Tag Archives: donald trump

With Thanks To Ford, Nike And John McCain

Haven’t written anything in a while, mostly because I was just too bummed out.   Filled with an ongoing sense of ennui brought about by the endless onslaught of instability filling our national discourse making those of us with any sense of decency feeling as though the abolitionist movement never was.  That we would be forced to start all over again against the undercurrent of racism that came roaring back to the surface with Donald Trump and his “good” Nazis.  In 2018.   It strains belief.

As a white man, I will never be able to appreciate what it must feel like to have to worry about being pulled over for “driving while black” each and every time I pull out of the garage.    I will never be able to truly appreciate the black experience in America or being Latino with a president calling out Latino immigrants for being “rapists.”   I might try, and I might think I can sympathize and even empathize with black and Latino Americans, but I really can’t.   Not fully.  Not after growing up wrapped in the arms of white privilege.

Just when I was about to step off the cliff and into the eternal abyss the Ford Motor Company did something that was noble and right.  They came out in support of black athletes being allowed their freedom of expression.   The good folks at Ford  own the Detroit Lions, by the way, so this was no small gesture – particularly on top of what Nike did with their continued support of Colin Kaepernick, which boosted Nike’s online sales by more than thirty percent.

Suddenly I was feeling not great, but something at least approaching good, again.   I mean it’s really something when  you feel like giving thanks for a week-long memorial service, only because it provided a  pause from the relentless madness emanating from the White House.   A temporary return to civic decency provided by the funeral of American hero, John McCain.   A man who may have been the last good Republican standing.

However, as it turned out this new-found flicker of decency promising to light the fire of hope didn’t stop there.  It kept burning with Bob Woodward’s book, followed closely by a gut-spilling op-ed in the New York Times, telling us all that there are still adults keeping an eye on things at the White House.   That yes, our commander in chief might be a freaking loon, but that there are patriotic Americans working behind the scenes to make sure the Donald doesn’t fly into a rage and do something really, really stupid – beyond his normal stupidity –  because his nanny showed up late for work and consequently failed to provide him with a clean nappy for his shiny giant heiny.

Thank you, Ford.  Thank you, Nike.   Thank you, New York Times.  Thanks to all those nameless patriots who stand for civil rights and against racial injustice. Thanks to all those nameless bureaucrats who daily, stand between Donald J. Trump and the potential annihilation of the Republic.   Thank God and the founders, for our free press.

What an interesting coalition this is turning out to be,  American corporate capitalists joining forces with pro-athlete civil rights protesters, the FBI and unnamed behind-the-scenes patriots in the man-child president’s inner-circle supported by a free press.

To be sure, Ford and Nike never would have taken the positions they adopted without first conducting enough market research to ensure that what they were doing wouldn’t cripple their bottom lines.  So what?  The point,  is that instead of playing it safe, they did it.   Additionally, their research surely convinced them that there are more of their customers out there who want us to work out our problems than to continue denying and failing to deal with the ongoing problem of racism in America.

Hang on, a resolution is coming.   A big blue wave that will wash over the fat blubbering man-child lying on the floor of the Oval Office, banging his fists into the carpet and flailing his fat feet,  trying hard to pronounce actual words as he throws his latest tantrum for being unloved, unappreciated and misunderstood.   For in his mind, he is the only one that matters.   The one and only one.   Therein lies the real danger.  And his party does nothing.    If this fact alone doesn’t motivate you to throw these Republican bums out in November, then you will deserve nothing less than the economic ruin and assorted chaos that is sure to follow.    Vote.  We are so much better than this.

 

Ronald Reagan Must Be Spinning In His Grave

We no longer have a Federal Government. Just a daily soap opera masquerading as real life, with our lives hanging in the balance.

Following the Easter Egg roll at the White House, with Donald urging the kiddies to think about the $700 billion that’s being spent on our military as a bespectacled giant bunny looked on and the story in the Daily Mail about Jared Kushner turning over U.S. intelligence to the Saudis, one wonders if Donald Trump might be secretly disassembling our nuclear arsenal on orders from Vladimir Putin.

Can we withstand this? Considering the threat Trump and his posse pose to the country how can the Republican Party allow this daily insanity to continue?  Was Kushner eventually able to get that “back channel” to the Kremlin he went after in the Trump Administration’s opening days?   If he did get it, does the CIA know about it?  Are they listening?

As Ronald Reagan put it,  “So, in your discussions of the nuclear freeze proposals, I urge you to beware the temptation of pride–the temptation of blithely..uh..declaring yourselves above it all and label both sides equally at fault, to ignore the facts of history and the aggressive impulses of an evil empire, to simply call the arms race a giant misunderstanding and thereby remove yourself from the struggle between right and wrong and good and evil.”  

