Monthly Archives: July 2017

Our Lesser Angels


Comparisons are NOT something individuals should make of themselves.  I wish it were.  I’d be telling you I am second only to Will Rogers in terms of political satire.  But I’ll wait for someone else to make that observation.  And, I readily admit, I’m not holding my breath waiting for that to happen.

In contrast our pretender-in-chief during a rally in Youngstown, Ohio last Wednesday night likened himself to the 16th chief executive of the United States.  Alluding to his critics, Comrade Trump said:

Sometimes, they say, ‘He doesn’t act presidential. And I say, ’Hey look ― great schools, smart guy ― it’s so easy to act presidential. But that’s not going to get it done. … With the exception of the late, great Abraham Lincoln, I can be more presidential than any president that’s ever held this office. That I can tell you. It’s real easy.

Funny, I’ve not heard another human being echo that sentiment.  But since Trump wants so badly to be compared to Honest Abe, I’m more than glad to oblige.  Every time I see or hear Trump I do think of Lincoln and wonder, if still alive, how the man from Illinois would assess the current White House squatter.  Lacking that, the best alternative is to draw on Lincoln’s own words.  Consider the closing paragraph of his first inaugural address on March 4, 1861.

We are not enemies, but friends. We must not be enemies. Though passion may have strained it must not break our bonds of affection. The mystic chords of memory, stretching from every battlefield and patriot grave to every living heart and hearthstone all over this broad land, will yet swell the chorus of the Union, when again touched, as surely they will be, by the better angels of our nature.

From that perspective, the only conclusion one can reach is that Donald J. Trump is the anti-Lincoln.

  • Our better angels do not call on us to humiliate and dehumanize brave citizens who serve in our nation’s armed forces.
  • Our better angels do not believe those suspected of crimes should be roughed up while being arrested.
  • Our better angels do not applaud telling young men the goal in life is to make enough money to host orgies on massive yachts.
  • Our better angels would not approve of threatening to take away federal funding from Alaskans because a U.S. Senator stuck to her principles.

While we should be looking to our better angels for guidance, this week, it appears it is our lesser angels who have taken up residence at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue.

For what it’s worth.

What the H?


It’s 2017.  One would think the United States (or South Korea) could produce recording equipment that accurately captures what is being said.  But it appears that is not the case.

I know!  I know! You’re wondering what triggered this post and where could he possibly be heading.  Patience, dear reader.

Actually, it was the 48th anniversary of the Apollo 11 moon landing on July 20th.  That evening we thought we heard Neil Armstrong say, “One small step for man; one giant leap for mankind,” as he descended onto the lunar surface.  As we now know, he actually said, “One small step for a man…”  Perfectly understandable.  Armstrong was over 235,000 miles away and the signal was being relayed via electronics with less processing power than your smart phone.

Image result for microphoneWhich brings us to the present day.  Candidate Donald J. Trump created a similar controversy when he supposedly used the word “bigly” during his first debate with Hillary Clinton.  Political pundits and lexicologists had a field day.  And as is so often the case today, the candidate’s staff was quick to clarify the situation.  You may have thought you heard “bigly” but what Trump actually said was “big league.”  Remember, it was the microphone’s fault.  The same one that picked up Trump’s heavy breathing during the debate.

It makes you wonder what else did Comrade Trump say which was garbled as it wended its way through the audio pipeline.  Could it explain the string of broken campaign promises and constant lying?  Here’s the most obvious case which suggests Trump was actually telling the truth.

At a May 26, 2016 campaign rally in Billings, Montana, Trump delivered the first of what would became known as  the “winning speeches.”  Here is what was reported.

We’re going to win. We’re going to win so much. We’re going to win at trade, we’re going to win at the border. We’re going to win so much, you’re going to be so sick and tired of winning, you’re going to come to me and go ‘Please, please, we can’t win anymore.’ You’ve heard this one. You’ll say ‘Please, Mr. President, we beg you sir, we don’t want to win anymore.

I have spent a lot of time in Montana and have enjoyed every minute of it.  Helena is one of my favorite cities and the boat ride which traces Lewis and Clark’s voyage through the Gates of the Mountains on the Missouri River should not be missed. So I don’t mean to disparage the fine people in Big Sky Country, but I’m afraid the one thing they lack is state of art audio equipment.  In this case, Trump’s microphone had an unusual defect.  It was unable to pick up the letter “H”.  In the interest of historical accuracy, I want to correct the record.  This is what the candidate actually said.

