Musings from George


1984 – Pence / anyone in 2017!
January 28, 2017, 10:17 am
Filed under: Foreign Policy, Nonprofit, Politics

From the NYT today (yes, I do):

For Ms. Goodwin, Mr. Trump’s week of reality distortions brought to mind Lincoln’s address to the Young Men’s Lyceum of Springfield, Ill., on Jan. 27, 1838, where he made an appeal to Enlightenment values as the best antidote to what he called the “mobocratic spirit.” “Reason — cold, calculating, unimpassioned reason — must furnish all the materials for our future support and defense,” he said.

“He was worrying about authoritarian behavior,” Ms. Goodwin said.

Many of us who precede the web thought that equal access to information would drive more intelligent conversations. We fell for the appealing illusion that everyone wanted to be better educated, and that an educated citizenry would be an enlightened citizenry. We felt sorry for those poor ignorant citizens repressed by rulers and fed a state-sponsored version of the truth. Citizens of the USSR didn’t know they were poor, aging alcoholics; North Koreans didn’t know they were starving. We though that the truth would make them free.

The joke’s on us. Trump has enlisted support (even begged for it on the air) from the Russian government to expose other’s truths, while refusing to reveal his own. His promise to release his tax returns if he got the nomination turned out to be as worthless as shares in his casino empire. His gag orders in settled law suits outnumber his properties, and his conflicts of interest radiate to many countries (notably, he has no business interests in the countries from which he banned immigrants; notable as well is that none of those countries were involved in 9/11, and the countries that *were* are not on the list).

So, what to do? Bloomberg suggests that residents of five states could make a huge difference by letting their Senators know that they need the health care delivered by ACA

Five Senators are willing to break with Trump on ACA. We need to contact all of them, and donate to all of them.

Bob Corker of Tennessee, 
Rob Portman of Ohio, 
Susan Collins of Maine, 
Bill Cassidy of Louisiana and 
Lisa Murkowski of Alaska 
Trump’s executive order denying funds for any organization that provides health care is equally disturbing. The best way to counter this is to donate to those very organizations. Here are a few that will be affected, give if you can “in memory of” Trump:
National Public Radio (and find your local affiliate and give there)
Doctors Without Borders (because they are where the bombs are falling)
While the rallies last weekend were reassuring, we woke up to #DopeyDonald and his flurry of ill-planned executive actions.
Last, we *must* support those who deserve justice for Trump’s past sexual misdeeds. The precedent was set by the Senate when they prosecuted Clinton. My outreach to Gloria Allred failed — if someone can convince her office to run a GoFundMe account to enable every woman who was (and will be) mistreated by Trump to seek justice, many of us would like to do our part. We don’t need Peter Thiel if we get enough well-intentioned people to act — Gawker was less offensive than Trump is and will be.

Former ‘Apprentice‘ contestant Summer Zervos filed a defamation suit in NYC Tuesday, claiming Trump defamed her when he publicly called her a liar, claimed the assault never happened and referred to her allegation as “totally made up nonsense.”

In the docs, obtained by TMZ, she also calls him out as a “sexual predator.”

The suit goes on to claim Trump used his platform as a presidential candidate to denigrate and verbally attack Zervos and other accusers.

She’s asking for a retraction and/or an apology, plus damages.

Zervos and her attorney, Gloria Allred, announced the lawsuit with a news conference … where she reiterated her claim Trump sexually assaulted her during a 2007 business meeting.

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Postcards from the Ledge
January 21, 2017, 10:04 am
Filed under: Uncategorized

While I choose not to go protest Trump’s ascension in public (did any good come from blocking Uber’s HQ or preventing commuters from going to work?), I am a flawed human who cannot find anything to be hopeful about in Trump’s words. His press conference was a train wreck, where he demonstrated that he cannot speak in complete sentences. His statements after meeting with knowledgable, respectable sources (including Obama and the generals soon to be in his cabinet) reveal how little #DopeyDonald has actually thought about real issues facing the US today. Ignorant about what Obamacare actually is, unaware of our nuclear assets, blind to the complexities of the relationship between Taiwan and China (yes, it takes more than 140 characters to capture that complexity).

So, we are each tasked with the difficult decision as to whether we want to actively oppose our new president or if we trust in democracy and sit silently. As an old white guy, it is easy to take the approach of “not my problem”. Yet how can we not hear these words from Martin Niemöller echoing from 1937, when he was arrested for protesting the ascension of the Nazis (they too enjoyed 32% support in the polls of their citizens):

When the Nazis came for the communists,
I remained silent;
I was not a communist.

