Showing posts with label Donald Trump. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Donald Trump. Show all posts

Friday, July 28, 2017


“Obi Wan, weak mindedness is strong in this one.”

In the morning edition of our void and vapid tabloid, one letter writer tells us to “stop whining and support the president” (Bill Sances of Vero Beach, Florida). He speaks of “elite, whining, bleeding-heart liberals who seemingly dominate the letters section of this newspaper.”

If POTUS #45 says “jump off a bridge,” would Mr. Sances take his chances? He reminds me of the Jonestown mass suicide cult. For years, we witnessed Donald Trump’s own voice on videotape:

  • The self-worshipping egotist;
  • The deadbeat who failed to pay bills and wages;
  • The charlatan who operated a phony university;
  • The demagogue who fanned the flames of discord;
  • The bully who praises dictators and demands obedience;
  • The hypocrite who fills the swamp of nepotism.
Such soundbites would sink any candidate … unless your followers happen to be the Three Troglodytes of Hear No, See No, and Speak No Evil.

Trump’s secret to success is the motivated reasoning of his followers. They ignore his defects of character, filter only the evidence they want to hear, and willfully deceive themselves. In Jonestown, the diehard lemmings died hard. When a leader gaslights an entire nation, we get fascism.

Yes, Obi Wan. There are Sheeple everywhere who refuse to learn the lessons of history. Sheeple suckered by self-glorifying narcissists … from Il Duce to Pinochet … who brought entire nations to ruin.

Friday, July 21, 2017


When 58,000 mental health experts ignore a self-imposed ethics rule to issue a dire warning, it behooves us to pay attention.

Since 1973, a directive known as the Goldwater Rule has constrained psychiatrists and psychologists from issuing professional opinions about public figures. Character assassination by proxy compromises the integrity of the profession, and the purpose of the Goldwater Rule is prevent psychiatric name-calling. Moreover, totalitarian regimes have a history of abusing psychiatry as a tool of oppression. What motivates these mental health professionals to suddenly break ranks and violate protocol?

‘Mr. Trump’s speech and actions makes him incapable of serving safely as president,” claim 33 mental health experts in a public letter (New York Times, Feb 13, 2017).

“Donald Trump manifests a serious mental illness that renders him psychologically incapable of competently discharging the duties of President of the United States,” reads a petition posted on earlier this year.

For Professor Allen Francis of Duke University Medical College, “the antidote to a dystopic Trumpean dark age is political, not psychological” (NYT, February 14, 2017). Point taken.

Clinical impressions do not overturn elections. A diagnosis is neither a crime nor a guilty verdict in a court of law. And pop psychology should never stigmatize persons struggling with mental health issues. Nevertheless …

The new ‘normal’ is abnormal. The chaos is ‘unpresidented.’ What is the consensus opinion of these 58,000 mental health professionals? Here are the signature traits of narcissism (according to the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of the American Psychiatric Association):

  • A compulsive preoccupation with success and power; 
  • Self-absorption and exaggerated claims of superiority; 
  • Pervasive patterns of arrogant and haughty behavior; 
  • Constant demands for admiration and loyalty; 
  • A grandiose sense of entitlement; 
  • Employs dishonest means to achieve selfish ends; 
  • Ruthlessly exploits people without conscience; 
  • Intolerant of criticism with a tendency to lash out. 
Sound familiar? Years of recorded soundbites and anecdotal accounts reveal the character of the man:

A deadbeat who fails to pay bills and wages. A charlatan who operates a phony university. A demagogue whose appeals to bigotry fan the flames of division and discord. A bully who demands fealty while praising despots. A compulsive liar whose daily mendacities subvert reality. A hypocrite who fills the swamp of cronyism and nepotism to overflow. The leader of a democratic republic who disrespects the protocols of governance and violates the rule of law.

Have we learned nothing from the lessons of history? How self-glorifying narcissists hijack democracies? From Il Duce to Pinochet and beyond?
For all these reasons, 58,000 mental health professionals have signed petitions to inform journalists, the American public, and members of Congress. Despite past misuses and abuses, the consensus opinion can also be instrumental to forestall oppression. The antidote is political. Let the debate begin.

