Trump–America’s Shame, America’s Embarrassment

Donald Trump

It’s been three weeks now, since our shame came in full bloom. For months on end it seemed ridiculous. Ludicrous that a dangerous buffoon could be elected as President of America. Whatever faults she might have, how could Hillary Clinton lose to a man so manifestly unqualified, so unfit to be the leader of the most powerful country in the world. The country with the strongest economy. The country that has led the world in technology. The country that has produced so many great minds, such great literature and much more. The polls were so far wrong.  I was so wrong. I was angry. I was concerned about our future. What might he do to our economy? What might he do to human rights, civil rights, women’s rights, minority rights? How far backwards might he take us? Those were my thoughts, my feelings for more than two weeks. Still true. But, now, it’s shame and embarrassment that has overtaken anger, shock and worry.

A 70-year old man who indulges himself in twitter wars over every slight. A man who shoots from the lip and the keyboard as if he were a high school sophomore or at best a 20-something misogynist troll on the internet. But he’s not those things. He’s soon to be America’s President. What must the rest of the world think of we, America’s voters, who let this happen. Yes, he is dangerous. Yes, he has a short fuse. Yes he knows little about anything and has no great desire or capacity to learn. But in truth, he’s an embarrassment. He’s the village idiot given the keys to the kingdom. He’s had his physical, apparently. But perhaps what he really needs is a psychological test for senile dementia. Some may think that’s simply an insult. Others may think that’s an unprofessional armchair diagnosis. But how many 70-year olds do you know who tweet the nonsense and the insults he does. How many world leaders do you know from major developed countries behave this way. Ask yourself, is he fully competent, mentally?

What do we have to look forward to? Perhaps he will moon a CNN reporter. Perhaps he will light a dog poop filled paper bag at someone’s front door and then run after ringing the doorbell. Of course the Secret Service might protect him that ignominy. But do you think such things couldn’t happen? I’m not so sure. Be ready. Read up on Article 25 of the U.S. Constitution, about removing a President with a disability. Meanwhile, forgo those trips abroad for the next few years to save yourself from the pity, amusement or condescension of those who recognize you as Americans.

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Download Have Bags Will Travel for FREE

book cover of "Have Bags Will Travel"

In honor of the upcoming travel season, D.G. Kaye is putting her book, Have Bags, Will Travel on promotion for FREE, from November 28th through December 2nd! The book will be available Free to all countries. This Universal Link  will take you directly to the Amazon book page of your country to download it. I encourage you to get it if you haven’t read it. I did, here’s my review from Goodreads.

In reviewing Have Bags, Will Travel I must first confess that I have never been a woman, at least in this lifetime. That, not to put too much of  a sexist spin on it, means I don’t have the shopping gene. Still, having watched countless movies and TV shows over a lifetime—and read a few books as well, I am familiar with the whole shopping zeitgeist. Then too, I have had the experience of traveling hither and yon. Not having the shopping gene has saved me from some of the travel travails that D.G. Kaye humorously recounts. The need for a travel scale to weigh suitcases. Customs enforcers frequently finding fault, or at least doubt, with her attention to limits on the value of goods brought into the country.

Whether you’re a shopper or not, there’s no doubt that flying is not as much fun as it once might have been for many. The seats get smaller, the aisles narrower, the allowable luggage more compact and of course the security checks have become over the top. Ms Kaye covers it all in a breezy book, reminiscing on her adventures around the globe with friends and fellow shoppers. It’s a fast and funny read.

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Happy Thanksgiving

Many (if not most) of you reading this post live in America. On this day we offer our thanks and appreciation for the bounty in our lives. For some, it’s a religious occasion. For others it’s all about eating turkey and watching parades or football. For me, it’s all of that.

I have much to be thankful for. A wonderful wife of 36 years. A happy family including children now aspiring to develop and lead their own adult lives. Over the years we have had wonderful family vacations. My wife and I overcame great obstacles just to get married and survive the threat that posed. In the end, through our own faith and determination that not only made our lives richer but ensured the happiness of others as well. There’s so much more we have to appreciate that I can’t detail it here.

Whatever your observance of this day may include, I hope it will bring much joy and happiness. Eat well if you can but not more than you should. Stay away from politics if possible; it likely won’t help the digestion or make for a happy occasion. Give thanks and appreciation in the way best suited to you.

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Respect Trump?

One last Trump post for a while. You’ve all had enough, haven’t You? This is about respect. In their call for unity and moving on with America’s future, many commentators among the various media have been exhorting the public to follow their lead and offer him not only a chance to succeed–but respect. Nonsense!

