Posts Tagged With: Donald Trump

THE FREAK SHOW

I had promised myself that I wouldn’t write about Trump at least until it was clear that he would become the Republican nominee. But the latest shenanigans going on in that continuing circus known as the Republican debates made it all too irresistible. The latest kerfuffle occurred when Trump, always seeking to travel the low road, questioned whether his nearest rival in the upcoming Iowa caucus, Ted Cruz, is really a legitimate citizen of the U.S. Seems that good ole Ted was born in Canada, but to an American mother. That Cruz is a U.S. citizen is undeniable. But the Constitution states that to run for president, one must be a “natural born citizen.” Since Ted was born in Canada, Trump claims that the Democrats could “sue” Cruz’s eligibility to sit behind the desk in the oval office, should he be the party’s nominee. Since mudslinging is the name of the game in Trump’s world, these phony allegations reminded me of the 2012 election when Trump based his attempted march to fame on the “birther” allegation that Barack Obama was not a naturally born U.S. citizen, i.e., that he was really born in Kenya. Didn’t work out too well for him back then, and likely won’t this time around too.

First a few observations. Canada practically is the U.S., and would have been if not for the seditious actions of Aaron Burr, back in the days of our founding fathers. Secondly, most legal scholars agree that Cruz meets the definition of a “natural born citizen” and that Trump’s allegations constitute a “red herring.” It also noteworthy that the Iowa “caucus” followed right after by the New Hampshire primary, have an outlandish influence in selecting 2 candidates, one of which will go on to become the most powerful person in the world. Iowa and New Hampshire combined, constitute 1.4% of the total U.S. population. Yet if one candidate sweeps both states, it gives him or her a powerful leg up, and lots of momentum in winning future primaries in the more populous regions of the country. Such is the irrational or insane method this country employs to select its presidential candidates. Any third or fourth world banana republic would be too ashamed to admit to this method of choosing their leaders. 

So Trump goes non-stop on Twitter bashing Ted Cruz, in an effort to tweet his way to the White House. The latest polls show the 2 of them in a dead heat in Iowa. Now, normally I would be the last person to come to Cruz’s defense, since he’s a right-wing whacko extraordinaire. He’s anti-abortion, anti-gay rights, anti-immigration, and anti-gun control for openers. He’s also vociferously against government assistance to the poor, the sick, and the elderly. (If you’re poor, sick and old, you’re really up the creek without a paddle, in Cruz’s world.) He was instrumental in shutting down the government for 5 weeks in 2013, because he felt it was spending far too much on assistance for the disadvantaged. But, he’s also open and honest about his beliefs and priorities, such as they are, and doesn’t resort to mud-slinging demagoguery in order to achieve his goals. His views were largely shaped by his father, Rafael Cruz, who escaped from Castro’s Cuba, and equates all governments to the way the Castro brothers have ruled Cuba for the last 65 years. Rafael runs a mega-church in Texas, and has passed on his “all governments are tyrannical and godless” philosophy to son Ted who absorbed this type of thinking like a sponge.

Besides the bombastic, bullying Trump, and the far right, delusional Cruz, there’s a whole slew of Republican candidates eager for a shot at occupying the White House. There were originally 17 clowns on stage, and it’s now down to 13, I believe. But the only other candidate performing in these circus shows, that might have an outside chance at winning the nomination, is Marco Rubio. I’ve written about Rubio before; about his youth, good looks and even a dash of charisma, (unusual for a Republican.) There is no question that the young, handsome Marco would easily trounce the aging and highly damaged Hillary Clinton in a final showdown. The problem is that Rubio has run a rather lackluster campaign that has failed to energize most of the Republican base. He could easily win the election, but likely will not be able to secure the nomination. 

Then there are the also-rans like Jeb Bush. Bush used to be Governor of Florida but that was 8 years ago. Somehow Jeb believed that he could parlay the Bush family name into lining up big time cash donors that would buy the nomination and then the presidency for him. He did get the cash donors, but it’s not translating into potential votes in the upcoming primaries. Seems that the mostly disastrous  administration that brother George ran for 8 years, is still on voters minds. The thought of putting yet a third Bush in the Oval Office actually makes some people nauseous. There are also some of the longest of long-shots up on stage, hoping that lightening will somehow strike in their favor. For example, Chris Christie, Governor of New Jersey, believes he somehow has a chance. But it’s not going to to happen and he should stick to blogging about his favorite restaurants in New Jersey. If anyone knows food, it has to be Gov. Christie. And, of course, these circus performances would not be complete without the one woman in the Republican race, Carly Fiorina. She speaks well, and exhibits great poise and decorum. But many years ago, Carly used to be CEO of Hewlitt-Packard, and nearly ran that company into ground with her decision to acquire the Compaq computer company. She was promptly fired from her job because of that fiasco. Then not too long ago she ran for senator in California and was soundly defeated in that quest, primarily because she was vociferously anti-abortion in a very blue state. Put her odds for the nomination at about a thousand to one. And the beat goes on.

There will be many more circus performances to write about before the eventual outcome, which will likely culminate with a Trump nomination. Then look at all the fun I could have, writing about The Donald’s exploits and ensuing disasters. 

