#286 Diversion: Can We Talk Evolution?

Readers: this blog is set in the future (sometime after the year 2020). Each entry assumes there has been a 5th revolution in the US — the Revenge Revolution. More about the Revenge Revolution and author, Entry #1. List and general description of entries to date.

Note: most entries are formatted as conversations. Characters appear in a number of entries, with many entries building on previous conversations. Profile of characters (see link at top of page). You’ll catch on quickly. Thanks for your time and interest…and comments.

Scene: Greenie, JC and Jordan having lunch near Jordan’s office in Washington, DC

Jordan:  “Greenie, glad you could break away for lunch.  You can protect me from your buddy here.”

092615_2031_Characters2.jpgGreenie:  “Now, Jordan.  Yes, it’s nice to see you but when did you need protection?  Has JC been harassing poor little Jordie?”

JC:  “See, Jordan.  You’re far too sensitive…and taking yourself way too seriously.  You need to get out of Washington more often.  You’re starting to act like some of those people in Congress.”

Jordan:  “Alright guys.  Enough kvetching.  What are we going to talk about over lunch?  What about…”

Greenie:  “…excuse me but if you were going to suggest discussing progress on my articles on the Revenge Revolution, please don’t.  I need a break.”

Jordan:  “OK, then what?”

092615_2031_Characters1.jpgJC:  “You want something far out…no pun intended.”

Jordan:  “Such as…and what pun?”

JC:  “Evolution.”

Greenie:  “Since when did you become the scientist?”

JC:  “Think about it?”

Greenie:  “Think about what, Ms. Einstein?”

JC:  “How could species evolve from a bunch of elements?  And how did the universe get started?

albert-einsteinJordan:  “Greenie, maybe Ms. Einstein is on to something.  I’ve never really bought into the Big Bang Theory.  Understand the theory but what I can’t figure out is where did the matter come from?”

JC:  “See, this might be interesting.  Where did all that stuff come from?  Nothing just doesn’t go bang.  Nothing had to be something before it went bang.”

Greenie:  “So, if you need something in order to have it go bang, then who or what provided the something?  Little green men?  ET’s friends?”

StarsJordan:  “Green is not my color.  I like ET’s friends better.  Seriously…if that’s possible with this group…I’ve always been fascinated by the number of stars.  Now after the Hubble telescope, we know there are even more billions of stars and millions, if not billions of galaxies.”

JC:  “And, if you believe in the tooth fairy, out of those billions and billions, earth is the only place where life exists.  Right.  Take another hit on that joint.”

Greenie:  “How does all this link to evolution?”

JC:  “Evolution, at least on earth, may not be so random.  What if we’re a science experiment of one of ET’s buddies?”

Jordan:  “If evolution is part of a science experiment, it explains a lot.”

Greenie:  “How?”

ETJordan:  “We know…let me rephrase that…there appear to be more than three dimensions.  We don’t know exactly how many but let’s say there are five dimensions.”

JC:  “So ET’s buddies could be operating in all five dimensions while we’re operating only in three.  And…”

Greenie:  “…Let me try.  We know time is relative.  A billion years to us might be 10 years to ET.  Like a gnat’s life is three days by our standards but maybe 100 years by gnat standards.”

Jordan:  “Keep going.”

Petri DishGreenie:  “One of ET’s buddies has this experiment.  And as part of that experiment there is a giant petri dish called earth.  ET’s buddy puts of few drops of something in the dish and things start to grow.”

JC:  “After a while some of the amoebas get bigger and eat other amoebas.  Over more time other amoebas take on different shapes and new flavors of amoebas evolve.”

Jordan:  “After who knows how long, the “generic man” amoeba evolves.”

Greenie:  “All this seems sort of weird, doesn’t it?  We’re an experiment in ET’s buddy’s petri dish.”

JC:  “Weird, yes, but have you got a better explanation?  Plus, who’s going believe this idea anyway?”

TurtleneckJordan:  “Does it really matter who believes it?  Probably not.  However, more people might be closer to believing it than we think.  I find it very interesting that when you look at the core beliefs of a bunch of different religions, there always seems to be some ‘super-power’ of sorts at the top.”

JC:  “And a belief in that ‘super-power’ makes life less complicated, right?”

Jordan:  “Yes, it seems to.”

JC:  “By the way, Jordan does this mean you’ve given up religion for a petri dish?  Next time we have lunch are you going to order a BLT?”

Jordan:  “You’re funny, JC.  No, religion is still very important. At a very minimum it provides great guidelines and boundaries.  And no BLT, unless its turkey bacon.”

Greenie:  “Whew, beginning to wonder about you, too.   C’mon, you really like turkey bacon?”

(End of discussion on evolution…at least for now.)    




#285 Why Is Banning Assault Weapons a 2nd Amendment Issue?

Readers: this blog is set in the future (sometime after the year 2020). Each entry assumes there has been a 5th revolution in the US — the Revenge Revolution. More about the Revenge Revolution and author, Entry #1. List and general description of entries to date.

Note: most entries are formatted as conversations. Characters appear in a number of entries, with many entries building on previous conversations. Profile of characters (see link at top of page). You’ll catch on quickly. Thanks for your time and interest…and comments.

Scene: JC and Jordan ordering coffee at shop near Jordan’s office in Washington.

Clerk to Jordan: “Hi Bubbles, the usual?”

Jordan:  “Yes, please.  And JC, what do you want?”

092615_2031_Characters1.jpgJC:  “Grande, medium roast.”

——– Have coffee and find table —————-

JC:  “OK, you’ve got to tell me.  Where’d the name ‘Bubbles’ come from?  You leading some kind of secret life none of us know about?”

Jordan:  “Nothing that exciting.  When I started coming here regularly, I asked them to top off the coffee…since I don’t take cream.  One day when they put on the lid, some bubbles oozed out of the drink hole and onto the lid.”

Coffee cup and lidJC:  “And, so what?”

Jordan:  “That’s what I said, ‘So what?’  But apparently some customers are very picky and ask for a new lid if any bubbles ooze out.”

JC:  “So you, poking fun at those who take themselves too seriously, begin asking for bubbles, right?”

Jordan:  “And, voila, I became known as ‘Bubbles.’”

JC:  “Well, Bubbles, I think we’re going to have company.  An old friend of yours.”

Jordan:  “Hi, Sandy.  Long time, no see.  Have a seat, if you want.”

092615_2031_Characters8.gifSandy:  “Hi, Jordan.  If I recall, it’s JC, right?”

JC:  “Yes.”

Sandy:  “I really shouldn’t sit with you, Jordan.  I’m still mad at you.”

Jordan:  “For what?”

Sandy:  “Your efforts to overturn the 2nd Amendment and take away all our guns.”

Jordan:  “C’mon, Sandy, I never supported overturning the 2nd Amendment.”

AR-15Sandy:  “Sure you did.  You wanted to ban the sale of all assault weapons…and even make owning one illegal.”

JC:  “Excuse me, but you please help me understand something?”

Sandy:  “What would you like to understand?”

JC:  “How a ban on owning an assault weapon affecst rights under the 2nd Amendment?  I’m missing the link.”

Sandy:  “Because the ban was the first step toward a total ban on owning any weapons…and another major step toward a socialist state.”

JC:  “Sandy, let’s be serious, please.  No more NRA hype.  Remember there’s been a Revenge Revolution and the US political landscape is different now.”

Sandy:  “But you don’t understand.”

ComplicatedJC:  “You’re right.  I don’t understand.  The assault ban still allowed ownership of all kinds of hunting rifles, shotguns, pistols.  I’m not a hunter but why would you need an assault rifle to kill a deer?  Where’s the sport in that?  Maybe we should arm the deer.  That would make it more fun.”

