Archive for the ‘Politics’ Category

Sometime back in the mid-sixties – nineteen hundred and sixties, that is – I was privileged to work for a man with an interesting management philosophy. “Always praise in public and condemn in private,” he told me. “Never embarrass someone by publicly condemning them.” It was good advice then. It remains good advice to this very day. I note this because in reading the management principles of Donald Trump, I came across this one, “Supporting and Inspire the team – You are only as good as the people on your team. Remember that.” His ghost writer for the book, The Art of the Deal, Tony Schwartz, notes, “When he (Trump) feels aggrieved, he reacts impulsively and defensively, constructing a self-justifying story that doesn’t depend on facts and always directs the blame to others.” I will grant that Schwartz and Trump have issues with each other, but one must remember that the former spent over a year with the latter to write a book that spent a great deal of time on The New York Times best seller list and that sold in the vicinity of one million copies. Based on this, I’d have to say that the two men got to know one another reasonably well.

There is one thing that bothers me greatly. Most people, even most great leaders, will admit, publicly or privately, that they are flawed. We, you, me, everyone is flawed in some small or perhaps large, way. We have our quirks, and if we don’t acknowledge them, they will eventually come back to bite us in the butt. By acknowledging our weaknesses, we can succeed by working with others who have strengths in our weaker areas. As a very minor example, let me say that I’m a morning person – I think I’ve said this before. I hired two people who found it reasonably difficult to get going before nine or ten o’clock in the morning. However, while I like to retire early and am not particularly effective after ten in the evening, these two were evening dynamo’s. They could go like the hammers of hell until the wee hours of the morning. It made for a great team. The same man cited above, ie “praise in public,” also had a problem with evenings. However, he was president of the university and as such, he was able close his door at two o’clock in the afternoon of an evening event, and take a power nap in his recliner for half an hour. How the hell that rejuvenated him to be as strong as he was in the evening, I will never know…one of those skills I’ll never have, that’s for certain.

During my undistinguished career in higher education, I worked with or for seven college presidents. With some it was a direct relationship, while with others, it was always through a series of supervisors. Using them as my examples of leaders, I learned several things. First, no leader can go it alone and succeed in the long run. Being a dictator may work for a while, but without the support of a strong team, the leader will eventually fail and fall. Next, hire people who are smarter than you, particularly in the jobs you expect them to do. Third, acknowledge publicly, loudly, and often, those who are doing the job and doing it well. Fourth, be open and candid in discussing both successes and areas where improvement is needed. This last is not meant as a castigation of others but of public self-criticism, eg, “I could have done a better job in bringing about…” It shows a humanness that altogether too many people are unwilling to show. It is not an admission of weakness, rather, it demonstrates a strength of personality and character. I’m quite certain that others may disagree with my assessment, and they are perfectly free to do so. My experience with leaders has been limited to seven in the field of higher education. Perhaps leaders in other fields may demonstrate different qualities that make them successful, but it will take someone with experience in those fields to hold forth on their behalf.

Whatever the case, I hold to the old expression that you catch more flies with honey than you do with vinegar. With the exception of one of the men mentioned above, all genuinely cared about others. Yes, I had been chewed out by all seven for one thing or another, but only one lowered himself to the point of making it very, very personal. Suffice it to say, he was the reason for my early retirement…or to put it in the vernacular of my youth, “I didn’t need that shit from anyone!”

I guess that all of this is leading up to a question: “How can anyone in their right mind go to work for Donald Trump?” He has absolutely no loyalty to anyone he hires. He is never wrong in anything he says or does in any area. He knows more about foreign policy than the foreign policy advisors. He knows more about budgets than anyone in the Congressional Budget Office. He knows more about warfare than any general, despite the fact that he’s never been in the military. Toss into this mix the fact that he lies openly and denies these lies even when they have been recorded. Yes, it takes treason, bribery or other high crimes and misdemeanors to impeach someone in Trump’s position. How much more of this type of behavior must we suffer under this man before Congress says, “Enough.”

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What a country II

I really must stop asking, “How stupid can he possibly be?” Donald Trump seems to be taking it as a personal challenge…really. His increasing fall from reality must be looking pretty darned good to what few Cabinet members he has as well as a growing number of Congressmen and women. I mean, come on, when you get into a pissing contest with the dictator of North Korea who couldn’t care less about his own people and you bring your country pretty close to the brink of a nuclear war, you really should be checking in with your shrink to see if your elevator is still going all the way to the top. If that’s not bad enough, you forget your obligations to American territorial possessions, sign an executive order that is going to screw millions of poor people, and manage to alienate several of our closest allies by disavowing a nuclear deal that has the approval of those allies. What am I missing? American voters thought they were electing a businessman, not a politician. Donald Trump isn’t a businessman. He’s a billionaire who played at being a businessman. And he certainly has no political intelligence whatsoever. His screws aren’t loose, they’re ready to fall out, and I expect to see Heckel or Jeckyl pop up as the head falls off. At least those two crows knew enough to get out of trouble when it happened.

