Sunday, April 22, 2018

The Art of Being a Dictator by Donald J. Trump

The Feast of the Goat, Mario Vargas Llosa's riveting novel about dictator, Rafael Trujillo - 'the goat' - who led the Dominican Republic for thirty years, 1930 - 1961 is practically a power point presentation of how to be a dictator. I doubt Trump read it because he doesn't read, but his personality and character are all about narcissistic dictator impulses. I mean, if we're talking about being a dictator, I guess those impulses are universal.

Here are a few highlights how Trump and Trujillo mirror each other:

How To Be A Dictator #1
You think Baby Trump invented calling people insulting names? It's hard to gauge how people process the name calling, being called "criminal, lying', shady, sneaky, crazy, etc." but it's obviously intended to denigrate those that challenge him, his intellect or otherwise. There's even a Wikipedia page: List of nicknames used by Donald Trump

"Had he given him that nickname too, before he rebaptized him, in his heart of hearts, as the Walking Turd? Probably. Since his youth (Trujillo) had been good at making up nicknames. Many of the savage labels he stamped on people became part of their very flesh and eventually replaced their real names. That's what happened to Senator Henry Chirinos...they used only his devastating epithet: the Constitutional Sot."*

How To Be A Dictator #2
Could have been talking about the Baby Trump Whitehouse with Trump sadistically pitting one against the other.

"It amused Trujillo - an exquisite, secret game that he could permit himself - to observe the subtle maneuvers, the secretive stabbings, the Florentine intrigues devised one against the other by the Walking Turd and Egghead...and almost everyone else in his close circle, move ahead, be closer to and deserve greater attention, a closer hearing, more jokes, from the Chief....And in order to keep them always on the alert, to keep them from becoming moth-eaten and to avoid routine and ennui, he alternated them on the list, sending one, then the other, into disgrace."*

How To Be A Dictator #3
Trujillo insisted on fastidiousness. If a tie was slightly crooked or pants didn't have a knife-sharp crease, that would  be enough to send Trujillo round the bend. One of the reasons Baby Trump ostensibly dismissed Joseph diGenova and his wife Victoria Toensing was because they were too disheveled. I would say Trump has a way to go on this one, the way he dresses. Trujillo was meticulous about his dress.

How To Be A Dictator #4
Baby Trump has portraits of himself all over the place plus fake Time magazine covers he had hung in his golf clubs and god knows what else is around. He may be sorry he signed the bill making permanent a ban on the use of government funds to pay for oil portraits of the president, vice president, Cabinet members and lawmakers but I'm sure he will give his portrait an exemption.

"She barely noticed the portraits and pictures of the Generalissimo - on foot and on horseback, in military uniform or dressed as a farmer, sitting at a desk or standing behind a lectern and wearing the presidential sash - that hung on the walls..."*

How To Be A Dictator #5
Well, womanizing could be about any yahoo but the Trump way is creepily sleazy. Trujillo, though, was a notorious libertine specializing in deflowering young virgins. Because dictators do what they want, take what they want, anytime they want.

Trujillo was mortally afraid of being assassinated, which he eventually was, but he ruled for thirty violent years. Baby Trump eats McDonald's because he is afraid of being poisoned. There is certainly an element of self-awareness if one is fearful of being assassinated or poisoned, right?

These are but a few characteristics of someone hellbent on being a dictator. What do you think?

Very highly recommend Feast of the Goat by Mario Vargas Llosa

Feast of the Goat, #1 p. 111
Feast of the Goat, #2 p. 177
Feast of the Goat, #4 p. 390

Sunday, July 9, 2017

How is it possible that the Nation is held hostage by a Trump minority base of dunces?

I've never been a hostage. Before now. I've heard of people being taken hostage, you know, on the evening news, listened with fear for their lives, sympathy for their situation while sipping my cocktail and checking Facebook. With knitted brow, I try to imagine what it must be like to have no control over your life, your very existence in someone else's hands. Well, now I have an inkling of what a hostage feels like because I, and the majority of citizens who are living in the United States, are experiencing the same feeling of loss of control over our lives, of running in a maze with no way out. 