Jordan:  “She’s right…well, maybe not about giving guns to the deer.  From your perspective, what was the real issue?  No civilian needs an AR-15.”

Sandy:  “Need assault rifles for protection.  That was the issue.”

Jordan:  “Protection from what?  You and I both know there’s no ad hoc civilian group, no matter how well armed, that has any chance against the military.  So really, what’s the heartache over the ban?”


Sandy:  “Well, you didn’t support protecting schools by arming teachers either.  Don’t you like kids?”

JC:  “Oh, Sandy, Sandy, please.  You don’t need to pretend to be a talking head on Fox or a politician who changes the subject and tries to blame someone else when he can’t answer the question.  What was the real issue?”

Jordan:  “Let’s take your comment about wanting to arm teachers…and even putting barricades around schools.”

Sandy:  “Good.  Now you’re talking some sense.”

Jordan:  “Tell me, what would either arming teachers or fortifying schools prevent?”

Sandy:  “Mass killings at schools.  Protecting our kids.  Why don’t you like kids?”

JC:  “He likes kids.  I need to understand what’s going to stop a shooter from hiding across the street from the school?  Or even sitting in the car and then shooting a bunch of kids when school lets out?”

Jordan:  “The shooter could also just fire a few rounds, blow out a window and then have a whole classroom of targets.”

JC:  “Jordan, that’s gross.”

Jordan:  “Gross, yes, but anyone with some infantry training in the military…and Sandy has more experience than I have…knows how to take out a bunch of people quickly, especially with an assault rifle.”

Sandy:  “Are you saying there’s no way to protect these school kids?”

Jordan:  “What I’m saying is a mass killing is much easier with an assault weapon.  And that’s the reason I opposed any ownership of assault weapons outside the military.”

Sandy:  “The ban won’t stop killing.”

JC:  “Oh boys.  Sandy, I think everyone agrees that the ban is not a silver bullet, as it were.  Some mass killings will continue to happen as long as there are so many guns around.”

Seat beltsSandy:  “So why have a ban on owning assault weapons?”

JC:  “To help reduce the number of killings.  Here’s a comparison.  Mandating seat belts and air bags in cars and trucks didn’t eliminate some people dying in wrecks.  But as a result of the mandate, there have been far fewer deaths.  Got it?”

#283 Creating Clarity from Chaos (Part 2)

Readers: this blog is set in the future (sometime after the year 2020). Each entry assumes there has been a 5th revolution in the US — the Revenge Revolution. More about the Revenge Revolution and author, Entry #1. List and general description of entries to date.

Commentary: The last two week’s entries are a bit different — a personal dialogue.  No characters.  No scenes in coffee shops or in the office.  Just personal dialogue.

At the end of Entry #282, I gave no hint about a recommendation for reducing gun violence in America.  The vagueness was intentional, in part, because I wanted to: (i) think through my ideas; (ii) recognize possible meaningful actions at the state or Federal level during the then upcoming week.

Yes, I know one week does not a trend make.  But this past week helped solidify, at least for me, what action needs to be taken.

AR-15First, it appears more and more people are realizing what the military and gun enthusiasts have known for some time – the AR-15 is not a sport rifle, is not a hunting rifle but is an assault weapon designed for killing as many people as possible in as short a time as possible.

My conclusion and recommendation: sale and ownership of AR-15’s and similar military-grade weapons need to be banned.  The ban would apply to new sales through dealers or between private individuals.  Further ownership of any AR-15 (and other designated weapons) would be banned.  No grandfathering.

Weapons currently in private hands would be returned to authorities for disposal.  Owners would receive some compensation for turning in the weapons.  Those not turning in designated weapons would be subject to a felony conviction and losses of rights associated with such a conviction.

The only sales of AR-15’s and other designated weapons would be to the military.  An attempted sale of such weapons to any other individual or entity would carry an automatic felony conviction and void any compensation for turning in the weapon.

ComplicatedWhy such a harsh recommendation?  First and foremost, these type weapons are not needed outside the military.  For those who insist on firearms to protect self and/or property, hunting rifles, shotguns and pistols are more than adequate.  For hunters, using AR-15’s is hardly sport, even if hunting elephants, lions, tigers or bears, which you shouldn’t be doing anyway.

Aside from the lack of need for these type weapons, I am recommending the approach because compromise will not begin to solve the underlying problem of ownership of military weapons in civilian hands.  This baby cannot be cut in half.

The NRA and the hard right have such a warped sense of reality on this issue that a compromise would only migrate efforts to reduce gun violence from outlandishly unworkable to extremely unworkable.  The NRA’s approach to any effort to address the problem is to offer No Rational Alternative.

ReaganBanning assault weapons is not unprecedented.  Beginning in 1994 Federal law banned the sales of newly manufactured assault weapons.  Former presidents Gerald Ford, Jimmy Carter, and Ronald Reagan, wrote to the U.S. House of Representatives in support of banning “semi-automatic assault guns”. The law passed with bi-partisan support.  Congress let the law expire in 2004.

The law had many loopholes, which reduced potential effectiveness.  Part of the justification for not renewing the ban in 2004 was the lack of clear evidence that crime had been reduced.  Well, I’ll tell you what.  Put enough loopholes in any kind of regulation and people will find a way around the regulation, thereby negating its intended purpose.   The justufucation for not renewing the ban seems as ill-conceived as using a sieve for a drinking cup and wondering why you can’t get much water.

The NRA and hard right, as both are prone to do, have created alternative universes to help justify their position.  The interpretation of the Second Amendment is a good example of an alternative universe.

What is the wording of the Second Amendment?    “A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shaConstitutionll not be infringed.”

Why was the Second Amendment added to the Constitution?  At the time the US had a very small standing Army, debt from the Revolutionary War was high, and the Federal government had very limited resources and virtually no taxing power.  To have an effective militia meant that the states and its residents needed to comprise most of the troops (think today’s National Guard.)  In addition, there was concern about defending the country against a foreign invasion (e.g., war with the British didn’t end until the War of 1812) and individuals settling the west were fighting Native Americans.

Rifle Flint LockIn that context, the Second Amendment seems perfectly logical.  Guys, get it?  The regular citizens of the country made up the military when the Constitution was written.  And, if you’re a strict “Constitutionalist” and interpret the Constitution as originally written, the weapons were single-shot flint locks, not AR-15’s.

Look, if you want to get your jollies and fire AR-15’s, 30-calibre and/or 50-calibre machine guns, toss hand grenades and other things that go boom, then join the Army or Marines.  You might feel a little differently after you’re the target of someone firing these weapons.  Not quite as much fun.

Does the proposed ban on military-grade weapons have a chance of passage?  What about those who believe that a ban on these type weapons is only the first step of many that will allow the Federal government to take complete control of one’s life.  Out with the democracy and in with socialism.

House of RepsGet serious conservatives.  If you understood government, you might realize that you already live in a country where the government allows you basic rights.  That piece of property you think you own?  Your right to ownership is a function of government.  The freedom to travel?  That freedom is a function of government.  Hate to burst your conservative bubble, but the freedoms that you have are because the government lets you have those freedoms.

David Brooks, a conservative op-ed columnist for the New York Times, recently suggested that to make progress closing the gap on certain social issues we need to respect the other side’s point of view.  I agree…and on most issues I think the approach will work.  On the issue of working to reduce gun violence and why recognizing that ease of access to and ownership of assault rifles is a major contributing factor, I’ve tried to listen, as have many others.  But when you’re dealing with people whose position has no rational support…and dealing with people who are even unwilling to discuss the issues, I say, David, in this case you’re wrong.

