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Posted by on Sep 29, 2020 in Blog, Essays, Politics, What's Left | 2 comments

The Trump Cult

 

 

THE TRUMP CULT AND WHAT THEY SAY….

 

“….grab ’em by the pussy”

—– Oh, that was just locker room talk.

 

“I moved in on her like a bitch.”

—– Oh, that was just more locker room talk. Boys being boys.

 

“Jeffrey (Epstein) likes ’em young, and I mean really young!”

—– Yeah, but Clinton was there, too. So that makes it okay.

 

“If she (Ivanka) weren’t my daughter, I’d probably be dating her.”

—– <<<<crickets>>>>

 

“I like people who weren’t captured.”

—– Yeah, we voted for John McCain in 2008, but now since Trump doesn’t like him, McCain must be a traitor!

 

Fact: Trump paid $130,000 to silence a porn star.

—- No he didn’t! Okay, maybe he did. Well, if he did, it wasn’t illegal. You rock, Mr. President, you sly dog!

 

Fact: Trump quotes the National Inquirer and OAN.

—– That’s the real news. Not fake news, like CNN and The Washington Post.

 

Fact: Trump is a failed businessman.

—– Well, he’s owned a lot of businesses.

 

Fact: Trump won’t show us his taxes, even though he promised to do so repeatedly when running for president.

—– He can’t. He’s under audit.

 

Fact: Any taxpayer can show their tax records, at any time, even when under audit.

—– <<<<crickets>>>>

 

“Mexico will pay for the wall!”

—– <<<<crickets>>>>

 

Fact: Trump has told more than 20,000 lies, all documented.

—– Yeah, but I trust him.  This time, he’s telling us the truth.

 

Fact: Under Trump, the national deficit exploded from $14 TRILLION to $28 TRILLION. He DOUBLED the deficit in just 3.5 years.

—– Yeah, well, we only believe in balanced budgets when Democrats are in the White House.

 

Fact: Trump tweets an average of 25 times a day, digests hours of FOX News daily, and has visited his golf courses 265 times.

—– Trump is hard working.

 

“…..maybe this Covid thing is a good thing. I don’t like shaking hands with people. [Now] I don’t have to shake hands with these disgusting people.”

—– Trump loves average working Americans like me.

 

Fact: Trump rarely attends church, unless it’s a cheap political stunt or a hasty photo op and can’t cite any passages from The Bible.

—— God sent us Donald Trump. He’s like Cyrus the Great!

 

Fact: Trump LOST money 10/15 years, and by one credible estimate may have lost more money as a businessman than anyone in America since the early 1980s.

—- Yeah, but being President has cost Trump billions!

 

Fact:  Trump charges US taxpayers up to $600 per night for government officials who stay at his properties, including his Secret Service detail.

—– <<<<crickets>>>> 

 

(On American war dead) “They’re losers. They’re suckers.”

—– But, but, but, Trump loves the troops.

 

Fact: “Officials at “the highest levels of the White House were informed that Russia had paid the Taliban a bounty to kill American troops in Afghanistan.”

—– Trump doesn’t take any shit! He stands up to threats!

 

“Russia, if you’re listening……”

—– Trump was just joking.

 

“(on meddling in the 2016 election) I don’t know why it would be Russia.”

—– He misspoke.

 

“We do a lot for Ukraine….do us a favor (threatening to withhold aid, thus breaking the law)”….investigate Biden.

—– He’s not a career politician. He didn’t know he was breaking the law.

 

Fact: Trump was impeached and came within a few votes in the Senate of being removed from office.

—— It was all a giant hoax!

 

“COVID is a hoax!”

— Yeah, it’s a hoax, a plot, by the deep state, and the doctors are lying, and the media is exaggerating, and it will go away!

 

“(On injecting bleach) …..And then I see the disinfectant, where it knocks it out in a minute. One minute. And is there a way we can do something like that, by injection inside or almost a cleaning.”

—– He didn’t say that. (umm yes he did)

 

“(After 205,000 American deaths, and counting) We’re rounding the corner!”

