Ben Franklin, The Constitution, Monarchies

THE NEVER-ENDING CAMPAIGN TRAIL

So, did you hear the one about how Sweden suffered this violent terrorist attack this past Friday. No? Well that could possibly be because such an attack never took place, despite our president’s proclamation to the contrary. Not only did a bloody terrorist assault occur, according to Trump, but it was Sweden’s own fault for acting humanely, by allowing so many refugees fleeing for their lives, to enter Sweden in the first place. It’s alternative facts, baby, as Trump advisor Kellyanne Conway would have put it. I’ve said in the past that politics usually comes down to a matter of salesmanship, which is the one thing that Trump excels in. It’s a matter of telling people what they want to believe in, whether the described events exist in reality or not. And so with the president’s approval ratings headed in a downward spiral, Trump figured it was time to return to the campaign trail, and offer his loyal base of primarily white-supremist followers, the red-meat they hungered for. And sure enough, a crowd of supposedly 20 thousand die-hard Trumpanistas gathered in Florida to hear the latest in Trump demagoguery.

At this early stage of the game, previous presidents from Reagan thru Obama, enjoyed approval numbers from the electorate that ranged from the high 50-60 percentiles, according to polls taken during their administrations. But according to the latest Gallop poll, Trump’s approval rating is currently only about 40 percent. Could the reason be that all the blustering, bullying, belligerent, and angry Twitter offerings issued on virtually a daily basis really don’t sell all that well outside of Trump’s hardcore base.  Or the fact that, despite all the threats, promises, and grand designs offered up by the president and his Republican Congress, very little has been accomplished in actuality thus far. Trump did roll back some of Obama’s executive orders, including one that barred coal companies from dumping mining refuse and waste into local rivers and streams. I’m sure that the residents that receive their drinking water from such canals will be more than delighted.

The one notable action the Trump administration did proclaim was an executive order barring people from seven Muslim countries from entering the U.S. on the pretext that this would make America safer. But the rollout might as well have been orchestrated by the Marx Brothers (Groucho and Harpo, not Karl.) With no advanced warning, it caught people who were already in flight, in its ridiculous net. When their planes landed in the U.S. people from these seven countries were informed that they couldn’t leave the airport; but instead had to book a flight that returned them to their countries of origin. One victim of this badly managed edict was a three-year-old Iranian girl that had a serious heart defect and was booked for a life-saving operation that could only be performed in the U.S. The parents of this “highly dangerous potential terrorist” were told that the operation would now have to be called off because Iran was one of the seven banned countries. Fortunately, the courts intervened and blocked this ill-advised executive order from being enforced, and the little Iranian girl was permitted to have her operation. But the Administration is threatening to roll-out a new edict that does essentially the same thing as the old, but is worded differently. And the beat goes on.

We now have a better understanding of how the Trump calculous works. During the campaign, the appeal was to white xenophobic, or out-right bigoted voters, primarily throughout the South and Mid-West. Yes, while the black, Hispanic, Asian, and other minority voting blocs were increasing in the U.S., there was still enough of a white majority to nudge Trump and his angry, anti-foreigner message over the finish line. Just barely, but a win nonetheless. His strategy was and currently is formulated by Steve Bannon, who if he were any further right-wing, would be wearing a Swastika arm-band. Bannon headed up the white-supremist Breitbart  News site before he became Trump’s campaign manager, and now is in the White House daily as a top presidential advisor. And Trump continues to draw heavy support from all the far right fringe hate groups, that include an entire range of bigots from the KKK  to the Bikers of America. He’s their kind of guy. And the message of banning Muslims from entering the U.S. to building a hideous wall to keep the Mexicans out, still resonates powerfully  in those circles.

Thus, to counter media and political opposition criticism of his white supremacist agenda, Trump has devised the strategy of the perpetual campaign. When his daily Twitter thrusts that rant against perceived enemies don’t seem to be accomplishing the job, go back out on the campaign trail where he can attract thousands, or tens of thousands of hardcore followers, so as to give the appearance of massive voter support. As well as giving his ego and morale a major boost. And with the Democratic party virtually in ruins, there really is no serious political opposition to his daily shenanigans.

The moral of all this is how curious the human mind functions at our current state of evolution. A leader, or would be dictator, doesn’t actually have to accomplish anything. All  he has to do is sell people on the notion that major events are moving in their direction. Create a parallel universe of delusion that satisfies and soothes the electorate’s fears, anxieties and bigotry, and all is well with the world once again. After-all, reality is often such an ugly thing, isn’t it? While delusion can cover one like a warm comforter on a cold winter’s night.

Categories: A malfunctioning psche, Ben Franklin, The Constitution, Monarchies, Brexit, Donald Trump, Alan Greenspan, Donald Trump, Hillary Clinton, Bernie Sanders, Ted Cruz, John Kasich, presidential polls,, Economics, human affairs, politics, Ronald Reagan | Leave a comment

PHILOSOPHICAL DIFFERENCES

Some time back, I wrote a piece called “Returning to The Days of Silent Cal.” It talked about the 6 years that Republican Calvin Coolidge was president of the United States, from 1922-1928, when the federal government did essentially….nothing. Outside of the State and War Departments and the Attorney-General’s office, there was little, if any, governmental expenditures. Coolidge, often known as Silent Cal for his taciturn image, who had inherited the presidency when Warren G. Harding died in office in 1922, often boasted that the federal budget was lower when he left in 1928, than when he first assumed the presidency in 1922. Coolidge was wildly popular because he served during the decade known as the “roaring twenties” when there was peace, prosperity and a booming stock market. Get-rich-quick schemes abounded everywhere, especially if they involved stock investments. Coolidge would easily have won re-election in 1928 but he decided not to run, stating that 10 years in the White House would have constituted the type of cruel and unusual punishment that’s forbidden by the U.S. Constitution.

Instead it fell to his hapless Republican vice-president, Herbert Hoover, to be the one sitting behind the desk in the Oval Office, when the roof finally caved in- big time. All the wild speculation on Wall Street, as we all know, led to the infamous stock market crash in October, 1929, and, from there, to the ensuing Great Depression of the 1930s. At the time, there was no Securities and Exchanges Commission (SEC) to put the reins on all the stock market manipulations and dishonest schemes that had abounded like weeds in an unkempt garden. Suddenly, as the Depression oozed across the landscape, tens of millions of Americans, who thought they would live out their lives in comfortable middle class existences, were plunged into dire poverty instead, begging for nickels and dimes on the streets, or standing in hours long unemployment lines. The Depression also resurrected a rather dormant Democratic Party, which swept Franklin Roosevelt into the presidency in a landslide in 1932. FDR then began the “New Deal” which, for the first time had the government spending large amounts of resources for “social welfare programs,” i.e., stuff that wasn’t related to fighting wars or other foreign affairs.

