Sunday, February 11, 2018

President Trump: Hypocrite

From the Friendly Atheist:

...Donald Trump spoke at the National Prayer Breakfast, the same event at which he once promised a repeal of the Johnson Amendment (which never happened) and trashed Arnold Schwarzenegger.

He didn’t make any promises this time, and he stuck to the prepared remarks, but that didn’t mean his speech was without glaring problems.

Just take a look at the transcript and you’ll see why this speech wasn’t just some generic support for people of faith. It was specific support for Christians at the expense of everybody else. And it perpetuated the myth of the “Christian nation” at every turn:

America is a nation of believers, and together we are strengthened by the power of prayer. This morning, our hearts are full of gratitude as we come together for the 66th annual National Prayer Breakfast.

That’s a lie. We are a nation of believers and non-believers, and the latter group is growing at an incredibly fast rate. Americans United for Separation of Church and State noted that even President Obama made sure to be inclusive of people who didn’t believe in the majority religion.

...It’s not hard for politicians to be personally religious yet still acknowledge that some Americans aren’t interested in being people of faith. President Barack Obama is a Christian yet when he spoke about faith, he often included non-believers when discussing the incredible range of religious and philosophical thought in the country.

Trump also suggested our nation was Christian at its core because of the ways God is referenced in our history:

Each year, this event reminds us that faith is central to American life and to liberty. Our founders invoked our Creator four times in the Declaration of Independence. Our currency declares, “In God We Trust.” (Applause.) And we place our hands on our hearts as we recite the Pledge of Allegiance and proclaim we are “One Nation Under God.” (Applause.)

Notice that he refers to the Declaration of Independence and not the Constitution, which has no reference to a Creator. (As the saying goes, the word “religion” appears twice in the Constitution, both times preceded by the word “no.”)

“In God We Trust” is on our currency for the same reason “One Nation Under God” is in the Pledge. They were shoved in there in the 1950s as a conservative response to the scourge of Communism, not because there’s some inherent truth to those statements. They were political moves. And Trump used them as evidence of some mythical historical Christianity our nation is founded upon...

See also Amazing Disgrace.

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President Trump: Chickenhawk

Draft dodger Trump in 1968, when he got his first deferment

Letter to the editor in today's Chronicle:

Regarding “Trump’s parade” (News of the Day, Nation, Feb. 7): I choked on my breakfast cereal this morning when I read in the News of the Day about Donald Trump wanting an elaborate parade to show appreciation for the military. I suppose he appreciated the military by deftly avoiding it with five deferments during the heat of the Vietnam War, thereby not subjecting dedicated soldiers to his bullying and narcissism.

Holly Hadlock
Mill Valley

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"Not a cigarette paper's worth of difference"

All the candidates support the high-speed rail project

Willie Brown in this morning's Chronicle:

London Breed backers are targeting former state Sen. Mark Leno for supposedly benefiting from the “backroom deal” that bounced Breed out of the acting mayor’s job. Leno notes that Breed is being helped out by a super PAC and declares that “big money” needs to stay out of the race.

And both Leno and Angela Alioto want “acting mayor” — the title Breed held at the mayoral campaign filing deadline — to be struck from her ballot designation.

The real story behind all this is that there isn’t a cigarette paper’s worth of difference between the candidates on the major issues.

All are calling for more affordable housing. All are calling for compassionate but firm care for the homeless. All say auto break-ins have to stop and that traffic is terrible.

But none of them has a concrete answer for how they will do any of it. It’s all about them — and none of it is about us.

Rob's comment:
Brown is right. That's also why city politicians and their supporters resort to playing the race card: there are few significant political differences between them, since they are all liberal Democrats.

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Why Americans rely on cars

Figure 1: Share of all commuters by mode, 2016

Brookings hates to admit it, but most Americans still rely on cars to get to work. They report the facts with a rebuke:

It’s impossible to look at American commuting habits and not report the obvious: Americans are still largely dependent on the automobile. Over 76 percent of Americans drive alone to work every day, while another 9 percent carpool with someone else. Considering that ACS counted 150 million workers in 2016, that’s at least 115 million cars and trucks hitting American streets every day. It’s no wonder congestion is so pervasive during morning and afternoon rush hours.

These driving rates come at a real cost to American households. Owning and maintaining a private vehicle is expensive...

But transit systems can't realistically solve the First Mile/Last Mile problem for many people.