BASTILLE DAY 1957 OR HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO MY BROTHER.

Back on Bastille Day in 1957 I was 20 months old living the good life. There we were living in Poughkeepsie, NY. Mom, Dad, Taffy (our cocker spaniel) and me. Suddenly at that very young age I felt a ripple in the force. Yes a ripple in still waters. I wasn’t aware of the reason why (after all I was just 20 months old) but none the less I knew that something strange and new was happening that was going to change life as I knew it on our planet. My father came home every night but my mother was nowhere to be found. During the day, these strange gray haired people would keep an eye on me until my father got home from work. Then suddenly after about a week of this the front door to our apartment swung open and low and behold there was my father carrying a valise and my mother carrying this little thing wrapped up in a blanket. They announced that our family had a new member. That I had a brother named Mark and that he would be living with us. I did what any normal 20 month old would do that was used to being the center of attention. I ran over to my mother and my little brother and swiftly kicked my mother in the shin until someone pulled me off of her.

Scan_20180708a (2)This is a picture of Mark with our paternal grandfather. Doesn’t look too happy does he? Mark I mean not our grandfather.

As time went on I slowly, very slowly, got used to the idea that Mark was here to stay and wasn’t leaving. But something wasn’t right. I had the distinct feeling that Mark had decided that he wanted to be the center of our family unit and strange things started to happen.   In the Summer of 1961 our maternal grandparents took a home in Rockaway, NY and we spent 2 weeks there in July. Our father would take the subway to work and we would hang out and walk the boardwalk eating Italian ices, pizza and after a half hour of that we were allowed to go into the water.

Grandpa George Rockaway 1961Here is a picture of Mark and me with our grandfather. Notice how even then Mark was sitting with one hand propped up holding his head trying to figure out how to get rid of me. If you look carefully you can see the smoke coming out of his ears and me with my eyes shut tight in terror.

Our parents were completely oblivious to any of his shenanigans. One night while he was kneeling on his dresser and we were watching the snow fall, just to get me in trouble, he fell off of the dresser and cut his eye open. Mark was screaming and crying. Blood was pouring over his head like a bucket of Gatorade after the Super Bowl. Our parents came running in and asked what happened. I told them that Mark slipped and fell. Mark told them that I pushed him and told him that if he told on me I would beat him up. Well they believed him and I got the shit kicked out of me and Mark got stitches and a good laugh whenever he thought of that beating.

Well in 1963 shortly after President Kennedy was shot we moved from Ridgefield, NJ to Teaneck, NJ. Teaneck was a very progressive town. They had something called New Math. New Math? WTF I couldn’t even add or subtract. Mark on the other hand really excelled in this new school system and in his own methodical way he began to plan on getting rid of me for good.Scan_20180708b (2) But not so fast, this had to be done in such a way to keep him looking like he was just an innocent bystander.  Look at that smile on his face. Look at the evil in his eyes. What you can’t see is his left hand. That is because he is giving me the finger and the photographer cut the picture so that no one would see it. But I was there, I saw it. And when I told our parents what he did once again I got the shit kicked out of me for making up stories. Stories? I knew better. All the world saw was this cute kid with a disarming smile. Scan_20180708d (2)I saw evil. I know you find that hard to believe. Well let me tell you a little story. Down the street lived my friend Marc G. Since Mark and I were only 20 months apart in age we used to all hang out together. Well my dear brother decided one day, when our folks were out, that he was hungry for pizza and fried chicken. So he suggested to Marc G. and I that it would be really funny if we ordered 10 pizzas for one of our neighbors and a bucket of fried chicken. As an afterthought Mark wanted French fries and had us order a side of fries to go with it. Now this was the days when businesses needed reverse phone books to figure out if this was a legitimate call or not. Well a minute after hanging up while Marc G. and I were laughing hysterically the phone rang. I picked it up and it was the pizza guy. He accused us of making a phony phone call and started screaming at me. I cracked and admitted it. The pizza never came but the chicken did. Before that however Marc G. and I got on our bikes and hightailed it out of there. My brother stayed behind to see what would happen when the chicken guy showed up. After an eternity we went back home. There was Mark sitting in the kitchen eating a bucket of chicken with French fries with my parents. Once again, I got the shit kicked out of me while Mark got dinner.

Well time continued to pass. Mark and bike

I guess Mark needed some fresh ideas and took up bike riding. Something that he does to this day to clear his head, he claims. Here is a picture of him on his first serious bike. See how happy he looks? See the hairdo? In fact he is probably wearing a pair of PF Flyers on his feet because he wanted to be able to run faster and jump higher then me.