With less than a majority of the popular vote, Trump will be inaugurated on January 20, 2017. The American Presidency is a singularly important office. For the sake of not only America but the world, it’s a good thing if the person holding it does a good job. The office itself may be worthy of respect. But saying that merely by winning it one is deserving of respect is asinine. Let’s say, through some bizarre stroke of fate, that Charles Manson were elected President. Should we therefore replace the disgust and contempt in which we hold him with respect? I don’t think so, do you?

Contempt is what Trump is entitled to. Trump gains no respect by becoming President. He must earn it. Click To Tweet Trump has asked the American people to abandon division and unite. Wonderful! Now if he could just apologize for the divisive campaign he ran, that would be a start. He not only fomented division, he reveled in it and encouraged his followers to embrace his racism, sexism, bigotry and more. I won’t hold my breath for that apology. He owns his conduct–the media didn’t make up his comments, they just reported them.

Failure may be painful for America and the world, but that’s what will provide the most beneficial and instructive result in the long run. If he succeeds having conducted himself the way he did as he ran for President and as he has lived his 70 years, then others will be encouraged to think that they can do so as well. That will be a far greater tragedy with more serious consequences than his failure during his tenure in the White House. My hope and expectation is that his time in office will be less than a full four-year term. Impeachment or resignation; that’s justice. That’s respect for the office and for America

As time wears on, I may offer more on Trump, but I’d rather restrain myself and write on more pleasant and informative topics as often as I can. Thanks for the likes and the comments.

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How to Marry the Popular Vote to the Electoral College

In 2000, Al Gore won the popular vote but George W. Bush got the White House through the Electoral College. Lightning has struck again just 16 years later with Hillary Clinton apparently winning the popular vote but losing in the Electoral College. If you review the history of this archaic institution brought to us by Alexander Hamilton, you will find it was expressly intended to take the right of ordinary citizens to elect their president and place it in the hands of the elites. Landed gentry rather than the unwashed masses should choose, Hamilton thought.

Some might assume a constitutional amendment might be necessary to make the popular vote the winning vote. Not so! Through a clever pact agreed to, so far, 11 states, the popular vote CAN determine the outcome. Note that this is a bipartisan effort of both red and blue states–Arizona and Oklahoma along with California and New York, for example. Here is the deal, state legislatures passed laws that prescribe that electors in their states must vote in the Electoral College for the candidate that wins the popular vote in the national election (all 50 states plus DC). The Electoral College casts their ballots on the first monday following the second Wednesday of December (that itself seems ridiculously complicated calendaring, but that’s the law).

The electoral vote count of the 11 states that have agreed so far has reached 61% of the 270 vote total needed to select the President. Once enough states agree to this plan to attain 270 votes, the agreement will take effect and the popular vote will rule!

Want to see this happen? Check out the National Popular Vote website and contact your elected state officials to encourage them to join the group if they haven’t already. Yes, they could revoke the agreement at some point in the future, but this is a way quicker and easier way to achieve the desired  result than the cumbersome constitutional amendment process.

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Trump Wins–a Sad Day for America

The "winner" of the office but not the popular vote.

On a trip this summer, we met people from around the world. Without exception, all expressed dismay at the possible ascension of Trump to the White House. We assured them it couldn’t happen. Now that dark prospect has occurred. Today, were we on a similar journey, we would most likely say we were from Canada. Had Hillary Clinton not won the popular vote, I would be more ashamed than embarrassed at the election. What is most bewildering to my wife and I (I’m sure we are not alone), is who are these people who voted for Trump?

Perhaps, given the popularity of Duck Dynasty, Honey Boo-Boo, Naked and Afraid and similar “Reality TV” fare we shouldn’t be so amazed. As PT Barnum once said,  “Nobody ever lost a dollar by underestimating the taste of the American public.” Trump, after all, is just as famous as Honey Boo-Boo and her dysfunctional family. Still, it’s incomprehensible to us that people could apparently be so gullible. Arguably disenfranchised Middle class people believe the vague promises of an alleged billionaire that he will be their champion. Others are so angry that John Boehner, Paul Ryan and Mitch McConnell couldn’t stop Obama from  keeping the government running that they were oblivious to Trump’s failings. Hillary Clinton’s “damn emails,” were seemingly more important than Trump’s faults like these:

  • boasts that he knows more about everything than any expert on any topic of significance to being President when he actually knows less than anyone on anything and has no interest in learning
  • boasts of sexual assaults and corroboration by 12 accusers
  • racism, misogyny and xenophobia
  • plans to jail his opponent
  • calls to torture alleged terrorists or kill their families
  • ignorance of constitutional protections for religion
  • pathological lying about his own policies or positions even when confronted with a record of his own words
  • incessant insults to anyone and everyone, including the Khan family
  • projection of his faults on others–such as being crooked, lying, etc.

