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Tag: fourth of july

What No Patriot Would Ever Do

"Performative patriotism" is a fancy way of describing what my father — a veteran of World War II who rarely spoke about his service — called "jelly-bellied flag flappers." Dad always laughed at those phonies, but we now suffer a president who is exactly that type, only worse. And Donald Trump's flag-flapping fakery is no joke.

A performative patriot is someone who, like Trump, oversells his supposed love of country, his reverence for the Stars and Stripes and, especially, his indignation at those whom he suspects of lacking his deep fervor. Such a figure will, like Trump, attempt to market these counterfeit emotions for his own benefit. And like Trump, that loud jingo is someone whose character will lead to a betrayal of American values.

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Danziger Draws

Jeff Danziger lives in New York City. He is represented by CWS Syndicate and the Washington Post Writers Group. He is the recipient of the Herblock Prize and the Thomas Nast (Landau) Prize. He served in the US Army in Vietnam and was awarded the Bronze Star and the Air Medal. He has published eleven books of cartoons and one novel. Visit him at DanzigerCartoons.

Despite Coronavirus Peril, Trump Insists On July 4 Events

Donald Trump has not backed down from plans to hold events to mark the Fourth of July in Washington, D.C., despite pleas from local lawmakers and elected officials who say going ahead with them is an unnecessary risk amid the COVID-19 pandemic and will cost far too much for a region already struggling with budget shortfalls due to the pandemic.

The White House announced the "Salute to America" event on the White House's south lawn and on the Ellipse in a statement on June 19, weeks after officials had asked Trump not to hold the event this year. "In addition to music, military demonstrations, and flyovers to honor our Nation's service members and veterans, the President will deliver remarks that celebrate our independence and salute our amazing heritage. The evening will culminate with a spectacular fireworks display over the National Mall."

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Taking A Summer Break From Trump’s Melodrama

This summer, I’m taking a tip from the Chantix turkey. You may have seen the ads for Chantix, a drug claiming to help people stop smoking gradually. The turkey character is seen trying to quit cigarettes in a calm, slow manner rather than going “cold turkey.” The mellow Galliforme calmly adjusts the A/C, reads a book poolside and relaxes at home in his retro argyle vest.

I’ve used these hot months to greatly slow Donald Trump’s assaults on my psyche. That doesn’t mean totally ignoring his destructive policies. It does mean ignoring his provocations.

It started around the Fourth of July. Trump turned this normally nonpartisan celebration into a tribute to himself. Did you hear a peep from me? You did not. While others railed, as Trump wanted them to, I attended to other matters.

Not only did I not watch the taxpayer-funded Trump commercial but I also skipped days of advanced wailing by his critics. I wish the protesters had found something else to do and kept the Trump-baby balloon in the garage. They only added to his coverage.

An entirely enjoyable Fourth centered on my town’s fireworks. The high point of national pride that week was provided by the U.S. women’s soccer team.

My feathers were a bit ruffled by Trump’s racist attacks on the “squad”, four radical Democratic congresswomen of color, last week. The tweet was disgusting, of course. And few Republican officials condemned it. Right, and the sun rose in the east.

Trump knows the quartet’s defense had been somewhat compromised by its members’ tossing around careless accusations of racism against other Democrats — as well as a vulgar anti-Semitic reference by one, Ilhan Omar. Perhaps concerned that House Speaker Nancy Pelosi has begun to rein them in, he seemed intent on keeping them front and center as the faces of the Democratic Party by whatever means.

It would not shock me to learn that Trump’s cruelty at the border was partly intended to goad some Democrats into advocating policies that would weaken immigration enforcement. Do they have any idea how unpopular these ideas are, even to many who they think they’re pandering to?

But Trump’s psychological warfare won’t prevail if the opposition’s obsession with him is replaced by an equal determination to vote him out in 2020. That’s hard when the media, commercial and social, have so much time on their hands and a tendency to focus on the inflammatory over the important.

I checked my news stations, CNN and MSNBC. From dawn till midnight, panels were discussing what Trump says, what he believes, whether he believes what he says, why he’s saying it and what he thinks he’ll get out of it. The conversations loop around the same tedious circles.

And along with that repetition comes the listing of Trump’s contradictions, lies and ugly conspiracy theories. Look at all the America bashing he’s done! Remember his bizarre “American carnage” inaugural speech — given at a time of falling crime rates and a 40-year low in border-crossing arrests? Who needs reminding?

Trump is hypocritical, shameless and an international embarrassment? You don’t say.

Helping keep me cool are polls showing Joe Biden comfortably ahead in most primary races. Biden is the candidate not threatening private health insurance coverage for about 250 million Americans. And he doesn’t want to decriminalize illegal border crossings. Nevertheless, as president he would be worlds more humane toward immigrants than the current White House occupant.

