Monthly Archives: September 2017

If He Only Had a Heart


There is only one thing worse than a narcissistic racist occupying the oval office.  It is a narcissistic racist who is not even good at it.  This assessment is based on two recent seemingly unrelated news stories.

CNN reports:

 The House appropriations committee released its homeland security bill on Tuesday and it includes the full $1.6 billion requested by the Office of Management and Budget to begin construction on a southern border wall.

In response to the deteriorating situation in Puerto Rico, reports:

 As Puerto Rico slips deeper into what many call a humanitarian crisis following Hurricane Maria, the island is primed for a mass exodus of what could be 1 million people — a sizable number of whom are expected to settle in Florida, the nation’s biggest swing state.

That could well prove to be a boon to Democrats in a state which the past four top-of-the-ticket races have been decided by about a percentage point.

Even if you believe a physical barrier on the U.S.-Mexico boarder is needed to stem unauthorized immigration, let’s be honest.  According to a recent Pew Report, Mexicans may no longer be the majority of U.S. unauthorized immigrants.  And the number of undocumented Mexican immigrants currently living in the United States declined from a high of 6.4 million in 2009 to 5.6 million in 2016.  The only other explanation for the wall is to keep out a certain racial category of potential immigrants considered by Comrade Trump from the day he announced his candidacy to be “undesirables.”

Unlike Trump, I know residents of Puerto Rico are American citizens and deserve the same consideration in times of need as residents of New Orleans, Sandy Hook, Houston or the Florida Keys. But put yourself in Trump’s shoes.  Here was a golden opportunity.  Instead of using the $1.6 billion to address a non-existent problem, he could ask Congress to dedicate those funds to rebuild Puerto Rico AND (implicitly) keep over a million brown-skinned individuals from relocating inside the continental U.S.  Additionally, despite all the evidence to the contrary Trump could argue, by giving up his beloved wall to help rebuild Puerto Rico, there is a living, breathing human being inside that orange peanut shell.

Bottom line?  When a half million relocated Puerto Rican citizens register as Democrats in Florida shifting the balance of power from red to blue, Comrade Trump will have no one to blame but himself.

Postscript: The Price of Arrogance

Today, the PRICE of Arrogance is none other than HHS Secretary TOM.  After railing against Washington’s waste of taxpayers’ money while a member of the House of Representatives, Price demonstrated he is still in the race for hypocrite-in-chief among Republicans.  As has been well reported, he spent more than $400,000 on private jets for questionable domestic travel and an additional $600,000 on trips to international events.  But his effort to get past this “lack of sensitivity” is much more telling.

Yesterday, Price announced he would repay $51,887.31 to cover the cost of his seat on chartered flights.  Here’s the problem.  Giving Price the benefit of the doubt these trips were official business, the amount he has offered to repay is what HHS would have legitimately covered.  It is the difference between this sum and the $400,000 which is excessive.  Therefore, Mr. Secretary we anxiously await your reimbursing the U.S. Treasury for $348.122.69.

This kind of thinking explains Price’s support of Republicans’ efforts to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act.  Only when you examine his logic vis-a-vis the travel fiasco, can you see how he might believe taking affordable health insurance away from 32,000,000 Americans will improve their health care.

UPDATE:  The Washington Post just reported Price has resigned.  I’ve lost count.  How many of Trump’s “best people” have resigned or been fired?

Post-Postscript/The King’s Hand

Game of Thrones fans know the sovereign’s adviser is referred to as “the hand of the king (or queen).” In season one it was Ned Stark serving Robert Barratheon.  The series focus is now on the diminutive Tyrion Lannister who stands beside Mother of Dragons Daenyris Targaryen.

Which made me think what it would mean if Jefferson Beauregard Sessions III had a similar title in the current administration.  Would that mean Comrade Trump had not one, not two, but THREE tiny hands?

For what it’s worth.


Call It What It Is


This morning the Washington Post reports proposed changes to the Republican bill that would replace the Affordable Care Act.

