Friday, March 31, 2017

Trump's Numbers In The Tank

Donald Trump is a man obsessed with numbers.  Sometimes, he’s unable to grasp the significance of big numbers (see “Failed Policies, Trumpcare”) and there are times he struggles with the concept of sharing certain numbers (see “Broken Promises, Release of Tax Returns”).  However, despite numerous bankruptcies, Donald believes that numbers can prove he’s a billionaire as he claims, and not “just” a millionaire as others familiar with his business ventures have maintained.  Numbers would also show if Donald owes large sums of money to Russian banks, but he still refuses to release those pesky tax returns.

There are two numbers in particular that Donald refuses to accept.  62,984,825 and 65,853,516.  The first figure is the number of votes he received in the 2016 presidential election.  The second figure, almost 3 million votes higher, was the number of votes Hillary Clinton received.  If you combine her total with the 4,489,233 votes Gary Johnson received and the 1,457,222 votes Jill Stein received, it’s clear that the vast majority of Americans wanted someone other than Trump--by a huge margin... almost 9 million votes!  Donald doesn’t like those numbers.

So, it’s safe to assume he must really despise a whole bunch of recent numbers.  FiveThirtyEight reports that Trump’s current approval rating of 41.3 constitutes a new low for this presidency, but it’s also a new low for ANY recent presidency at this juncture.  To add historical context:  Trump trails Truman, Eisenhower, Kennedy, Johnson, Nixon, Ford, Carter, Bush 1, Clinton, Bush 2, and Obama.  In virtually every instance, Trump trails these former Presidents by huge margins.
Public Policy Polling has Trump with a 40% approval rate, while 53% disapprove.  CNBC reports similar numbers:  42% approve of Trump’s job performance, while 56% think he’s doing a poor job and the country is headed in the wrong direction.

However, the bad news gets even worse for Donald.  The latest Gallup poll measured his approval rating at a paltry 36% following the Trumpcare debacle.  To Donald, all these numbers must sound as bad as someone telling him that, upon review, it’s been discovered that Arnold Schwarzenegger’s ratings as host of “The Apprentice” had actually been higher than Trump’s.  News of that sort would likely cause angry denials followed by uncontrolled fits of rage.

Yes, numbers certainly matter.  They play a vital role in our lives... and sometimes, they’re just plain fun--but don't ask Donald.

Thursday, March 16, 2017

Donald Trump Screws the Base

Much as he gloated about grabbing women by the p***y, Donald Trump is now assuming he can bend his base over the proverbial “Apprentice” casting couch, and expect them to take it while still singing his praises.  The question is... will they?  Or, is there a chance that at least some of them will wake up and realize they’ve been conned by a lesser Oz?

Throughout the campaign last fall, Trump liked to throw red meat to the tens of thousands of his supporters who craved blood, baring their fangs at every opportunity.  I believe the chant was “lock her up”, in reference of course, to former Frist Lady, Senator, and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.  Guess what?  Trump made it clear in the first days of his (pseudo) presidency that he has no plans whatsoever to pursue the matter.

Trump promised to “drain the swamp”.  Well, he pretty much acknowledged that was just a campaign slogan, and he had no intention of drastically altering the status quo.  In fact, he’s appointed a cabinet of billionaires:  anti-labor, pro-corporate establishment who have absolutely nothing in common with the average American.  

Trump claimed he was beholden to no one, but his Russian ties continue to raise questions and keep him tied in knots of his own creation.  While the world condemns Putin’s second attempt to poison a political opponent (Vladimir Kara-Murza), Trump remains silent.  Trump appointed Putin ally and patsy Rex Tillerson (former Exxon CEO) as his Secretary of State.  Tillerson is an advocate of lifting sanctions on Putin and his circle of thugs.  The questions remain about Putin’s efforts to get Trump elected--just how deep was his involvement?  Were the constant Wikileaks drips piped out of the Kremlin?  Just as Trump has no interest in releasing his taxes due to the revelations they contain (perhaps he’s not really a billionaire, perhaps he owes millions to Russian banks...) he constantly attempts to divert attention from investigations into the “Russian connection”.  His latest break with reality came when he accused President Obama of wiretapping Mordor (Trump Tower).  No proof whatsoever, but Trump has a close relationship with fantasy.  Does his base really want the image of the United States of America tarnished by a close relationship with a murderous band of thugs?  We’ve unfortunately ventured down this road before; it wasn’t pretty.