The “evil empire” Reagan spoke of in 1983 isn’t gone, it’s just changed in form from the Soviet Union with its KGB, transformed into the new Russian Mafia with Putin as Godfather and Donald Trump in his pocket.   Sanctions, Trump has  finally been forced to put in place against Russia only after significant evidence that the Russians committed multiple murders on British soil, could be nothing more than a temporary necessary step to provide cover so that the Trump/Putin relationship can survive.   Or maybe Donald Trump really is the “moron” he is charged with being.   Just one more “useful idiot” for the Putin machine.  Either way, Republican standard-bearer Ronald Reagan,  a president who was always on guard to the threat posed by Russia and who died thinking the cold war might finally be coming to an end,  must be spinning in his grave.

Threats Of A Presidential Slugfest?

While our politicos debate what should be done about kids slaughtering other kids in our schools with assault weapons, we now have a former Vice President and our current President threatening each other with assault.   They’re talking about taking it out behind the barn and slugging it out.  Wonderful.

Bad enough we have to juggle Donald’s illicit love affairs with his love for Putin.   Now he’s talking about taking it out behind the barn.

Out in the real world, boy wonder, 33 year-old Mark Zuckerberg, doesn’t seem to grasp the enormity of his website providing more than half of America with their news.  Think about that.  More than half of Americans 50 or older,  presumably think that what they are reading on Facebook, is news.  That it’s valid.

During an interview with “Wired,” regarding Facebook’s information sharing issues, Zuckerberg said, “The good news here is that the big actions that we needed to take to prevent this from happening today we took three or four years ago. But had we taken them five or six years ago, we wouldn’t be here right now.”   

What?  Where?  Who?  And this guy’s in charge of America’s most potent opinion forming platform?

Pew Research reports, “For the first time in the Center’s surveys, more than half (55%) of Americans ages 50 or older report getting news on social media sites.”   Click here, to read the report, “News Across Social Media Platforms in 2017.”

While the pundits prattle on about Stormy Daniels and Joe Biden dreams to taking Trump out behind the gym (although Trump prefers “the barn”), the nation’s business is left undone – except for anything the Republicans can quietly pull off behind the huge political smokescreen that’s covering the nation’s capitol.

It’s at once both frightening and fatiguing.   Feels like we could crash at any minute with the Republican Party at the wheel, as an uncontrolled Internet provides all the bogus and biased news either side cares to consume, some of it coming from Russian bot farms while Donald praises Vladimir Putin on his “electoral” win.

Where have all the adults gone?    Is John McCain the last sane Republican standing?  How is it even possible that this current batch of Republicans is so totally devoid of conscience and shame that they risk throwing over the country for a pot of gold?  Can this even be happening?

Don’t be fooled.  There is a difference between the two parties.  Vote for Democrats in November.  Throw these Republican bums out.

And to those who have recently charged me with being something less than a journalist because I state opinions, please try and understand that this is what I do.   As it states on the front page of my website, what you are getting here is “news and opinion.”   The difference between me and those other guys, is that I tell you up front that I’m writing opinion pieces.   If you don’t like what you see here, then please feel free to stay away.

Maybe Dr. Evil Will Save Us?

Is Michael Wolff really the author of this new book outlining how nutso Donald Trump is, or is that Mike Meyers doing his Dr. Evil thing?   The resemblance is uncanny.  Will the Donald, “He is like a child,”  be able to fend off a major frontal attack by the evil one?

Whatever you might think of Wolff and his book “Fire and Fury,” it should be of interest that mainstream, credible reporters, have been checking with their White House sources to be told that generally the book gets it right.   Donald J. Trump, is dangerously incompetent and possibly unstable.   More than two-dozen mental health professionals wrote a book about that same frightening issue months ago.   And that begs the question:  Where are the Democrats?   Remember those guys?

Trump’s fellow Republicans clearly care nothing for the common good of the country, only the good of their wealthy benefactors,  as they support Trump’s ravings, cutting healthcare to the poor, opening the nation to more off-shore oil wells, mining in wilderness areas, the destruction of the EPA and huge tax cuts for the wealthy while they threaten to do away with Medicare and Social Security.

Where are the Democrats?  Will they ever grow a spine?   They should be at the forefront, screaming about Trump’s possible mental instability, his family’s admitted Russia connection and demanding that the Republicans begin impeachment proceedings in the House immediately.  Or at least get the IRS to show us his tax returns.  Some of us are still waiting.

Nothing much is at stake here, just the future of the country.

