Inaugural Eve–What Now?

Some say we Americans should support the peaceful transition to a new President. Sure, no violence. Antipathy yes. Respect? No–for the office but not for the man. We can’t say for sure how much Russia helped get him elected. We can’t say for sure how much contact and collusion may have existed between Putin and Trump’s team. Based on Trump’s comments and behavior, it’s reasonable to think there was quite a bit. I have every reason to believe he will rank in the top five of the worst Presidents America has ever had. He’s the most manifestly unqualified. He’s dangerously ignorant with no desire to become informed, assuming he could.

It’s easy to do as I do here, mock and ridicule Trump with the same sort of fake news that helped propel him to the White House. While he relished, tweeted and retweeted all of the fake news that came out regarding Clinton, he now calls fake any derogatory information about him, his transition team or cabinet appointments. So I’ll persist in offering fake news. Why do it? It’s to keep the spirits up of the large majority of Americans and people around the world dismayed at Trump’s ascension to what he no doubt thinks of as a throne.

But isn’t there something more positive that can be done? Yes, there is. That means those who fear Trump or despise him for all that he says and does must reach out and talk with those who voted for him about matters of mutual concern. It does no good to simply cut ties with friends, neighbors and family members that voted for Trump. Rather, we have to listen to them about why they did what we consider totally irrational–voting for Trump. Some may be gullible. Some may be racist. Some may even have legitimate concerns that they felt weren’t being met by Hillary Clinton in particular or Democrats in general. It’s clearly pointless to expect Trump to unite America. That’s up to the rest of us.

Have a few laughs in the meantime, with the fake news here. Keep resisting. Keep whistleblowing. Keep peppering your Congressman or Senator with objections to cabinet picks or legislative proposals that will affect you if you’re American. March in protest, recognizing that such activity won’t directly affect Trump but besides making you feel good it will confirm polls that show Trump will enter the White House with the lowest approval rating of any President in the last 40 years.

Nothing below is presented as or claimed to be true (with minor exceptions noted)–although some of it could be.  It is FAKE News. It’s satire.

Kellyanne Corncob said Trump’s words don’t matter in an interview on CNN a few days ago.  Never mind  what’s come out of his mouth, “look at what’s in his heart. Using the most advanced technology available, select news outlets have scanned Trump’s chest from a distance. It appeared that, like the Tin Man, he had none. Upon closer examination, they determined that it was there, although shriveled up like a prune past its prime. Trump’s surrogates often complain that news media are taking him literally. So in this case, he’s not literally heartless—just compassionately challenged. See for yourself in this side-by-side comparison of a normal heart and Trump’s heart.

Drawing of human heart

 

 

 

Shriveled heart

 

 

 

 

On behalf of Benedict Trump, National Security Adviser Michael “RT” Flynn, called the Russian Ambassador five times on December 29th.  He reportedly said, according to a leak of an NSA intercept authorized by a FISA warrant,

“Don’t worry about Obama’s sanctions and those diplomats expelled. Once Trump’s in the White House we’ll roll them back and you can bring back as many spies—I mean diplomats—as you want.”

“Thank you, Comrade Flynn,” the ambassador replied.

 

Continue reading Inaugural Eve–What Now?

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Acknowledgements: Human brain By John A Beal, PhD Dep' more...

MLK National Day of Service

silhouette of Martin Luther King and day of service textIt’s the commemoration of Dr. Martin Luther King’s birthday tomorrow. A day for voluntarily providing some kind of service in King’s memory. Here’s a link to the national site where you can find a place to volunteer or record what your group did.

In my small locale, there’s not many opportunities for such service. So next year, I’ll have to try harder and sooner to not let the day go by. I hope you will find something you can do.

While I should stop there I can’t. With the inauguration of someone who shares none of the values nor the accomplishments of King coming next Friday, I must continue. To be fair, Donald Trump did PLAN on visiting the Smithsonian African-American History Museum tomorrow. But he had to cancel due to “scheduling conflicts.”

So herewith, MORE FAKE NEWS! Ending with what he will be doing instead of visiting the Smithsonian.