We’re going to whine. We’re going to whine so much. We’re going to whine at trade, we’re going to whine at the border. We’re going to whine so much, you’re going to be so sick and tired of whining, you’re going to come to me and go ‘Please, please, we can’t whine anymore.’ You’ve heard this one. You’ll say ‘Please, Mr. President, we beg you sir, we don’t want to whine anymore.

So, don’t tell me Donald J. Trump doesn’t keep his promises.  In this case, he told the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth.  And it was probably the last time he did so.

For what it’s worth.


Profiles in Cowardice


I have always believed life experiences make us wiser.  In my own case, growing up in the segregated South shaped my views about and support of civil rights.  As a young boy, observing African-Americans being required to watch AAA baseball games from the “colored” section in right field left an indelible impression on my psyche.

We sometimes see the impact of personal experience on our national leaders.  Anti-gay politicians change their position when a son or daughter dares to come out of the closet.  And I always think of how Ronald Reagan, a life-long NRA member, defied the gun lobby and supported both the Brady Bill and a ban on assault weapons after surviving an assassin’s bullet.

Today should have been one more of those occasions.  Before a Senate vote on whether to take up the Republican proposal to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act, John McCain took to the well in the Senate chamber to lecture his colleagues on how the closed-door process by which the proposal was drafted violated this austere body’s regular order.

We’ve tried to do this by coming up with a proposal behind closed doors in consultation with the administration, then springing it on skeptical members, trying to convince them it’s better than nothing, asking us to swallow our doubts and force it past a unified opposition. I don’t think that is going to work in the end. And it probably shouldn’t.

Well said, but these were only words.  Now, I would not wish the medical situation McCain faces on anyone.  And I hope he beats the odds and survives this cruel hand he and many other Americans have been dealt.  But today, by voting with the Republican leadership for a bill which would deprive 22 million Americans of their health insurance and eliminate patient protections against the vagaries of profit hungry insurance companies, McCain proved to be as hypocritical, mean spirited and as much of a political hack as his peers in the GOP.

But worst of all, maybe for the first time in his life, John McCain became the “cowardly lion” of the United States Senate.  To say that the American people deserved better in terms of open debate and transparency and then to reward the perpetrators who engineered this fiasco with your vote is unconscionable.  To turn your back on millions of Americans who only dream of being able to afford the medical care you have received since your diagnosis is cruel, especially when you know your single vote could put a stop to this policy-making debacle.

Senator, have you no decency?

For what it’s worth.


76 TrumpClones


Something had been gnawing at me.  But I could not quite put my finger on it.  I had to draw on my creative process, especially the observation skills.  I needed to remember it’s not always what you see.  Sometimes, it’s more important what you don’t see.  And there it “wasn’t.”

From his first day on the job, Sean Spicer seemed out of place.  And it took his being replaced with Anthony Scaramucci to see why that was.  And as if the change in Trump world personnel was not enough, “the Mooch” himself, appearing on CNN’s “State of the Union,” laid it out when he told host Jake Tapper he would do whatever he could to make Sean’s replacement Sarah Huckabee Sanders “better.”  His first piece of advice?

Sarah, if you’re watching, I loved the hair and makeup person that we had on Friday. So, I would like to continue to use the hair and makeup person.

Trump World has always been about appearance versus substance.  Every time I see Donald Trump, I cannot help but think of Harold Hill, the traveling salesman and con artist in Meredith Wilson’s The Music Man.  When Trump talks about American carnage, he might as well be singing, “There’s Trouble in River City.”  Except in this latest off-Broadway revival the river is the Potomac.  And while “professor” Hill pretends to be a music teacher and band leader, “president” Trump has also made many promises he never intended to fulfill. And, like Harold Hill, he plans to leave town with  his  pockets lined with ill-gotten gains.

Which brings us back to Scaramucci.  Sean Spicer was, like Marian the librarian, a native of River City who Trump enlisted to help sell his message to the naive residents of a rural Iowa town. But, as we now know, while Trump will say anything to lure the common folk into his web, he prefers to spend his time with the rich and beautiful.  His women must be beautiful.  One can only imagine whether Ivana would be first lady if only she had stayed in shape like Emmanuel Macron.  His male companions must be equally handsome and wear Armani suits. (Oh, I forget, with the exception of the Russian ambassador to the United States and the Russian foreign minister.)

As I watched excerpts from Scaramucci’s press briefing on Friday, my first reaction was, “Did Donald and Ivana have a third son we’ve never seen before?  Or has Trump green lighted a cloning program at NIH?”  Until Friday, I always thought Jared Kushner was “Mini-Me” to Trump’s “Dr. Evil.”  But Jared only looked like a Trump.  Scaramucci is the whole package.  Apparently, he shares the boss’s addiction to alternative facts and a vision of this bizarro world on the Potomac where everything is going just fine and everyone loves Trump.

