Arming Teachers: Trump Proposes Making an Insane Situation Even More So

February 22, 2018

One week after the most recent American school slaughter which left 17 dead, Donald Trump took time off from writing appalling and infantile tweets to gather together, along with teachers and family members survivors of the recent horror at the White House. In what was billed as a “ Listening Session” Trump sat silently wearing an expression meant to signify some approximation of empathy while holding a cheat sheet of hand written questions and sympathetic expressions including one that read, “I hear you.”

The televised event was difficult to watch as survivors and parents of the dead from multiple school shootings in the past decade or so, including Sandy Hook, alternatively pleaded with or demanded that the man who declared that the “American carnage” would stop on his Inauguration Day use his immense power and influence to finally do something to end the insanity of allowing the sale of weapons of war that lead to yet another completely preventable bloodbath, this time in an American high school.

When at last Trump spoke, he babbled on incoherently about hero football coaches and “cowardly” gunman. Gone for the moment was Trumps’ previous concern for the mental health of the shooters which is all he talked about when discussing the last few mass murderers. Then, as casually as if the idea just welled up in his brain, Trump floated the following astounding proposal: to allow teachers and school administrators to bear arms with which to shoot down future would be mass murderers before they rampaged yet another American school.

That, said the President of the United States, “might solve the problem.”

It would and could do no such thing, of course, as it doesn’t even begin to address the problem on any level even as it pretends to answer any numbers of questions that haven’t been asked, principally, why can one purchase a weapon of war ? True to form, Trump the con man par excellence, played the grieving, still numb crowd like the master card artist who tells his mark to pick a card, any card while cleverly slipping the very card he wants you to have into your hand.

Trump then asked the group what they thought of the idea, acknowledging that it was “controversial but only one of many his administration would be “looking into.”

While Trump’s exceedingly dangerous idea (instantly echoed by the NRA who likely first vomited it up) would do nothing to stop the problem of a lunatic with a weapon of war in a school and very likely exacerbate it, it would certainly help to solve Trump’s problem; he whose campaign received no less than 30 million dollars from the National Rifle Association, and also the problem of every one of his confederates who is owned, body and soul, by said organization and have been busy dissembling or hiding or crowing all over the country.

Those who are crowing are crowing the following: “the solution to a bad guy with a gun is a good guy with a gun,” which is, of course, the logic behind Trump’s proposal, even as it is proven to be a infantile, macho fantasy – a lie and a blood soaked lie — on an hourly basis in the most murderous nation on earth.

Without outright declaring it, the proposal states the following: there is nothing to be done or nothing that should be done legislatively to end the outright insanity of selling weapons of war under the pretence that they are somehow protected by the Second Amendment.

This afternoon, amid more banter about homicidal “cowards” going into “gun free zone schools” as if “ going in for an ice cream cone, ” Trump came out with a full-throated endorsement of the idea.

As a public school teacher who has chaired safety committees and Building Response Teams for years and participated in many a, albeit, non lethal emergency situation, I have tried to imagine how such an arrangement would work, never mind work well and I cannot. By definition, there is no simply no time for retrieving locked away weapons so as to shoot down would be mass murderers. Moreover, of the hundreds of teachers I have worked with and known, I can think of no one, myself included who could instantly transform into what amounts to a member of a SWAT team. Although I’m certain there are a miniscule percentage of teachers who might feel comfortable doing so, I am absolutely confident that the overwhelming percentage of teachers would not and could not react in such a manner. You would not ask the same of doctors or nurses or architects or whatever. That is not why they became teachers. Only people who have no idea of what kind of people become teachers or how schools are run or what a school emergency looks and feels like could conceivably come up with such an insane solution to such an insane problem.

As a public school parent I am filled with rage and disgust that we have so defiled and degraded our political reality that such proposals are even being discussed.