It’s one thing to stay out of the way as your opponent destroys himself.  It’s entirely another to run away like scared little mice, holding your silence, while the nation remains in very real jeopardy from an executive inner-circle that resembles a Looney Tunes cartoon with Daffy Duck in the lead.

With the mostly silent Democrats going all weak in the knees before swooning and falling to the ground, it is perhaps fitting that none other than Dr. Evil should come to our rescue.   Somebody had to do it.  These cowardly Dems couldn’t even see to it that Al Franken was given the due process he deserved.   Oh no, the party of the weak and neurotic was only too eager to help boot Franken out the door.

Can’t wait for Mini-Me to get here.  With Donald, the Doctor will need all the support he can get.  FDR, Teddy Kennedy and now even Al Franken are unfortunately,  long gone.

The History Making March That Never Was

My wife got up this morning asking whether I knew about the march in New York over the weekend.   “No,” I said, I did not, even though I read everything I can get my hands on and watch a broad variety of tv news programs, both foreign and domestic.

The march, according to my wife’s network of progressive to moderate Facebook friends, took place on Saturday.   More than one-hundred psychiatrists, psychologists and other mental health professionals were marching to call attention to their concern about the mental health of Donald J. Trump.  This was, to the best of my knowledge, a historical first for the United States, and maybe the world.  This alone, makes the event not just newsworthy, but highly newsworthy.

We’re not talking about some goofy leftover Hippies here, or twenty-first century saboteurs throwing stink bombs and spraying graffiti.   No, these were educated and credentialed mental health professionals.  Presumably some of the best minds our society has produced.

I’m sure someone must have done some reporting on it, although I recall scanning the papers over the weekend and turning on the network news Saturday night, only to find it had been bumped by football.  A nation and its networks must have priorities, and we do love our football, don’t we?  And all those lovely advertising dollars?  So what’s a little news, more or less?   Or an informed public?

A group of twenty-seven mental health professionals, presumably some of the same psychiatrists and psychologists that were marching in New York on Saturday, have also written a book entitled,  “The Dangerous Case of Donald Trump.”   If you missed the march, you can always read the book.  Chances are you didn’t hear about it on the network news.   They also have a “Duty To Warn” website.   You probably won’t hear about that on the news, either.

Finding Salvation In Baseball

 

Generally, pretending a problem doesn’t exist only makes it worse. This may not be the case with Donald Trump.   I no longer need to hear his voice.  It takes only his image popping up on a video screen to make me mildly nauseous.

I considered watching Trump’s address in Phoenix last night but decided against it.   In all likelihood, it would be just one more largely nonsensical rave, filled with falsehoods and general negativity, containing nothing good at all.  For anybody.   Just more fodder for his base, who, filled with the joy of madness,  have already taken leave of their senses.  He probably wouldn’t even say anything about the sailors we lost in the collision of the USS John S. McCain.   So I watched a baseball game instead.

Turned out that I made the right move.

After the game, one of the pundits told me that Trump’s campaign-type rally, only seven months into his first term, was in fact just one more negative, nonsensical rave, filled with falsehoods.   There was nothing good for anybody.   No real content about anything, including his much heralded plan for going forward in Afghanistan.  I was also informed that he ignored our sailors recently lost at sea.

Like any small child whose only goal is to irritate the hell out of you, the only sensible course of action with Trump is to ignore him, while continuing to demand that the Republicans, who hold the reigns of power in D.C., do what they were elected to do, putting the best interests of the country ahead of their own selfish best interests.

They need to either impeach the Donald or use the 25th Amendment to get rid of him as quickly as possible.   Why?  Because he appears to be trying to re-boot the Civil War, a position which is quite simply, nuts.

While we wait around to see what happens,  I am pretty much resigned to believing the only way to survive Trump, will be to watch more baseball.  Completely ignoring the crazy man in the White House until the miserable, cowardly Republicans lose their majority in the House and Senate in 2018, or even better, Trump loses the election in 2020.

Until the inevitable happens, whatever that turns out to be,  I offer the simple hypothesis that watching baseball is a viable alternative. It is at least, a way to stay sane, as Donald Trump appears to be an exception to the rule that ignoring a problem will only make it worse.

His Next Tantrum Could Kill Millions

We bounce merrily along,  ignoring the fact that what we’ve done in the past has failed to work, even when presented with our latest crises, the terrible “Opioid Epidemic” and the nuclear threat posed by North Korea.   Many of our alleged leaders react with nonsense, or fail to react at all, hiding behind the marble columns in DC, doing nothing and hoping no one will notice.

How much worse can Opioids be than the tons of Cocaine that were poured into our inner cities in the eighties to circumvent the Congress and provide funding to the Contras?  Were she alive, would cute and perky little Nancy Reagan again be telling us all to “just say no?”