Under FDR’s New Deal, and in subsequent Democratic administrations, Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid programs were enacted. The right for workers to organize into labor unions and the right for those unions to call a strike became law over 80 years ago, but has been fought every step of the way by conservative Republicans. And the Republicans seem to be winning their never ending battle against unions since membership is down to single digits in most unions still in existence. Also enacted by Democratic administrations were housing assistance programs, unemployment insurance benefits, disability benefits, healthcare insurance programs, and many other types of social welfare legislation. Of course, all these socials initiatives have helped balloon the cumulative public budget deficit to just under $20 trillion today, not exactly pocket change. Although it should be pointed out that it was conservative Republican Ronald Reagan that was the first president to spend like a drunken sailor, when he mushroomed the public deficit from $1 to $4 trillion during the 1980s. But his deficits occurred because of massive increases in military spending, which is fine and dandy in Republican mindsets.

So now we’re in 2017 with a fully Republican congress, and a Republican president promising to “drain the swamp” as well as “make America great again” among its many trite cliches. A large part of that effort will supposedly be to drastically cut back if not completely ax much of the social welfare initiatives enacted by liberal Democrats over more than 80 years. Perhaps taking us back to the days of Silent Cal, when the government essentially did nothing outside of defense and foreign affairs. And its not just about cutting expenditures. Its also about eliminating the many rules and regulations that govern much of the financial, business, banking, and Wall Street transactions that occur in our daily lives. Perhaps drastically reducing or eliminating the SEC so that would-be stock market shysters can once again flex their scheming muscles. In the end, it all comes down to philosophical differences concerning the size, scope, and involvement of government in the public square. It’s not only the amount of public expenditures, of course, but the level of taxes paid by the public as well. Republicans continually advocate for tax cuts for the rich, while Democrats are constantly trying to raise taxes on those wealthy that can well afford to pay the increases. Imagine that.

Not everything in government, however, is about spending money or creating oversight over financial transactions. There’s also the social side of the equation involving gay rights, abortion rights, and immigration. And there, strangely enough, conservatives and liberals appear to swap their philosophies concerning the extent of government involvement. Conservative Republicans demand strong government oversight to prevent gay marriage, deny a woman’s right to terminate an unwanted pregnancy, and not only prevent illegal immigration, but sharply curtail the legal kind also. So what if there are no migrants to pick the fruit off the trees in Southern California. And no matter how much those actions may cost. Liberal Democrats, naturally, campaign for just the opposite. A woman’s right to choose, a couple’s right to choose, and for peaceful undocumented immigrants to be left alone. Philosophical differences with an unbridgeable divide, seemingly wider than the Grand Canyon.

Right now it’s the ultra-conservative Republicans that are holding vitally all the cards. The Democrats are still shell-shocked over the loss of the election. So it should be interesting to see if a Republican president and congress can roll back the size and scope of government so it more resembles the administration of Silent Cal. Except, of course, when it comes denying gay rights, abortions, and the right for illegal immigrants to live and work in peace. Then the sky’s the limit when it comes to government involvement.

Categories: A malfunctioning psche, Ben Franklin, The Constitution, Monarchies, Donald Trump, Hillary Clinton, Bernie Sanders, Ted Cruz, John Kasich, presidential polls,, Economics, ELVIS PRESLY, MARILYN MONROE, MICHAEL JACKSON, WHITNEY HOUSTON, THE STATE OF HAPPINESS VS. UNHAPPINESS, Huey Long, Franklin Roosevelt, Great Depression, The Kingfish,Donald Trump, Israeli-Palestinan Relations, Joe McCarthy, McCarthyism, World War II, Viet-Nam, Anti-Communist Witch Hunts, Army-McCarthy hearings, Islamic Jihadist terrorism, Soviet Union, Red China, John Kennedy, John Kennedy, foreign policy,terrorism, lack of U.S. response to terrorism,, Ronald Reagan, the Depression, The Monkey's Paw, Fate, John Adams, Thomas Jefferson,Megabucks,, Uncategorized | Leave a comment

FROM CIVIL RIGHTS TO THE ALT-RIGHT: A NATION’S MORAL DECLINE

It took less than 60 years, 56 to be precise, for the United States to go from electing a president that would champion the cause of civil rights for blacks and other minorities, to electing a president that intends to further the cause of white supremacy and privilege. In 1960, a young John F. Kennedy would squeak out a narrow win for the presidency over Richard Nixon. With brother Bobby as attorney-general, JFK set out to tear down the walls of Jim Crow segregation that had permeated throughout the entire South. A system whereby blacks had to attend separate schools from whites, drink from separate water fountains, sit at separate lunch counters, sit in segregated sections when attending sports events or movies, and on and on. Of course, blacks were strictly forbidden from living or buying property in white neighborhoods. And black people usually found it all but impossible to vote in public elections in virtually every district throughout the South. But the early 1960s were also a time when a young black minister named Martin Luther King Jr., with the backing of the president and the attorney-general, began organizing huge protest marches and civil-disobedience throughout the South to attack this system of second-class citizenry. A system of semi-slavery that had lasted 100 years after Lincoln had ended the existing system of formal slavery.

The peaceful protests and civil-rights marches of those days eventually achieved their desired results as the walls of Jim Crow semi-slavery began to crumble into dust. But not before a slew of both black and white civil-rights workers were murdered along the way by the Ku Klux Klan and other white supremacists. And tragically, by 1968, both Kennedy brothers and Martin Luther King were all dead at the hands of different assassins. And to be clear, racial hatred and discrimination didn’t exist only in the South. There was plenty of that in the North as well, minus a formalized legal system of Jim Crow segregation. But when Lyndon Johnson took over the presidency after JFK’s murder, and signed the civil rights act of 1964, black people were at least free to participate in U.S. elections without fear of reprisal. The tumultuous 1960s were also a time of massive protests and civil disobedience against America’s ill-fated entry into the Viet-Nam war. When that debacle ended in the early 1970s, and with the successes of the civil-rights movement, it seemed as if America’s worst days were behind it. Sadly, this was not to be.

Now fast-forward to 2016 where the winning presidential candidate, also by the narrowest of margins, is definitely not a civil-rights proponent. Instead he is praised by the KKK and other white-supremist groups as being their kind of guy. One of these hate groups is oddly referred to as the Alt-Right, presumably meaning alternative right wing. A rather benign sounding term to cover up its underlying racist intentions. A former leader of the Alt-Right, a man named Stephen Bannon, eventually became Donald Trump’s campaign manager, and will now sit in the White House on a daily basis as Trump’s co-chief of staff. A rather comforting vision to start off the new year of 2017, wouldn’t you say? So who, or what is the Alt-Right. Well, according to one of its current leaders named Jeff Schoep, their decision to dispense with using the swastika as its symbol was “an attempt to become more integrated and more mainstream.” An attempt to make racial hatred seem more like the norm. Their central belief is that white identity has become endangered by what they deride as this era of dangerous diversity and political correctness. But though they may no longer use the Nazi swastika as their symbol, the name of their game is still white supremacy over blacks and virulent anti-semitism.