Trump considered Attorney General nominee Jefferson Beauregard Session’s suggestion to volunteer at the Museum of the War of Northern Aggression in Alabama. He ultimately declined due to travel time issues.

Trump SERIOUSLY considered serving food in Little Odessa—Brighton Beach. Apparently he misunderstood the relationship of the Russian emigres there with Vladimir Putin and the oligarchs back home.  Vlad nixed that idea after Donald mentioned it to him.

Finally, the right place dawned on him, a cat rescue shelter in Tribeca. Trump tweeted this about his choice:

I just love pussies, especially grabbing and holding them. Oh WHAT A FEELING!

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The Many Faces of Trump

First, a follow up on the unverified reports of a Russian dossier on Trump and the salacious memorandum released by BuzzFeed

Trump trusts the National Enquirer. He says it should get a Pulitzer. It has become his own version of Russia’s Pravda. It’s always been filled with ridiculously false news; during the campaign it offered a daily feed of fake news concerning Hillary Clinton. Now it offers fake news of Trumps accomplishments.

During the campaign the Russians planted fake news on Clinton. They provided leaks on Hillary Clinton to WackyLeaks. He didn’t disavow them–he repeated them. So what happens when the CNN and BuzzFeed reports come out? He decries fake news!

Yes, some of the information may be false. Still, a person’s character is revealed by his words or deeds. We know how Trump conducted himself during the campaign and after the election. He lies more often than he tells the truth. He insults and ridicules everyone. We know how he bragged about grabbing women by the genitals. So even if all of it isn’t true, much of it very likely is.

Trump can dish it out but he can’t take it. 

Here’s just a few of the many faces of Trump. The middle two come from the Daily Beast.

Trump and Nixon morphed image

Richard Milhous Trump

Trump as Pinocchio
Lying Trump   PHOTO ILLUSTRATION BY SARAH ROGERS/THE DAILY BEAST
Trump as Nero
Trump as Nero  PHOTO ILLUSTRATION BY EMIL LENDOF/THE DAILY BEAST
Trump as Pepe
Trump as Pepe
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Lock Trump Up and Redo the Election!

Intel chiefs presented Trump with claims of Russian efforts to compromise him from CNN 

So the intel agencies and some senators knew about the Russian attempts to compromise Trump before the election. Read the CNN story here.

More than likely they were successful! 

Memos were circulating that the Russians had evidence that Trump paid for golden showers by Russian hookers in Moscow. FBI Director James Comey told Congress that he will neither confirm nor deny that the FBI is investigating Trump campaign Russian connections. Didn’t stop Comey from releasing all that stuff about the Clinton email investigation DID IT.

Fire and lock up Comey! Lock up Trump! No, a pre-inaugural resignation by Trump won’t do! No, Pence won’t do. Trump STOLE the election aided and abetted by Russia and apparently the FBI.

We MUST have a NEW election!

March on Washington on January 20th, if Trump attempts to proceed to inauguration!

Go to the Indivisible site if you want to do something to resist (legally) the Trump regime even before January 20th. 

 

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New Year’s Resolutions Revisited

In case you missed it, I posted this item January 1, 2015. Seems just as useful today as then. I plan on 2017 being a wonderfully successful year. I hope yours is as well. These tips may help get you there.

Quote from Daisaku Ikeda and "make resolutions that succeed"

 

A tip of the hat to my LinkedIn friend, Pearl Seigel, who inspired me to post this after I read her piece. We all know New Year’s Resolutions are a time-honored tradition and a satirical cliché. With best of intentions millions make them and most break them. Why bother? It’s a new year—why not have goals, aspirations, resolutions?