In reality I began to feel that Mark and I had reached an understanding. We were hanging with the same group of people, I wasn’t getting the shit kicked out of me as much anymore and we could even laugh while watching Batman on TV.

The one thing that we found common ground in was that we both love the NY Yankees. Mark, still needing to be better then me would study the Stats in the Sporting News daily so that he could quote every players RBI’s, or home runs, or a pitchers ERA. Me? I was still trying to figure out who wore number 9 or 7 since the Yankees don’t have their names on their jerseys. But none the less we shared the Yankees. We would take the bus to Fort Lee, walk across the George Washington Bridge (to save a few bucks to get an extra hotdog at the game). Grab the A train to 145th St the D train to 161st street in the Bronx to watch the game. Those were the days. Soda was $.10, a hotdog was $.50 and tickets to the game were $5. Finally Mark and I had something in common. As the years went by we had something else too, Bruce Springsteen. 2018DNM

Mark moved to California and I guess that the 3000 miles and year round summer helped him to forget about our problems. And his jealousy that I was born first. I think that he also realized that if I was born first then he would die last. And thereby get the last laugh.

Any way Happy 62 Birthday Mark. It seems like just yesterday that I pushed you off of that dresser.

 

PS:        You know while preparing this little cock and bull story I came across two pictures of Mark. One as he is when the sun goes down and he becomes the ‘Don’ of Alisa Viejo, and another of Mark in one of his palatial estates on one of the Hawaiian Islands. I’ll leave it to you, those that know him best to figure out which one is really him. Me? I’m 3000 miles away and in the Witness Protection Program. LOL.

Mark the mobster (2)Yankee in Hawaii

Memorial Day

DSCN0244

Memorial Day. Originally called Decoration Day. The beginning of Decoration Day is foggy to say the least. What is known is that it began as a way of commemorating  the Soldiers of the Civil War. Some write that the practice actually began prior to the Civil War.  On June 3, 1861, Warrenton, Virginia, was the location of the first Civil War soldier’s grave ever to be decorated, according to a Richmond Times-Dispatch newspaper article in 1906. In 1862, women in Savannah, Georgia decorated Confederate soldiers’ graves according to the Savannah Republican. The 1863 cemetery dedication at Gettysburg, Pennsylvania, was a ceremony of commemoration at the graves of dead soldiers. Some have therefore claimed that Lincoln was the founder of Memorial Day. In April 1865, following President Abraham Lincoln’s assassination, commemorations were widespread. The more than 600,000 soldiers of both sides who died in the Civil War meant that burial and memorialization took on new cultural significance.

Today there are Memorial Day sales at all types of stores. We are inundated with ads on the internet, in our emails, newspapers (for those that still read the news on paper), on our tablets, and all over television.  We barbecue, go camping, and go to ball games. This weekend is the unofficial kickoff of the Summer. Beaches open, in NJ the pitch of the arcade hawkers can be heard almost the whole distance of the shoreline. There are parades all over the country to celebrate. And this is just the tip of the list of wonderful things that we Americans do on Memorial Day Weekend.

How do I celebrate the holiday? I never thought that you would ask. When I was young I used to host a Memorial Day barbecue, drink beer or Old Number 7 and party hearty since it was a day off of work. That ended over 20 years ago. When I became involved with the Boy Scouts of America I began to learn the true meaning of the Memorial Day holiday. Our Troop is chartered by the local American Legion Post. Every year we were asked to participate in their Memorial Day Remembrance. We would raise and lower the American Flag to half mast. Help lay wreaths and on occasion one of our Scouts was asked to recite something during the ceremony. As each year passed, I found myself listening intently to what these Veterans, and current members of the various branches of the Military had to say. One day i had this epiphany. I understood what the real meaning of ‘All gave some and some gave all’ really means.  So I do not shop at all on this holiday. I do not partake in barbecuing or swimming or any of the really fun stuff until I have paid my respect to our brave fallen men and women that gave all to keep America free.

dscn0162.jpg

THE RIDERLESS HORSE WITH THE BOOTS REVERSED IN THE STIRRUPS. SYMBOLIC OF THE FALLEN COMRADE.

Jump ahead to this year. My wife and I are fulltime RVers. It was not easy to get back to our old hometown to be with my Troop today, so I decided to seek out how our home for the summer, Branchville NJ was going to pay homage to these souls. I found out that there was a parade followed by a commemorative ceremony in the town square at their gazebo. Branchville, if you have never been there is truly ‘small town America.’ It is in farm country. The town was settled in 1690 and incorporated in 1898. You are out of the downtown area before you realize that you are even in it. We love it. We began the day with our son and grandson and a couple of friends watching the parade. It had the proverbial fire trucks, new and old, police cars, EMT trucks. A few old cars, Veterans on foot and riding, old tractors, Boy and Girl Scouts, Little League, Soccer League, and many others that came by in a blur that I cannot mention. Please accept my apologizes.