When Trump, early in the campaign, promised to build a wall to keep out Mexican immigrants, whom he described as murderers and rapists, the Alt-Right raised its collective head to listen. One movement leader, a retired school teacher from Dallas, who grew up in a family opposed to desegregation, stated: “I’ve been waiting to hear those words from a mainstream political leader all my life. We don’t have any power, – but now we’re suddenly close enough to smell it.” After Trump’s victory, the Alt-Right held a conference in Washington under the leadership of its president, a 38 year-old man named Richard Spencer, who fashions himself as the coming American Il Duce. He wears his hair in an undercut style called a “fashy” as in fascist. “Race is real” he said “Race matters. Race is the foundation of identity.” Of course, this Alt-Right movement is supposedly distinct from old-line white supremacist fascists, bigots, race-haters and Jew-haters such as the KKK. But early in the election campaign, when David Duke, former grand dragon of the KKK enthusiastically endorsed the Trump candidacy, it took The Donald two days to eventually choke out an-“okay, I disavow the endorsement,” after repeated grilling by the media.

So, welcome to the world, circa 2017. The year 1961 stared off with a new president in the White House committed to achieving racial equality for minorities that were afflicted by Jim Crow prejudice, bigotry and segregation. The new president in 2017, about to enter the Oval Office, is a man seemingly adored by those very same bigots and haters. But that’s not even the most disturbing part about all of this.  Even more upsetting is the fact that candidate Trump figured out that there there was all this bigotry still in existence among the white population. Enough so that he could win by achieving such an overwhelming portion of the white vote, that it was more than sufficient enough to offset the minority voters opposition to him. And he was right. Put that in your pipe and smoke it.

Categories: A malfunctioning psche, Ben Franklin, The Constitution, Monarchies, Brexit, Donald Trump, Alan Greenspan, Donald Trump, Hillary Clinton, Bernie Sanders, Ted Cruz, John Kasich, presidential polls,, human affairs, Israeli-Palestinan Relations, Joe McCarthy, McCarthyism, World War II, Viet-Nam, Anti-Communist Witch Hunts, Army-McCarthy hearings, Islamic Jihadist terrorism, Soviet Union, Red China, John Kennedy, John Kennedy, foreign policy,terrorism, lack of U.S. response to terrorism,, politics, the Depression, Uncategorized | Leave a comment

SIFTING THROUGH THE RUBBLE

By 2011, Hosni Mubarak had been ruling Egypt for almost 30 years, by the imposition of a type of benevolent dictatorship. While he undertook certain economic reforms and initiatives that benefitted the Egyptian people, there was no question that he ruled with an iron fist. He was finally overthrown in 2011 by the Army, and then prosecuted and convicted on charges of corruption and other misdeeds, and sent to jail. The Army ruled Egypt for awhile after Mubarak’s fall, and then paved the way for that country to have its first democratically held election in ages. That election, held in 2013, pitted 2 candidates against each other. One was the Army general who had led the coup against the Mubarak regime, while the other represented the Muslim Brotherhood. It should have been a no-brainer as to which candidate was better for the Egyptian people, but it didn’t turn out that way.

For those unfamiliar with Mid-Eastern politics, the Muslim Brotherhood is an organization founded in the 1920s to promote the most fundamentalist and radical brand of Islam within Egypt. While Egypt is one of the more secular Arab states, the Brotherhood’s stated objective was to reverse this course, and create a system whereby Muslim Imams would have final rule over the everyday workings of Egyptian life. Every aspect of that life would require an Islamic litmus test. Sort of like the way those crazy kids, the Ayatollahs in Iran, despotically govern that country. Anyone not adhering to their vision of fundamental Islamic tenets is usually properly disposed of, one way or another. So this was the goal of the Muslim Brotherhood’s candidate, a fellow named Morsi. And it wasn’t as if the Brotherhood attempted to disguise or in any way alter that organization’s objectives. They were out in plain view for all to observe.

Nevertheless, when election time came, the Muslim Brotherhood’s candidate Morsi, received 53% of the popular vote, in what appeared to be an open and reasonably honest election process. Morsi became President of Egypt, and surprise, surprise, began to actually implement the Brotherhood’s agenda. When the populace viewed what was happening they entered a state of shock. How could this be, they cried, as if the facts were not well known ahead of time. In desperation the people cried out for the Army to save them from becoming a fundamentalist Islamic state like Iran. Finally the Army did intervene, and overthrew and jailed Morsi and his cohorts, and Egypt returned to its mostly secular underpinnings. But this was yet another example of how the people do it to themselves; of how “we have met the enemy and he is us” reality, as Pogo said decades ago.

I bring this up because unlike Egypt, the Army cannot save the U.S. from the folly of the just concluded election results that puts a pathological narcissist without an ounce of empathy into the White House. Nor should it. In this country we have a solid tradition of civilian control over the military, and above all else, it should just remain so. Besides, even though she conducted one of the worse campaigns ever run for the presidency, Hillary did win the election, or at least the popular vote. It was that system from the dark ages known as the electoral college that gives Trump possession of the Oval Office. The second time in 16 years that Republicans have  benefitted from this archaic relic. No wonder they fight off every attempt to abolish this undemocratic and ludicrous  system. So, although the missteps of the Clinton camp are almost too numerous to list, I thought I would mention just a few of the more obvious ones.

Start with the Clinton campaign TV ads. They all seemed to portray Trump in his more unhinged and deranged campaign moments. That’s okay for awhile but you need a lot more diversity. No mention was ever made of the four Trump casino fiascos in Atlantic City, each of which went belly-up in short order. Trump campaigned on a platform of being a shrewd businessman that would be creating jobs, but how many thousands lost their jobs when each of Trump’s casino ventures went bankrupt. I fully expected some TV ads featuring those that lost their jobs during that period of time, but none came. There was also no mention of the Trump University scam for which he’s being sued, and which may go to trial before inauguration. In addition, Clinton never forthrightly addressed her reckless email debacles. She could have bought some TV time, and explained that while it was a mistake to set-up servers in her home, no U.S. interests were harmed or compromised by this process. Her email fiasco was probably the prime reason a chunk of the population refused to vote for her.