Or is this a different sort of problem, because so many white people are impacted along with poor blacks in the inner-cities, where the war on drugs was an abject failure, turning our streets into free-fire zones while the potential for a real solution, decriminalizing drugs and treating it as a medical rather than a legal problem, continued to be all but ignored.   It’s just so much easier albeit more costly, to keep throwing people in jail.

As for North Korea, an armistace was signed in July of 1953.   A pause in the fighting, and that’s where it’s been for more than sixty years.  Now, suddenly, we’re all supposed to lose sleep because the boy-man Donald Trump has decided to pin Kim Jong-un’s ears to the wall?

Diplomacy was working.  At the UN, we finally had both China and Russia in our corner, which might have led to a real solution with Kim and North Korea.   It would have taken some time, but we might actually have reached a point where, like China, North Korea could have been included rather than excluded from the economic ties that bind our family of nations.

Instead of taking the opportunity the UN provided, Trump slammed the door shut on a peaceful resolution by pushing Kim to the brink of nuclear war.   It’s difficult to determine whose judgment is more flawed, Kim or Donald, who now, apparently, is being mostly advised by military men, whose training leans toward fighting and winning wars, not the fine art of diplomacy.

Trump is also, apparently, influenced by his base, made up largely of white, non-college educated and aging white men, who feel angry for being left behind and seem to only understand someone who is one of their own.   Another aging angry white guy, who wants to kick somebody’s ass.   I often thought Barack Obama, acted too much like a debate team captain, but hey, threatening nuclear war against a frightened kid with a really bad haircut and nukes is no answer either.

Beyond that, it’s doubtful Donald Trump has the strength or courage to actually kick anyone’s ass.  But he puts on a good show for his base.  Problem is that this time the show,  featuring Trump’s big mouth, could get millions of people killed.

Kim, is like a child holding a roomful of adults hostage with a loaded shotgun.  The last thing you should do is enrage the child to the point that he throws a fit and pulls the trigger.   Trump can’t seem to understand this.   Maybe he doesn’t know there are 300-thousand Americans in South Korea.  Perhaps he doesn’t understand that he’s playing with their lives and the lives of more than 50-million South Koreans as well?  Maybe it just doesn’t register?

The nation needs to take a collective breath, step back and think, rather then just recoiling in fear at Trump’s next outrageous, insane utterance about Kim or Opioids.   We need to ask ourselves what we as a people can actually do to fix these problems and then demand that our leaders get it done.

There are solutions.   Federal and state governments can come up with a workable plan to treat drug abuse like the medical problem it is.   The money saved from housing people in private jails on non-violent drug charges should more than pay for the effort.

For their part, the Republicans, and I know this will be difficult, but the Republicans must begin impeachment proceedings against Mr. Trump.   Or they can continue wondering just how unhinged his mind actually is, while they wait for the bombs to fall.  If not in North Korea, then somewhere else.  If nuclear war is the result and millions are killed, it will be on their heads.  The Republican Party.

“Just say no,” doesn’t work.  It never did.   Many of the problems resulting from that failed policy are still with us.  The war on drugs failed miserably.  Sending out a potentially demented president to conduct a war of words with a nuclear armed lunatic boy-man, is equally flawed.  Real solutions are out there,  but our leaders must have the courage to act.  Sliding one way and then the other to protect their own selfish best interest as they continue to ignore the real needs and security of the nation is not acceptable.

The childish cry of “Just say no,” doesn’t work.  Never did.  It’s time to think like adults and come up with some workable solutions.

FOP Needs To Do Right By Its Members

Now that Donald Trump has tried to poison the minds of Boy Scouts at their Jamboree and in another instance openly encouraged police to use excessive force, isn’t it time for the Fraternal Order of Police, the “FOP” to withdraw their endorsement of Mr. Trump?

Donald Trump has opened the door for FOP leadership to do the right thing by getting in line with other law enforcement leaders who are speaking out against the President’s appeal for police officers to get “rough” with those taken into custody.

The FOP’s leadership made a mistake and it’s time for them to deal with it. Their more than 300,000 members deserve nothing less.   There are a lot of good cops out on the streets trying to do their jobs as best they can from one day to the next.  It’s just plain wrong to paint them all with the same broad brush of Trumpist extremism. With its support for Donald Trump the FOP is not only making its membership look bad, it is also potentially creating ill-will with the community at large.  Police work is difficult enough without mixed-signals.

