Monthly Archives: August 2018


Well, Melania, what do you have to say about Jamal Myles?

Image result for jamal pierceAt the beginning of the school year, nine-year old Jamal told his mother he was gay and was going to tell his schoolmates because he was proud of who he was.  Less than a week later, Jamal took his own life.  In an interview with Denver television station KDVR, his mother Leia Pierce shared her loss.

Four days is all it took at school. I could just imagine what they said to him. My son told my oldest daughter the kids at school told him to kill himself. I’m just sad he didn’t come to me.

Again I ask, “Melania, what do you, the supposed ‘Be Best’ champion of bullied children, have to say?”   So far, silence.

At the launch of your anti-bullying campaign, you said:

I will also work to shine a spotlight on the people, organizations and programs across the country that are helping children overcome the many issues they are facing as they grow up.

Did you include children like Jamal when you made the following comment at the Federal Partners on Bullying Prevention summit earlier this month?

Our children deserve all the opportunity to give them to grow up happy, healthy, socially responsible adults.

This is your chance.  You could make a difference by suggesting to Secretary Devos, instead of redirecting education funds for the purchase of guns for school faculty and staff, perhaps those dollars would be better spent to train teachers and administrators to be more vigilant and recognize the signs where bullying is putting a student at risk.  You could point out to the religious right who support your husband that Jesus reminds us we are all God’s children.  You could take Donald’s phone away and suggest he start taking Ambien.

I know there is a difference between correlation and causation, but it is sadly ironic this event occurred in the same community where bakery owner Jack Phillips refused to make a wedding cake for a same-sex couple on the basis of his religious beliefs.  Or that the suicide rate among African-Americans is rising at a time when Donald Trump refers to black athletes who dare express themselves as “sons of bitches.”

Again, this is your chance.  Above all, you could go to Denver, hug Leia Pierce and publicly apologize, telling her you wish you had done more to alleviate the causes of bullying.  You want our children to “Be Best.”  You could start by being something other than an enabler for those you contribute to bullying and hatred of others.

For what it’s worth.


Lessons from Sesame Street


Watching Sesame Street with our daughter way too many years ago, my favorite segment was called, “One of these is not like the others.”  While Ernie or one of the other Muppets sang the following lyrics, they would show three or four images and ask, “Which thing is not like the others?”

One of these things is not like the others
One of these things just doesn’t belong
Can you tell which thing is not like the others
By the time I finish my song?

I thought about Sesame Street this weekend as we once again had to endure Donald Trump’s pettiness and inhumanity when the news broke of the death of Senator John McCain.  To remind us Trump is an aberration of what the presidency once was and hopefully will be again, I have created my own version of “One of these is not like the others.” [NOTE:  To see a higher resolution version of each picture, click on it.]

Honoring John McCain:

Visiting Troops in a War Zone:

Attending a Spiritual Event:

Community Service:

In the Oval Office:

There is an alternative version of the song which goes like this.

Three of these things belong together
Three of these things are kind of the same
Can you guess which one of these doesn’t belong here?
Now it’s time to play our game (time to play our game)

Did you guess correctly?  I knew you could.  If only it was just a game.

For what it’s worth.


You Should Be Disgusted


Image result for paula duncanThis morning’s Washington Post included an op-ed by conservative columnist Kathleen Parker titled, “The Manafort Juror Who Could Save America.”  Parker is referring to Paula Duncan, the only member of the Manafort trial panel who has come forward publicly.  As we now know, Duncan is a die-hard Trumpster, plans to vote for him again in 2020 and hoped Manafort was innocent.  Yet, when confronted with the boxes of documentation of tax evasion and bank fraud, Duncan came to the inevitable conclusion.  Manafort broke the law and must be held accountable.

But, it was her comments about the prosecution and it’s star witness Rick Gates that caught my attention.  First, she still believes the Mueller probe is a “witch hunt.”

Certainly Mr. Manafort got caught breaking the law, but he wouldn’t have gotten caught if they weren’t after President Trump.

In reference to Gates. Parker reports…

She was disgusted by the prosecution’s star witness, Rick Gates, Manafort’s former business partner, who entered a plea deal in which he agreed to testify against Manafort. She echoed Trump’s opinion about turncoats, saying that Gates “deserves a special place in hell.” 