The ultimate insult to rational people came this past week when many in the NRA and on the hard right claimed the students at the Parkland, FL high school where 17 fellow students and teachers died, were not students but paid actors.  Sure Rushman.  17 people get killed.  Some students protest because adults are either too lazy or too stupid or too brainwashed by you, Fox and others, to take no action.  And you have the gall to claim the students are phony?  No, Rushman, you’re the phony.  The kids have guts.

Hey Hey LBJI hope these students ask their grandparents to coach them about how the grandparent protested the Vietnam War.  Then the kids can go to Washington, march in front of the White House and chant, “Hey, hey, Donald J!  How many kids did you kill today?”

The students are the future of this country.  Rather than mock them, we should support them.

Where does that leave us?  Given the rigidity of the right and the No-Reasonable-Alternative NRA, the only significant step that I can think of to begin to change the culture of gun ownership and to begin reducing gun-related violence is to ban the manufacture, sale and ownership by non-military personnel or entities of all military-grade weapons.  With the ban, no one’s right to own a weapon for hunting, sport or defense will be affected.  Folks, we need only one military.

#282 Seeking Clarity from Chaos (Part 1)

Readers: this blog is set in the future (sometime after the year 2020). Each entry assumes there has been a 5th revolution in the US — the Revenge Revolution. More about the Revenge Revolution and author, Entry #1. List and general description of entries to date.

Commentary: This week’s entry is a bit different — a personal dialogue.  No characters.  No scenes in coffee shops or in the office.  Just personal dialogue.

What can anyone say to help clarify the chaos we’re living in?  While nothing seems appropriate or triuly meaningful, let me provide some perspective on a couple of issues.

I skipped an entry last week to work on two proposals: (i) help improve air quality by reducing emissions from aircraft; (ii) complete development of a remarkably simple micro-utility system that can help provide clean water and electricity to people worldwide.  I had drafted comments about Trump’s stupid idea to have a military parade down Pennsylvania Avenue but decided the comments were far less important than the proposals that could offer society some potential benefit.

abraham_lincoln_clip_art_15515Then came the week of February 12, 2018.  The week started with some people celebrating the birth of a truly great president…Abraham Lincoln.  The rest of the week, however, was mind-numbing blur of events…at least mind-numbing by pre-Trump standards.

The least mind-numbing was that Trump paid…excuse me, Trump’s lawyer paid an adult film star $130,000 to keep quiet about an affair with the Donald.  Just stop and think about the lawyer’s admission.  The to-be president had an affair with a porn star.  The affair started just after the current First Lady gave birth.  OK, so it’s not the first time a president has stepped out on his wife…but stepped out with a well-known a porn star? I mean really.  The Donald must have been seeking professional advice about sex that also included frequent practice sessions.

And why did the lawyer claim that he paid the porn star out of his own pocket with no reimbursement from Trump?  C’mon, such bologna.  The lawyer probably squawked because the Donald didn’t pay him back.

RosensteinThe week ended with indictments of 13 Russians and a couple of Russian-run companies for meddling in the 2016 elections.  So when the indictments were announced, how did the White House respond? Praise for the Justice Department?  Condemnation of Russian interference in the elections?  Nope.  Only a claim there was no collusion between the Trump campaign and the Russians since the indictments indicated the meddling started before Trump formally declared his candidacy.

If the White House only were staffed with people who had graduated from eight grade rather than just kindergarten.  Did anyone in the White House with half a brain listen to what Rob Rosenstein said?  The indictment was specific to a certain segment of Russian interference in the elections.  There was a strong implication in Rosenstein’s remarks of other indictments to come and those indictments would include a different set of characters.

GallowsThe Donald and his incompetents club are not close to being off the hook.  Truth is Mueller didn’t exonerate Trump but tightened the noose a notch or two.

Either event – porn star or the indictments – could have toppled an administration in “normal” times.  But life in Washington and America after Trump – aka, AT – is anything but normal.  (And the new “not-normal”-normal is why the country is headed for its fifth revolution, the Revenge Revolution.)

What’s most disappointing in the AT era is not the behavior of the Donald.  Anyone mildly familiar with his past knew he was boorish, childish and incredibly insecure…although maybe not to the extremes of today.  To understand Trump, all one had to do was visit Trump Tower on 5th Avenue.  A perfect reflection of his personality.

goofy006So what’s most disappointing then is the behavior of Republicans in Congress.  And if you’re a hard-core Republican reading this, please no attempted counters that the Democrats are at fault.  Pal, Republicans control the House, Senate and the White House.  What more do you want?  Yet, the Republicans seem clueless…and have stopped thinking.  Did Trump suck out your brains so you can no longer think…and then take your morals along with the brains?

The lack of brains and morals was vividly displayed this week following the killing of 17 students and teachers in Broward County, FL. Look, I know the president is supposed to try to console the nation in times of such tragedies.  That’s not going to happen with the Donald.

So the job falls to those next in the line of succession.  Starting with the first in line, VP Mike Pence.  Did I miss something or did Pence seem to find some place to hide after his gigantic diplomatic faux pas at the Olympics.  Hey, Mike, if you can shake hands and support some real a-hole dictators elsewhere in the world, you can at least shake hands with the sister of a guy who has nuclear weapons and might be willing to use them on his neighbors and the US.  In case you don’t know it, talking to an enemy doesn’t cause people to die.  War is ugly and costly.

FartSpeaker of the House Paul Ryan was talking out of his you-know-what, babbling incoherently about the usual Republican talking points – enforce the gun laws on the books, help the mentally ill and oh, yes, the Second Amendment is sacred.  Oops, I almost forgot, we need to pray for the families of the people killed.  While not next in line, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell repeated the meaningless drivel.

So, Republicans, where’s your spine…and your brains?  Here’s how the real world works.  Guns kill people.  Understand?  It’s not complicated.  One more time – guns kill people.

AR-15Guns are designed for one purpose…and one purpose only – to kill.  What’s more, weapons designed for the military – AR-15-like weapons – are designed to kills lots of people quickly.

For those gun supporters who have never been in the military, I suggest you watch a demonstration of the fire power that can be laid down by weapons carried by soldiers in a light-infantry unit.  The amount of firepower is breathtaking.

After you’ve been wowed by the demonstration, imagine yourself on the receiving end of all that firepower.  Yes, imagine yourself trying to get away and survive or even return the fire.  Let me tell you, if you’re up against anyone with a limited amount of military training in the light infantry, you don’t have a chance.  And having a bunch of people around with concealed weapons will make little difference…and could make your chances of survival much worse.

The more concealed weapons with the public, the more the shooter will position himself like the shooter in Las Vegas – barricaded and protected against return fire.  Argue all you want that more guns in the public’s hands actually save lives…but your arguments Airplanedon’t hold water.  As awful and frightful as this sounds…and it is…I could go to a gun show and buy weapons that allow me to shoot down a commercial airliner.  What’s even worse, at most major airports I could position myself outside the perimeter of airport security and still be able to take down the airliner.  Scary isn’t it.

So what’s the solution?  (Continued)     

#281 Trump Gets Annual Checkup with Board of Directors (Part 3 of 3)

Readers: this blog is set in the future (sometime after the year 2020). Each entry assumes there has been a 5th revolution in the US — the Revenge Revolution. More about the Revenge Revolution and author, Entry #1. List and general description of entries to date.

Note: most entries are formatted as conversations. Characters appear in a number of entries, with many entries building on previous conversations. Profile of characters (see link at top of page). You’ll catch on quickly. Thanks for your time and interest…and comments.