When they locked up the social democrats,
I remained silent;
I was not a social democrat.

When they came for the trade unionists,
I did not speak out;
I was not a trade unionist.

When they came for the Jews,
I remained silent;
I wasn’t a Jew.

When they came for me,
there was no one left to speak out.

So, #DonaldPorkPie, you have divided and insulted the vast majority of our nation. Rather than the broad brush used by your opponent (“deplorables” doesn’t deserve its own hashtag), you have singled out Muslims, Hispanics, war heroes, Hollywood stars. You doubled down by insulting the parents of a slain soldier, several sitting Senators and a handful of sitting Congressmen, a disabled reporter, and citizens brazen enough to challenge you for the highest public office.

#DodgerDonald has broken with tradition in so many ways, and many enjoyed the lack of common courtesy and the rejection of political correctness so much that they are willing to overlook the many troubling things he has said. #GropyDonald on tape, celebrating sexual assault AT WORK … Bush got fired, and Trump should have been fired too (he was at work that day).

#LyingDonald hides behind an audit to say he can’t release his tax returns, while everyone knows that is patently false — the IRS is not restricting him from doing so. #CheatingDonald deducted a billion dollars from his tax bill that … wait for it … were not his dollars. He borrowed and spent a billion dollars of other people’s money, then cheated to declare that a loss on his taxes. #FraudulentTrump should be locked up, just as Al Capone was, for tax evasion.

Ignorance is not a virtue. Tweeting hateful and divisive things is not a skill. Breaking glass when you have never glazed a window in your life is just destructive — Trump’s new campaign promises are all about what he is NOT going to do (he will not enforce Obama’s policies, he will revoke rules to protect the environment, he will pull out of trade deals). These are the actions of an obstructionist and Luddite. What does he actually want to build? A wall. And he can’t even make that happen.

The powerful forces that prevented Obama from closing Guantanamo are now arrayed to thwart #PowerlessDonald. Congress won’t pay for a wall, and Mexicans laugh every time it comes up (build a thirty foot wall, and they will build a thirty-one foot ladder). What does #OrangeToughy plan to do about Guantanamo, Syria, ISIS, and the loss of jobs to automation? He has given no indication.

#DandyDonald now owns the broken glass of health care, and chooses instead to celebrate 2,700 manufacturing jobs that are staying or being created (Macy’s will lay off 10,000 workers before those manufacturing jobs are staffed — Obama created more than 2700 jobs every day of his administration). Ford, Carrier, and GM did not reverse course because of an election, they gave in to coercion and $700M in tax incentives and payments. We can’t afford to buy jobs for $200K each that pay $40K … but #DummyDonald is not an economist or mathematician, and he doesn’t even play one on TV.

People say that #DandyDonald is deeply tied in with #PowermadPutin. People say that his empire is riddled with Mob ties. People say that Melania is the real Manchurian candidate, deployed years ago with a plot straight out of Orwell’s 1984 (her secret was safe, since Trump doesn’t read books … only right-wing and alt-white blogs).

My virtual poster, which I am not holding aloft in Washington DC or San Jose today: “Trump is what happens in a democracy when people stay home.” And for now, he is our President. I last felt this sense of alienation when #43 was re-elected in 2004, understanding that so many in America don’t have the same dreams and hopes that I do.



I just can’t keep quiet – Trump is a buffoon
January 21, 2017, 12:42 am
Filed under: Politics, Uncategorized

Others are more poetic, others are better spoken. But I feel the need to try to capture my emotional state right now, with Donald Trump’s ascendancy.

I fully understand that Hillary Clinton lost, and I understand why. She has none of Obama’s charisma, and is dragging a semitrailer full of baggage from her three decades of public service followed by eight years at the feeding trough of celebrity (huge speaker fees and the Clinton Foundation = wow, you are so 1 percent).

But today, a uniquely unqualified man ascended to the most powerful position in the world. Donald J Trump, of  #DaffyDonald / #DeceitfulDonald / #DodgerDonald (something is going to stick) is now our President.

Canada gets a good-looking, young, athletic political scion. We get a sclerotic, weirdly orange-hued misogynist who supposedly would have kept his second and third wives (yes, they were from countries with Islamic troubles) from coming to America. I can overlook the sex tapes of Melania in eastern Europe (we have all had bad jobs), and I can overlook the gag order that Trump forced on Invanka. But … not publishing your income taxes, and not even pretending to comply with guidelines from the ethics office? Really? How absurd is that.