Ms. Duncan is correct.  She should be disgusted.  She just seems a little confused about why she should be outraged.  How about being appalled that, for lack of being part of Trump’s corruption enterprise, Manafort would have gone scot-free and continued to enjoy a lifestyle dependent on his bilking the U.S. treasury out of millions of dollars and other acts of financial deceit?  How about the fact the individual she hopes burns in hell was “one of the best people” Trump chose to be his deputy campaign manager and deputy chairman of his inaugural committee?

One of my favorite political adages is, “Never criticize people for doing the right thing for the wrong reasons.”  Ironically, if you listen closely, Ms. Duncan is telling us, “I did the wrong thing [helping legitimize the Mueller investigation] for the right reasons [because the Mueller team did its job so well].”  Should that bother us?  At this point, I’m willing to don Melania’s rain jacket.  “I really don’t care, do u?”  As long as it provides increasing evidence Donald Trump is unfit for office.

For what it’s worth.


The RAT That Roared


… or mind your pees and Qs.

I know, the temptation to write something clever about David Pecker was hard to pass up.  But, as always, my goal is to find that angle missed by the mainstream media.  It didn’t take long.

Over the past few days a number of media pundits have asked the question,  “Why would Donald Trump risk exposure of his (alleged) criminal activity by running for president when he could have taken his ill-gotten gains and lived out his final years playing golf?”  Which leads to a second question.  “Did Trump really expect to win the election?”  If not, the most rational explanation for the campaign was to build a considerable personal following which could be monetized in the form of a media empire and Trump branded products.

Related imageWhere had I seen this story before?  A 1959 Peter Sellers movie The Mouse That Roared.  In this satire, Sellers plays three residents of the fictional Duchy of  Grand Fenwick–Grand Duchess Gloriana XII, prime minister Count Rupert Mountjoy and game warden Tully Bascomb.  On the brink of bankruptcy, Mountjoy, drawing on the history of the post-WWII Marshall Plan, suggests Grand Fenwick declare war on the United States, surrender and seek financial aid to replenish the nation’s treasury.

However, the 20 member expeditionary force, led by Bascomb, is mistaken for alien invaders and taken seriously.  Surprised by their success, the Grand Fenwick army seeks refuge and finds itself in the company of Dr. Alfred Kokintz, inventor of the Q-bomb, an unstable, powerful weapon capable of destroying a continent.  With the “capture” of Dr. Kokintz, Bascomb declares victory and returns to Grand Fenwick with the scientist and his daughter.

Sound familiar?  Every time Donald Trump has been in dire financial straits, he would threaten to run for President.  But until 2015, he stepped back from the brink.  For whatever reasons, that changed when Trump descended into the presidential sweepstakes on that escalator in Trump Tower.  Having put together a rag-tag political army, Trump invaded the Republican party.  And to everyone’s surprise, including his own, Trump emerged victorious.

As if these parallels were not enough of an eerie coincidence, the latest manifestation of Trump-mania is their own Q-bomb, the existence of a deep-state Guy Fawkes character who is secretly helping Trump drain the swamp.* But it doesn’t stop there.  The armistice between the U.S. and Grand Fenwick is not based on the latter’s acquisition of the Q-bomb, but when Count Mountjoy agrees to pull from the market the Duchy’s knock-off wine, a threat to U.S. producers.

There lies a potential end to this national nightmare.  Instead of asking the Trump organization to give up its wine business, let them run with it.  Just as long as Donald, Junior, Ivanka, Jared and the rest of his makeshift “army” promises to permanently go back to Mar-a-Lago and Trump Tower and live the remainder of their sad lives away from the spotlight.  Rename any of your properties the Duchy of Grand Trump if that makes you feel better.

*NOTE ON DRAINING THE SWAMP:  When anyone says drain the swamp (or anything else for that matter), it generally refers to pumping out the water.  It is not the water that puts us in danger.  It is the critters that live in and around the water.  So, let’s give Trump credit.  He has drained the swamp only to expose the alligators and other predators which lie within.

For what it’s worth.