Wednesday, January 11, 2017

Golden Showergate

The news this morning is full of prostitutes, urine and Trump.
The story began making the rounds at Washington dinner parties late last summer: Donald Trump had been caught in a compromising sexual position by Russian intelligence agents during a business trip to Moscow. According to one version, told by a high-ranking Obama administration diplomat, Russian intelligence services, acting on Trump’s well-known obsession with sex, had arranged an evening for him with a bevy of hookers, with hidden cameras and microphones recording all the action. The jaw-dropping detail that topped the story? Trump had somehow engaged in “golden showers,” sex acts involving urine.
Now, the guy getting blackmailed by Russia says it's all a lie. And the country doing the blackmailing says it's all a lie. Of course, the intelligence report says otherwise, but it's become obvious that Donald Trump doesn't use intelligence.

I feel I should point out that there's nothing in the Constitution requiring a compromised president to step down: I mean, a man with principles would, but I think we've established pretty clearly that the GOP didn't elect one of those.

Think about it for a second: if Donald Trump steps down in the face of these golden shower allegations, his brand is dead. He's spent his entire life selling himself. Building up his name as a symbol of wealth and privilege. And if he just admits it's true, he just pisses all that away.

So Trump's going to try and brazen this out, which will just precipitate a constitutional crisis further down the road. Remember that Russia's goal for decades has been to damage the credibility of the United States, in order to increase their own. So now, whatever Russia has will be slowly leaked out, a little bit at a time, by a giggling Vladimir Putin.

What happens now? Well, if the President steps down before taking his oath of office, nothing says that the Vice President-elect gets to take over. By definition, the Vice President was not the person elected President. Ironically, Trump's beauty contest has a clearer plan of succession for a situation like this than the US Constitution.
If the winner, for any reason, cannot fulfill her duties as Miss Universe, the 1st runner-up takes over.
All this time, we thought Trump's weird orange skin was due to cheap bronzer, not to the fact that Russian prostitutes don't hydrate properly.

It's weird that the White House staff now has to study up on removing urine stains. But this whole thing has brought a new light to that infamous solid gold toilet that Trump has.

All this kind of explains that pissy look on Trump's face all the time. Do you think anybody ever be willing to shake Trump's hand from now on? I'm betting that sales of hand sanitizer in DC are going to go through the roof.

So, it's time to start a new birther theory: Donald Trump has always claimed to have been born in Queens. But it looks now like he might have been closer to Flushing.

Monday, June 20, 2016

Orlando Post Mortem: Merchants of Hate in a Moment of Crisis

(With minor changes and revisions, the following post will be syndicated
later this week in the USA Today family of newspapers.
An acknowledgement to Shaw for links to
rightwing evangelical hate screeds)

First reports: Shots fired in an Orlando nightclub. Three hours later, a swat team storms the building. By morning, we learn the scope of the carnage: 49 dead, 53 wounded, and 26 in critical condition. During the siege, the shooter dials 911 and claims allegiance to ISIS. Fragmentary soundbites trigger waves of suspicion and fear.

“This is not the Islam I know,” my Muslim friends and neighbors assure me. An editorial in TcPalm reads: “This is not who we are.”

Our local Islamic community responds. “It violates the teachings of Islam,” says Dr. Taher Husainy, a prominent neurologist and Muslim spokesman in my community. This is not the Islam he knows.

Victor Ghalib Begg, a guest columnist of this newspaper, quotes the Quran: “Whoever kills a person, it is as though he has killed all humankind.” This is not the Islam he knows.

In Dallastown, Pennsylvania, Rev. Christopher Rodkey of St. Paul's United Church of Christ posts a sign: ”Wishing a blessed Ramadan to our Muslim neighbors.” A crank caller slams Islam. Rodkey traces the call to a Republican National Convention delegate pledged to Donald Trump.

Within days, new details emerge. Daniel Gilroy, a former Florida police officer who knew the shooter, describes him as unstable and unhinged.  According to Gilroy, the shooter abhors gays, blacks, Jews, and women — slurs often riddled with threats of violence.

