IS TRUMP A GOLDWATER REPUBLICAN?

January 16, 2017. By Kelley Kidd

I have sometimes heard Trump referred to as a Goldwater conservative, a reference to the Republicans who nominated and campaigned for Arizona’s sometimes very controversial Senator. Barry Goldwater was a frequently brusque ideologue who won the Republican nomination for President in 1964, then lost by a landslide to Lynden Johnson.

Barry was serving in the Senate during the summer of 1959 when many of his senatorial colleagues were running for President. I was there as a flunkie of sorts in the office of Richard Russell, the senior Senator from Georgia. Mesmerized by the lyrical conservative prose of Barry’s writings about political and social issues, I studied him carefully and remember him well. He would be angered today to hear anyone characterize Donald Trump as a “Goldwater conservative”.

Barry could be orally foolish. Witness his famous announcement that extremism in the defense of liberty was no vice. He could be dead wrong, as he was when he argued that common law tradition forbid the government to require public accommodations to be open to people regardless of race; actually common law traditions required innkeepers and hotel owners to serve anyone who offered payment for service. But I have always believed he was a decent man who worked hard to take positions he believed to be moral and just.

Barry Goldwater hated tyrants, especially Russian ones. He showed respect, even deference, towards women and the parents of American servicemen. He would have been outraged at Trump’s groping, his taunting of John McCain’s captivity as a POW, his insulting and bigoted pretense that the President was not an American, his smearing of the gold star parents of an American military hero, his outrageous attacks on the voting system as rigged, his constant whining that the media which has created his prominence is singling him out for unfair criticism, and his ostentatious display of wealth. Barry had the word gold in his name and a gold eagle pin to proclaim his patriotism. He despised the sort of special privilege that Trump claims for the super rich and the hubris that leads Trump to taunt others with sexual innuendoes. He would have been horrified by evidence that any foreign government had tried to influence our election, and he would have vehemently attacked Trump for his contempt for NATO. No, Trump is not anything like Barry Goldwater. Those who say otherwise are ignorant or deluded.

A REFLECTION ON CHRISTMAS

January, 2017. Jacob ben Abraham.

I am not a Christian. So this most special of holidays in America is not celebrated by me for the usual religious sentiments. Although I do observe the holiday with positive feelings, my attitude carries no personal belief in Jesus as God or as the child of a virgin mother or as the redeemer of the world. Nevertheless I celebrate over the birth of the baby Jesus. It is a season for remembering that the birth of an infant is holy. Because the story of Jesus birth is a story about the story of a child born in a manger, an implication is that poverty is no obstacle to holiness. Because the story is about the birth of a Jewish baby, another implication is that Jewishness s no obstacle to holiness. Because the story is about the birth of s Jewish baby a territory (the West Bank) that many UN resolutions claim is forbidden by law to Jewish settlers (Israeli occupied West Bank), another implication is that the holiness of this birth is not diminished by any legal or allegedly moral restrictions on where Jews (i.e. Zionists) should live.

It would be a wonderful thing if we could all see that our choicelessness at birth prefigures our true moral and spiritual value, that the particular ethnic and political and religious identities of our parents do not and cannot alter the fundamental fact of our intrinsic worth—infinite and holy. Not because the religion says so. Or the law. Or the politics of the time in which we are born. Were Jesus to be born today he would be holy because every baby is holy. You were a baby and you are holy too.

THE REALITIES OF ISRAELI EXISTENCE IN THE 21ST CENTURY: Part One

December 29, 2017 Opinions of Kelley Kidd.

There are some paths in my life that have always seemed to stretch from long before my life began. The State of Israel is certainly one of those. Born in 1942 in a Protestant white middle class home in the American South, I was learning about the real or imagined history of Israel before I can remember being taught anything. Bible stories came before elementary school. Israelites were as real to me as the Americans who were fighting in Europe and the Pacific in the first three years. Whether called Hebrews of Judeans or Israelites (or one of many other biblical names for Jews), these people were the heroes of the most important battles of my imagination Not the Bulge or Guadalcanal, but Jericho and the Red Sea were the scenes of the great victories I envisioned for my people—the children of Israel.

