All posts by John Maberry

A writer, a lapsed lawyer, a former government employee, a father of two and a 30+ year (in this lifetime) Bodhisattva of the Earth. Author of Waiting for Westmoreland. A happy man and a funny guy.

The Trump Stain

The American Presidency will forever be stained by Donald Trump. We have had incompetent Presidents. We have had corrupt Presidents. We have had somewhat racist Presidents. We have never had all of the above in one man. Trump is not only dangerously incompetent, he now confirms and unreservedly validates the assumptions and charges of his deeply flawed moral character.

If the Republican party does not reject him, does not isolate him, they too will be stained. If those foolish people who accepted positions within his cabinet and the White House itself do not resign, they too will forever be stained. 

Steve Bannon, Stephen Miller and Sebastian Gorka are not responsible for Trump’s positions on race and religion–he is. They may refine his narratives. They may inspire and facilitate. But they don’t initiate his outbursts–that’s all him. They declaim against the “deep state,” all the while propounding their own “dope state”–or perhaps I should say “hate state.”

Former President Barack Obama recently shared a quote from Nelson Mandela that has become the most liked tweet in Twitter history:

“No one is born hating another person because of the color of his skin or his background or his religion … People must learn to hate, and if they can learn to hate, they can be taught to love … For love comes more naturally to the human heart than its opposite.” 

This tells us that there are a great many people who share Obama’s views of humanity–and reject Donald Trump’s perspective. Inferentially, we can conclude that Trump learned to hate from his father Fred, who was arrested during a KKK march in 1927.

Does Trump have RAHOWA tattooed across his buttocks where no one but Melania can see it? Perhaps he wears 88 brand Depends. There, we can’t have a post about Trump without some satire, despite the gravity of current events. 

America will survive. The sooner Trump is forced from office, the quicker it’s recovery and reascendence can begin. You can help this along by recognizing that friends don’t let friends tolerate Trump–let alone support him. Difficult as it may be, we all need to communicate with friends and family–especially those deluded ones that have no problems with Trump. We need to urge them to tell their friends and coworkers (yes, I know, we’re not supposed to talk politics at work but this is a special case) to pass along the need to quit if you work in the Trump administration. That you need to demand he be removed from office, as soon as possible.

All right, one more satirical interlude. Trump’s slogan is Make America Great Again. He wants to harken back to America’s more seriously racist and misogynistic past. Why not go back even further. Remember, this is humor. 

In Colonial America, miscreants might be placed in stocks. Shame meant something then and townsfolk could hurl insults, tomatoes or rotten fruit at them. That would be fitting for Trump, don’t you think? Of course the Secret Service wouldn’t allow that to happen to Trump–at least while in office. Besides, we’re too civilized now. But if it could happen after he’s out, maybe we could add tarring and feathering? For someone who lives in such a dark past, it seems fitting, doesn’t it? Alas, the courts wouldn’t permit such a thing. But Trump would most likely be fine with it–if it were done to someone else.

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Trump Is Crazier than Kim

Yes, it’s official–to me at least. That Trump is the scarier guy than Kim Jung Un. But before we get onto that topic, note that we’ll also be talking about the totally unrelated pardon proffer today. A proffer that may already have been made.

First, North Korea. Could Kim and Trump be brothers of another mother? They seem so much alike in the way they saturate the media with their bombastic excursions into idiotic promises of consequences. If it weren’t so serious, one could compare their rants to WWE, or whatever the wrestling consortium goes by today. What if, stop and think about it—Kim thinks Trump is crazy enough to do what he says he will? Is it possible that this might actually work to scare off Kim from shooting missiles or artillery at us or South Korea? Wouldn’t want to bet the lives of everyone on the Korean peninsula and nearby countries. Not to mention Guam, etc. Still, I believe it’s possible. If somebody ever does a remake of “The Shining,” perhaps Trumpy could play the lead nutjob.

The more cautious and sensible route seems invoking Article 25, Section 4, of the US Constitution to remove Trump for being unfit to perform the duties of President. While the section doesn’t spill out all the possible details, being not one or two—but several sandwiches short of a picnic ought to be enough to get him removed. We can at least hope that sane military officers would resist a preemptive strike on North Korea. But why take that chance? Let’s start the ball rolling to get Trump out and committed to an institution where he can get the help he needs.