Sitora Yusufiy, the shooter’s first wife, recalls an abusive former husband. He beat her, confiscated her paychecks, and kept her confined as a virtual prisoner. She flees the marriage after four months.

In 2013 and 2014, the FBI investigates the shooter for possible ties to Muslim terrorist groups. Insufficient evidence; case closed.

On Monday, we learn the shooter lived a double life. He frequents a gay nightclub on a regular basis. Patrons recall an exchange of text messages on a gay networking site.

“Why, if he is gay, would he do this?" asks the father of the shooter. Perhaps this term applies: Reaction formation. It is the public mask of a disturbed person disguising an inner torment. It explains why a closet homosexual may present himself as an angry homophobe. New details change our portrait of the gunman.

But not according to Donald Trump who wants us to be very afraid. “I said this was going to happen,” he boasts with chest-thumping bravado. Muslims murder gays, and the president is a terrorist sympathizer. His cheap shots misfire. The shooter is not an immigrant but a native-born New Yorker.

Pious words segue to customary pander. We hear sleazy soundbites of derogation and scorn from Twitter to television. The latest Frankenstein turns audiences into angry villagers brandishing pitchforks.

On FaceBook one day later, Assistant State Attorney Kenneth Lewis describes the City of Orlando as “a melting pot of third world miscreants and ghetto thugs.” He is immediately suspended.

We hear reckless rhetoric from the pulpit. Evangelist James Dobson claims transgender people who use public restrooms should be shot.

After hosting Ted Cruz, Mike Huckabee, and Bobby Jindal at a religious liberties conference last year, Pastor Kevin Swanson called for gays to be sentenced to death if they refuse to repent.

Senior Pastor Robert Gallaty says: “Go to Leviticus 20:13. God gives us the punishment for engaging in these sins … They must be put to death.”

“This is not the Christianity I know,” says a pastor in my circle of friends. This is not the America I know, nor the country I want for my children, grandchildren and future generations. 

For a nation that prides itself as the melting pot of the world, hate speech turns us into hypocrites. We demonize and dehumanize our differences. We scapegoat and persecute the innocent along with the guilty.

We fail to condemn the bully pulpits of animus and injustice among us. Where is our moral compass? It is time to restore the values of honesty and decency in our public life and hold everyone accountable. Enough is enough!

Sunday, November 22, 2015

Sizing Up Trump


Donald's the man who can grab any bull by the horns and run with it. There's no teapot in a tempest he can't handle.  Donald's the MAN!  In Trump, we trust.

When other candidates were grasping at straws that broke the camel’s back, only Donald came out like a horse on fire. You can always count on him to drive off the bridge when we come to it, and burn that bridge when we cross it.

Donald will watch terrorists like a hawk and catch them cold turkey with their pants down. But just in case it’s deja-vu all over again, he’ll line up all foreigners in alphabetical order by size, then make them clean hotel rooms and wash your underwear.

If terrorists cut the water supply, he’ll never let any celebrity well run dry. He’ll bring on a flood of cats and dogs in droves like gangbusters wearing combat galoshes. Better to light a candle in the dark than to curse the clowns who screw in light-bulbs.

Donald Trump will defeat all enemies with snowballs from Hell raining hot air down the mountain with a full head of steam.  He will drive our ship of state across the road where chickens come home to roost and never let ISIS or any crisis mushroom into a can of worms.  If the shoe fits, it’s probably on the wrong foot.

Never again will we be stuck between a rock and a frying pan, and no more beating around the Bushes!  He will turn every outhouse into a White House and make America grrr8 again!

The Donald always has an ace up his hole and hits the wall running.

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Gimme Shelter

The quote "Patriotism is the last refuge of a scoundrel" is attributed to Samuel Johnson and I have no reason to doubt that or its truth. These days we have to examine a number of things that now inhabit that foul habitat of 21st century Patriotism, like extreme politics and extreme religion and extreme dishonesty -- and in a year like this, at the beginning of another election cycle and the Christmas season, the Star Spangled Blather begins to stink the place up.