Defy the satirists, the late-night comics who make light of your resolve with these tips:

  1. Make a plan for success
    1. Research—find out how to get there, pitfalls and success stories online or in books.
    2. Action—incremental steps you need to take
    3. Monitor—check results as you go along
  1. Forgive yourself for shortfalls as you proceed and move on from them
  1. Resolutions may be the butt of jokes, but if you really want to accomplish something in the new year, don’t be put off by their bad reputation. Change the name to goals or determinations if that will help. Then pat yourself on the back when you win.
  1. Consider these examples:
    1. Want to lose 36 pounds? It’s simple math: calories in plus calories burned equals pounds gained or lost. Eat less, exercise more and the pounds come off. Pick a diet you can stand and exercise you will do. Make sensible monthly goals, keep track of results and don’t let bad months derail the plan. Recognize triggers that may cause excessive snacking and deal with them.
    2. Want to stop smoking? You know it’s difficult. Get the help you need from a physician, a support group or from whatever source makes sense for your life. Pick a method and get the tools you need, whether it’s a nicotine patch, some medication, counseling, etc. Most people can’t quit cold turkey, so monitor progress on the timeline you determine.
    3. Want to learn how to quilt, paint (artistically) or even write fiction. Find classes—adult education, community college, online and sign up. Don’t just put this on a to-do-list—put reminders on whatever calendar you use—physical, smartphone or computer and take action.
    4. Want to be a “better you?” More considerate, support your spouse more, help the kids with homework, etc.? Like the rest of the resolutions, it requires being consistent and disciplined. It may help to have specific targets—tasks that you can do to make those goals real and obvious to others when they begin They won’t happen overnight. They won’t happen just by wishing. But if you set up reminders for those times that the changes are supposed to be happening—dinner-time, holidays, weekends, vacations or whatever times apply, you will have a better shot at success.
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More Really Fake News

This is satire. All “news” on THIS post is FAKE unless indicated otherwise. OK, there is a shred of truth to some–I’m sure you’ll figure out which is which won’t you? Any resemblance to public figures is intentional; for all others it’s coincidental.

It’s mostly about Trump, his associates and allies. But isn’t mocking people’s names a little juvenile, you ask? Well sure it is, but that’s for verisimilitude. Trump may be 70, chronologically, but he has an emotional maturity of a 13 to 15-year-old.  

It’s difficult to successfully satirize Trump. How would you mock the Three Stooges? Trump is not only funny, he’s dangerous. But since the media and many politicians not only take him seriously but are actively trying to normalize him after all the stuff he’s said and done, mockery is what’s left for me to do. So here’s the New Year’s Eve edition of Really Fake News. 

 

Kellyanne Corncob, every surrogate and the entire Trump team continues to reject the notion that the Russians hacked the DNC. Even if they did, she says, Obama’s sanctions against the Russians are politically motivated to “box him [Trump] in.” Trump himself asks if the US knew the Russians did it, why didn’t the Obama administration impose the sanctions long ago? Trump et al, say it’s all to delegitimize his election. [Really? Nothing to do with national security?] Obama reportedly says, behind closed doors, that he doesn’t need to delegitimize Trump’s win–Trump’s been doing a fine job of that all by himself.

 

More breaking news on the Russian Front (Putin and Trump, that is).  An anonymous source linked this NSA intercept of a recent call between Trump and Putin.

“Hey, Vlad baby, thanks for that smart move with the sanctions. That will make it easier for me to remove them after I’m in the White House–soon to be the Trump House, hahaha.”

“Donny, don’t worry about the sanctions Obama imposed. We can handle them for awhile. Wait a few months before you remove them all–and the other ones about Crimea and the Ukraine. If you act too quickly, you’ll have trouble with Congress.”

“Are you sure you can stand them, Vlad?”

“Absolutely, Donny boy. Just remember, we’re always here for you. If you do get in trouble–like being impeached for conflicts of interest with all your business dealings, you can move to Russia. We treat our oligarchs very, very well here. You can make as much money as you want without annoying laws and regulations hemming you in. You could finally become a billionaire for real!”

“How about a reality TV show on RT?

“Sure, no problem. But you’ll want more than that won’t you? Resorts, casinos, golf courses and more–right? Just get rid of those sanctions in a few months. ”

“Right. OK, but if I’m going to dump those sanctions, I’ll need approval for several projects up front. Donald Jr., will be in touch about them.”