While Germany, France, Great Britain, and the rest of the civilized world is wondering, “Whatever happened to America,” we’ve become embroiled in such critical questions as, “Will Trump’s admonition of NFL owners result in new standards of behavior during the playing of the national anthem,” and “Who gives a damn about those millions of poor people and their health care anyway.” I think Goldilocks’ next move will be to name Harvey Weinstein as Secretary of Health and Human Services. It just seems logical for a jerk to appoint a jerk-off. It appears to me that Mr. Trump is making waves in every direction but one, that being Robert Mueller’s Russia investigation. It’s called keeping Mueller off the front page and out of the television headlines.

Speaking of the NFL, if the owners vote to force all their players and staff to stand during the national anthem, isn’t it a violation of the First Amendment rights of the players. And when a group of those players decide to protest anyway, by taking a knee or whatever, how will the owners punish them. It certainly cannot be by benching them. The alternative would be to dock their pay. I’d like to see them enforce that one without finding themselves involved in a lawsuit. Perhaps Trump will issue another executive order absolving the owners of any responsibility for their actions and put the blame where it so rightly belongs…on Roger Goodell and the NFL. If that makes sense to you, you might wish to apply for one of the unfilled deputy secretary positions that Trump has yet to fill. Speaking of executive orders, Trump was highly critical of Barack Obama back in 2012, tweeting “Why is Barack Obama constantly issuing executive orders that are major power grabs of authority?” Trump has signed 50 executive orders to Obama’s 26 at this point in his Presidency. It’s truly amazing how short Trump’s memory is, and I’m certain that were he to be confronted about the executive orders he would maintain that he never, ever, made that tweet. Trump’s lie-ability is truly fascinating; both The New York Times and the Washington Post, as well as Politico and several other sites are keeping track of the lies told by this man since taking office. I stopped counting at somewhere over 400, and that was only from the Times tally.

It seems to me that Donald Trump, in addition to all of his other lovely qualities, is a racist white supremacist. Elaine Chao and Ben Carson are the only minorities in his Cabinet, and his intense, secretive hatred of Obama is coming out as he attempts to destroy anything that smacks of success from the Obama Presidency. First, Trump was one of the first authors of the “birther movement,” which stated that Obama was not a viable candidate for the office. Once Obama was elected, the tweets from the “tower” constantly bombarded America’s first black president. Oh, and among those tweets was the number of times that Obama was ‘caught’ playing golf. In a tweet from October, 2014, dear Donny wrote, “Can you believe that, with all of the problems and difficulties facing the U.S., President Obama spent the day playing golf. Worse than Carter” Sorry, Donald, but at this particular point in time, you are a plus seven over former President Obama. Try this one, “Can you believe that, with the humanitarian crisis in Puerto Rico, Donald Trump spent the day playing golf.” See, what goes around, Donald, can come around and bit you right square in the ass!

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The second most divisive CIC

Not since James K. Polk has an American executive been as divisive as Donald J. Trump. Just as Polk’s slave holdings were a contributing factor to the Civil War, so Trump’s actions are attempting to once more make race an issue in the United States. Ever since his tepid remarks about Charlottesville and his sorry attempt to redefine his remarks, he has shown over and over that his white supremacist base is exactly who he plans to appeal to in order to have an eight-year term in the White House. If that means that blacks take issue with him and seek revenge for the actions of a few white police officers, it will only fuel his ongoing racist attitudes.

Trump appears to feel that kneeling by players in the NFL during the national anthem is an affront to the anthem and to the American flag. If he could take his head out of the sand long enough, he might understand that they are not protesting either. Their protest regards the manner in which this nation is once again being divided by the color of peoples’ skin. To say to NFL owners that they should fire the “son-of-a-bitch” who kneels before the anthem is sung is not only an insult to the players, but to the mothers of those players…think about that one carefully before you make any snide comment.

Perhaps the one thing that is becoming bothersome to me is the slow pace of Robert Mueller’s Russia investigation. I can only hope that it’s because Mueller and his team are dotting ‘I’s and crossing ‘t’s before slamming the door in Trump’s face and opening the door for Congress to impeach the slimeball. Do I actually hate Donald Trump? The answer is no. I hate what he stands for. If he wished to remain a sleazy real estate mogul in New York, going bankrupt, coming out of it and going bankrupt again, that was fine and didn’t affect my bottom line in any way. Now, however, he occupies a position of power and trust that does affect me and every other American citizen, including our naturalized citizens and the children who were brought here illegally by their parents, and he is still being the sleazy operator that he was when he was in real estate.

