This Morning Plus – 10 OCT 2019

Trump Flies Into the Cuckoo’s Nest

Getting stranger every day in every way.

Two ways to judge anything Donald Trump does these days: A) Is it a good idea? And B) Is it further evidence he’s going nuts?

Think about Turkey. Over the weekend, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan was preparing to attack our old Kurdish allies in northern Syria. The White House announced late Sunday night that it was O.K. with the whole deal and was pulling out the small American military contingent that’s been fighting alongside the Kurds.

Nobody seemed to have run this by Defense Secretary Mark (Finally Confirmed!) Esper, who sent out a tweet Monday morning opposing the Turkish operation. Which was later deleted.

“If Turkey does anything that I, in my great and unmatched wisdom, consider to be off limits I will totally destroy and obliterate the economy of Turkey,” Trump reassured the nation.

Well, we’ve always known he suffers from delusions of grandeur. (“There are those that think I’m a very stable genius.”) And although the way the administration handled the whole Turkey thing was wildly inept, we’ve known for a long time there’s no ept in this White House.

But here’s the other part: Donald Trump is in the middle of a super impeachment crisis, and he’s surviving in office only through Senate Republicans’ support. And he chose this time to create a foreign affairs uproar guaranteed to outrage and offend the Republican senators.

“Pray for our Kurdish allies who have been shamelessly abandoned by the Trump Administration. This move ensures the emergence of ISIS,” tweeted Lindsey Graham.

This from a fervid supporter. If Graham were, say, a miniature poodle, he’d be the one trotting along, carrying the master’s socks in his mouth.

The president’s sudden decision to give a shout-out to the Turkish government came after a phone call with Erdogan. By now there have been so many phone-related disasters you’d think the family would have taken away his communication devices. But Trump believes he’s always very careful and conscious that tons of people are listening in. “My knowledge — I know all about it,” he told reporters at a press conference last week.

High school football scandal highlights the ills of our once great nation

Must the win always go to the one that cheats the best?

This morning's disclosure in the Dallas Morning News of possible rules infractions by former Baylor coach Art Briles in his new position as head football coach for Mount Vernon (TX) high school  raises the question sharply.

Briles was forced out at Baylor, as were others, over his participation, or lack thereof, in hiding "sexual assaults" involving Baylor athletes.  That was in 2016 (May 26).  Last summer, Briles signed a three-year contract with the Mount Vernon school system to coach the high school football Tigers .  Thus far in the 2019 season, the Tigers are undefeated (5-0) and scheduled to meet Jefferson (5-1) on Friday for the lead in 3A Division I District 7 competition.

Cam and Brock Nellor are the athletes at the center of the eligibility question. The brothers transferred to Mount Vernon high last summer from Thompson Valley high in Loveland CO, where  Cam was the 2018 starting quarterback.

Cam starts at quarterback for Mount Vernon.  Brock is also a team member.

The District committee on eligibility first declared the Brock brothers eligible; but just recently voted 6-0 that the transfer did not meet the eligibility requirements.

It is not yet known whether Mount Vernon will have to forfeit any of its 2019 games. The 6-0 vote is under appeal to the University Interscholastic League.

As is well known, issues concerning player eligibility are not new.  It's been the case before and will be again. But in today's social climate, the fundamental issue at stake is much larger than football.  It is:  Whether in America "success" demands corruption.

A single question lifts up the issue:  "Between the two Mount Vernons, the one in Texas and the one in Virginia, is there one honest winning coach? one honestly elected politician? or any non-corrupt  hugely successful person?

My opinion:  None.  Certainly none that has gained success without being tainted in some way.

For cheating is built into our success as never before.  We the people, we demand success, we worship it, as we prefer to overlook how it was attained?

"Oh, well," we declare, "nobody's perfect."

If I am accurate in my assessment, a key question raises its head even more sharply than the basic issue:  What can we do to reverse our national obsession with success at any price?

For a start, I submit six steps I think keys to our "moral" recovery:

#1 We can demand integrity from our leaders;

#2 We can protect the honest brokers, e. g. the whistleblowers;

#3 We can turn our attention from "success" to "quality" and "effort"  of performance;

#4 We can require that our "academic" teachers be paid on a par with our athletic coaches;

#5  At the ballot box, we can rid ourselves of the known cheaters as well as those who've tolerated the cheaters for way too long;

And most importantly,

#6 We can personally live more faithfully by the moral teachings we were taught as children, instill them in our own and model them to others.

The quest for decency is, I believe, the one most urgent upon us.  And whether Mount Vernon wins on Friday night, one of the most inconsequential.

Foremost, the quest begins with me! . . .and you!


first published on October 9, 2019





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