“Sure, we can do that. But be careful about calls like this. We can’t help you if you go too far and get charged with treason!”

“Hey, I’ll be President. No conflicts. I can do whatever I want. Say, you really didn’t do that hacking did you?”

“No, of course not! You trust Infofarce, the National Enquirer, WhiteBark and Sean Insanity don’t you?”

“Oh sure. That’s why I don’t bother with those stupid PDBs. I’m smarter than those intelligence agencies!”

 

Turns out Israel’s proof that the Obama administration orchestrated the UN Security Council Resolution condemning Israeli settlements comes from Trump associates. This according to hacked emails recently released from WackyLeaks. The emails are between David Friedman (President-Elect Trump’s nominee for Ambassador to Israel), Alicia (formerly Alex) Jones and Roger Stone. The emails show that the three conspired to frame Obama, John Kerry and Samantha Powers to embarrass them and kill the “two-state solution.” Trump, Friedman and Israeli leaders are turning cartwheels at the thought of building still more settlements. Israel’s reflexive response by Netanyahoo on down, castigating Obama, came exactly as expected.

 

Breaking News from WhiteBark (formerly known as Breitbart), courtesy of Sean Spicer. The Trump Inaugural Committee has changed its mind about accepting the offer of Russian punk group Pussy Riot to perform their hit video, [NOTE: this video is NOT safe for work] “Make America Great Again,” at inaugural events.

“Well, we heard Trump was having trouble getting A-listers to perform, so we figured he must be desperate by now,” according to a spokesperson for the group.

After viewing the performance on a smartphone in the Trump Grill, a shocked committee member fell over in a dead faint into a plate of so-so food. Too bad the tweet from Trump’s BFF Vlad, “Nyet, nyet!” arrived too late to save the committee member from embarrassment.

In other inaugural News: The Committee confirmed that Ted Nugent  will replace 16-year-old Jackie Evancho in singing the national anthem.  Evancho had to cancel for unspecified reasons. Nugent’s version might best be called the Star Strangled Banner. [Caution: He’ll be strapped, so NO booing].

 

News from Communications Director/Press Secretary Sean Spicer: Tweets from Trump will continue throughout his presidency–[for however long it lasts]. News media are encouraged to follow @unrealDonaldTrump as he plans to have news conferences only annually. Whenever he has insults, boasts or policy announcements (foreign or domestic), that’s where to find them, according to “Hot Stuff” Spicer.  “Hot Stuff” and others in the Trump organization  transition team administration will continue to provide interpretation, translation or explanation of what they think Trump actually means by the tweets. No one can be sure, of course.

“All the better to be unpredictable,” Trump says in his own words. “Eff ’em if they can’t take a joke.”

 

Recent tweets from Donald Trump’s twitter account [@unrealDonaldTrump]

Sunshine today across Florida. We’re at Mar-a- Lago. Looks great for picnics, walks and more. Thanks for the fine weather Donald!

Rain today at Mar-a-Lago. Obama’s trying to ruin my New Year’s celebration. Sun will shine on me everywhere from January 21st!

Insulting media rumors are TOTALLY UNTRUE. Melania NEVER calls me Beavis. She’ll be giving a news conference soon denying media lies.

 

Anonymous post on Facebook backs up the Beavis rumor. What started as another review of the Trump Grill in Trump Tower wound up including parts of an overheard conversation between Melania and Kellyanne Corncob,

“Beavis keeps jumping ahead of Barron when they’re playing Nintendo or PlayStation—whatever that stupid game thing is. He’s supposed to wait his turn but he gets so impatient. Just like becoming President. He wants to be in charge right now.”

“Oh, you shouldn’t call your husband “Beavis,” Melania.”

“Why? He acts just like Beavis; getting all excited when he hears the names for women’s body parts! Especially when he’s with Bannon and they see someone young and pretty.”

“Oh, I don’t believe that! I never hear anything like that when I’m around.”

“Uh, well . . . Anyway, the two of them even look like Beavis and Butthead, especially Donald.”