As a hostage must hope, with every cell of their being, that someone is planning to rescue them imminently. We, too, (I'm assuming everyone who is not a trump supporter is 'we') hope and wish/pray that we will soon escape this national hostage nightmare. One thing I can say for sure about us, we are not afflicted with Stockholm Syndrome. (The 'base' likely is but that's for  another time.) The virtual sound of choppers overhead, heroically coming to help us escape, is about a likely as Ivanka making daddy take a truth serum. 

So much has been written and postulated about who those trump supporters are exactly. Are they stupid rural voters who never read a book? Are they greedy white collar pigs who are simply motivated by self-interest, the hell with the planet and poor people? What up with people of color voting for trump...even one? Holy shizzle, who the hell are those 53% white women who voted for him? Or better yet, how about them Obama voters who voted for trump? We know that about 30% of them voted against Hillary but what about the other brain-dead 70%? Seriously, does it even matter, at this point, because those base voters ain't moving from their unwavering position of support: "A Washington Post/ABC News poll found that 96 percent of Trump voters said that supporting Mr. Trump was the right thing to do and 2 percent said they regret their decision."

Here are the numbers when we hear trump's base is at 36%. The total amount of votes was 128,838,341. Hillary got 65,853,516; trump got 62,984,855. trump's stuck-in-quicksand base of 36% is 22,661,591. So, 22, 661,591 fucking people are HOLDING 106,176,780 PEOPLE HOSTAGE! How is that even possible? Pandering to such a minority and 'winning' is incomprehensible to me. Oh, and let's not forget the 90,000,000 reprobates who didn't bother to vote in 2016, and who, I wouldn't be surprised to learn, are railing everyday against POTUS. 

Right now, I can't see a way out of this. The Democrats have no answer except for their exceedingly stupid slogan, "Have you seen the other guys?" I will not go into how exceedingly stupid the Democratic Party is altogether but don't count on them to rescue us. Besides, they don't listen to anyone. Would you say they are paternalistic in their "Father Knows Best" snide treatment of Independent/No Party Affiliation voters? 

As a hostage, I have learned several survival tactics: cocktails, beer, wine, friends (no politics talk), inane tv, staring out a window for several hours to empty your head. It's a good time to organize your closets. What you think would help, but doesn't, is hiking in nature because it only reminds you how trump is coming for the national parks and the planet in general. Sorry, I have no answers or clever repartee. I just wanna know how this hostage situation is allowed to continue. If you have any ideas about 'why', please let me know. 

But you DO know what you have to do: VOTEVOTEVOTE and work your ass off making calls, walk precincts, drive people to the polls, be a poll watcher, register people to vote, write letters to your newspaper (they're still around for now), protest every chance you get. If you've moved, RE-REGISTER TO VOTE. And VOTE 2018.

Read more here:

Read more here:

Friday, January 20, 2017

Illegitimate Trump Régime Inaugurated As The World Weeps

Today is the first day of the rest of our lives. Everything that can be said, has been said about resistance, about trumpageddon, trumpocalypse, facism, dictatorship, corruption, gold-plated toilet seats. My last post, two days before the election November 6, pretty much covered the hellish daily reporting to come: Hillary, Trump, Election 2016. What did we do to deserve this?

I also entreated people: "But wait! Close your eyes and meditate in your time machine back to 2008, three days before the election. Damn! Life was electric! We were in a state of euphoria! Higher than kites with Hope and Change just around the corner! Our adored and esteemed candidate, Barack Hussein Obama, on the cusp of becoming the next President of the United States! OMG, life was good, life was happy. There was no question who we were going to vote for. Working side-by-side for two solid years with love and respect for our fellow volunteers - all over the country I may add - giddily, we went to the polls, thrilled to be able to vote for a candidate we believed in. What a difference eight years make."

Obama's policies didn't produce the hope and change we strived for. On this blog, I wrote impassioned dissents but never once did I question his sincerity, his intellect, his virtue, his charm. I look forward to Citizen Obama emerging as a forceful leader and defender of our rights and forming a new resistance movement. He is inspirational. People will be motivated to join him. 

And now, I want to acknowledge the greatest grassroots campaign this country has ever seen; and, likely, will never see again. Well, not in my lifetime. The Obama '08 campaign ignited a fierce activism. People forged deep connections by working for a singular elect Barack Hussein Obama the 44th President of the United States. Yes We Did! Two of the best years of my life.

