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A Psychological Perspective on the President of the United States

Introduction

Donald Trump is a Russian troll in the White House; he is also the worst president in U.S. History. And, he is unbelievably dangerous to the security of our nation. He represents a clear and present danger to us all.

As a result prosecutors are beginning to close in on President Donald Trump as a threat to the democracy of the United States. While all of this seems rather bizarre and unusual for a United States President to be accused of such serious crimes against the people of this country (namely treason and a host of other criminal acts), it is what it is and now must be dealt with.

The people (through their representatives) have no other option than to impeach the President and remove him from office. Whether some of his administration underlings should also be charged with treason and sent to prison remains to be seen. Only time will tell.

In addition, some members of Congress should be looked as well as to their personal relationship to a president who has strong ties to the Kremlin, Jim Jordan of Ohio and Devin Nunes of California come to mind. Directly or indirectly they are giving aid and comfort to a known enemy of the United States. Here are the federal laws dealing with treason: “Treason is a crime under federal and some state laws. Treason is made a high crime, punishable by death, under federal law by Article III, section 3 of the U.S. Constitution: “Treason against the United States shall consist only in levying war against them, or in adhering to their enemies, giving them aid and comfort.” It is the latter part on giving aid and comfort that worries me the most.

This incredible strain and stain on America political democracy begs the question. Why? Why did this political nightmare ever come about? What I’m about to say is not to be construed as an apology for Trump’s behavior. Nothing could be further from the truth—far from it! But like all psychologists and sociologists will explain—all behavior has causes. It is these causes that need to be examined.

Context for a Psychological Explanation

Every human has strengths and weaknesses. This is no less true for Donald Trump than it is for anyone else. Whenever someone displays extreme lying and extremely illogical behavior (always contrary to the facts) the mental state of that individual may be called into question. This is what the American people are now slowly beginning to realize, that Donald Trump may be mentally ill, perhaps even a sociopath..

Specifically, where Donald Trump is concerned his paranoid egotistically driven personality raises questions about his mental fitness for the job of president of the United States. When combined with a history of predatory sexual behavior, vicious personal attacks on everyday citizens and racial groups, his unhealthy appetite for foreign dictators, and his uncontrollable constant need for excessive lying, lapses in memory (CRS—can’t remember what he says from one day to the next), then the question goes far beyond fitness for office. The question then becomes is he suffering from mental illness and/or dementia?

     So what all this means is that Donald Trump’s fitness and mental state needs to be addressed very soon, In a President with perhaps dementia and a psychologically damaged personality in the first place, you have a recipe for disaster of immense proportions, Besides these alarm bells going off, the real key to understanding why Donald Trump acts as he does—–is psychology. What is the psychology of Donald Trump?

Since one cannot depend on the White House Doctor to provide an explanation of the psychology of this President, then we must look to other sources.

There are many influences on a person throughout his or her life but one’s early life growing up remains to this day a very good reliable way to view one’s present behavior based on one’s early development in life. While space in this Blog does not permit one to give a thorough review of Donald Trump’s relationship with his mother, father, or siblings, there is psychological information on Donald Trump in the here and now.

In this regard a very interesting article appeared in a publication [Shrink Tank] titled as “A Psychological Analysis of Donald Trump” by Dr. Bilal Ghandour dated January 20, 2017.

The Psychology of Donald Trump

The following is the article:

“Love him or hate him, but can you feel sorry for him?

Ask anyone what they think of Donald Trump and you are almost guaranteed one of two instantaneous – almost reflexive – reactions: “He is great” (read: I admire his guts, love his strength and honesty) or “he is awful” (read: he is a disgusting, self-serving bigot and demagogue). Many a political figure has been controversial but none in recent history has polarized opinions as much as Mr. Trump.

One obvious question is to ask why he triggers such opposing emotional reactions from folks. A less obvious – but more interesting query – is to wonder: Is there any way one can take on a nuanced position and say something like, ‘This man repulses me but I also feel sorry for him.’ Is bizarre as it may initially appear, I would like to suggest it is perfectly tenable to hold such apparently contradicting positions about Mr. Trump. In order to do so, we must understand how personalities are formed and organized.

‘More specifically, we need to analyze how particular patterns of character development lead to a personality one can feel both compassion for and be deeply disturbed by.’

It all depends on which aspect of self that one chooses to focus on.

Narcissistic Personality Disorder

One of the words most commonly thrown around to define Donald Trump’s personality is that he is a narcissist.

A narcissist is someone who is intensely focused on themselves – often to the point of self-adoration – and belittles others. They spend an inordinate amount of time listing their accomplishments (as proof of their greatness) and it is impossible to have a balanced conversation with them as they invariably pay cursory or no attention to what you say. On the rare occasions, they actually listen; it is because they are planning a strategy to redirect conversations back to them.

There is no doubt about it: Mr. Trump is a textbook example of a person with Narcissistic Personality Disorder and psychologists will have no trouble diagnosing him with that condition.

But saying someone has a personality disorder (narcissism or otherwise) tells us nothing about the cause for such development and the mechanism people use to maintain such traits. And this where it gets interesting.

It has been widely accepted that many psychological disorders such as depression, anxiety, and schizophrenia are conditions with a strong biological component. This means the genetic makeup of such individuals plays a critical role in the development of the disorder.

This contrasts with personality disorders, characterized by traits that have been learned.

In other words, personality disorders develop as a result of life experiences, not because of genetic vulnerability. It is of course very difficult to claim with certitude where those (negative) experiences originate from but we do know the nature of the relationship we have with important people in our lives dramatically shape our perception of the world and ourselves.

If we have felt deep pain from improper or insufficient parenting, despair from romantic breakups or friendship betrayals, bitter disappointment from various life outcomes, there is little doubt that personality development will be significantly affected. Some of us may address issues successfully, adjust well, and be psychologically healthy. Others may have more trouble handling such pains and develop, as a result, a personality that goes around difficulties rather than face them.

In other words, some personalities are structured and organized to avoid remembering – at all costs – troublesome feelings and emotional pain. If a person uses this strategy consistently and across the board, they are using a defense mechanism strategy. Let me explain further.

Defense Mechanisms

Defense mechanisms are the mind’s powerful ability to protect itself by avoiding feelings of discomfort and anxiety and negative perceptions of self. You may recognize at least one of them: repression. This defense tactic is used to banish from conscious memory something too painful to remember. We hide uncomfortable and hurtful feelings from awareness; they still exist…but we can’t ‘see’ them. Think of it as clothes and belongings (memories, experiences) accumulated over years of life in a large suitcase.

At the bottom of the suitcase lies old memories and experiences. If you keep accumulating stuff and pile them up in that suitcase, what lies at the top will begin hiding what is underneath. If you don’t shake the suitcase (i.e., discuss and address difficult memories) they can be forgotten. It is this motivation to bar from conscious awareness that is the defense mechanism.

Sigmund Freud may have had some outlandish ideas about sexuality but his genius was his ability to notice defense mechanisms. He identified many, including repression, which he considered most fundamental. There is also regression (going back to an infantile or younger stage in life to feel safer) and projection (blaming others for our own faults).

With regards to Mr. Trump, there is one defense mechanism that fits him like a glove: reaction formation.

His comments, behaviors, and reactions are remarkably consistent with folks who use this strategy to defend themselves from uncomfortable feelings. So what is reaction formation and what is The Donald trying to defend himself from?

Reaction Formation

Reaction formation is a fascinating strategy because it flies in the face of logic. It is the expression of feelings towards an event, a situation or something about ourselves that is the opposite of what we truly feel.

It is the person who condemns the drama on a reality TV shows when they secretly revel in it, it is the person who thinks drug addicts should face the harshest punishment when they are addicted themselves, it is the person vehemently defending heterosexual values because they are afraid of their own homosexuality (think Chris Cooper playing Colonel Frank Fitts in American Beauty and the many priests who used religion as a cover for sexually abusing children).

While it is hard to know for certain if one is defending a position sincerely or because of anxiety from expressing the opposite view, there is one characteristic of reaction formation that often gives it away: the excessive need to prove one’s point and the inflexibility of the position. In Mr. Trump’s case, any attack on him results in an immediate reaction from his part to remind everyone how great he is. He is quick to deny his failures, never admits wrongdoings and attacks anyone who criticizes his business record and his….hands.

Yes, his hands.

And if someone says he has small hands (as presidential candidate Marco Rubio commented and insinuating he has a small ‘something else’) then you are attacking his physical greatness or prowess. Now think about it: what political candidate, what person who runs for the highest office in the US feels the need to justify the size of his hands at the very beginning of a political debate? Donald Trump.

What person needs to exhibit his steaks, water, magazines and discuss how great they all are at a press conference following a primary win? Donald Trump. What man denies having been bankrupt four times and say ‘he just used what the law allowed him to do?”