And Then They Bought the Car


Image result for test driveMetaphors are always a good mechanism for thinking about the “why” behind the “what.” For me, the métaphore du jour  seems to be taking a test drive prior to purchasing an automobile.  According to Wikipedia, the purpose of test driving a car is…

to assess its drivability, or roadworthiness, and general operating state. 

Which helps us understand what has happened or may happen in the national body politic as a result of Trump’s relocation of the family business from New York to Washington, DC.  To make this point, let’s look at two examples.

The June 9, 2016 Trump Tower Meeting

  • The Car/Disrupting American Democracy
  • The Buyer/Vladimir Putin
  • The Dealer/Donald Trump and the Trump Campaign

If the premise of recent books such as Russian Roulette by Michael Isikoff and David Korn or Malcolm Nance’s The Plot to Destroy Democracy are correct, the Russian government under the leadership of Putin had tried to identify and nurture a highly placed American asset as early as 1983.  And they believed their best chance was with Donald Trump going back to the 2013 Miss Universe pageant in Moscow.  However, kicking the tires versus writing the check are two different things.  Before you sign on the dotted line you want a level of confidence that requires more than passive research.  You want a test drive.

So, let’s think about the Trump Tower meeting in that context.  Putin (the buyer) has done is homework.  He thinks Trump and the campaign fit his needs.  But he wants to make sure.  He has a surrogate contact the dealer (the campaign) and suggest a deal.  But what if he’s wrong.  What if he has misread all the signals.  What if Don, Jr. does the right thing and hands over the email about dirt on Hillary Clinton to the FBI?  Or what if one of the campaign attendees–Junior, Paul Manafort, Jared Kushner–is wearing a wire with national security officials in the next room?  You have your representatives talk about anything but helping Trump become president.

To mix metaphors, this is an Abraham sacrificing Isaac moment.  Will one of the Trump people play the role of the angel God sent to stop Abraham before he murdered his son?  As we now know, there were no angels in the room.  The Russians leave and report back to Putin.  “It’s a go. No one objected to our potential interference.  In fact, they were disappointed not to get the goods on the spot.  It’s a reliable car.  Buy it.”

Despite Trump’s exhortations of “no collusion,” circumstantial evidence related to events from the time of the June meeting through election night strongly suggest the car performed exactly as advertised.  And from the various indictments issued under the Special Counsel investigation, the only remaining question is, “Does Robert Mueller have the perp’s license plate number?”

The 2016 Election

  • The Car/Presidential Choice
  • The Buyer/Voters
  • The Dealer/Donald J. Trump

As the mid-term elections approach, we are constantly reminded of one of the major anomalies which contributed to Trump’s electoral college victory, the number of counties, particularly in Midwest states which voted Obama in 2008 and 2012, but switched to Trump in 2016.  A shift of this magnitude suggests the voters who made this choice did not mark their ballots based on party loyalty or ideology.  They were the epitome of the term “swing voters.”

Again, the test drive metaphor has value.  What if, in 2008, these Americans said to themselves, “You know, I’ve always owned cars manufactured by white men.  Maybe, this time I’ll give that minority-owned dealership a try.  They seem to have come out with a pretty good model this year and I personally like the salesman.”  So 2008 was the test drive.  (Remember, this was a time when we thought the chief executive could only do so much damage to the Constitution and our values.)  And, in 2012, a majority of buyers said, “You know, this car isn’t fancy, but it’s pretty reliable.  Let’s hold on to it for another four years.”

I have to believe enough voters took a similar approach in 2016.  “We keep hearing government needs to be run more like a business.  We’ve never had a businessman at the helm.  Let’s give it a try.”  Going into the 2018 mid-terms and beyond, the only question is how many of these voters (mostly independents and moderate Republicans) now conclude they didn’t get a 2016 LINCOLN.  They got a 1970s FORD, which jokingly was believed to be an acronym which stood for “Fix Or Repair Daily.”

Will they trade in their current ride for a different model?  We’ll have the answer in 75 days.

It is no coincidence Trump is the “dealer” in both analogies.  Even he admits it is what he does best.  But then again, that is what a slick, used-car salesman would also brag about.  Caveat emptor.

For what it’s worth.