According to a summary obtained by The Washington Post, Sens. Bill Cassidy (R-La.) and Lindsey O. Graham (R-S.C.) will propose giving Alaska and Maine more funding than initially offered. Those states are represented by Republican Sens. Lisa Murkowski (Alaska) and Susan Collins (Maine), who have expressed concerns about the bill but have yet to say how they would vote.

If I were a lobbyist or a corporation and offered a United States Senator a financial incentive to influence their vote on a specific piece of legislation, I would be charged with bribery.  And the Senators would be charged with influence pedaling.  But this is even worse.  Cassidy and Graham are not using their own money.  They are using TAXPAYER dollars to BUY the votes they need to pass their bill.

The bill already punishes states who improved the lives of their low-income residents by accepting the option to expand Medicaid coverage.  It takes the money for this program and distributes it to states on a population formula with no guarantees that the money be used for basic health coverage.  (Does anyone honestly believe HHS Secretary will not approve waivers to states that voted for Trump?)

So let’s call this what it is.  A BRIBE.  Those responsible for drafting this version have in effect sent a communication to two U.S. Senators offering them money for their vote.  Now it’s up to Collins and Murkowski to show us what they are made of.  If they accept this offer, we now know who they really are.  Like the old saying suggests, “We know who we are, we’re just haggling over the price.”

If this bill becomes law, every honest American (including members of the Tea Party) should seriously consider not paying their federal income tax this year.  We are being asked to be an accomplice to this most outrageous and unconscionable use of public funds.   I have never included a call to action in any of my blogs, until now.  I encourage you to call (the vote is tentatively scheduled for Wednesday) your Senators and tell them you refuse to underwrite this scam.

For what it’s worth.


Random Thoughts 9/23/2017



Image result for ann coulter witchOne of today’s great ironies is how often individuals who accuse others of violating the U.S. Constitution have little, if any, appreciation for what the the document actually says.  The latest example is none other than Ann Coulter who last week responded to Comrade Trump’s flip-flop on DACA by tweeting, “Who doesn’t want Trump impeached?”   Seems like everybody except his die-hard base and spineless Republican members of the House of Representatives.

Keep in mind the author of In Trump We Trust has no problem with Trump’s violation of the emolument clause or his increasingly evident acts of treason during the 2016 campaign and as oval office occupant.  What was the tipping point for Ms. Coulter?  Reversal on a policy decision.  Ann, I think it’s time you took another look at the language in Article II of the Constitution which governs removal of the chief executive and other public officials.

The President, Vice President and all Civil Officers of the United States, shall be removed from Office on Impeachment for and Conviction of, Treason, Bribery, or other high Crimes and Misdemeanors.

I find it quite incredulous that someone who attended Cornell University and the University of Michigan Law School believes failure to keep a campaign promise qualifies as a “high crime or misdemeanor.”  If that were the case, every president since 1789 would have been hauled before the House Judiciary Committee to answer for their “crimes.”  I guess constitutional law was not a required course at the University of Michigan Law School.


I would have never believed this, but Ivanka Trump and I seem to have a couple of things in common.  On September 14, the poster child for “Take Your Daughter to Work for Four Years” said the following in an Interview with the Financial Times.

Some people have created unrealistic expectations of what they expect from me.  That my presence in and of itself would carry so much weight with my father that he would abandon his core values and the agenda that the American people voted for when they elected him. It’s not going to happen.

You may remember, last Saturday I suggested Comrade Trump take a different tack in dealing with Kim Jong-un.  Instead of ramping up rhetoric which would make the North Korean leader feel he needed a nuclear deterrent, U.S. foreign policy might be better served by ensuring Kim and his people they were safe from American intervention as long as they kept to themselves.  Based on Trump’s speech to the United Nations General Assembly on Tuesday, I know how Ivanka must feel.  Even if you have realistic expectations about my sphere of influence, let me assure you, “It’s not going to happen.”

Image result for obama helicopter leaving washingtonBut my affinity to Ivanka does not end there.  This week, she told us she suffered from postpartum depression following the birth of each of her three children.  I feel her pain.  I too have had bouts of postpartum depression since January 20th when Barack Obama departed the White House.