Scene: Jordan’s office in Washington, DC. Conversation begins Entry #279

Board Member: “Mr. Trump, you just said you’ve accomplished more than any CEO in the history of this company. Just what do you think you’ve accomplished?”

Me FirstTrump: “The list is tremendous…very long, very long. For one thing employment is higher than it’s ever been. Just look at all the new employees we’ve added this past year. Tremendous, right?”

Board Member: “Well, let’s put your claim in perspective. Just so we are talking apples to apples, what was the percentage increase in employment?”

Trump: “Apples, schmaples, I deal in numbers. Who worries about percentages anyway? Figuring out percentages is too complicated…and misleading.”

Board of DirectorsBoard Member: “So you want to compare the number of employees added this past year to employment say 20-30 years ago when the company was much smaller. Did I understand you correctly?”

Trump: “Look, I know I’m a winner. No one else is better than I am. Why are you always challenging what I say? You should jump on my wagon. What’s wrong with you anyway?”

Board Member: “The Board challenges your claims because you have a history of lying and cheating.”

Trump: “Says who? Tell me who said that. I’ll fire the SOB.”

Board Member: “We know you’ve lied about the results of the company. We also want to talk about lying in your personal life. Your actions do not reflect well on the company.”

Trump: “Whadda mean? My personal life is clean as a whistle. I’m a germaphobe, you know.”

Trump Stormy 2Board Member: “Is it true you had an affair with an adult film star?”

Trump: “You mean Stormy? That was no long-term affair. Just a fling. Besides being with her was educational. When I want to learn something new, I go to an expert…and trust me, Stormy is an expert.”

Board Member: “Calling Miss Daniels an expert might be the most honest statement you’ve made while CEO of this company.”

Trump: “I know she’s an expert because she’s expensive. I mean really expensive.”

Board Member: “Mr. Trump…”

Trump: “Why do you keep calling me Mr. Trump? I’m the president and CEO of this company. You should address me as Mr. President. I deserve it. Understand?”

Deutsche BankBoard Member: “Like I said, Mr. Trump, could you please explain your relationship with Deutsche Bank?”

Trump: “What relationship?”

Board Member: “We know you have a relationship with them. Why did you select Deutsche Bank?”

Trump: “Because none of the a-hole US banks would lend me money. Those banks are all filled with liberals.”

Board Member: “Excuse me but the banking industry is hardly filled with liberals. Did the US banks refuse to lend you money because you stiffed them? Refused because you defaulted on loans several times?”

trump-scowlTrump: “All those bankruptcies were not my fault. If the other partners had just…”

Board Member: “…Pardon me for interrupting but weren’t all those projects managed by the Trump organization? And didn’t all the properties have Trump as part of their name?”

Trump: “There you go again, trying to blame me for something I had nothing to do with. When’s this witch hunt going to end?”

Board Member: “So the Trump projects fail and declare bankruptcy…at least six as I recall. And when the projects go BK, the banks get stiffed. Then when you want to start another project, the US banks say ‘no thanks’ so you turn to Deutsche Bank. Just what did Deutsche Bank get in return for lending you money?”

traitorTrump: “A decent interest rate. You know what a tough negotiator I am.  The other guy always loses.”

Board Member: “Please, Mr. Trump, we’re not that naïve. After all those BK’s, you were in no position to negotiate anything. We know you’re not a reader and would rather watch TV. I assume you’ve seen the movie the ‘Godfather’?”

Trump: “One of my favorites.”

CorleoneBoard Member: “Well, when people came to the Don…not you, the head of the Corleone Family…they were in no position to negotiate terms. The Corleone’s always ended up with more than what you label a ‘decent return.’”

Trump: “If you’re so smart, tell me what do you think Deutsche Bank got?”

Board Member: “Earlier in this conversation you said your involvement with Deutsche Bank included laundering money.”

Money LaunderingTrump: “’Laundering money’ was a slip of the tongue. I corrected myself.”

Board Member: “Based on the fines assessed against Deutsche Bank for laundering money…and some other information we’ve secured about your finances…it was no slip of the tongue.”

Trump: “Prove it.”

Board Member: “Want us to show you the evidence? One thing you need to understand, FBI LogoMr. Trump, we know how you are obsessed with trying to appear wealthy. So part of our investigation included following the money trail. If you’d like we can take our findings to the FBI or IRS.”

Trump: “Liberal organizations…and unfair to American patriots like me.”

Board Member: “You’re leaving us no choice, Mr. Trump. The Board has made a decision.”

Trump KingTrump: “I don’t care what the Board thinks. You’re supposed to do what I say, not what you want to do. You’re supposed to be loyal to me. I’m the king…I mean president and CEO.”

Board Member: “No, Mr. Trump, you are not king…and now you are no longer president. You’re fired.”

Trump: “But you can’t…”

Board Member: “Mr. Trump, your next decision is to step down quietly or face likely prosecution for you, some of your staff and some family members. Your choice.”
Jordan: “Gelly, I finished the memo. Thanks for giving it to me.”

092615_2031_Characters7.gifGelly: “Your predictions were pretty accurate.”

Jordan: “Trump chose to fight, which was a big mistake on his part. His ego got in the way. He just couldn’t leave so the FBI ended up taking him out.”

Gelly: “Do you think the Revenge Revolution could have been avoided if Clinton had won the election? She really won but didn’t win the Electoral College. You know what I mean.”

TurtleneckJordan: “I know what you mean. My answer is the Revenge Revolution would have happened anyway.”

Gelly: “You think the hard-right Republicans were hell-bent on destroying the democracy regardless of who won?”

Jordan: “Yes, but let’s hold that discussion for later. I need a break.”

#280 Trump Gets Annual Checkup with Board of Directors (Part 2)

Readers: this blog is set in the future (sometime after the year 2020). Each entry assumes there has been a 5th revolution in the US — the Revenge Revolution. More about the Revenge Revolution and author, Entry #1. List and general description of entries to date.

Note: most entries are formatted as conversations. Characters appear in a number of entries, with many entries building on previous conversations. Profile of characters (see link at top of page). You’ll catch on quickly. Thanks for your time and interest…and comments.

Scene: Jordan’s office in Washington, DC. Conversation begins Entry #279

Board of DirectorsBoard Member:  “Mr. Trump, during the break did you think about your managers’ concerns?  What about their concerns was so unreasonable that you allowed the company to effectively shut down?”

Trump:  “You guys seem to exaggerate everything.  The company only closed for a few days.  You know, like a long holiday weekend.  What’s your problem?”

Board Member:  “Have the concerns of the managers been addressed properly?  Or is the company going to limp along from one shut-down crisis to another?”

trump-scowlTrump:  “You keep pointing the finger at me.  I haven’t done anything.”

Board Member:  “That’s the point…you haven’t done anything meaningful.  Might the Board remind you yet again, the CEO is in charge…”

Trump:  “…But I want…”

Temper TantrumBoard Member:  “…Excuse me but I wasn’t finished speaking.  Let’s see if you understand this.  ‘Little Donnie, quit whining like a brat, and be quiet until the adults in the room tell you it’s ok to speak.  Understand?’”

Trump:  “I feel like I’m in grammar school again.”

Board Member:  “The Board thinks you act as if you’re in grammar school.  As I was about to say, are you familiar with the sign President Truman kept on his desk?”

Harry Truman's The Buck Stops Here SignTrump:  “You mean ‘The Buck Stops Here’ sign?”

Board Member:  “Well, well, he does know some history.  Yes, that’s the sign.  And since you’re CEO, the buck stops where in this company?”