Donald Trump.

‘His painstaking and excessive need to justify he is an amazing man leads us to wonder: does he really think he is or is he hiding deep insecurities about his competence?”

To answer this question, we get to the most interesting part of Trump’s personality. It is one thing to explain why you think you are ‘the greatest’ and it is another to lie to prove it. Faking reality, unconsciously or otherwise, is the glue of a defense mechanism. Lying is a powerful method to deny personal feelings of weakness, fraudulence or incompetence. In two separate public appearances (once following a primary victory and another at a recent debate) Trump lied.

  • Lie #1: He displayed steaks he claimed were his – as you would display a product for an infomercial – to prove his business was thriving. In reality, the steaks he displayed were not his (they belonged to another meat company – Bush Brothers) as Trump Steaks are no longer produced. And when reporters tried to verify the packaging brand Trump’s team quickly put them away.
  • Lie #2: He states never having heard anyone say anything negative about the size of his hands. Quoting him: “I never heard this one before…everyone says ‘Donald, you have beautiful hands’.” In reality, Donald’s hands have been ridiculed before. In fact, they have been ridiculed for decades. Here is the story behind lie # 2 and how his attempts to prove he has ‘beautiful hands’ lies at the heart of Mr. Trump’s personality insecurities.

In 1988, a New York-based satirical magazine began publishing a series of articles to poke fun at Mr. Trump. The authors of the articles called him the ‘short-fingered vulgarian.’ Over the course of eight years, they published a dozen articles on the short-fingered vulgarian. How do we know Trump knew of them? Over and over again, he sent them pictures of his hands as evidence they were not small. In other words, he was excessive and relentless in proving they were not short – behavior in line with reaction formation. What is remarkable is he has not stopped trying to prove his point, almost 30 years later.

The founder of the Magazine Spy, Graydon Carter, is quoted from the website vox.com, commenting on how he continues, to this day, to receive correspondence from Trump: “There is always a photo of him – generally a tear sheet from a magazine. On all of them, he has circled his hand in gold Sharpie in a valiant effort to highlight the length of his fingers.”

Power and Dominance

Nothing disturbs Mr. Trump more than someone questioning his power and dominance. This is because there is a deeply hidden part of Trump that doesn’t think he is great. And if we were to imagine, just for the sake of the argument, that he agrees to therapy and receives psychological treatment then we may be able to reach into to the bottom of that suitcase. And based on the arguments set forth in this article, I argue we will find a very insecure child hiding somewhere.

“It is that Trump you can feel sorry for.”

But that part is so hidden from his own and anyone’s awareness that it is almost impossible for anyone to see. And when his comments continue to be demeaning, have a disturbing flavor of cruelty, racism, and misogyny; it is no surprise that many despise the man. After all, that is the part he has chosen to expose to the world and himself.”

Final Comments

A reasonable question arises when looking at the psychology of Donald Trump. That is, if Donald Trump is lost in a maze of defense mechanisms that have mentally crippled him for many decades, then what explains the existence of a hard core Trump supporter?

Why would any potential Trump voter not be able to recognize the obvious deficit in the moral character of Donald Trump? Even a modicum amount of research will demonstrate Donald Trump’s disqualification for public office. This would include as a minimum his degenerate misogyny, excessive lying, his evil intent to separate immigrant children from their parents, later putting immigrant children into cages, and criminal behavior; he is his alleged to have raped and beat a 13-year old prostitute in 1994 with his buddy, a New York wealthy registered sex offender named Epstein.

If this wasn’t enough to consider Trump as a wrong choice for the highest office in the land, just consider his false accusations of the Central Park Five or his failure to condemn KKK, Nazi and Alt Right rioters in the 2017 attacks on Jews and racial minorities in Charlottesville, North Carolina.

Could it be that defense mechanisms also play a serious role in why hard core Trump supporters prefer to bury their heads in the sand? What defense mechanisms are these hard core Trump supporters using? In this authors opinion I see three predominant defense mechanisms always present in the Trump supporter. They include rationalization, denial and idealization. So what are these mechanisms?

Rationalization

Rationalization occurs when a person attempts to explain or create excuses for an event or action in rational terms. In doing so, they are able to avoid accepting the true cause or reason resulting in the present situation.

Examples of rationalization include a shoplifter blaming the high price of sweets to justify their theft of a chocolate bar, when in reality they simply enjoyed the act of shoplifting. If a person fails an exam, they may excuse themselves from blame by rationalizing that they were too busy to revise during the revision period.

Denial

The self-denial of one’s feelings or previous actions is one defense mechanism to avoid damage to the ego caused by the anxiety or guilt of accepting them. A married woman might deny to herself that she hold affections for her husband’s friend, rather than accepting her true feelings. A person might also deny to their physical behavior, such as theft, preferring to think that someone forced them into committing the crime; in order to avoid dealing with the guilt should they accept their actions. Denial is an undesirable defense mechanism as it contravenes the reality principle that the id adheres to, delving into an imaginary world that is separate from our actual environment.

Idealization

Idealization involves creating an ideal impression of a person, place or object by emphasizing their positive qualities and neglecting those that are negative. Idealization adjusts the way in which we perceive the world around us and can lead us to make judgement that supports our idealized concepts. People often idealize their recollections of being on holiday or memories from childhood, seeing them as ‘happier times’, but fail to recollect arguments or stresses during those periods. We often idealize the image we hold of people we admire – relatives, partners or celebrities, making excuses for their failures and emphasizing their more admirable qualities.

When the president is eventually charged by Mueller with criminal acts and violations of the United States Constitution, it will be interesting to see how many Trump supporters finally come back to their senses and realize the painful reality they created and the shame that they had elected and supported the worst President this country has ever known. Above all, Donald Trump has dishonored this country and all it stands for by taking all of us on a 20 month political journey through Dante’s nine concentric circles of hell!

To the Trump supporters I make this prediction: Your impact in supporting Donald Trump as a president is about to come to an end following the mid-term election in November, 2018. Why? Because the vast majority of Americans already knows what it really takes to make America great!!!

 

 

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Why Donald Trump has a Snowball’s Chance in Hell of being Re-elected to the Presidency in 2020

 

Introduction

The above is certainly a catchy title for a Blog, wouldn’t you say? You may think I’m making a rhetorical pronouncement or that I’m expressing myself tongue-in- cheek. Actually no, I’m dead serious!

Donald Trump’s election was, in the first place, a social disgrace that lowered the stature of this country’s presidency by a thousand fold. This was perhaps the greatest mistake ever made by a voting public in the history of the United States. It was tantamount to committing an act of Treason against our country in all its foreign hidden influences as well as the subsequent overt attempts by the president to undermine our Constitution and the social, political, and economic institutions the American people value.

However, all voters have immunity in a democratic society from prosecution because no one can predict the unintended consequences of any act including the simple act of voting. Yet, although not in legal jeopardy, voters should nonetheless take personal responsibility for the outcome of their vote. Interesting enough some original Trump voters have already begun to see the light and to take responsibility for their failure and lack of good judgment in the 2016 election.

Within the first few months of his presidency Donald Trump lost a substantial amount of support among his original base. Among the people who voted him into office, a large percentage of independent voters and women have since abandoned him. This is why he is the least popular president in United States history. Some initial supporters saw early on the true nature of the man they had just elected to office: a con man, charlatan, bombastic egotistical pretentious pantywaist, a belligerent isolationist, a dogmatic racist that showed his true beliefs by housing discrimination against blacks in the 1970s, and who is also a degenerate chauvinist pig with a mafia-boss mentality.”

Four Factors of Importance

There are four factors in understanding how Donald Trump got elected and in understanding how Donald Trump will be removed from office..

Why Donald Trump Got Elected

At least two factors played a crucial role in getting Donald Trump elected: (1) some voters liked him because he appeared to be overly candid and a plain-speaking person, and (2) Rust Belt voters, particularly blue-collar white voters, in Wisconsin, Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Ohio, West Virginia and rural parts of New York voted for him because of personal and economic reasons like unemployment.

  Factor 1—Plain-Talking Man    

Because one speaks his mind candidly doesn’t make one necessarily right. It could mean some people don’t engage their mind before they speak. Candid talk and talking with feelings doesn’t mean the talker is especially bright or insightful. Donald Trump isn’t especially bright or insightful. There are exceptions. President Harry S. Truman was a plain-speaking man who was bright and, at times, rather insightful (The Buck Stops Here!).

Harry S. Truman was a real President. Donald Trump is not. Choose your presidents carefully folks. Can you for one moment imagine Donald Trump saying “The Buck Stops Here!!!) He’s much more likely to tweet or say, “The Blame Goes Everywhere Else But Here!!!).