The Republican Party had seven years to decimate the Affordable Care Act, and one of Trump’s major talking points was “repeal and replace.” Neither the Republicans, Trump, nor the Democrats ever thought of the more appropriate slogan which might have been “repair and reinvent.” Would it have been possible? No, not with members of Congress on both sides of the aisle so unwilling to meet and have an open debate about the merits and faults of the ACA. As a consequence, instead of working together to achieve a consensus, Congress tried more than 70 times to merely repeal the act. That’s like a football team trying to run a play through the eight hole every play, knowing that there are two 385 granite blocks on the other side who are immovable, or to put it another way, it’s like trying to knock down a steel door with your head. Wait a minute…nah, forget it.

Taking Trump’s asinine behavior one step further, why is this man so interested in playing chicken with North Korea. When Goldilocks starts calling other world leaders his little made-up nicknames, he has no idea of how they will react. In the hermit kingdom of North Korea, Kim Jong Un, a man of questionable mental stability, might just become sufficiently pissed to launch an all-out attack on his neighbors to the south, thereby triggering a response that could well develop into WWIII with a final solution not dissimilar to On The Beach.

When the United Nations was formed, it adopted a portion of the goals of the League of Nations, formed shortly after WWI. A portion of this meant, “to promote international cooperation and to achieve peace and security.” Trump’s recent remarks to the General Assembly of the UN hardly was in the spirit of international cooperation. Quite plainly, it was a declaration of war against Iran and North Korea and not once, but several times did he make his intentions known. I was somewhat surprised that several of the nations represented didn’t get up and walk out to show their displeasure with the tenor of his speech. I suppose they were worried that they might be the subjects of his next round of Tweetie Bird tweets. I could have told them not to worry, that he was too concerned about the Emmy Awards and what the players in the National Football League were doing.

This country is in dire need of a Health Care Bill that will provide coverage for those who want and need it, and in most cases, those who have preexisting conditions that must be covered. We are also in dire need of tax reform that will simplify our tax code. Rather than the nearly 74,000 pages that the current tax code requires, there should be something less complex and confusing. Who is working on this? Is anyone working on this, or is this like the health care bill…”We’ll get around to it.” If you and I had that same attitude on our jobs, we’d be out looking for work in no time flat.

If Donald Trump wishes to remain in his current position, he damn well better start to act like he knows what he’s doing, and stop taking on piddly-ass causes like slamming football players, news outlets, and members of the entertainment community. Otherwise, he should get out now while the getting is good. He may even be able to convince Robert Mueller to stop the investigation that will probably put him behind bars.

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Friedrich Nietzsche wrote, “That which does not kill us makes us stronger.” I recalled the quote if not the author while I was pedaling my butt off on a bike at the gym this morning. What brought it to mind was the insane (and inane) comments by little Donny T regarding how he would respond to Kim Jong Un’s threat to drop a few missiles 20 kilometers off Guam. These two dictators have been going at it for a while now. It’s something like two bullies in the schoolyard, taunting each other but never throwing the first punch because they are fearful that the other will hit back harder.

Trump’s posturing is typical of his behavior in everything that he has shown us, both as a candidate and as an elected official – I cannot and will not ever refer to him by the title he claims to hold. He has made outrageous claims that cannot be substantiated. He has lied openly and boldly. He has shown no hesitation to turn on those who have supported him. He has demonstrated that his single goal in running for the most important office in this country is merely to make money for himself and for those who are currently in his circle of friends, eg, people in the fossil fuel industry.

I find it interesting that for the majority of people who preceded Trump as commander-in-chief, military options were always the option of last resort. For Trump, a man who never served in the military, and is thus ignorant of standard operating procedures, military options appear to be his first course of action. This can probably be attributed to his psychological profile. I’m willing to wager that his “win at all costs” mentality means going to the biggest weapon in his arsenal right at the outset, rather than trying to compromise in a manner that makes both his adversary and himself satisfied. Just take a look at where he has succeeded and where he has failed. The hotels have been successful not because of him, but despite him. Were he to be on the front desk, serving as the banquet manager, facilities supervisor, or even running the cleaning service, his abrasive personality would soon create sufficient friction to enrage union as well as non-union employees. His golf courses are successful because visitors do not have to deal with him directly. When it came to Trump University, his tactics were too close to his own management style and the results were disastrous. The same can be said for Trump Airlines, Trump Vodka, and any other single business where he was closely allied to the name.

In addition to rattling his nuclear saber at North Korea, Trump has now set his sights on Venezuela, making claims about the chaos he sees in the New York Post or perhaps on Fox news. Heaven only knows what the intelligence agencies are sharing with him about activities in that country or any other. He cannot be trusted to keep his 140-character mouth from blabbing information, classified or not. However, if something does leak, you can bet your booties that he’ll find a way to blame some other innocent for his faux pas.