Trump:  “With me…I guess.  Is that what you want me to say?”

Board Member:  “Brilliant analysis on your part.  You’re a genius.”

Trump:  “Glad you think so.  I know a lot of other people think I’m a genius.  Now tell me where this conversation is headed.”

Board Member:  “Another insightful question from the genius.  What the Board wants to know is your plan to take the company forward.”

Golf Bet 1Trump:  “But I told you before about the plan to make the company great again.  Step #1 is to change the compensation structure.  The 1.0% management team needs more money.  The peons who work for the company don’t really deserve any more money but we can throw them a few crumbs for a while…then gradually take it back.  They’re too stupid to understand what’s really going on.  Step #2 is…”

Board Member:  “Hold on, Mr. Trump.  How will the company pay for all the extra money you’re going to give to the 1.0% management team?  And how much extra cash are you planning to take home?”

Trump:  “Don’t worry about my compensation.  I deserve every penny.  In fact, I deserve much more.  To pay for the well-deserved extra compensation for the 1.0% team, the company is going to borrow the money.”

Board Member:  “Really?  Borrow all that money?  Who will lend the company that much money?”

Trump:  “You forget, I’m the world’s best negotiator.  I’ll get my friends at Deutsche Bank to lend the money.  They’ve laundered money for me…I mean lent money to me before.”

PutinBoard Member:  “But what about their connections to shady Russian oligarchs, let alone Putin?  Associating with the Russians will compromise the company.”

Trump:  “You keep worrying about the wrong things.  The Russians are here to help.  Besides all the extra money paid to the 1.0% group will allow the 1.0%er’s to spend even more on luxury goods, yachts, country clubs…you know stuff that really matters.  And eventually, some of that money will find its way to those people…you know, the workers.  At that point the company will sell more product and we will pay back the loan.  See a perfect plan…pure genius.”

Board Member:  “The approach sounds like trickle-down economics.”

Trump:  “Same concept.  Did you know that Arthur Laffer and Ronald Reagan stole the idea of trickle-down economics from me?  Aren’t I a genius?”

013114_2302_21VoodooEco3.jpgBoard Member:  “Mr. Trump, the trickle-down approach, which president George H.W. Bush called voodoo economics, has never worked.  He was right.  Trickle down has never worked in the US or anyplace in the world.  The trickle-down approach slows economic growth, not accelerate it.  You know that don’t you?”

Trump:  “Fake news.  I know it works.  Trust me.”

Board Member:  “And what if it doesn’t work?”

Trump:  “We’ll cut the worker bees’ compensation.  We can reduce their medical benefits and cut their retirement benefits.  Those peons aren’t entitled to those benefits anyway.”

ScrewedBoard Member:  “You realize, of course, the workers contributed to their medical plan and their retirement plan.  And they’ve done so for a long time.  Your plan will basically screw them.”

Trump:  “Not my problem.  They didn’t contribute enough.  I deserve the money and they don’t.”

Board Member:  “Workers contributed what the company asked them to contribute.  You set the amount that was to be withheld from their paycheck.”

Trump:  “I don’t care.  They should have paid more.”

Board Member:  “So you want to harm the workers for your inept management of the medical and retirement programs?”

Trump:  “Don’t blame me.  You need to blame the guys that came before me.”

Board Member:  “One more time.  What did the sign on President Truman’s desk say?”

Trump:  “’The Buck Stops here.’”

Board Member:  “So, let’s talk in more detail about your performance this past year and how you’re going to lead the Witch Huntcompany going forward.”

Trump:  “Why is the Board questioning me?  Seems like a witch hunt.  The biggest one in history.  You want to find something wrong so you can get me out of office.  I haven’t done anything wrong.  Trust me.  I’ve accomplished more than any CEO of this company…ever.”


#279 Trump Gets an Annual Checkup with the Board of Directors (Part 1)

Readers: this blog is set in the future (sometime after the year 2020).  Each entry assumes there has been a 5th revolution in the US — the Revenge Revolution.  More about the Revenge Revolution and author, Entry #1.  List and general description of entries to date.

Note: most entries are formatted as conversations.  Characters appear in a number of entries, with many entries building on previous conversations.  Profile of characters (see link at top of page).  You’ll catch on quickly.  Thanks for your time and interest…and comments.

Scene: Jordan’s office in Washington, DC.

092615_2031_Characters7.gifGelly:  “Jordan, I was cleaning out some files.  Found an article you wrote at the end of Trump’s first year in office.”

Jordan:  “Was that the article about Trump at the Board of Directors’ meeting?”

Gelly:  “Yes.  Here’s a copy.  You might want to read again.”

——————  Article ——————-

Scene: Board of Directors’ meeting of Fortune 100 company.  Trump has been CEO for a year and the Board is conducting an annual appraisal.

Trump:  “Welcome everyone.  This meeting will be short since I know all of you think I’ve done a fantastic job this past year…really fantastic.  Company’s in great shape.  No Board of Directorsone could have done it better.  Now let’s adjourn and play some golf.”

Board Member:  “Well, Mr. Trump, the Board thinks there needs to be some discussion about your performance this past year.”

Golf CartTrump:  “Why?  I told you my performance was fantastic.  Let’s go play golf.”

Board Member:  “Not all Board members agree your performance was, as you say, fantastic…and certainly not all shareholders, employees and customers agree.”

Trump:  “Whoever disagrees is wrong.  Look I’m the smartest person in the room and in the company…smartest by far.  I’m a genius.  I went to an Ivy League school and was top in my class.”

Board Member:  “Excuse me but you are not the smartest person in the room.  Besides a number of us went to Ivy League schools…and I’ll disregard the claim you were top in your class.  We know better.”

Trump:  “But this Board elected me CEO.  And elected me by a huge margin…huge.  The biggest margin in decades.”

Ballot_Clipart_01Board Member:  “Just to be clear, the majority of the Board did not support you to be CEO.  Only because we have an odd way of counting votes that were you elected.”

Trump:  “That can’t be.  What you’re saying is fake news.  Look I have my own set of facts…and I’m always right.”

Board Member:  “Mr. Trump, we want to talk to you about your performance since becoming CEO.  Just what do you think was your greatest accomplishment this past year?”

PinocchioTrump:  “There’s so many I don’t know where to begin.  No other CEO has ever accomplished so much in such little time.”

Board Member:  “Your modest opinion aside, what could you have done differently in your first year to be more effective?”

TrumpBow Down:  “The only thing I need to be more effective is total loyalty from everyone in the organization.”

Board Member:  “Might I remind you the position of CEO is not like being king.  You might not understand but people don’t bow down to you.  The CEO actually works for the people in the company.  That includes lower-level workers.”

Trump:  “You mean I’m supposed to work for the lower-level losers?  I don’t work for losers.   Those people work for me.  They do what I say…or they’re fired.  Got that, I tell them, ‘You’re fired!’”trump-youre-fired

Board Member:  “Mr. Trump, have you ever tried to manage a large organization?”

Trump:  “Before this job I was the head of the Trump Corporation.  That’s a huge organization…huge.”

Board Member:  “With all due respect, in terms of very large organizations, the Trump Corporation is a rounding error.  Most of us would use such an organization to send early-career managers for training.  That way if they made a major mistake, nothing material would happen to the larger company.”

Trump:  “That’s your perspective.  What’s wrong is this Board and this company are being managed all wrong.  Everything is wrong and needs to change.  I need to blow up the entire organization.”

Board Member:  “So what I’m hearing you say is you’ve never run a large organization.  If fact, never worked in a large company.  Is that right?”

