Tag Archives: donald trump

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.

 

Trump Wags The Dog?

So ABC News is reporting  exclusively that the Syrians anticipated the missile attack? Of course they did. The U.S. told the Russians we were going to launch, the Russians told their allies the Syrians, and we ended up attacking an old, abandoned airfield.

According to ABC, “Syrian military officials appeared to anticipate Thursday night’s raid on Syria‘s Shayrat air base, evacuating personnel and moving equipment ahead of the strike, according to an eyewitness.”

In other words, we blew up 59 Tomahawks, at a price of around $1.5 million each, for no good reason.  Other than maybe to divert attention from Donald Trump’s problems with “Russiagate” here at home.   Do ya think?

Very clever.   It made for some great tv news coverage though, with all that beautiful nighttime launch video from one of the ships provided by the Pentagon.   Well, they say it was video of the launch against Syria, but who really knows?  It was only a handout.  Maybe they just threw some old launch video together for……oh, you know…..national security reasons?   Whatever happened, CNN and MSNBC were off to the races, running the video over and over again while lining up interviews with every retired general and admiral they could get their hands on.

TV news loves pretty pictures and the glory of destruction helps support a pro-military stance, regardless of the motivation.

Anybody out there remember the movie “Wag The Dog?”  Too outrageous an idea, you say?   The more outrageous it is, the less likely anyone is to question Trump’s motivation.   He’ll just say you’re a conspiracy nut.   Even when the truth is sitting there right in front of you.

Do you trust Donald  J. Trump?

Apparently (I say “apparently,” because I was not there), we blew the hell out of an old, abandoned airfield, some almost ready for the junkyard jets and even gave the enemy warning, so that they could get their people and newer equipment out of the way in advance of our launch.    As a result, Russiagate is, for the moment, off the radar.   As for the future, how will anybody be able to question whether Trump is colluding or has colluded with the Russians, after his mighty air strike against their allies, the Syrians?  It’s almost comical.

This “air strike” appears to have been nothing but a big PR ploy to make Russiagate go away and maybe bump up Donald’s numbers a little.   Either that, or it was an emotional knee-jerk reaction by an unbalanced mind, which might be even worse.   On the face of it, it appears to have been the PR thing.   And so much of the media fell for it.

I feel like I’m back in the 60’s.   More of the media needs to return to their traditional role being professional skeptics who question authority.

Trump Considers Resignation – Protection Against Internet Spies – Pence Prays While Waiting In The Wings Avoiding Women

And so we arrive at April of 2017, apparently marking  the end of our privacy on the Internet.    Or so we’ve been led to believe.  Well, another significant chunk of it has been eaten away anyway as the Republicans have passed a bill rolling back the regulation stopping internet service providers (ISPs) like AT&T and Verizon, from selling information about what we do online.   But not really.   Not just yet, anyway.

The PBS Newshour reports that the regulation stopping ISP’s  from selling your browsing history wasn’t scheduled to take effect, “until December of 2017…..So the bill passed on Tuesday simply blocks those rules from taking effect.”   Wired reporter, Kent Finley, told the Newshour, ““Mostly it means that internet service providers now have the go-ahead to sell data,” Finley explained. “It was already technically legal, but if any companies were holding off on doing it while they waited to see if the laws went into effect or not, they don’t have to wait anymore.”  

Thank you, Donald.

It’s another really smart move, like letting coal companies dump sludge into the creek that flows into the river that ends up coming out of your kitchen faucet.   With Trump, it’s one bad idea right after another, from letting his rich-kids daughter and son-in-law move in as two of his top advisers, to giving Mike Flynn and Paul Manafort access to the highest levels of government while he digs his own political grave because he can’t resist the urge to send out tweet after tweet digging the hole deeper and deeper.   Dumb, dumb, dumb,dumb……..

Somebody hoisted the flag of common sense the other day when they remarked that it could be that “these guys just aren’t very smart.”   How smart do you have to be when your father hands you a fortune for startup money and then hands you another when he dies?

While we wait for the inevitable implosion,  there is something we can do to protect ourselves from our ISP’s spying on our every move (which they might be doing right now, although they say they aren’t).