Categories: 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, politics, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

A FINE BROMANCE

Just when you feel that things couldn’t possibly get much worse, they invariably do. We now have Vladimir Putin, the tyrant dictator of Russia, and Donald Trump, the would-be tyrant dictator of the United States, exchanging accolades with each other. A fine bromance indeed. As I’ve written before, both have egos that would make the Grand Canyon look like a crack in the sidewalk. Both pal around with the super-rich, but promote themselves as populist heroes of the working class. In a recent Moscow news conference, when asked about a possible Trump presidency, Putin remarked that Trump was “brilliant” and very talented.  Putin further stated that a Trump presidency would unquestionably lead to better relations between Russia and the U.S. Trump then, of course, returned the favor by announcing that he was flattered to be so nicely complemented by  this “highly respected man.” Are you feeling the onset of extreme nausea yet?

I’ve written many times before about the Russian dictatorship that Putin has established. That Putin controls Russia mafia-style, where he is the boss of bosses or the godfather. That he runs a system of crony capitalism, whereby his cronies get all the capital and the rest of the peasantry are left to drown their sorrows in Russian vodka. (As if to vindicate this point, a few months ago, Putin personally intervened to have the price of Russian vodka lowered, so the peasantry could drink even heavier amounts.) That so-called Russian elections are controlled by Putin’s goon squads to assure his landslide victories. And that Putin maintains his popularity through military conquest of defenseless European territory.

The Russian economy is in the tank because its primary source of revenue is the exportation of its huge reserves of oil and gas. But with oil now less than $40 a barrel (a little more than a year ago it was over a $100 a barrel), the economy in general is on life-support. So to compensate for miserable living conditions, and to keep the masses pacified, Putin has to engage in military adventurism. Like Mussolini’s grandiose dreams of restoring the old Roman Empire, that I wrote about last time, Putin’s dream is to return to power the USSR empire that existed during the cold war in the 20th century. Accordingly, in 2008, he invaded the neighboring state of Georgia and took control of half of that country. It was the first time since the end of WWII that a European country acquired another country’s territory by military force. More recently he has militarily seized the Crimea from the Ukraine, and is now engaged in annexing the eastern half of that country by brute force. This slicing and dicing of the Ukraine has already led to the deaths of thousands of civilians.

But don’t take my word for what a bad guy Putin is. Read some of the many columns written by Gary Kasparov, a world class chess champion, considered  by many experts to be the greatest chess player of all time. Kasparov, a native born Russian, won his first championship at age 22, and then dominated the world of chess until his retirement not too long ago. But he’s also involved in Russian politics, and has written column after column, as well as a recently published book, decrying what he calls Putin’s fascist dictatorship. At the same time, he’s been highly critical of the West’s moral failure to confront the evils of the Putin regime. On that score, however, it gets a bit more complicated, since virtually all of Europe  receives its energy supplies from Russia. Since Europe is so highly dependent on Russian oil and gas, it’s reluctant to issue anything stronger than some weak-kneed sanctions against some of Putin’s cronies because of Russian military aggression in the Ukraine.

And the current U.S. foreign policy, being the weakest in history, has merely followed Europe’s lead. We don’t even have the fortitude to supply the Ukrainians with the military hardware needed to defend themselves from Putin’s onslaught. Much the same way that Britain and France didn’t want to upset Hitler and the Nazis in 1938.

In any event, Putin is the guy that Trump has formed a mutual admiration society with. If you want to view what a Trump presidency would be like, look no further than what Russia has become since a former mid-level KGB thug rose to absolute power in Russian politics. Trump has already displayed his own unique brand of fascism by first going after undocumented Hispanics who comprise only about 3.5% of the U.S. population; than blasting away at the Chinese, even though they own about a trillion dollars of U.S. debt; and finally proclaiming his desire to deny entry into this country of all of the over one billion Moslems populating this planet. All in gratification of the most important thing in Trump’s life; his own ego.

Does anyone really believe that once in power, Trump would have any regard for Constitutional niceties, or the actions of Congress or the courts.  He would  rule primarily by executive order, and those that didn’t like it could go lump it. Now it’s true that a hyper-polarized and dysfunctional Congress has brought about the type of gridlock where the masses are virtually screaming for necessary actions to be taken. But are these same people willing to forgo their Constitutional protections so this would-be dictator can rule with an iron fist of tyranny. I guess we’ll get to know in a little over 10 months. Putin and Trump, the fab duo of modern day fascism.

 

 

Categories: Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , | Leave a comment

THE SMELL OF FASCISM

When one watches Trump surging toward ultimate power, one is reminded of the train disaster metaphor. A man stands atop a high hill overlooking a serene valley miles below. Down in the valley are train tracks and as the man stands on the valley peak, he views a train barreling down tracks at high speed and about to go around a steep curve. But the man suddenly notices that just around the bend, parts of the train tracks are missing, perhaps washed away in a heavy storm the night before. The engineer is completely ignorant of the missing tracks as he plows full steam ahead, about to around the bend. The man views the impending disaster with alarm, knowing that it will probably kill and maim hundreds of passengers, but he is helpless to prevent the subsequent derailment. He is just too far away and its impossible for him to alert the engineer in time. A perfect metaphor, I believe, for Trump’s slow-motion derailment of the U.S. political scene leading up to the presidential election in November, 2016.