At the present time, I find it impossible to write a kind word about the man falsely elected to the top job in our nation. Donald J. Trump is a fraud and a con man. Many of those who put him into office are now regretting their vote. Others are big money brokers, looking to capitalize in the stock market, and then there are the few ignorant souls to whom he appealed because of his strong messages, not one of which has been fulfilled. “Does not play well with others” is one of the least offensive things that I can say about Trump. Heck, he’s thrown so many people under the bus that the Washington Transit Authority has changed their routes and hasn’t told anyone in the White House about it.

It has been apparent from the outset that Trump has no concept of how to work with other people. His attacks on Democrats in Congress as well as the shots he’s taken at members of his own party are destroying any possibility of getting his own legislative agenda passed. The job of Congress when it returns next month is to fund the government to head off a shutdown and to raise the federal borrowing limit to avert a potentially devastating, first-ever default on US obligations. While these are critical, I don’t see how either can be accomplished unless Trump wakes up and learns how to act with others in a meaningful and polite manner. How he will reconcile with Mitch McConnell is a big unknown, but he will be required to do so if he is to have any hope of getting new health care legislation passed, not to mention what can be done about tax reform, infrastructure legislation, and nominees who must undergo Senate confirmation.

All in all, it seems to me that no person in the position in which Trump finds himself has ever done more to alienate both those on the Democratic side of the aisle as well as those on what is supposed to be “his” side of the aisle. Perhaps the first order of business for Congress would be to begin impeachment proceedings. I’m certain they would find Mike Pence a hell of a lot easier to work with than this caricature of a buffoon who doesn’t have a clue about running a country. In addition, the rest of us will sleep better at night.

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“No, no, no, no, no, no, NO, he’s gone. That’s it, period.”

“Aw, c’mon, maybe he thought the cameras were on. He’s used to that.”

“I’m tellin’ ya, he’s gone. He pushed the envelope too far this time.”

“Look, calm down…you telling me you did everything right the first time you got a new job?”

“New job? New job? You get this job, you better be prepared for whatever happens. This isn’t like becoming the head of GM or Ford…or even Goldman Sachs for god’s sake. I’m telling ya, he’s G-O-N-E!”

“Geez, Paul, Mitch thinks it’ll be okay. He just wants a little less drama. I don’t see why you gotta be so pissed.”

“Pissed? Pissed? You haven’t begun to see me pissed. He says we’re gonna ban Muslims…and that didn’t work…not once…but twice he said it, and it’s still not working. Then he says we’ve got a great repeal and replace health care program when he knows it’s a piece of crap. Then he blames us because his shitty health care program doesn’t get passed. Blames us, the crazy a.. idiot. What the hell is he thinking.”

“You gotta calm down man. You’re gonna work yourself into a heart attack. Okay, so he’s not sticking to script. Whadda you want me to do?”

“Do? Do? Talk to Ivanka. Talk to Jared. Talk to Kelly. Talk to the general. Somebody has to put a rein on this guy before he starts to give out classified information to the world.”

“Ah…ah…Paul. He, uh, he met with the Russian Ambassador the other d…

“Awe, cripes, don’t…you’re not…no, you’re not tellin me…”

“Ah, yep, sorry, Paul, but yeah, he did.”

“How bad?”

“Top Secret Code Word, Paul. I mean, he threw the Israeli’s right smack under the bus.”

“Aw, no, and right after Comey…aw, no, what is he thinki…no, there’s the problem right there. He’s not only not thinking, he doesn’t even have the capacity to think…Russian collusion, Mike Flynn, Comey, giving away top secrets, and now he tells them it’s the Israeli’s…aw man…

“…Well, he didn’t really say that it was the Israeli’s.”

“Whadda ya mean, he didn’t really say?”

“You know, it’s just that, well, you didn’t have to be a rocket scientist to know where it came from.”

“Oh, great, just great. Mossad’s really gonna want to share intelligence with us now. What’s next, Sarah Palin going to head up the FBI?”

“Paul, Paul, Paul, don’t say that too loud. We don’t know where the bugs are!”

“Oh, I know where the bugs are. The bugs are in his head. That doofuss couldn’t run an airline, his vodka business went up in flames, he’s got the Russians running their own ops out of one of his buildings, and all he can think of is grabbing more land from national monuments, probably to give to his oil drilling buddies, or for some new freakin’ golf courses!”

“Look, Paul, you’re the Speaker. You’ve gotta help us. We don’t know what to do. What do we do, Paul?”

“My advice? Now that everything has hit the fan, you come to me for advice? I’ll tell you what. Why don’t you call his son-in-law, Jared? He’s doing everything else right now, maybe he can take the guy’s computer away…or double his medication dosage…or just send him overseas and let Pence take over for a while. Nah, that won’t work either. He’ll take Pence’s batteries with him if he goes overseas. Think of it this way, now every other country in the world knows that Americans can vote even while they have their heads stuck up their collective…no, no, say, ‘heads in the sand.’ As for me, I’m going home to the first district and watch some Packer re-runs!”