DunceTrump:  “Experience running large companies doesn’t matter.  I don’t need to know…in fact, I pride myself not knowing about lots of things you consider important.  Remember, I’m a genius.  Why waste my time learning anything new?  I’d rather watch TV and play golf.  What’s knowledge worth anyway?  I go with my gut…and I’m always right.”

Board Member:  “Let’s talk about your effectiveness in making the organization operate more effectively.”

Trump:  “Why?  I’m not the problem.  Some of those managers out there are the problem.  They don’t do what I tell them.  They’re the problem.”

Board Member:  “But you’ve always claimed to be a great deal maker.  Isn’t part of the art of the deal being willing to work with the other party…and compromise?”

traitorTrump:  “In my way of thinking, all deals are zero-sum games.  And I have to win.  The other party in the deal needs to cave in to my demands.”

Board Member:  “Some of the key executives in this organization claim that you change your mind frequently.  They think there’s a deal to proceed then you change your mind…and the deal falls apart and no progress is made.  Some of the key execs describe dealing with you is like dealing with a bowl of Jell-O.”

Trump:  “That’s their problem.  Those managers need to do what I want.  They should be loyal to me…or else.”

Board Member:  “Could you explain to the Board why you let operations of this company basically shut down?  The company is not functioning.  Why?”

Trump:  “I told you not my fault.  It’s those managers fault who aren’t loyal to me.”

Temper TantrumBoard Member:  “Mr. Trump, I think it’s time you put on your big-boy pants and quit acting like a whiny 8-year old brat.  You realize that you don’t own those managers.  Those managers are responsible to the company, the customers and the shareholders.  The managers are not your servants.  You do realize that don’t you?”

Trump:  “It’s still their fault.”

Board Member:  “You also realize that as CEO it is your job to make sure the company continues to run.  Do you understand the concerns of these managers?  What is so unreasonable about their concerns that you were willing to let the company stop operating?  Mr. Trump, why don’t you think real hard about your performance while the Board takes a break?”


#278 Twitter Furor (and Trash Talk) from America’s Fuhrer (Part 2)

Readers: this blog is set in the future (sometime after the year 2020).  Each entry assumes there has been a 5th revolution in the US — the Revenge Revolution.  More about the Revenge Revolution and author, Entry #1.  List and general description of entries to date.

Note: most entries are formatted as conversations.  Characters appear in a number of entries, with many entries building on previous conversations.  Profile of characters (see link at top of page).  You’ll catch on quickly.  Thanks for your time and interest…and comments.

Scene: Jordan and Matt (reporter) run into each other at coffee shop near Jordan’s office in Washington, DC.  Conversation begins Entry #277.

092615_2031_Characters11.pngMatt: “While getting a coffee refill, I was thinking about what you just said.”

Jordan: “You mean, ‘…in the first 12 months in office King Donald did as much damage to America…if not more damage…than Hitler did to Germany in his first 12 months in office.’”

Matt: “You really think that’s possible? I mean look how bad Hitler was.”

HitlerJordan: “Keep in mind the time frame. I didn’t compare Trump’s first year to Hitler’s entire time as Chancellor. Just one year to one year.”

Matt: “Just to make sure I understand your point — Trump was dragging down American faster in the first year than Hitler was dragging down Germany in his first year. Right?”

Jordan: “Yes. And still during the first years in office there were lots of people supporting actions by Hitler and lots of people supporting actions by Trump. Trump still was very Chart Decliningpopular with his base, which made up about 25% of the population. While his overall approval rating was somewhat higher, his rating was lousy by historical standards for presidents after their first year. And as time went on his approval rating kept dropping…and the disapproval rating kept increasing.”

Matt: “Somehow the high disapproval rating didn’t seem to ring alarm bells for most people. Frustrated, yes but no alarm bells. However, alarm bells did go off for those who understood history. Historians are good at looking at patterns…and what they saw and talked about was the Trump Administration demonstrating a pattern of Nixon Watergateobfuscation and cover-up that was similar in many ways to Nixon and Watergate.”

Jordan: “I’ll tell you another pattern of the Trump Administration that paralleled Nixon’s…discrimination and anti-Semitism.”

Matt: “OK, I’ll buy Trump and discrimination. But anti-Semitism? Trump’s son-in-law was Jewish…and Ivanka converted.”

Jordan: “I look at actions over time, not appearances. Trump’s father was an anti-Semite, refusing to rent his New York apartments to Jews. King Donald’s major confidant…at least during the campaign and the early part of the administration…was Steve Bannon. Bannon and Breitbart were no friends of Jews.”

Matt: “What about Trump’s attitude toward immigration? He didn’t specifically cite limiting the number of Jews…did he?”

Jordan: “Like I said, I look at actions. Remember the meeting at the White House in early 2018 to discuss a proposed bi-partisan senate deal on immigration reform and DACA?”

OuthouseMatt: “You mean the meeting with the infamous ‘why do we want to let in people from those ‘shithole’ countries?’…or something like that. I know the shithole countries part is right, and Trump’s shithole-countries included Haiti and parts of Africa.”

Jordan: “What does that comment tell you?”

Matt: “The most obvious was Trump preferred white to people of color.”

Jordan: “What else?”

Matt: “He thought immigrants should already be educated…and he didn’t think people in shithole countries weren’t educated. Some lived in huts.”

TurtleneckJordan: “What about religion?”

Matt: “We know he disliked Muslims. Hated Muslims might be a better word choice but leave it at ‘disliked.’”

Jordan: “What kind of people did he like?”

Matt: “As I recall he wanted more people from Norway to immigrate.”

Jordan: “Yes, white, Cristian-focused people were Trump’s ideal immigrants. But, guess what? Trump’s perfect Aryan people had no reason to immigrate.”

Matt: “So Trump was OK if immigrants had a background like his but not interested in anybody else. But he was from a fairly recent immigrant family. I think his grandfather immigrated sometime in the late 1800’s. Wasn’t his family name Drumpf, which is German.”

trump-scowlJordan: “So now we have the president openly expressing distaste for anyone other than white, western European Aryan-like immigrants. Except, the US population was full of all kinds of immigrants who didn’t fit Trump’s profile.”

Matt: “Except the hard-core Trumpsters, who thought they fit his profile and loved his shithole comment. But most of the rest of America was mortified with the comment.”

ComplicatedJordan: “As were our allies, which were doing a lot of head scratching trying to figure out what was really going on. In a normal administration, the allies would turn to the Secretary of State for some guidance. Where was Trump’s esteemed Secretary of State during this period…Mr. ExxonMobil himself? I think he was MIA.”

Matt: “Come to think of it, I can’t recall seeing him in any meetings on immigration. Also, no comment about Trump’s remarks.”

Jordan: “What I thought was even worse than the Secretary of State seeming to hide was the sudden amnesia that overcame two Republican senators in the meeting…not Lindsey Graham. Who were those other guys?”

PinocchioMatt: “You mean senators Perdue and Cotton? Purdue went so far as to wait a few days and then claim his colleague in the senate Dick Durbin was lying. As if someone would hold a press conference and claim the president would use the term ‘shithole countries.’ I mean Purdue seemed to be the one lying.  Besides, how stupid did Purdue think the public was?”

Jordan: “Perdue apparently thought he could lie to the public with no consequences. He was concerned about appealing to Trump’s base in Georgia, which put Perdue in office. Well, at least Graham supposedly scolded Trump in private. Why Graham didn’t do so publicly, I don’t know. Probably didn’t want to offend Trump and his fellow kahuna-less Republicans. I still cannot understand behavior of those Republican senators.”