To better understand Trump’s snowballing popularity among the masses, it’s worthwhile to view another figure who used bellicosity, belligerence and bullying to also acquire total power in the early part of the 20th century. Like Trump, he would never back down from a fight, political or otherwise. He had a vast ego, and would strut around like a pompous peacock. His name was Benito Mussolini, and he rose from humble beginnings to become the fascist, tyrannical dictator of Italy in 1922. He, in fact, was the originator of fascism, which stressed extreme nationalism to the detriment of minorities, as well as adventurist militarism. Adolf Hitler merely copied Mussolini’s fascist style when he rose to power in Germany in 1933. Like Mussolini, Hitler became head of state largely through a democratic process, but once in power, systematically destroyed all vestiges of democracy, and became absolute dictator. Mussolini adored being called “Il Duce” which, translated into German, means “Der Fuehrer.”

Il Duce rose to power by promising to make Italy great again. (Sound familiar?) He had grandiose dreams of restoring the old Roman Empire,  which at its zenith, stretched from almost all of Europe to North Africa. As such, he joined Hitler’s Nazi Germany, and Imperial Japan during WWII in a fascist axis of evil. The problem was, however, that Italy’s military capabilities were rather puny in comparison to those of Nazi or Japanese forces. Il Duce would eventually lose almost all military battles that Italy engaged in. He did invade Ethiopia in North Africa, (which had virtually no military) and captured it for awhile, but eventually his armies were driven from that country as well. Finally, the Allies drove Mussolini out of Rome in 1942, and he escaped to rule over Northern Italy which was still under Nazi domination. As the Nazi’s were being defeated, Italian partisans caught up with Il Duce and had him killed. His body was hung upside down in the public square, for all to see. A rather inglorious end to the belligerent bully that strutted about like a self-indulgent peacock.

Now, in 2015 America, the rancid odor of fascism is once again percolating throughout the land. With his face set in a perpetual, petulant scowl, Donald Trump has set out to seek ultimate power by playing on the the fears and hatreds of the American populace. In other words, the old fashioned way- through the fascist imperative. He started  out by denigrating John McCain’s prisoner of war experience where McCain was held captive by North Viet-Nam under the most hellish of conditions for 6 long years. Republican voters ate it up. He then used the most crude and vile language in denigrating a female TV news host, (on Fox News, no less) and his popularity grew even stronger. Next up was the demonization of 11.5 million undocumented Hispanics living in this country, (about 3.5% of the U.S. population), and the delusional and demented promise to round them all up and ship them back to Mexico. At the same time, Trump would build a nearly 2000 mile long wall that would cost a gazillion dollars, in order to keep illegals from coming back. But he would get Mexico, a country that’s nearly broke, to pay for it all. Nevertheless, his foray into this parallel universe of total delusion only increased Trump’s poll standings.

The recent terrorist barbaric attacks, first in Paris, and then in California, played right into Trump’s demagoguery by further spreading fear and hatred in the U.S of all things Islamic. Trump’s proposal to prohibit any of the 1.2 billion Muslims that live on this planet from entering the U.S. goes beyond delusional derangement. It outright damages U.S. interests in friendly Moslem countries such as Egypt, Jordan, Saudi Arabia, Tunisia, Algeria, Morocco, Kuwait, Indonesia, Singapore, and others. Yet with his latest exercise in fear-mongering, Trump’s poll numbers continue to soar.

I believe that the saddest thing occurring in the U.S. these days is not Trump’s increasing popularity. He just saw an opportunity and plunged right in. I think the saddest thing is that so many millions of Americans are allowing themselves to be beguiled by this snake oil salesman who is peddling outright fear and hatred. Can anyone possibly think that once gaining entry into the Oval Office, Trump would have any respect for the Constitution, or the machinations of Congress or the courts. Trump would rule in a manner similar to the way Il Duce ruled over Italy, and it’s tough if anyone didn’t agree to that. 

In the end, it’s the people that do it to themselves. I’m reminded of that famous line from the Pogo comic strip in the 1970s- “We have met the enemy and he is us.”

Categories: Uncategorized | Tags: , , | 1 Comment

CAMPAIGN FOLLIES

In less than 100 days, the first primary voting takes place, to nominate two people, one of which will become the next president of the United States in November 2016. It’s the good old Iowa caucus, where a relatively small handful of people will kick off the voting season by giving a leg up to the winning candidates. I’ve written several times before about how a “caucus” is so bizarre that any third or fourth world banana republic would be too ashamed to employ such a method in choosing their elected officials. Essentially, a few people show up at a usually empty school house on a Saturday, and raise their hands in approval when their preferred candidate name is called. Or maybe they’re asked to stand in an area designated as their candidate’s space, and a head count is taken. Despite the fact that Iowa is a small state to begin with, and only just a fraction of that population bothers to show up and vote in the first place, obviously doesn’t dissuade the media from over-hyping the results of that odd-ball event. The winning candidates will gain “momentum” from this absurdity.

The interesting fact about the coming Iowa caucus, however, is that the latest polls show that Ben Carson has moved into the lead. Ahead of the bloviating, bellicose, bullying that has come to signify Donald Trump’s candidacy. So much for Trump’s supposed invincibility. The reason given by the media for Carson’s lead is that Republicans in Iowa are universally bible-thumpers. Ben Carson is a Seventh-day-Adventist, which is like being a Mormon on steroids. Seventh-day-Adventists make Southern Baptists look like secular humanists.

The Seventh-day Adventist movement started in the 1840s, when a Baptist preacher named William Miller predicted that Jesus would descend and sweep up into heaven those that were his faithful followers. Miller predicted the time and place where this event would occur, and urged those who were pure of heart to congregate at that location at that time. But the kicker was, that to prove one was pure of heart, he or she would have to give away all their earthly possessions, and arrive at the designated area, penniless. Several hundred people did just that, only to be bitterly disappointed when Jesus was a no-show. Seems he got caught up in a game of Texas hold-em with the arch-angels, and completely lost track of time. You know how compelling a good game of poker can become.