—– Yeah, we’re rounding the corner!

 

Fact: Herman Cain died of COVID one month after attending Trump’s Tulsa rally, against the advice of medical experts.

— Huh?  Who’s Herman Cain?

 

“We have a replacement plan for Obamacare and we’re going to roll it out very, very soon”…..(three years later) “in two weeks we’re going to reveal our new health plan…..(6 weeks later)…..(we’re still waiting)

—– He’s busy! (true, with tweets, TV, and golf).

 

“I’m up to 50 percent approval in the polls.”

—– (then, when bad poll numbers are reported) Well, you can’t trust polls, they’re fake!

 

Fact: More Trump officials are under indictment or convicted than any administration in American history.

—– He’s draining the swamp!  He only hires the best people!

 

Fact: Virtually ALL of those who served in the White House, ALL of them conservatives and Republicans, who are now departed now call Trump a menace, a threat, and an idiot. “He’s a fucking moron” (former Sec. of State Tillerson).

—– They’re all lying!

 

Fact: More than a dozen books have been written by ex-Trump aids, describing him as grotesquely unfit for the office, all of them former Trump supporters who enthusiastically endorsed the president.

—– They’re all lying! Every single one of them! Instead, I prefer to trust someone who told 20,000 lies, with multiple bankruptcies, who cheated on all his wives, who ignores American intelligence and believes Putin, and pays bribes to porn stars. Trump is my President!

 

Fact:  Trumpism is a cult.  

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Posted by on Sep 16, 2020 in Blog, Essays, Politics | 0 comments

Dealing With the Hazards of Social Media (New Podcast)

 

Note:  Matt Lessinger, a longtime friend and philosophical compatriot approached me recently with the idea to host a new podcast.  The concept was simple:  A conversation.  An intelligent conversation. 

One week later, here we are.  Our first podcast, which runs nearly two hours, is finished and posted.  We tackle the question with no simple answers, namely — what is social media doing to us?

Here’s Matt’s introduction of the new show on (where else?)….his Facebook page: 

 

Hello friends …

I hope you’ll indulge this experiment. Nolan Dalla and I agree that social media is a very difficult place to try to engage someone in intelligent conversation. So, we decided to have an intelligent conversation of our own. I enjoyed it tremendously, and I hope it will be the first of many.

I conceived this idea because the prevailing wisdom is that you can’t change people’s minds on social media. That may be true, but I knew that talking with Nolan about any topic would open my mind (and hopefully yours) to different possibilities. With each conversation that I post, I will describe an opinion of mine that evolved as a result of the conversation. Here’s the one for this week:

*I believe that social media is continually making our society worse. As we’ve become more and more polarized, I have held a very pessimistic view of what our society will become after another decade or two of social media usage. But in having that view, I was always very narrowly focused on Facebook and Twitter. Nolan pointed out that TikTok and some other social media platforms are catering to teenagers, who are really just trying to have fun. Meanwhile, adults are the ones who are typically more confrontational on social media, and often come off of it feeling angry or miserable. I hadn’t given the generational difference too much thought. Ten years ago, we adults were so worried that teenagers would misuse or abuse social media. We wanted to make sure that they were taught how to use social media responsibly. The problem is, we forgot to give that lesson to ourselves.

If I was 95% pessimistic about the future of our social media society, I would say after talking with Nolan that I’m now only 85% pessimistic. It will come down to whether the next generation will learn from all of the mistakes that we 21+ year olds have been making on Facebook and Twitter, or will they repeat the same dumb mistakes that we continue to make.*

Please enjoy this conversation, and feel free to share any topics that you feel are worthy of discussion.

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Posted by on Sep 10, 2020 in Blog, Essays, Personal, Politics, Travel | 0 comments

When They Stood Tall: Remembering the World Trade Center — Before 9/11

 

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Introduction:  It’s hard to believe it’s been nearly two decades.  Today marks the 19th anniversary of 9/11, a fitting time to look back and remember the World Trade Center before they collapsed on that terrible day.  Marieta and I visited the World Trade Center a few times.  We even went to the top of one of the towers about a year before the tragedy.  Today’s essay includes some photos which were taken during those visits.  These photos are all that remains.