Onto the pardon prospects. Manafort, following the FBI raid on his home, has new lawyers. One specializes in the kind of financial crimes he might be charged with. The other has escaped the attention of most commentators—other than Rachel Maddow. She noted the other night that Manafort now has a lawyer who managed to get a pardon of an ex-CIA official from George H. W. Bush for a crime that would have had him serving serious time for various felonies. Maddow didn’t speculate, but here’s my take:

Special Counsel Robert Muller wants to flip either Michael Flynn or Paul Manafort—maybe both. In exchange for implicating Trumpty Dumpty, they could get off with light sentences (or none) for the various serious offenses both will face accusations of. But rather than ANY sentence, why not make Trump an offer (through each other’s attorneys) that they won’t rat him out if makes a binding agreement to pardon them? Why else would Manafort have hired Richard Hibey—the lawyer who got Clair George the pardon from Bush? Trump has already been investigating the prospect of pardons. Likely with good reason.  

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Networking Includes Helping Others Get Their News Out

Today, it’s three, three, three re-posts in one! OK, it sounds like a certain commercial, but it popped out of my brain unbidden.

Friend D.G. Kaye has a FREE promotion of her book, Words We Carry, beginning today on Amazon. Free downloads run through August 15. Get it FREE here.

Editorial Review

“D.G. Kaye offers hope to those of us imprisoned by the negative words and scripts ingrained in our minds. Words We Carry, her own true story, tells us how to re-establish our self-esteem and attract the positive relationships we all deserve!”–Deborah A. Bowman, Author, Publisher, and Advanced Clinical Psychological Hypnotherapist (ACPH)

 

Using another language in your book? Susan Uttendorfsky of Adirondack Editing has some tips for you. You’ll find these as Editing 101:50 on Chris the Story Reading Ape’s Blog

The question comes up: How do you distinguish two different languages being used when you want your readers to understand both?

There are several ways of doing this. The first is to write the foreign language (in italics) for the first one or two sentences, with the translation in parentheses, and then, whenever you switch languages, you add something like, “Sky continued in Spanish.”

This example was translated with Google Translate, so forgive me if it’s not correct! ?

“¿Por qué siempre me molesta cuando estoy trabajando? (Why do you always bother me when I’m working?)” Sky demanded. “Yo le he dicho, déjame en paz! (I have told you, leave me alone!)”

As you can see, if you continued in this manner of word-for-word translation, it is very cumbersome and can be difficult for the reader to follow. For a character who only appears briefly, though, it would be fine. But to avoid having a main or supporting character’s dialogue being difficult to read, additional dialogue spoken by the foreign-language-speaking character could include a word or two within a sentence or paragraph, as long as it’s clear to the reader by the context what you mean.

After all this serious stuff and it being Friday, you are in need of some laughter, right? I know I am. So here’s a grabber graphic from Sally Cronin’s Smorgasbord–Variety is the Spice of Life. Go to this link for more funnies. You’ll be glad you did–perhaps even ROFL. 

AND while you’re at Sally’s site, take notice that she too has a FREE promo this weekend–Today through Sunday. It’s for What’s in a Name–Book 1. This is NOT a Kindle download.  Read a review and learn how to receive a free copy. 

Optimism

Over the past year, we’ve had much political commentary on Views from Eagle Peak. Some of it has been rather polemical. Some, seriously satirical. Some, more observational and some intentionally humorous in an effort to lighten the mood of those afflicted by our current situation. The objective is to create and retain a sense of optimism. We’ll skip the clichés that describe that in contemporary America and perhaps around the world.

As a Buddhist, I don’t shun observations about what I see as the reality of politics in America. With regard to optimism, a phrase from the Writings of Nichiren Daishonin you may have seen here before, reads:

“When great evil occurs, great good follows.”

It’s not a foregone conclusion that such should happen, but rather it is through the efforts of practitioners that it will. Thus, Nichiren goes on to say in this short missive (possibly an excerpt; the date and recipient are unknown):

“What could any of you have to lament? Even if you are not the Venerable Mahakashyapa, you should all perform a dance. Even if you are not Shariputra, you should leap up and dance. When Bodhisattva Superior Practices emerged from the earth, did he not emerge dancing?”

Hardly seems pessimistic, does it? But, have any of you felt like dancing amidst the chaos created by America’s White House occupant? Probably not, I suspect. Yet I find Nichiren’s words both convincing and encouraging that wonderful things will happen in time. This despite the evils of America’s so-called President. I am confident that the country and the world will not only survive but can thrive. But let’s be clear, it will take effort on the part of many. Consider what Daisaku Ikeda, president of the international Buddhist organization says about Buddhist optimism, in Buddhism Day by Day.