The creation of modern Israel was proclaimed as the fulfillment of prophecy and proof that the deity who created the planet was also in charge of its human history. So I was told. The deliberate and systematic slaughter of the Jews by the Nazis was the essence of evil and proof the Allies were the good guys in both world-wide wars of the 20th Century. So I was told. No act of American diplomacy could be stronger proof that America was Great than our recognition of the legitimacy of the Zionist State. So I was told. Israel’s defeat of five “invading Arab armies” in 1948 proved the legitimacy of a democratic state controlled by a Jewish majority. So I was told. Many of the truisms I was taught as a child have been uprooted by later learning from sources other than my early church upbringing. The dictates of that early education have been parsed and sometimes replaced by later experience and learning. But the early valuations above have stood up to later contradiction.

There is one other conclusion about Israel that I should mention. When I wondered how God could allow the holocaust, I was told that only the wholesale slaughter of millions of Jews could have led to an international willingness to let large numbers of Jews return to the one place on earth they had always claimed as their ancestral home and future refuge. Sometimes I have felt that conclusion was based upon an overestimation of the malevolent power of religious and ethnic antisemitism. Sometimes I have almost believed that the human race has advanced in tolerance to the point at which it can generally embrace the existence of a flourishing Jewish culture and religion. Maybe, I have hoped, the world has become sufficiently imbued with Jewish values to embrace the people from which these values have sprung.

REAL MEN DON’T GROPE

December 27, 2016. I spent Christmas with my own tiny family that consists of my wife and her daughter. The three of us were also invited to visit most of the day with the lovely family of some of my daughter’s friends. A large and active group, the friends’ family consists mostly of well-educated and politically liberal females. The one male, the Father of two teen aged daughters, comes from a family of Jews, but has acclimated cheerfully to Christmas traditions with his wife’s people. He and I promised that we would light a menorah and sing a Hannukah song next year if we find ourselves together again at Christmas. For me Christmas is the reminder of the joy of birth and new infants, the core of the Christmas story. There was an awareness among all of us that women are wonderful. Christmas can remind us all of the most wonderful special thing that only women can do.

I reflected again this year that for me Christmas has become the most emphatic and enduring reminder that a newborn baby was and is sacred. The poorest Mother delivering the poorest infant is preserving our species through an act of creation that requires truly unimaginable and unfathomable power. Conception is a joint human venture that is the necessary predicate of a train of events that nature orchestrates unseen within the body of a human who has virtually no control of any of it after the initial act. The infant that eventually emerges at birth is the hope of the continuation of the love that started the process. If there was genuine respect and affection between the conceiving couple, the future of the infant, and therefore the species, is also hopeful. Sex can happen simply because two people enjoy the stimulation that the presence of one gives to the other. But the old moralists of every culture have not been wrong to treat conception as one of the pillars of civil order, both public and private. Eventually all adolescents are taught by their culture that these essential facts matter, that maturation does not just mean the acquisition of the biological ability to participate is sexual activity.

We are all tasked to keep our sexual activity as not mere fun, but as the extremely serious expression of the most cherished of human emotions and activity—loving intimacy. We are admonished that adulthood includes responsibility for respect for the right of every person to engage in that activity only voluntarily and only with another who shares the same respect. Manhood and womanhood are not the fantasies of entertainment and sport; they are the sexual expressions of adulthood. Many cultures reserve the status of adulthood for those who have achieved a committed sexual union. Men and women in this culture have been taught that. Both liberals and conservatives understand the seriousness of sexual consent that comes from deep affection and commitment.

So visiting this beautiful and loving family this year and sharing the nativity season with my wife and daughter all were wonderful. Somewhere in the wonder my musings reminded me again that the nation’s choice of a leader last month was more and worse than a political mistake. It was a betrayal of some of our most cherished cultural values. Truly, whether you are Democrat or Republican, conservative or liberal, man or woman, you must agree: REAL MEN DON’T GROPE.


 

UNJUST LAWS AND LAWMAKERS

November 20, 2016. This morning at a coffee shop near my home a friend asked me what we should do now that Donald Trump has won the election to become the man who will be our president in only two months. I was so fascinated at the time with a newcomer to our 8 a.m. coffee crowd that I deferred answering. Instead I promised to reply later in this blog. So here it is. The time for mourning passed when Trump appointed a white supremacist to be his principal policy advisor and picked another to become the next chief law enforcement officer of the United States. There never was a time to seek unity with a man who has promised to export millions of us, to prevent the entry into this country of refugees from war-torn countries, to re-institute torture, to privatize social security and to jail his political rivals. Now is not the time for your tears or your good wishes. Now is the time to begin again the old fight against unjust laws and lawmakers. The fight must engage with every nonviolent means at our disposal.