What Trump and the NRA are saying to America is this: there is nothing that can be done to stop such situations and all we can do is prepare for our worst nightmares, always and everywhere. Deal with it. What they are doing with this lunacy is solving their problem and not the unspeakable reality of American children being gunned down in their classrooms and hallways. What they are revealing is that they could not care less.


A Horrifying Continuum:Trump Encourages Police Brutality.

July 29, 2017

Another day, another deranged declaration from our diseased Commander in Chief and with it yet another effort to divide America between those who adore Trump and those who are disgusted and alarmed by him. On that level, at least, the speech to a group of Long Island law officers could be said to be a rousing success, not unlike his grotesque babbling to the Boy Scouts, his “slice and dice” oration in Ohio, and his whimsical ban of transgender personnel in the military that took place earlier in the week.

Ostensibly, the visit to Long Island and the speech to law enforcement was about Trump’s plan to “eradicate” the notoriously violent gang MS-13, who in yet another example of blowback, emerged out of America’s savage policy toward El Salvador under Ronald Reagan, and are responsible for several brutal murders in the area. But, as with everything this man speaks of, the visit and the speech were really about Trump and his base.

Thus, the purpose of the visit was largely to plant or reinforce in the mind of the American public the idea that American immigrants are made up not of the millions of hard working, decent, and law abiding peoples that have built and rebuilt the country since its founding, but horrific criminal organizations such as MS-13, and thereby build support for the Trump administration’s expansion of it’s mass detention and deportation agenda.

Addressing the law enforcement officers, the President of the United States said the following: “When you see these towns and when you see these thugs being thrown into the back of a paddy wagon, you just see them thrown in, rough, and I said, ‘Please don’t be too nice.’

“Like when you guys put somebody in the car and you’re protecting their head, you know, the way you put their hand over, like, don’t hit their head and they’ve just killed somebody, don’t hit their head, I said, ‘You can take the hand away, OK?’

Implicit in the words is the belief that the president has the power to simply negate protocol and the law. Implicit in these words is the message that the accused are guilty until proven innocent. Implicit in these words is a message that the President of the United States approves of police brutality.

Once again, there is no precedent for a president making such appalling statements.
Disturbingly, the statements were met with vociferous cheering from the law enforcement officers present, this at a time in which reports of police brutality, especially against people who happen not to be white, are a ceaseless national disgrace; and to be sure they were cheered just as enthusiastically by Trump’s deranged supporters across the country.
And that, I fear, is the point. In his first Inaugural Address in 1861, peering out at a nation enthusiastically set to slaughter each other wholesale, Lincoln implored and beseeched Americans to contact and embrace the “better angels of our nature. ”
Such is what great leaders do.
Conversely, like some demonic cheap rent parody of an anti-Lincoln, Trump has, from his incredible emergence as a politician, continually urged and encouraged the exact opposite of Lincoln’s sublime exhortation. To wit, he has ceaselessly, recklessly, and with absolute immunity encouraged, explicitly or implicitly, Americans to not merely embrace but valorize our basest and most brutal impulses: greed, mendacity, jingoism, violence, racism, xenophobia, vulgarity, and cruelty.

Yesterday’s remarkably repugnant statements are merely part of a continuum that has stepped up in the past week to fever pitch; merely another attempt to rile up his base and divide the nation into two irreconcilable camps: supporters of Donald Trump and The Enemy who is everyone else. There can be no middle ground because there is none meant to be. And there is no purpose, political or otherwise, other than the apotheosis of Donald J. Trump.
This is our current civil war: the dividing of Americans against the “better angels of our nature.” And, as this is all that he can understand, this is what Trump desires. This is what happens – what MUST happen—when a nation invests a toxic, malignant, astoundingly ignorant mega-narcissist with immense power. Trump does not know how to do anything other than what he is doing and is wholly, characterologically incapable of learning or even conceiving of anything that does not glorify Trump. Trump is narcissism incarnate. Trump’s war is not about Conservatives against Progressives, or Democrats against Republicans or any other recognizable political affiliation. Trump has no more loyalty to Republicans as he has to anyone or anything he has ever been connected with.
Trump rants and raves about “ loyalty,” a word in understands to mean subservience to Trump and his family and nothing more. Trump’s war is about the domination of his “movement” which consists entirely of the cult of Trump. And as he is increasingly showing, he will do and say anything to “win.”