Now, if only she would follow my lead, and realize Washington, D.C. is not her place of most potential.  It took me seven years to figure that out.  One can only hope she is forced into that decision sooner rather than later.  And please, take “daddy” with you.

For what it’s worth.


Random Thoughts 9/16/2017


In the continuing search for a happy medium between the demands of other projects–business, writing a novel and cleaning up after hurricanes–I have decided to move to a weekly post of random thoughts.

Today, I begin with two topics which were overshadowed by concern for the residents of SE Texas, the lower Atlantic coast and the Caribbean islands.  They are both related to the worn out mantra, “We need to run government like a business.”  It assumes businesses are all the same.  What if we ran government like a bait and switch scam?  Well, we are currently putting that to the test and how is that going?  Instead, what if we looked at specific business practices which might be adapted because they make the same sense in the public sector as they do for private enterprises.

Spousal Travel

I used to work for a major public interest group in Washington, D.C. which required almost weekly travel to meet with our clients.  I was allowed to take my wife on these trips under the following conditions.

  • I paid for her airfare.
  • Any expense which represented a cost above the travel reimbursement to which I was normally entitled came out of my own pocket.

For example, if there was no price differential between one or two people staying in the same hotel room, that was okay.  But if there was an additional charge for the second person in a cab or shuttle, that was my responsibility.  Of course, her meals and entertainment could not be charged back to the organization.

Now consider the recent efforts of Secretary of Creative Accounting Steven Mnuchin to bilk American taxpayers for his honeymoon and his optimal viewing of last month’s solar eclipse.  In both cases the use of a private government plane (at a cost of $25,000/hr) was dubious.  In the case of his European honeymoon there was no official business associated with this travel.  His excuse? As a member of the National Security Council (NSC) he needed to have encrypted access to the White House in case of an emergency.

But here’s the rub.  There are five categories of members/participants on the NSC in order of importance.

  1. Chairman (aka President)
  2. Statutory Attendees
  3. Military, Intelligence and Drug Policy Advisers
  4. Regular Attendees
  5. Additional Participants

Care to guess into which category the Treasury Secretary falls?  If you chose #5, give yourself a prize.

Image result for mnuchin and wife at ft. knoxAs for the trip to Ft. Knox, Kentucky, there was no scheduled event which required Mr. Mnuchin’s presence.  And he later claimed he had no interest at all in the solar eclipse. In an interview with Vanity Fair,  Mnuchin said, “You know, people in Kentucky took this stuff very serious.  Being a New Yorker and [living for a time in] California, I was like, the eclipse? Really? I don’t have any interest in watching the eclipse.”  So much for Republican claims it’s the Democrats who are coastal elites.

The solution.  Follow the same rules as my former DC employer.  Public officials (elected and administrative) should be required to reimburse the federal government for family members’ or friends’ airfare when using government transportation.  Use the standard already contained in Federal Elections Commission regulations.  If a candidate is offered space on a private or corporate plane, the campaign must reimburse the host individual or company the equivalent of an average first class airfare for a similar flight.  And unless the spouse is on official public business (one can imagine both Senator Mitch McConnell and his wife Transportation Secretary Elaine Choi having a role at an international event), all discretionary costs associated with companion travel should not be covered with government funds.

A Specific Business Approach Toward North Korea

I have a friend who for 20 plus years owned the third largest contractor in a business sector which is historically known for safety issues.  Workers compensation and liability insurance are major cost centers in this industry.  Most of the accidents are due to human error.  In other words, it was the employee’s fault.  Therefore, the traditional approach to work safety was to punish an employee if he/she violated safety regulations or procedures.  But as my friend soon learned that only ended up costing him more.  A disciplined employee was more likely to quit than change behavior, adding the expense of hiring and training new workers.

Instead, my friend chose a counter-intuitive approach and began offering bonuses to workers based on the number of days they went without a safety violation or incident.  Within months of implementing the policy, the number of safety incidents decreased significantly leading to reduced insurance premiums.  Employees now had a financial stake in the company’s safety program.