 Factor 2—Rust Belt Voters

Ironically, the unemployment rate in the country was already outstanding at the time of the election due in part to the economic policies of President Barrack Obama. The overall unemployment rate in the United States hovered around 5% in 2016 and  in many of the Rust Belt states that elected him.

However, within the Rust Belt states, he won primarily among blue-collar white voters because these voters, as a sub-group of each state’s population, had high unemployment rates throughout various industries,

Many economic and social reasons, going back to the 1950s, were responsible for the decline among Rust Belt blue-collar workers. One very important factor was population changes. Most notably population declines in the Rust Belt states went from 38% of the U.S. population in 1950 to just 28% by the year 2000.

By any standard economic prosperity requires at least an optimal level of growth in population. Rust Belt states have been in decline not just last year, or the year before, but closing in on more than 68 years since these population changes began to occur.

There are many other social and economic factors have been responsible for their decline. In effect, Blue-collar workers failed to adapt to a changing set of factors besides population changes. In an opinion piece January 6, 2017 in Forbes Magazine titled, “The Rust Belt Didn’t Adapt And It Paid The Price,” Talking about some of these other factors Adam Millsap reported, “the invention of air conditioning and people’s preference for milder winters and more sun, cheaper housing in the South and more market-friendly economic policies in other states are the most common.”

To paraphrase Adam Millsap, many other factors were involved in Rust Belt state declines including lack of innovation in various industries and ultimately overwhelming control  among unions, followed by loss of control (impacting wages) in such unions as the (USW) United Steel Workers and the United Auto Workers (UAW). These two unions were able to use threat of widespread strikes to obtain higher wages, which increased production costs for Rust-Belt firms. When you combine lack of innovation, union control and then emasculation and the lack of ability to change with the times, you’ve just created a recipe for disaster. The problems confronting the Rust Belt States didn’t start in 2016. The problems have been around for nearly seven decades. Donald Trump won’t really solve their problems but he saw an opportunity to exploit Rust Belt voters with his rhetoric and campaign promises. On March 26, 2018 Eugene Robinson published an opinion piece for the Washington Post. This is what he said,” Washington • President Donald Trump’s most urgent political problem doesn’t involve Robert Mueller, Stormy Daniels, Vladimir Putin or the hundreds of thousands of voters who marched for gun control. Rather, it’s that his diehard supporters might be starting to realize how thoroughly he has played them for suckers.”

Why Donald Trump will be removed from Office

Factor 3—The Criminal Indictments

Factors three and four relate to why Donald Trump will not be re-elected to a second term as President. This is aside from him quitting in the interim, or being overthrown at a 2020 Republican Convention by another candidate, or removed because of increasing dementia.

One would have to be totally naïve or engage in wishful-thinking not to see the writing on the wall.

Donald Trump is going to be impeached after the 2018 mid-term elections. It won’t be done by Republicans as they are doomed anyway whether they impeach Trump or not. It is the classic Catch-22 for Republicans in Congress.

 

In addition, hard core Freedom Caucus members have their own set of problems to worry about.  These ultra-conservative types are running scared when it comes to the Mid-term election in 2018.

In addition, it is not outside the realm of possibility that Freedom Caucus legislators (they only vote against people and programs never for them) who do nothing to earn their pay except engage in malicious behavior might soon be a target for criminal investigation in Mueller’s investigation.

Behind the scenes this wayward group of malcontents is guilty of Obstruction of Justice when they overtly as well as surreptitiously attempt to derail Robert Mueller’s investigation of Russian involvement and influence in the 2016 election. Only time will tell whether this group is deserving of not only not being re-elected to public office, but also whether they deserve to be indicted and sent to prison.

Special Prosecutor Robert Mueller certainly has his work cut out for him. Like all good prosecutors there can be no doubt he is doing a diligent job putting a case together in his search for the truth. Wherever this case takes him, his process will continue to be the relentless pursuit of all facts and any evidence of wrong-doing.

Until Mueller reveals what he knows and how he is going to proceed after indictments, all of us can only speculate beyond the indictments already handed down.

Intuitively, my suspicion is that the President of the United States is going to be indicted criminally for: Money Laundering, Obstruction of Justice, and violation of the Emolument Clause under the 25th Amendment of the U.S. Constitution in addition to his violating any other campaign finance laws.

Factor 4—Public Rejection of Donald Trump

The last factor is about the rejection of Donald Trump at the upcoming 2018 Mid-term elections across the country. This will be measured by whether the democrats retake the House of Representatives and the United Senate. Newsweek recently reported on the Trump presidency in 2020.

“Most voters are not thrilled by the prospect of eight years of President Donald Trump, with a new poll showing the majority of Americans would like to see a different candidate in 2020.

A November 2017 survey conducted for the University of Delaware’s Center for Political Communication by RABA Research found that 54 percent of respondents do not feel Trump should run again in 2020, with almost a quarter of Republicans (23 percent) believing their party should pick another presidential hopeful.

Unsurprisingly, a vast majority of Democrats do not want to see a Trump 2020 bid, Some 84 percent of Democrats oppose any Trump attempt to run in 2020. with just 16 percent backing a run for a second term for the incumbent president.

“Not many polls have historically asked about re-election so early in a President’s term, as favorability tends to drop over time,” said University of Delaware’s Lindsay Hoffman, director of the National Agenda Series in a statement on Tuesday.”

Conclusion

Since the scandal news on Donald Trump is such a daily event these days across the country, I think it is incumbent on every voter to explore other options. Everyone has their own ideas about this, but I’d like to have people consider two or three excellent scenarios.

The first is a Joe Biden/Corey Booker ticket and secondly, a Joe Biden/Kamala Harris ticket. In the event Joe Biden does not wish to run for President, I think a Corey Booker/Kamala Harris ticket would work very well for the country.

Change is always difficult for many people including when they go to the poles every two to four years. But the political changes presented above represent something that would not only be good for the country; it would be great for the country. Likewise removal of the Republican Freedom caucus and most other Republicans would not only be good for the country; it too would be great for the country.

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 The Hottest Places in Hell Are Reserved for Those Who in a Period of Moral Crisis Maintain Their Neutrality—Dante

Introduction

With the loss of 17 young lives at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Florida the United States is now engaged in a soul-searching mission like never before. Young people have taken to the streets and voicing their opinions with a “take no prisoners attitude.” No subject is off limits regarding gun control or other control mechanisms. And there is no shortage of ideas on what to do about the problem of mass murder in the face of opposition from the gun lobby.

Ninety years ago Will Rogers said, “America has the best politicians money can buy.” You know what? He was right. Politicians, particularly conservative Republicans, have sold their souls for the almighty dollar. Some might even say, “They’ve sold their soul to the devil by trading on the death and suffering of others.”

Influence of NRA on American Politics

Gun manufacturers, NRA lobbying groups, and Congressional and Senatorial political entities, who’ve been bought by the NRA, are all collectively—Merchants of Death.

Rationalizations from these economically-driven piranhas would suggest that it’s all done to defend the Second Amendment. Nothing could be further from the truth (more explained later). The real motivation underlying NRA actions is money, plain and simple. For them, lobbying and paying out large sums of money is an investment in future profits. How much money is the NRA worth? More than five years ago, (December 2012), the National Rifle Association had $227.8 million in revenues and $163 million in the worth of their assets.

I would estimate now that this organization has a combined (revenues and assets) in excess of ½ billion dollars.

In 2017, total lobbying expenditures paid out by the National Rifle Association were $5,122,000 on behalf of the Gun Rights industry.  This included $4,802,000 for the Parent National Rifle Association and $320,000 for its subsidiary Institute for Legislative Action.

In the 2016 election, the NRA spent $11,438,118 to support Donald Trump and they spent an additional $19,756,346 to oppose Hillary Clinton. That’s over $31 million spent on one presidential race. No organization would pony up that much money unless they expected an excellent return on their investments.

Second Amendment to the United States Constitution

The Second Amendment to the United States Constitution protects the right of the people to keep and bear arms and was adopted on December 15, 1791, as part of the first ten amendments contained in the Bill of Rights.

The Supreme Court of the United States has ruled that the right belongs to individuals, while also ruling that the right is not unlimited and does not prohibit all regulation of either firearms or similar devices. State and local governments are limited to the same extent as the federal government from infringing this right, per the incorporation of the Bill of Rights.

Please note that the right to bear arms is not unlimited. This is a significant interpretation of U.S. Constitutional law. 

I mentioned earlier that the rationalization of the NRA is money, not the Second Amendment. This is because they know they can influence and buy politicians like purchasing cattle or sheep, but engaging in criminal activity and bribing federal judges at the Supreme Court, District Courts of Appeal, or lower district courts is quite a different matter. Courts are powerful. And legal interpretation and analysis is always needed. I must point out to my readers that calling a Supreme Court justice liberal or conservative may not necessarily help one predict how they analyze data or how they are going to vote. For example, I was struck by the legal reasoning of the late conservative United States Supreme Court justice Anthony Scalia.