“Buddhist optimism is not the escapist optimism of those who throw up their hands and say, ‘Somehow or other things will work out.’ Rather it means clearly recognizing evil as evil and suffering as suffering and resolutely fighting to overcome it. It means believing in one’s ability and strength to struggle against any evil or any obstacle. It is to possess a fighting optimism.”

Whether you practice or believe in Buddhism as I do, the explanation and admonition of Daisaku Ikeda is valid for anyone. Pollyanna’s need not apply. Only those willing to work for the results they hope for will validate optimism.

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Acknowledgements: See attributions for block quotes

Game of Trumps

It’s been too long away from politics on this blog. So let’s get back to the truth that is so much stranger than fiction that it’s almost impossible to satirize. But I’m up to it! It’s mostly sardonic humor that follows. But never forget (I never do) the very real danger Donald Trump in the White House poses for the survival of America as a working democracy under a nation of laws.

Before we get into the stress-relieving humor, let’s go back more than 50 years to what things were like in the Army’s Basic Training program. A time when we had the Vietnam era draft. An incident I observed offers a guide to relieving America and the world of Donald Trump before it’s too late.

It came at Ft. Bliss in 1966. A First Sergeant (top NCO of the unit) continually ridiculed and berated one hapless trainee. Eventually the young man broke down and attacked the NCO with a broom. No harm, no punishment.  But it enabled the trainee to be discharged. It wasn’t pointless hazing on the NCO’s part. The superficially cruel episode may have saved the kid’s life. If he couldn’t handle this abuse, how might he respond in Vietnam?

How will our apprentice President react to a serious crisis? Based on his behavior so far, not sensibly. The news media, the resistance and all of us must keep the pressure on him now. Undoubtedly, the leaks will continue but Robert Mueller’s report may not come out until late in 2018 or after. In the meantime, we must pray for no crises or catastrophes, while we strive to induce a broom attack-like breakdown. A breakdown that will cause Trump to quit or be removed. Based on his lack of exercise and unhealthy diet, he might have a heart attack or stroke before then, notwithstanding his clean bill of health from his doctor of questionable medical skills.

America can survive Trump’s premature departure. A President Pence might implement socially, financially and environmentally terrible polices with the help of a Republican-led Congress. But the 2018 midterms and the 2020 elections could reverse them without disaster. Pence at least appears to be of sound mind. That can’t be said of Donald Trump. Both the US and the world are in peril with him in office. 

All right, it’s time to reduce our own stress. let’s warm up with a few one-liners. Then we’ll get on to detailed satire and finally, how the US and the world may be spared the risk of Trump, under America’s constitutional provisions.

Anthony Scaramucci couldn’t do the Fandango so Chief of Staff Kelly fired him..

Speaking of Scaramucci, people are saying his wife wants a divorce. She’s tired of helping him attempt that auto-erotic act he accused Steve Bannon of doing.

Intelligence intercepts have Kim Jong Un saying to a Beijing envoy “That guy Trump is nuts!” The Chinese envoy suggests Kim send Dennis Rodman to talk sense into Trump.

Speaking of nuts, Keith Schiller, head of Oval Office Operations has been tasked with removing rodents infesting the White House. Squirrels are after all the nuts inside the White House.

Anonymous but reliable sources say that Putin has shut down that back channel he and Trump agreed to at that G20 dinner meeting. Unconfirmed rumors say if Trump doesn’t pay up his debts, Putin will send Wikileaks all the details of what he has on America’s fake President.

White House insiders suggest that new Chief of Staff Kelly wants to rein in the next “Dear Leader” cabinet meeting but Trump may resist. He needs that sycophancy to keep his mood stable.

Ok, on with the serious satire. Just hit the continue reading button. Continue reading Game of Trumps

Free Books, Reviews and More by Others

Vampyrie book coverGet Tina Frisco’s interesting variation on the vampire theme for nothing, but hurry, the free download of her book Vampyrie on Amazon ends tomorrow. It ranks number 6 in the Vampires subcategory on Amazon. Here’s a snippet from one review:

If you’re a fan of paranormal reads with a scientific twist, Vampyrie is a read that should appeal to you.

book cover of "Have Bags Will Travel"You may remember seeing my review here on Views of D.G. Kaye’s Have Bags Will Travel. Or maybe you saw my review of her book, Conflicted Hearts on Goodreads. I must confess to having two more of her books yet to be read and reviewed. I am so behind on my reading!