Finally, there’s healthcare.  Wow... candidate Trump promised that when he repealed Obamacare he would “take care of everybody”-- his replacement would be cheaper & better.  Now, suddenly, he is claiming that “nobody knew healthcare could be so complicated”.  Wrong.  He may have been the only one who didn’t realize the complexity of the issue.  His response to this shocking discovery has been to take refuge in Paul Ryan’s plan.  Well, the CBO (a nonpartisan group designed to provide Congress with independent analysis & estimates of the cost of proposed legislation) has reported that 24 million people will likely lose insurance in the next decade under this “plan”--with 14 million losing their insurance in 2018 alone!  I hate to break it to the base, but there’s every indication that this will hit you hard.

There are so many other reasons to open your eyes.  U.S. taxpayers are paying for Trump's wall folly, not Mexico. Coal is not coming back.  He has not divested from his businesses.  He slept through the Yemen raid (in which a Navy SEAL and an 8 year old American girl were killed--along with numerous other civilians.  The raid produced no useful intel.  He touts the same jobs reports he once labeled as “phony”.  He invented “fake news”, and continues to create more of it than any other person, living or dead.

Stop allowing this man to abuse you, and don’t believe his promises (once a liar, always a liar).  Remember, all abusers have a weakness... some fatal flaw that allows victims the opportunity to break free.  In Trump's case it's his massive ego.  Just remind him that he lost the popular vote by almost 3 million votes, and that John Lewis was right, Donald will never be a legitimate president.

Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Attack in Denmark!

Following on the heels of last week’s terror attack in Sweden (revealed to the world by would-be U.S. President Trump), tonight ISIS seized the spotlight by staging a dramatic attack in Denmark.

Two gunmen, believed to be jihadists, opened fire at an indoor rally of the anti-immigrant Danish People’s Party.  According to reports from Flux News, hundreds of people were likely wounded by the heavily armed individuals, though there had been no immediate reports of fatalities.  Danish authorities denied allegations of a delayed response to the crisis, while the Chief of the Danish Security and Intelligence Service specifically denied having said “there’s no urgency, it’s only the Dansk Folkleparti”. Meanwhile, the White House confirmed that U.S. intelligence sources had tentatively identified one of the two men as the shadowy and infamous cleric Sheikh Yerbouti, long suspected to be deceased.  The other individual is thought to have been his long-time assistant, Eisel Eifel Kahn.  The pair eluded Danish authorities and escaped into the Copenhagen night.  However, a notebook recovered at the scene revealed the two had been planning to infiltrate the United States using Nutopian passports.  According to preliminary research, there is no indication that any citizens of Nutopia have ever been vetted prior to admission into the U.S.

President Trump noted that this exposes the U.S. to a clear and present danger.  Accordingly, he vowed that Nutopia will now be added to his revised travel ban. 

Monday, February 13, 2017

After the Apocalypse: Democrats Move Forward

In his excellent post-mortem on the 2016 presidential campaign (“Insane Clown President:  Dispatches from the 2016 Circus), not-beholden-to-anyone journalist Matt Taibbi hits the nail on the head in describing the peculiar appeal of Donald Trump.

“Candidate Trump told a story about a conspiracy of cultural and financial elites bent on finishing off a vanishing white middle-class nirvana, first by shipping jobs overseas, and then by waving hordes of crime-prone, bomb-tossing immigrants over the border.  These elites lived in both parties, Trump warned.  The Republicans were tools of job-exporting fat cats who only pretended to be tough on immigration and trade in order to win votes, when all they really cared about were profits.  The Democrats were tools of the same interests, who subsisted politically on the captured votes of hoodwinked minorities, preaching multiculturalism while practicing globalism.  Neither party saw the awesome potential of this story to upend our political system.

Taibbi later points to a Democratic leadership “increasingly indebted to banks and corporations, never imagining it could be the target of a class uprising.  They failed to understand how they could be seen as aristocrats--after all, as the party of FDR they received union endorsements and were pro civil rights!” 

The maneuvering within the Republican Party is hardly surprising.  After spending the better part of the general election campaign distancing themselves from the Donald, McConnell, Ryan and company are suddenly kissing Trump’s tuckus at every turn; while simultaneously convincing themselves they’re his equals in wielding power.  They’re seeking to impose a regressive, ultra-conservative agenda on a deeply divided country that recently rejected their vision (as well as Trump) by a margin of several million votes.
Democrats, meanwhile, are searching for a way out of the wilderness.  Rep. Keith Ellison, former Labor Secretary Tom Perez, and several lesser known candidates are battling to become the next chairman of the DNC.  Bernie Sanders, Elizabeth Warren, Harry Reid, Chuck Schumer, and Harry Reid have all weighed in with their opinions/endorsements.  Whoever wins, the task will be daunting.  Political operative and author David Brock has called on the Democrats to become the party of “no”, maintaining that their “no” would differ from the past 8 years of Republican obstructionism because anything that Trump proposes is certain to be harmful to the majority of Americans-- thereby requiring determined opposition .  Elizabeth Warren has said much the same thing:  maintaining that Democrats need to “grow a backbone”.  One thing is certain, the last thing the Democrats can afford to do is turn to career politicians or corporate lawyers running milquetoast campaigns and looking to “play it safe”. Go along to get along only leads to more of the same.  Pretty soon we’ll all be playing footsie and become Facebook buddies with the likes of Steve Bannon.  We’ll be reduced to spirited conversation about sporting events, or the weather.

