Tag Archives: Trump

110. 260-Days of Trump

11 Oct

What is the state of our union after 260 days of D. Trump (DT) in office?

The most serious situation that our nation faces, is the threat of a war with North Korea, and even worse, the path to a World War III. What Trump says in this respect, may be the usual scattered thinking. But a possibility is that he is truly focused on bringing the greatest possible pressure on KJU to back down and stop making nukes. That is why he was angry with Rex Tillerson because negotiation efforts would dilute the powerful pressure. But as usual, no one really knows exactly what DT was thinking.

Diagnosing Trump has become very popular. One of the latest contributions to this topic is a book by Bandy X. Lee et. al.: The Dangerous Case of Donald Trump. Dr. Brandy Lee (no relation to me) is a forensic psychiatrist and a member of the Yale faculty. She and her co-authors have distinguished careers. Needless to say, this book documents abnormalities and makes recommendations regarding his use of our nuclear arsenal. As I have stated in previous blogs, I think that DT has at least a moderate Alzheimer’s disease, and according to recent research, his confessed lack of sleep would be a major contributor to this condition. Sleep is the only time that waste products in the brain are washed out. When your brain is full of waste, Alzheimer’s progresses. This involves a gradual loss of memory and mental functioning.

An extremely destructive goal of Trump is to attack the legacy of Barack Obama. DT does not have any goals that benefit our country in general; his emphasis is only on winning and keeping foolish campaign promises. The first repeal and replacement of ObamaCare by the House was labeled by DT as “mean.” Later he wanted to pass a similar Senate bill at any cost, regardless of content. With no regard to the terrible effects, he has worked to destroy such Obama accomplishments as Iran Nuclear Deal, the Paris Climate Agreement, various trade agreements, DAKA immigration order, and various orders and legislation related to financial regulations. He also is reducing science research funds and changing science policies, which can affect our world leadership in this vital area. On the other hand, China is increasing its science budget and may take over world leadership in this area. Since much of manufacturing and related research is based on science, this would give China (and maybe other countries) a major financial advantage.

An ongoing and shabby situation is that Trump’s cabinet members are often at odds with the President. His staff has traveled all over the world trying to assure leaders that Trump will back them up and accept existing treaties. Failures in this area are dangerous and can cause some allies to join with Russia or China. Many feel that the major role of several cabinet members is to “contain” DT and keep him from making destructive statements and tweets.

A few Republican Congressmen are starting to directly attack DT’s  competence. Senator Bob Corker has been blunt is his criticism and Senate leader Mitch McConnell has supported Corker.

Polls have indicated a decreased voter support with respect to trust and accomplishments. His only clear accomplishment was not legislative, but was the appointment of a Supreme Court Justice (Neil Gorsuch) — a trivial thing since the Senate is GOP controlled.

Trump has alienated and belittled numerous Republican leaders that are necessary for passing legislation he backs. There are many more than the few mentioned above. He has also insulted a Gold Star family, numerous reporters, and black athletes that are trying to fight unfair treatment by police. On the other hand, his condemnation of Neo-Nazis, KKK, etc., was weak and only approached what is appropriate, when reading speeches prepared by others. His instinct to keep all supporters regardless of character supersedes any moral imperative.

Certainly, one could write a book about these first 259 days in office. I see this period as a steady decline of effectiveness and general support — and legitimate polls agree. Recently, I have been wondering whether the election of Trump represents a fate for the USA, like the fall of the Roman Empire. Avoiding this “fall” could be impeachment, but having Mike Pence as President could be worse, and the impeachment process is long and debilitating. What is already happening and may increase is to contrive legislation and a cabinet structure to contain and ignore Trump actions. But “containment” will not prevent the confusion and alienation caused by his Tweets and spontaneous utterances. Although disadvantageous in many ways, I do advocate impeachment.

Just in, as I am writing this blog! Relevant to USA downfall is more information on Russian ads that influenced the election. Google, Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram all were used by Russians and all the CEO’s have attempted to suppress this info. Our survival is truly affected the influence of foreign powers. When will DT and Republicans awake and put our country on the right track?


