.

Again his memory seems to have failed him. He actually recommended that we “declare victory and leave” Iraq prior to our 2011 withdrawal.

A bigger problem for his credibility is that he doesn’t seem to understand that the U.S. cannot keep armed forces in sovereign nations without their consent without serious consequences. The needed nation building he professes to dislike wasn’t going to happen without Baghdad’s cooperation.

Certainly Trump cannot be held responsible for a spokesperson (Katrina Pierson) who said last week that Obama had invaded Afghanistan. (That “honor” belongs to “W” Bush in 2001.) But Trump has said, at least twice, that Obama and Clinton invaded Libya. Exactly when was that? He may be confusing the US. Marines’ invasion of Tripoli under Thomas Jefferson in the early 1800’s with what actually went on in the 2000’s. Either that or he thinks that words are just words.

It may have been a mistake for Obama and Clinton to engineer Gaddafi’s removal, but numerous nations, including Britain, France, other N.A.T.O., and Arab League, nations were at least as responsible for that brilliantly executed operation as the United States. And Obama and Clinton convinced Russia not to veto U.N Security Council Resolution 1973. Though his critics derisively call it “leading from behind”, it got rid of a ruthless dictator who had mined the Red Sea after Reagan bombed his capitals and killed one of his daughters. Obama and Clinton got those whose interests were directly involved to take the risks without any American loss of life. I guess, to some, that was a bad approach.

No, the Libyan venture didn’t magically produce an inclusive democracy, but it is hardly a good example of either Obama’s “failed Presidency”, or Clinton’s failure as Secretary of State.

Senator Lindsay Graham contributed to a national disaster when he mistakenly told Tim Russert on “Meet the Press” in early 2003 that Hezbollah was connected to Iraq. Similarly, people whose recollections of history lack accuracy can dupe people in 2016. The bottom line is that what Candidate Trump doesn’t know about foreign affairs, in particular, could be extremely problematic.

What Candidate Trump probably should say is that, “I will never knowingly lie to you.”

Sincerely yours,

Gary Kent
Albion, NY

Radical Terrorists

Dear Editor:

For a long time, one of the many criticisms of President Obama is that he refuses to call various radical, ostensibly Muslim, groups “radical Islamic terrorists”. It is one of many ways that the disingenuous, as well as those who are sincere, have discredited him.

The comments so eloquently delivered by Khizr Khan during the Democratic National Convention were informative in this regard and constituted the beginnings of an education for many of us. When asked in a subsequent interview about the issue of what ISIS, among others, should be called, Mr. Khan (whose son, Humayun, was killed in Iraq while fighting for the United States) stated unequivocally that describing ISIS as “Islamic” unfairly dignifies them, as what they practice has nothing to do with the tenets of Islam.

I do not intend to fully explain why I am convinced it makes practically no sense to call the thugs who are part of ISIS “radical Islamic terrorists”, but I agree with President Obama that it does not.

To put the issue into perspective for those who are certain that Obama is not being straight with us (or worse that he is an ISIS sympathizer) allow me to ask, “Has anyone ever heard the K.K.K referred to as a group of radical Christian terrorists?” As they have burned churches, lynched and bombed, these ostensibly Christian fanatics have revealed that they have nothing to do with the tenets of Christianity.

Calling the K.K.K. “radical Christian terrorists” is preposterous, because they clearly are not following Christ’s teachings. But I guess, if one’s purpose was to anger Christians, one might call them radical Christian terrorists.

Even if his critics don’t get it, President Obama is keenly aware of the effects his words can have.

Sincerely yours,

Gary Kent
Albion, NY

Trump the Time Bomb

As a democrat who taught international relations and Afro-Asian Culture studies for 34 years, what troubles me as much as the prospect of Donald Trump becoming President is the damage that he may  cause as he seeks the  world’s most prestigious Office.

Every day brings more goofiness.  The problem is that he has a lot of money and some people put a lot of stock in what people with money have to say.  Now, he has the enormous credibility that comes with having become the Republican Party’s nominee.  People must take him seriously.

Wednesday, in a statement that was, to me, an insult to them, he suggested that “Second Amendment people” might handle any potential Clinton Supreme Court appointments, and the resulting decisions, in their own way.  Though it was only a veiled suggestion of what a Second Amendment person might do, it got the attention of the Secret Service.  This is after he asserted that the Second Amendment would be “history” if Clinton wins!  Such statements have no foundation in fact.

Where was Trump when Yitzhak Rabin was assassinated by Yigal Amir in 1995? Leah Rabin thought irresponsible free speech had given Amir the “green light” during that country’s election season.  Who knows what it takes to set off such characters?  Someone should inform Trump that he isn’t just some buffoon on a “reality” television series anymore.  A lot more people take him seriously now.  Words matter.

The next day, reverting to the “birtherism” farce, he called Barack Hussein Obama and Hillary Clinton co-MVP’s of ISIS.  To him, Obama and Clinton created ISIS by an abrupt withdrawal from Iraq, even though Trump said before we were asked to leave that we should just “declare victory and leave”.  This after he claims to have opposed the 2003 invasion of Iraq before it happened, even though he did not. (Keep in mind that the United States cannot just keep troops in sovereign nations without their permission.) The stage is being set for four more years of obstructionism based on the myth that an elected President is illegitimate.

On Friday he told a crowd at a rally in Erie that the only way he could lose Pennsylvania is if “cheating goes on”.  If people come in and vote five times, we might lose (in a state his party hasn’t won in over twenty years and where he is behind in the polls by 10%).

And reporters ask if his constant complaints that the system is rigged are dangerous to democracy! They are absolute poison and denying it won’t make it any less harmful. (Sanders’ comments to the same effect were no less objectionable to me, and I have always respected him and continue to.)

Since very early on Trump has cleverly exploited distrust of the judiciary, the electoral process and the news media in the interest of gaining favor among the disaffected. After all, our problems are always someone else’s fault!  Whenever he can he bullies reporters as he did his republican competitors during the primary season. Nearly weekly, he feeds into disrespect of our institutions and the democratic process. Each of these has the potential to do serious damage to a fairly successful democratic experiment that depends on public confidence and that, guided by the Constitution, is the envy of much of the world.

Sincerely yours,

Gary Kent
Albion, NY