I can’t speak to how well it works, but the Opera browser, has something called a “virtual private network” built into its functionality and it’s free.   You need only to activate it after downloading and installing the browser.   My only complaint about Opera, is that there is no home button, but that’s easily resolved by going to the home page you want and then dragging and dropping it into the bookmarks bar at the top of the page.   I’m using it and it’s reassuring to see the little blue VPN box at the front of the address bar, indicating that I have at least done something to try and avoid letting someone sell my browsing history to God know who.  There are also any number of companies offering to give you access to their virtual private networks for a fee.  I use the AVIRA Antivirus, which offers their VPN  for $6.50 a month on an annual plan.   They also have a free version which allows only a limited amount of data.

Let me take a brief time out to once again thank Donald Trump, for all he has done and continues to do for all of us out here on Main Street, while, according to Donald Trump, Jr., the family can rest easy with its history of “money pouring in from Russia.”  

Ivanka and Jared just released a financial disclosure form that shows their net worth to be around $700-million.

If the progressives have it right, we may not have to suffer through the missteps, lies and mental meanderings of Mr. Donald for an entire first term.   “Occupy Democrats” are reporting out that generally reliable sources say (I know, I know…..it may be just wishful thinking) that Trumpty Dumpty is considering several options, and that resignation is among them.  Oh sweet dreams.  Please, let it be true.  But then what?

Then we’ll be left with that Vampire Albino guy, Mike Pence, who can’t start his day without first going to Mass and refuses to eat dinner alone with any woman other than his wife, because he apparently can’t handle the temptations of sex.  Really?   Just for dinner?

I don’t care for extremists at either end of the spectrum, but what is it with these Republicans with regard to sex and religion?   Why do so many of them appear to be stuck in emotional and intellectual purgatory?  Good luck with your new VPN.

 

(I know today is April Fools Day, but all of the above is, to the best of my knowledge, true.  Really.)

The Donald, Apparently Missing Too Much Golf, Appoints President Kushner

 

Just when you think it’s all whacked out, the Trump Administration keeps getting whackier.    It’s beginning to feel like one of those old Looney Tunes cartoons, with one crackpot character chasing another around the room smashing him over the head with a giant mallet while screaming, “Woo-hoo!  Woo-hoo! Woo-hoo!”    That’s the Trump Administration.   Every day there’s some new crackpot revelation.   “Woo-hoo!  Woo-hoo!  Woo-hoo!”

The latest nutso move is that Mr. Donald has appointed his son-in-law, a 36 year-old rich kid from Manhattan, to lead “The Office of American Innovation.”   According to the Washington Post,  “The 36-year-old former real estate and media executive will continue to wear many hats, driving foreign and domestic policy as well as decisions on presidential personnel. He also is a shadow diplomat, serving as Trump’s lead adviser on relations with China, Mexico, Canada and the Middle East.”   Part of his role as key adviser on Mexico will apparently be overseeing construction of his daddy-in-law’s Mexican border wall.  So President Kushner, will be charged with reorganizing the Federal Government while big daddy golfs at Mara-la-go.   Oh, that’ll be exciting.  “Woo-hoo!”

Oh yes, the rich kid from Manhattan will understand and empathize with the financial woes of middle America and the needs of the elderly and the rural poor.   He will fix our inner-cities based upon his broad base of knowledge gained from first hand experience. Jared rules!  “Woo-hoo!”

Do you suppose the old man is dumping all this on the kid so that he’ll have someone to blame when it all falls to pieces like the healthcare bill?

Bad enough that an ongoing undercover agent for the trump transition team Devin (Woo-hoo!) Nunes,  has all but shut down the House inquiry into Russian interference in the last election, canceling what was to be an open hearing scheduled for today (“Woo-hoo!) so that the American people might at least get some idea of what the hell is going on as everything seems to keep pointing back at the Russians.

Question:  Where are the Democrats?   What are the Democrats?  Are they, as Garrison Keillor has suggested, “out in the woods bumping into trees?”   They should be mad as hell and screaming their lungs out, demanding that Nunes be immediately removed as Chair of the House Intelligence Committee.   They should be angry as hell, infuriated as they push back with all they have for a Special Prosecutor to look into Russian influence peddling (control) of our executive branch to be followed by a 9-11 style commission to determine what actually happened so as to prevent it from happening again.