She just posted new reviews of three of her books on her regular Sunday Review feature.  Go to her Amazon Author Page to find all these books and more. Here’s some of what she said on her recent post. Why, you might ask, am I including this instead of the reviews? Because I want to pass along why it’s important to let writers know you liked their book enough to not only review it but to tell them you did. 😉 But you can discover these reviews along with Deb on her post and on Amazon!

Today’s Sunday book review is a little different. Since I’m not quite finished my latest read I thought I’d share a few new reviews I stumbled across on Amazon while visiting my book pages.

I was looking at one of my book’s pages on Amazon, intending to copy over one of the reviews for a post I’m working on for a free book promotion I’m planning next month for one of my books. I was surprised to find a few new reviews that I wasn’t aware of.

It’s always a thrill to receive a new review, especially a 5 Star one, so I wish Amazon would notify us of new reviews but they don’t. Often if a reviewer knows us, they will inform us about having read our book and reviewed, but not always.  And of course, reviews from complete strangers are always rewarding, to know our words have touched complete strangers is so uplifting. So, it’s a good idea to check our book pages on Amazon, you never know what surprises you will find!

 

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Acknowledgements: Reviews by others and images as attributed.

New on the Shelves–The Fountain Featured on Sally’s Cafe and Bookstore

In case you missed this wonderful feature from Sally Cronin on her website, Smorgasbord–Variety is the spice of life, here’s a re-blog of what she said about The Fountain and my first book, Waiting for Westmoreland.

Sally’s Cafe and Bookstore – New on the Shelves – The Fountain Short Story Collection by John Maberry

Welcome to John Maberry who is joining the authors on the shelves in the bookstore with two books.. One is his memoir Waiting for Westmoreland and the second, The Fountain, his recently released short story collection.

About Waiting for Westmoreland

Surviving poverty and the deaths of loved ones, the author remains hopeful as he exits childhood. then comes the draft that sends him to Vietnam. With innocence lost and illusions shattered, he seeks answers. College courses are intriguing but offer no solutions. Eventually, hope returns in the form of a life philosophy that comes from a chance encounter at a party. It’s all about cause and effect. Events happen not by chance but as a result of karma. Unseen connections have surprising consequences.

This knowledge comes in the nick of time, as he faces his most serious situation since the perils of Vietnam, the threat of death from a prospective father-in-law. He must take responsibility for the matter, despite being unaware of the underlying reason for it, reform himself and seek only her father’s happiness.

One of the reviews for the Paperback book

I’m apparently about the same age as the author and am always curious to hear someone else’s experience of the times I’ve lived in. In this case, Mr. Maberry and I couldn’t have lived more disparate lives if we’d tried. I don’t think I could have survived Mr. Maberry’s life and I appreciate his sharing the way his inner life as well as his circumstances have unfolded to this point. He survived things that have only scared me from a distance and he has achieved things I’ve only dreamt about from a distance. I’m so impressed with the way he has developed his life. I’m especially delighted to have read his account of his experience of the ’60s and ’70s, two decades I didn’t fit into very well.

Like Forrest Gump, Mr. Maberry made me re-evaluate that era in a more favorable light. In fact, this book made me re-evaluate a lot of things. Even if this were a big book, I would highly recommend it. It would be worth your time. But it’s a small book and reads very fast. No matter what your own experience in life, I think you will find this book interesting and impressive, and it may just lead to a whole new life for you, a new awakening.

A review for the Kindle version

Waiting for Westmoreland is an excellent memoir of John Maberry’s life as a kid growing up in the Midwest, Vietnam War vet, ant-war protestor, law student, pot smoker, and devout Buddhist. The author offers a poignant and eloquent account of the events that shaped his life leading to his enlightenment through Buddhism. I was particularly moved and educated by his observations about the politics involved in the unpopular, yet long-lasting Vietnam War.

The quality of the author’s writing is excellent – it is descriptive and clear. This independently-published work rivals the quality of work produced by the professional publishing houses. I found the story fascinating and it held my interest throughout.
NOTE: I’m posting this review on the Kindle edition because that is what I purchased although I noticed that the paperback has several other reviews.