92. Trump’s “Strategy”

13 Feb

Looking at the themes of his speeches and tweets, it is clear that his main political goal is to increase his power and solidify his legitimacy as President. If he can accomplish these goals then he wins, gets the adoration he needs, and all those who have ridiculed him have lost.

At first, I thought his childish behaviors and mistakes/lies were the product of a jaded or sleep-deprived mind. This may still be true, but now I see the possibility of a strategy. Here are the major points that would suggest a strategy  (a “method to his madness”).

1. Use vengeance to suppress critics. Fear is the common thread in almost all of his methods. Most people are afraid to speak out against him for fear that he will ruin their careers.  I am sure that many reporters and politicians would like to call him a liar, but the fear of vengeance prevents them from doing so. But recently, he seems to be discovering that methods of intimidation that worked in his businesses, cannot be applied to relations with other countries and their leaders. Trump as a developer can find many companies to supply steel and marble for his buildings, but as President he must learn to deal with the one and only China, Russia, EU, and one large NATO organization. To me, it is amazing that he did not understand this before starting his run for presidency.

2. Describe our current U.S. condition as dreadful (“carnage” is his word) so that he can be the hero and fix all the problems. If everything is good, then there will be little room for improvements. He incorrectly quotes various statistics to prove that we are in dire straits. He implies that all Black people are living in “war zones” and are failing — an insult to a large number that have achieved great success.

3. As President, make some “token” actions to satisfy his base supporters. Examples are the 800 Carrier Co employees not sent to Mexico, and his “travel ban” to improve security. Neither of these amount to anything significant. Trump cannot arrange bribes for all of the corporations that will partially operate abroad. And banning travel to the U.S. for a few mostly-Muslim countries is not only ineffective, but borders on unconstitutional. To stop terrorists you really need to beef up vetting procedures for travel from all countries and for all those people under investigation — if the current methods are insufficient. The fact is that since 911, there is an extremely small number of foreign visitors that have engaged in terrorism in the USA, suggesting the current vetting is pretty effective.

4. Another strategy is to accuse the other side of offenses that he himself has been committing. That does tend to nullify some of his critics. One example is when he stated that Hillary C. only sees people as voters. He is clearly guilty of that viewpoint, and she isn’t.

5. Other Trump methods, such as suppression of the press, may be  designed and part of a strategy.  However, much of his recent work only suggests a lack of relevant experience.  For example, his cabinet appointments are questionable, in direct conflict with campaign promises, and often inappropriate for the agencies that they will lead. There are many major mistakes that are well documented in my blogs and in major newspapers.

91. Defining Our New President

7 Feb

Our new leader is a very colorful character. It occurred to me that an interesting undertaking would be to make a list of all the words that best describe him. Everything in the list below can be supported by recorded speeches and published reliable sources. Here is my list:

Bold, confident, expert promoter, regal, brave, administrator, businessman, articulate, well-dressed, blonde, handsome, arrogant, childish, vengeful, libidinous, unprepared (for presidency), sleep-deprived, mild Alzheimer’s, narcissistic, simplistic, tyrannical, impulsive, tweet-happy, ostentatious, unrepentant, greedy, unapologetic, scoff-law, prevaricator, devious, authoritarian, playboy, Russian-Supporter, militaristic, impatient, short span of attention, in some ways poorly educated

The core feature of his character is his self-interest: winning, and receiving flattery and adoration. This need for adoration colors everything he does. Most of his speeches, and many conversations begin with his bragging about successes. Sources close to him say that he reads a lot about himself and very little about everything else. His warm relationship with Putin may be the result of flattery. Putin has a long history of manipulation. Some responsible parties speculate that the warm Russian relationship may result from black-mail.