Spicer’s immediate resignation following Scaramucci’s appointment as White House communication director was consistent with The Music Man’s story line.  Did Sean, like Marian, eventually see through the scam?  One can only hope so  and that enough of Trump’s supporters come to the same conclusion. Otherwise, the “Shipoopi”* will certainly hit the fan.

*For those unfamiliar with the score, “Shipoopi” is a musical number in Act II of The Music Man, sung by Harold Hill’s former partner-in-crime Marcellus Washburn in which he explains the mystical forces which are bringing Harold and Marian together.

For what its worth.


Definitely Made in America


from-russia-with-trump-2Political pundits, late night talk show hosts and Twitter had a field day Monday with this week’s attempt by the White House to distract from the latest James Bond sequel, “From Russia With Love: Putin on the Twitz.”  This new charade was anointed, “Made in America Week.”  Ironically, the only thing associated with the hypocrite-in-chief, actually manufactured in the United States, is Donald J. Trump himself.

There is no need to rehash the litany of foreign countries where most Trump brand products originate.  Instead, I choose to focus on the many ways he emulates a range of behaviors which unfortunately are becoming the norm in many walks of life in America–rationalization, finger pointing, entitlement, exaggeration and narcissism.  Sadly, I observed many of these same practices among students and their parents during my nine years at Miami University.  Here are just a few instances in which Trump’s own words and actions demonstrate he is a product of the decline in personal responsibility and traditional values in the United States.

  • Is born into wealth and claims he is a self-made man.
  • Believes attending a high school military academy provided him  with more military experience than veterans in the armed forces.
  • Claims his character building moment during the Vietnam era was his ability to avoid contracting a venereal disease.
  • When faced with a situation where the theory does not fit the facts, consistently chooses to change the facts rather than modify the theory.
  • Believes his children can do no wrong even when confronted with irrefutable evidence.
  • Constantly debases others for not taking responsibility for their own actions and then blames everyone but himself for his own transgressions.
  • When his son is caught red-handed with his hand in the cookie jar, covers family members’ legal fees with someone else’s money.
  • Takes credit for other people’s achievements as has been the case with business decisions made months and years prior to the November election.
  • Is an overweight, winded individual yet tells us he is the healthiest chief executive in the nation’s history while feasting on taco bowls and assembly-line fried chicken.
  • Brags to reporters about his ability to watch prerecorded episodes of “Fox and Friends” as though he is the only person to ever own a DVR.
  • Even though he is a sedentary couch potato, comes up with the unfounded justification for avoiding exercise because humans have a finite amount of energy over their lifetimes.
  • Says he sent the Russians a strong message by bombing a Syrian air base hours after personally advising Vladimir Putin of the coming attack.
  • Falsely accuses others of leaking classified information yet shares highly sensitive intelligence with the Russian ambassador and foreign minister during a meeting in oval office.

Even though most Trump brands are manufactured outside the United States, there is no doubt Donald Trump was “made in America.”  The irony, of course, is his predecessor, whose childhood was “partially assembled” in Jakarta, Indonesia exemplifies many personal traits which we used to expect from our leaders.

Postscript: Believe Me!!!

Forty times during the 2016 presidential debates between  Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton,  Trump used the phrase, “Believe me!”  (Source:, March 8, 2017)  Among the promises which preceded these two words were:

  • Repealing and replacing the Affordable Care Act.  NOT
  • Building a 20 foot wall along the entire length of the U.S. border with Mexico to be paid for by Mexico.  NOT
  • Moving the U.S. embassy in Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem. NOT
  • Protecting Medicare and Medicaid.  NOT
  • Nullifying the Iran nuclear arms agreements.  NOT

As I have mentioned on numerous occasions, Trumpism is a highly infectious disease and should be monitored constantly.  The latest strain seems to have affected many Republican members of Congress following their self-made phelgethon (mythical stream of fire) following the defection of enough Republican votes to doom the revised Senate health care bill.

Yesterday, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell proposed a last ditch effort to grab disaster from the jaws of defeat, repeal the Affordable Care Act with a promise to enact a replacement within two years.  In other words, Republicans are promising to do, in two years, something they could not do in seven years.  Since the announcement, several Republicans have appeared on cable news shows supporting this approach.  When challenged whether the timeline is realistic, more than one responded, “Yes.  Believe me. We can do this.”

The ONLY thing we should believe is these legislators failed to get their Trumpism inoculations which, BELIEVE ME, should be covered under the Affordable Care Act if it is not already.

For what it’s worth.