America the Beautiful

Alan Zendell, July 19, 2017

Gerrymandering

Two weeks ago, I wrote that the Supreme Court would be addressing gerrymandering in its current session https://wordpress.com/post/americathebeautiful.blog/801. They are now poised to take up a Wisconsin case in which the lines drawn by the Republican legislature were ruled illegal by a lower court. Before they began to debate it, SCOTUS stayed the lower court ruling so that Wisconsin wouldn’t have to re-draw the lines before the court issues its final ruling. Some people think that’s a bad sign for the plaintiff (the people challenging the current district lines.) On its face the decision to stay the lower court ruling isn’t unreasonable, though it virtually assures that whatever the final decision, the current district lines will remain in place for the 2018 election.

In ruling the lines unconstitutional, the lower court didn’t specify which measurement standard convinced them, though several approaches were mentioned. The…

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America the Beautiful

Alan Zendell, June 15, 2017

Yesterday, the Washington Post reported that Special Counsel Robert Mueller was widening his investigation of Russian meddling in our election to include possible obstruction of justice by  senior advisors to the president and even the president himself. President Trump immediately tweeted: “They made up a phony collusion with the Russians story, found zero proof, so now they go for obstruction of justice on the phony story. Nice. You are witnessing the single greatest WITCH HUNT in American political history – led by some very bad and conflicted people!”

If it were anyone but Donald Trump, people might reasonably conclude that his response was the righteous indignation of a man who believed he was falsely accused. But we know better. Perhaps he really is innocent, but there’s no way to tell from the things he says. He was schooled by the best, fixer and attorney Roy…

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America the Beautiful

Alan Zendell, June 14, 2017

David Axelrod said, “Frankly, it was embarrassing.” Stephen Colbert suggested that it made Kim Jong-un seem classy. A broad spectrum of commentators called it bizarre, with the most often heard comment being, “I’ve never seen anything like this before.” I felt shocked, disbelieving, and nauseated, in that order.

By now you’ve figured out that I’m referring to the awkward, artificial, and wholly inappropriate Cabinet meeting that Trump conducted on live television a couple of days ago. In his most narcissistic act yet, like a medieval king, he required every member of his Cabinet to proclaim fealty, perform obeisance, and generally embarrass him or herself before the world. It was as staged as a Chinese election, and I’m honestly torn between hoping it was just the repulsive puppet show it seemed to be and being terrified that it wasn’t.

Trump began the show with cheap shots…

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America the Beautiful

Alan Zendell, June 12, 2017

Mountains and huge institutions rarely collapse all at once. Under constant battering by opposition and internal decay, they erode a little at a time until, when their once-strong foundations have rotted to the core, they come crashing down.

We saw it happen to the Soviet Union almost thirty years ago. In retrospect the warning signs were clear. Despite the seemingly overwhelming power of the Kremlin, the satellite Baltic nations began demanding independence in the late 1980s. In the face of mounting revolutionary pressure at home, the Soviet Union’s resources were insufficient to stop the tide of history. The Berlin Wall came down in 1989, and one by one, subject states broke away. Even with all those portents, when the world woke up one morning in 1991 to find that the Soviet Union no longer existed, most of us were stunned.

Erosion is slow but implacable…

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America the Beautiful

Alan Zendell, June 6, 2017

During the tumultuous weeks in 2003 leading up to the second invasion of Iraq, President George W. Bush trotted Secretary of State Colin Powell out to present evidence of Weapons of Mass Destruction to the United Nations. Whether or not Powell knew at the time that the information he was presenting was false, he later went along with the National Security Council’s decision to support the invasion, even though he was opposed to it.

When, with much of the world media reporting that the evidence of WMDs might have been faked, British Prime Minister Tony Blair pledged the UK’s support for the invasion, three members of Blair’s government resigned in protest. They knew how to act when their honor was besmirched.

