Liar in Chief

Liar in Chief

OK. I understand why Congressional Republicans running for office won’t criticize Trump. They run the risk of getting kicked off the gravy train: a hefty salary, better health insurance than most of us can afford, a fat pension, a luxury lifestyle paid for by wealthy donors, and absolutely no accountability to have to DO anything. If, God forbid, they were voted out of office, they might actually have to work for a living (unless they got hired as million-dollar-a-year lobbyists). But I don’t understand why my Republican friends, who are decent, well-educated people, continue to support a president who is an incorrigible, pathological liar and narcissistic egomaniac. Set aside the factual whoppers:  more people attended his inauguration than the inauguration of any other president; the Trump Tower has 68 stories (it really has 58);  the U.S. has the highest tax rate in the world; the murder rate in our country is the highest it’s been in 47 years; The Art of the Deal is the best-selling business book in history; the number of illegal immigrants in the United States is 34 million; thousands and thousands of people were cheering in Jersey City, N.J. as the World Trade Center collapsed; the unemployment rate may be as high as 42 percent; Trump University received an “A” rating from the Better Business bureau…  the list goes on and on. Clearly he believes his own lies. As he described them in The Art of the Deal, they are just “truthful hyperbole.” But how can someone create sane public and foreign policy if he has so little awareness of factual reality (or history, for...
How to REALLY Put Coal Miners Back to Work, Mr. President

How to REALLY Put Coal Miners Back to Work, Mr. President

Instead of the deluge of unfulfilled and unfulfillable Trumpian boasts about jobs creation “I’ll be greatest jobs president that God ever created” (so far his record on NEW jobs created is about the same as Obama’s), here’s how you really create jobs. Upstanders: Planting Hope in a Coalfield These former coal miners are helping rebuild the Appalachian region from the ground up. Posted by Upworthy on Friday, November 3, 2017 To my Republican friends:  this is REAL news from REAL people. At least look at the video – and then compare it with Trump’s grandstanding to his base “Trump Digs...

Planet Grim: A Stunning Debut Book You Will Want To Read

Five Stars for Planet Grim –    A Courageously, Brilliantly Truthful Book Review by E. Thomas Behr, Ph.D., www.tombehrbooks.com Alex Behr’s newly-published collection of stories, Planet Grim, is a stunning debut work by an important writer all of us should get to know. Ernest Hemingway said, “A writer’s job is to tell the truth.” Easier said than done. The “Truths” of our lives typically change as we struggle along the path that life lays out before us. And along the way, we are assailed by self-doubt: “Is this the ‘Truth,’ or am just fooling myself? And how in the world can I know?” So it takes great courage to live up to the challenge of “telling the truth.” In that regard, Alex Behr is one of the most courageous writers I have ever known. Because she is writing at a painful time in her life, her “Truth,” as shared in her aptly-named collection of stories, Planet Grim, is hard, almost unbearably honest.      “I cry in therapy. Divorce is violent. My husband. A nice person. Except when he swears. Except when he looks at me sobbing on the chair, on the rug. Anywhere. Our house is welcome to all tears. Moths eat the felt pads inside the piano.” And what wonderful writing! She is a magician with language, even if it often bites hard – even if single words, phrases, and images fall like hammer blows. “My husband breaks a slat of the bed I grew up in. It’s a mahogany sleigh bed from the 1800s. The headboard is stained with handprint ghosts from our son’s dreams.” Wounds bleed....
Sorry About Your Statue, Bobby Lee

Sorry About Your Statue, Bobby Lee

All across the South, statues to the South’s heroes of the Civil War are tumbling down in protest or quietly disappearing. We are living through the firestorm of Donald Trump’s thinly-disguised celebration of the moral crime and tragedy of white superiority. And we are being tested and challenged, once again – as individuals and a nation – fully and completely to live up to the liberating vision in whose light our nation was founded. The issue is complex for me. On my mother’s side, the first Thomas settled in Maryland in 1651. The Thomases, for many generations, were aristocratic planters. They owned slaves. My direct ancestors, from Decatur Georgia, all fought – and many died – for the South. I have the family’s records and collection of faded daguerreotypes of men in grey uniforms: “Killed at First Manassas, age 17.”    “Killed at Second Manassas, age 17 1/2.” “Killed Nov. 22, 1864, near Macin Georgia.”  “Died in the attack on Ft. Saunders, Tennessee.” My mother’s family moved to Plainfield, New Jersey, when  my grandfather became President of U.S. Steel Products in New York; that’s where my mother met my father and I was born and raised. I was raised a “Yankee,” but somehow, the old myths persisted.  Maybe I made the mistake of reading too much Faulkner at an early, impressionable age. It wasn’t the “Civil War,” but rather “the War Between the States” (or better ‘The War of Northern Aggression.”) I grew up with the stories of how the family home in Decatur had been spared by Devil Sherman on his bloody, burning swath through Georgia to the...
Killing American Healthcare:  We’re Failing to Solve the Wrong Problem

Killing American Healthcare: We’re Failing to Solve the Wrong Problem

The goal of reasonable, affordable health care for all American citizens, to borrow Susan Milligan’s metaphor[1], is on life support in the Republican-controlled Congress, kept alive by feeding tubes. What We’re Ignoring: A Healthy Patient The current Republican Health Care Act seeks to solve the challenge by radical, high risk amputation whose aim is to kill the disease, even if it costs the patient his life. (We should be calling the GOP plan “McConnellcare,” not “Trumpcare,” since President Trump has little interest in or mental capacity for actually making good on his promise “to have something that’s really good and that people are going to like.”)[2] The current treatment, the Democrats’ Affordable Care Act, by the same analogy, amounts to keeping the patient alive by an unsustainable-, expensive regimen of drugs with lots of damaging, unanticipated side effects. But the patient is dying. Conservative Congressional Republicans are, in effect, now saying “We’ll let the patient die, but preserve the brain.” The liberal Democrats’ response: “We’ll let the patient die, but preserve the heart.” Either way, the patient is dead. What’s wrong: neither the Affordable Care Act nor the latest GOP version of healthcare Mitch McConnell is desperately trying to get passed by the Senate actually deals with the illness. Even worse, neither has any ability to deliver what’s really needed: a patient capable of enjoying robust, sustainable health. We’re Just Making a Sick Patient Sicker The core of the problem: Constantly escalating, uncontrolled increases in the cost of drugs, unregulated discrepancies in the cost of medical services, and equal discrepancies in what insurance companies pay to compensate patients and...