In the final weeks of the campaign, Trump was making 5 or more campaign stops before crowds of thousands, while Clinton made barely one or two. Clinton lost 3 states that normally vote Democratic by a combined total of less than 120 thousand votes. Had she carried those three states, Pennsylvania, Wisconsin and Michigan, she would have won the election. The reason she lost those three was that the black vote did not turn out in near the numbers that voted for Obama in 2008 and 2012. In the end, it was basically a lack of hustle and energy that cost Hillary the presidency. Perhaps her campaign became way over-confident based on faulty poll projections. I could go on but you get the picture of how the Democrats snatched defeat from the jaws of victory.

So now we’re left with the rubble of watching the Republicans not only taking over the White House, but also controlling both houses of Congress. Watch for an agenda of tax cuts for the rich while slashing governmental assistance to the poor, the sick and the elderly. As well as anti-abortion (Roe V. Wade will become history once Ruth Ginsberg retires from the Supreme Court), anti-gay rights, and anti-immigration. And lets not forget that “beautiful wall” to be built on the Mexican border. As well as the deportation of millions of Hispanics from the U.S. Fun times- they are a-coming.

 

 

Categories: Ben Franklin, The Constitution, Monarchies, Brexit, Donald Trump, Alan Greenspan, Donald Trump, Hillary Clinton, Bernie Sanders, Ted Cruz, John Kasich, presidential polls,, Joe McCarthy, McCarthyism, World War II, Viet-Nam, Anti-Communist Witch Hunts, Army-McCarthy hearings, Islamic Jihadist terrorism, Soviet Union, Red China, Uncategorized | Leave a comment

AMATEUR HOUR AT DEMOCRATIC HEADQUARTERS

One must first recognize that all of politics is basically a sales job. The better the salesman (or woman), the more likely that he or she will prevail in the general election. In 2016 there’s no question that through the use of demagoguery, bombast and bullying, Trump is far more effective at salesmanship than Clinton. The fact that unlike husband Bill, Hillary’s natural political skills are sorely lacking, especially when campaigning before large audiences,  is obvious to even the most casual observer. While, for Trump, his abilities in exciting large crowds to buy into his demagogic and delusional promises is virtually unmatched in modern times. One has to go back to Hitler and Mussolini, almost a century ago, to find comparative skills in unbridled demagoguery. Thus, the only thing holding Trump back from enjoying a commanding lead in this race is Trump himself. His vile, vulgar, disgusting, and pathologically narcissist personality, shines through loud and clear, and tends to offset his natural salesmanship talents. His lewd and pornographic remarks about women, his inherent racism toward Hispanics, Chinese and others, his serial lies about the current administration and the state of world affairs, plus other nasty characteristics do tend to be rather off-putting. His unhinged and delusional mind-set might also give pause to those imagining his fingers on the nuclear trigger.

All that would tend to create a plausible explanation as to why Hillary had, until recently, a rather commanding lead in most polls. With this latest kerfuffle, however, initiated by FBI chief James Comey, concerning her entire email debacle, that lead seems to be shrinking rapidly. But let’s start at the beginning. When she was Secretary of State, Hillary decided to set up a private server in the basement of her residence in New York, to correspond by email. Which would have been fine if only private emails were conducted through those servers. (There were more than one server.) If the only thing being sent or received were recipes for chicken pot pie, or arrangements for daughter Chelsea’s upcoming wedding, etc., no scandal would have emerged. But Hillary, in reckless disregard for the reality of American politics, allowed emails concerning official State Department business to also be processed through those unprotected servers. Some of those emails supposedly contained highly classified information. Not only was this a clear violation of State Department protocols, but it created a situation whereby foreign enemies could have easily hacked into her servers and obtained that info.

It would have been one thing if Hillary was planning to retire from politics when she stepped down as Secretary of State. No one would have given this a second thought. But knowing that she had presidential aspirations, it was beyond recklessness to establish such an email arrangement. The first rule of politics is to never knowingly hand your opponents a weapon they can use against you in upcoming elections; and she deliberately handed the Republicans a beauty. As I’ve said, this is reckless in the extreme. Thus, when the GOP started a nonstop drum beat about Clinton’s unprotected private servers, the FBI was more or less forced to investigate. After a lengthy study, FBI Director Comey made a public announcement that while Clinton had been extremely careless and irresponsible, the FBI believed there were no grounds for criminal prosecution. This, of course didn’t stop GOP stalwarts from denouncing the FBI conclusion, or from wearing tee shirts with a “Hillary For Prison” pronouncement on them. Comey was routinely denounced as an Administration lackey by Republicans, while being lauded by Democrats for his honesty and objectivity. A collective sigh of relief was breathed at Democratic headquarters.

However, just 11 days before the nightmare election of 2016 would come to an end, Comey reversed course. He had obviously been taking too much heat from the Republican Congress and others on the right, to make living bearable. He, thus, announced that the FBI would re-open the Clinton email investigation based on new evidence that came to light. To make matters worse, this evidence, he stated,  consisted of thousands of newly discovered Clinton emails found on the computer of one Anthony Wiener, who is the spouse of one of Hillary’s closest associates.  The same former ex-congressman who is under investigation by the FBI for child pornography. Fresh emails, a disgraced ex-congressman, kiddie porn- all mixed together in the same narrative. It’s like one Republican congressman stated- “Christmas has arrived in October.”  Of course, at Democratic headquarters, there was nothing but panic and dismay as they watched Hillary’s lead in the polls begin to evaporate like the morning mist.

Being the pathetic rank amateurs that Democratic operatives usually are, they could come up with no better response to this sudden turn of events than denouncing Comey (who they had previously praised) and calling for a more detailed explanation of this new FBI initiative. No ringing protestation from Hillary that while she may have erred in judgement regarding her private servers, no laws were broken. No U.S. interests or security had been compromised, etc. That she was, by far, the better candidate. Of course Trump, who had denounced Comey’s previous decision to end the investigation, was now singing his praises to the roof. Thus is the day-to-day nature of politics. And people wonder why only half the eligible population shows up to cast a ballot for president on election day. Even less in an off year contest.

The reason that Republicans win  so many elections is not because they have a superior agenda. If anything, their platform appeals to the most narrow-minded of the U.S. populace. They reason they win, however, is that their campaigns are organized and run by political pros who actually know what they’re doing when playing the game of politics. While the Democrats have rank amateurs orchestrating their so-called political operations. It’s like a major league baseball team playing against a minor, bush league class AA team. So unless the Democrats can come up with another tape of Trump bellowing additional profanities, the election seems to be headed toward a GOP victory. With all its ensuing horrors.