A major discussion about our new leader is whether his false statements are contrived or simply mistakes. My guess is both. An example of contrived is when he characterized the Iran Nuclear Deal as worthless — obviously untrue. Using the same example, he said that we could have used the money given to Iran for infrastructure work in the USA. This was false, but maybe he did not know that the money given to Iran was confiscated Iranian money, and could not have been used by us. He also did not seem to know that six major countries were a part of this deal and we did not have exclusive control over it.

Our new President came into office after a life of extreme luxury, likely surrounded by subservient yes-men. His false statements, I suspect, were rarely challenged. That would explain much of what he said in his later political career.

A major flaw in his thinking is that the president makes simple solutions to simple problems. It appears that he had no idea how complicated presidential decisions really are. Many of our international relations and domestic policies are very fine tuned and are the result of considering dozens of pros and cons. And some decisions are so complicated and dangerous that they must be postponed indefinitely. It is easy to criticize our recent and long-standing policies, but when you ask the critics for better solutions, they usually stutter or pivot to other questions. For many years Republicans have criticized ObamaCare (ACA). But now that they are in full control, they cannot come up with a good replacement.

Many intelligent leaders (in both parties) warned against possible dangers of his presidency. To name a few of his actual disasters: undermining our judiciary and press, alienating many of our major allies, and creating more terrorists through his hostile foreign policies. He does not seem to understand that simplistic impulsive acts can have long-term negative effects. During his candidacy he committed to foolish and impossible promises, and now we must suffer with his irrational efforts to follow through on them.

82. Result of Abysmal Trend: Trump

28 Dec

Does the election of Donald Trump represent a continuing trend towards a crude, simplistic, and tyrannical U.S. government? After observing Trump post-election, I see a dismal continuation of all his bad habits, talk, and actions. How did a person like Donald Trump achieve his success? Not a total success, of course, because Hillary Clinton won the popular vote by almost three million.

If you study global and USA political trends, there is a common dangerous pattern for many nations. Very rich people become skilled at manipulation of government and corrupt the system to make themselves more powerful and even richer. There is a flagrant disregard for ordinary citizens except for callous brainwashing and meaningless promises of: compassion, America greater, trickle-down benefits, etc. This trend also has a crude factor which emphasizes simple and often violent solutions to complex problems that should be solved by careful planning and negotiation. Examples of this crude approach is: “bomb the hell out of  ISIS”,  “ban all Muslims from the U.S.”, and torture presumed terrorists.”                                                                                                                               .
Although some Democratic leaders are imperfect, it is the Republicans that have led the growth of the billionaire conspiracy. In my previous blog, “Dirty Tricks win Election (blog 80)”, I have discussed some recent examples of this conspiracy, which includes election interference by a Republican FBI director, Russian hacking of DNC email , and suppression of voting by minorities.

I have thought a lot about how and when this trend started. I could note that after the election of Ronald Reagan (1980), there was a significant rise in income for the top one-percent, while after 1970, income for the bottom 90% remained essentially constant. So 1980 could be considered the beginning of our abysmal trend. But if you study history, you can see similar trends going way back to ancient days. I should also note, that some countries, such as those in Scandinavia, have done better in this respect, and they should be used as an example.

Here are some key events that have contributed to this erosion, distortion and inequality of the USA democratic system:

Large corporations, like railroad companies formed unfair mergers that led to anti-trust laws in 1890 and 1914. Rich businessmen often team up covertly to raise prices, increasing their wealth and taking money from the middle class.

Reduction of bank regulations like the Glass-Steagall Act (1933) led to major financial failures.  We also need more laws like the Dodd-Frank Act (2010) and better enforcement.

After the election of Pres. Obama in 2008, major Republican leaders, in a meeting, pledged to destroy his presidency, by ignoring everything he proposed or supported, including legislation and judicial appointments. Never in U.S. history has the obstruction of legislation been so blatant. In spite of this, he did a remarkably great job.

                GOP unpatriotically pledged to destroy Obama presidency

Formation of the Tea-Party branch of Republican Party in 2009 was a major negative influence. This was an angry group that supported rich leaders and worked against the middle class. In efforts to reduce federal spending, they caused serious problems, such as holding up important budgetary legislation, which resulted in a disastrous lowering of the USA credit rating and higher USA-debt interest rates that affects us all.