Matt: “On a broader note, do you think Trump’s shithole comments contributed to the Revenge Revolution?”

Jordan: “Shithole did contribute, but as part of a trend. The longer Trump was in office, the more he acted like a dictator. He played more and more to his white-racist Republican base.”

Matt: “You’re not implying all Republicans are racists, are you?”

howdy-doody-2Jordan: “No. But, I’m also saying Republicans in Congress did nothing to stop Trump. As we talked about earlier, look how senate Republicans, including Graham, acted like Trump’s puppets, trying to block the Mueller investigation. Republicans in Congress were complicit. Fortunately, or unfortunately, Trump got so out of control he was taken out…but no thanks to Republicans in Congress.”

Matt: “When Trump got taken out, the country seemed to start to return to normal…but never quite made it. The damage was too great to the structure of government and to the public’s confidence in Congress.”

fife-drum%201Jordan: “And so, we had the Revenge Revolution…and after the revolution the beginning of a return to normalcy. Thanks goodness.”

Matt: “And unless I get out of here and back to the office I’ll be overthrown in a revolution. Jordan, nice to see you. Enjoyed the chat. And thanks for buying.”

Jordan: “Matt, nice to see you. Let’s do this again soon…and you buy.”

#277 Twitter Furor by America’s Fuhrer

Readers: this blog is set in the future (sometime after the year 2020).  Each entry assumes there has been a 5th revolution in the US — the Revenge Revolution.  More about the Revenge Revolution and author, Entry #1.  List and general description of entries to date.

Note: most entries are formatted as conversations.  Characters appear in a number of entries, with many entries building on previous conversations.  Profile of characters (see link at top of page).  You’ll catch on quickly.  Thanks for your time and interest…and comments.

Scene: Jordan and Matt (reporter) run into each other at coffee shop near Jordan’s office in Washington, DC.

092615_2031_Characters11.pngMatt:  “Nice to see you Jordan.  Good holidays?”

Jordan:  “Holidays were relaxing.  Nice to see you, too, Matt.  You have time to chat over coffee or need to get to the office?”

Matt:  “Have a few minutes.  I’ll get a table while you pay.”

Jordan:  “Didn’t realize I was buying…but OK.”

Matt (as Jordan sits down):  “I just remembered what today is.”

TurtleneckJordan:  “And that is?”

Matt:  “You don’t remember?”

Jordan:  “No.  What am I forgetting?  Am I having another senior moment?”

Matt:  “The anniversary of your 15 minutes of fame.”

Jordan:  “You mean me being the subject of a flurry of Trump tweets?  That was a few years ago.”

Matt:  “The article you wrote apparently really got under the Donald’s skin.  What an attack on you.  The tweets directed at you were more vicious than most.  I was impressed.”

Jordan:  “The article needed to be written.  The title just seemed incredibly appropriate.  ‘Twitter Furor by America’s Fuhrer.’  Still like it.  And then he tweeted even more after the article.”

Matt:  “Did you think the article might change Trump’s behavior?”

Jordan:  “No, but he wasn’t the target audience.”

Matt:  “Who was?”

Bow DownJordan:  “The Republicans in Congress and some alleged grown-ups in the Trump Administration who put party loyalty over protecting the country.  Chuck Grassley and Lindsey Graham were two perfect examples of party-loyal senators falling on their hands and knees in front of King Donald.  Nikky Haley, then ambassador to the UN, was an example of an alleged grown-up in the administration who was acting like a child, claiming no one in the White House considered Trump a loose cannon.  What were they all thinking?”

Matt:  “Aren’t you being too partisan?  I mean wasn’t their role to support the president and the Republican Party?”

ConstitutionJordan:  “Support the president, support the Republican Party but endanger the country?  The last time I looked, the oath of office for those in Congress and those in the administration is to uphold and defend the Constitution, not uphold and defend some idiot in the White House, even if a member of your party.”

Matt:  “C’mon, Jordan.  You really think they put party ahead of the Constitution?”

Temper TantrumJordan:  “Let’s start with Republicans ignoring and protecting Trump’s behavior.  Despite the Donald’s repeated claims that he was a genius and mentally stable, he was neither.  How much more obvious could it have been that the guy was thinking and acting like a whiny 3rd grader?  How many presidents throw a tantrum every time they don’t get what they want?  As far as being a genius.  That’s laughable.  Matt, you went to that other school in Cambridge.  Do you think he could have held a candle to any of your classmates at Harvard?”

Matt:  “No.  And he was not as smart as your classmates at that other school in Cambridge.  Smarter than you maybe, but not smarter than your classmates.”

Jordan:  “Gee, thanks for the compliment.”

Matt:  “You know what I meant.  But why label Trump as America’s Fuhrer?  That title seems so incendiary.”

FartJordan:  “Incendiary by design.  At the time the head-in-the-sand…maybe head up someplace else…senators Gassy, I mean Grassley and Graham were making every effort to divert attention away from Mueller’s investigation and possible collusion with the Russians.  The two of them made a claim that some statements to some committee about the dossier could have, maybe, or in southern terms, might could have been just a bit misleading.  No evidence to support their claim, just conjecture.  All this noise while ignoring a legitimate investigation of actions by Trump, family and some in the administration that could have been treasonous.  So why the diversion?  What was in it for Grassley and Graham?”

Matt:  “I don’t know what was in it for them.  But what I take away is you’re thinking the efforts by the senators and others in the Congress and the Administration to protect Trump were in many ways no different from some of the German generals trying to protect Hitler.  Am I way off base?”

Jordan:  “You’re right on.”

Matt:  “I understand your point but don’t you think you went too far with the comparison to Hitler?”

swastikaJordan:  “Go back and think about when the article was published.  Trump’s one year into office and hell-bent on destroying institutions that are the bedrock of America’s democracy and hell-bent on destroying America’s relationship with key allies.  Remember all of what happened in just one year.  On top of all that the guy is clearly mentally unstable.”

Matt:  “So you thought the country shouldn’t wait…really couldn’t wait for the next presidential election.  Trump had to be taken out quickly or the situation was going to get much worse.”

Trump KingJordan:  “Just as Germany’s situation grew worse and worse.  I haven’t done a line-by-line comparison but I’ll bet in the first 12 months in office King Donald did as much damage to America…if not more damage…than Hitler did to Germany within his first 12 months in office.”

Matt:  “Wow.  I need to think about that.  Let me get a refill.”

(To be continued)     

#276 The 2017 Year-End Sense Check: Is a Revenge Revolution Still Possible?

Since starting publishing this blog in late 2013, I’ve periodically conducted a “sense-check” to determine if the premise of the blog is still relevant.  Admittedly it is hard to be objective about what one writes.  What I have tried to do, however, is support the claims with empirical evidence or strong anecdotal evidence.  While I’m certain there are readers who disagree with some or even many of the observations, readers should at least be comforted that the opinions and comments are not created out of thin air.

In addition, my attempt in the blog to have a “balanced approach” for assessing events or behavior does not mean that “both sides” get an equal amount of ink.  Spurious, unsubstantiated claims – alternative facts and “real” fake news – do not deserve equal time.  Just because someone makes a statement does not make the statement credible, including statements made by the president, the WH press secretary and/or officials of the administration…and some talking heads on cable channels.