Take Donald Trump, always struggling to be first in line, he's thrown the first pitch of the annual War on Christmas season this year by preaching against the Starbucks Christmas coffee cup,  which is now simply red and without the type of commercial Northern Winter and Sears Roebuck iconography some religious Christians despise. I'm surprised actually to find Starbucks turning out something that close to tasteful and without a pseudo-European name, but the Donald assumes he can take that simple red cup and work you into a lather of religious outrage by explaining it all the Fox way. It's War on Christmas time once again and pretending that anyone ever told you not to say Merry Christmas is the lie behind the tyrannical  agenda  of legally requiring you to be not only a Christian but an ignorant, paranoid and militant one.

It takes a certain kind of malignant mendacity to insist that Starbucks Hates Jesus and a certain kind of unbalanced mind to believe it, but believers gotta believe, don't they -- and we're a nation of outrage addicts, not too particular about veracity. But Christmas in America wouldn't be Christmas at all without the imaginary war on it and Donald Trump wouldn't be the ruthless sociopath without the contorted, contradictory lies that make up his campaign. I won't give him credit for inventing it. Actually pious Christians invented antipathy to Christmas a long ago and Christmas has been banned periodically by Christian leadership, both here and abroad. There's nothing new under the sun or under the comically bad hairdo for that matter.

Americans and American business have been in love with the holiday for a century or more and in fact much of our Christmas iconography and tradition has been authored by big corporations to sell product. That bothers the "put Christ Back in Christmas" crowd no end. But drink your $20 Frappomachiadohalfcaffventi in a plain cup or a Merry Christmas Santa cup and you'll piss someone off, whether they think Jesus the Barrista or Jesus the Christ is being disrespected. Trump is playing both sides and playing against anything that resembles freedom of anything. Hardly anyone is buying his Crappuchino of course, red cup or otherwise, but Trump is not afraid to work the bottom of the barrel or any other deep, dark and fetid place, and the media are not hesitant to give it all the publicity it can.

In our America, religion and patriotism are one and the same refuge of more than one scoundrel and no Republican Patriot would dare give himself that flag-kissing title without bufoonicating about Jesus the conservative billionaire and his ever present "liberal" enemies. It's expected. Patriotism entails positing a mythical past greatness that needs to be returned to. A past which entails a return to military swagger, Religious authority, isolationism, xenophobia, repression, racism and a forced ethnic "purity" which means a Christians First Nation and Christian rule and Biblical Law and above all, a Snowman on your paper coffee cup. That, in fact seems to be the only consistent theme among any likely GOP candidate in recent years. A foolish consistency you might say, as it requires you to hate the commercialism of Christmas and the non-commercialism of Christmas equally. It's a sacred holiday, but don't call it a holiday, and if you go through a minute without saying Merry Christmas from September through New Years eve, you hate Jesus.

Trump threatens not to renew Starbucks' Trump Tower lease  - (just now after how many years?) He suggests we boycott them and promises that if he's elected we'll all be saying Merry Christmas. That's a sure thing of course because we are doing that already and have been for as long as I can remember. Christmas is the most celebrated holiday in the US and a large part of our economy depends on us continuing to do so.  How can we not notice that the Donald has no commitment to  freedom of worship or of speech?  In what bizarre world is this patriotic?  The USA of course.

Atheists say Merry Christmas, Jews and Muslims say Merry Christmas and I say Merry Christmas in full knowledge of it's pagan origins, all external to the Christian canon. I think that peace and compassion and good will are better symbols, even in a hypocritical world than animals with light-up noses and trees from the Boreal forests. Acknowledging the dignity of the poor, showing affection toward children - these make it worthwhile to me. They have nothing to do with Trump or the politics of hate, fear and arrogance he preaches.
Yes, you greedy old grinch, I'll be saying Merry Christmas on December 25th,  but not to you or because of you,  pissing on the people who follow other religions and those who really love Christmas for their own reasons and acknowledge it in their own way:  the kids, the grandparents and the people who like pretentious coffee in plain cups. Pissing on those who preach year round goodness for goodness' sake.  If there's anything good about the religion you pretend to, you're stepping on it. If there were laws against hate speech, you'd be spending the holiday in jail and if there really is a hell with punishment for sin, we'll all be drinking eggnog while you lie howling.