Not to be discouraged, a disciple of Miller named Samuel Snow, publicly stated that Miller was essentially right; but he had just miscalculated the time and place where this great ascendency was to transpire. Using more “scientific” methods, Snow gave a new, more precise time and location when the great schlep up to heaven would occur. This time thousands of people showed up at the designated spot, also after giving away all their earthly possessions. Only to be disappointed once again. Seems that Jesus had a rough night and failed to hear the alarm clock go off, thereby missing his appointment. But proving that nothing succeeds like failure, all these shenanigans gave birth to the Church of Seventh-day-Adventists, with about 2 million adherents in the U.S. and about 20 million world-wide. And explaining why Iowa holy-rollers have a great affinity for the Carson candidacy.

The trouble is, that while Ben Carson may have been a brilliant neurosurgeon, he has had no experience in the political arena and has some incredibly naive views of of how the world spins. He has equated Obamacare with the horrors of slavery in this country. He has stated that Jews in Nazi Germany could have avoided the Holocaust if Hitler hadn’t taken their guns away. The problem was gun control, not the darkest evils of Nazism, and Hitler’s fanatical hatred of Jews. Yes, if only the Jews had kept their pistols, they could have fought off the Nazi tanks rolling down their streets to pick them up and send them off to the concentration camps. It seems that every time Carson opens his mouth, more political gaffes come tumbling out.

The rest of the Republican field seems mired down in minutiae. Jeb Bush, who at the outset was supposedly the favorite to become the nominee, has seen his poll numbers sinking faster than my blood-sugar levels when I’ve gone too long without eating. His problem is that he has to keep defending brother George’s actions as president. Especially the whole invasion of Iraq fiasco, where we’re still sunk into that never-ending quagmire to this day. Carly Fiorina surged for awhile but has fallen back now that her record as CEO of Hewlitt-Packard has been exposed. The job she was eventually fired from because of some very bad decisions. Marco Rubio, who probably would be the most charismatic Republican choice, can’t seem to attract enough big money to engage in a viable, high-profile campaign. As I’ve said many times, in U.S. politics, the winner is usually the best candidate that money can buy. If one can’t attract enough big-money interests, their candidacy is done. The rest of the Republican field is comprised of pygmies usually polling at less than one percent. Such as Bobby Jindal, soon to be ex-governor of Louisiana, who is becoming more and more despised by the people of his own state.

On the Democratic side, Hillary Clinton seems to pretty much have a lock on the nomination now that Veep Joe Biden is out of the picture. Bernie Sanders continues to put on a good show, but in the end, even Democrats are not going to give an avowed Socialist the nomination. The problem is, that with the FBI still investigating her email antics, i.e. putting classified, official government emails on a private server in her home, the Democrats could wind-up with a candidate that is under a Federal felony indictment. Now that would be a first in U.S. political history. Who would the Democrats turn to under that scenario.

So there you have. The latest version of the Ringling Bros., Barnum&Bailey Circus, better known as the American political landscape. Stay tuned, as the circus antics are just beginning.

Categories: Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

THE UNRAVELING OF CIVILIZED SOCIETY

A woman at a recent campaign rally holds up a huge sign that says-“Thank You Lord Jesus for Donald Trump.” Now Trump may be many things, but the one thing he’s not is a bible-thumper.  Yet, the rather large evangelical community of Christian zealots in this country do appear to be solidly in the Donald’s corner. Hmmnn. Strangely, religious fanaticism and Trump seem to fit together like hand in glove. On the opposite side, a noted Wall Street Journal columnist recently called out Trump for his demagoguery, and compared him to the late tyrannical dictator of Venezuela, Hugo Chavez, who ran his country’s economy into the ground before dying of cancer in 2013. In terms of belligerence, bellicosity, and bullying, there are definite similarities between the two men. But I would more likely compare Trump to Vladimir Putin, who runs Russia mafia-style, with himself as the godfather, or boss of bosses. Those on the right who think Trump will have any respect for the U.S. Constitution, or the traditions and practices of U.S. government operations, once he reaches the Oval Office, are in for a rude awakening. Both Chavez and Putin came to power largely through the democratic process, similar to the one we practice in this country. Once in power, however, both men casually tossed aside any semblance of democracy, and became dictators for life. And now we seem to be traveling down this same road.

Of course, the unravelling of American society pales in comparison to the horrors being perpetrated in much of the rest of the world. In the Mid-East, Islamic fascist terrorism is destroying the societies of countries such as Syria, Iraq, Libya, and Yemen, thereby creating a huge humanitarian crises. Hundreds of thousands have already been slaughtered by tyrants such as Hafaz Assad in Syria, or by Islamo-Fascist terror organizations such as ISIS or Al-Qaeda. Hundreds of thousands more, trying to escape a similar fate, have attempted to flood into Europe, the nearest port of entry that’s supposedly safe. Thousands have already drowned at sea trying to cross the Mediterranean and reach the shores of Greece, a country, by the way, that itself is drowning under the burden of unaffordable economic debt. The irony is all too transparent. From Greece, the plan for most of these refugees is to move north into the more prosperous nations of Germany and France. But the problem is that most of these European countries are relatively small, and can ill-afford to absorb the tens or hundreds of thousands of Muslim immigrants pouring into their boundaries. The prime minister of Hungry has decried this huge Muslim influx, saying that it will change the very core of Christian prevalence over the European continent. And it probably will. Political battles are going on in virtually every European nation as to whether to admit these desperate immigrants, and if so, how many.