Truly a beautiful symbol the Americana that I yearn for and seek out. Afterwards the town gathered in the square around the gazebo to truly pay homage to their fallen. The Master of Ceremonies was a 98 year old veteran of the Second World War. I learned a lot about all of the killing, maiming, burning, and horrors that he saw all in the name of preserving our Freedom. Others spoke as well. Each with a story that would make anyone stop and shake their head. The Boy Scouts raised and lowered the American Flag to half mast. A young lady sang the Star Spangled Banner and she hit every note perfectly. Yes perfectly. We met current members of the Armed Forces. I went and thanked as many as I could for serving. Who knows if they will be here next year or the year after.

For today, I put our turbulent times behind me and realized that the price of Freedom is not Free. Thank you to all those that have served our Nation, to those serving currently, and to those that made the ultimate sacrifice. I for one will never forget your contribution.

DSCN0243

#MemorialDay

THE TIME TO ENACT THE 25TH AMENDMENT HAS ARRIVED.

I have been reading some very disturbing news in various media outlets that, quite frankly, have me scared.  Scared for the future of our once great Nation. I do not see any good on the horizon. And that is what scares me.

Let me digress for a moment. For my entire voting life I have never belonged to a Political Party. Which means that in the State in which I have legal residency, I am not allowed to vote in the Primaries. In our Democratic Republic the Primary elections are more important than the General Elections because that is where we choose the people for the General Elections and ultimately our representatives in government. I have always voted issues not party line. Also, I was not a supporter of HRC in 2016 as I felt that the Clintons were the modern day Political Machine. Equivalent to the first Mayor Daley in Chicago, or Frank Hague in New Jersey, or Boss Tweed in New York City. But I felt that the Choices in the General Election made her the lesser of two evils. Yes voting for the lesser of two evils is still voting for evil. Even so I felt that considering who Vladimir Putin was manipulating to be the Republican candidate was almost, if not worse than, having Adolph Hitler run for President. Putin won and our Nation lost.

Growing up on the western shores of the Hudson River I spent decades of my life watching the Trump family dynasty and was constantly amazed with every twist and turn at just how crooked they were/and are. I was also very aware of just how corrupt Charles Kushner and his businesses were and still are. When Ivanka married Jared it was Kismet for both families and for Russia and Putin.

Yes Putin. I just finished reading an amazing book called ‘The House of Trump. The House of Putin. And the Untold Story of Donald Trump and the Russian Mafia.’ by Craig Unger. People have been screaming at me that he is known for writing books with a Liberal tilt but to be honest, much of what is in that book I was already aware of. The rest just fit into place and makes loads of sense. I am surprised that more people have not read it. Please do. I truly understand where the Mueller investigation is going and pray that he succeeds.

I will not list all of the shady deals that ‘The Donald’ has done but will name a few. When building Trump Plaza he sold almost one third of the condos to Russian Mafia Oligarchs for cash. Cash delivered right to his desk by the Oligarchs. Thereby laundering money for the Russian Mafia. According to the Washington Post, ‘...in 1991 Fred gave Donald the equivalent of an interest-free loan by buying $3.5 million of chips from the Trump Castle casino-hotel in Atlantic City, N.J. According to an article in the Atlantic City Press, a lawyer representing Fred Trump showed up at the Castle on Dec. 17, deposited a $3.35 million certified check, bought 670 $5,000 chips at a high-stakes blackjack table, stuck the chips in a bag and left. The next day, Fred wired $150,000 to the casino and bought another 30 chips.’ The article continues, ‘Because Donald knew that his father wouldn’t cash in the chips right away, he could use the extra $3.5 million in the till to help make the $18.4 million interest payment due on the bonds.’ Money that he owed to the banks in interest payments. This is just on of many examples of what Trump has done to try and keep his (so called) empire afloat.

Then there is Jared Kushner’s father Charles Kushner. He laundered money through the Israeli Chabad  as one of their top 10 financiers. Vladimir Putin is at the top of the list of financiers of the Israeli Chabad. Why? The U.S.S.R was crumbling. Putin wanted to get the Russian Mafia Oligarchs out  safely so he donated lots of money to the Chabad knowing that Israel would allow anyone Jewish in to the country to live and who would question their religion with all that money pouring into the country? Putin + Russian Mafia + Trump Condos = Laundered money.