Back in 2012 he was interviewed by Chris Wallace on Fox Sunday News. Here is the gist of what he had to say on Fox news about the Second Amendment:

The conservative justice notably authored the Supreme Court’s 2008 opinion in District of Columbia v. Heller, which ruled that the Second Amendment protects a person’s right to bear arms and struck down a D.C. ban on handguns. The court also ruled, though, that “the right secured by the Second Amendment is not unlimited.” Scalia pointed out  that that the Second Amendment “obviously” doesn’t apply to weapons that can’t be hand-carried and modern-day weapons like “hand-held rocket launchers that can bring down airplanes” weren’t factored in at the time of the writing of the Constitution.

Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia said that there are “undoubtedly” limits to a person’s right to bear arms under the Second Amendment, but that future court cases will have to decide where to draw the line.

Where to draw the line

I would like to say something about the logic and thinking that needs to be considered about drawing such a line between individual gun rights on the one hand, and limitations of gun rights on the other.

With respect to Anthony Scalia’s statement that future courts will have to decide where to draw the line, it tells me that sociologically speaking, legal interpretation of the law cannot completely divorce itself from making value judgments. This is why there is always a window of opportunity for both liberal and conservative justices to put forth their own political or ideological spin on any particular case.

The implication of Scalia saying future judges must decide where to draw the line suggests that the fine points of legal reasoning are, at its core, predicated on both values as well as facts in a particular case. Whenever you hear any judge use the term “reasonableness” when rendering any legal decision, that is your clue to know that values (are) were part of that decision.

What are the implications of all this? Courts don’t make laws per se; that’s what legislative branches of government do. Courts however are charged with interpreting laws. In theory it is a good system; in reality however no system is perfect. And even what a “perfect” decision-making system would be ultimately is still based on value judgments.

But the courts don’t get much help from legislative bodies. Why? Because our democratic political system doesn’t work when politicians can be bought or sold. When that happens our political system becomes tainted and stinks of undue influence. Put another way, the public’s interests and concerns matter little except at election time. And even then more is promised but little is ever delivered.

Since values are critical to decision making (legal or otherwise) think about this! What kind of insanity would exist if “right to bear arms” was interpreted to include: military tanks, RPGs, bazookas, flame throwers, or should I say it—the right to have an atomic bomb in everyone’s one’s garage. Why not, if that was ever permissible under the Second Amendment? Oh! But you’re going to say—that’s insane. Tell me folks, is that really any more insane than an AR-15, automatic weapons made into killing machines from bump stocks, or high-powered, high capacity magazine rifles used with the goal of murdering scores of people, including teenagers and children? You draw your line; I know I’ve drawn mine.

Being Upfront with my Readers

     I am not unbiased in my feelings about this issue. I’m a gun owner and a really tough old navy veteran in my 70s. Nevertheless, as emotionally strong as anyone, I totally lost it one day back in December 2012 when the events at Sandy Hook Elementary School.in Connecticut took place.

Pictures of 20 first grade students were shown on the TV. Their young faces caught my attention immediately and cut me to the core. I broke down in tears and sobbed like a young child; my tears were uncontrollable. Did I personally know any of these people? No! But it didn’t matter. I am a human being with feelings and I care about humanity as much as I care about my own family. A piece of me died that day.

If any horrific event like the Sandy Hook slaughter was ever going to bring about change it had to be this tragedy of tragedies. Nevertheless, Republicans in both houses of Congress, backed by the NRA, prevented any change at all. Republicans from the Freedom Caucus, Tea Party and some conservative Senators were still genuflecting, and bowing down in supplication before the high priests of money—those powerful merchants of death—the NRA.

Now, we have a psycho in the White House to make matters worse. Not only is he a carbon copy of his ultra-conservative stooges but he is, by his actions with the Russians, a traitor to his country. He is the Benedict Arnold of our time.

Donald Trump came to Washington to drain the swamp. Come this November we’re going to help him do that. But it won’t be what he expects. If he isn’t already impeached by then, the millennials, along with one “angry as hell” public, are going to remove every shameless, immoral, political reprobate bought and paid for by the NRA.

 

 

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A people that values its privileges above its principles soon loses both—Dwight David Eisenhower

Some of the objectives I’m about to describe are my political hopes for 2018 are tongue-in-cheek. But some items I am deadly serious about. One hint: I really do want President Trump impeached early in 2018. Some of the other objectives follow from this. It’s up to you to decide whether the ideas and opinions expressed in this blog are something you’d like to see happen in 2018.
This holiday season each of us sees the future as we would personally like it to be. Here are my wishes and hopes for 2018:

Goal: A Better Country and World

Donald Trump is impeached in early 2018 for Obstruction of Justice and other crimes.

The Freedom Caucus is utterly destroyed in the November, 2018 mid-term elections
After November, 2018 Republicans will cease to exist as a viable political party in the United States.
There will be no war with North Korea.
Black Ops from the CIA will be put in charge to do diplomacy with North Korea: Like the Gambino crime family, Black Ops will make Kim Jong-Un “an offer he cannot refuse.”
The people of Russia will overthrow Vladimir Putin.
The people of Iran will overthrow its Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei.
The United Nations 1948 Universal Declaration of Human Rights will become World Law for all nations to adhere to.
The United States Department of Justice Civil Rights Division will put forth the effort to investigate all police shootings in the United States.
Betsy (Elizabeth Dee DeVos), the educational Czar in the Trump Administration, will be fired.
Jim Jordan, the Republican Congressman from Ohio will be impeached along with his other Freedom Cauca’s cronies for Obstruction of Justice.
Core diehard Trump supporters will be deported from the United States for treasonous acts of disloyalty, lack of voter competence and outright un-American values that are anti-thetical to our country’s laws, the United States Constitution, and the principled institutions of our democracy.
The United States government in 2018 will no longer accept the now defunct “Trickle-Down-Economics Theory” of job creation. Instead its Guiding Principle will be [not promises of job creation] but stipulating and connecting tax breaks to actual jobs created. Otherwise, the tax cut money will be treated as a loan to be repaid to the United States government. Said another way No Business or Corporate welfare or gifts allowed. We want results not promises.

If all of these hopes and wishes were to come to fruition in 2018 it would indeed make America Great Again. Below is a little humor to entertain you as we enter 2018.

  • “So enjoy your victory, Trump voters! Because when you’re dying because you don’t have health insurance to treat the infection you got from a back alley abortion you had to get because of fetal lead poisoning, you can say to yourself, ‘At least I didn’t vote for someone with a private email server.'” –Bill Maher
  • “As you know, Trump is being accused of sexual misconduct by a slew of women. Of course, that is a case of ‘he said’ and ‘she said, she said, she said, she said, she said.'” –Jimmy Kimmel
  • “Trump denied the (groping) allegations, calling them ‘ludicrous’ at a rally today. But here’s the problem for Trump: There’s very good reason to believe he did what he’s accused of. Why? Because an irrefutable, inside source told us so: Donald Trump. Donald Trump is his own Deep Throat. He’s Creep Throat.” –Seth Meyers

Enjoy 2018 everyone!!!

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Donald Trump’s Presidency in Jeopardy
Impeachment Now on the Horizon

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. The Constitution, Article I, Section 3: The Senate shall have the sole Power to try all Impeachments.
Donald Trump’s approval rating is at a 70-year low; it is now at 36 percent. In the months ahead there is a high probability that the presidency of Donald Trump will come to an end in impeachment or resignation. It will be the culmination of an intensive investigation by the Special Prosecutor and intelligence committees in both the House and Senate.
When it comes to criminal charges (and this is my best guess) many people in the Trump Administration, including Donald Trump himself, will be charged with criminal offenses or violations of constitutional law or other federal laws. Without boring my audience and re-hashing all of the things that have led to a failed Trump presidency, I think this Blog would better serve an audience by going over the impeachment process that will be carried out, factors related to the motivation of the Russians to hack our election, and something rather unique in all this, i.e., the concept of “life imitating art” or “art imitating life.” This latter concept will be explained against the backdrop of the strange, often bizarre relationship between the reality of a Trump presidency and the fantasy of the entertainment industry of which he was a part. Explanation will follow shortly.
In addition, it will be important to describe what this author believes was the real underlying motivation of Vladimir Putin to direct a cyber-attack against the United States during and preceding the American presidential election of 2016.
I doubt that President Trump will be removed from office because of treason because the United States is not currently in a “declared war.” However, sharing classified information (top secret, secret, or confidential) with officials of a foreign (albeit enemy) country is a federal crime tantamount to espionage. In addition, the following crimes may come into play during the impeachment process of Donald Trump. These crimes include:
• Obstruction of Justice
• Abuse of Power
• Violation of the U.S. Constitution’s Emolument Clause
• Espionage
• Violation of federal laws related to financial or political corruption including illegal campaign finance laws and regulations

The following is an article by Charlie Savage for the New York Times, dated May 17, 2017 and describes how the impeachment process works.