The Democrats, are being far to civil about all of this.  They are far too nice.   Waaaay too mice.  Er…nice.  Sorry about the slip.  Donald J. Trump, who is apparently tired of being President, is turning over the reigns of his office to his son-in-law.   Another silver spoon in his mouth kid, with no real experience in politics or government who is now being told to come up with a plan to reorganize the American Government?    “Woo-hoo” everybody!

The other night one of Bill Maher’s guests said it best, when he compared these contemporary Republicans to Hamas.   Hamas, will not recognize Israel and the Republicans have no interest in compromise for mutual benefit.  These are base, primal and utterly greedy people.   The only thing they understand is being hit back harder than they are hitting you.  It is the only way to make them stop as we sink deeper and deeper into what has become a daily dose of madness.   What’s next?   Waking up to hear that the Donald has set aside the Constitution, because it isn’t businesslike enough for him?  Who’ll stop him?  The Victorian ladies and gentlemen of the Democratic Party?

Dear Democrats.    An investigation into Russian influence has been shut down by one congressman, apparently on the orders of the White House.   A move is underway to dismantle our nation.   We don’t know that Russian influence is not involved.  At the same time a 36 year-old kid with known business ties to Russia and little or no other government experience has been told to draw up a plan for reorganizing the government.    Steve Bannon, a key adviser to the President, who is apparently a fan of Vladimir Lenin,  has admitted he has a plan for the deconstruction “of the administrative state.”

Shot through all of this is the utterly undeniable fact that Donald J. Trump has yet to condemn Vladimir Putin and his autocratic Russian oligarchy for hacking into our electoral process.   Much to the contrary, President Trump has had almost nothing but praise for Putin and his Russian dictatorship.   At times it feels as though Trump is part of the Putin team.

Those who voted for Trump and  who continue to support him, obviously had no idea what they were getting us into.  There now appears to be a very basic question of Democracy vs. Oligarchy, or maybe even war between the United States and the Russian Mafia. Admitting this to ourselves may be necessary to preserve our way of life.

This is no longer funny or even interesting.  This has gone way beyond anything resembling business as usual.  This is (or should be) scaring the hell out of people.  It is time for you to get tough.   Teddy Kennedy tough.  Ike Eisenhower tough.  FDR tough.

The ship is going down.   Stop rearranging deck chairs and start bailing.

It Isn’t Easy Being A Chimp

While channel surfing the other day I landed on “Planet of the Apes,” that old movie with Charlton Heston, where humankind has finally blown it, resulting in all-out nuclear war, the destruction of humans and the rise of a world ruled by apes.   A world ruled by gorillas and chimps, and that’s what struck me while watching a bit of this film from 1968.

It was the competition between the big heavily-muscled militant gorillas and the smaller but intellectually superior chimps that stood out.

It feels similar to what we are currently going through, with the militant, science hating, healthcare denying, greed loving Republicans standing in opposition to the less aggressive, science loving and healthcare providing…..others.  Mostly Democrats, I guess, but there are others in the non-Republican political mix as well.  That said, I’m sure you get the idea.  The thinkers vs. the non-thinking bemuscled warmongers.   The gorillas vs. the chimps.   That’s not to say everybody with big muscles is stupid.   Some of the smartest people around are body builders, including a professor I had in college, who taught Humanities and rode a Harley.

The whole “apes” thing lines up pretty well with our national love for football, cage fighting, professional wrestling, ice hockey and gut-wrenching violent movies and tv.   Along with the explosion of giant trucks and SUV’s on our highways and big ugly boots and shoes.

Amateur observers and social scientists alike should be interested in the correlation between the Los Angeles riots in 1992 and the relatively sudden appearance of so many big expensive trucks and  SUV’s on our highways.  In Los Angeles, the change, at least for me, was stunning.  Before the riots, expensive sports cars and imports were all over the freeways of SoCal.   After the riots, many of the big Beemers, Mercedes, Rolls, Bentleys, Ferraris, Masaritis,  Jags and the occasional Lamborghini disappeared, and were eventually replaced by Ford Explorers, Expeditions, Chevy Suburbans, Land Rovers and Cadillac Escalades.    It’s said that trends start in the west and move east.   This one definitely did and I can’t believe no one else noticed.  Or maybe California residents were in denial about the change because it reminded them of the helplessness they felt for those few days when whole sections of the nation’s second most populous city were lawless and on fire.

