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“Donald Trump’s Shocking Ignorance, Laid Bare”: He Knows Next To Nothing About The Issues That Would Confront Him

Donald Trump’s ignorance of government policy, both foreign and domestic, is breathtaking. The Republican Party is likely to nominate for president a man who appears to know next to nothing about the issues that would confront him in the job.

Such a sweeping condemnation may sound unfair. I wouldn’t be surprised if Trump were already busy tweeting that I’m a “dummy” or something. But if you read the transcript of Trump’s hour-long meeting with the editorial board of The Post, which took place Monday, I don’t see how you can come to any other conclusion.

I should note that I’m not a member of the board and therefore did not attend. But The Post published a full transcript , and it is one of the most chilling documents I’ve read in a long time.

I have argued for many months that Trump should be taken seriously, that he has tapped into a legitimate anger and that he understands the Republican base far better than the party establishment does. I’ve had cordial conversations with him, on the telephone and in television studios, and I agree with those who say he should never be underestimated. So I’m not a reflexive Trump hater. I am, however, appalled at how little he knows — and truly frightened.

The editors and writers at The Post were not playing “gotcha,” as the transcript clearly shows. They asked straightforward questions such as, “Do you see any racial disparities in law enforcement?”

Trump’s response was to give an empty soliloquy, ending with the declaration that “I’m a very strong believer in law enforcement, but I’m also a very strong believer that the inner cities can come back.” Asked twice more whether blacks and whites receive disparate treatment, Trump offered this:

“I’ve read where there are and I’ve read where there aren’t. I mean, I’ve read both. And, you know, I have no opinion on that. Because frankly, what I’m saying is you know we have to create incentives for people to go back and to reinvigorate the areas and to put people to work. And you know we have lost millions and millions of jobs to China and other countries. And they’ve been taken out of this country, and when I say millions, you know it’s, it’s tremendous. I’ve seen 5 million jobs, I’ve seen numbers that range from 6 million to, to smaller numbers. But it’s many millions of jobs, and it’s to countries all over. Mexico is really becoming the new China. And I have great issue with that.”

No opinion? China? Mexico?

He continued in that vein at length, bemoaning that “you’re losing Pfizer to Ireland,” until yet another attempt was made to get him back to the original question. He finally allowed that disparate treatment of African Americans “would concern me” but said it could be solved, if it existed, by creating “incentives for companies to move in and create jobs.”

He was reminded that tax incentives and enterprise zones have been tried many times. What would be different about his approach?

“I.think what’s different is we have a very divided country,” Trump began. “And whether we like it or not, it’s divided as bad as I’ve ever seen it.” The rambling speech that followed ended with a pledge to be “a great cheerleader for the country.”

On foreign affairs, Trump was even more vague and vapid. Asked about the future of NATO, he was skeptical of the Cold War’s most vital alliance. He complained that we devote “hundreds of billions of dollars to supporting other countries that are, in theory, wealthier than we are.”

Called on that figure, he dialed it back to mere “billions.” His proposed solution was to “structure a much different deal . . . a much better deal.” I can’t help but imagine German Chancellor Angela Merkel and French President François Hollande being treated like minor partners in building some luxury condos or a new golf course.

Asked about Russian aggression in Ukraine, Trump said that “other people” should be doing more. Asked about China’s bullying actions in the South China Sea, he seemed to indicate he would be prepared to punish the Chinese with a trade war — but later took it back and said he wanted to be unpredictable.

I won’t even get into Trump’s lengthy defense of the size of his hands. Please read the transcript. Then decide whether it’s conceivable to put a man who knows so little in charge of so much.

 

By: Eugene Robinson, Opinion Writer, March 24, 2016

March 25, 2016 Posted by | Domestic Policy, Donald Trump, Foreign Policy | , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

“Horrors! There Are Muslims Among Us”: Demanding Every Public Space Be Accommodating To Christians, First And Foremost

For an object lesson in how social media can create a tempest in a teapot, look no further than Wichita State University in Kansas.