As Democrats in Maine look toward the gubernatorial contest in 2018, they’re faced with the fact that they lost not only once, but twice, to Paul LePage--an early (yet equally terrifying) prototype of what the country now faces in Donald Trump.  Opposing his agenda for the remainder of his term will be a moral imperative.  LePage has repeatedly demonstrated that he has neither the vision nor the temperament to govern the state.  He’ll leave behind a myriad of failed policies and a toxic political environment-- a product of his racist/sexist/ludicrous remarks, vicious personal attacks, and irrational outbursts.  His behavior has become legendary; embarrassing not only himself, but the state of Maine.  There will be a great deal of work needed to undo the damage, and to close the enormous gap now separating Republicans, Democrats, Greens, and Libertarians.

There are bound to be several so-called “establishment” Democrats who pursue the nomination.  The “old politics” so recently turned on its head would dictate that they’re “deserving” of the nomination, perhaps “entitled” to it.  No doubt these are honorable men and women who’ve served the state well, but the Democratic Party needs to change with the times--regardless of tradition.  There’s a need for fresh(er) faces, real world experience, and a boatload of empathy and understanding.  Contrary to his mantra in the state of the State address, LePage has done a great deal of harm--to cite one of many examples, Maine leads New England in child poverty and hunger.  We must work hard to reverse moral disgraces such as these, engage in constructive dialogue,  and provide positive leadership focused on economic growth and opportunity throughout the state.  The only choice before us is to get back up and be ready to fight at every turn, because as Paul Wellstone observed, "if we don't fight hard enough for the things we stand for, at some point we have to recognize that we don't really stand for them."

Thursday, January 26, 2017

No Respect, and No Surrender

Well, the illegitimate Trump “presidency” is already unfolding in disastrous fashion, just as most of us assumed it would.
Apart from his “band of unqualified billionaires” (translation:  cabinet selections), he’s begun to issue a series of berserk Executive orders.  As a special treat to the oil barons he’s looking to proceed with the Keystone pipeline--regardless of the environmental consequences-- and the Dakota access pipeline--oblivious to desecration of tribal lands and burial locales.
As a nod to evangelicals and rabid-right Republicans that he hoodwinked on the issue, he reinstated President Reagan’s ill--informed global abortion gag rule.
Finally, of course, he’s looking to proceed with his deluded border wall.  Mexico will refuse to pay, as they should, for Trump’s folly.  On the heels of that, the would-be president is resurrecting his crackdown on immigrants and refugees in general, but Muslims in particular.  The racist tendencies of Trump and many (if not most) of his supporters are blossoming into full flower.
I’ve read several pieces in the past few days, suggesting that Trump is not of “sound mind”, and should immediately resign.  I agree.  His temperament will apparently not allow him to accept the fact that the significant majority of voters in the recent election did not choose him.  In fact, Hillary Clinton defeated him by close to three million votes in the popular vote count.  Add in the votes cast for Jill Stein and the Green Party, along with the votes cast for Gary Johnson and the Libertarians, and Trump falls even further from getting anywhere near the 50% mark.  His paranoid/narcissist personality is such that he has to claim there was widespread voter fraud--on the basis of no evidence whatsoever.
In similar fashion, Trump chooses to ignore photographic evidence and accept that the crowds for his “inauguration” fell far short of President Obama’s in both 2008 and 2012.  Instead, he embarrassed himself and dishonored members of the CIA when he stood before the wall of stars at Langley and used that visit to laud himself for the number of instances Time magazine had chosen him for their cover, as well as for his imagined “inauguration” crowd size.  As former CIA Director Brennan and former Deputy Director Philip Mudd have subsequently reminded him--the stars on that wall honored actual people; it was not the time or place for Trump’s self-congratulatory nonsense.  Trump also rattled on about the standing ovation he received at the CIA--pretty easy to do when you never invite your captive audience to have a seat!
The Trump apologists, especially Sean Spicer and the inimitable Kellyanne Conway, are doing their best to spin “alternative facts” (i.e. lies), but the cracks in Donald’s demeanor are already showing.  Comey and Putin have bestowed us with damaged goods.  Take a rest, Mr. Trump, a lengthy and permanent rest down at Mar-a-Lago.  America has been great all along; we don’t need you charting a lesser course.