What’s at play here is an unravelling of civilized society as we have known it. When a vacuum is created, evil appears to inevitably move in to fill that vacuum, and those opposing that evil are merely jailed or executed. That vacuum came into existence by the withdrawal of NATO from policing world affairs, primarily in Europe and North Africa. The North Atlantic Treaty Organization, which was created originally to counter the aggressive ambitions of the old Soviet empire, consisted of military forces from primarily the U.S., but also from European countries such as Britain, France, Germany, Spain, Italy and the rest of Europe. But with the disintegration of the USSR, NATO began to wither on the vine, if it even exists today, other than on some parchment.

With huge budgetary debt piling up throughout most of Europe, as well as in the U.S., it has become expedient to attempt to achieve savings by cutting back on military hardware and troops. The military resources of virtually every European country is now just a shadow of its former self, and there has been significant decrease in this country as well. Which makes it a prime opportunity for the bad guys to move in and fill the vacuum left by the hollowed forces of the good guys. An opportunity too ripe to pass up. Thus, the Mid-East is in a process of steady disintegration, Europe is being overwhelmed by waves of desperate refugees fleeing for their lives to a continent ill-equipped to absorb them, and the U.S. is pretty much observing from a safe distance, but doing nothing.

Perhaps it’s in the very fabric of the human condition to eventually end up on a course of self-destruction. Winston Churchill once said that a lie travels half way around the world while truth is putting its boots on. The same exact thought could be made about the forces of good and evil. In the late 1930s, the good guys pretty much twiddled their thumbs while Nazi Germany and Imperial Japan nearly destroyed the world. The price paid for late entry into world events was merely in excess of 60 million human lives. Today the U.S. and its allies fiddle while the Mid-East burns. Of course, such conditions create fertile soil for demagogues like Donald Trump to plant the seeds of fear and anger on his quest to be the most powerful person in the world. Reacting out of fear or anger is a sure-fire route for those on the road to perdition. I wonder how Jesus feels, being thanked for the rise of this snake oil salesman.

Categories: Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , | Leave a comment

SELLING THE BROOKLYN BRIDGE

I want all of you to know that I’ve just developed this wonderful elixir that will alleviate or cure a host of various medical problems. Its known to reduce or eliminate the pain and suffering from arthritis, rheumatism, sciatica, gout, and many other maladies including diabetes and even cancer. And I’m offering this splendid tonic for only $40 for a month’s supply. It’s really too good a product to pass up. What, no takers? Well, how about this then. I also dabble in real estate and I’m willing to put on the market for a very low price, a bridge that connects Brooklyn with Manhattan. It’s the deal of a lifetime. A deal that you can’t afford to pass up. Still no buyers? Whew, tough crowd. I don’t see why people aren’t jumping to take advantage of these splendid offerings when apparently millions are buying into the same type snake oil that Donald Trump has been peddling. If anything, my promises would appear to be more credible.

For example, Trump promises that as president (a scary premise you can put together in time for Halloween), he will build a nearly 2000 mile long wall on our border with Mexico to keep out those dastardly illegal aliens. But the best part of this scenario is that he will get Mexico to pay the tens or hundreds of billions of dollars such a wall would cost. I can just imagine how this would play out. Trump calls Mexico with his request, and the Mexican president comes on the line and says: “But of course, Señor Trump. Anything for you. We’ll be delighted to furnish you the billions you need to build your wall. We’re rolling in so much cash here in Mexico that we don’t know where to spend it all.” And just like that the wall is built and paid for, almost overnight. Pure, unadulterated snake oil, yet Trump is leading in the polls for the GOP nomination.

To follow this premise to its logical conclusion, say the wall gets built and does bar undocumented migrants from entering our country through our southern border. So what’s next. Will those sneaky illegals then fly to Canada and come in through our porous, nearly 4000 mile long border to the north. Will this necessitate spending more gazillions of dollars for a wall on the Canadian border. What if the illegals get on rafts or dinghies and try to enter from the east or west coasts. More walls to erect, until we’ve totally boxed ourselves in from the rest of the world? Such is the mind-numbing blindness that Trump followers are so heavily infested with. Did I mention that Trump leads in all the polls for the presidency in 2016? At one Trump rally, a woman was holding a big sign over her head that read-“Thank God for Trump.” So let’s look past the hysteria over undocumented aliens, revved up thanks to Trump’s demagoguery and opaque salesmanship, to those pesky, deflating little items known as facts. Facts that demagogues such as Trump truly despise because they tend to deflate their hate filled balloons.

According to experts in the field, the undocumented alien population in the U.S. six years ago stood at about 12.5 million. Due to the economic swan dive the U.S. has experienced over the past 6 years, the illegal population in this country has actually declined to just a tad over 11 million. I guess many that came here figured out that conditions in this country were just as lousy as back home, and self-deported themselves, (as Mitt Romney might say), back to Latin America. With a U.S. population of some 320 million, the 11 million illegals here today represent less than 4% of the total. The fact is that the overwhelming majority of Americans have little or no contact with illegals. Another fact is that a good chunk of of the undocumented worker pool are people that entered this country legally, but who have stayed on after their visas have expired. So much for building those hideous walls.