What has become of Trump’s tax returns? Is he not the self made millionaire that he claims to be or is he over leveraged?

Then there is the video of him bragging about being a p***y puller.  Is he a womanizer and adulterer (yes not the first in the White House but does that make it right)? Has he paid off women to be quiet so that he could win the Presidency?

Did he use false claims regarding immigrants and people seeking asylum to gain the votes of the, in many cases, less educated? (Oh that one is going to catch hell for me). Did Donald and his Father deny rentals to people of color or ethnicity? Yes they were fined but…

Once elected did he fill his Cabinet with and put people in positions that go against everything that their respective Department stand for? Oh and most of them are people that gain financially by wrecking those Departments  and don’t care what it does to our Nation and future generations? Lets face it, coal is 19th century. Time to move on to new technologies.

Fake News? The man is the king of fake news. He is trying to kill the media and only let his propaganda get out there. Isn’t that what Dictators  do to win power. (See: Adolph Hitler, Idi Amin, Etc.) It is known that he kept a copy of Mein Kamph within his reach to refer to.

Here is a Tweet that I borrowed from the Washington Post regarding his lies and own ‘fake news’

Image may contain: text

Let’s look at the Stock Market. When it was up he was crowing like a rooster. Now that it is tanking and is on track to fall worse than it did in 1929 not a peep out of him. This time he cannot yell Fake News.

Trump promised new jobs in the country. Yes the economy is a pendulum that swings back and forth. Yes unemployment is at record lows, however how many of us are now at the age for Social Security and are not looking for work. The population is aging and there are not as many young people out there to take our place in the work force. AND many companies are closing plants and laying off people. Those numbers will hit the unemployment report eventually.

Social Security and Medicare are not entitlements. We have been paying into it our whole working lives. Food Stamps and Welfare? Yes many abuse that system. But many really need it. But that does not make it an entitlement.

With one swipe of his pen, Trump has put us in more debt than this country has ever seen. His tax break will only help him and the top 1%.

This is just the tip of the iceberg. Trump is careening out of control. And the worse things get the more he watches TV and Tweets. There was a fantastic article in today’s New York Times. Here is the link. Please click on it and read it. For Trump, ‘a War Every Day,’ Waged Increasingly Alone

Here is just a small snippet from the article: By all accounts, Mr. Trump’s consumption of cable television has actually increased in recent months as his first scheduled meetings of the day have slid back from the 9 or 9:30 a.m. set by Reince Priebus, his first chief of staff, to roughly 11 many mornings. During “executive time,” Mr. Trump watches television in the residence for hours, reacting to what he sees on Fox News. While in the West Wing, he leaves it on during most meetings in the dining room off the Oval Office, one ear attuned to what is being said.

Articles and reports like this are appearing not in just the ‘Liberal’ press but in the Conservative outlets as well.

I could go on and on and on. I won’t but I hope that I have given you some food for thought.

It is my opinion that the time to enact the 25th Amendment to the Constitution has come. This Amendment deals with deals with issues related to presidential succession and disability. To remove this increasingly unstable President fall under Section 4 of the Amendment:

Section 4: Declaration by vice president and principal officers

Section 4. Whenever the Vice President and a majority of either the principal officers of the executive departments or of such other body as Congress may by law provide, transmit to the President pro tempore of the Senate and the Speaker of the House of Representatives their written declaration that the President is unable to discharge the powers and duties of his office, the Vice President shall immediately assume the powers and duties of the office as Acting President.

Thereafter, when the President transmits to the President pro tempore of the Senate and the Speaker of the House of Representatives his written declaration that no inability exists, he shall resume the powers and duties of his office unless the Vice President and a majority of either the principal officers of the executive department or of such other body as Congress may by law provide, transmit within four days to the President pro tempore of the Senate and the Speaker of the House of Representatives their written declaration that the President is unable to discharge the powers and duties of his office. Thereupon Congress shall decide the issue, assembling within forty-eight hours for that purpose if not in session. If the Congress, within twenty-one days after receipt of the latter written declaration, or, if Congress is not in session, within twenty-one days after Congress is required to assemble, determines by two-thirds vote of both Houses that the President is unable to discharge the powers and duties of his office, the Vice President shall continue to discharge the same as Acting President; otherwise, the President shall resume the powers and duties of his office.