 


 

WHY I VOTED FOR DEMOCRATS

November 4, 2016. I have already cast my ballots for the November 2016 election. Georgia permits early voting, and I took advantage of that. This year the top of the ballot was the race for the job of being President of the United States. The nominees of the Republican and Democratic parties were the only ones who had a chance. Voting for someone else might have helped me to express my disappointment and anger about both of the only candidates who have a chance, but the fact would have remained that only one of these two could possibly win. Elections are real choices that really matter in a country that either is democratic or in which at least there is a real effort going on to make this a real democracy.

I would like to have made my choice based on the positions of my favorite candidate on the great issues of our times, but neither of the nominees has been precise enough about these issues for me to be sure what they will do or espouse as President. So I have made my choice based on the positions of these candidates on issues which I believe would not even exist were it not for the statements of one of the candidates—-Donald Trump. He has suggested that voters should reject a female opponent because she is influenced by her menstrual cycle, a particularly offensive way of suggesting that no female candidate is capable of being a dependable public servant. He has suggested that another opponent should be rejected and despised because the size of his hands show that he has a small penis. A third candidate is to be rejected because he is alleged by Trump to be a pedophile, although of course there is nothing in that candidate’s life to suggest that Trump’s accusation was anything other than unscrupulous slander. He has worked hard at trying to legitimate bigotry against Muslims, Hispanics, immigrants, Jews and anyone not born in the United States. He has advocated and promised as President to institute torture as a regular practice of the government of the United States. He has promised to encourage the spread of nuclear weapons. He has admitted and encouraged sexual assaults on women, and he has helped to foster the lie that women enjoy being sexually assaulted—if the assaults are done by prominent and powerful men like himself. He has made a sadistic ritual of publicly firing employees into an iconic behavior to be emulated by other sadistic employers. He has attempted to discredit a judge because his parents were Mexican, then lied about it. He has turned the contest for the votes of Americans into an orgy of hatred and lies and insults, then suggested that the process was not legitimate because many people showed they were offended by his behavior. He has promised to turn the victory of his opponent into a bitter and unending battle between his supporters and his country, just as he has promised to turn his victory into an opportunity to imprison his opponent. (Imprisoning the losers of elections is , of course, a proven weapon for destroying free elections. See Egypt recently and the Soviet Union and Hitler’s Germany for three of many highly visible examples.)

I have not voted for Hillary Clinton without being aware that her public record contains several errors in judgment, lapses in caution, mistakes in attitude and sentiment and understanding. She is a flawed human being who is not now one of my heroines in public service. But I will be able to sleep with myself and my sense of duty. She is no better or worse than many other men and women who have been under public scrutiny long enough for us to see weaknesses and shortcomings. But she has not done things which damage her country’s electoral process and which disrupt the most fundamental features of democracy. Trump has and does and undoubtedly will continue to do so— regardless of the outcome. If being a winner means fighting hard for your vision of democracy, then Clinton is a winner. If being a loser means hurting every decent vision of democracy, and doing that hurt for personal profit at the expense of others, then Trump is the greatest loser of our times.

The United States has had Presidents who were not as careful about diplomatic secrets as some of us wish they had been. So maybe Hillary will not need a Snowden or Wickileaks to supplement her pirated Email; maybe some of the same kind of stuff that has been hacked and taken from government servers by these and others will also have come from her private Emails. Who cares! In a democracy the protection of state secrets is not a holy business because the existence of state secrets is fundamentally at odds with what a democracy is. I am not horrified that our Secretary of State has not insured sufficiently against the publication of these secrets. Think how much better we might have fared as a nation if privately expressed reservations about the waging of war in Southeast Asia had been made public in 1965 instead of 1972 with the publication of the Pentagon Papers. Suppose internal skepticism about invading Iraq had been pirated from the Bush administration before an apparently united administration had invaded Iraq. We could have saved a lot of grief if the Lewinsky-Clinton had been made public as soon as it started. Maybe we would be better off if the American Secretary of State did NOT have a flawed record on protecting her Email secrecy. So I am not going to lose sleep over Hillary not being cautious enough about her Email security. I certainly did not consider voting against her because she used a private Email server rather than a poorly protected government server. I don’t approve of government secrecy about diplomatic stuff to begin with. Laws designed to protect the government from the exposure of the truth are just not my kind of legal concern.