Beavis and Butthead
By Source, Fair use, https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?curid=33921887

Donald Trump and Steve Bannon

 

 

Carl Paladino face pasted on a foal's behindCarl Paladino insists that his name is Paladino and NOT Palamino.
This despite making comments about Barack and Michelle Obama that lend credence to the notion that he is at least a horse’s ass.
Note: the paragraph that follows and the block quote below are actual news–NOT fake news.

Trump’s former New York campaign co-chair hoped that Barack would “die of mad cow disease” and “Michelle would turn back into a male and go live in a cave in Africa.” In a statement reported by the Albany Times Union, Paladino [AKA Palamino] said,

“It has nothing to do with race. That’s the typical stance of the press when they can’t otherwise defend the acts of the person being attacked.”

Meanwhile, Alicia Jones (of Infofarce.com) and Rush (AKA The Cheesy Chub) Limberger are reportedly fighting over who will get to have a midnight tryst with the Buffalo horseman. Perhaps they can find a secluded barn for the three of them.

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Finding Literature in the Most Unlikely Places

Portrait of Alexander Pushkin, 1827While at a  weekly Writer’s Group meeting, I bought a  candy bar. Much to my surprise, I found two parts of a poem by Alexander Pushkin inside the  wrapper. I must confess never having read any Pushkin before. Now I shall have to seek out his writing. Here’s stanzas III and IV of Autumn.

III
What fun it is, with feet in sharp steel shod,
To skim the mirror of the smooth and solid streams!
And how about the shining stir of winter feasts? . .
But in the end you must admit that naught but snow
For half the year will even bore a bear
Deep in his den. We cannot ride for ages,
In sleighs with youthful nymphs
Or sulk around the stove behind storm windows.

IV
O, summer fair! I would have loved you, too,
Except for heat and dust and gnats and flies.
You kill off all our mental power,
Torment us; and like fields, we suffer from the drought;
To take a drink, refresh ourselves somehow –
We think of nothing else, and long for lady Winter,
And, having bid farewell to her with pancakes and with wine,
We hold a wake to honor her with ice-cream and with ice.

Have a Happy New Year. Do some reading of good works.

Digiprove sealCopyright secured by Digiprove © 2016 John Maberry
Acknowledgements: Poem excerpts by Alexander Pushkin

Moving Forward in Trying Political Times

Even as President-Elect, Donald Trump has no hesitation in making policy pronouncements (via tweet, which his team must interpret and translate) as if he were already in the White House. Today came his tweet that the US must expand its nuclear arsenal.  In response to a question by a radio host, he added that if it’s an arms race, we’ll win.  For 40 years each American President has worked to reduce the US stockpile of weapons in conjunction with other countries. In a tweet, Trump cavalierly appears to abandon that perspective.

Eagle Peak Quarterly cover for December 2016In the December 2016 Eagle Peak Quarterly, we featured an excellent piece by retired diplomat Bob Tansey. In it, he expounded on the words of Nichiren Daishonin, 13th century Buddhist. To read the entire piece, please go here.

Nichiren states, “If you care anything about your personal security, you should first of all pray for order and tranquility throughout the four quarters of the land, should you not?”

That certainly seems like an appropriate response to Trump’s most recent unthinking outburst. Here’s a little more from Tansey’s article:

In his 1260 treatise, written in the form of a dialogue between a host and a guest, Nichiren recounts the many disasters confronting medieval Japan, such as famine, internal strife and foreign invasion. . . . He also brings up the challenge of “reforming the tenets in our hearts.” That means to examine our basic beliefs (which are mixed with emotion as well) and seek to perceive our own enlightened potential and perspective—strengths arguably much in need at this moment in our own United States of America.