Another demonization perpetuated by the illegal immigration demagogues concerns the status of “anchor babies.” Supposedly, pregnant  Hispanic women are entering the U.S. illegally, to give birth on U.S. soil, so that their baby has to be granted automatic U.S. citizenship according to the 14th amendment to the U.S. constitution. If the baby is an American citizen, so the argument goes, it’s all the harder to deport that baby’s illegal parents. First off, this occurs in a very few and insignificant instances. Secondly, it’s fascinating to watch all those right-wing fanatics who have been constantly berating the Obama administration for ignoring or flouting a ton of constitutional requirements, now willing to shred the clear and precise language of the 14th amendment, when it suits their purpose. I guess, in the end, it all depends on whose ox is being gored.

To be a successful demagogue several factors have to come into play. First, the aspiring demagogue must be highly skilled at salesmanship. Secondly, there has to be a small, rather defenseless minority within the country that can be demonized and scapegoated as causing the major problems that country is experiencing. That’s how Hitler was able to attain power in Germany during the 1930s. Hitler’s powerful salesmanship abilities were able to convince a well-educated, sophisticated, and cultural German populace that a small, law-abiding, defenseless Jewish minority was the cause of virtually all of that country’s ills at that time. We all know how well that scenario played out. Now Trump is in full throttle mode of demonizing undocumented Hispanics in order to become the most powerful man in the world. Once in power, he promises to have his forces go door-to-door if necessary, to round up 11 million illegals and deport them all back to from whence they came. The similarities with Nazi Germany are unfortunately all too apparent. The question is, will a majority of the U.S. populace be duped by this snake-oil salesman and grant him the power he so desperately seeks.

Categories: Uncategorized | Tags: , , , | Leave a comment

BERNIE

Bernie Sanders, Senator from Vermont, is only the third openly avowed Socialist ever to be elected to Congress. The previous two won seats in the House but quickly faded from the scene. The most remarkable attribute about Sanders, however, is that at age 73, he still has the stamina and energy to traipse all over the country as he seeks the Democratic nomination to run for president. And he’s been drawing extremely enthusiastic crowds in the tens of thousands at various campaign rallies across the nation. Crowds that are a lot larger and far more enthused than anything Hillary Clinton has been able to generate thus far. His message of economic populism has resounded among massive segments of the population that believe they are being screwed over by Wall Street sharpies, banking institutions, hedge fund managers, and others with inside knowledge of how to manipulate the U.S. financial markets and economic systems. Basically, Bernie’s platform is one of redistribution of wealth. Take from those living in huge mansions, have private yachts and jets, drive top of the line Mercedes, etc., and give to those forced to live in rat-infested, crime and drug riddled slums, and not knowing when and where their next meal will be eaten. In effect, Bernie’s candidacy is an indictment of the very capitalist system that is the heart and soul of present day economics in the U.S.

Capitalism in this country has failed so many people for so long that massive crowds are turning to listen to Bernie’s message. Crowds that should have made the presumptive Democratic nominee, Hillary Clinton, envious. Starting out as a huge underdog, recent polls show that Bernie is now within striking distance of Hillary overall, and is actual ahead of her in some early voting primary states. And why not? Bernie, even at 73, is a vigorous campaigner with a strong message for America, while Hillary is lackluster at best, during her campaign speeches. That might be forgiven where it not for the fact that Hillary has gotten herself entangled in some very messy “scandals” that have provided lots of fodder to her enemies. The latest one, of course, is her e-mail fiasco that has to be the very definition of self-inflicted wounds.

For some inexplicable reason, Hillary decided that she needed a server in her home in order to send and receive e-mails. Who does that? I have been sending and receiving e-mails on my computer for years without installing a server in my house. Beside it being prohibitively expensive, why would I need a server. Granted that Hillary’s e-mail volume vastly exceeds mine, but it still could have been handled without a server. The problem turns out to be that mixed among her private stuff, such as getting ready for Chelsea’s wedding, were also work related e-mails  in accordance with her job as Secretary of State. Critics are claiming that some of the work-related stuff was classified, some as high as top-secret. Processing classified information on a private, unsecured computer is definitely a no-no. To make matters worse, accusations are being made that she deliberately had the e-mails on her server erased so as to cover up the fact that she was processing classified info on an unsecured line. If any of this is true, we’re talking felony crime. Or, perhaps, more like felony stupidity.

Why would someone bent on becoming our first female president indulge in such risky behavior. Everyone down to the lowest mail clerk knows that any official government business, classified or otherwise, is the property of only the government, and only designated officials operating under strict rules have the right of disposal. But the Clintons, going back to their days in Arkansas, have a pattern of such dangerous undertakings. Besides Bill’s extra-marital dalliances, both Clinton’s were involved in some highly questionable financial schemes that edged right up to the line of illegality. Once in the White House, there was, of course, the whole Monica Lewinski fiasco. The only thing that saved Bill from being thrown out of office was Republican overreach. When the House voted to impeach him, Bill Clinton become a hugely sympathetic figure with the American public, and his approval ratings skyrocketed. Much to the GOP’s chagrin, its effort to have Bill removed from the White House totally backfired . A lesson they haven’t forgotten when there was some talk of impeaching Barack Obama.