How the Impeachment Process Works
Background
“WASHINGTON — The account from the former F.B.I. director James B. Comey of President Trump pressing him to drop an investigation into Michael T. Flynn, the former national security adviser, has escalated talk among the president’s critics that his actions may amount to obstruction of justice and grounds for impeachment.
Asking F.B.I. to drop an investigation is obstruction of justice, Representative Ted Deutch, Democrat of Florida, wrote on Twitter on Tuesday. ‘Obstruction of justice is an impeachable offense.’
But several legal specialists across party lines cautioned that talk of impeachment was premature while the facts remained unclear; the White House has denied that Mr. Trump pressured Mr. Comey to drop the case.
Still, the early chatter has heightened interest in how the impeachment process works. Here’s what you need to know:
What is impeachment?
The Constitution permits Congress to remove presidents before their term is up if enough lawmakers vote to say that they committed “treason, bribery, or other high crimes and misdemeanors.”
Only three presidents have been subjected to impeachment proceedings. Two were impeached but acquitted and stayed in office: Andrew Johnson in 1868 and Bill Clinton in 1998 and 1999. A third, Richard M. Nixon in 1974, resigned to avoid being impeached.
What is the process?
First, the House of Representatives votes on one or more articles of impeachment. If at least one gets a majority vote, the president is impeached — which essentially means being indicted. (In both the Nixon and the Clinton cases, the House Judiciary Committee considered the matter first.)
Next, the proceedings move to the Senate, which holds a trial overseen by the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court.
A team of lawmakers from the House, known as managers, play the role of prosecutors. The president has defense lawyers, and the Senate serves as the jury.
If at least two-thirds of the senators find the president guilty, he is removed, and the vice president takes over as president.”
What are the rules?
There are no standard rules. Rather, the Senate passes a resolution first laying out trial procedures.
‘When the Senate decided what the rules were going to be for our trial, they really made them up as they went along,’ said Greg Craig, who helped defend Mr. Clinton in his impeachment proceeding and later served as White House counsel to President Barack Obama.
For example, Mr. Craig said, the initial rules in that case gave four days to the Republican managers to make a case for conviction, followed by four days for the president’s legal team to defend him — essentially opening statements. The Senate then decided whether to hear witnesses, and if so, whether it would be live or on videotape. Eventually, the Senate permitted each side to depose several witnesses by videotape.
The rules adopted by the Senate in the Clinton trial — including limiting the number of witnesses and the length of depositions — made it harder to prove a case compared with trials in federal court, said former Representative Bob Barr, a Georgia Republican who served as a House manager during the trial and is also a former United States attorney.
‘Impeachment is a creature unto itself,’ Mr. Barr said. ‘The jury in a criminal case doesn’t set the rules for a case and can’t decide what evidence they want to see and what they won’t.’
What are the standards?
The Constitution allows for the impeachment and removal of a president for ‘treason, bribery, or other high crimes and misdemeanors.’ But no controlling authority serves as a check on how lawmakers choose to interpret that standard, which makes it as much a question of political will as of legal analysis.
In the case of Mr. Clinton’s trial, for example, Robert Byrd, a Democratic senator from West Virginia at the time, told his colleagues that he thought Mr. Clinton was clearly guilty of perjury but that removing him from office was a bad idea.
‘To drop the sword of Damocles now, given the bitter political partisanship surrounding this entire matter, would only serve to further undermine a public trust that is too much damaged already,’ he said. ‘Therefore, I will reluctantly vote to acquit.’
Mr. Clinton was impeached by a Congress in which the opposition party controlled both the House and the Senate. In Mr. Trump’s case, his party controls both chambers, making it more politically unappealing for them to vote to impeach him.
What about the 25th Amendment?
Adopted in 1967, the 25th Amendment provides another mechanism for removing a president. It is geared toward dealing with a president who becomes too disabled to carry out the duties of the office, as opposed to presidential lawbreaking.
Under its procedures, if the Vice President and a majority of the cabinet tell Congress that the president is ‘unable to discharge the powers and duties of his office,’ the vice president immediately becomes the acting president. If the president contests that finding, but two-thirds of both chambers of Congress side with the vice president, the vice president remains the acting president for the rest of the term.”
What really is the underlying motivation of Russia’s Interference in U.S. Elections?
Donald Trump’s financial dealings that relate to the Emolument Clause of the United States Constitution may transcend the country of Russia. Payments may be coming into the coffers of Donald Trump financial holdings from many countries.
However, it is clear that Russia is the pivotal country when it comes to hacking into a democratic country’s election, and whose motivation to engage in collusion with the Trump campaign not only occurred but was spearheaded by the Kremlin’s top man: Vladimir Putin.
If you’re not familiar with the Magnitsky Act, a 2012 U.S. law, here is the most important thing to understand: Russian President Vladimir Putin and everyone in his orbit hate it.
“A purely political, unfriendly act,” Putin called it at the time, and he has been railing against it ever since.
Congress wanted to punish Russian human rights abusers by barring them from entering the U.S. This followed the 2009 death of Sergei Magnitsky, a Russian lawyer who died at age 37 in a Moscow prison where he was held — and allegedly beaten — after accusing Russian officials of massive tax fraud.
The law symbolized the deteriorating relations between the U.S. and Russia. Days after Congress passed it, the Russian parliament responded by banning American citizens from adopting Russian orphans.
In a bizarre 2013 trial, a Russian court went even further, convicting Magnitsky of tax fraud — four years after he died.

Politics
Donald Trump Jr. Meeting Included Russian Lobbyist:
The Magnitsky Act re-emerged as a front-burner topic this week in connection with the investigations surrounding President Trump’s campaign and possible links to Russian meddling in last year’s presidential race.
Russia has lobbied hard for repeal of the act. That’s what Russian lawyer Natalia Veselnitskaya said she was doing when she met with Donald Trump Jr. in June 2016 at Trump Tower in New York.

Politics
Trump Says He Would Invite Putin to White House ‘At the Right Time:’
News broke Friday that she was accompanied at that meeting by Russian-American Rinat Akhmetshin. He is known as a skilled political operator who has worked in both the former Soviet Union and the United States on behalf of his clients, according to a U.S. journalist who has known him for two decades.
Akhmetshin has also spoke freely about his past in Soviet military intelligence, according to the journalist, Steve Levine, who works for Axios in Washington.

Politics
5 Questions Raised By Donald Trump Jr.’s Emails:
However, in remarks to The Associated Press, Akhmetshin said he served in a military unit that was part of counterintelligence but was not trained as a spy.
Levine first encountered Akhmetshin in Kazakhstan. There, in 1998, he provided Levine with confidential banking and legal documents pointing to financial corruption by the country’s president.

Politics
Donald Trump Jr.’s Emails about Meeting with Russian Lawyer: Annotated
“His signature is to be able to drill very, very deeply in the former Soviet Union, in a very knowing way,” Levine said. “Here in Washington, he’s this very unusual character, who may be the most skilled lobbyist I’ve met.”
Akhmetshin is, he added, “someone who can ingratiate himself with members of Congress and their staffs, power figures here, and make things happen.”
Levine said they’ve been in touch periodically over the years, including in brief email exchanges in recent days as Akhmetshin’s name began to surface in media reports.
Akhmetshin, who has become a U.S. citizen, has aggressively lobbied against the Magnitsky Act. Just a few days after his meeting with Trump Jr. in New York last year, Akhmetshin was in Washington to promote a movie called The Magnitsky Act — Behind the Scenes.
The film was shown at the Newseum in Washington on June 13, 2016. It offers the Russian government’s version of events and claims that Magnitsky was not mistreated by Russian authorities.
Trump Jr. has also said that — to his disappointment — last year’s meeting with the Russians focused on the Magnitsky Act. Trump Jr. was told in advance the meeting would produce critical material on Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton. When the topic turned out to be the U.S. law, he considered it a waste of time.
Analysts have offered many theories on why Russia wanted to meddle in the U.S. presidential election: to undermine the credibility of the U.S. vote or to harm Hillary Clinton, whom Putin blamed for the protests leading up the Russian presidential election in 2012.
Rarely mentioned is the Magnitsky Act, a relatively obscure matter inside the U.S. but a major frustration for Russia’s leadership.

