The Shithole President

Most Americans are horrified that Donald Trump is president. The man embodies the worst traits of humanity. Plus, he’s impulsive, irrational, ignorant, and unstable.

Assuming we survive this, I think history will teach us that the greater horror is the realization that there are many Americans who are happy with Trump as president. They don’t seem to mind the ignorance, irrationality, instability, ineptitude, xenophobia, misogyny, and thinly-veiled racism.

So far, we have been trying to rationalize this support, pretending that they tolerate his behavior in hopes of furthering some political agenda. Though what that agenda is isn’t exactly clear.

Some would argue that they wanted to drain the proverbial swamp, removing the corrupting influence of special interest groups and their well-funded lobbyists on our government. But then why choose a wealthy one-percenter who has bragged about manipulating the system for his own personal gain? That’s like putting Bernie Madoff in charge of your life savings because you don’t trust Wall Street.

Others may have believed that Trump was genuinely all-in for Steve Bannon’s far-right agenda. But it’s equally hard to imagine that these voters would be foolish enough to entrust a man, an admitted political opportunist who has flipped more times than the griddle cook at IHOP, to become the vanguard for a political turn so far to the right that it makes Barry Goldwater look like a hippie.

Perhaps the most disturbing possibility is that these people truly appreciated Trump’s nationalistic fervor. Given the fear and uncertainty that has befallen America since 9/11 and the financial crises, those who enjoyed the relative comfort and prosperity of the 90s might be willing to sacrifice certain values, principles, and freedoms in favor of the presumed security of a more authoritarian approach to governing our nation.

Yet the ugly truth is that even when Trump is nothing more than a punchline in one of so many possible jokes, the people who thought he was a good choice – and many still do – will still be around. Though, depending on how bad it gets, it might be hard to find them after the fact, like people who are willing to admit that they supported the 2003 invasion of Iraq. But they will still be out there. And that may be the scariest aspect of this entire American nightmare.

Thank You, Alabama

You shouldn’t have to congratulate someone for not electing a fecal blossom like Roy Moore, but considering everything he represents, I can’t help but feeling obliged. This is for you, ’bama.

Ben Carson: Liar-in-Chief?

But does Ben Carson?

But does Ben Carson?

Ben Carson has been campaigning as the cool, intelligent option for conservatives – two characteristics that seem to be in short supply among the rest of the Republican presidential hopefuls. But, like Donald Trump’s key selling point, Carson’s turns out to be nothing more than a carefully crafted deception.

In fact, a good chunck of Carson’s personal narrative appears to be a lie. He claims to have received a scholarship to West Point. Except that he completely made that up. He also claims to have saved some fearful white students from his riotous black schoolmates in Detroit, though he couldn’t name a single student in question and no one from the school remembers him doing anything even remotely like that. Similar fabrications have surfaced throughout his personal creation myth, from being threatened at gunpoint to trying to stab a childhood friend, all without anyone else recalling such events – not those who were allegedly involved or even those who knew him at the time, let alone any of the official records that such incidents would have surely generated.

It seems that the most important aspect of Carson’s character is his eagerness to make up stories that portray himself as a hero. And to put the discrepancies of his past into a cultural context, everyone remembers him as Urkel, but he claims that he was the Fresh Prince of Bel-Air.

Like most Republican candidates, when questioned about these discrepancies and inaccuracies, such as his denials of being involved with a company that sells nutritional supplements when there’s abundant evidence that he was, Carson simply lies about it and attacks the media for asking questions that expose him as a fraud. Lying doesn’t seem to be a problem for the likes of Carson and Trump…the problem is those pesky reporters who expose their lies.

It remains to be seen if voters will buy the traditional smoke and mirrors of the media bias argument. Carson was supposed to have the integrity lacking in most of the other Republican hopefuls, but his litany of lies might be too much for even his lemmings to swallow.

The rampant vanity of Ben Carson becomes apparent in his home, which is filled with portraits of himself, much like the megalomaniacal cartoon character Montgomery Burns.

The rampant vanity of Ben Carson becomes apparent in his home, which is filled with portraits of himself, much like the megalomaniacal cartoon character Montgomery Burns.

Lying is one thing, but stupidity is another. And Carson is no slouch on that front either.