This administration certainly doesn’t deserve our respect, and God knows--we’ll NEVER surrender!  

Wednesday, January 18, 2017

The REAL Black Friday: Trump Takes Office

     The real Black Friday is almost upon us; Donald J. Trump will be sworn in as the 45th President of the United States.  By a substantial margin, most of us voted for other candidates.  Hillary Clinton alone defeated Trump by close to three million votes.  The Electoral College handed down a different verdict.  So, we are told, we need to grin and bear it--come together in the best interest of the country.
     Well, this was not your “typical” election where political passions ran high, but in the end we unify behind the victor. 
     Donald Trump ran a scorched earth campaign based on vitriol and outright lies, “fake news”, and racial hatred.  He doesn’t deserve a “pass”, and he certainly doesn’t deserve the “honeymoon period” the Republicans never saw fit to deny President Obama (see Mitch McConnell’s infamous remarks following the 2008 election). 
     Trump employed fake news like no one before him... and he started long before the election with the assertion that President Obama was not a natural born citizen.  It was utter rubbish, which Trump undoubtedly knew, but he used it to gain a toehold in the fight for the GOP nomination. Trump’s subsequent ventures into fake news quickly proved the man is pathologically dishonest.  Here are just a few of his “greatest hits”:
Trump attacked Heidi Cruz’s looks, then denied it.
Trump claimed Rafael Cruz was involved in the JFK assassination.  LIE.
Trump claimed Muslims in New Jersey celebrated the 9/11 attacks.  LIE. 
Trump claimed Syrian refugees were entering the U.S. without vetting.  LIE.
Trump claimed 34 million undocumented immigrants are living in the U.S.  LIE. 
Trump claimed he couldn’t release his taxes due to an IRS audit.  LIE.
Trump claimed he never supported the invasion of Iraq.  LIE. 
Trump claimed that he never referred to women he didn't like as "fat pigs", "dogs", "slobs" or "disgusting animals".  LIE
Trump claimed he never said that the numerous women who accused him of sexual misconduct/assault were "too unattractive" to assault.  LIE.
     From his ties/allegiances to Vladimir Putin, to the insane lies he spouted about Hillary Clinton, and now John Lewis... he is a paranoid narcissist run amok.  Whether or not the dossier is factual almost doesn’t matter to me; he’s thrived on these sorts of stories so I hope he chokes on this one.
     This Friday he takes office, and as I write this over 50 Democratic Representatives are boycotting the inauguration.  I applaud their decision but almost wish they’d attended and then turned their backs on the stage when Trump is sworn in (his hand on the Lincoln bible is almost too much to bear).  It would be no less than he deserves.


Saturday, January 7, 2017

Document #001 Trump Presidential Papers

From the Donald J. Trump Presidential Library and Golf Resort in Acapulco, Mexico... 2021

DJT:  As the greatest President in the history of America, I had many meetings with incredible
          leaders dealing with huge issues.  Sometimes they thought they could challenge me, but
          I've always been a rock star and I was too much for them.  I was amazing.  One of the
          most important exchanges during what I like to call "the Great Trump years" actually
          happened a few days before I became president.  I was trying to put the finishing
          touches on my tremendous cabinet, and this happened a few hours before I met with
          all those national security leaders who were engaged in a witch hunt against my good
          friend Vladimir.  (Of course everyone now knows that he handed me the election, but
          it's too late now suckers, you can't touch me!).
          Anyway, just as I always knew more about ISIS than the generals, I've always recognized
          key issues better than my aides or advisors.  I know monumental news when I see it and
          I responded... The following is from my two-part tweet when I received news about
          declining ratings for the reality show I created (by myself) and starred in (by myself).  They
          tried to manage without me.

DJT:   "Wow the ratings are in and Arnold Schwarzenegger got "swamped" (or destroyed) by
            comparison to the ratings machine:  DJT.  So much for being a movie star--and that was
            season 1 compared to season 14.  Now compare him to my season 1.  But who cares, he
            supported Kasich and Hillary."

            Arnold's reply was so weak:

AS:      "There's nothing more important than the people's work."

            Lame.  Then he tried again:

AS:       "I wish you the best of luck and I hope you'll work for ALL the American people as
             aggressively as you worked for your ratings."

              Right.  That was never going to happen LOL!

              I realize this incident took place right before I assumed the office, but I knew this was
              an important moment in history, and that it needed to be documented,  After all, I
              always understood these moments better than anyone else...
              What ever became of Arnold?  Loser.