Mr. Trump, Leave The Boy Scouts Alone

Following Trump’s asinine and dangerous rant at the Boy Scout Jamboree, a thought popped into my head. The simple truth is that the United States is like one great big store. We live in the store. We own it. It’s like we live in an apartment above our great big store. The people we hired to manage our store are doing an unacceptable job. Simply put, it is time to bring in new managers who can get our business back on track.

Our Chief Executive should not be on the campaign trail six months after his inauguration filling our Boy Scouts full of self-serving, nonsensical political propaganda. What other figure on the world stage has ever sunk so low as to demand not loyalty to the country but personal loyalty to him from the nation’s youth?  Anybody come to mind?  My disgust for Donald J. Trump has hit a new low.

As with all potentially sociopathic personalities, we have reached a point where it no longer matters whether Mr. Trump does what he does intentionally or whether he might be delusional.   The Congress must do its duty, fulfill its obligation to the people, and begin impeachment proceedings immediately.  Anything less will be negligence and will land directly on the Republican Party, which currently controls both houses of the Congress.

Ron Olsen
Former Member
Boy Scouts of America

Wanted: A Little Truth Telling

The most victimized by “fake news,” are those who most loudly decry its very existence. They fall prey to it because they don’t have the critical thinking skills needed to identify what it is and to recognize where it’s coming from – that it is being produced by the very same people and organizations they loudly support on the far-right.

Among these purveyors of political propaganda perhaps the most noteworthy is Donald J. Trump, who continues to stand the media on its head by declaring real news to be fake and vice-versa.

And now, rising to yet a new level of deceit, it appears there are those who are going to great lengths to design “leads” on fake news stories.  It’s a kind of reverse “phishing”  technique aimed at the legitimate media, attempting to get real news organizations hooked on a phony story by planting bogus information so that once the story comes out the alt-right can point its crooked finger at the legitimate media while screaming, “See we told you so!  Fake News!”   

It appears the legitimate media’s Queen of intellectual power and credibility, Rachel Maddow, was a recent target of this technique.

As “The Hill” reports – “MSNBC host Rachel Maddow warned other media outlets on Thursday that she believes she was provided forged National Security Agency documents alleging collusion between a Trump campaign official and Russia’s efforts to influence last year’s presidential election.

“I feel like I need to send this up like a flare for other news organizations in particular,” Maddow said on her program Thursday night.”

So Maddow and her producers didn’t fall for it.   They didn’t get sucked into the vortex of what appeared to be a big story based upon what appeared to be an official document.  Good for them.  As she pointed out on her show, one wonders who else has taken the bait, or might?   One wonders if Dan Rather’s producer at CBS and ultimately Rather himself,  might not have been victims of this same tactic?

There are those who might say a media organization will have only itself to blame if it fails to properly check out the information it’s using prior to airing or publishing a story.  And they’d be right.  However, if those planting the fake story are really good at what they’re doing,  if they have unlimited backing from some…oh, let’s call it an “evil empire”…. then it’s a good bet that eventually they will be able to hook somebody with their scheme.   Maybe as big a fish as Dan Rather or Rachel Maddow?

With the President of the United States acting as Finger Pointer in Chief,  firing off repeated allegations of “fake news” and even suggesting the law should be changed to make it easier to file a lawsuit against the media,  our political and media environments are growing stranger by the hour.   Every tweet, holds the potential for a new horror, like the latest from Donald Trump Jr.,  showing Donald Trump in a fighter jet shooting down another jet labeled “CNN.”   This is not funny or clever, it is unacceptable behavior that could lead to a member of the press being seriously injured or killed.

Much of this feels like one of those spy novels set in the 60’s, where the KGB was out to get us using anything that worked, be it disinformation, misinformation, blackmail, and probably a few other spy tricks most of us had never thought of, like hacking an American election or buying off highly-placed elected American officials?  The principle difference, of course, is that in the 60’s, it was the U.S. Government and the American press that were aligned against the Russians.   Now it’s Trump and the Russians, who appear to be aligned against the American press.

Against this backdrop Mr. Trump meets with Vladimir Putin, the President of the United States,  still under the influence of what appears to be continued denial with regard to Russian hacking as he agrees to set the hacking issue aside so that they can move forward with their relationship?

Question is, move forward with what?   Is the totalitarian Putin going to stop murdering journalists, jailing opposition politicians, invading neighboring countries, supporting a bloodthirsty dictator in Syria even while he promises a partial ceasefire?    And Donald Trump, the President of the United States, gives the appearance of being just one more useful idiot as he looks the other way in tacit approval of all that Putin stands for.

According to Secretary of State, Rex Tillerson, the two sides came away from their two-hour meeting during the G20 Summit, with an agreement to hold further talks,  “regarding commitments of noninterference in the affairs of the United States and our democratic process.”  It’s important to understand the insanity of believing the United States can work with the Russians on preventing future hacking incidents, when it’s the Russians who are doing the hacking but refuse to admit that it’s taking place.   And this apparently, is the “deal” Trump got from Putin.  It’s laughable.