For example, Carson, who hopes to become the next leader of the free world, appears to think the pyramids are hollow. Rather than learning from experts who have studied the culture, beliefs, agriculture, and building practices of ancient Egypt (and the actual pyramids themselves), as any reasonable non-expert might do, Carson has opted to concoct a fairytale explanation for who built the pyramids and why. He claims that they were built by someone in the Bible to store grain – not by the people of Egypt as burial crypts for the Pharoahs.

But you don’t have to be an Egyptologist or even an archeologist to realize just how stupid Carson’s claim is. The pyramids are mostly stone, with surprisingly little open space inside them. They are not, as Carson seems to believe, giant hollow structures. If you wanted to build something to store grain, the pyramids would surely be the worst possible option to choose. In fact, the claim is so ridiculous one has to question the man’s hold on reality.

Fortunately, the media are starting to ask the hard questions, and actually fact-checking Carson’s answers. Will his supporters, like Trump’s, ignore the answers and hide behind claims of media bias? Or will the truth set them free?

How can a brain surgeon be stupid? Hubris makes it easy to overlook the details, as evident in this inscription Carson had chiseled into the marble in his home. Poor spacing is one thing, but you'd think someone fond of quoting proverbs would at least know how to spell the word.

How can a brain surgeon be stupid? Hubris makes it easy to overlook the details, as evident in this inscription Carson had chiseled into the marble in his home. Poor spacing is one thing, but you’d think someone fond of quoting proverbs would at least know how to spell the word.

The Real Donald Trump

ArtOfTheStealEveryone knows that when Donald Trump speaks, human intelligence winces. Well, everyone but the large swaths of the American public who claim that he has the courage to say what’s on their mind. And if Trump’s belligerent bombast and crass cajoling is really what much of America is thinking, then that is about the most depressing indication of the decline of this great nation as I have ever seen. We are doomed.

Even if you agree with the endless inanity of the Trump persona, even if you prefer sound bytes over substance, and even if you think that America should be the land of not only the bully pulpit but a bully president, the one thing you cannot deny is that, while many – though none more so than himself – consider the man to be the posterchild of American business, Donald Trump is actually a fairly poor businessman. And an outright lousy human being.

Yes, I know what you are thinking: Trump is a billionaire, so how can he be anything but a brilliant businessman? It’s quite simple, actually. Donald Trump is good at looking out for Donald Trump. He’s an expert at self-promotion. And, like Bernie Madoff, he knows how to fill his own pockets. But anyone who has ever run a successful business knows there’s a lot more to it than that.

A successful business person doesn’t just serve themselves. They build a sound company, offer valuable goods and services to their customers, provide secure jobs for their employees, and practice corporate responsibility in their community. Trump’s track record shows that he’s only really concerned with his own image and assets. His employees, investors, and creditors are merely tools for his own personal gain and glory. All Donald Trump really cares about is Donald Trump.

The Anatomy of a Schmuck
First of all, it’s important to note that Donald Trump inherited his father’s company. And, perhaps equally important, he inherited his father’s business connections. The Donald’s father was an immigrant, and a self-made man. He made the family fortune by building low-income housing. And he helped his son get into the family business.

This is important because Donald Trump likes to sell himself as a self-made man. He doesn’t want to offer assistance to the less fortunate because he claims that he never received any. But the truth is that he had a more than healthy head-start in the business world, thanks to daddy helping him along, clearing the way, setting him up with the right people, and supporting his initial investments.

Then there are the management failures. Over the past 25 years, Trump has miss-managed his businesses to the point that four of them had to declare bankruptcy. He has never personally had to declare bankruptcy, as he’s quick to point out, but his failed leadership has forced his companies to do so about once every six years. Impressive track record, huh?

Trump claims that these bankruptcies were shrewd business deals. How is amassing more than $5 billion in debt, the accumulation of the losses that led to these four bankruptcies, a shrewd business deal? Is it shrewd to run businesses into the ground like that, repeatedly? No, my friends, that is poor management.

And keep in mind, this doesn’t even count the companies he’s run into the ground without filing Chapter 11 bankruptcy. The Trump Shuttle, Trump Mortgage, and Trump University are all businesses that he was either forced to close down or sell-off at huge losses. When you look past his bullshit and bluster, Trump has quite the dismal record.

Donny In Denial
Of course, Trump insists that none of this was his fault. In fact, in one case, he resigned from the board of his company four days before it defaulted on a $53 million bond payment. Afterwards, he claimed that the bankruptcy wasn’t his fault because he wasn’t in charge…he was no longer on the board. That’s leadership for ya!