 

WHY I VOTED FOR DEMOCRATS

November 4, 2016. I have already cast my ballots for the November 2016 election. Georgia permits early voting, and I took advantage of that. This year the top of the ballot was the race for the job of being President of the United States. The nominees of the Republican and Democratic parties were the only ones who had a chance. Voting for someone else might have helped me to express my disappointment and anger about both of the only candidates who have a chance, but the fact would have remained that only one of these two could possibly win. Elections are real choices that really matter in a country that either is democratic or in which at least there is a real effort going on to make this a real democracy.

I would like to have made my choice based on the positions of my favorite candidate on the great issues of our times, but neither of the nominees has been precise enough about these issues for me to be sure what they will do or espouse as President. So I have made my choice based on the positions of these candidates on issues which I believe would not even exist were it not for the statements of one of the candidates—-Donald Trump. He has suggested that voters should reject a female opponent because she is influenced by her menstrual cycle, a particularly offensive way of suggesting that no female candidate is capable of being a dependable public servant. He has suggested that another opponent should be rejected and despised because the size of his hands show that he has a small penis. A third candidate is to be rejected because he is alleged by Trump to be a pedophile, although of course there is nothing in that candidate’s life to suggest that Trump’s accusation was anything other than unscrupulous slander. He has worked hard at trying to legitimate bigotry against Muslims, Hispanics, immigrants, Jews and anyone not born in the United States. He has advocated and promised as President to institute torture as a regular practice of the government of the United States. He has promised to encourage the spread of nuclear weapons. He has admitted and encouraged sexual assaults on women, and he has helped to foster the lie that women enjoy being sexually assaulted—if the assaults are done by prominent and powerful men like himself. He has made a sadistic ritual of publicly firing employees into an iconic behavior to be emulated by other sadistic employers. He has attempted to discredit a judge because his parents were Mexican, then lied about it. He has turned the contest for the votes of Americans into an orgy of hatred and lies and insults, then suggested that the process was not legitimate because many people showed they were offended by his behavior. He has promised to turn the victory of his opponent into a bitter and unending battle between his supporters and his country, just as he has promised to turn his victory into an opportunity to imprison his opponent. (Imprisoning the losers of elections is , of course, a proven weapon for destroying free elections. See Egypt recently and the Soviet Union and Hitler’s Germany for three of many highly visible examples.)

I have not voted for Hillary Clinton without being aware that her public record contains several errors in judgment, lapses in caution, mistakes in attitude and sentiment and understanding. She is a flawed human being who is not now one of my heroines in public service. But I will be able to sleep with myself and my sense of duty. She is no better or worse than many other men and women who have been under public scrutiny long enough for us to see weaknesses and shortcomings. But she has not done things which damage her country’s electoral process and which disrupt the most fundamental features of democracy. Trump has and does and undoubtedly will continue to do so— regardless of the outcome. If being a winner means fighting hard for your vision of democracy, then Clinton is a winner. If being a loser means hurting every decent vision of democracy, and doing that hurt for personal profit at the expense of others, then Trump is the greatest loser of our times.

The United States has had Presidents who were not as careful about diplomatic secrets as some of us wish they had been. So maybe Hillary will not need a Snowden or Wickileaks to supplement her pirated Email; maybe some of the same kind of stuff that has been hacked and taken from government servers by these and others will also have come from her private Emails. Who cares! In a democracy the protection of state secrets is not a holy business because the existence of state secrets is fundamentally at odds with what a democracy is. I am not horrified that our Secretary of State has not insured sufficiently against the publication of these secrets. Think how much better we might have fared as a nation if privately expressed reservations about the waging of war in Southeast Asia had been made public in 1965 instead of 1972 with the publication of the Pentagon Papers. Suppose internal skepticism about invading Iraq had been pirated from the Bush administration before an apparently united administration had invaded Iraq. We could have saved a lot of grief if the Lewinsky-Clinton had been made public as soon as it started. Maybe we would be better off if the American Secretary of State did NOT have a flawed record on protecting her Email secrecy. So I am not going to lose sleep over Hillary not being cautious enough about her Email security. I certainly did not consider voting against her because she used a private Email server rather than a poorly protected government server. I don’t approve of government secrecy about diplomatic stuff to begin with. Laws designed to protect the government from the exposure of the truth are just not my kind of legal concern.