Image result for sam kinisonWhich brings us to North Korea.  For some reason, sticky issues always come back to Sam Kinison’s controversial declaration, “I don’t condone wife-beating, but I understand it.”  That’s exactly how I feel about North Korea.  I don’t condone nuclear proliferation, but in this case, I understand it.  Put yourself in Kim Jong-un’s shoes.  You watched the United States invade the sovereign nation of Iraq and overthrow its government.  What would keep the USA from doing the same thing in North Korea?  The obvious answer is nuclear deterrence.  History suggests it works.  Nuclear capability kept the cold war from heating up.  It maintains a relative state of peace between India and Pakistan.  And it remains Israel’s wild card as a weapon of last resort in the event of a second potential holocaust.

Following my friend’s entrepreneurial approach to workplace safety, one might say, “The stick doesn’t seem to be working; maybe we should offer a carrot.” Instead of backing Pyongyang into a corner, we should ask what could we do that gives Kim Jong-un a stake in defusing an escalation of more and more destructive weapons.  Didn’t John Kennedy do exactly that during the Cuban missile crisis in October, 1962?  Like Kim Jong-un, Fidel Castro was convinced the United State wanted regime change in Cuba.  A reasonable supposition following the failed Bay of Pigs invasion. As part of the deal which resulted in the removal of Soviet offensive weapons from Cuba, Kennedy promised not to initiate or support any future attempts to overthrow Castro.

Instead of giving Kim Jong-un more reasons to expand his nuclear capabilities, maybe it’s time we give him a reason to start believing he doesn’t need them.

For what it’s worth.


GOVspell, The Musical


The latest chapter in the life of God’s appointed huckster Joel Osteen sheds additional light on why Comrade Trump was able to con enough voters to become disciplines of his faux populism.  Osteen, as you may know is the poster boy for what has become known as “the prosperity theology,” described on Wikipedia as:

… a religious belief among some Christians, who hold that financial blessing and physical well-being are always the will of God for them, and that faith, positive speech, and donations to religious causes will increase one’s material wealth. Prosperity theology views the Bible as a contract between God and humans: if humans have faith in God, he will deliver security and prosperity.

The doctrine emphasizes the importance of personal empowerment, proposing that it is God’s will for his people to be happy. The atonement (reconciliation with God) is interpreted to include the alleviation of sickness and poverty, which are viewed as curses to be broken by faith. This is believed to be achieved through donations of money, visualization, and positive confession.

Sound familiar?  To paraphrase, the mantra “Make America Great Again” is nothing more than “a contract between Trump and humans: if humans have faith in Trump, he will deliver security and prosperity.”  And the congregation responds with positive confessions such as “Lock her up,”  “Build the wall” and “Jews will not replace us.”  As the Atlantic Magazine reported following Trump’s “I Alone Can Fix It” acceptance speech at the Republican National Convention, “Breaking with two centuries of political tradition, Donald Trump didn’t ask Americans to place their trust in each other or in God, but rather, in Trump.”

Talk about targeted marketing?  Who better would be susceptible to Trump’s impersonation of Huey Long, among others, than followers of Joel Osteen and his ilk. Congregants treated to a weekly dose of spiritual perversion in which the rich will inherit the earth and sending your hard-earned cash to televangelists in Armani suits promises a five-star return on investment.

govspellThe only thing missing is an off-Broadway musical with a toe-tapping soundtrack to fill the flock’s idle minds.  UNTIL NOW.  From the producers of MacTrump and West Wing Story, I bring you GOVspell, a melodic romp through what one can only hope is an abbreviated one-act play.  And you won’t want to be without the soundtrack which includes the following.

  • Prepare Ye the Way from the Left
  • Bless the Loan
  • Turn Back, O Manafort
  • Save the Putin
  • A Lash for You
  • Date by Date
  • All Good Grifts
  • Learn Your Alt-Facts Well
  • Links of the World
  • We Bescreech Thee

Previews open and close this fall at the Robert Mueller Theater (formerly the U.S. District Courthouse) in Washington, D.C.

For what it’s worth.