 

Section 4 addresses the case of an incapacitated president who is unable or unwilling to execute the voluntary declaration contemplated in Section 3; it is the amendment’s only section that has never been invoked. It allows the vice president, together with a “majority of either the principal officers of the executive departments or of such other body as Congress may by law provide”, to declare the president “unable to discharge the powers and duties of his office” in a written declaration to Congress. The transfer of authority to the vice president is immediate and (as with Section 3) the vice president becomes acting president – not president – and the president remains in office, though without authority.[6]

The “principal officers of the executive departments” are the fifteen Cabinet members enumerated in the United States Code at 5 U.S.C 101:

A president declared unable to serve may issue a counter-declaration stating that he is indeed able. This marks the beginning of a four-day period during which the vice president remains acting president.[10][11] If by the end of this period the vice president and a majority of the “principal officers of the executive departments” have not issued a second declaration of the president’s incapacity, then the president resumes his powers and duties.

If a second declaration of incapacity is issued within the four-day period, then the vice president remains acting president while Congress considers the matter. If within 21 days the Senate and the House determine, each by a two-thirds vote, that the president is incapacitated, then the vice president continues as acting president. If either the Senate or the House holds a vote on the question which falls short of the two-thirds requirement, or the 21 days pass without both votes having taken place, then the president resumes his powers and duties.[11][12]

Section 4’s requirements for the vice president to remain acting president indefinitely – a declaration by the vice president together with a majority of the principal officers or other body, then a two-thirds vote in the House and a two-thirds vote in the Senate – contrasts with the Constitution’s procedure for removal of the president from office for “high crimes and misdemeanors” – a majority of the House followed by two-thirds of the Senate.

Should it happen. I truly believe it. Will this ever happen. I highly doubt it especially that those remaining in his Cabinet are his own sycophants and can’t see past the nose on their faces.

Pray for America. Pray hard and everyday. If not for us today but for our Nation and our future Americans.

Societies Dirty Little Secret

What follows is something that I wrote and posted this morning on Facebook. I felt that it is an important enough topic to share here as well.

 

By now it is no secret about how I feel about 45 and his Administration. This is not about him. This is about the treatment that Dr. Ford is getting. No I am not a sex abuse survivor. However I do know some, male and female. When something this horrific happens to a child, or adult, it is very common for their mind to take the incident and cram it away in some brain cells locked tight with a padlock. Shoving feelings of guilt, and inadequacy down so that they can try to resume a normal life. Yet the pain, questions are still there every day. Many seek therapy for years until they are able to unlock that padlock. Some turn to the Lord and religion hoping to find a way to cope and some become abusers themselves.
This is a very complex problem and each person strives to make themselves whole again, even those that become abusers themselves. There is no right length of time for them to choose to come forward for each is an individual and each person is different.
When an abused person comes forward they ALL need to be taken seriously. A proper investigation needs to be made and none of them should be ridiculed or mocked.
The other day Connie Chung came forward with a horrific story of something that her family doctor did to her while in college. I read that article and was completely disgusted. Because the doctor in question died a couple of decades ago does this mean that Ms. Chung fabricated the story for political gain? I doubt it.
What Dr. Ford has done takes an incredible amount of courage. I for one applaud her, and all the others that, through Dr. Ford’s moment of strength, come forward with their own horrible experiences. For all of them this is a step in the direction of recovery.
This is not just about Politics or the Supreme Court. This is about healing and one of Societies dirty little secrets.
I for one stand by you all.

Deadhead1155

OPINION: I am Part of the Resistance in the Trump Administration

The Times today is taking the rare step of publishing an anonymous Op-Ed essay. We have done so at the request of the author, a senior official in the Trump administration whose identity is known to us and whose job would be jeopardized by its disclosure. We believe publishing this essay anonymously is the only way to deliver an important perspective to our readers. We invite you to submit a question about the essay or our vetting process here.

I work for the president but like-minded colleagues and I have vowed to thwart parts of his agenda and his worst inclinations.

President Trump is facing a test to his presidency unlike any faced by a modern American leader.

It’s not just that the special counsel looms large. Or that the country is bitterly divided over Mr. Trump’s leadership. Or even that his party might well lose the House to an opposition hellbent on his downfall.

The dilemma — which he does not fully grasp — is that many of the senior officials in his own administration are working diligently from within to frustrate parts of his agenda and his worst inclinations.

I would know. I am one of them.

To be clear, ours is not the popular “resistance” of the left. We want the administration to succeed and think that many of its policies have already made America safer and more prosperous.

But we believe our first duty is to this country, and the president continues to act in a manner that is detrimental to the health of our republic.

That is why many Trump appointees have vowed to do what we can to preserve our democratic institutions while thwarting Mr. Trump’s more misguided impulses until he is out of office.

The root of the problem is the president’s amorality. Anyone who works with him knows he is not moored to any discernible first principles that guide his decision making.