When Bob Woodward interviewed Powell for his book, The Commanders, he asked him why he hadn’t resigned as well. Powell said he’d have…

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America the Beautiful

Gary Zendell, June 2, 2017

Gary Zendell is a former teacher who is now running his second successful small business. He didn’t have a political bone in his body until Donald Trump announced his candidacy. I know because I raised him. If you want to see how successful his business is, check out his restaurant, IsaBella Bistro, 4015 Avati Drive, San Diego, CA 92117

Let me sum up Trump’s pulling out of the Paris Accords for those of you who only watch Fox News.

“It strained those sectors [coal, steel, etc] of our economy.” – Fox News

TRANSLATION – It put pressure on those sectors of our economy to innovate and evolve. If we don’t do it, then who will? We created the micro chip, we made the internet, we made the first great automobile company and the first major airplane manufacturer. All those sectors of our economy were doing okay…

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America the Beautiful

Alan Zendell, May 31, 2017

The problem with stirring up a huge, angry and largely uninformed base with political rhetoric and lies is that you have to keep lying to avoid losing them. Oh, they’ll catch on eventually when it’s clear that the results they were promised will never materialize, but that’s a problem for later, and if he’s anything, President Trump is someone who focuses on the daily news cycle.

Perhaps the biggest and most dangerous lie of the 2016 election campaign was Trump’s oft-repeated claim that climate change is a hoax. We know it was a lie for several reasons. First, Trump is not a religious, anti-science creationist. Second, whatever you may think of him, he’s not stupid. But the convincing evidence is that that particular lie meshed so perfectly with Trump’s campaign of pandering to ignorance.

He knew he was lying when he promised to bring all…

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America the Beautiful

Joel Liebesfeld, May 31, 2017

Joel Liebesfeld is a consulting forensic engineer, and a very smart man. He spends his professional life analyzing accidents to determine their cause. Those same skills are equally applicable to politics, to people, and to life in general.

What do Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump have in common? This is not a trick question, but rather a reflection on a conversation that I recently had with Alan Z. The question we’d been discussing was: how is it that most of the global political arenas and in particular that of the United States, have become so convoluted?  I thought about it for a couple of days and arrived at the following.

When pondering the various scenarios that brought our political system to where it is, I focused on Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump, the numerous pictures of Clinton holding her cell phone during various meetings, the…

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America the Beautiful

Alan Zendell, May 23, 2017

Of all the constituencies that made up Donald Trump’s base, the one I found most perplexing was the so-called white working class Rust Belt. While at some level I couldn’t imagine why any woman would have voted for Trump after he bragged about his lack of respect for them publicly, Hillary Clinton’s lack of appeal to women wasn’t exactly a new phenomenon.

But the Rust Belt? It still makes no sense to me. Donald Trump should have been anathema to the stereotypical hard hat workers in Michigan, Wisconsin, Ohio, and Pennsylvania, regardless of Clinton inexplicably taking them for granted and virtually ignoring them. Trump has never supported working people or labor unions and has an abysmal record treating his own employees. And his sudden anger over free trade agreements doesn’t square either with his previous positions or his vaunted international business deals. For all the talk…

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America the Beautiful

Alan Zendell, May 17, 2017

Last night, during his Town Hall appearance with Bernie Sanders, John Kasich was reluctant to say what he thought of the Donald Trump’s presidency. He equivocated with, “I never say I told you so,” and reminded viewers that he didn’t support Trump in the primaries and didn’t attend the Republican convention. Sanders didn’t equivocate as much as struggle to find the right words, settling for, “There’s something different about this guy.” The normally straight-shooting Sanders couldn’t bring himself to say what was on the minds of millions of viewers: Donald Trump is not only unqualified to be president, he’s mentally unbalanced.

Rather than beat on Trump further, they joined in urging Congress to stand together for the good of the country. It wasn’t too difficult to read between the lines. The only way to neutralize Trump and prevent him from doing further harm to the…

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