Now, however, with this latest flare-up over Hillary’s e-mails, Democrats are becoming very frightened she will be inherently un-electable. That her campaign will go down in flames. This is also one of the reasons that Bernie Sanders is beginning to look more and more viable. But most people still are fixated on the fact that it is highly unlikely that a Socialist candidate can win the election. So Democratic pros are now turning to Vice-President Joe Biden to ride in on his white stead and save the day for them. Now, Biden is one of the most decent and honorable men in modern day American politics. The problem is, that besides being gaffe-prone, he’s rather colorless and endures a charisma deficiency. More importantly, however, he has suffered more tragedy in his life than most people can bear.

Many years ago, he lost his wife and infant daughter who were killed in a car accident. And just recently he lost his beautiful son, Beau Biden, age 45, to brain cancer. Beau was Attorney-General of Delaware, and every bit as decent and personable as his father. No parent should have to undergo that kind of nightmare. But the question is, after suffering such loss, would Joe Biden have the fortitude to mount an exhausting and depleting campaign for the U.S. presidency. Probably against the likes of a Donald Trump. So, as I’ve written before, the Democrats are caught between a rock and a hard place. And if they don’t figure it out soon, we could see the bellicosity and bullying of a bloviating Donald Trump in the White House for the next 4 to 8 years.

Categories: Uncategorized | Tags: , , | Leave a comment

THE “WHAT’S IN IT FOR ME” SYNDROME

As I’ve written several times before, election results, especially in America, are determined primarily by those citizens that don’t vote, versus those that do bother to cast their ballots. Unless it’s a blowout landslide, such as Lyndon Johnson’s defeat of Barry Goldwater in 1964, or Richard Nixon’s 49 state sweep against George McGovern in 1972, it’s the stay-at-homes that are usually the decisive factor, especially in close elections. (You can add Ronald Reagan’s 49 state victory over Walter Mondale in 1984, to the few contests where non-voters were not a primary issue.) So who are these non-voters that decide most elections. Well, for the most part, these are people that are mired in deep and unrelenting poverty. People that will never hear phrases from others such as “good morning” or “have a nice day.” For those people living in rat-infested, and crime and drug riddled slums, who lack the resources to put food on the table for themselves and their children, it’s never going to be a nice day. Caught up in their own misery, despair, and sense of hopelessness, the last thing on their minds is finding a polling booth, and standing on line to cast a ballot for politicians that will invariably ignore their desperate plights in the first place. Hence the success of the Republican Party.

It’s no secret that the percent of people bothering to vote steadily increases with the amount of material affluence these people attain. The amount of wealth a person accumulates is in direct proportion to the fear among these affluent types, that forces within this country are seeking to to rob them of their wealth. Such as the wrong type of people in political office that would over-burden them with heavy taxes,  and redistribute their wealth to the poor. Who, in their minds, are either lazy, or shiftless, or too dumb to make a decent living. Or all of the above. Hence, the affluent naturally gravitate to the Republican Party, that continually promises to cut taxes mostly for the rich, as well as severely slash, if not eliminate welfare programs for the poor, such as food stamps, housing assistance, and medical care. Thus, the Democratic Party’s dilemma- the very people its programs are designed to assist, are the ones that barely show up to vote for them on election day.

The government calculates that about 16% of the U.S. population now lives below its officially established poverty rate, which equates to almost 50 million Americans. But it’s much worse than that, if you consider that the official poverty level is really a joke. The official poverty level for single people is about $13,000, and even less for old fogies like me. For a family of 4, it runs at less than $25,000. Try putting a roof over the heads of such a family, as well as feeding them 3 half-way decent daily meals, buying them clothing, transportation and communication means, as well as medical care, all for 25 grand a year. Of course, poverty levels vary significantly among ethnic groups with blacks and Hispanics bearing the brunt of having to live out their lives in squalor and despair. Poverty levels for those 2 groupings approach the 30% range, while for non-Hispanic whites, it stands at around 10%. The only thing saving these down-trodden poor are the government assistance programs that I mentioned previously. The very ones that Republican voters are so eager to dismantle.

It’s all part of the “what’s in it for me” mentality. The “as along as I have mine, the hell with everyone else” mindset. That’s why politicians from both parties seldom, if ever, talk about the plight of the poor. Political campaigning is always about the middle class, who actually do vote in ever increasing numbers based on their levels of affluence. It’s so much more fun for politicians to demonize undocumented immigrants, who are among the poorest of the poor, as Donald Trump has done so effectively in getting the middle-class all riled up. Rather than discuss real issues such as life destroying poverty. Speaking of Trump, which I discussed in my last entry, I failed to mention that back in 2012 when Trump thought he could achieve fame and power by joining the “birther” movement, he did receive some unexpected blowback. George Will, a conservative newspaper columnist, whose column appears in many papers across the nation, couldn’t take it anymore. He called Trump a “bloviating ignoramus” which helped speed up Trump’s political demise back then. This year, he’s bloviating about immigration. Anything to avoid the real issues of the day that afflict this country.

Back during the turbulent 1960s, of which I’ve written about often, the U.S. had 3 great leaders, who I believed could lead us to far better and more peaceful and prosperous landscape-namely Jack and Bobby Kennedy, and Martin Luther King. After Jack Kennedy and Martin Luther King were assassinated I wrote that Bobby Kennedy was our last best hope for a more humane society built on decency and compassion. For example, during his 1968 campaign for the presidency, Bobby would visit places such as rural Mississippi and find (usually black) farmhands living in the most dismal, down run shacks, amidst indescribable, bone-crushing poverty. He would tell the farm owners that he wouldn’t allow his dogs to live under such despicable conditions. The farm owners responses were often to threaten Bobby with bodily harm. After Bobby was also assassinated, I wrote that the U.S. had probably lost its last best hope for a more humane and just society, perhaps for all time. It seems those words are even more appropriate in today’s landscape.