 

 

Categories: A malfunctioning psche, Ben Franklin, The Constitution, Monarchies, Brexit, Donald Trump, Alan Greenspan, Donald Trump, Hillary Clinton, Bernie Sanders, Ted Cruz, John Kasich, presidential polls,, Economics, human affairs, Isis terrorist attack in Paris,, Joe McCarthy, McCarthyism, World War II, Viet-Nam, Anti-Communist Witch Hunts, Army-McCarthy hearings, Islamic Jihadist terrorism, Soviet Union, Red China | Leave a comment

THE BUDGET DEFICIT TIME-BOMB

When the subject of budgeting and government financial deficits comes to the forefront, most people suddenly develop a condition known as MEGO- my eyes glaze over. Yet it’s a subject well worth exploring because the growth and size of the U.S. budget deficit is such that it has become a ticking time-bomb in our midst that could explode within a few years. And when it does most people will be severely burned where it hurts the most, right in their pocketbooks.  It will especially affect younger people just starting out in new jobs and careers. A tidal wave of overwhelming deficits could sink the stock market and most American’s savings and investment accounts, leading to a severe economic crises. It could make the 2008-2010 financial downturn look like a romp in the park on a Sunday afternoon. So lets try to figure out how we’ve arrived at this unenviable point in our history.

First a little perspective. The accumulated U.S. budget deficit in the nearly 200 years from the beginning of George Washington’s presidency to the end of Jimmy Carter’s reign in January 1981, stood at just under one trillion dollars. This despite the U.S. fighting in two world wars as well as the Korean and Viet-Nam wars which were extremely costly. In the ensuing 35 years, however, from Ronald Reagan to the end of Barack Obama’s term, the deficit will have mushroomed to just under $20 trillion, with annual deficits  running at about half-a-trillion a pop. It was the the supposedly ultra-conservative Ronald Reagan that started us on the path toward major budget-busting. Under the 12 years of the Reagan and George Bush the Elder presidencies, the budget deficit grew from one to four trillion dollars, a 300% increase. Reagan accomplished this stupendous feat by hugely increasing military spending while significantly cutting income taxes, especially for the rich. Hmmnn. I wonder if it ever dawned on people within the Reagan Administration that if make large increases in expenditures while sharply cutting revenues, bad things were likely to ensue, budget-wise. Reagan believed he could make up the difference by curtailing social spending, but that turned out to be a total non-accomlishment.

The following 8 years under Bill Clinton’s presidency saw the budget-deficit monster actually being tamed. In 2 of those years, the Government surprisingly ran a budget surplus, a rarity never again seen. The period that Clinton was president, from 1992-2000, were probably the best years of peace and prosperity that the U.S. has experienced since at least the end of WWII, and perhaps in its entire history. Starting in 2001, however, when George Bush the Younger ascended to the White House, (even though Al Gore had actually won the election) we once again began to travel on the yellow brick road of financial irresponsibility. Bush began piling up large deficits the old-fashioned way, again by tax cuts for the rich and large increases in government spending. This time it was by enacting a prescription drug benefit under Medicare. The Bush presidency was further marred by an over-heated economy, especially in the housing market, which finally led to the collapse of the behemoth Wall Street investment firm known as Lehman Brothers, which further led to the collapse of the U.S. economy as a whole, and ensured the election of a rookie senator named Barack Obama to the Oval Office.

Contrary to popular belief, the large budget deficits that have accumulated under the Obama Administration have not been due to sharply increased spending; but instead were caused by a large drop in revenues due to the financial crises that lasted from 2008-20012.  All those people that were out of work were certainly not paying any income or FICA taxes. Now that we’re back to near full employment, however, we’re still running half-a-trillion in the red, annually. All the while U.S. infrastructure  is slowly but surely crumbling into disrepair. Roads are becoming alarmingly over-used with bumper-to-bumper traffic everywhere; bridges are virtually disintegrating before our eyes; water and sewer piping, some of which was built at the end of the 19th century, is rusting away to nothingness; the electrical grid is over-taxed, outdated, and highly susceptible to a terrorist attack; the list goes on and on. Just think what a joy your life would be if electricity ceased to exist. But where will we get the hundreds of billions of dollars needed to repair our aging infrastructure. Well, one solution might be to increase the revenue side of the equation.

But, you might say, we’re already being taxed nearly to death.Besides income and FICA taxes, there’s property taxes (even if you rent it’s in your monthly payment), taxes on all the utilities used, taxes at the gas pump, taxes on your cell phones and land lines, taxes in your internet provider’s fee; death taxes; the list is endless. Sort of reminds me of a song by the Beetles in the 1960s, called the “Taxman.” Some of the lyrics go as follows: “If you drive a car I’ll tax the street; If you try to sit I’ll tax your seat; If you get too cold I’ll tax the heat; If you take a walk I’ll tax your feet.” That pretty well sums up where we are on the revenue side of the balance sheet.

Over 80% of our annual 3.5 trillion dollar budget consists of only 5 items. Namely, Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, Defense and Homeland Security, and interest on the debt. You can’t screw with interest on the debt or no one would ever lend to us again. The likely next president of the U.S. says he want’s to sharply increase spending on defense and homeland security, not decrease it. As well as increase infrastructure spending. Both candidates regard tampering with SS or Medicare to be the third rail of politics which invites instant execution. And so the budget deficit time bomb keeps ticking away.

I used to think that the only benefit of growing old was that I didn’t have to have colonoscopies anymore. But I’ve now discovered another benefit. I likely won’t have to be around when the financial roof of this country eventually  collapses on our heads due to uncontrollable deficit spending.

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FROM CALIGULA TO TRUMP: A TALE OF NARCISSISM

Eugene O’Neill, the famous American playwright, said that: “There is no present or future-only the past happening over and over again.” Never has the validity of this wisdom been better demonstrated than in the 2016 American political campaign unfolding before our eyes. One has to go deep into the past, back to the days shortly after the crucifixion of Jesus, to find another prominent figure whose narcissism matches that of today’s probable winner in the U.S. presidential race. I’m talking, of course, about Caligula, the emperor/tyrant that ruled the ancient Roman Empire for a brief period  before he met an untimely death.

Caligula’s bloodline was that of the Caesars that so despotically governed Rome when it was at its acme of power, around the time that Jesus was preaching his sermon on the Mount. He thus inherited the throne in 37 A.D. but only ruled for 4 years. For the first few months of his reign, Caligula was considered almost a breath of fresh air by the Roman populace because they had been treated so cruelly by previous despots. But there was one problem. Caligula was a total narcissist who could not by abide having his ego bruised. He lashed out at those that offended him. After those first few months of goodwill, he became known for his focus on cruelty, sadism, extravagance, and sexual perversity, and as a person who would kill his perceived opponents, often on a whim. He unconstitutionally further concentrated the political power of the emperor to the point where his proclamations became absolute law. He was described by scribes of that era as an insane, power hungry emperor, constantly angry and self-absorbed, who treated any criticism as treasonous that subjected the critic to execution. His despotic reign became so poisonous that even his inner circle could no longer tolerate his erratic behavior. He was finally murdered in 41 A.D. by his own guards, after 4 years of tyrannical rule.