So, I’ll go Trump. His wife worked in the US without a work visa (breaking the law) — she should be deported (no amnesty, right?). Many of his employees are illegal immigrants, and we should enforce the legal penalties  … (wait for it) … against the EMPLOYER. Trump and Mar-el-Lago should be sued by the INS. Tax evasion is a crime, and there’s a reason Trump has been audited every year since 1995 … he is a crook, and he took tax deductions for others’ losses (he should have to repay). Let’s drag his lies out into the light. Bill Clinton was impeached over less than truthful statements he gave in depositions about his sexual wanderings — let’s multiply by twelve and invite #GropyDonald and #GrabPussyDonald to the party. Maybe we can “speed-date” with the ten plus women who have accused him of impropriety, and they can split Gloria Allred’s legal fees (contingent, of course).

And last, let’s explain the difference between conflict of interest (which the constitution says cannot exist for a president) and THE APPEARANCE of a conflict of interest, which #LittleFistDonald appears not to recognize. 2017 lawsuits may have to stick to emoluments, but voters are very attuned to APPEARANCE. That explains #DopeyDonald’s cratered approval ratings right now. #DinosaurArmsDonald can’t reach the check, so we just have to sit and watch him wave his paws.

We have insisted on much higher standards of performance and behavior from our past public servants (notably John Kerry and Hillary Clinton), and it is time for the current powers-that-be (all Republican) to hold their own party to the SAME STANDARDS they insisted on for the last eight years. Make #theDonald share his tax returns before you vote for a single motion that he proposes. Else, you own it suckers.

Yes, we expect more. See you in 2020 either way!



Stumbling towards misery
January 5, 2017, 10:58 pm
Filed under: Foreign Policy, Politics

We all know that elections have consequences, and many of us have been waiting for the Trump shoe to drop. It is hard to react to Tweets, since many contradict each other and are intentionally vague. But it is clear that we have elected a petulant buffoon who is going to antagonize our potential allies with his 140-character burps late every night. It is hard to accept that the leader of the free world views Julian Assange as a more credible source than … the heads of every US intelligence office.

Trump has chosen to antagonize just about everyone, except Putin. He has insulted career diplomats and intelligence officials, fought against the party establishment, and pissed on just about every precedent from modern history (1. Keep your mouth shut during the transition; 2. Treat those in power with some respect; 3. Accept decades of established wisdom in China and Israel until you really have a plan). It is time to say … gee, Donald, until we see your tax returns and understand your conflicts of interest we are going to oppose you every step of the way.

How can anyone accept Trump’s assertion that Julian Assange (a traitor, liar, and fugitive) could be the source of information so valuable that Trump can say “I know things no one else knows!”? The clown elected to lead the circus is now bringing out the spotted dog and calling him a hyena. We know Assange is a duplicitous traitor LIVING IN RUSSIA, protected by Putin. How can anyone (even a buffoon) think that this exiled traitor is a more reliable source than the many paid professional intelligence officers in the US government?

It is time to be afraid of Trump, and to figure out what opposition is most effective and least disrespectful. Here are a few suggestions:

  1. A wealthy American could choose to fund every suspended lawsuit against Trump ever filed. Bonus points for buying the true story behind any settlement with a gag clause (where Trump pays someone like Ivanka not to tell her side of the story);
  2. Gloria Allred should file twelve sexual assault charges tomorrow. The Republicans established the precedent with Bill Clinton (a sitting President who had to sit for depositions over Paula Jones), and the Democrats need to develop the guts to use the same razor against Trump.
  3. FORCE Trump to reveal his taxes. Offer a reward to Guccifer or Assange for posting recent Trump taxes online, even if he trusts them to couriers with wax seals … someone has them.
  4. FORCE Trump to divest his holdings, or sue him (more precisely every member of his extended family) every day for conflict of interest. Each meeting with a foreign leader should result in a new lawsuit; each seat at the meeting with Silicon Valley titans should have been rented out at $400M per seat, the Trumps owe $1.6B (and are again, bankrupt).

That’s all the anger I can muster tonight. Trumps BS this week about his secret sources and insider knowledge being revealed as Assange is a bridge too far. Who can defend this buffoon, and why do they keep trying? I really hope that he collapses like Sarah Palin did, and just resigns so we can move forward without him.

Hoping for the best, preparing for the worst-

George