 

Note:  For a broader perspective of what I witnessed at the Pentagon on the day of 9/11, read this personal recollection posted at my site a few years ago — REMEMBERING SEPTEMBER 11, 2011 AT THE PENTAGON

 

They were colossal….even by New York standards.

The twin towers.  So utterly unremarkable in design, yet so grandiose by sheer size and scope, weren’t just windows to the world.  They were extensions of our national character and pillars of America’s unequivocal stature as a global superpower.

Within sight of those two towers, the Statue of Liberty is often said to symbolize our national identity.  But the unruffled lady bearing a flaming torch is more of an idea, really.  Perhaps even a myth, given where we are and what we’ve become.  Rooted squarely within the planet’s financial epicenter, the World Trade Center arose as the true manifestation of a nation, an economy, and a people — imposing, bold, excessive, and unapologetic for it all.

Which is precisely why they were such inviting targets on that fateful day no one saw coming.

 

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I took this photo about a year before it happened.

The view from the top of the towers looking east towards Brooklyn was breathtaking.

Visitors rode express elevators from the ground floor to the observation decks.  One was inside.  Another was on the rooftop, outside.

 

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That’s Marieta off to the right of the frame.

Here’s another angle, of the view looking east, but angled more towards the south.  If you look carefully, you can see the tip of Manhattan Island starting to curve around, there off to the right side.  The World Trade Center was only a block or so away from the shore.  In fact, a landfill was added to part of the outer perimeter which allowed traffic to move more easily.  A park was also added near the waterfront.  Of course, that’s all gone now, or at least it’s been transformed.

 

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When we stepped inside Windows on the World, the famous restaurant perched on the 106th and 107th floor of the North Tower, this was the view looking out towards Hudson Bay.  There in the center of the photo where the golden sunset radiates off the water is Liberty Island, which provides the base of the Statue of Liberty.  You can barely see her proudly standing there in the glow of the sunshine.

 

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The twin towers standing so close side by side meant you could sometimes see people over in the other building.  Those working in offices were on display, but if you fear heights, like me, the view was dizzying.  Company executives with corner offices who by the very definition of where they worked had “made it.”  All strangers.  But in a very real sense, they were our friends and our family, too.

Watching someone over in the other tower, catching their eye, and waving was pretty amazing.  Seeing them wave back was a real joy.

I wonder what happened to some of those nice people who waved.  I wonder how many survived, and how many did not.

 

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The first thing that hits you when you step outside onto the observation deck at the World Trade Center is — the wind.

It’s windy.

Not like a breeze.  Not even gusts.  It just blows…..hard….all the time.

We went outside on a perfect day.  I can’t even imagine the difficulty of what it must have been like to do construction or maintenance work on the roof of these buildings.  The wind was brutal.

Here’s the view from the outer observation deck looking directly north, uptown on Manhattan Island.  Oddly enough, when being up this high it’s so far up one might lose any fear of heights.  It’s almost like flying.

 

After

Just about everyone connected in any way to the events of 9/11 had an opinion on what to do with the now-sacred site.  In the end, rich and powerful financiers do what they always do, which is to tear it all down, haul it away, and rebuild again.  The land beneath the bodies and rubble was far too valuable to be left simply, as is, which would have been the most appropriate tribute.

At the very least, part of the iconic outer skeleton of the World Trade Center should have been left intact, and then other buildings could have been built around it.  Something, at least, should have remained of those fallen towers, to remind us.  Something tangible.  Something people can see, and touch, and remember.

Now that those two platforms of such wonderfully unique perception are gone, we can no longer gaze out, reflect, and enjoy.  The purgatory between earth and sky stands no more.

 

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Posted by on Sep 6, 2020 in Blog, Essays, Politics, What's Left | 0 comments

What I Miss Most

 

 

America’s political crevasse has wrecked families and ruined friendships.