But, if, as Eugene O’Neill said, the past keeps repeating itself, we see it happening in the U.S. 2000 years later when another total narcissist is just weeks away from becoming the most powerful figure on the planet. That Trump’s narcissism was established early on during this presidential campaign is beyond dispute. That he lashed out at Megyn Kelly, Ted Cruz, the parents of a dead soldier who died in Iraq fighting for the U.S., a sitting judge  because of his Hispanic heritage, and many, many others, is beyond dispute. That, once in office, he intends to concentrate all political power in the office of the presidency, the way Caligula did as emperor, is also quite evident. How do I know this? Just look at the people Trump has surrounded himself with.

His new campaign manager is a man named Steve Bannon who has a history of spousal abuse and anti-semitism. He was hired from an extreme right-wing fringe group known as Breitbart News. Years ago when his wife, (now his ex-wife) wanted to send their children to a certain private school, he refused saying the school had “too many fucking Jews.” She also claims he was physically abusive toward her. Trump’s second in command is a fellow named David Bossie who made his extreme right-wing chops by singularly pursuing and publicizing the extra-marital affairs that Bill Clinton supposedly had over the years. Some were true, some were pure fiction. Previously, Trump’s campaign manager was Corey Lewandowski, whose ties with Trump goes back to the 2012 campaign, when he advised Trump to seek the White House by becoming a “birther,” i.e. someone who believed that Barack Obama was born in Kenya rather than in the U.S. When that effort fizzled, Lewandowski was back in 2015 urging Trump that his path to the presidency lay in demonizing undocumented Mexicans as “rapists and murderers.” In that, he appears to have hit the nail squarely on the head. Taking the lowest possible mud-slinging road finally paid off for Trump. Although Lewandowski was ostensibly released from the Trump campaign after the primaries were over, he is said to still provide input and advice.

You think that men such as those, once they’ve acquired the taste of power inherent in the Oval Office, would ever agree to relinquish such power? Look for 2016 to be the last ostensibly democratic election to occur in the U.S. Once Trump plops his body down on the bed in the Lincoln bedroom, even the faux democracy we live under now in the U.S. will come to an end. Rather Trump will emulate his buddy, Vladimir Putin, that I’ve written about earlier in a piece called “A Fine Bromance.” As I’ve stated before, Putin rules Russia Mafia-style, where he’s the godfather or boss of bosses. He runs a system of crony capitalism, where his cronies get all the capital and the rest of the populace is left to drown their sorrows in Russian vodka. He’s responsible for the deaths of thousands in the Ukraine, and outright took the Crimea from that hapless country through military adventurism. Just last week, Putin also threw into jail a blogger that was critical of his actions. Yet, Trump, on several occasions has expressed his admiration of Putin’s leadership style. To reciprocate, Putin has also expressed his fondness for Trump.

Russia does have presidential elections, but they are so fixed that it’s a forgone conclusion that Putin will be re-elected each time. Look for that same system of phony, rigged elections to be incorporated into the American electoral process once Trump becomes president. After all, he has to reserve access to the “throne” for sons Eric and Donnie Jr. when he decides to finally retire. Hence the Trump dynasty will begin.

Of course, the Democrats are making easy for Trump’s ascendency, as they seem to be coming apart at the seams. Hillary Clinton is probably the worst political campaigner of all time. Mired in a bundle of political scandals and health issues, which she has failed to properly address, she also is lackluster on the campaign trail. She totally lacks husband Bill’s easy-going facility in connecting with masses of people at political rallies. That she’s even remotely in the game thus far is a minor miracle in itself. But in the end, the total narcissist will probably win. And remember, like Caligula, he really, really hates to allow his ego to be bruised.

Categories: A malfunctioning psche, Ben Franklin, The Constitution, Monarchies, Brexit, Donald Trump, Alan Greenspan, Donald Trump, Hillary Clinton, Bernie Sanders, Ted Cruz, John Kasich, presidential polls,, human affairs, Isis terrorist attack in Paris,, Uncategorized | Leave a comment

THE DICTATORS CLUB

It has come to pass that tyrannical dictatorships that have sprung up in many parts of the world have two things in common. They are all enemies of the United States and its western allies, and most of them have become more powerful militarily. To an increasingly large degree, they have become an existential threat to the world’s functioning democracies as they seek to continually expand their powers and reach. And because of a very tepid response by the U.S. and its NATO allies, the dictators club keeps increasing while democracy and decency on this planet is in a shrinkage mode.

Lets start with that giant concentration camp known as North Korea. The current, unhinged tyrant ruling that unfortunate country is Kim Jong-Un, who now represents the third generation of a dictatorship started in the early 1950s by his grandfather, and then passed on to his father. The country is in a perpetual starvation mode because it can’t produce enough food to feed its population. Thousands die each year from malnutrition or diseases that are easily preventable in more civilized societies. It relies on Communist China for virtually all its basic needs. It’s an automatic death sentence for anyone caught seeking to escape this tyranny by fleeing the country. But the one area where North Korea spends a vast amount of resources is the military and its weaponry. It has huge military force which perpetually threatens to invade South Korea and make the Korean Peninsula “whole” again. And it has developed a sizable nuclear weapons arsenal that threatens the U.S. west coast, and blatantly boasts about its ability to take out cities such as Los Angles with its nuclear missiles. Previous Presidents Bill Clinton and George W. Bush allowed food supplies to be sent to North Korea as an humanitarian gesture, based on the dictator’s promises that nuclear weapons would not be developed. But, as they say, the road to Hell is paved with good intentions, guarantees not to develop nuclear weapons evaporated with the morning mist, and the U.S. now faces a most potent nuclear armed enemy that despises western values.

For the next members in good standing in the dictators club, we have to look no further that the Americas. The Castro brothers, first Fidel, and now Raul, have destroyed the Cuban economy since the late 1950s, and have driven just about every Cuban into dire poverty. Everyone, that is, except the ruling elite. When Fidel Castro, after taking over the country, decided to ally Cuba to the old Soviet Union instead of the United States, it became the death knell for decent living conditions and freedom of expression in that unfortunate country. To this day, anyone protesting the Castro regime in Cuba, is routinely jailed, tortured or murdered outright. Moving on, slightly south is the sad plight of Venezuela, which until 2013 was ruled by another deranged dictator named Hugo Chavez. This tyrant came to power through what passed as the democratic process in Venezuela; but once in office ended any semblance of democracy that may have remained.  Chavez did the world a favor by dying of cancer in 2013, but he was succeeded by his favorite henchman named Nicolas Maduro. Like the Castro brothers, the Chavez/Maduro regime in Venezuela has managed to destroy the economy to the point where the average citizen has to cross over into Columbia to obtain life’s basic supplies such as food, drink, toilet paper, etc. because Venezuelan stores are often barren of such items. Along with empty shelves and empty promises, this dictatorship has also pretty much emptied out any semblance of a democratic promise.