Six months ago, the university renovated a nondenominational chapel on campus so that it could more easily accommodate prayer by Muslim students. Essentially, pews were removed (replaced by stackable chairs) so that prayer carpets could be spread on the floor.

The alteration was uncontroversial … until an alumna of the university caught wind of it and bewailed the indignity on Facebook. “The Muslims are ecstatic,” she posted, according to the Wichita Eagle. “Sumpin’ NOT right here.”

Other alumni escalated the issue, and in short order the university’s president agreed (in a Facebook post) to revisit the decision to remove the pews.

It took six months for the now furious alumni to learn of the changes, raising questions about just how invested they are in the chapel and the religious life of the student body.

The alumna who started the furor is now declining interviews, but for a while she continued to post comments such as, “God will always trump allah” (sic).

She’s likely unaware that the “Allah” is Arabic for God. And, given other posts, it’s doubtful she’s waded into the deep theological discussions. Rather, what we have here is a Christian who demands that every public space be accommodating to Christians, first and foremost, and that everyone else needs to stand back. It’s all about feelings — her own.

“Again, it was NEVER just about the pews,” she wrote in another post. “It was WHO/WHAT caused them to be removed and the affect it will have on non-muslims.”

It should also be underscored that Christian students who used the chapel also favored taking out the pews to make the space more inviting to Bible study groups and interfaith events. The request came through the student government association.

As news of the imbroglio spread, Fox News got in on the act. A columnist on its website called the chapel renovation “Christian cleansing.”

“This is what the Islamic transformation of a nation founded on Judeo-Christian values looks like, folks,” wrote Todd Starnes. “The Christian faith is marginalized while the Islamic faith is given accommodation.”

Why not accommodate Muslims at Wichita State? They number about 1,000 out of the nearly 15,000 student body. As the Wichita Eagle also explained, most of the foreign Muslim students pay three times the tuition rates of in-state students.

For some, every accommodation of other faiths (or of those of no faith) is an affront to their own. Christians are not the only offenders in this regard.

Patterns of belief and worship change, and that can be hard to accept, but that change has been going on for a long time. In cities across America, there are predominantly African-American Christian churches that have stained glass windows and other remnants from the time when those spaces were Jewish synagogues. The congregations changed as Jewish populations moved further away from urban neighborhoods.

God is no less present because of the shift in believers.

Wichita State’s Harvey D. Grace Memorial Chapel was never intended to be only for Christian students, although revisionist arguments are being made now. The chapel was a gift to the university by the namesake’s widow, dating back to 1964. A “nondenominational” worship space back then more than likely had a Christian context. These days, on virtually any state university campus you will meet many Hindus, Buddhists, and Muslims.

But Muslims are the focus here. Given what’s happening in the world, some regard any Muslim as a potential threat, whether they are a foreign student, a U.S. citizen by birth or a refugee in crisis. And it’s not only in Kansas that people think this way.

The week the Wichita State story broke, German Chancellor Angela Merkel was chastising Eastern European governments for letting Islamophobia undercut humanitarian outreach efforts to Syrians escaping turmoil and now streaming across Europe.

Obviously, alumni of any university or college have an important role to play. They have a vested interest in the stability of their alma mater. But alumni who are good stewards understand that they shouldn’t meddle by imposing their prejudices.

As Wichita State President John Bardo wrote, “Our goal should be exactly what Mrs. Grace set out to do in her gift, to have an all faiths chapel that is welcoming to all religious groups on campus.”

Now there is an example of a generous gift that had some foresight toward the future.