Although he was elected as a Republican, the president shows little affinity for ideals long espoused by conservatives: free minds, free markets and free people. At best, he has invoked these ideals in scripted settings. At worst, he has attacked them outright.

In addition to his mass-marketing of the notion that the press is the “enemy of the people,” President Trump’s impulses are generally anti-trade and anti-democratic.

Don’t get me wrong. There are bright spots that the near-ceaseless negative coverage of the administration fails to capture: effective deregulation, historic tax reform, a more robust military and more.

But these successes have come despite — not because of — the president’s leadership style, which is impetuous, adversarial, petty and ineffective.

From the White House to executive branch departments and agencies, senior officials will privately admit their daily disbelief at the commander in chief’s comments and actions. Most are working to insulate their operations from his whims.

Meetings with him veer off topic and off the rails, he engages in repetitive rants, and his impulsiveness results in half-baked, ill-informed and occasionally reckless decisions that have to be walked back.

“There is literally no telling whether he might change his mind from one minute to the next,” a top official complained to me recently, exasperated by an Oval Office meeting at which the president flip-flopped on a major policy decision he’d made only a week earlier.

The erratic behavior would be more concerning if it weren’t for unsung heroes in and around the White House. Some of his aides have been cast as villains by the media. But in private, they have gone to great lengths to keep bad decisions contained to the West Wing, though they are clearly not always successful.

It may be cold comfort in this chaotic era, but Americans should know that there are adults in the room. We fully recognize what is happening. And we are trying to do what’s right even when Donald Trump won’t.

The result is a two-track presidency.

Take foreign policy: In public and in private, President Trump shows a preference for autocrats and dictators, such as President Vladimir Putin of Russia and North Korea’s leader, Kim Jong-un, and displays little genuine appreciation for the ties that bind us to allied, like-minded nations.

Astute observers have noted, though, that the rest of the administration is operating on another track, one where countries like Russia are called out for meddling and punished accordingly, and where allies around the world are engaged as peers rather than ridiculed as rivals.

On Russia, for instance, the president was reluctant to expel so many of Mr. Putin’s spies as punishment for the poisoning of a former Russian spy in Britain. He complained for weeks about senior staff members letting him get boxed into further confrontation with Russia, and he expressed frustration that the United States continued to impose sanctions on the country for its malign behavior. But his national security team knew better — such actions had to be taken, to hold Moscow accountable.

This isn’t the work of the so-called deep state. It’s the work of the steady state.

Given the instability many witnessed, there were early whispers within the cabinet of invoking the 25th Amendment, which would start a complex process for removing the president. But no one wanted to precipitate a constitutional crisis. So we will do what we can to steer the administration in the right direction until — one way or another — it’s over.

The bigger concern is not what Mr. Trump has done to the presidency but rather what we as a nation have allowed him to do to us. We have sunk low with him and allowed our discourse to be stripped of civility.

Senator John McCain put it best in his farewell letter. All Americans should heed his words and break free of the tribalism trap, with the high aim of uniting through our shared values and love of this great nation.

We may no longer have Senator McCain. But we will always have his example — a lodestar for restoring honor to public life and our national dialogue. Mr. Trump may fear such honorable men, but we should revere them.

There is a quiet resistance within the administration of people choosing to put country first. But the real difference will be made by everyday citizens rising above politics, reaching across the aisle and resolving to shed the labels in favor of a single one: Americans.

The writer is a senior official in the Trump administration.

Opinion: The Impotent Executive Trump has torn through some establishment restraints on his conduct, but his weakness is still the major story of his presidency. By: Ross Douthart

Normally I try not to take articles and repost them here. Yes I have done it occasionally. I found this Opinion piece in today’s NY Times and felt that it was worth sharing.

Deadhead1155

Amid the Resistance-y funeral rites of John McCain, the president’s latest Twitter rants against his attorney general and the wild White House stories being circulated by Bob Woodward’s latest book, it’s a good time to revisit a familiar and crucial subject. To what extent is Donald Trump an extraordinarily dangerous president whose authoritarian style is constantly enabled by his advisers and his party? Or, alternatively, to what extent is he an extraordinarily weak president, constrained by his appointees and his notional allies at almost every turn?

I’ve made the case for the second narrative before, arguing that Trump isn’t really in charge of his own presidency, and that the Republican Congress — or at least the Republican Senate — has constrained his behavior more than many Resisters acknowledge.