It’s tested our patience, made us question our values, caused us to rethink priorities, and utterly dominated every sector of our lives nearly to the breaking point of exhaustion.

This comes as a non-partisan observation. As you read on, I think people on the Left and the Right will be somewhat in agreement.

In recent years, I’ve witnessed friends and colleagues, who never expressed their political opinions before, becoming both outspoken and active. It’s as though fuses were lit. Passions exploded. This is true for Trump’s defenders and his critics.

I never thought before this ordeal that I’d ponder, let alone scribe, the statement which I’m about to make: I AM SICK OF POLITICS.

Now, to understand the gravity of that comment, you must understand that I have lived and breathed and inhaled and expectorated politics for all of my adult life. 36 years ago, I earned a degree in political science and later, worked in government for more than a decade. No matter which party ruled, or who was elected, my enthusiasm for the American political process, even with its many shortcomings, was heartfelt and genuine. And even after leaving politics in pursuit of other interests, in my spare time, I continued to read about current events and explore ideas. That was my hobby, but even that description doesn’t do the devotion justice.

Hence, I never thought I’d finally reach the stage of fatigue where I dreaded turning on the television each morning, for fear of the next and newest shock and scandal and the inevitability of another galactic battle between alternative universes of an opposite reality. I never thought I’d come to the point of reading books on political and social philosophy as nauseating. I never thought I’d reach the end of the path of what had been a roadway of insatiable curiosity to slamming into a cul-de-sac.

But now, here I am.

Over the next eight weeks, I am determined to work as hard as I possibly can and put everything within my soul into electing the people and party who I believe can best deliver something that’s vanished in recent years.

And that is — normalcy.

What I miss most is — normalcy.

Yeah, I want a revolution. I want big changes. I want the ideas I believe in to win. But this election isn’t about ideas or issues or ideology so much as it’s about normalcy versus pandamonium. Sanity versus chaos. Normal daily activities for ourselves versus fighting in the streets and ceaseless wars on social media.

If my preferred candidates win, does that mean the nation’s deep fissure of division will heal? Of course not. Division and arguments and debate and pain, perhaps lots of pain given the hole we’re in, will continue.

But for a few years, we might also get a break. A breather. A little normalcy. A bit more kindness. Fewer scandals. Less cruelty. More civility. I’m voting for that.

On or before Nov. 3rd, I’m voting for the thing I miss most — normalcy.

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Posted by on Aug 28, 2020 in Blog, Essays, Politics, What's Left | 0 comments

Who is This Man?

 

 

CAN YOU IDENTIFY THIS MAN?

Here are a few hints:

— He born on May 18, 1855, in Mount Morris, NY. He lived much of his life in Rome, NY.

— He became an active member of the First Baptist Church, where his father was a minister. He also became a minister and author.

— He once ran for the office of Governor of New York State, but lost.

— He was a self-described “Christian Socialist” who (in his own words) championed “the rights of working people and the equal distribution of economic resources,” which he believed was inherent in the teachings of Jesus.

— While speaking as a minister, he was once removed from the pulpit in Boston for preaching out against the evils of capitalism.

— Later in his life, he left the ministry and stopped attending church altogether, reportedly because of the racism he witnessed there.

— His career as a preacher ended because of his tendency to describe Jesus as a socialist. He taught classes with topics such as “Jesus the socialist,” “What is Christian Socialism?”, and “Socialism versus anarchy.”

— Today, he’s widely regarded as one of the most influential figures in the early American socialist movement.

 

So, who is this person?

His name is Francis Bellamy.

Who? So, what was he best known for?

FRANCIS BELLAMY wrote THE PLEDGE OF ALLEGIANCE. *

So, next time you think the principles of democratic socialism are anti-American, try this:  Say your pledge and remember the words and wisdom of its author.

 

Footnote:  Bellamy wrote the original Pledge of Allegiance, which did not contain the words, “under God.”  He believed in the absolute separation of church and state and did not include the phrase “under God” in his pledge, which was added in the 1950s, 25 years after Bellamy’s death.

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