Further, with the cowardly refusal of the members of the United States Congress to unambiguously condemn the purposefully divisive, anti- democratic, and vile statements of this ridiculous and all so dangerous figure, it may only be the beginning.

In the end, Trump will fail and fall but he will not go easily and the damage he and his will do in the process may be enormous.

Three Cheers for the Mooch: Trump Selects the Perfect Man

July 28, 2017

Contrary to the millions of Americans who are horrified, appalled and disgusted at his language, demeanor and intentions, I, for one, believe President Trump choose brilliantly and yes, honestly, in selecting Anthony “Mooch” Scaramucci, as brand new White House Communications Director. What man, I ask you, can more clearly communicate and, indeed, distill Trump’s vision of Making America Great Again than the former hedge fund predator known as the Mooch?

Even his nickname is perfect. In terms of pure vulgarity, contempt for law and tradition, hubris, decorum, ignorance and unbridled narcissism that define the Trump administration, it is almost inconceivable that The Donald could have tapped a more appropriate being. Mooch, who has repeatedly stated his love for the president and all he stands for, is outright perfection.

Thank you President Trump, for assuring all of America and indeed the world, that your vision of American greatness will be communicated even more loudly and more clearly than it has been since the advent of your presidency. And thank you, Mooch, for your brilliance and clarity.

Incapable of Governing Trump Seeks to Set America At War with Itself

July 27, 2017

If anyone were thick enough to still believe that some inner buried spark of decency would stop President Donald J Trump from setting the American people against themselves for the sole sake of gratifying his diseased and oceanic ego, his words and actions over the past three days should provide ample clarity. Incapable of passing a single piece of legislature, his own administration in operatic, barely concealed ruins, and forced to face dismal approval ratings, Trump did as Trump does, following the same grotesque path that allowed his shocking electoral victory six months ago.

In multiple ways, Trump attempted to rally his base: first degrading a Boy Scout Jamboree by turning it into an incoherent Trump Youth Rally where he mocked a former president, whined about the fake media, campaigned for his vicious and incoherent health care “plan”, threatened a member of his cabinet, and reminisced about a the travels of a fallen millionaire who lost his “momentum,” and, last but not least, encouraged an idiotic chant of “USA! USA! “

Trump’s words have to be read to be believed and even then beggars belief that these are actual statements of the President of the Untied States.

Trump then appeared at an actual Trump rally in Ohio where, before floating the idea of having his vile visage carved into Mount Rushmore, he ranted crazily before his ecstatic groupies about illegal immigrants whose apparent joy is to “slice and dice ” beautiful 15 and 16 year old girls. This, said the President of the Untied States, instead of merely shooting them as bullets would rob the “animals” of the pain they so sadistically love to inflict.

To top it all off, yesterday Trump announced (via a Tweet!) that he had imposed a ban against transgender soldiers in the military. This was done apparently with no input whatsoever from the military, who are now squirming and attempting to figure out how to react to the dictate of their insane commander and chief that they do not agree with. The decision, in short, was made on a whim and the rationale – “tremendous medical costs and disruption” – was immediately exposed by the Rand Corporation among others as pure bullshit.

No matter to our current leader and his fans.

If nothing else, the past three days billboard what anyone with any knowledge of Trump has long understood, even as they have yet to figure out an effective way of countering it or even neutralizing it. Trump has no goals other than the constant, ceaseless gratification of his ego, no beliefs to appeal to, no principles to restrain him.

Trump is about getting his way. Trump is about “winning.” At any and all costs.