A year into his administration, I ran down the list of destabilizing or immoral moves that Trump promised during his campaign and pointed out almost none had actually happened — no return to waterboarding, no exit from NATO or Nafta, a hackishly implemented travel ban that only gestured at the promised Muslim-immigration shutdown, no change to the libels laws to shutter hostile newspapers, no staffing of the cabinet or the judiciary with unqualified cronies, no practical concessions to Vladimir Putin in Russia’s near abroad, and more. In general the Trump of early 2018 looked like a Twitter authoritarian but a practical weakling, hounded by a special counsel and unable to even replace his own attorney general because Senate Republicans said he couldn’t.

But the last six months have tested that argument. Trump has asserted more control over his presidency’s staffing decisions, ejected obvious establishment plants like H.R. McMaster and Gary Cohn in favor of faces he likes from cable TV. He’s pursued a version of the trade wars that he touted on the hustings; he’s disrupted summit meetings with allies and fallen prostrate before Putin; he’s conducted diplomacy with North Korea in a reality-television style; he’s attacked the Mueller investigation constantly and hired surrogates to take the attacks all the way to 11; he’s pursued a family-separation policy at the border that’s exactly the kind of cruelty that his campaign promised and that many Republicans promised to restrain.So is it still fair to describe Trump as a hemmed-in weakling, a Twitter terror but otherwise constrained? My answer is still a qualified yes. The president has torn through a few of the restraints that bind him, and some of the stories that Woodward’s book tells (in which cabinet officials behave like Nixon’s cabinet in the waning days of Watergate, doing everything possible to sideline their boss) may belong more to the era of Cohn and McMaster than Larry Kudlow and John Bolton.

But Trump is still extraordinarily weak. Some of that weakness is invisible because we simply take it for granted; it’s just part of the scenery, for instance, that this White House has no legislative agenda, no chance of advancing any policy priority on the hill, barely two years into the president’s first term.

Some of the weakness shows up in his attempts to play the tough guy. The child-separation policy, for instance, was abandoned scant days after it was publicized, because the president lacked the support within his own party and within his own White House to actually see a draconian measure through.

Some of the weakness is implicit in Trump’s attempts to reassert himself against restraints imposed by his allies or advisers. The rants against Jeff Sessions for failing to be his wingman are at once a dereliction of normal presidential duties and an admission that the Senate won’t let him replace his own cabinet officials. The supine behavior beside Putin was at once a national embarrassment and a reminder that Trump’s obvious desire to be pals with Russia has no discernible influence on his administration’s actual Russia policy.

And some of his weakness is presumably visible only behind the scenes and won’t be revealed until the next tell-all book, when it’s Bolton and Kudlow’s turn to leak — though we get tastes already, as in this newspaper’s recent account of how Bolton maneuvered successfully behind the scenes to shield the NATO summit’s final communiqué from his boss’s aggressive NATO skepticism.

All of this points to the case that Trump-skeptical Republican lawmakers can still offer, if pressed, in defense of their own approach to this strange presidency.

Yes, they would say, the president is erratic, dangerous, unfit and bigoted. But notwithstanding certain columnist fantasies you can’t impeach somebody for all that — or for pretending to be a dictator on Twitter, for that matter. And by the standards of any normal presidency we still have him contained.

Sure, the trade wars are bad, but every president launches at least one dumb trade war. We stopped the child migrant business, his other immigration moves are just stepped-up enforcement of the law, we’ve stepped back from the brink (however bizarrely) with the North Koreans, we’re still sanctioning the Russians.

Meanwhile he’s nominated the most establishment Republican jurist possible to the Supreme Court, and we won’t even let him fire his own attorney general, let alone Bob Mueller.

Look, we’re not enabling an American Putin here. We’re just babysitting the most impotent chief executive we’ll ever see, and locking in some good judges before the Democrats sweep us out.

I could continue this ventriloquization, but instead I’ll just point to its most substantial flaw: It assumes that Trumpian weakness will never breed Trumpian desperation, and that this president will be content with his impotence even in the face of a Mueller indictment of someone in his inner circle or a Democratic House’s investigation that threatens disgrace and ruin for his family. It assumes that Trump will never, even in a desperate hour, put his party’s attempts to contain him gently to a firmer sort of test.

It’s understandable that Republicans want to make this assumption. It’s understandable that they want to manage their way through this presidency, to prod and press and redirect rather than confronting and resisting. And so far that strategy has worked out better than one might reasonably have feared.

But we still have two years and four months left of this administration. And before it ends, I suspect the harder test will come.

Follow The New York Times Opinion section on Facebook and Twitter (@NYTopinion), and sign up for the Opinion Today newsletter.

Ross Douthat has been an Opinion columnist for The Times since 2009. He is the author of several books, most recently, “To Change the Church: Pope Francis and the Future of Catholicism.”