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I find it difficult to understand why Senate Democrats would block Neil Gorsuch’s nomination when they all know that it will just lead to the ‘nuclear option’ that will allow the man to be confirmed as a Supreme Court Justice. This is just the child-like behavior that Republicans showed over the past eight years of the Obama administration. It seems to me that the two-party system in America has degenerated into a bunch of name-calling, infantile, assholedness that we often attribute to police state countries in other parts of the world. Perhaps the part that bothers me most is that the American public appears to be content to tolerate this behavior on the part of our national law makers…and that my friends is no less than absolutely frightening.

Are the Democrats so fearful the Justice Gorsuch will sway the balance of power that they have to use anything they have to prevent his nomination from passage? Yes, of course it’s true that he will be a voice of conservatism on the Court, just as Merrick Garland’s appointment would have made the Court one that would lean more to the liberal side of the aisle. However, I have to assume that the successful block of Garland’s nomination was nothing more than a cry-baby attempt by conservatives to further their agenda of diluting any kind of legacy that would be left by Obama. Certainly, Trump’s executive orders and the House’s idiotic attempt to “repeal and replace” the Affordable Care Act seem to be designed to ensure that there is no Obama legacy to be undone.

Call me naïve or dumb or whatever you wish, but I find it absolutely ridiculous that 435 men and women, sent to Washington to do the very best for this country by composing, comparing, and enacting legislation that will benefit this nation as a whole, cannot do so. Sure, I understand that what the people in Maine want, the people in Mississippi want, and the people in Montana, Minnesota, and Massachusetts may want, but goddammit, somewhere along the line, there should be things that people in our 50 states can say, “Well, yeah, I’m not crazy about it, but I can live with it.” This is not the case today in the Houses of Congress. It’s “my way or the highway, and fuck you very much!” and that does not serve the best interests of anyone in any part of the country. Congress has become too self-absorbed with what it considers to be its own importance. To top it off, we now have a person in the White House who encourages this type of discord, although for what reasons, it’s hard to imagine. Congress can censure its own members, but the only way that America can benefit is if we throw some of these people out of office and let some new folks attempt to understand the word, “compromise.”

I can hear the politicians now…”Oh, you don’t understand how government works. You don’t realize the pressure we’re under from our constituents to stand our ground.” Perhaps not, but what I do realize is this: Too many of you have been in office too long, and you have turned government into your own political play thing, that does nothing for the nation, but that lines your pockets in ways that are unimaginable to the vast majority of your constituents. Do you think I’m joking? Time Magazine, in a January, 2014 story, wrote, “The Center for Responsive Politics analyzed the personal financial disclosure data from 2012 of the 534 current members of Congress and found that, for the first time, more than half had an average net worth of $1 million or more: 268 to be exact, up from 257 the year earlier. The median for congressional Democrats was $1.04 million and, for Republicans, $1 million even.” In that same year, the median income of Americans was $51,939. Doesn’t that make you stop and think that perhaps members of Congress cannot possibly understand what it’s like to be an average American citizen? They listen and nod their heads and commiserate with their folks back in East Bumfuck or wherever, and then they return to Washington, dining at Fiola Ware, Bourbon’s, Ruth’s Chris Steakhouse, or The Source, usually at the expense of some lobbyist or other who will get them to vote for a bill that is actually at odds with what the interests of their constituents happen to be…but they tried…they were just overwhelmed by their fellow Congressional leaders or members of their party…and it’s all a bunch of bullshit…just so they can pocket a few more bucks or increase their portfolios.

Am I a cynic? No, that’s not cynicism, it’s realism. I’ve been on this earth for over eight decades, and in that time, I’ve learned one or two things about political leaders. The first of these things is that they are overly impressed with their own self-importance. A second thing is that they may have begun their political careers hoping to change things for the better, but that they soon become corrupted by those who were in office before them and took them under their wing, and if they refused to be taken “under a wing,” they were soon out of office and never even saw the bus that they had been thrown under by their ‘friends.’ Remember what Mark Twain said, “We have the best government that money can buy,” and by God, he was absolutely right.

My political ambition never carried me farther than being vice president of a Little League, and seeing the back-biting and chicanery that happened in something as low-level as that was enough to convince me that getting into the real political arena was somewhat akin to shoveling shit against the oncoming tide…you just won’t win.

I love America with all my heart and soul. It is the greatest country on earth. It’s a land where people are free to pursue their dreams, and whether they succeed or fall flat on their collective faces, it doesn’t matter. It doesn’t matter because they are free to get up and start their pursuit all over again. Yes, I love my country, but sometimes I wonder just how we ever came to this sorry impasse that we call the United States Congress.

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In the “as if we needed to hear any more bullshit from you,” category, Donny Trump tweeted that “ObamaCare will explode and we will all get together and piece together a great healthcare plan for THE PEOPLE. Do not worry!”