Whose best interests does Trump have in mind?  Ours, or Putin and his Russian oligarchs?   And where do Trump’s business interests fit in?   Perhaps even more troubling is the question of whether this President has the intellectual capacity to sort it all out,  whether he may be suffering from one or more disabilities that preclude the possibility of rational thought?  More than one observer has commented that his personality appears to have been impacted since entering the political process, some saying he is changed man.  In addition, his physical well being remains suspect, as we have  yet to see anything approaching a comprehensive medical report on his 71 year-old physique.

Is the partial ceasefire real, or nothing but disinformation?   A lie that will turn to dust in a few weeks, after Trump has used it as red meat for his base, ostensibly proving that his relationship with Putin has some value after all, while the fact that Mr. Putin is believed to have directed the hacking of an American election will be nothing but an afterthought?  Just another bit of fake news.  Another Trumpian deflection,  targeting an American public who increasingly look like lambs to the slaughter as the Kremlin chalks up one more victory in its ongoing assault on Liberal Democracy.

Trump, Wahhabism And The Art Of The Deal

Did you catch the coverage of DJT and his newest best buddies the Saudis, at the Islamic “Counter-Terrorism Center?”  I might have missed something, but all I saw was a whole lot of Arab men (no women allowed) sitting at computers doing God knows what. Purifying the local Internet based upon Islamic law with a foundation in ultra-conservative Wahhabism, probably.   It might be easier to just call it what it is.  Good old fashioned censorship.

This highlights the contradictory thinking America continues struggling with when it comes to the Arabs.  It is also at the heart of the battle the ruling House of Saud is having with so much of its populace, which privately continues to support ISIS and other terrorist factions.   The House of Saud and their King, put on their best face when Trump comes to visit, but have to continually worry about facing an uprising should that face prove to be too progressive, setting the extremist Wahhabist’s hair on fire.

Watching the video come in I had two thoughts.  The first, was that there were no women working at the “Center.”   How are they supposed to get there when they can’t leave the house without their husband’s permission and they aren’t permitted to drive?  The second, was that the whole place would be emptied out once Trump and the Americans left the premises.

There’s a whole big cultural thing going on here, you see, and one has to wonder the degree to which Donald J. Trump and his advisers might be clueless.   It’s a geopolitical mistake western leaders have continued to make bigly since at least the end of World War I, when they carved up the Middle East with borders the Arabs and other indigenous peoples failed to recognize, and it’s getting really, really old.  Pretty sure there’s nothing about the Sunnis and the Shia and their centuries old differences in “The Art of the Deal.”   It’s not the kind of thing Donald would have picked up while doing his research watching “Fox and Friends,” the only media outlet he seems to approve of.

To date, everything he’s done on his trip  appears to be building polarization between the two branches of Islam, which can only lead to greater conflict rather than peace.

Then there’s the Administration’s aversion to our free press.

In Riyadh, Rex Tillerson again turned his back on American journalists, as they were kept out of a news conference Tillerson held with Saudi foreign minister, Adel bin Ahmed Al-Jubeir.   In the past, the Trump Administration had barred only select media outlets from attending press conferences at the White House while allowing only one reporter to accompany Tillerson on his trip to Japan.   Now they appear to be slamming the door on all the American media, while only the Saudi press is allowed through the door in Riyadh and the Russians hold sway in the Oval Office.   Remember the Russian press being allowed into the Oval Office while our guys were kept out when Donald met with the Russians?   And then the Russians turned around and bitch-slapped Donald, by releasing all those photos of the Prez grinning broadly with two enemy agents complicit in hacking the U.S. election in 2016?

A pattern seems to be developing, indicating the Donald favoring strong-man Kings and dictators, while having serious problems with the blessings of democracy and a free press.  And now there are issues with mere handshakes.

Remember Donald not wanting to shake Angela Merkle’s hand?” Well, he’s taken that several steps further in Israel,  where Bebe Netanyahu, reportedly had to order his entire cabinet to attend a welcoming ceremony for the Trumps, after cabinet members were told the American President had no interest in shaking their hands.

Hope Donald knows that praying at the “Wailing Wall” doesn’t mean that he should literally wail, as his entourage moves on to Israel.   Then again, who really cares?  The man just did a one-eighty with the Saudis who he earlier blamed for the attacks of 9-11.  Now he appears to be doing all he can to fire up war with Iran.  He has no credibility left.  Chaos, confusion and ill-will seem to follow him wherever he goes.  A little wailing might actually do him some good.