Moving on to Europe, we find one of my most favorite tyrants who despotically rules Russia with all the finesse of the Godfather of Mafia fame. I’m talking, of course, about Vladimir Putin who is the boss of bosses in Russia. He also came to power thru a supposedly democratic election process which he has now done away with. He operates a system of crony capitalism, whereby his cronies get all the capital, and the rest of the populace is left to drown their sorrows in Russian-made vodka. Like a prominent figure currently on the American political stage, Putin is a bloviating bully who, in order to maintain his popularity among the Russian masses, invaded and militarily annexed the Crimea which belonged to the Ukraine. Next, he has sent Russian forces and military supplies into the Eastern Ukraine in an attempt to further carve up that luckless country. Thousands have already died in the Ukraine due to Putin’s adventurism. Next, Putin has sent Russian troops and planes into Syria in to further roil all the horrors going on in the Mid-East. Average Russians may not have enough to eat, but they can enjoy the spectacle of seeing Russia spread its military wings as they watch thru a stupor induced by cheap vodka.

And, of course, prominent membership in the dictators club would not be complete without mentioning those crazy kids that rule Iran with an iron fist-the Ayatollahs. Tens of thousands of Iranians have already been put to death for opposing the fanatical type of Islam that the Ayatollahs have imposed on the populace. Iran has now built a powerful military, and is inches away from having a nuclear weapons capability. The Ayatollahs routinely threaten, almost on a weekly basis, to wipe a despised Israel off the map, and they possess the military capabilities of achieving that goal. Their funding supports terrorist organizations, not only in the Mid-East, but all over the globe. And Iran and Russia have now entered into an unholy alliance to further damage Western interests in the Mid-East and elsewhere. All this has been allowed to flourish and expand primarily because of a weak-kneed response by the U.S. and its NATO allies.

Of course, there are dozens of other tyrannical regimes around the world, but I think I’ve covered the more prominent ones. But before we get too judgmental, bear in mind that the U.S. is just weeks away from putting another bloviating bully into the most powerful position in the world. One who will also likely do away with the democratic process and Constitutional rights once he has achieved that power. The way Hugo Chavez or Vladimir Putin did once they reached their ultimate goal. And as it occurred in North Korea, a Trump dynasty can then be formed, with eager sons ready to grab the reins of power once the old man decides to retire.

Categories: Ben Franklin, The Constitution, Monarchies, Brexit, Donald Trump, Alan Greenspan, Donald Trump, Hillary Clinton, Bernie Sanders, Ted Cruz, John Kasich, presidential polls,, Economics, Uncategorized | Leave a comment

FOREIGN POLICY DISARRAY

George Washington, the first president of the United States, was also the last president to preside over a fairly unified country. Washington ruled for two complete terms during an era of general goodwill, but when he left office fierce bickering and character assassinations began occurring among the rest of our founding fathers, such as John Adams, Thomas Jefferson, Alexander Hamilton, Aaron Burr, and others. The attacks on John Adams, our second president, became so virulent that Adams pushed through Congress a series of anti-sedition laws that were in direct violation of the freedom of speech and press provisions of the Bill of Rights. These laws made criticism of the presidency an act of treason with severe penalties attached. Thomas Jefferson, our third president,  who co-wrote the Declaration of Independence with Adams, became a fierce critic of Adams and his anti-sedition laws, and to Jefferson’s credit, he managed to have them repealed during his term in the White house. He accomplished little else after that, however. But amid all the back-biting going on among our leaders in those early days of the Republic, there was one concept that they apparently all agreed upon. And that was George Washington’s admonition that the U.S. should not become entangled in the affairs of foreign nations. In other words the U.S. should follow a policy of isolationism.

Protected by huge oceans to our east and west, and mostly friendly countries to our north and south, the U.S. with a few exceptions during the 19th and early 20th centuries adhered fairly strictly to to the Washingtonian concept of non-interference with other nations internal affairs. After all, it wasn’t as if foreign countries could launch bomber or missile attacks on U.S. soil. This policy of isolationism received a severe setback however, as the U.S. became militarily involved in WWI shortly after the election of 1916. With U.S. allies including Britain, France and Russia bogged down in a trench warfare stalemate with Germany that neither side seemed capable of breaking, U.S. President Woodrow Wilson deemed that it was necessary for U.S. intervention to break that stand-off. As a side note, more soldiers on both sides died from disease caused by the filthy, disgusting conditions of the trenches they occupied, than from the opposing side’s bullets. In any event, U.S. involvement quickly broke the stalemate, and, of course, the Allies went on to defeat Germany and end the war. To help change the American mindset from isolationism to intervention, composers such as George M. Cohan wrote patriotic songs in support of the war effort. You can still hear theses tunes, such as “Over There” on YouTube.

With WWI, “the war to end all wars” concluded, the U.S. populace believed it was safe, once again, to retreat back into a comfy, cozy state of isolationism. But the 20 year respite between the conclusion of WWI and the outbreak of WWII showed otherwise. The U.S. was so militarily unprepared for war in 1941 because of isolationist policies, that if Japan could had invaded our West Coast right after bombing Pearl Harbor, the Roosevelt Administration was prepared to cede all U.S. land west of Chicago before attempting to take a military stand. With the unbelievable horrors, atrocities and just pure evil emanating from WWII, and with new threats to world peace on the horizon from Communist Russia and China, a policy of non-intervention in world affairs seemed unthinkable to the American public. Isolationism appeared to be dead as a doornail, (as Ebenezer Scrooge might have put it.) Of course, a subsequent policy of global interventionism has not turned out to be all that terrific either.

It led to the Korean War in which we only able to save half of the Korean peninsula from tyrannical despotism, and then to that fiasco known as Viet-Nam where nearly 60 thousand American lives perished as well as hundreds of thousands of Vietnamese, in a jungle war we eventually lost anyhow. And then on to the first Gulf War which let tyrant dictator Saddam Hussein remain in power, and then to the second gulf war which removed him from power at considerable cost in lives and treasure, and which also left chaos in its place. Also along the way during the 50 years after WWII, an anti-communist, “better dead than red” mentality sprung up in the U.S which cost us needless trillions of dollars that were spent beefing up our military-industrial complex in preparation for war against the old USSR which then collapsed under the weight of its own despotism.