In 2010 there were two court cases brought by Republicans that allowed almost unlimited contributions to political candidates. These rules let the very rich dominate our election system and were implemented with “super PACs”. Previously, there were severe limitations, like a $2500 maximum donation for individuals and no corporate donations. The best known case was brought by “Citizens United”, and another by Speechnow.org.

The end effect of all these events was the election of Trump. He won with various “dirty-tricks” (see above) and a campaign based on lies, re-writing history, impossible proposals, and a policy of lowering taxes for very rich people. He ran on the principle that he could not be influenced by rich donors, but, ironically, much of his current cabinet is composed of extremely wealthy businessmen. Some will be directors for agencies that they had vowed to eliminate when running for office.

The success of Trump was based on a faulty fundamental “belief”, that only Republicans should be considered for office, and that a non-politician must be selected for president. Only Trump matched these considerations. People were correct in feeling that Congress was grid-locked, but failed to realize that it was the GOP that blocked progress. Search the record and you will see that Republican leaders blocked many court nominations (including Supreme Court) and blocked almost every bill proposed by Pres. Obama, even if it was based on GOP ideas.

The corrosive trend that I have discussed will be difficult to defeat. We can try to promote more general and political education. States can develop beneficial laws, such as raising minimum wage, that the Federal government will not consider. In general, we must all work harder to explain our ideas, to educate, and to support better approaches. And in the future, we must try to get the most charismatic, scandal-free, and articulate people to be candidates.

73. Candidate Lies

30 Oct
Political lies are very important, but this issue is complicated.  When a statement is made, it could be true.   If false, it could be a purposeful lie or a simple mistake without an agenda.  What if the person made an incorrect assertion, but it was based on false information from another party? What if the statement was only about a trivial matter, and true or false is not worth discussing. Is the history and affiliations of the speaker relevant to evaluating the current statement?  Was this a private statement or was it  meant for  the public?
Most people have a belief system, and will evaluate a statement based on their beliefs. For example, people who have known Hillary Clinton for many years, and based on their beliefs, think she rarely if ever lies, but being human she will occasionally make mistakes or exaggerations. I think she is very concerned about her reputation and is careful about her facts. People who just don’t like her will interpret much of what she says in a sinister way, when alternate good ways are ignored.  In judging lies, it is important to look at a person’s goals, orientations, and history.  A long reputation for telling the truth and a concern for accurate speech should be considered when judging any single statement.  And of course, a long reputation for incorrect speech, should be relevant.
A more objective approach is a rating such as one by Politifact.  Their method of rating “True”, “Mostly-True”, “Half-True” etc. is useful, but not always the final story.  We should be most interested in a category that I will call “significant lies”.  A significant lie is one in which an important fact is purposely changed to prove a point of concern for the liar.  For example, Trump said that the Iran Nuclear Deal accomplished nothing.  This statement is about an important fact, it was likely purposely changed, and it is related to the agenda of proving that Pres. Obama is a poor negotiator.  Significant lies have some bearing on presidential performance, whereas ordinary mistakes or exaggerations have no sinister intent and should not be of concern.  Hillary “recalled” that she once dodged bullets after exiting a plane. In fact, she was only very frightened of that possibility and her recollection was faulty, but not a significant lie.
Trump obviously tells many significant lies, but we often don’t know if he is actually lying, mistaken, guessing, hoping, just ignorant, senile, or lacks sleep. Saying that our military is very deficient is one such lie.  Generally, he does not seem to understand that Congress makes most major decisions, so a major goal for the president is to be able to convince them of things.
In the end, reliable evaluations such as “lies-versus-mistakes” are difficult and often impossible.  Intent is critical, but we can never know for certain what someone is thinking.  We can only: present examples of statements, make judgments, explain our logic, detail evidence, and draw a conclusion.  The reader, of course, will look at a speech and draw his own conclusions, based on his history and beliefs.