Sunday, July 12, 2015

Whatever happened to Trump University?

The Republican party has been trying to reach out to the Hispanic community to garner votes, and it's been a struggle for them. A struggle that Donald Trump made worse two weeks ago, saying that all illegal immigrants were drug dealers, rapists and criminals. ("And some, I assume, are good people," he grudgingly added.)

The Hispanic community was understandably outraged. And Trump, as he does, refused to back down from those statements.

Obvious anagram Reince Priebus, chairman of the Republican National Committee, had to call Trump to tell him to tone down the rhetoric, because it was hurting the Republican brand. That's not likely to work - whether it was negative or positive attention, he got attention for his remarks, and that's what Trump lives for.

(On a side note, who was the first person to call him "Obvious anagram Reince Priebus"? Because I'd like to shake that guy's hand.)

Donald Trump has been called "the id of the Republican party," which is accurate enough. He is the embodiment of the basic, instinctual drives of a person, the reptilian forebrain slipped into human skin. But more than that, he is also the Ego of the Republican party. By any definition. He is a self-serving, self-centered evangelical preacher of the Word of Trump. He, himself, is the center of his entire universe, and nothing is more important to him than building himself up, so that others can marvel at how important he is.

Trump feels the need to keep reminding people that he's "really, really rich." Well, of course he is: his father was a multi-millionaire real estate developer. The children of rich people tend to be rich, too.

The man who's filed for bankruptcy four times wants us to trust him with America's economy. That seems like an obviously stupid idea to anybody who thinks about it, but Trump is trusting most of America to be as stubbornly ignorant on as many subjects as he is. (And sadly, that may be a good bet.)

The man has had to close or sell off almost as many casinos as he's opened. And it's really hard to lose money with a casino. But it's easy to set up a scam, isn't it?

People, it's only been two years. Has everybody forgotten that Donald Trump got sued by the State of New York for a scam called Trump University?
The lawsuit, which seeks restitution of at least $40 million, accused Mr. Trump, the Trump Organization and others involved with the school of running it as an unlicensed educational institution from 2005 to 2011 and making false claims about its classes in what was described as “an elaborate bait-and-switch.”

In a statement, Eric T. Schneiderman, the attorney general, said Mr. Trump appeared in advertisements for the school making “false promises” to persuade more than 5,000 people around the country — including 600 New Yorkers — “to spend tens of thousands of dollars they couldn’t afford for lessons they never got.”

The advertisements claimed, for instance, that Mr. Trump had handpicked instructors to teach students “a systematic method for investing in real estate.” But according to the lawsuit, Mr. Trump had not chosen even a single instructor at the school and had not created the curriculums for any of its courses.


The inquiry into Trump University came to light in May 2011 after dozens of people had complained to the authorities in New York, Texas, Florida and Illinois about the institution, which attracted prospective students with the promise of a free 90-minute seminar about real estate investing that, according to the lawsuit, “served as a sales pitch for a three-day seminar costing $1,495.” This three-day seminar was itself “an upsell,” the lawsuit said, for increasingly costly “Trump Elite” packages that included so-called personal mentorship programs at $35,000 a course.
The details of this story kept getting more and more bizarre as press conferences were held and details were leaked.
Attorney General Eric Schneiderman says many of the 5,000 students who paid up to $35,000 thought they would at least meet Trump but instead all they got was their picture taken in front of a life-size picture of "The Apprentice" TV star.


The lawsuit says many of the wannabe moguls were unable to land even one real estate deal and were left far worse off than before the lessons, facing thousands of dollars in debt for the seminar program once billed as a top quality university with Trump's "hand-picked" instructors.
(More details can be found here and here.)

There is very little in Donald Trump's business dealings that aren't self-serving, shady, or both. This might make him the perfect Republican, but it would make him a very, very bad president.