This has become Trump’s trademark move. And perhaps what he feels is a shrewd business maneuver. The company tanks under his shoddy leadership, so he bails out just before the crash and leaves his investors, creditors, and employees to bear the brunt of his miss-management.

The reason Trump is a billionaire is because he rarely gambles with his own money anymore. He took a heavy hit on that first Chapter 11 bankruptcy. After that, he decided to invest less and less of his own money in his business deals, realizing that gambling on his own business acumen was far too risky…even for him.

And why are these failures so important? For starters, they prove that the man’s one claim to fame, his business acumen, is actually well below average. Quite poor, in fact. Secondly, they demonstrate how he treats the people foolish enough to put their faith in him (which is exactly what he’s asking the American public to do). In each of those four business failures, Trump left his investors, creditors, and employees holding the bag while he escaped relatively unscathed. Is that the type of person you want running this nation? Do you want a president with a track record of running things into the ground and then bailing, refusing to take any responsibility?

What I don’t understand is how political conservatives can embrace a candidate who so eagerly embraces government entitlement programs like Chapter 11 bankruptcy. Nor how religious conservatives can embrace a man who has filed for divorce almost as many times. Or how everyday people – the working class, and even the middle class – can think an unabashed one-percenter like Trump is in anyway like them, let alone interested in their well-being.

Two-Faced Trump
Not only is the man incompetent, but he’s also a heartless hypocrite. Trump has repeatedly said that big money donors have ruined this country. Yet he admittedly is one of those people. Do his supporters not see this?

Trump is the fat cat one percent that’s been sticking it to you for years. He is not a political outsider. He’s a political player, who has admittedly been buying influence for decades. And now this bloated little wolf is trying to squirm into a sheep costume? Are you really buying this crap?

Trump isn’t the solution to America’s problems, political or otherwise. He is the posterchild for everything that’s wrong with this country. He is greed and avarice, vanity and self-aggrandizing, power and abuse, sanctimony and selfishness. He is the establishment, minus the middleman…your traditional bought-and-paid for political candidate. He, like Ross Perot back in the 90s, is self-shilling. He’s his own puppet of the power elite, because he is the power elite.

Throughout his life, the man has shown no loyalty to any political party or principle…only to himself. It’s enough to make you wonder what his real motivations are. If elected, will he be plastering the Trump name on every building in DC? Will we become Trump America? That’s how he’s operated his on-again off-again business empire. The man is like a white Tyler Perry, so shamelessly desperate for attention and acknowledgement. Is that what this all about?

Finally, there’s the unabashed jingoism. It’s as if tea partiers can overlook everything else about him as long as he shouts loud and waves the flag. Are you really tired of big business moving manufacturing overseas? Well, that’s Donald Trump. He’s already sold out America for his own personal gain. And he’s been doing it for years. Why do you think he would be any different in the White House?

I wanted to conclude this piece by calling out Trump’s most ridiculous claim of all, which is that he is going to build a wall along the Mexican border and have the people of Mexico pay for it. Why not just tell the American voters that he’s going to reduce the work week to four days and double everyone’s pay…without raising taxes. If we’re going to make empty promises to the American public, why not go all the way?

But as I thought about it more, I started to realize what Trump might have in mind. Given the man’s track record in business, and overall behavior, a Trump presidency would almost certainly send America into a spiraling nightmare of economic failure and armed conflicts around the globe. If I were Mexico and Trump got elected, I would indeed build a wall along the border…to keep American refugees from fleeing into Mexico. In fact, I imagine Canada would build a wall as well, fearing Trump might decide he was going to unilaterally renegotiate the 1783 Treaty of Paris in an effort to claim the Canadian territories as part of the United States.

Lessons Learned from the Fox News Republican Presidential Debate

FoxDebateesI thought the Fox moderators did an admirable job of asking some tough, pointed questions of each candidate last Thursday. Yes, you heard me correctly. I think Fox News actually did something right. #BlondesHaveMoreFun

Of course, conservatives are apoplectic because the Fox moderators did in fact do a decent job of questioning the candidates. I think they are a little miffed that the normally conservative cocoon of Fox may have exposed their entire field of candidates for the hypocritical buffoons they really are. #Irony

FoxRepThat said, few of the candidates actually answered the questions asked of them. Instead, they spun it around to recite the same canned message points each time they were called upon. And rarely did any of the moderators press them to answer the actual questions. #Weak

However, I thought the seven candidates in the first debate, those who hadn’t polled high enough to make it to the prime-time debate, did a slightly better job of answering the questions asked of them. #CandorDoesNotPollWell

All of the Republican candidates said they want to reduce the size and scope of government. And in particular, they said they want to reduce the amount of money our government spends. #AntiGovernmentPoliticianIsNotAnOxymoron?