So it was, in this city where “you are what you drive,” people became wary of driving anything that let others know what they had. And two years after the riots, in June of 94, O.J. Simpson left his Bentley in the garage and made his get-away in a white Ford Bronco.

In so many ways, the trials of O.J. Simpson and the Los Angeles riots, changed the country.

People enjoy feeling safe and empowered so they opt for a huge truck with a seven year loan and wear huge boots because they want to look like ass-kickers but there are other reasons for buying an “urban assault vehicle” as well.   Those who don’t care about the vehicular empowerment thing still feel a need to drive a giant vehicle because they’re afraid an ape in a giant vehicle might run them down, squashing their whole family like a bunch of bugs.  So it spirals out of control, leaving us with a nation of gas guzzlers that don’t fit into old fashioned parking spaces or onto highways that were never intended for all the traffic they currently carry while good looking but frail young women, cover themselves with tattoos and piercings while stomping around in giant steel-toed work boots.

Big, ugly and prone to violence is currently more popular than smaller, fashionably designed and peace loving.   Think of a big ugly SUV sitting next to a sleek, stylish sports car.   Think of slapping a bumper sticker on a Ferrari.   Think of apes being in charge while the chimps stand by feeling like they have been taken captive on a runaway train with a drunken ape at the controls.

At what point did war become not just acceptable but fashionable while peace became unthinkable?   When was the last time you heard a politician, any politician, say, “why can’t we give peace a chance?”   Probably back in the 60’s, about the same time “Planet of the Apes” was released.    Well before the twin towers came down and so much of our national courage was displaced by fear.

With all the money being made on big vehicles and warfare, the apes backed by a huge profit motive are clearly now in charge, east coast intellectuals and west coast liberal freaks be damned.   That profit motive may have been at the tip of the spear that struck a serious but non-fatal blow to intellectualism, as our culture began its celebration of ignorance while the mass media aimed low, determined to hit the lowest common denominator resulting in the highest possible profit margin (the two go hand in glove), giving us a ton of really terrible television and juvenile movies laden with special effects while popularizing the campaign of Donald J. Trump, and eventually getting him elected.  Trump drove the ratings, so they put Trump on television.   A lot.

So the apes are now running things in Washington, trying to take away healthcare for millions while they “deconstruct” our government, which was once the envy of the world.   And what about the “chimps?”   Well, they are pushing back, to the degree that they can while they wait for the next election cycle in 2018, hoping for the best.

While visited by the analogy of the apes, I thought also about the Freemasons and religion in general.   I’m not a Mason, but from what I know about their organization, I admire and respect their principles.   Both my grandfathers were Masons, as were the grandfathers of many of my friends while growing up in rural Minnesota.    Most of us, however, never joined.  I’m not sure why,  I suppose we simply never felt compelled, even though their ideals of honesty, a “square deal,” and living an ethically upright life were embedded in many of our adolescent brains.   Which had to be good. But with the passage of time the number of Masons has dropped off,  which surely means their influence on society has declined as well.  Religion, is also waning, to the point that Pope Francis is thinking about letting married men become priests.   I’m not saying church is for everybody, but it does provide a moral compass, and some, like the apes, really, really need the guidance, no matter what the atheists and agnostics might say.   And that’s where things become just a bit confusing.

A Gallup Poll, indicates that with the exception of Utah and its high number of Mormons, the states where Americans still attend church in significant numbers are in the south (former slave states), or red states, while the states where people have stopped attending church are in the northeast, or the blue states.

So the correlation between going to church and expressing a need to be your brother’s keeper, doesn’t seem to be there, does it?   Or perhaps a great many Christians are going to church for the forgiveness and not the responsibility of upholding the teachings?

Donald J. Trump, says he is Christian.   He says he is Presbyterian, while he supports legislation that would strip away healthcare from millions of Americans.   Maybe he missed the New Testament?

Anyway, the data tells us that heavily Christian church-goers, fewer of whom are college educated in the red and former slave states voted for Donald Trump, while the folks who aren’t so big on going to church are mostly packed into the blue states of New England where more residents are college educated and in opposition to trump.

You can and will draw your own conclusions but I’ll leave you with this:  It isn’t easy being a chimp, especially when life not only imitates art, but threatens us with duplication.