Life Imitates Art and Vice-Versa
Here we are in the summer of 2017, six months into the presidency of Donald Trump. As I think back over the last two years of this nightmare with Donald Trump, I am convinced he lives in a childish fantasy of his own creation, ego-driven, and propped up by those around him in his close circle of “want to-be” important people.
Nationally, his supporters have dwindled to only 36% as of July 17, 2017. With the failure of his administration to repeal and replace Obamacare even his remaining supporters will never benefit from a low-cost comprehensive health care plan. This is unfortunate since a disproportionate number of his supporters are in dire need of good health care, particularly psychiatric mental health services.
It is both beguiling and perplexing to know that a degenerate womanizer and misogynist, white nationalist racist, crude, anti-intellectual buffoon could ever be elected president of the United States. And yet, here we are! Doesn’t say much for the intelligence and moral fiber of a sizeable portion of the American electorate— now does it?
He has tarnished the status of the highest office in the land and that, my friends, is unforgivable. He has taken a great American institution and turned it into garbage. I cannot help but see the quixotic (foolishly impractical, unrealistic, or capricious) parallel between the real life Donald Trump and the fantasy world he lives in.
There is an old expression that “art imitates life.” Ironically, sometimes the reverse is true, i.e., life imitates art. But in the make-believe world of art we often watch on television or in the movies, fantasy often parallels what’s going on in the real world. And television or movies often draw on material from the real world. It’s almost symbiotic in nature. Oscar Wilde seemed to believe however that this observable parallel was not equal.
Oscar Wilde Statement in 1889
Life imitating art. Anti-mimesis is a philosophical position that holds the direct opposite of Aristotelian mimesis. Its most notable proponent is Oscar Wilde, who opined in his 1889 essay The Decay of Lying that, “Life imitates Art far more than Art imitates Life.”
Sometimes the symbiotic relationship between life and art is fortuitous, at other times it seems like it is planned. For example script writing drew from current day events some of its planned material in the award winning TV drama series House of Cards (Kevin Spacey, Robin Wright).
The U.S. version of this series gives us an inside look at the greed and corruption in American Politics. Recently Vanity Fair looked at the similarity between Donald Trump and House of Cards president Frank Underwood (initials F.U.).
On May 30th Yohana Desta wrote the article. Titled “Trump vs. Underwood: 7 Times House of Cards Hit a Little Too Close to Reality.
Trump vs. Underwood: 7 Times House of Cards Hit a Little Too Close to Reality
Season 5 of the hit political series mirrored the Trump administration in a number of eerie ways.
Spoiler alert: This post contains spoilers about Season 5 of House of Cards.
House of Cards has always pulled from the headlines. The political Netflix series, starring Kevin Spacey and Robin Wright, thrives on mirroring the more conniving side of U.S. statecraft, combing through American history to find story lines that feed and shape its White House narrative. The new season debuted Tuesday morning at a time when the country’s current president, Donald Trump, is besieged by allegations of obstructing justice and colluding with Russia, among other claims. Numerous moments in this latest installment of House of Cards reflected this moment in history perhaps a little too well. From Senate investigations to startling political tactics, here’s all the times this season might have hit too close to home.

1. Everything is a “distraction”
In Episode 1, Washington Herald editor Tom Hammerschmidt dismisses one of Frank Underwood’s political tactics as merely a “distraction” to the underlying issues at play. In most circumstances, that would be a fairly benign thing to say, but it’s a pointed choice of words that’s hard to ignore in an age when Trump’s critics have urged people not to get “distracted” by the president’s tweets or outlandish comments, and his Trump’s supporters have argued that all the chaotic “distraction” is actually part of his master plan.
Of course, the season ends with Underwood revealing that a large amount of the chaos that takes place actually is part of his master plan—but that’s a rather Machiavellian feat that Trump himself will likely not achieve.

2. All the executive orders!
Presidents throwing their weight around with executive orders are nothing new, but the incessant signing of new orders (some of them incendiary and arguably unconstitutional) is now a hallmark of Trump’s first 100 days. There are shades of his bullishness in Episode 2, when Frank Underwood declares an executive order for protecting “voting centers” and enforcing strict border restrictions, invoking “Section Blah Blah of the Blah Blah Act and Section Blah Blah of Title Blah Blah, Paragraph Bullshit Bullshit.”
The episode is bookended with Underwood secretly manufacturing a fake hack by terrorist group I.C.O., using it to prod the government to make a declaration of war. Hacks, terrorist attacks, and war talks! Where have we heard this all before . . . ?

3. A suspicious election
No TV drama about a presidential election would be complete without absurd twists and turns. This season of HoC crafts a presidential race filled to the brim with scandal, illicit behavior, and shocking results, premiering just a few months after the U.S.’s own wild election in which Trump came out the victor over expected winner Hillary Clinton. In the show, Underwood prevails over projected winner Will Conway, who wins the popular vote, but, of course, Underwood wins the race by rigging the election in vital Electoral College states and engaging in voter suppression. In the real world, the Department of Justice and both houses of Congress are investigating potential Russian meddling in the 2016 presidential election and improper contact with members of Trump’s campaign, with new reports surfacing about their alleged collusion. (And voter suppression tactics figured in U.S. history long before Trump.)
The next episode shows how American citizens are reacting to the election, featuring a group of protesters banding together outside the White House and chanting “Not my president!” and holding signs that read “Never Underwood.” Both actions mimic the actual chants and signs seen during anti-Trump protests.
Later in the season, as Conway sinks deeper into a petulant downward spiral after losing the election, his adviser tries to cheer him up by saying, “You lost—but more than half the country still considers you their president.” Though Conway’s post-election temperament is miles away from Clinton’s reflective grace, it’s tough to imagine that people haven’t bolstered her spirits with the same kind of encouragement.
4. Acts of Russian aggression
House of Cards has already done a Russia-obsessed season, which would have been too on the nose had it premiered now. But it’s not done with Viktor Petrov, its version of Vladimir Putin, just yet. He turns up in the second half of the show as Russia approaches an American research facility stationed in Antarctica, poking around for oil. “It’s a brazen act of aggression,” Secretary of State Catherine Durant says in the episode. Her quote brings to mind actual acts of Russian aggression, such as recent reports of Russian fighter jets doing barrel rolls over U.S. planes, and flying close to a U.S. Navy surveillance aircraft.
This event also leads to a long line of backdoor negotiations with Russia, which might make some folks in the current administration (cough, Jared Kushner, cough) a bit uncomfortable.
5. A president under investigation
In Episode 9, scorned Congressman Romero decides to relaunch the committee investigating Underwood’s potentially impeachable offenses. With the Trump administration under its own investigation—and talk of impeachment fluttering around, just as they do for Underwood—it’s hard not to compare the two.
The investigation in the show also leads to the questioning of F.B.I. deputy director Nathan Green, who’s deeply entangled in the Underwood administration and has done a number of illegal things. Hey, does anyone remember if there’s anything crazy going on with the real world F.B.I. right now?
6. A gas attack in Syria
Episode 10 features a devastating gas attack in Syria, which the Underwood’s try to use to their political advantage. The attack eerily mirrors the recent chemical attack in Syria, which was one of the worst in the country’s history. Season 5 was already wrapped by the time the attack happened, so the show didn’t directly pluck from the headlines for that. However, it’s still a surprising (and incredibly sad) example of how the show veers dangerously close to real life.
7. “Welcome to the death of the age of reason.”
Those are the intimidating words Underwood snarls to the camera in this season’s penultimate episode during his committee testimony. “There is no right or wrong, not anymore. There’s only being in and then being out,” he says. His words, sadly, invoke the current age of “alternative facts.” Underwood’s message rings particularly true when held up against Trump’s own behavior. The current president is prone to making outlandish, verifiably false or simply unfounded remarks in interviews and on Twitter, while also waging a war against the media (#FakeNews), leaving his team to scramble and smooth out his claims. Meanwhile, the rest of the country anxiously watches and waits for whatever fresh hell is coming next.
Final Comments
The colossal failure of the country to elect a real president in 2016 will continue to dishonor and haunt us long after the last stench of Donald Trump is removed from the White House. With the mid-term elections around the corner, it is time for democrats around the country to gear up for a good fight against republicans who, besides Donald Trump, have also let the country down.
Needless to say the role of the new DNC head will be critically important in trying not just to elect more democrats, but to convince people of the United States that their interests come first in this sometimes chaotic world we all live in.
A final moment of reverie for this author, please. The character of Donald Trump we’ve all seen many times in our lives. It is like “art imitating life.” A daydream I had has kept re-occurring over the last two years. But my original stimulus for this daydream occurred more than 60 years ago.
In 1957 I was a freshman in high school. One important movie made in 1957 was an academy award-winning movie (Best picture, Best Director, Best Actor) known as Witness for the Prosecution.
It starred the great English actor Charles Laughton, along with Marlene Dietrich and Tyrone Power. I won’t sidetrack my readers by going into a detailed recounting of the plot. It was based on a very clever book by the much esteemed Agatha Christie originally written in 1925.
I connect this movie’s most dramatic court room scenes to Donald Trump. Imagine if you will Donald Trump (the Prevaricator-in- Chief as President) was being grilled by a Sir Wilfred Robarts (Charles Laughton). What a field-day that would be if, like the movie, when Sir Wilfred says to Trump in Laughton’s surly special voice, “ Were you lying then, are you lying now, or are you not in fact a chronic and habitual Liar? In the movie Charles Laughton screaming the word liar—was absolutely deafening.