 

By: Mary Sanchez, Opinion-Page Columnist for The Kansas City Star; The National Memo, October 10, 2015

October 12, 2015 Posted by | Christians, Muslims, Religion | , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

“An Act Of Terror On Flight 9525”: When Someone Kills Himself And 149 Others, It Is Not A Suicide

We don’t need to know the political or religious views of Germanwings co-pilot Andreas Günter Lubitz to call his crashing of a crowded airliner into a mountainside an act of terrorism. And we don’t need any further evidence to recognize a cruel irony: Legitimate fear of potential terrorist attacks apparently made this tragedy possible.

Imagine the final moments of Flight 9525 as it hurtled toward oblivion. Passengers were screaming. Some, I am certain, must have been praying. According to French prosecutor Brice Robin, the pilot, who had stepped out of the cockpit for a moment, was pounding on the door, trying desperately to get back in.

But, according to Robin, Lubitz, 27, who had been regarded as a rising star at the airline, refused to open the door — and it was impossible for the pilot, identified by German media as Patrick S., to break it down. “The door is reinforced according to international standards,” Robin said Thursday, using the wrong verb tense. He meant “was” reinforced. The door is now in bits and pieces, along with the rest of the Airbus A320, scattered among the crevices of the French Alps.

In the post-9/11 era, the cockpit doors of airliners are made to be impregnable. This is to ensure that terrorists cannot force their way inside and seize the controls — a logical precaution that probably has saved many lives. Terrorists may still attempt to smuggle explosives aboard commercial aircraft, but they know that invading the cockpit and crashing the plane would be all but impossible.

The deterrent is effective, however, only if nobody can open a locked cockpit door under any circumstances — not the passengers, not the flight attendants, not even the captain. Some sort of hidden latch or override switch would defeat the purpose, since terrorists could learn the secret. So the Germanwings plane was safe from terrorists — until the trusted co-pilot, in Robin’s account, committed a grotesque act of terrorism.

Officials involved in the investigation have been rejecting the word I just used. “There is no reason to suspect a terrorist attack,” Robin said, echoing the words of German Chancellor Angela Merkel and other leaders. I disagree.

What they mean is that there is no known link to terrorists or any known group such as al-Qaeda. Indeed, no such connection was immediately apparent from the sketchy outlines of Lubitz’s life that began to emerge Thursday. He reportedly had dreams of becoming a pilot since he was a teenager and belonged to a flying club in his home town about an hour from Frankfurt. He started working for Germanwings, Lufthansa’s budget airline, in September 2013 and amassed 630 hours of flight experience. He was regarded as talented and full of promise.

Surely we will soon learn another side to this picture. Normal, well-adjusted young men do not commit terroristic acts of mass murder.

As Lufthansa’s chief executive, Carsten Spohr, noted, “When someone kills himself and 149 others, . . . it is not a suicide.” If Lubitz wanted to kill himself in a plane crash, he could have gone to any small airport on his day off, rented a Cessna and flown it into the terrain of his choosing.

According to the prosecutor, Lubitz decided instead to make his exit by killing a jetliner full of travelers heading from Barcelona to Düsseldorf. There was a group of high school students. There were two singers who had just performed at Barcelona’s grand opera house. There were three American tourists.

Terrorism is often defined as violence committed for a political or religious purpose, and no one can say yet what the pilot had in mind. But no one does something like this without intending to make a statement. We may not yet know what it means — and I suppose it’s possible that we may never know. Murder of this kind, on this scale and in this chilling manner is terrorism.

It’s possible, I suppose, that Lubitz was profoundly delusional. But if this were the case, how could he have passed the airline’s annual medical exams? How could he have worked in such close quarters with fellow pilots, flight attendants and others, day after day, without anyone noticing behavior that suggested a problem?

It looks as if Lubitz wasn’t just trying to end his life because he was depressed. He apparently decided to end 149 other lives as well because he wanted to tell us something. Tragically, this is precisely the kind of thing that terrorists do.

 

By: Eugene Robinson, Opinion Writer, The Washington Post, March 26, 2015

March 29, 2015 Posted by | Andreas Gunter Lubitz, Flight 9525, Terrorism | , , , , , , | 4 Comments

   

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