With that introduction, do events in 2017 reinforce or diminish the premise of this blog – the US will experience a 5th revolution, aka the Revenge Revolution sometime after 2020?  Unfortunately, the premise seems more appropriate than ever.  The list is long of statements and/or actions by the president, the administration and/or Congress that would seem to contribute to a potential revolution.  The list continued to grow throughout the year.  Some examples include:

Repeated Lying by Trump.  While during a presidential campaign candidates can be given some license on the truth, once in office a president is expected to be honest when speaking to American citizens and other countries, especially to critical allies.  Trump seems to have overlooked the transition from campaign to governing.  The lying continued from day one.  Whereas the first major lie did not affect national security or another critical issue, it did set the tone for the presidency.  The lie demonstrated the Trump Administration was prepared to insult the intelligence of the public on even the most basic items.  Despite clear evidence to the contrary, Trump claimed the crowd at the inaugural was the largest in history.  C’mon, Donald, please, don’t waste your credibility on such meaningless matters, especially when the evidence is overwhelmingly against you.

The lying continued throughout the year.  Several real media outlets counted the lies and estimated that Trump lied in public statements at least five (5) times per day.  The lies were often repeated by the WH press secretary and/or administration officials.  The list of lies?

Trump is not the first president to misstate facts.  However, other than Nixon, lies from  modern-day presidents have been limited and often associated with such critical issues as national security.

The result of these lies?  Fewer and fewer people believe what Trump says.  If the consequences of the lying weren’t so significant, the lies by Trump and the then lies repeated by press secretary Sarah Huckabee would make great comedy.

Insulting Allies.  Bullies eventually learn, in an often painful way, that at some point, they need other people.  Trump’s behavior of continued bullying and insulting leaders of key American allies has tarnished long-standing working relationships.  Trump has made the insults worse by openly courting a long-standing enemy, Russia.

During the inevitable next international crisis that requires multi-nation support, as long as Trump is president…and possibly for many years thereafter…the US might find the list of nations willing to help to be very short.  A present day example is North Korea.  China has been unwillingness to halt shipments of oil and other critical items to North Korea.

Claiming Emperor’s Powers.  OK, we’ll cut Trump some slack.  All presidents grow in the job.  Plus, Trump has never held an elected office.  Think about when your own career included a major job change.  Virtually all of us made some mistakes early on in the new job.

But, Trump is now 11+ months into the job and does not yet seem to grasp the fundamentals.  He should at least have an 8th grader’s understanding of how government works.  Based on his comments, one wonders if he’s ever read the Constitution, let alone try to understand it.  If Trump does understand the Constitution, why in late 2017 he proclaimed in an interview with The New York Times, “I have [the] absolute right to do what I want to do with the Justice Department.”   Pardon me Donald, the president gets to nominate a candidate to head DOJ but the Senate must approve.  Plus, in case you don’t understand, the president does not control investigations conducted by DOJ.  Trying to do so is called “obstruction of justice”…and grounds for impeachment.  If there are any questions, at least watch “All the President’s Men.”

Trump’s claim about controlling DOJ implies that he views the job as president to be no different from running a family business.  In the family business, the Donald can state, “You do what I say or you’re fired.”  In the Trump family business no one dares challenge the emperor.

I make the emperor analogy based on experience.  My career has included working directly for or very closely with: (i) several CEO’s of what was the world’s largest company; (ii) former CEO of a very large international company.  The CEO was considered worldwide to be one of the best CEO’s of the 20th Century; (iii) CEO of a moderately large family-owned manufacturing and distribution business.

The impact on the organization of the CEO’s behavior was stark and consistent.  The culture of the organization was influenced greatly by the behavior of the CEO, even the culture of the very largest organization.  When the CEO was open, honest and encouraged objective assessments, the organization flourished and endured crises effectively.  When the CEO was more dictatorial and closed to criticism, the staff of the organization became disheartened, less cooperative and within a few years at most the organization began suffering financially.

Critics of my claims about the impact of behavior can rightfully argue the sample size is small.  Agreed.  But the phenomenon I experienced exists not only in organizations, but in personal relationships.  Ask yourself, who are you more willing to be around – someone who is open, honest and willing to listen…or someone who is dictatorial, lies and unwilling to share?  Not a very hard choice, huh?

Disdain for Education, Science and the (Real) Media.  Possibly what I find most disturbing about Trump and his ilk and what could become the tipping point for the Revenge Revolution is disdain for pillars that help sustain a democracy: (i) an educated public; (ii) recognition of the value of science; (iii) healthy independent media.  Without these pillars, a vibrant democracy can slide into a sham democracy.  I find the disdain by Trump and his supporters for these pillars so insulting that I can think of only one word that properly describes them – I’ll be polite and not print it.

The lack of appreciation for the value of education directly affects many other views held by Trumpsters.  One is denial of the sciences.  What is startling is claiming that global warming is a hoax and the earth’s warming has not been accelerated by the industrial revolution.  Another is continuing to promote economic policies that have been disproven repeatedly and for which there is strong empirical evidence indicating the policies do not work.  A perfect example is the so-call tax reform act passed in late 2017.  There is no empirical evidence supporting the benefits made by Republicans — plus, weren’t Trump and Republicans opposed to deficits during the Obama Administration?  There are many other examples.

The right-wing of the Republican Party, with support from Trump, has made an effort to discount the value of education.  According to Trumpsters, we as a society need to reduce the influence of people from “elite institutions,” whether those people work in government, in academia, on Wall Street or in certain private organizations.  Trumpsters claim the “elite” colleges and universities are too liberal — in fact, most academic institutions are too liberal.  The only solution to this “education problem,” therefore, is to privatize education, especially primary and secondary education.  In addition, achieving an advanced education should be more difficult.  Translated that means dumbing down society at a time when the world is attempting to provide more education to its citizens.

Look, I understand all organizations need to be tweaked periodically.  But the approach of the Trump Administration, whether toward education, health care, seeming all government functions except the military (which needs the most fixing), is to break the organization, not try to fix it, with special emphasis on privatizing.  In case Trump supporters haven’t considered the following, they should.  The primary allegiance of a for-profit educational institution is not to the students – your children or grandchildren – but to the shareholders.  The same allegiance formula holds true for companies involved in health care and any other function currently performed by the government.

While people who continue to support Trump do not seem to understand reality, fortunately the percentage of the population supporting Trump is shrinking.  As of this writing, Trump has a major accomplishment — the lowest approval rating…by far…of any president at this stage in his term – 35%.

Bizarre Behavior.  Allow me one more item that seems to make the Revenge Revolution likely – Trump’s mental state.   An increasing number of professional (as opposed to political) psychiatrists is expressing concern about Trump’s mental state.  As is the case with many issues for Trump supporters, the counter to any claim implicating Trump is “You’re speculating.  Show me the data to prove it.”   (Gee, if that same standard only applied to claims by Trump supporters as justification for the 2017 tax plan or as justification for investigating Clinton.)

Well Trump supporters, consider the value of predictions versus only acting when you have hard data.  Next time you’re driving and someone cuts in front of you or runs a red light, don’t brake or swerve.  Since predictions are not worth considering, maintain your speed and course.  When you crash into the other car, then you will have the data you want.  An extreme example?  Maybe so but I hope the point is clear.

To say Trump’s statements are coherent or consistent truly stretches the imagination.  Forget Trump’s narcissism.  Unfortunately and tragically, the Trump family has a history of mental disorders.   Don’t believe me?  Read the obituaries of his father, Fred Trump, and his brother.

Wrap Up.  OK, I agree this sense check is too lengthy. However, events in 2017 reinforced the premise that a Revenge Revolution in the US is possible…sometime after 2020.  If you disagree, please let me know and why.  As far as 2018, I am hopeful that we as a nation can reduce the likelihood of the Revenge Revolution.  As I’ve said periodically in this blog, I hope the prediction about a Revenge Revolution is wrong.  So far, I’m not optimistic.  Thanks for your time.