Biden is the one standing strongest between Trump and a second term.

The turkey has the right idea in turning down the noise and opening a paper book. Me? It’s time to fill the birdbath and fertilize the tomatoes.

The Opposite Of Patriotism

 

Vindication is not always a happy feeling, not when the nation is at such grave risk.

In years past, I’ve often devoted my Fourth of July column to observing that the right has no monopoly on patriotism. The Tories of the Revolutionary era, who demanded loyalty to the British throne, were the right-wing reactionaries of their time, as were the Confederates who sought to destroy the Union in defense of chattel slavery, and as were the America Firsters who advanced the interests of Nazi Germany against the security of the United States. I wrote those columns in memory of my father: a son of immigrants, a military veteran of World War II, a small business owner, and a passionate liberal.

Those same arguments are now embodied in the person and conduct of the President of the United States, an ostensibly conservative politician whose nearly every act violates the Constitution and betrays the national interest. Donald Trump, who is sometimes seen publicly pressing his corpulent figure up against Old Glory, is what my dad used to mock as a “jelly bellied flag flapper.” It’s a phrase from an old Kipling story about another character with an appalling impulse to aggrandize himself by abusing the flag. And now, on the national holiday, he is about to go still further to showcase his “patriotic” fervor.

Like Trump’s disrespectful assault on the flag, however, his plan to impose himself on the Fourth of July evokes nothing except an intense feeling of disgust.

Unlike any other president in history, Trump is determined to pervert the celebration of the nation’s independence into a promotion of his own unappealing persona. Against the better judgment of our general staff, he aims to fulfill his authoritarian fantasies with a lengthy military parade that includes tanks, mimicking the style of a tinpot dictator. He has ordered dozens of flyovers to accompany an idiotic address that he will deliver in front of the Lincoln Memorial, in which he will no doubt declare once more that he is the most accomplished president in history. He is handing out tickets for this taxpayer-sponsored extravaganza to his high-rolling donors.  No expense will be spared to make this draft-dodger, who dares to mock the service of real heroes, feel like a strongman.

Retired Major General Paul Eaton, who has devoted his life to military service, expresses succinctly the anger of so many like him:

“By roping our military into what has become a highly partisan July Fourth event that celebrates Donald Trump, our military is being cheapened. They’re being made to act like window dressing for a tinpot dictator wannabe. Many in the media may be fooled by the pomp and circumstance, and say the staging makes Trump look bigger. But…I can tell you it makes him look small and weak. And it makes it look like he has no respect for the proud tradition of our great military.”

While that contemptible tableau unfolds before the world, it is vital to remember how Trump’s behavior belies the red-white-and-blue fireworks and all the other showbiz “patriotism” on display. His specific offenses against constitutional order and national security are far too numerous to list here. He has repeatedly denigrated the military, intelligence and law enforcement officials who devote their lives to their country’s service. He has bowed and scraped and debased himself before the world’s worst leaders, whose bloody repression he evidently admires. He has refused to defend the country’s election system against foreign adversaries. He has undermined the alliances that have kept the nation secure for more than seven decades. Indeed, he has routinely encouraged the heirs of Nazism and fascism while insulting democratic forces everywhere.

But rest assured, he is truly a “conservative,” in the current and deeply distorted sense denoted by that term in American politics. He can suck up to the Russian autocrat and the North Korean despot all day every day, while conservative organizations and media outlets will only praise him. He can ignore the Constitution, a document that means nothing to him, and use his office to enrich himself, and the conservatives will make excuses. He can savage the free press, as he did with his buddy Vladimir Putin, whose regime murders journalists, and the conservatives will insist he was joking.

No, the right enjoys no monopoly on patriotism — and on this Fourth of July, their grotesque fealty to Trumpism will prove the point again, as noisily as a tank rumbling on a city street.

Big Fireworks Donor To Trump’s July 4 Event Is Lobbying Him On Tariffs

The head of a fireworks company who is personally lobbying Trump to drop tariffs affecting his industry has donated fireworks worth $750,000 to Trump’s Independence Day celebration in Washington, D.C.

The White House is calling the event, which will include a Trump speech at the Lincoln Memorial, a “Salute to America,” but it’s an obvious attempt to hijack what has been a non-partisan concert and fireworks display, turning it into a bigger security nightmare than usual, and increasing the cost of the event for the local Washington, D.C. government.

The Washington Examinereported on Monday that Phantom Fireworks’ donation will add “15-20 minutes to the traditional show,” and is “valued at $750,000.”

Bruce J. Zoldan is the president and CEO of Phantom. Zoldan met with Trump at Trump Tower in December of 2016, during the presidential transition period.

Recently, he has been lobbying the Trump administration to exempt the fireworks industry from the job-killing tariffs Trump placed against Chinese imports.