72. Trump: Real Lost Opportunities

22 Oct
Here are some observations on the current Presidential contest — that I think are under-emphasized or ignored.  Trump has overlooked some great opportunities to endear himself to American voters and could have led to his election.
1. He could have ignored reasonable criticisms instead of dwelling on revenge.
2. The Pope said build bridges, not walls.  He could have agreed but clarified that in this specific case we need a wall to protect our citizens.  In this way everyone is pleased.
3. He could have said that he would graciously concede if he lost the election.  That would have gained more votes.
4. He could have praised the Gold Star family and their brave son.  He could have recognized the war-time bravery of John McCain.
5. He could have chosen not to use demeaning names for his opponents. It is childish and self-defeating.
6. He could have been more gracious with Republican leaders and gained their support.  He would lose some voters, but probably gain more.  This is a factor that needs very fine tuning — perhaps beyond his capabilities.
7. He could have emphasized that issues should be dealt with peacefully and through analysis and negotiation; and NOT with violence.
8. He could have eliminated all the beauty characteristics of women, which are generally offensive to them.
More difficult but significant, he could have specifically proposed raised income-taxes for very rich people.  It appears that at one time he said this, but later changed his position. This would have brought in many new supporters, but he would have lost some base and some donors.
The eight points above are obvious to a wise politician and could have been done easily. What a difference that would have made.  Democrats are celebrating.
The mistakes are so serious that one wonders about the following factors that could have affected his judgment and mental functioning, which was often erratic.  He may have some level of Alzheimer’s disease.  He brags about needing little sleep, suggesting insomnia as a factor. There could be drug factors.  A very alert and clear head are necessary for the fine-tuning required for a presidential run.
 Likely, there is a long history of being catered to, because of his power and income.  Lies or bizarre ideas are ignored or even encouraged.  An ordinary person has experiences (rewards and punishments) that encourage speaking in a more truthful, constructive and congenial way.  He is very sensitive, and even reasonable criticisms are clearly upsetting.  Being “wrong” for him is just intolerable.
At one time he promised to be more “presidential”, but could not make the change.  Maybe he calculated loss-versus-gain wrong, or doing a lot of the “nice” things was simply not satisfying.

71. Tic Tacs Sink Trump

18 Oct
In his recent Access Hollywood “locker-room” video,  as he was getting off the bus,  he said:  “I better use some Tic Tacs just in case I start kissing her.”  If this was only “talk” why would be be taking Tic Tac  breath mints.  Obviously he was preparing for action.
“Trumpies” argue that this was only talk and he never does anything to women  without permission.  They claim a conspiracy because all the women came forward  at one time and not when the assault happened.  But the fact is that no woman  wanted to be the first Trump attacker, because he is so vengeful and might bring a  lawsuit or destroy her life in another way.   But once the tape appeared and a couple of women came forward it became much safer and so many other abused women  joined in.
When I was in college, I had some friends that were “playboys” and very active  with women.  And at the age of 21 or so, we engaged in some nasty talk.  But  frankly, discussion never went as far as Trump did.  He actually described his attack methods. And consider that he was 59 years old at the time of this recent incident.  As of this writing, nine women have come forward with stories of inappropriate sexual behavior. Given all these facts, he cannot squirm out of this one.  There is a recording and a confirmation by Trump that the tape was valid.
Regarding Bill Clinton, there is absolutely no evidence that he assaulted, abused,  or harassed any women.  And remember that it is Hillary and not Bill who is  currently running for office.  It is clear that Hillary was upset by what Bill did, he  apologized many times, and she stayed with him.  And why not, he loved her, provided a good home, was a good father, and did very worthy things. Most  attractive, healthy, powerful and successful men have had “flirtations” outside of  marriage.  I would agree that it is not “right”, but it is commonplace, and does not  affect the judgment required for high office.
Hillary has shown great strength in dealing with all the abuse that Republican  leaders  and a biased Republican FBI director have leveled at her.  She will do a  good job as President,  while Trump could well create disasters for our country.