Despite this aforementioned claim, all of them also said that they want to increase the size and scope of government – and particularly increase government spending – to do things like fight more wars, build and protect our borders, and enforce expansive immigration laws. #SpendThenBlameTheDems

In other words, all of the Republican presidential candidates are talking out of their asses. #Hypocrisy

And while all of the candidates professed outrage over our nation’s current debt, they failed to acknowledge the indisputable fact that much of this debt was created the last time a Republican was in the White House. When George W. Bush became president, our nation had a budget surplus, thanks to the presidency of Democrat Bill Clinton (who, incidentally, had inherited a budget deficit from Republican George H.W. Bush). But thanks to eight years of a Republican in the White House, Democrat Barack Obama inherited yet another massive budget deficit. #NoAccountability #Hypocrisy&Denial #SpendThenBlameTheDemsAgain

I think the debate spelled the beginning of the end for Donald Trump. He came off even more dickish than usual, and that’s saying a lot. His spotty record as a businessman was exposed, including the fact that he has had to rely on government entitlement programs like bankruptcy as many as 4 times in past 25 years to make up for his management failures. And it didn’t help when the moderators reminded everyone that each time Donny shirked his debts he left a lot of loyal employees – hard-working Americans – unemployed as a result of his repeated incompetence as a leader. #DonaldRump #BankruptAmerica

FoxTrumpPlus, Trump made it clear that he’s more interested in Donald Trump than the Republican Party. In fact, he flat-out admitted that if the party chooses another candidate, he would continue to campaign as an independent. Which, of course, makes you wonder if he’d put the needs of the nation ahead of his own, should darkness sweep over this land and actually put him in the White House. #AllAboutMe

Though I think Trump’s popularity may serve as an important lesson for all candidates, but particularly Republicans. Republicans have falsely assumed that Trump’s appeal is based on their conservative ideals, when what people are really responding to is his unorthodox candidacy – the fact that he mocks the other politicians. Trump is walking proof that it’s really all about anger and rage against the system, rather than intellectual support for specific ideals or policies (especially since he has yet to articulate any of these). #WeHateBothParties

Ben Carson seemed to be largely ignored by the Fox moderators. Was this because he’s black, or because he’s smart? #SmartLivesMatter

And Lindsey Graham? All that guy cares about is starting a war. Look, we get it, you have invested heavily in the defense sector and want to make a killing – both in the market and on some battlefield. But try not to make it so obvious. Even Republicans have grown weary of wasting American lives. #WarMonger

For me, the brightest spot was Ohio Governor John Kasich. He’s what they call a compassionate conservative, and – despite his professions of faith – he sounded like a fairly reasonable, trustworthy guy. In other words, he seems to be the least bat-shit-crazy out of all the Republican candidates. I consider myself fairly liberal, but if the Republicans nominate that guy (which they surely won’t), I just might vote for him over Hillary Clinton. #VoteKasich

And speaking of Hillary Clinton, apparently she is far more qualified to be president than I realized. In fact, it seems she’s far more qualified to be president than any candidate on either side. You see, having listened to the Fox moderators and every single candidate in both debates, it’s clear that Hillary Clinton already is the President of the United States, a role she has apparently been sharing with Barack Obama for the past two terms. #FoxMisleads #PresidentHillary

Republicans Eat Their Freedom Fries

freefriesI love to see all these Republican leaders and Fox pundits professing their support for the French and for the freedom of speech. Of course, these are the same assclowns who were enraged when the French exercised their freedom of speech by opposing our unwarranted invasion of Iraq in 2003.

The hypocrisy is baffling, though hardly unique to this issue. When Democrats criticized George W. Bush during his presidency, Republicans and their pundits went apeshit, saying that people should stand by their president and support his decisions. Yet the moment Barrack Obama came into office, they attacked everything he did. Everything.

This is partisan politics at its worst. Instead of blindly supporting our president, any president, we should keep our minds – and eyes – open and support our ideals. And that includes supporting the freedom of speech, even when – in fact, especially when – you don’t agree with what is being said.