This is just another indication of why Trump is not a leader, just a thin-skinned child who, when he doesn’t get his way, takes his ball and goes crying home…in this case, to his daughter, not his wife…hmm. It was the perfect opportunity to admit that ‘his’ congressional leaders were unable to develop a plan to replace the Affordable Care Act {ACA}. He could have followed it up with, “Now is the ideal time for Republican and Democratic leaders to reach across the aisle and, together, develop a plan that will replace the flaws in ObamaCare and that will ensure that all Americans receive appropriate health coverage.” That is something that a leader would have done.

Consider the number of times that Republicans attempted to repeal the ACA over the eight-year term of Barack Obama. The number, by the way, is sixty. It seems to me that rather than spending all of that time attempting to repeal a law, they could have more productively spent their time developing a plan to replace the Act. If you, as a member of Congress, felt that ObamaCare was such a terrible piece of legislation, wouldn’t you first come up with a better, stronger, more viable plan rather than behaving like a bunch of spoiled children? I’m sorry, am I being too logical here? Was it, perhaps, a case of, “We don’t want anything that the ‘foreign-born,’ n-word, SOB got past us to ever show up as part of his legacy! Oh, naw, that could never be the case…or could it? Was it that this first national health plan, for all its flaws, managed to get enacted by Congress?

You see, I’m rather a cynic when it comes to killing something just for the sake of killing it. I don’t hunt, but I used to enjoy deep sea fishing enormously. We kept the bluefish and stripers that we caught because people would eat them. If we were having a better than average day, it was catch and release. The Republican Party had seven years to put together a better health plan. They-didn’t-do-that. They-wanted-to-kill-a-program-that-had-been-legally-enacted-without-having-the-faintest-fucking-idea-of-what-to-replace-it-with. Now, I don’t know about you, but I might just have wanted to ask my Republican Congress person what he or she was doing to develop a plan to replace ObamaCare during those seven years, and if they didn’t have an answer, I might just have voted his/her ass right out of that Congressional seat. Am I being too harsh for you here?

Now, unable to come up with something to replace the Affordable Care Act, instead of uniting Congress, this idiot at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, the “Greatest Deal Maker of All Time,” whines and moans and blames everyone without even considering the tremendous opportunity put before him, starts his surrender talk with, “Well, no Democrats were going to vote for anything the Congress came up with.” Note that please. It wasn’t “…anything we came up with,” it was, “…anything Congress came up with.” In other words, “It wasn’t my fault; it was the fault of those assholes in Congress.” It’s this lack of leadership qualities or even understanding the qualities of leadership that terrifies me about this man. He was a little king in a small village when he had his businesses that were being run by others. He was a television celebrity who could do as he damn well pleased when he was on air. He is now in a position that requires skills and qualities that he has never and probably will never possess, but because of his celebrity status and the bombast with which he conducted his campaign, he was the chosen one.

There is a need for our nation to have a health plan. There is a need for a health plan that covers the rich, middle, poor, and elderly classes. It can be done. Mitt Romney showed that it could be done in Massachusetts. Was his plan perfect? No, it, too, was flawed, but care was taken to correct many of those flaws. No plan, whoever, drafts it, is going to ever be 100 percent guaranteed to work for everyone. We are not a one-size-fits-all nation. Hell, we weren’t even a one-size-fits-all-state. From the hills of Holland to the tip of Provincetown and from Florida to Dracut and beyond, Massachusetts residents have different needs, but by God, Romney tried and did something no other governor had done. Now is the time for Ryan and McConnell, Schumer and Pelosi to sit down, shake hands, look at one another, and simultaneously ask one another, “How do we pull ourselves out of this deep shit,” for that’s what it is. Trump and his hooligans will do everything in their power to ensure that the ACA implodes, just to get back at Obama. It’s time for the adults in the room – those from both sides of the aisle – to come together and determine what is best for the country, for all 326,474,013 members of this country. Forget ‘Hairspray’ and his band of brothers, for he will attempt to sabotage your efforts. While sub rosa may be a term we don’t care to hear, it may be the only way that the nation will be able to make health care for all a reality. Demonstrate that you are true leaders even though we don’t have one sitting in the White House.

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Blue skies, smilin’ at me,
Nothin’ but blue skies
Do I see!

Man, this is February, and we have every single window in the house wide open. What is going on here? The West Coast is getting hammered with rain such as they haven’t seen in over ten years. One of their artificial, man-made lakes looks like somebody pulled the plug in the giant bathtub, and what had been a pipe for skateboard dudes now looks more like a surfer’s paradise. The temperature here in the east has been in the 60s the past couple of days and may remain darn near that high through the weekend. However, I want you to know that there is no such thing as climate change…oh, really?

