Fake, fake, fake!

Donald Trump made the first splash in his campaign for President with a “fake news” story that Obama was not born in America. Now he and his supporters cry, “Fake News!” at any reporting not favorable to him or his message, particularly in regard to the Russian involvement in his campaign. Looking past the tacit racism underlying the questioning of Obama’s “Americaness”, the claim of fake news has become a political tool to confound and confuse public perception of what may or may not be factual. A truthful evaluation of the Republican effort to Repeal and Replace Obama’s Affordable Care Act would term it the Fake Health Care Act in its denial of quality health care for those less fortunate, which also exposes the Fake Christianity of Republican politicians who choose to ignore the teachings of the Beatitudes. Through it all, it reveals that Donald Trump is a truly Fake Savior of America’s Greatness.

Robert Porath

A Guiding Thread

To the Editor:
If there is a guiding thread through the maze of incoherence and distraction created by the ascendency of Donald Trump to the Presidency, it points to a plan that America be governed not on democratic principles but as an autocratic fascist oligarchy.  With a Cabinet filled with retired generals, CEOs, and billionaires, it is no wonder the President so admires Vladimir Putin and the Russian oligarchs.  Further, the Supreme Court decision on Citizens United cleared the way for the unlimited power of wealth to influence American politics, which sits well with the Libertarian/Republican desire for a limited, deregulated “small government”.  This is a government not of the People but one by and for a wealthy elite.
Robert Porath

The Dung Beetle Congress

To the Editor:
The Republican Party’s Repeal and Replace Obamacare efforts are rooted firmly in Social Darwinism, aka, the survival of only the fittest, as well as the Calvinist belief that being wealthy implied being in God’s favor, and the economic elitism of Ayn Rand. If you are poor, disabled, or otherwise unfortunate in life, your medical care is of no concern to the powers that be. Watching the slow determined slog of their attempts to push a bill to fruition through the halls of Congress brings to mind the image of a dung beetle resolutely rolling a ball of dung to its nesting place. One has to admire the dedicated and seemingly cheerful labor it applies to its task. That its prized possession has value to no one but itself is clearly not the beetle’s concern.
Robert Porath

The Power of the Gun

To the Editor:

    Again following a mass shooting, gun sales are on the rise.  As a warning it should be noted that the death of Vincent Van Gogh, long thought to be a suicide, could be considered an accidental shooting, that he carried along a gun hoping to frighten away a group of children who were harassing him as he tried to paint in the fields around Arles, and that in a scuffle he was shot in the stomach, certainly not a likely target in suicide.  In either case, the simple presence of a gun had a fatal consequence.  This negative potential should never be underestimated.  The tragedy of Van Gogh is that at the peak of his artistic powers, creating paintings that are still so vibrant and alive today, his life was ended by the power of a gun.  The tragedy of America is that the power of the gun is so accepted as positive.

– RP

Double Think

To the Editor:
    Considering the ease and frequency with which the Romney/Ryan ticket is able to tell bald-faced lies, one has to wonder at their level of self-awareness that they are openly lying.  With Paul Ryan, there is a sense that he tends to be a compulsive liar and that his level of Double-Think, his ability to hold equally in mind totally opposing ideas, is fairly impenetrable.  On the other hand, Mitt Romney seems fully aware of his lies and that he is committed to say whatever he has to in order to achieve his aims, essentially that his ends justify his means, not a bad way to become a multi-millionaire.  I suppose one could puzzle a bit over which form of lying is worse.  Double-Think runs strong through today’s American psyche, but, in Romney’s case, it should be pointed out that one’s means generally become one’s ends.
RP

Capitalism Is Not A System of Government

To the Editor:
    Given the nature of human nature, history shows that the so-called “freedom” of unregulated, free-market capitalism simply does not work.  Further, “capitalism” is merely an economic system that allows wealth to be made from wealth.  It is not a system of government and is not, by its nature, automatically conducive to democracy and, in fact, seems increasingly a corrupting influence on our representative democracy. The joke about the Golden Rule, that those with the gold make the rules, demonstrates just how far from being democratically governed we are today in America.
    Important also to note here is that we are not dealing with absolutes.  Neither capitalism nor democracy is, of its own, intrinsically good or bad.  What seems lacking is a morality of discipline and self-government with a watchful eye toward a common good.  Edith Hamilton’s claim that Athenian Greece invented the freedom of self-government, rose to glory, then fell by succumbing to the lure of unlimited freedom and power should stand as a warning to all Americans that conscience is still an integral part of any social contract.
RP

Media Should Hold Government Accountable

To the Editor:
    The devil is in the details.  Insider trading for elected officials and their staffs, legislation written by lobbyists, campaign funding offered and solicited, kickbacks, perks, travel junkets, and who knows what other  shenanigans, all being conducted behind the scenes, accepted as normal behavior, and overlooked by mainstream media outlets; and yet it is precisely the details that are important and the devils in them need to be brought into the light.  Government can be seen as the problem, but it needs to be made clear the players and impetus for the legislative actions that helped precipitate the financial collapse,  Clearly Congress cannot be trusted to police itself.  It is up to the media, that fourth estate of government, to do the deed.
RP

A Time of Assassins

To the Editor:
Despite all the cheering over the killing of Osama Bin Laden, I felt a deep sadness not only that assassination has become so widely accepted as an American military and diplomatic tool, but also that, as a nation, we have again chosen to move forward in history by killing people.  If Bin Laden were indeed unarmed, do we attribute his death to a Presidential directive or to a soldier acting individually in a tense moment?  Will his death have any lasting effect on our “War on Terror”, a war that more and more seems to have no ending point?  Warfare is deeply entrenched in America’s history, but it should be noted that being in a permanent state of war is precisely what brought down Athens, the city-state generally regarded as the foundation of  democracy and of Western civilization itself.  It is a shame that Martin Luther King’s legacy of non-violent action is now so cavalierly termed “childishly naive”.
RP

Loving Ayn Rand

To the Editor:
    It is no surprise that Conservatives, who see themselves as part of a plutocratic elite destined to power, would find affinity with the Superman myths of Ayn Rand’s writing.  However, while heroic individualism is one part of human survival, a successful culture is one with a social contract that balances the needs of society with those of the individual.  Ben Franklin can be called a hero for establishing the U.S. Postal Service as an institution that benefited all of America.  Under Ms. Rand’s generally sociopathic philosophy, he was a fool for not doing it for his own profit.  Then again, maybe if the Post Office issued a “Forever Stamp” honoring Ayn Rand, Republicans might start supporting our postal workers.
RP