You can follow him on Twitter: @DouthatNYT

TRUMP’S RAGE JUNKIES

This is from today’s NY Times Op Ed page.

I felt that it was worthy of sharing as it made me think.

Deadhead1155

By Charles Blow

It is truly a confounding time to be alive, to be an American.

We are watching as a president of the United States openly lies, fabricates and exaggerates while two-fifths of the population cheers him for it.

He spurns our allies and embraces our adversaries and people shrug.

He, his congressional allies and his propaganda arm are waging open warfare on the Federal Bureau of Investigation in an effort to tarnish it before its inquiry into connections between the Trump campaign, family and associates and Russia can be made public.

He is a racist who disparages black and brown people, whether they be immigrants, Muslims, people from Haiti and Africa, Barack Obama, the mayor of San Juan or Maxine Waters. People equivocate about it and excuse it.

He is attacking the press in the most aggressive of terms so that what they reveal about him will be viewed with skepticism.

He is attempting to weaken our institutions, our protocols and conventions, our faith in the truth, our sense of honor and our respect for the rule of law.

And somehow, many Americans, even those disgusted by what they see, have resigned themselves to this new reality.

In fact, Trump’s poll numbers had been inching up before he created a humanitarian disaster at the border by separating children from their parents.

I guess this is how empires begin to fall. It isn’t necessarily one dramatic moment, but the incessant monotony of assaults on normalcy that slowly shift the ground beneath you, reorienting what is proper and preferable, what is outrageous and what is acceptable.

Every day in the Trump era one could start a sentence with “never before …” and end it in astonishment and exclamation. But that has a cumulative effect of erosion. The constancy of the individual outrages reduces the psychic significance of the collective.

Trump is exhausting our mental capacity for indignation. This does not help Trump in the eyes of most Americans, to be sure. The Resistance remains strong and will likely have an impressive showing in the November elections.

But, along the margins, where both support for Trump and objections to him are soft, his tactics may have greater impact.

Not to mention the fact that those tactics keep his base riled and ready. Trump is like a drug dealer who has addicted his followers to fear and rage and keeps supplying it in constant doses. His supporters have become rage-junkies for whom he can do no wrong.

Let’s be clear about the demographics of this base: While the overwhelming majority of blacks and Hispanics have an unfavorable view of Trump, just as many white people have a favorable view of him as have an unfavorable view of him, according to a Suffolk University/USA Today poll conducted last month.

Part of that is undoubtedly due to the increasingly racialized nature of our partisanship, but it is also because Trump has positioned himself as a white power president.

One of the things that his supporters like is the very thing that others detest: His unapologetic, unabashed crusade to fight off all efforts at racial and ethnic inclusion. They may not articulate it as such, but that is the nature of Trump’s policies: Promising to build a wall, disparaging Mexicans, separating immigrant families, the Muslim ban, decreasing even legal migration, denigrating protesting football players.

Trump has vented an American racial anxiety, giving it power and a perch, giving it permission to be vocal and even violent.

Indeed, these are all parts of what fuels opposition to Trump.

The Suffolk University/USA Today poll asked people who disapprove of Trump to put in their own words why they don’t support him. These were some of their top responses:

・ Liar/Dishonest/Corrupt: 12 percent.

・ Doing a poor job: 9 percent.

・ The way he treats people/Bully/Ass/Jerk/Disrespectful: 8 percent.

・ Disagree with his views/stand on issues: 8 percent.

・ Lack of morals/Not a good person/Poor character: 7 percent

・ Racist/Hate: 6 percent.

But no amount of moralizing from Trump’s opposition will affect the fervor of his supporters. Quite the opposite: Nothing quickens the pulse and induces the delight of conservatives more than the consternation of liberals. They would let the whole country collapse for the pleasure of spite.

And this is where we are now: at a standoff. The Trump apparatus is entrenched, and each day burrows ever deeper into the core of what made America greater, better, different: its slow but steady arc toward more inclusion, equality, openness. Only two things seem capable of offering relief: The elections this year and in 2020, or something damning from the Russian meddling investigation.

Last week, an exasperated Representative Trey Gowdy lashed out at Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, saying, “Whatever you got, finish it the hell up, because this country is being torn apart.”

But that’s like blaming the doctor for your illness. The investigators aren’t tearing the country apart. They are trying to protect and save it.

Trump and his defense machine — including members of Congress — are tearing it apart.

Trump-addicted acolytes are tearing it apart.

I invite you to join me on Facebook and follow me on Twitter (@CharlesMBlow), or email me at chblow@nytimes.com.