Trump has his disturbingly worshipful base who, grateful for being allowed to vocalize their basest, most brutal impulses and indulge in their most infantile fantasies about what American is, has been, and will be, will follow him anywhere, even as his policies immiserate and degrade them; even as Trump degrades and immiserates any one (save his family) who have been taken in by this con man.

It was for these people these grotesque statements were made in the absolute certainty that they would keep these people in a perpetual state of mindless frenzy or fantasy.

We must understand this: Trump will do all he can to rip the nation asunder simply to gratify his ego. And as yet there is nothing stopping him from doing just that.

Paul Ryan Comes To Harlem

May 14, 2017

In a sense, the visit of such a person to such an institution made perfect sense, that much the more in the Age of Trump. After all, here you had Speaker of the House Paul Ryan, one of the leading proponents of the ceaseless war on the remnants of the social contract, fresh off his successful orchestration of a billionaire tax cut masquerading as a health care bill intended to strip millions of healthcare, visiting Harlem Success Academy, the flagship school of Eva Moskowitz, one the most successful practitioners of the publically funded privately managed scams called charter schools.

The two, after all, have a lot in common. Both owe their careers to the largesse of the richest people in the country and, in the case of Moskowitz, the politicians in their employ. Ryan, of course, is a prime example of such an employee.

Hence, Moskowitz beckoned, Ryan came.

Despite their almost limitless financial backing, and a government that seems pleased to give them both almost anything they ask, both parade around as heroic strivers for the underclass against the wily tyranny of the status quo, i. e. the public sector and labor unions.
Both are corporatists, through and through.
Please note that Harlem Success Academy is but one of three schools housed in the building in which Ryan made his visit.
What was the purpose of Ryan’s visit? A visit that necessitated police barricades and TV crews at 7:30 in the morning when I arrived to teach in the school that Ryan had no intention of visiting . A visit that brought hundreds of furious protesters whose whistles and howls I could hear intermittently throughout the day, one especially loud volley signaling Ryan’s arrival, another, his hasty exit.

For Moskowitz, Ryan’s visit was a public relations bonanza, made to show the world how connected to power she really is. A few years ago I literally bumped into presidential candidate Mitt Romney in the hall of my school as he was leaving Success Academy after visiting with Moskowitz.

It is not hard to imagine what would happen if a public school official called Ryan’s office and offered a tour of a public school.

For Ryan the visit was an opportunity to show how much and how deeply he cares about the children and people of Harlem, even if he and Donald Trump and a bunch of rich white guys recently celebrated stripping them of their healthcare while taking aim at Medicare.

Full disclosure: Ryan, who arrived hours late, did make a last minute gun-at-the –head, perfunctory visit to a special needs class in the 811 school which Moskowitz tried ruthlessly to gobble up as part of her ever expanding empire, to hell with the special needs kids who are schooled there. Almost certainly agreed to because of the pressure asserted by 811 teacher Mindy Rosier, Ryan was reportedly escorted into a classroom of children who had no idea who he was, smiled, said hello, shook the principal’s hand and was hustled up the stairs for an hour long visit with Success Academy.

Using children for political props is nothing new to Moskowitz, even if the same act would find any DOE principal out of a job and possibly in jail should they pull such a stunt. Over the past few years Moskowitz has bussed children up to Albany and had them parade over the Brooklyn Bridge, all on school time, all as their teachers were on the city’s dime, all under the pretext of giving the kids a “civics lesson.”
Ryan’s visit, presumably, was just another such “lesson. “

But what, precisely, was the nature of the lesson? What did the students learn? That it was somehow OK for the Speaker of the House of Representatives to visit their school and not the public school next door in the same building? That the students my colleagues and I teach are somehow not as important? That passing savage health care bills that will destroy people’s lives and render millions helpless so the richest people in the country can have yet another tax break is just fine?
That some people count and some people don’t ?

Yes, it made perfect sense that these two should meet, as it is so perfectly revealing of the nature of all things in the Age of Trump.

Ryan and friends celebrating stripping millions of Americans of healthcare.