Chunks of glaciers the size of the state of Rhode Island are breaking off. The polar bears are struggling to find food because there are no ice floes on which they can walk. The number of penguins in the Antarctic has shrunk from twelve thousand to five thousand, but word out of Washington is “Climate change is a hoax.” Oh, and, according to a highly placed Washington source, all of the people who are speaking up at these Republican Congressmen’s Town Hall Meetings are paid, professional agitators who are just trying to cause trouble. What I’m waiting for right now is for Mr. Trump to tweet that he is responsible for the wonderful weather we’re experiencing on the East Coast and that Hillary and the DNC are responsible for the downpours and the snowstorms on the West Coast. Can’t you just hear him speaking publicly…”Yes, we worked very, very hard to make up for Mike Flynn’s terrible mistakes by bringing good weather to the East. We wanted very, very badly to bring good weather to the entire country, but professional agitators, led by Crooked Hillary and the Democratic Party snuck in to the West Coast before we could get there. I’ve sent my very, very best man – he’s very, very intelligent and hard working – he’s Scott Pruitt, the head of the environment protection agency, and he’s going to stop in South Dakota to shoot a few ‘injuns’ (Oh, I’m not supposed to say that?) before he swings over to speak with Jerry Brown my good, good friend and the governor of California, and together they’re going to straighten this rain and snow thing out.”

It seems rather strange to me that Trump would nominate for the position of EPA head, a man who, as Attorney General for the State of Oklahoma, repeatedly sued the EPA in an attempt to block the previous administration’s rules intended to protect the nation’s air and water. According to a couple of sources, “In all but one of these 14 cases, regulated industry players also were parties. And these companies or trade associations in 13 of these cases were also financial contributors to Mr. Pruitt’s political causes.” As an example, Pruitt sued to block a standard that limits emissions of mercury from power plants, which the EPA has estimated will prevent as many as 11,00o premature deaths per year. Oh, did I forget to mention that he also received campaign contributions from the co-petitioners in this lawsuit? In fact, it appears that all of the Pruitt lawsuits were connected in some way to his campaign contributors. I don’t know about you, but I cannot imagine putting someone as anti-EPA in charge of that particular organization…can you say, “Let’s allow the fox to guard the henhouse?”

It doesn’t matter. What will be will be. Who really cares if we have a Secretary of State who has no diplomatic training of any kind? Who gives a damn that the United States Attorney General is a racist? Does it really matter that our Secretary of Education has no background in public school education? No, none of these things matter, because in four years, we’ll probably all be dead because our head of the Environmental Protection Agency will have poisoned our air and water by rolling back all of the rules and restrictions that have been keeping us reasonably safe since its founding on December 2, 1970.

In the meantime, I fully intend to enjoy the beautiful warm days of February. I’ll go to the beach and get my tan, although the 36 degree water may be a little too cool for my liking. I will not put away my winter coats because I figure I may need them come July. Wonder what the next chapter will bring?

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Is this a great country or what? We’ve got a national security adviser who can’t be trusted to advise the President, a nominee for the position of Secretary of Labor who withdraws his name before the Congress even has a chance to lay into him, and a Secretary of Education who can’t even spell at a third grade level. And don’t forget anorexic Kellyanne Conway, that paragon of ‘alternative facts’ who is totally clueless about what actually goes on in the West Wing. Hey, we’re on the road to making America great once more! I’m not allowed to say ‘again,’ because that would be pilfering someone else’s line, and I wouldn’t want to do that. Then we show a picture of the first daughter sitting at the boss’s desk in the Oval Office – looking, incidentally, much more presidential than dear old dad. It appeared that she was about to sign her first executive order that any store not carrying her clothing line would no longer be allowed to do business in her country…oops!

One of the things that I fully understand is the national intelligence agencies’ fear of giving classified briefings to Mr. Trump. While he has a tendency to blame his mistakes on everyone and anyone else, it has become patently obvious that he is the principal leak in the White House. On General Flynn’s resignation, Trump immediately blamed the intelligence community and the media for revealing the telephone calls between Flynn and the Russian ambassador. Certainly, the agencies wouldn’t leak it because they understand what the word “classified” actually means, and I have serious doubts about most media outlets reporting it unless they have a minimum of three unimpeachable resources. In this regard, it’s more than apparent that Mr. Trump doesn’t understand how either the intelligence community or the media actually work.

Even some of the most diehard Republicans on the hill are going “WTF!” You have to figure that when Jason Chaffetz and Elijah Cummings are smiling at each other, the US of A has some serious problems. It was my understanding that one of the principal jobs of an incoming president was to unite the country, not send it into paroxysm of laughter on the late shows or anti-anti demonstrations in town hall meetings and outside in city and town streets.