Read all the reviews and buy the book: https://www.amazon.com/John-Maberry/e/B002BM82FU

Also by John Maberry released on 10th July

The Fountain and six more fantasy & Scifi stories.

Humor, twists and more in this collection of seven fantasy and sci-fi short stories. Karma can be painful in “The Fountain”–when a plunderer meets a long-dead shaman. A family adopts a retriever with special talents in “Lily, an Amazing Dog.” A vampire has a strange problem, in “Alfred’s Strange Blood Disorder.” A perennial favorite, dimensional travel, with a strange twist in “The Closet Door.” What could that column of fire be, rising from the Atlantic off the Outer Banks? Read “The Flame” to find out what it meant to troubled writer Carson. A wizard casts a spell that works well for a princess, but will it be as good for him? Check out “The Wizard.” Finally, “The Fribble” offers an alien encounter of an odd sort, to a pharmaceutical company rep searching for new drugs in the Amazon Rain forest.

One of the early reviews for the book

If you enjoy short stories in fantasy/sci-fi genres, and stories that make you think then look no further than Maberry’s tales which will engross you with stories about karma, greed, time travel, aliens and muses.

In this book you will read stories about: a dog with extra sensory perception, a writer battling his own sub-conscience, a wizard who wonders if the spells he casts for others will work for himself, a man who experiences 2 lifetimes by opening a closet door. These are just a few of the stories to stimulate your reading appetite.

Maberry is a prolific writer who knows how to keep a reader captivated till the end and finishes his stories with an unexpected twist. This book also offers an excerpt to the author’s next upcoming novel. As in true Maberry style, he leaves us hanging in anticipation with more to come. A great read!

Read the reviews and buy the collection: https://www.amazon.com/Fountain-more-fantasy-sci-fi-stories-ebook/dp/B071KLTTJR

Read all the reviews and buy both bookshttps://www.amazon.com/John-Maberry/e/B002BM82FU

Follow John Maberry on Goodreadshttp://www.goodreads.com/author/show/1210538.John_Maberry

Continue reading New on the Shelves–The Fountain Featured on Sally’s Cafe and Bookstore

Reblog: Interviewed by fellow writer D.G. Kaye

I had the good fortune to be interviewed by fellow writer D.G. Kaye on her blog today.  Here’s some snippets from her post.

Today I’m thrilled to have over a dear friend and prolific writer, blogger, and author John Maberry, to talk about his writing and his newest book – The Fountain – Karma Can be Painful. Seven short stories in fantasy and Sci-Fi genres to captivate your imagination.

John is also the author of Waiting for Westmoreland, his memoir about growing up in poverty and surviving the Viet Nam war. I loved that book and you can read my review of it HERE. John refers to himself as a ‘lapsed lawyer’ and also formerly worked for the government.

I’ve read your captivating memoir, Waiting for Westmoreland. Could you please share with us what it was that spurred you to want to give up law after everything you survived in life and finally became a lawyer?

 

Lots of reasons. If you ever saw the movie the Paper Chase, you’d understand. Many lawyers, not all, are arrogant a**holes. I need not have been one, but that’s who I would have been associating with. The law firm I had clerked at did incredibly boring administrative law AND they didn’t offer me a job. I didn’t get even get an interview at some Federal agencies I would have happily worked for. While I easily passed the bar on the first try, the challenge of “hanging out a shingle” didn’t seem a financially sensible option. Besides the fiscal uncertainty, it seemed unlikely to offer the time to be a writer. There are few part-time lawyers.

I’ve read your new book, The Fountain. It was a wonderful read keeping me intrigued till the end of each story with your signature twisted endings. The stories, although fiction/fantasy, all had some element of human error such as greed, self-doubt or mystery of the unknown. What prompted the ideas of these stories? Was anything in these stories taken from your own life’s experience?

 

Some came from unknown resources of the mind. Others were influenced by places and events. I’ve always like twists and humor, so they play a part in several. I love George Carlin, Ray Bradbury and O’Henry among others.

Continue reading D.G. Kaye’s post.

A Milestone–40 Years of Buddhist Practice

The tagline of Views from Eagle Peak is “Seeing things as they really are, without the illusions or delusions.” That’s something that takes wisdom, which is something that comes from time and faith. Faith in something that works. Eagle Peak is an allegorical reference to a place where the Buddha lives and practices. In one sense it’s an actual place. More generally, anywhere one practices Buddhism is Eagle Peak. A place where one can see how and why things are the way they are. Cause and effect.