 

FBI Takes a Position in Presidential Politics

October31, 2016. When the Watergate scandal had been top news for months and the so-called Erwin Subcommittee of the U.S. Senate had been exposing evidence of White House crimes for many weeks, the FBI Director finally let it be known his agency had done almost nothing except watch. Remember? The usual excuse given, however, was that the FBI should stay out of Presidential politics—even if that meant ignoring Presidential involvement in burglary. You may remember that the burglars belonged to a unit that had been created by the Republican Party and the White House. As the head of both Party and House, Richard Nixon was implicated by the actions of both, and the victim of the burglary was the Democratic National Committee, the purpose of the burglary appeared to be the obtaining of political information for political purposes, and the burglary occurred in the middle of a presidential election. The Director of the FBI kept the Bureau out of the fray and the Bureau contributed very little, if anything, to the investigation of the Watergate burglary. Few people expressed disappointment at that fact because it was generally recognized that the overall working of our democracy depends upon—among many other factors—on the absolute neutrality of the national criminal investigation unit of the national government.

When the government’s criminal investigation forces become involved in politics very bad things usually happen. Think of Joseph Stalin controlling the KGB an using that control to turn Leon Trotsky into a fugitive, while millions of other Russians were being turned into “suspects”. Think of former KGB boss Putin becoming dictator in Russia. Think of J. Edgar Hoover wiretapping Martin Luther King, Jr., keeping secret files on numerous other American political leaders, and leading the country into the paranoid McCarthy era. Think of the use of the Thought Police in Orwell’s novel 1984; there the investigative arm of the government’s police has become the brutal enforcer of a tyrannical government that demands conformity in thought and deed. Think of the incorporation of Hitler’s SS into the national police in Germany, and remember the consequences.

The Clinton Email investigation has been one of the strangest uses of police power for its entire duration. It starts with the FBI announcing that it is investigating the former Secretary of State for the allegedly criminal activity of putting her Email on her private computer and sharing some of it with her closest confidants and advisors. This is said by some to be dangerous, as well as a violation of the rules of her Department. Why? Because some criminal might hack into her private Email server the same way that criminals have hacked into the official government servers repeatedly. If that had happened, unspecified diplomatic secrets of the State Department might join the mighty stream of secret government documents that are being released by these hackers almost daily. The public might learn about State Department activities and policies that are, or should be, unpopular. Think here of the revelation that the government’s official spy agencies have hacked into the private Email of Andrea Merkel, the Chancellor of Germany! And then been hacked by Wikileaks so that ordinary people learned of the spy agency’s unscrupulous behavior. The insinuation of the FBI investigation was that the Secretary of State of a democracy had possibly committed the allegedly heinous act of exposing herself and the U.S. government to the same sort of embarrassment the FBI or a similar government spy outfit had inflicted unwittingly on the German head of government.

Several months ago Mr. Comey announced to Congressional investigating committees that, though careless, the former Secretary of State had committed no crime, injured no victim, and done nothing that deserved a criminal indictment. This news so infuriated her Republican critics that they began demanded that she be jailed anyway. They nominated a man who announced he would see to it that his presidential victory would lead to the incarceration of his political rival anyhow. Numerous Republican spokesmen called for their life-long Republican comrade, Mr. Comey, to resign in disgrace after admitting that careless handling of Email has in fact been made a serious crime by the statute book, even if Mrs. Clinton would become the first person ever treated as a criminal for committing that error. They expected better of a man who has never been a law enforcement officer, but who has been a senior vice-president of LOCKEED MARTIN, one of the world’s largest weapons makers and who has been a major operative for THE world’s largest hedge fund. Personally I expected Mr. Comey to become again involved in insinuating that the Democratic nominee just might be headed for legal trouble again. He has fulfilled my expectations. This weekend he wrote a letter to the Congress and announced that the national police, the FBI, would be reopening the Email investigation. This time his insinuation also includes reference to a Jewish Congressman’s inappropriate communications with a fifteen year old girl. And it is open ended, not to be substantially resolved until after the voting for president between now and next week. Half-truths and hints of dark deeds have always been more effective for character assassination than clear accusations of specific wrongdoing. The Federal Bureau of Insinuation. Very sad development indeed.