I have returned to this essay after watching several minutes – it was all I could take – of Mr. Trump’s press conference. My epiphany came while he was speaking. I now know how to tell when he is telling the truth and when he is lying. While listening to a question from the reporter, he is in a moment of truth, but the minute he speaks, whatever he says, it is a lie. This leads me to believe that Mr. Trump cannot tell when he is lying. It’s the fabric of his life. Lying, to him, is like breathing to the rest of us. In the brief time I listened, he told three different stories about why his national security adviser, Michael Flynn, was asked for his resignation. He went on to lay blame for Russian election hacking on Hillary and the Democrats. He talked about “fake news” in the Washington Post, The New York Times, and The Wall Street Journal, three of the most respected newspapers in this country. Why he charged a black reporter with the task of setting up a meeting with himself and the Congressional Black Caucus was beyond my comprehension, but it was certainly an opportunity for Trump to denigrate both Congressman Elijah Cummings as well as Representative Charles Schumer of New York.

There will, no doubt, be those who find my condemnation of Mr. Trump’s actions over the first few weeks of his presidency much too harsh. That is their prerogative. However, it has become apparent to me that the Republican Party has made a tragic error in allowing this man to become a candidate unfit for the office to which he aspired and, even more tragically, to allow him to usurp the office of President of the United States. Would Mrs. Clinton have been a better choice? Not in this writer’s opinion, and that is the single most important question for America to answer…where is our next true leader? Where is the next Dwight David Eisenhower? Where is the next William Jefferson Clinton? Where is the next Ronald Reagan or Jack Kennedy? He…or She is out there somewhere, and somehow, he or she must be located and convinced to dedicate him/herself to a nation that is in dire need of leadership. It does not lie within the mind or the soul of Donald J. Trump, if, indeed, a soul he possesses.

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Old Number 45

Okay, it’s time to stop the bitching and wailing and marching and protesting and yelling and screaming, and all that other bullcrap. Donald John Trump is the 45th President of the United States. He was fairly elected in the same way that other politicians have been elected in this country for the last 200 plus years. That is, he told a certain group of people what he was going to do for them. He told others that he would do something for them. He promised to make America great ‘again,’ and no one ever asked him to explain precisely what he meant by that. He said he was going to build a wall, probably not realizing that a wall wouldn’t do shit because tunnels, planes, trains, boats, and automobiles have all been invented and can bring illegals, drugs, and other contraband in a hell of a lot easier than climbing through, under, or up and over any wall. He promised to repeal the Affordable Care Act and replace it immediately, but now it appears he doesn’t have a clue about what that replacement will be except to say that the insurance companies will take care of people…uh huh. He promised to bring jobs in the manufacturing sector back to America from other countries, probably not understanding that the jobs were not lost necessarily to other countries but because automation and robots took the places of many workers in this country.

The 45th President assumed his office with the lowest approval rating of any United States President in the history of the country. The people with whom he has surrounded himself are either clones of himself or fools who have been brainwashed into thinking that his glittering generalities might possibly make some sense, if only he can get Congress to agree…which they should because his party holds a majority in both houses of Congress. However, that doesn’t guarantee anything.

When the tornadoes ripped through the South, killing 30 or more people, old number 45 said, “We are going to do everything we can to help the State of Georgia.” Excuse me, sir, but Mississippi was hit also. And what do you mean by “everything we can,” and “…the State of Georgia.” How about “the people in the State of Georgia?” You could even be more specific and name the counties or communities that were hit. Where were your staffers to brief you on this or did you, again, not bother to listen to them? Broad brush strokes may be great in business, but they don’t work. How about mentioning Cook and Dougherty Counties where the worst of the devastation appeared to be. People respond to those kinds of detail. Even if you don’t have a clue that they’re in the southern part of the state, when you mention one tiny detail like that, others believe that you might care.

I can hardly wait for him to meet Prime Minister Theresa May. Instead of shaking hands – which he doesn’t like to do – is he going to just reach out and grab her…nah, nah, he wouldn’t do that…nah, nah, or would he? After all, he is Number 45, the most powerful leader of the free world [Whew, glad I had an emesis bowl handy]. Perhaps he’ll have lobster on the menu for Benjamin Netanyahu when they get together to discuss moving the US Embassy to Jerusalem…or maybe just ham and cheese sandwiches. However, if he ads one “eh” to the end of a sentence while speaking with Canada’s Prime Minister, Justin Trudeau, we just might be in trouble with our neighbors to the North…Whoops, there goes another country bye-bye!

Yep, old 45 is just like every other pol on the hill. They say that he has no political experience. He actually flaunts that. However, what he said on the campaign trail and what he does while he’s in office had better be pretty closely aligned. It’s amazing how quickly Americans can forget some promises, but they don’t forget all of them, particularly the ones that affect them the most. In addition, we are a very forgiving nation, but if you screw with my family or our values, we can also be very unforgiving in a short period of time. “We’ll get around to it,” is not something we wish to hear.

Take heed, 45, and don’t forget…Americans first!

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