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The Winds of War Are Growing Restless

War is fast approaching our national doorstep

     One threat begs for action right now without delay. It is by a country bent on starting a war with the United States and our Asian allies. Who is it? You guessed right—it’s North Korea.

Background

The threat from North Korea has been hovering over the United States like the Sword of Damocles for decades. Not one, but four American generals, now believe North Korea already has the ability to fire an intercontinental ballistic missile that can hit the mainland of the United States. As most people know, there is an early warning system that provides some guidance as to our level of preparedness to deal with a nuclear threat. It is called Def con.

Def Con is “Defense Condition” and it indicates the level of preparedness of United States Military Forces.

Definitions of Def Con

Def Con 5 – Normal peacetime operations.

 

Def Con 4 – Still considered “peacetime”, but intelligence gathering is increased and national security measures are tightened. The U.S. was at Def Con 4 for most of the Cold War.

Def Con 3 – Military assets are readied. “Call signs” for deployed assets change from publicly-known signals to classified ones. The U.S. has been at this level 3 times, most recently after the events of September 11th.

Def Con 2 – Further increase of military readiness. All forces not already in position are placed on “stand by” alert. Def Con 2 was used once, during the Cuban Missile Crisis.

Def Con 1 – Maximum military readiness. All forces are active. Def Con 1 is considered to be the “total war” level and may only refer to a nuclear attack scenario since it has never been used to date.

From my perspective the United States needs to raise the Def con level immediately to Def con 3. Determination as to when to initiate Def Con 2 will come later as conditions warrant.

Understanding Imminent Threats

In reality, immigration as an issue is only tangentially related to national security. Too much attention is being paid to immigration as a potential risk while the real, more tangible imminent dangers to national security seem to be flying under the radar of public awareness.

We really do need to be vigilant at this time. The United States must be ready to counter the build-up of North Korea’s nuclear program. In addition, there is the American involvement in fighting ISIS worldwide as well as currently retaking of cities earlier lost to ISIS in both Iraq and Syria. To the credit of Barack Obama, nearly 40%-50% of ISIS troops were killed between 2014 and 2016 due to his strategic efforts. Nevertheless, the bulk of American military power at this point in time must be put together strategically. Our main focus must be on North Korea and the possibility that war between our countries is just a few North Korean aggressive acts away.

These threats are real folks! It’s time to get our head out of the sand. While I have confidence in the preparedness of the American military, I have absolutely no confidence in Trump Administration’s ability to handle dangers to our national  security. A Russian spy ship has been conducting operations to collect information on our submarine bases on the east coast and basically he has ignored this threat. If security wasn’t bad enough, just consider the incredibly misguided Trump budget proposal to cut huge amounts of money in the 2017-18 budget for the U.S. Coast Guard. “President Donald Trump’s proposed budget guidance is asking for $1.3 billion in funding cuts to the U.S. Coast Guard at a time when the service is doing more than ever, and is already severely under-resourced.”

North Korea: Confronting the Threat

The generals may be right, or may be over-estimating North Korea’s readiness for nuclear war involving long-range missiles. Either way, we must be prepared.     People may be blind to this, but the greatest threat from North Korea may not come necessarily from long-range missiles in pursuit of an American target.  Why you ask? Here is why: the best way for any country to have the element of surprise is to expand greatly their submarine service. Submarines can run silently and undetected, with stealth, and can stay close off shorelines. They can fire a nuclear warhead that will reach its target in less than 3-5 minutes.

What do we currently know about North Korea’s navy and submarine service?

The annual report of North Korea’s military capabilities by the U.S. Department of Defense, released in early 2014, identified the North Korean Navy’s strength at 60,000 personnel, 70 submarines, 420 gun boats, 260 amphibious landing craft, 30 mine warfare vessels, and 30 support ships.

Given the highly belligerent and threatening nature of North Korea to its Asian neighbors, the United States needs to expand its own Navy and especially our submarine service.

I’d rather see federal taxpayer money spent on 20 new nuclear submarines and several technologically-advanced reconnaissance planes that can detect submarines below the surface, than some mindlessly-conceived wall that won’t achieve its goal- preventing people from entering our southern border.

One Scenario Approach to Neutralizing North Korea

First off, we do not need to incinerate North Korea with nuclear bombs. The radiation alone will drift toward China and South Korea causing extreme chaos, misery, and mass exodus of refugees heading toward the borders of China and South Korea from North Korea.

The United States is in possession of missiles that can carry and bomb the equivalent of 11,000 pounds of TNT. When this MOAB (Mother of all bombs) is detonated, it will flatten and destroy an area one mile in every direction. These kinds of non-nuclear bombs would take out a city like Pyongyang in an instant. North Korean army, air force, and naval bases would suffer a similar fate.

I am not an expert on military strategies nor do I advocate one approach over any other. However, it is my belief that from now on war should be prosecuted based on the newest elements in a war. That is, the newest concept involves launching a “Hybrid War.”

Final Comments

During the House Intelligence meeting on March, 20, 2017 I heard the term Hybrid War for the first time. I credit Jackie Speiers of California for explaining it to the American public via those hearings. So what is Hybrid Warfare?

“Hybrid warfare is a military strategy that blends conventional warfare, irregular warfare and cyberwarfare. In addition, hybrid warfare is used to describe attacks by nuclear, biological and chemical weapons, improvised explosive devices and information warfare. This approach to conflicts is a potent, complex variation of warfare.”

It has long been the policy of the United States not to initiate hostilities but to let other countries make the first move. That policy was okay in prior generations where the U.S. was dealing with countries that predominantly possessed only conventional weapons. But times have changed.

Consequently, whoever the next president is, or the one thereafter (2020), an ultimatum needs to be given to North Korea. Either they dismantle their nuclear facilities or we will. If they violate the ultimatum both their nuclear facilities and their entire military must be obliterated, if not completely incinerated.    

 

 

 

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Psycho in the White House

Donald Trump is a lot like P.T. Barnum, a politician, showman and businessmen of the 19th Century. With Trump supporters genuflecting and fawning all over him, and Trump Administration lackeys acting like “Bagdad Bob,” is it any wonder that Donald Trump, the Prevaricator-in Chief, would strongly believe in the quote often attributed to P.T. Barnum, “There’s a sucker born every minute?”

Background

It has been almost 50 years since Barry McGuire’s song, Eve of Destruction played on every radio station and television network nationwide. His song signaled to the young of that era a new awakening about social injustice, racism, and the scourge of the Vietnam War.

The world seemed like it was falling apart in the 1960s, yet it affirmed a new determination to stand up for one’s rights and to challenge society and change its many antiquated cultural values and socially conservative attitudes.

Barry McGuire captured and articulated the essence of that feeling of determination. Nevertheless, make no mistake about it. The non-progressive cultural backwardness is still with us in the 21st Century. After all, how do you think Donald Trump got elected? Part of the answer is sociological/ psychological in nature. Beneath the surface of misdirected, fact-free assumptions and the banality of platitudes among Trump supporters, it was an underlying, deeply felt—“White Fright/White Flight.”

Nothing reflects this socially-driven backwardness more in 2017 than the election of Donald Trump as President of the United States. Since January 20, 2017, Donald Trump has been leading the United States toward implosion and compromising our international reputation worldwide. His travel ban on Muslims underscores his prejudice of immigrants from other countries as well as other various racial, ethnic and religious minorities. Singling out Muslims for a ban showed his true colors as a white nationalist. His kind of behavior was not a recent phenomenon. Remember, Trump was sued in court for racial discrimination by the federal government for violation of the Fair Housing Act. In an episode early in Donald Trump’s career, his New York real estate company was sued by the federal government for discriminating against potential black renters. After a lengthy legal battle, his company ultimately agreed to wide-ranging steps to offer rentals to nonwhites. The history and details of this case are very revealing.

Fred Trump, Donald’s father, was, unlike his son, a self-made man. He made his fortune by building thousands of units of middle-class housing in Brooklyn and Queens. But in the early 1970s, Donald was made president of the family company.  One of Donald’s first challenges came in October 1973, when the Justice Department hit the Trump Organization with a major discrimination suit for violating the Fair Housing Act.