So welcome to the what’s in it for me syndrome, flourishing so spectacularly amidst our instant gratification society. We’re just getting started in the demonization and bloviating antics that will only intensify over the next 15 months. Buckle up everyone.

Categories: Uncategorized | Tags: , , , | Leave a comment

TRUMP’S DEMAGOGUERY

Americans have notoriously short memories. Most of us can hardly remember what we had for dinner last night, let alone the events that shaped this country’s political discourse a whole three years ago. For example, most Americans have forgotten that Donald Trump also ran for the Republican presidential nomination back in 2012, and also went shooting up quickly in the polls, only to flame-out, and tumble back down to earth. In 2012, Barack Obama was running for re-election, and Trump’s issue du jour was that Obama was really born in Kenya instead of the U.S., which would render him Constitutionally ineligible to occupy the Oval Office. In other words, Trump had joined forces with people that came to be known as the “birthers,” i.e. those that were so delusion- ally unhinged that they kept insisting that Obama was not a native born American. And not only was he not born in this country, but he was also a devout Muslim instead of a Christian. I mean, with a name like Barack Obama, how could he be anything else but a Muslim.

Never mind that Obama had a certified birth certificate issued by the state of Hawaii. Never mind that there was a printed notification in the local Honolulu newspaper announcing his birth. After all, if one is to act and behave in a delusional manner, one can’t allow pesky things such as facts spoil all the fun. So the more that Trump was criticized for throwing his lot in with the “birthers” the more he doubled down on his opinion that Obama was not a native-born American. Much the way he’s doubling down these days about how Mexicans are the scourge of American society. Back in 2012, however, it wasn’t until Barbara Walters, supposedly an old friend, told The Donald to knock it off with the “birther” crap; that he was just embarrassing himself. It was then that Trump had to return to the unfriendly and harsh world of reality. When he did, his poll numbers plunged like a ship’s anchor thrown into the sea, and he was finished politically, at least for that cycle.  As a side note, there are still large numbers of people on the lunatic right that still advocate for the delusional belief that Obama is a foreign born Muslim. But with only a year and half left of the Obama presidency, their cause has pretty much run out of steam.

So now we’re headed for the 2016 presidential election, and Trump again has political aspirations. Always the demagogue, Trump’s new cause, as we all know, is illegal immigration. It’s those rotten Mexicans coming across our borders illegally that’s screwing up American society. Everyone knows that these Mexicans are nothing but a band of criminals, murderers, rapists, drug dealers, etc. and that the Mexican government is only too happy to off-load these people into the U.S. But he, Trump, once he becomes president, will put a stop to such shenanigans. He will build a full proof fence along the entire Mexican border (almost 2000 miles) and get the Mexican government to cough up the trillion dollars or so, that it would take to erect such a monstrosity. How would he do that? you might timidly ask. No problem for Trump- he will just demand it of the Mexicans,and they will obediently acquiesce.

Back during the 2012 election cycle I wrote a piece in which I stated that Trump’s ego is so enormous that it makes the Grand Canyon look like a crack in your sidewalk. Nothing has changed since then, so I still believe that’s a pretty apt description. When Trump caught a certain amount of grief from some notable people and organizations over his remarks demonizing Mexican immigrants, he responded as he always does, i.e., by brashly doubling down on those remarks with more extremism and demagoguery.  But the sad thing is that large numbers of Republican voters appear to be lapping up that type of anti-immigrant extremism, the way a dog might be lapping up the water in his dish on a hot summer day.

Trump used to be pro-abortion until he started becoming seriously involved with the Republican Party. Now he’s anti-abortion. No problem. He used to be pro-gay rights until he did a 180 on that issue too. He used to favor increasing taxes on the rich, until he started favoring tax cuts for the wealthy. If you’re going to be a serious Republican, you obviously have to go all in. Besides, as I’ve said, people have short memory spans. The trouble is, however, that Trump has indeed tapped into a large cesspool of anger, hate, and a thirst for vengeance against Mexican immigrants, which says a lot about the state of affairs in the U.S. these days, none of which is good. The latest poll numbers show Trump at the top of the heap in the ever growing list of potential Republican candidates. Although some of these candidates have mildly criticized Trump’s language in demonizing Mexicans, not one will dare to disavow the basic anti-immigration message espoused in Trump’s speeches.

More troubling than Trump’s demagoguery is the willingness of so many Americans so willing to believe that if Trump becomes president all our illegal immigration issues will magically disappear. About 11 million illegal aliens will be put on some magic carpet an flown back from whence they came. A giant wall, about 2000 miles long will magically be built without costing us a penny. I guess the secret to a demagogue’s success is the gullibility of the people he’s preaching to. Of course, it’s likely that Trump will eventually flame out, as he did in 2012, or as soon as someone with considerable prestige tells him to knock this shit off. But it’s still upsetting to know that in America, as of today, there is such a huge cesspool of hate and desire for vengeance  against our next-door neighbor to the south. It speaks volumes as to who we are as a society.

Categories: Uncategorized | Tags: , , , | Leave a comment

Blog at WordPress.com.