Today is the 40th anniversary of my commitment to practicing Buddhism. Looking for hope, a methodology and  a means to achieve my goals and dreams. I needed to overcome indecision and procrastination. Almost without noticing it, I did. All a part of what Soka Gakkai International (SGI) President Daisaku Ikeda calls “human revolution.” An inner transformation of character. One that enabled me to overcome so much and achieve so much.  I could go on for many pages describing the good fortune and joy this practice has brought me,  but I won’t. Instead, here’s a short list.

  • I am in a happy and successful marriage, now in its 36th year, after two failed ones. In so doing, my wife and I overcame the death threat of her father, who after just a couple years welcomed me into his home and later said, “just call me Dad.”
  • After a year in Vietnam which began ten years before I encountered Buddhism, my illusions were shattered about America’s virtues and my innocence was lost. My faith and practice couldn’t bring back the innocence but it gave me the means to make the world a better place by making myself a better person.
  • From a lazy person contemptuous of authority—something three years in the Army fostered, I became a trusted employee at a local government agency. Upon my retirement, the agency director (a retired full colonel from the US Army) said this, “Whenever I wanted something done right and on time, I gave it to John.”
  • Nearly ten years ago, I recounted the experiences which led me to Buddhism and the benefits that resulted from that human revolution in a memoir, Waiting for Westmoreland.
  • Now, I am finally on the way to writing fiction, my goal from childhood. A short story collection, The Fountain, went on sale July 10th on Amazon.
  • We live in a dream house, high atop a hill in southwestern New Mexico. A house I designed on a computer. A far cry from the home I grew up in, foreclosed on when I was 11. My mother could not pay the mortgage after my father died four years before. She died five years later.
  • From the poverty of my youth, my wife and I have taken many wonderful vacations with two children—now grown and on their own. We continue to travel, now more often on our own. In the Buddhism of Nichiren Daishonin, this financial security is called, “treasures of the storehouse.”
  • We have had a few health problems now and then, but by and large we are not inconvenienced greatly by them and have overcome them. Similarly, in our Buddhist faith, this is called “treasures of the body.”
  • Of the three treasures, “treasures of the heart” are the most valuable or important. These too, we have in abundance. The certainty that we can achieve anything, that we can overcome any adversity. That our happiness is absolute—not relative, like winning the lottery, a wonderful car or a wonderful home that could be destroyed by fire or flood.

One doesn’t need to practice Buddhism to be successful in life—to have a happy marriage or a good job. One doesn’t need to practice Buddhism to be financially secure or able to overcome illness. But it certainly helps immeasurably. If it didn’t, if it hadn’t, I wouldn’t still be doing it 40 years later. I would be happy to share more of my own experiences with you about this practice or refer you to sources of information about it—should you be interested.  But today’s post is not a paean to draw you in, it’s a commemoration of my personal anniversary.

One more important note: the path to becoming a Buddha, an enlightened human being, runs through the world of the Bodhisattva. In other words, the practice of Buddhism entails practicing for others as well as oneself. It’s not a greedy, self-realizing endeavor that you keep to yourself. Oh no, it’s a practice that involves helping others find happiness, hope, courage and more through the compassion of a Bodhisattva. An essential element of the beneficial results I’ve obtained over my 40 years of practice stems from that commitment.

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It’s Fourth of July–with Trump in the White House

Fourth of July treats

Fireworks. A day at the beach or another family get together. Beer, hotdogs or burgers. Time to relax and celebrate America’s freedom. But there’s a pall over the festivities this year. At least for the majority of Americans who disapprove and worry about the man who would be king Tiberius Trump, rather than president.

Is our independence secure? One can’t be certain, perhaps even doubtful with the so-called president currently occupying the oval office. There have been  good presidents and bad presidents. But never one so oddly out-of-place and so dangerously unqualified. You know his faults, let’s not list them again. Let’s just consider a couple of events, one historical, one fictional which could threaten the survival of America as we know it. Then we’ll consider the current reality we’re facing–the scariest thing of all.

Were Trump alive during the American Revolution, would he have sided with King George against the Continental Congress? “A fine fellow,” Trump might say. One that instead of considering an enemy, he would prefer to establish a better relationship with. Much like Vladimir Putin.