Reflecting on these two key phrases from Nichiren’s rather lengthy treatise led me back to an earlier writing of his, “On Attaining Buddhahood in this Lifetime.”  From all of Shakyamuni’s teachings and all that flowed from over those two thousand years, Nichiren adopted the tradition of the Lotus Sutra. I’ve been practicing Buddhism for going on five decades but am not a Buddhist scholar. Nonetheless, I like to say that to me “On Attaining Buddhahood…” (which is notably brief) summarizes the key principles of the Lotus Sutra:

  •  The idea that everyone has the potential to reveal their inherent “Buddha Nature,” which seems to me to be a statement of ultimate equality. Nichiren Buddhism sees the Buddha nature as the inherent potential within each human being to attain Buddhahood, the state of enlightenment and the goal of Buddhist practice. It’s also the tenth or highest of the “Ten Worlds” (states or conditions of existence).

  • Interconnectedness, aka “dependent origination,” i.e. though we may believe we’re separate from others our lives and fortunes are intertwined. “On Attaining Buddhahood…” states in part, “It is called the Mystic Law because it reveals the principle of the mutually inclusive relationship of a single moment of life and all phenomena.”

  • Causality, i.e. ultimately what we think, say and do is determinative rather than external factors. Nichiren states, “Whether you chant the Buddha’s name, recite the sutra, or merely offer flowers and incense, all your virtuous acts will implant benefit and good fortune in your life.” He urged his followers to strive with this conviction, while fully cognizant that the society of his time was besieged by seemingly overwhelming negative forces. Nonetheless, he constantly emphasized the power of a single individual and of individuals working together to make a difference.

Bob spent decades around the world–China, Israel, Central America, Africa and more countries in Asia. He speaks five languages. Since retiring from the Foreign Service he has been working at high level position within the Nature Conservancy. So what is he doing to move forward? He’s working to create a community association in the multiracial neighborhood where he lives in Washington, DC.

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Seasons Greetings, AKA Happy Holidays

In Glacier Bay

Happy Holidays to all—whether you celebrate a secular or non-secular occasion this time of year with family, friends or fellow believers of your faith. For some it’s a time of hope and renewal. For others it’s a trying time given personal setbacks, memories of lost loved ones or even political turmoil. For myself, my circle of family and friends, it’s a little bit of each. While we had no personal setbacks this year, we empathize with those who did.

Most years, including this one, there is conflict in locations around the world. Yet hope remains in the hearts of people with faith in a religion or in humanity itself. The Buddhist scholar, philosopher and peace builder Daisaku Ikeda says this:

Peace and culture are one. A genuinely cultured nation is a peaceful nation and vice versa. When conflicts multiply, culture wanes and nations fall into a hellish existence. The history of the human race is a contrast between culture and barbarity. Only culture is a force strong enough to put an end to conflict and lead humanity in the direction of peace.

I hope you will have a safe and joyous encounters this season. Share in a peaceful culture in whatever way best suits you. Triumph over any challenges or obstacles to happy holidays.

Digiprove sealCopyright secured by Digiprove © 2016 John Maberry

Andrey Karlov Pays Putin’s Punishment for Aleppo

Russian Ambassador to Turkey, Andrey KarlovAn off-duty Turkish policeman shot and killed Russian Ambassador Andrey Karlov in Ankara today. The shooter shouted, among other things, “Remember Aleppo. Remember Syria.” The Russian Foreign Ministry called it an act of terror. Of course it was that. Presumably, the Russian Ambassador to Turkey is an innocent civilian.

Notably, killing thousands of innocent civilians in Aleppo with barrel bombs, chlorine gas and white phosphorus incendiary munitions is not terrorism. It’s a war crime. A war crime committed with the help of Russian President Vladimir Putin freely given to Syrian President Bashar Al Assad’s. Russia supplies the jets and undoubtedly much of the munitions used against Aleppo. Russian jets flown by Russian pilots also strike Syrian targets. Putin says they’re targeting ISIS combatants. Only Donald Trump believes that. It takes a liar to believe a liar, one must assume. Oh, sorry, this is about Putin and Russia today, not Trump.

It’s a pity that the Ambassador should pay for Putin and Assad’s criminal behavior, but karma is what it is. He did choose to work for Putin. One day Putin’s karma will come due for Putin himself.

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Seeing things as they really are, without the illusions or delusions

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