Now, in his victory remarks, Trump says:

“Now it is time for America to bind the wounds of division [which he inflicted throughout his campaign by his rhetoric], have to get together. To all Republicans and Democrats and independents across this nation, I say it is time for us to come together as one united people.”

Seriously? Later he said this, in part, about his “movement”:

“It is a movement comprised of [sic] Americans from all races, religions, backgrounds, and beliefs. . .” [Like 8% of African-American voters, a few Muslims, and less than 20% of Hispanics—who are undoubtedly not of Mexican descent]

He said on the campaign trail that he would “drain the swamp” Actually, he will refill it with his own slime dwelling bottom feeders. He’ll send adulterers, sexual predators (like himself), failed military and economic advisors and others, some of whom, I assume, are good people–to the swamp of the cabinet and the White House.

So no, I do not wish Trump a successful presidency. I wish him a very short one. Not like Mitch McConnell–who made it his mission that Obama would be a one-term President. No, less than one term. Perhaps it might come from being impeached for using the presidency as a means of enriching the Trump Organization through corrupt foreign policy decisions. Perhaps it might come from being charged with  treason for yet to happen dealings with Vladimir Putin. Maybe he will simply resign as his limited intellectual capacity and stamina is overtaxed by the stresses of decision-making demanded of a President.

“Great events never have minor omens. When great evil occurs, great good follows.”  Nichiren Daishonin.

America’s Presidential Election yesterday, in my opinion, qualifies as a great evil. We survived Watergate and Richard Nixon. How great the good that followed may be debatable, but America certainly learned from it. We will learn from America’s Trump folly. It will be costly–in terms of the National Debt, the risks of war and many more dangers his incompetence poses. Come 2018, whether he has left office or not, Democrats will regain control of both the House and the Senate. Then the swamp will be drained.

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Vote for Clinton–If You Haven’t Already

So Sad! New York Magazine cover October 31, 2016
So Sad! New York Magazine cover October 31, 2016

There’s still time, if you haven’t already voted, to make this New York Magazine cover a reality on November 9th, if not the night before. It’s important to do so; see my post of yesterday on what a Trump Presidency would entail. The cover story by Frank Rich in the New York magazine has this header, “Trump’s Appeasers: Charles Lindbergh was a national hero, then a fascist sympathizer. History will be just as brutal to more than a few current Republican leaders.”

I already voted for Clinton and not as the lesser of two evils. She has 30 years of public service championing the rights of children, the disabled and women. She is guilty of NOTHING re: Benghazi—check her 11 hours before a witch-hunting committee of Congress. She has an incredible wealth of experience and knowledge that Donald Trump doesn’t have. [Did his father make a major contribution to get Donald into college?] She did make a stupid, but not criminal case of having a private email server. But what of Trump’s emails? He or his organization regularly deleted business emails to hide them from discovery in lawsuits.

Trump isn’t just guilty of virtually everything he has accused her and his primary opponents of; he’s guilty of much more. He is the most disreputable, most ill-informed, most sexist, most bigoted and most dangerous candidate ever to run for national office in American history. Let’s illustrate just a few of the ways he is unfit to hold the least office of a state or local government—let alone be President of the United States:

  • He says, “No one has more respect for women than I do.” Seriously? He brags about being able grab any woman by the genitals and denies he’s actually done so. But 12 women say he did as he bragged about. “They’re all liars,” he says.
  • He knows more than the generals about military strategy. Seriously? My dog knows more strategy than Trump does!
  • He was told by intelligence officials that Russia is responsible for hacking the DNC, American election records and more but doesn’t believe it. He probably knows more than investigators at the 17 US intelligence agencies too. No LOL–it’s not funny.
  • He praises Vladimir Putin because the translation of a Russian word that means brilliant didn’t mean smart, it meant being “flashy.” Worse, Trump is a “useful fool” or tool for the former KGB head—which is why Russian agents are meddling in the US election on his behalf, worrying other Western nations.
  • While he, his family and his campaign manager all say he is a generous man, investigations by the Washington Post show little or no donations by him to charities and his own foundation relies on donations from others—which go to buy portraits of himself or renovate properties. Meanwhile, he showed up at a charity event photo-op as if he had donated—when he hadn’t.
  • He and his chief surrogate Rudy Giuliani claimed an “indictment is near” against the Clinton Foundation. As Trump himself would say, WRONG! Rather, the lie came from leaks by hyper-partisan FBI agents (who hate Clinton and support Trump) at the FBI New York Field Office (AKA Trumpland or Trumplandia) who relied on a book by Breitbart alumni for their investigation, (“The Clinton Cash.” ) If Clinton is elected, it is those agents that may wind up being investigated, rather than her or the Clinton Foundation!
  • It is those same agents that enabled Rudy Giuliani to tell Fox News two days before FBI Director Comey released his letter to Congress about the “new” email discovery.
  • Trump half-heartedly rejects the support of the KKK, David Duke and various Neo-Nazi groups but welcomes “Michael the Black Man,” a former member of a now-defunct Yahweh Ben Yahweh murderous cult that, who can be seen with a large “Blacks for Trump” sign at many of Trump’s rallies—the man is an “anti-gay, anti-liberal preacher” according to the Miami News.
  • His third Eastern European wife, Melania, said in a Thursday speech in Berwyn Pennsylvania that she would focus on “cyberbullying” as First Lady—she would start, one must assume, with Donald himself. The New York Times published a full two-page spread of the 6,000 twitter insults Trump issued against 280 some individuals, groups or organizations just since the campaign began.
  • His two main surrogates, like himself, cheated on prior wives while getting ready to marry their current ones. In the case of Newt Gingrich, that was while she was in the hospital being treated for cancer. We can assume they must respect women as much as Trump himself does.
  • He won’t release his tax returns but what has come out through leaks enables David Cay Johnston to predict that Trump may never pay federal taxes the rest of his life
  • No need to mention Khizar Khan, Alycia Machado, et al. You know all about them.
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A Trump Presidency

Photo of Trump at a campaign event
REUTERS/Dominick

Here’s what will happen if Trump wins the election.

  • The stock market crashes, slashing retirement funds and investor income
  • Russia invades and takes over Ukraine—the US does nothing
  • Emergency rooms are swamped as people formerly insured by Obamacare come to hospitals for routine treatment
  • Planned Parenthood shuts down after Federal funding is eliminated; infant mortality, breast and uterine cancer rates increase dramatically
  • Stephen Bannon, Rudy Giuliani, Chris Christie, Roger Stone, Newt Gingrich, Michael Flynn, Katrina Pierson and a couple others are appointed to his cabinet
  • The KKK, neo-nazis and other right wing groups hold celebrations throughout the country after the election
  • Trump employs undocumented workers as housekeepers, cooks and waiters in the former White House—now known as Trump House
  • More coal is mined and burned—global warming accelerates with increased carbon emissions
  • Michelle Obama’s garden is replaced by the Trump House Casino
  • Roe v Wade is repealed by extreme conservatives appointed to the Supreme Court by Trump; backstreet abortions cause septicemia, scarring and some fatalities
  • US military bases, missile defense systems, etc. are closed or removed from countries who don’t pay their fair share to NATO
  • The FBI drops the Manafort investigation and other inquiries about Trump aides connections with Russians
  • A special prosecutor is named to investigate Hillary Clinton
  • Trump orders all federal investigators and the military to employ waterboarding and any other means necessary to get the truth from suspected terrorists
  • Vendors for balls, bleachers, parades and other inaugural-related events sue Trump for unpaid invoices
  • Trump orders Homeland Security to enforce a policy that TSA ask for proof of citizenship of all persons who look Hispanic or Muslim, traveling by air domestically
  • The national debt increases substantially as tax revenues decline and expenditures rise for national golf courses, casinos and the like
  • Trump tells state and local police they should ask for proof of citizenship and religion during routine traffic stops and when stopping and frisking suspicious looking individuals
  • Senior military officials who were members of the Joint Chiefs or otherwise served under Obama’s leadership are replaced by those of ideological purity and military incompetence
  • All women appointed to Cabinet positions (1-2) and agency heads had to be rated at 7.5 or above by Trump—no fatties, no flat chests
  • Congress impeaches Trump as Trump Organization business interests overseas influence many foreign policy decisions,  enriching him and his family
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The Flame

This is a short story coming in the collection for the holidays. I seldom post stories here; they belong on John Maberry’s Writing. I’m making an exception this time. All the writers out there will understand. Plus it’s a break from politics–hurray!