What would Trump do if he were facing the aliens that threatened not just America but world annihilation in the movie Independence Day? Would he tweet, “FAKE news!” Or perhaps he’d claim it a plot by the Democrats, especially Hillary Clinton, to threaten his presidency. Most likely, he’d cower in the sub-basement of the White House or retreat to the bunker at Mount Weather. There he might call BFF Putin and implore him for advice. After all, Trump doesn’t trust any of his senior advisers—especially the intelligence agency heads nor the military.

What might Putin say to him? If I were as rude as Stephen Colbert, I might suggest that Putin would tell him, (assuming there were a video teleconference transmission):

“Get off your knees, Donald! This isn’t a stall in a Kremlin men’s room!”

But that would be crude, wouldn’t it. But I don’t have to worry about FCC complaints or sponsors objecting. I’m just a blogger who, while not seriously suggesting Trump’s sexual misadventures might include glory holes, doesn’t reject them out of hand as a possibility either.

So what then of America’s independence?  it’s well established that Russian agents, at the direction of Putin, meddled in America’s 2016 election. “Meddle,” of course, is a singularly understated word for what went on. They hacked into DNC servers and published stolen messages via WikiLeaks. They used bots and trolls to publish fake news disparaging the Clinton campaign. They hacked into voter registration records of at least 21 states (and possibly 39). So what is Trump’s response?  Denials that it even happened. It’s all a hoax—especially that anyone associated with his campaign had anything to do with making this happen. Other than that, nothingexcept for his voter fraud commission. NOTE: as of July 4th, 44 of 50 states have resisted the commission’s request for much of the information requested.

The commission was created in part to prove his ridiculous claim of millions of illegal votes that cost him the popular vote. It also would offer better tools for suppressing  undesirable votes from minorities and Democrats. Moreover, his administration offers no assistance or warnings to the election officials across America on how to harden their record keeping systems against intrusion in the upcoming 2018 election.  We’ll return to that in just a bit.

On Friday, July 7th, Trump will meet with Vladimir Putin at the G20 summit. What will they talk about? Syria? Iran? Or maybe lifting or at least lightening the sanctions imposed by former President Obama on Russia? Will there be an opportunity for them to meet alone (Trump is unlikely to speak Russian, but Putin does have some fluency in English!) Trump has dissed a substantial percentage of American allies. He has dissed American war heroes. He calls American media his enemy. But he has never ONCE said anything bad about Putin. He has also lavished praise on strong men throughout the world.

Trump, as we all know, wishes he were unencumbered by limitations on his power by the other two branches of government—Congress and the judiciary. He could also do without media scrutiny. He has had some success at curtailing the media; not so much the other branches of government. But what if he could get an even more compliant Congress? That’s where Putin, the voter fraud commission and the disinterest in protecting against Russian hacking of voter records—perhaps even voting machines themselves.

Could Trump be the reincarnation of Benedict Arnold? Angered at what he perceived to be a lack of recognition and rewards (lack of promotions, etc.) Arnold conspired with the British during the Revolutionary War and gave his name as a simple synonym for traitor. Trump is particularly incensed at the opposition of the media and the lack of recognition of what he sees as his own virtues and successes (few and far between, and as minimal, as they are). So, will Trump succumb to flattery by Putin to make Russia Great Again? Perhaps he already has. Perhaps he has been corrupted financially or otherwise to do Putin’s bidding. One could easily assume so, given Trump’s behavior toward Putin and Russia. So, decades from now, we could be talking of Traitor Trump and Benedict Arnold might be a forgotten figure of history.

Let’s hope not. Now is the time for America to celebrate its independence—and resist surrendering it to Donald Trump and inferentially, Russia. Here’s what Eugene Robinson, Pulitzer Prize winning reporter had to say yesterday in Our #FakeHero president is an insult to our Founders .

The role of the citizenry — to express approval or disapproval at the ballot box — includes making sure that suffrage is not selectively and unfairly denied by restrictive voter-ID laws or partisan purges of the voter rolls.

Congress must assert its powers of oversight. . . Trump has deepened the swamp, not drained it; and Congress has a duty to sort through the muck.

Congress must also let Trump know, in no uncertain terms, . . . that firing Mueller would automatically be considered grounds for impeachment.

The Fourth of July is no day for despair. It’s a day to remember that our system, though vulnerable to a charlatan such as Trump, is robust and resilient. Eventually he will be tossed or voted out. And the star-spangled banner yet will wave.

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Acknowledgements: See link attribution to item by Eugen more...

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