Hence when Barack Obama moved into the Oval office in January 2009, people were generally fed up with globalism and ready to return back to a more isolationist policy. Obama appeared to comply with these sentiments by proclaiming that “America will lead from behind” when it came to military initiatives on the world stage. In other words, the U.S. would considerably lower its profile in world events. But there were serious consequences to that position. The U.S. is apparently the one indispensable nation in world affairs, and when it retreats, evil despotism seems to move into the vacuum. And so it has, as Islamic-Jihadist barbarianism has taken hold in the Mid-East countries of Iraq, Syria, Libya, and Yemen, as well as launching terror attacks in Europe, and even in the U.S. The token bombing raids that we’ve launched against these terrorists have hardly seemed to make a dent in their operations. And let us not forget the despotic tyrant of Russia, Vladimir Putin, who has launched unprovoked military action against the Ukraine, which has led to the deaths of thousands, while we’ve stood by and again did nothing. As far as foreign policy goes, “leading from behind” seems to be pretty much failure.

To top it all off, neither of our two presidential candidates, one of which will be in the Oval Office next January, seems to be offering up any new initiatives to offset Obama’s mostly failed foreign policy. Maybe the U.S. is just too worn out, too burdened by debt and fatigue, to launch any new meaningful action on the world stage. As I’ve written many times before, perhaps it’s the inevitable destiny of powerful empires like Rome before us, to reach the zenith of its strength, and then watch that strength slowly dissipate  into dust.

 

Categories: Ben Franklin, The Constitution, Monarchies, Brexit, Donald Trump, Alan Greenspan, Donald Trump, Hillary Clinton, Bernie Sanders, Ted Cruz, John Kasich, presidential polls,, Economics, Huey Long, Franklin Roosevelt, Great Depression, The Kingfish,Donald Trump, human affairs, Isis terrorist attack in Paris,, Joe McCarthy, McCarthyism, World War II, Viet-Nam, Anti-Communist Witch Hunts, Army-McCarthy hearings, Islamic Jihadist terrorism, Soviet Union, Red China, John Kennedy, foreign policy,terrorism, lack of U.S. response to terrorism,, politics, The Monkey's Paw, Fate, John Adams, Thomas Jefferson,Megabucks,, Uncategorized | Leave a comment

THE LAST STAND OF HUMAN DECENCY

How many of you believe that Fox News host Megyn Kelly “had blood coming out of her whatever,” when she grilled Donald Trump during an early Republican debate. Do you further “like people that weren’t captured,” in reference to John McCain’s hellish 6 years as a POW in the notorious “Hanoi Hilton” during the Viet-Nam war. Do you believe that Rafael Cruz (Sen. Ted Cruz’s father) was complicit with Lee Harvey Oswald in the assassination of John F. Kennedy. Speaking of Ted Cruz, do you believe that calling him “Lyin’ Ted” is appropriate or that maliciously maligning his wife on Twitter was the decent thing to do. Do you agree that we should torture captured terrorists “just for the fun of it.” Do you further believe that an American born Judge will be biased against Trump because of the Judge’s Spanish heritage, when ruling on the law suit against that swindle known as Trump University, which is now defunct. As defunct as Trump’s four casino fiascos in Atlantic City that also went belly up, leaving all the investors except Trump, holding the financial bag, as the case wended its way through bankruptcy court. I could go on and on, but you get the picture.

If any of you answered yes to any or all of the above questions, you’re definitely a Trump supporter. There are millions of you out there. Welcome to 2016 America, where common human decency has taken a leave of absence among the American electorate. In another time, when at least some vestiges of human decorum were still evident in the American psyche, any one of the above statements would have been a disqualifier when seeking the office of the presidency. But not this year. Instead the media has been lapping up each of Trump’s brutish pronouncements, like a thirsty puppy lapping up it’s water. Trump’s candidacy only took hold because of the tons and tons of free media exposure of his uncivil bloviating comments. And it will likely play out this way right up until election day. If this wasn’t troubling enough, lets take a look of some of the characters jumping on the Trump bandwagon.

David Duke may not be a household name, but he does have a distinct claim to fame. He used to be the Grand Master of the Ku Klux Klan, before he resigned some years ago to run for the Senate on the Republican ticket in Louisiana. He came within an eyelash of winning that election; and upon his loss he went into “talk radio.” From that vantage point, he has had the freedom of speech to not only daily castigate blacks and Jews, but all people considered as “foreigners.” Last week he announced that he would once again run for the Senate in Louisiana as a Republican. He stated that Trump’s candidacy gave him the inspiration to take this course of action. He was lavish in his praise of Trump’s run for the White House. Earlier in the campaign when Duke was out and about praising Trump, The Donald was asked by the media if he would dis-avow David Duke’s support. It took Trump two days of hemming and hawing before he finally choked out an “Okay, I dis-avow.” But that hasn’t stopped the current leadership of the KKK from formally endorsing Trump as “their kind of guy.” Also coming to Cleveland last week to protect Trump from any possible harm was an outfit called Bikers of America, which is basically a collection of motorcycle gang thugs, who also consider Trump to be their kind of guy.

Trump supporters will tell you that while The Donald may have numerous and serious flaws, it’s still better having him in the Oval Office instead of Hilary Clinton. And there is no question that Hilary has run up voluminous political baggage over the last 30 years or so. The worst being sending and receiving classified government e-mails on an unprotected server in her own home. This type of action was especially reckless in that she had presidential aspirations when the servers were set up. One could call it felony stupidity. But on the other hand, if stupidity was a felony, they couldn’t build jails fast enough to house all the inmates. My sense is that she will have to publicly deal with both the e-mail and the Benghazi fiascos if she has any hope of winning the election. She needs to point out that none of the e-mails on her server compromised U.S. security, and that the lax response to the Benghazi crises was more the result of the CIA station chief’s failure to request immediate help and support. If she can’t do that she’s finished politically.

So there you have it. The two most unpopular and disgraced people in public life have somehow made off with their party’s nomination for the presidency. One of them will be entering the Oval Office come next January. It’s somewhat understandable when one watches the mindless chanting and banner waving at the two political conventions. As if nirvana will prevail if their candidate wins the election. As if, everyday, when we get up in the morning, the sun will shine, the birds will chirp, and we’ll all go tip-toeing through the tulips in carefree abandonment, with bliss and joy in our hearts.

Dream on America. Because the reality is that 2016 may be the year that human decency in America finally expires, and what’s left in its place is a swampy wasteland.

Categories: A malfunctioning psche, Ben Franklin, The Constitution, Monarchies, Brexit, Donald Trump, Alan Greenspan, Donald Trump, Hillary Clinton, Bernie Sanders, Ted Cruz, John Kasich, presidential polls,, Uncategorized | Leave a comment

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