Trump Falls Into Saudi’s Open Arms – Turning His Back On Iran

It feels as though a blanket of calm has been spread over the country with Trump and his Russian-connected cabal out of the daily mix.

The President of the United States has taken his overseas road show to Saudi Arabia, where his first act was taking part in a sword dance, with our President standing in a line of Saudis, clad in their traditional robes and headgear, all waving swords in the air.  Very dignified.   When the Saudis come to visit the U.S., maybe Trump can stage a western gunfight with everybody clad in styles from the old west and shooting blanks at one another with six-guns.   Silly as it might be, we’ll still be a century or so ahead of the Saudis backward civilization.

While it’s doubtful the Arabs will be kind enough to keep him, one wonders at the damage he may be doing, signing agreements like a customs agent stamping out passports.   One wonders to what degree he might be selling us out.

CBS reports the arms deal with the Saudis is worth “$110-billion effective immediately and as much as $350 billion over ten years.”

There are those who fear DJT has already been purchased by the Russians, and now he’s accepting 40-billion from the Arabs to re-build America’s infrastructure and in what looks like a “sweetner” to the deal,  another 100-million from the Saudis and the UAE,  for a fund for women entrepreneurs in the Middle East, proposed by Ivanka Trump.  Women entrepreneurs in Saudi Arabia?  Really?

Remember when the twin towers came crashing down?   Remember what may have been Rudy Giuliani’s finest moment as Mayor of New York (perhaps the finest moment of his life), when he told the Saudis to go to hell after they offered him 100-million in blood money just days after the attack?

One wonders what’s really going on with the Saudis, what the long-term impact will be after they set up production lines for weapons of war with America’s help.  One wonders whether this has been thought through.  One wonders if the Saudi blood money for 9-11 has finally been accepted and whether this new agreement to help the Arabs build their own weaponry could be the final nail in the coffin of any hope of establishing a relationship with Iran that can lead to peace rather than war.

One wonders as to the degree to which the Saudis, who face serious internal conflict, will be willing to take a lead in the fight against ISIS and terrorism in general, shutting down their madrassas and cutting the flow of private Saudi money to ISIS.   One wonders if that’s even possible considering the scope of this centuries old Sunni-Shia conflict.  One wonders if Donald Trump fully understands any of this, or if he’s under the impression that this is just another development deal.  Just another casino.

Oh wait, the American president is now speaking about “conquering extremism.”   He’s telling this to the Saudis who practice beheadings as an integral part of their Islamic justice system?   He’s preaching the evils of “inflexible idiology” to the Saudis, who prohibit women from driving cars, participating in sports or “showing off their beauty?”   A country where women are stoned to death for adultry?   Does he know where he is and who he is talking to, an auditorium with only three women visible in the audience and all three are Americans, including his wife and daughter?

Perhaps Trump will cut a groundbreaking deal marking a turn in the war on terrorism, or maybe we’d have been better off had he stayed in the U.S.

The Self-Indictment Of Donald J. Trump

So Donald J. Trump not only fired the FBI Director who was leading an investigation into whether Trump and (or) his Administration colluded with the Russians to alter the outcome of an election,  he has also admitted on national television that he fired James Comey,  specifically because of that same investigation and then threatened, via tweet, that Comey had better hope no one  recorded a recent meeting between the two.

In Trump’s own words,  “But regardless of recommendation I was going to fire Comey……..And, in fact, when I decided to just do it, I said to myself, I said: ‘You know, this Russia thing with Trump and Russia is a made up story, it’s an excuse by the Democrats for having lost an election that they should’ve won.’”  -Donald J. Trump

Since that statement and the threat that a recording may exist, the Supreme Court and Richard Nixon, have kept popping into my head.

Mr. Trump, apparently has no knowledge that in July of 1974, the Supreme Court ordered Richard Nixon to release tapes proving that he and H.R. Haldeman conspired to obstruct an investigation by the FBI.

After that,  rather than going through impeachment in the House and a trial in the Senate, Richard Nixon, resigned.  And now Donald J. Trump, has admitted to doing the same thing.   He has admitted to obstructing an investigation by the FBI.  And he did it on national television.

The only thing standing between the American people and justice, by way of removing Donald J. Trump from office, is the Republican Party.   How much more will it take before these heretofore spineless Republicans put country before their party?   They now have both a legal and an ethical obligation to kick Trump to the curb. Legal, because of the obvious violation by way of his admission that he obstructed justice, and ethical, because of the man’s questionable personality issues highlighted by repeated self-contradiction and outright lies.