The Times reported at the time that the Government contended that Trump Management had refused to rent or negotiate rentals “because of race and color.” It also charged that the company had required different rental terms and conditions because of race and that it had misrepresented to blacks that apartments were not available.

In more recent years Trump accused President Barack Obama of not being born in America. The accusation was totally false. He now accuses him of committing a felony crime by bugging Trump Tower. He made both these charges by lying. Donald Trump has never backed up his accusations with any evidence at all.

Predicting the Future

 

No one can foretell the future, but I am willing to venture an educated guess that Donald Trump will be impeached in his first year of the presidency. It will likely be for committing treason (high crimes and misdemeanors) by trying to alter the election by conspiring with the Russians to rig and compromise the election in his favor. If he gives or has already given American top secrets to the Russians, he will be the first U.S. President in history to ever be sentenced to prison as a traitor.

There is also the possibility he may violate the emolument clause of the U.S. Constitution (prohibits the federal government from granting titles of nobility and restricts members of the government from receiving gifts), commit a sexual offense, or violate the Logan Act (United States federal law that details the fine and/or imprisonment of unauthorized citizens who negotiate with foreign governments having a dispute with the United States).

 

Eve of Destruction: Evidence is piling up every day

 

Just watch the major networks every day. As we all say—“The Plot Thickens.”

 

“WASHINGTON — Phone records and intercepted calls show that members of Donald J. Trump’s 2016 presidential campaign and other Trump associates had repeated contacts with senior Russian intelligence officials in the year before the election, according to four current and former American officials.

American law enforcement and intelligence agencies intercepted the communications around the same time that they were discovering evidence that Russia was trying to disrupt the presidential election by hacking into the Democratic National Committee, three of the officials said. The intelligence agencies then sought to learn whether the Trump campaign was colluding with the Russians on the hacking or other efforts to influence the election.”

The journalistic investigative reporting work of Woodward and Bernstein during the 1970s Watergate Nixon Scandal asked two critical questions, “What did the President know and when did he know it?” What happened to Donald Trump and his advisors interacting with Russian operatives to conspire to rig the election? If evidence eventually reveals complicity with the Russians, I would choose to call this “Russia-Gate.”

     I just want to say that Donald Trump is not fit to be president of the United States. The people who voted him in, reluctantly or not, should take responsibility for their error in judgment and start a campaign for Donald Trump to be removed from office. This will help his prior supporters earn vindication and extricate themselves from the shame and dishonor they have bestowed upon themselves and this great nation of ours.

What the Trump supporters thought was that a plain-talking guy with business experience, and no prior office or governmental experience (including no military experience either), was all that was required to be President of the United States. These collective opinions about qualifications trivialized the Office of the President. It was incredibly short-sighted and naive to have thought that way.

Consequently, the nation now has to undo allowing a mentally ill conman to remain in office. If Trump supporters wanted change, they should have changed parties and voted for Bernie Sanders during the primaries. That would have been the smart move.

     I support helping the mentally ill in this country. However, decisions affecting our nation are just too important to leave it to someone without their mental faculties intact.

Psychological Profile of Donald Trump

Confidence in Donald Trump to meet the needs of the nation is at a historically low point compared to all previous presidents in the post 1900 era. Donald Trump has many deficits in his personality. Two of the most important deficits observed are his lack of integrity and honesty.

As I said earlier, before Trump ran for president, he was promoting the idea that president Obama was not born in the United States. He maintained this lie for 5 years or more.

During the campaign he said Ted Cruz’s father was involved in the John F. Kennedy assassination, which was untrue. Upon Trump’s November election he claimed that millions voted illegally, all because his inadequate personality couldn’t handle the fact that almost 3 million more popular votes were cast for Hilary Clinton rather than him.

Following his inauguration, he claimed he had more supporters on the malls surrounding the Capital Building than Obama. The photographic evidence showed otherwise. Trump lives in a “Fact-free Bubble,” especially when he claimed that 2016 showed the highest murder rate, more so than in the previous 40 years.

As a prior criminologist and administrator in charge of a large agency statistical data center I can tell you his statistics on the highs and lows in the national murder rate are blatantly untrue.

A week ago Donald Trump accused former President Barack Obama of placing a wiretap in Trump Tower. Lying is a central core to Donald Trump’s personality; he is our Prevaricator-in-Chief.

Donald’s crush on Vladimir Putin is very troubling. I think the government’s investigation into Russia’s hacking and interference with the 2016 presidential election, in all its ramifications, will soon bear evidentiary fruit.

Other nations think Trump is a paper tiger. We need a president who is willing to preemptively strike North Korea’s nuclear facilities and military installations before they become an imminent threat to the United States. Most con men like Trump don’t have a backbone. He’s most likely a coward at heart. For the first time in our history we really do look weak and are an embarrassment before the world.

With his constant use of his twitter account to bully foreign leaders as well as anyone he sees fit to do so in the United States, he has proven that before, and since he has taken office that he is indeed, like a few of his supporters, unhinged, mentally disturbed and unstable. Time and time again he has shown himself to be a misogynist, racist, degenerate, thuggish, iconoclast.

     He has the mentality of a five year old; he is such a loose cannon—he has even bad-mouthed those who put him in office.      

As the late Howard Cosell used to say on Monday Night Football, “tell it….like…. it is!” People soon forget factual details, and people who voted for Trump made only value judgments rather than let facts guide them. And, to no one’s surprise Trump supporters are now beginning to experience “buyer’s remorse.” 

One of the underlying mistakes Trump voters made was to naively believe Trump represented change that would benefit them. Trump is not in favor of increasing the minimum wage that would’ve helped low income families; he is mute on helping college debt problems for many students and their families, and wants to spend unbelievably vast amounts of money for a useless wall rather than spend money to improve the lives of his supporters, or those who are elderly, or those considered below the poverty line or the working-poor.

Nowhere do you find Trump issuing executive orders to promote educational programs for youth and adults in the inner cities, as well as those troubled people found in the rust belt who desperately sought any kind of help to improve their lives. He does this keeping a straight-face while he lines his cabinet with the well-heeled and, in many cases, with people who are millionaires and billionaires. Having Trump as president is like “placing the fox in charge of the hen house.”

But thinking Donald Trump is clever as a fox gives him too much credit. The other day I heard a very insightful medical theory that might better explain all of a 70-year old Donald Trump’s very erratic behavior. I suggest that Donald Trump may be experiencing the early signs of dementia and Alzheimer’s disease. What is the evidence: his paranoia, inability to remember things, not being able to remember what he has said (by making extremely contradicting statements) and his chronic self-serving tantrum-oriented 5 year old emotional out-bursts.

For Trump, in addition to forgetting he also shows an inability to recognize certain people; it has wider ramifications as well. He has not been able to recognize the true bigots in our country. They were mixed in with other Trump voters and were not troubled economically in quite the same way.

These were the white nationalists with white party affiliations whose core racist values repulsed everyone else including liberal progressives, moderate conservatives and well-meaning independents everywhere.

Conservative Legacy in America    

The legacy of the conservative movement in this country including the far right has never historically been anything to be proud of. It was progressive values, not conservative values that led the way to civil rights, human rights, women’s rights, LBGT rights, health care as a universal right, and the honest recognition today that 90% of the wealth in this country is held by the top 1-2 % of the population.

Conservatism has never been anything but an obstacle to forward-looking people everywhere. Conservatism is a moral and political stance that is anything but moral. It is a movement, much like a bowel movement, that craps all over the poor and disenfranchised with every breath they take. They are selfish, self-serving, self-aggrandizing, arrogant buffoons from every age group.

There are many reasons some people wish to live in the past. But the main reason is a fear of change, despite the fact that many who hold this view want government to change, but they ultimately cower and lack the courage to change them.

In other words, they blame everyone else for their lot in life, but never take responsibility for their own lives. They would have benefitted early in life had they read Paul Tillich’s famous work, The Courage to be.” Although these observations apply to a lot of people across the entire political spectrum, fear of change seems to have a more paralyzing and crippling effect on those citizens who consider themselves conservative.

Not everyone can become Horatio Alger but everyone can improve their own situation if they have the willingness (and courage) to do so. This is neither a liberal nor conservative idea. It is an American idea. We are in America after all— “the land of opportunity.”

Final Thoughts

It must be remembered that Donald Trump, like many of his close advisors who are his apologists in the White House, share much in common: (1) they tend to have a mind like a steel trap—nothing gets in and nothing gets out, and (2) they prove every day the alleged saying of the late P.T. Barnum, “There’s a sucker born every minute.”

     P.T. Barnum was successful in life; Donald Trump, by comparison, is simply a flim-flam man who conned a very naïve voting public into thinking he had their interests at heart.  

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