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Trump last night said we would no longer be nation-building but killing terrorists in Afghanistan going forward. Oddly, several years ago I heard from a general departing to lead Americans in Afghanistan that we were failures at nation-building there, but good at killing.

Sorry folks. America has been trying to nation-build in Afghanistan for 16 years, and in Iraq (how did that go?) and in Vietnam before that (we know how that ended.) It has been about nation-building all along, and that has failed time after time. Despite what Trump said last night, it is still about nation-building in Afghanistan and Pakistan today.

Are we good at killing? Yes. Are we wasting another generation of young American troops in another fruitless war? Yes.  Are we protecting the American way of life in the process? No. Are we wasting more billions, even trillions, that could be used to rebuild our own nation? Yes.

Are we learning anything? Yes. Are we doing anything useful with that learning? Absolutely not. Thanks Trump. The one time where one of your bad ideas — getting out of Afghanistan — might have been positive, you failed us again last night.

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We visited Budapest several years ago, where the Hungarians took down the major statuary of the communist era and assembled it in a well-designed park outside the city in 1993. Marx, Lenin, Engels and the gang are gathered outside the city limits, where tourists and locals can find them, if they wish, but are not confronted with these symbols of a dark age, unless they wish to seek them out.

What America ought to do with the Confederate monuments being taken down is perhaps something like Memento Park in Budapest.

Chuck Todd of MSNBC closed his Sunday feature news program this morning by thanking the audience for watching his “show.” This grates me no end. To me, he is degrading an important news program by referring to it as a simple entertainment — a “show!”

Semantics matter, even in this world of reality TV and Trumpness.

A program implies, to me at least, something of importance. A show is just that, some Barnum & Bailey entertainment.

So, let’s call a spade a spade, and let’s call news by the name “programs,” and comedies, etc. “shows.” Such respect of semantics might help us begin to define the difference between the two terms in our contemporary lives, where, thanks to the one who calls himself “the President who is making America great again,” a meaningful “program” has often been denigrated to a mere “show.”

The opening scene in 2012, just five years ago, from the TV series  “The Newsroom,” made me tremble back then, and still does today, as the Trump regime bulldozes its way through the increasing rubble of America’s former greatness.

Wonder what I’m talking about? Take a look: you’ll remember.

One nice thing about getting to be an older man is that one no longer needs to give a damn about taking a strong position, and after just watching Trump in what was billed as his first press conference as President-elect, I’d rate him a one on a scale of ten, as he might say in commenting on young actresses.

Nice try, Mr. Trump. No, he didn’t even try.  In my 40 years of conducting scores of corporate news conferences and press briefings, I’ve never seen even the most calcitrant and abused CEO treat the press with as much open disdain as Trump did today. He courts the most intense scrutiny from the press any President has ever seen. I spent my career trying to build honest-broker relations with the press. In that respect, Trump is a total disaster, and if that is what his “base” wants to see, they are only confirming how “base” they are.

The loser in all this is not the press, it is you who are reading this, because of the questions not allowed to be asked and the questions remaining unanswered. You know, the French have had 13 governments since the original French revolution. That means they have peacefully thrown their entire government out 13 times. At this early stage of Trump’s reign, I’m sad to say it seems we may be due.

Sure, I want the Presidency to serve our nation well. Maybe Trump as President is not the same man we saw before his election. Maybe he’s not the same man I witnessed a decade ago when he verbally demeaned the news media while also demeaning  a large audience comprised substantially of professional women. Maybe he’s not the same man I watched announce his candidacy by calling Mexicans rapists, and calling for a wall with Mexico and the removal of 11 million people living in this country. Maybe he’s not the same man who called for barring Muslims from the U.S. Maybe he’s not the same man who invited Russian intelligence to undermine the U.S. election. Maybe he’s not the same man who said other countries ought to have the atom bomb, and that the hard-won multi-national anti-nuclear agreement with Iran should be torn up.

Maybe he’s not the same man…

Once again, it appears, subject to final reports, that the dangerously antiquated Electoral College has “trumpted” the will of the people by delivering the Presidency to the person who came in 2nd place in the popular vote — the real American vote, just as happened in 2000. When will we learn? When will we fix this travesty and blow against democracy?

Here’s the link to my essay on the Electoral College and what to do about it.

https://s3.amazonaws.com/ClubExpressClubFiles/11539/documents/Ebeling_-Collage.htm?AWSAccessKeyId=AKIAIB6I23VLJX7E4J7Q&Expires=1478725159&response-content-disposition=inline%3B%20filename%3DEbeling_-Collage.htm&Signature=IbLBksbCNV0NHjZj9wV42DMpM9Y%3D

 

And here is what NPR is reporting this morning :

Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton finds herself on the wrong end of an electoral split, moving ahead in the popular vote but losing to President-elect Donald Trump in the Electoral College, according to the latest numbers emerging Wednesday.

As of 10 a.m. ET, Clinton had amassed 59,299,381 votes nationally, to Trump’s 59,135,740 — a margin of 163,641 that puts Clinton on track to become the fifth U.S. presidential candidate to win the popular vote but lose the election.

Neither candidate got more than 50 percent of the vote — as of 10 a.m. ET, Clinton stood at 47.7 percent and Trump at 47.5 percent.

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