If a recording, taped, digital or otherwise, of Mr. Trump’s private conversation with Mr. Comey does exist, then the Senate, the House and the FBI, should take steps to acquire said recording as quickly as possible.   The destruction of said recording (evidence) could lead to another obstruction of justice charge.

If you have no background on the Watergate break-in and subsequent investigation you should consider reading the book, “All the President’s Men” by Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein.   It’s also available on DVD.

Fascism By Any Other Name…

And now comes a new flurry of tweets from Trump including a thinly-veiled threat against now private citizen James Comey and an intellectually feeble defense of his Administration’s continued inaccuracies.

Tweet: “James Comey better hope that there are no “tapes” of our conversations before he starts leaking to the press!”

Tweet: “..Maybe the best thing to do would be to cancel all future “press briefings” and hand out written responses for the sake of accuracy???”

Tweet: “As a very active President with lots of things happening, it is not possible for my surrogates to stand at podium with perfect accuracy!….”

This president is like a gunfighter with dust in his eyes, thoughtlessly blasting away at anything that moves. Apart from the damage being done to our democracy by a man who exhibits no credibility whatsoever, there is the danger that eventually he will hit something or somebody, potentially putting us all in harm’s way.

Something else that should be of interest is an interview aired by Amy Goodman on “Democracy Now!”   Goodman, interviewed New York University Professor of History and Italian Studies, Ruth Ben-Ghiat.   Professor Ben-Ghiat, is working on a book entitled, “Strongmen:  From Mussolini to Trump.”

Here is some of what Professor Ben-Ghiat, had to say-

“Trump doesn’t care too much about the GOP. It got him to power, it gave him the nomination, but it’s just a vehicle for him. So, that’s part of it.

The other thing is, a senior—a former senior intelligence official said that the Comey—the way that he fired Comey was “like an execution,” in quotes. And, you know, the method, and he did it—Trump is a—he’s a proponent of the doctrine of surprise. And this was a kind of threat to the FBI, to the American public, which is consistent with the kind of dangerous persona he has had. And I want to remind everyone that in January 2016, when he was on the campaign trail, he said, “I could stand on 5th Avenue and shoot someone and wouldn’t lose any followers.” This was, for me, a turning point. It meant that he was giving us a message that he considered himself to be above the law. And he was testing the GOP, which is what authoritarians do. They test, on their way up and once they’re in power, to see how much they can get away with. And the GOP rewarded him with the nomination. So he feels emboldened, now he’s in power, to do exactly this kind of thing.   

…….The thing about authoritarians today—and we can look at what’s happening in Turkey and elsewhere, and even in Russia—you don’t need to have a dictatorship in the classic sense to accomplish your goals. You can intimidate people. You can try and control the press. You can attack the judiciary, the media, the institutions, hollowing them out, without having to ban parties in the traditional fascist manner.” -Ruth Ben-Ghiat on “Democracy Now!”

Movies For Donald

I never would have believed America would vote in another knucklehead like the man the late, great, Molly Ivans referred to as “Shrub” Bush, but it happened.   And what’s the Donald up to now?   Well, now he’s bitching about how difficult it is to be president and how he longs for his old uber-wealthy lifestyle, where all he had to do was give orders and admire himself in a gilt-edged mirror in his gilt-edged apartment high above Manhattan.   Watching all those inferior little people who weren’t born into wealth scurry about far below his mighty tower.  It was so gratifying and being president is so  hard.   Poor Donald.  He has golden hair, a mighty golden belly and so many other wonderful qualities that nobody really appreciates.  His mommy told him so.

Watching Donald J. Trump go through on the job training is hell, but hey, if we send him a copy of “Blade Runner,” do you think he’ll watch it? I mean, he’s such a self-absorbed bonehead with so much catching up to do and he doesn’t read so maybe movies are the way to go? Maybe it could be a movement? Movies for Donald?

Do it today.   Send Donald a movie with some instructional value on DVD.  Make sure it’s entertaining enough to get him to watch.  If it’s an actual documentary, you’ll probably have to disguise it to look like an entertainment flick due to his apparent aversion to acquiring any actual perspective on reality.   The classic “Grapes Of Wrath” for example, might be disguised to look like a sci-fi flick about genetic engineering gone wrong, as hordes of carnivorous grapes go on the attack in Seattle.

We need to get him watching as many thought provoking films as possible or we’ll be stuck with what more than one prominent psychoanalyst has described as a full-blown case of malignant narcissism for a full four years as it appears the Republicans will never develop sufficient cojones to impeach this guy.

So send a movie.

“Ice Age: The Meltdown” might be a good place to start, or maybe  “Born On The Fourth Of July.”

Please help us Obe Wan Kenobi.  You may be our only hope.