The Flame

Carson sipped Irish coffee, bundled against the chill wind of a late October day on the Outer Banks. He sat on the third floor deck for its view beyond the barrier dune, rising 15 feet above the sand. The swimmers and sunbathers had gone. Only the beachcombers and solitude seekers remained this late in the season. He was among the latter. With the kids away at college and Sharon at her sister’s to “think about us,” he couldn’t face the empty house in Alexandria. Reading the backlog of beach books almost kept thoughts of Sharon’s surprise announcement away. He had just put down a thriller when he looked out to see a fiery column rising above the waves. It must have been a mile or two offshore. Only the bright yellow plume could be seen, even with the high-powered binoculars. No ship. No people. Nothing. What the hell is that? There’s no gas line out there. The sight had him baffled.

He called the Coast Guard at Hatteras Inlet. “Coast Guard, Petty Officer Harris speaking. Is this a boating emergency call?”

“No, I don’t think so. I’m looking offshore from Buxton, seeing a bright flame coming up from the water.”

“How far out is it? Have you seen any ships in the area?”

“A mile and a half, maybe more. Hard to tell from the shore with no landmarks to go by. No ships out there or anything else that I can see. The plume looks about the size of a power pole from here and goes up fifty or sixty feet from the surface.”

“Ok, we’ll send a boat to check it out. Thank you for letting us know. Please give us a call if anything changes.”

“Sure. Oh, and I didn’t hear any explosions or anything. One more thing—the flame isn’t bending much in the wind; looks like it’s under pressure. It’s yellow, by the way.”

 

Carson figured at least 45 minutes, more like an hour before they showed up. They’d have to come around the inlet to the oceanside and through Diamond Shoals, also known as the Graveyard of the Atlantic for all the ships that sank there over the centuries.

While waiting for the Coast Guard, Carson refreshed his Irish coffee. Barely three PM and he was on his third drink. The caffeine kept him up enough and the whiskey dulled the pain. The pain of not selling a book in ten years. Sharon’s billable hours at the DC law firm kept them financially flush. She’d made partner just after his last book sold. No coincidence his writing suffered after that. It took a toll on the marriage.

“So you think the booze will help the stories along, Carson?” That’s what she said, more than once, when she found him staring at a blank monitor slurping a drink.

“Hey, it worked for some of the greats,” he’d laugh before slamming down the glass. “I don’t know what will help. I’m trying; the ideas aren’t there—the words won’t appear without them.” That’s when the blowups came. Hurricane force words flying between them, loud as a storm screaming through the room. She once was his muse. No more.

Continue reading The Flame

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Trump vs Buffett–the Tax Dodger Picks on the Wrong Taxpayer

Cropped image of Titanic sinking painting by Stower
The Trumptanic is sinking

Trump will never release his taxes, everyone knows that. But that’s just part of his constant stream of lies. He projects all his faults and foibles onto everyone else. He assumes Warren Buffett, being a much, much richer billionaire than himself (assuming Trump is one at all) must also be avoiding paying federal taxes just he does. WRONG!, as Trump would say. If you don’t have facts, just make them up–that’s what Trump does on a daily basis. He probably never expected a public statement correcting this erroneous statement during the Presidential Debate on October 9:

“Many of her [Hillary Clinton] friends took bigger deductions. Warren Buffett took a massive deduction.”

Here’s what Buffett had to say in his statement:

My 2015 return shows adjusted gross income of $11,563,931. My deductions totaled $5,477,694, of which allowable charitable contributions were $3,469,179. All but $36,037 of the remainder was for state income taxes.

The total charitable contributions I made during the year were $2,858,057,970, of which more than $2.85 billion were not taken as deductions and never will be. Tax law properly limits charitable deductions.

My federal income tax for the year was $1,845,557. Returns for previous years are of a similar nature in respect to contributions, deductions and tax rates.

I have paid federal income tax every year since 1944, when I was 13. (Though, being a slow starter, I owed only $7 in tax that year.) I have copies of all 72 of my returns and none uses a carryforward.

Although we can’t be sure, because he won’t release his tax returns, Trump is unlikely to be a generous charitable giver–assuming he gives away anything at all. Buffett, Bill Gates and others have pledged to give away their wealth to charity before death or in their wills. The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation is, unlike the Trump “Foundation,” is an actual benevolent group giving millions away annually.

Incidentally, Gates and Buffett also are unlikely to spend much, if any, time in “locker room banter,”

 

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