“It’s virtually impossible for our product to be made anywhere else but in China,” Zoldan told the Washington Post in May.

The Post reported that Zoldan met with White House officials “to press his case” and was working on a formal request for the exemption.

“With an unfair tax that serves to raise the cost of firework devices so significantly, we’re hurting the very organizations that make up the fabric of America,” the National Fireworks Association said when the tariffs were first announced.

Zoldan’s donation gives a boost to the explosions at the event, which Trump has been obsessed with. He boasted in February of a “major fireworks display.” Now a company that is lobbying him for an exemption is making a massive donation to help give him the display he’s been fantasizing about for months.

It remains to be seen whether the donation for Trump’s salute to himself will pay off for the industry.

Published with permission of The American Independent.

 

Trump’s July Fourth Event Builds Profits For His Washington Hotel

Trump will line his own pockets while he wrecks the previously nonpartisan Fourth of July celebration in Washington, D.C., according to a Friday report from HuffPost.

The Trump International Hotel is already sold out on July 3 and 4, and prices on July 5 are more than twice what the hotel normally charges, according to the watchdog group Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW).

As HuffPost reported, Trump never cut financial ties with his business empire, so he profits every time someone stays at his hotels. Last year, he made $41 million from the Trump hotel in Washington, D.C., while his daughter Ivanka, an unpaid White House senior adviser, made $4 million from her stake in the property.

“This July 4th presents a unique opportunity for the President to both promote himself politically, and to increase his bottom line,” CREW says, adding that “no modern president has so blatantly profited from his political position before, or centered the 4th of July celebration so squarely around himself.”

The White House is calling the event a “Salute to America,” but it turns a celebration of America into a spectacle where Trump is the center of attention. And he is forcing himself on an unwilling city to do it, giving a speech from the steps of the Lincoln Memorial a few hours before fireworks go off above the nation’s capital.

Trump’s decision to make a nonpartisan event into a self-aggrandizing spectacle worries some senators.

“We are deeply troubled that the president’s involvement at the event will turn the longstanding, non-partisan celebration into a de facto campaign rally conducted at taxpayer expense that will serve to further divide rather than unify the nation,” Sens. Tom Udall (D-NM), Patrick Leahy (D-VT) and Chris Van Hollen (D-MD) wrote in a letter to the Interior Department. The senators also expressed concerns about the added expense Trump is forcing the city to absorb to compensate for his stunt.

CREW slammed Trump’s “blatant self-promotion on a federal holiday,” disappointed that he “plans to hijack and politicize the Washington D.C. 4th of July celebration this year.”

Published with permission of The American Independent.

 

‘Baby Trump’ Balloon May Fly In Washington On Fourth Of July

Trump is attempting to ruin the nonpartisan Fourth of July festivities in Washington, D.C. by making it all about him — so one group plans to fight back by welcoming him with a giant “Baby Trump” blimp, the Washington Post reports.

The activist group Code Pink has applied for a permit from the National Park Service to fly the famous Baby Trump blimp on July 4, coinciding with Trump’s plan to speak from the steps of the Lincoln Memorial.

The “blimp,” which is more accurately a very large balloon like those flown in parades, portrays Trump in a diaper with a “scowling, splotchy face of a giant orange baby,” according to the Post.

The blimp  garnered international attention as it greeted Trump on two separate visits to England, including his most recent trip at the beginning of June.

“We see it as an image of Trump’s behavior, which is, as we all know, unpredictable and prone to tantrums about things that are really, really dangerous,” Ariel Gold, Code Pink’s co-director, told the Post.

Trump’s decision to insert himself into the traditionally nonpartisan Fourth of July festivities has been roundly criticized by both members of Congress and organizers of the celebration.

“It’s not about any one person, it’s about ‘We, the people,’” Rep. Betty McCollum (D-MN) told the Washington Post in May, shortly after Trump’s plans were announced. “And if the president moves to make this about him, I think he will find the American public disappointed and angered by it.”

McCollum, and several other leading members of Congress, wrote a letter to Trump expressing concern that his giving a speech in front of the Lincoln Memorial “could create the appearance of a televised, partisan campaign rally on the Mall at public expense.”

Trump forced the planners of the fireworks display to relocate in order to accommodate him, and Washington, D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser opposes the move because of the logistical and security problems it creates for the city and the celebration.

“This will be painful to manage,” Terrence W. Gainer, a former executive assistant police chief in D.C., told the Post. And Gainer would know, as he was in charge of security concerns for the July 4 fireworks celebration following the 9/11 terrorist attacks.

While the permit to fly the Baby Trump blimp has been filed, it has not been approved yet. The permits are handled on a first-come, first-served basis, according to the National Park Service.

If it is approved, Trump could be forced to stare at a floating, splotchy, scowling image of himself as he speaks.

Published with permission of The American Independent.