Love abounds for each and every one of you who was part of the campaign. Soon, I will put up a website where we can post our Stories of Self, memories of the grassroots campaign, and where, hopefully, we can reconnect with dear friends we met during the course of the campaign. We will never forget. 

Sunday, November 6, 2016

Hillary, Trump, Election 2016. What did we do to deserve this?

This is the worst of times. Fear and despair hang like Damocles swords above our heads, Trumpageddon, Hillarygate, Russians snooping around to unlock our weakest link, the rising tides of climate change, the newfound freedom by Deplorables to bash anyone's head in who they deem, from their point of view, deplorable. What else? There's more but you can fill in the blanks. The brutal toll this election has taken on our fragile psyches, not to mention our physical health, well, it'll be a long time coming til we get over it. Heal, no. There is no healing when we face the prospect of what's ahead. To put it quite simply, we're fucked.

But wait! Close your eyes and meditate in your time machine back to 2008, three days before the election. Damn! Life was electric! We were in a state of euphoria! Higher than kites with Hope and Change just around the corner! Our adored and esteemed candidate, Barack Hussein Obama, on the cusp of becoming the next President of the United States! OMG, life was good, life was happy. There was no question who we were going to vote for. Working side-by-side for two solid years with love and respect for our fellow volunteers - all over the country I may add - giddily, we went to the polls, thrilled to be able to vote for a candidate we believed in. What a difference eight years make.

Everyone has a Story of Self about those amazing years of passionate activism. There will never be another time like that. Yet, here we are. Battle weary from an insanely long campaign, do we have the energy to fight on? We must. We must push back from the status quo, from the DNC stranglehold on the electoral process, from the malodorous corruption within and we must push hard for the 'progressive' platform adopted to appease Bernie supporters because who can believe they really meant it. Massive props for Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren, our progressive shadow Presidents.

Say, can we pass a bill about the length of campaigns? Other countries manage to elect leaders with way shorter election seasons. This is just ridiculous. Campaigns costing ONE BILLION DOLLARS. The absurdity of it all.

From now until Tuesday, I will busy myself with books and cocktails. Yes, the choices are beyond regrettable but that is what is before us. Take nothing for granted. Just GET OUT AND VOTE and gear up for the fights ahead.

Saturday, October 22, 2016

Dear Hillary - An Open Letter Regarding Your Presidency

Dear Hillary -
You are one tough cookie! I'm saying that admiringly after watching you walk on the hot coals of this campaign, not once flinching, your tight smile and death stare resolute. Grrrl, you've been tested by fire whose burning embers have scorched your opponent leaving him in a pile of ashes. Good, let's sweep him away. (Did you get lucky or what to have him-who-shall-not-be named as the candidate!) You are about to finally summit the highest office in the land, a Sisyphean feat if there ever was one and for that you are to be congratulated! Let's hope all the October surprises have been spent and the next two weeks are a snooze. Somehow, I doubt it but I know you are well-prepared to deflect any onslaught.

I have to admit, I haven't always seen you in this light. Yes, you've been a tenacious combatant skillfully dodging the slings and arrows that came with scandals (self-inflicted or not) and the intense scrutiny of public life. But you have also been very adept at holding your finger up to read the zeitgeist - being 'flexible' with your positions, adept at mis-remembering, being tone deaf to the actual day-to-day misery of the majority of the citizenry and of having a miscreant love affair with Wall Street bankers. I'm still not sure where you stand on climate change. Fracking and the TPP still seem to be in play despite your come to Jesus pivot. The need for middle class jobs and taxing the wealthy are, hopefully, a revelation. I don't doubt your genuine benevolence for children and families, as you often mention, but all that caring cannot divert attention from your record on these other things. And it is your record that keeps me from lining up behind you, not, as some have implied, your hair or your voice or your pantsuits. It's a matter of beliefs and policy that are at issue for me.

As you probably can tell, I am a #stillBernie supporter and I will forever grieve for our country that Bernie wasn't allowed to become our candidate. Forces behind the scenes made sure of that but since you are the least objectionable candidate for President, I will vote for you because...Trump.

Here is what I would like you to do once you have been elected President. Since the DNC has ostensibly adopted the 'most progressive platform ever' and you have promised to follow through with everything you said on the campaign would be great if you followed through by starting with your appointments. Your new BFF, Elizabeth Warren, is the perfect person to consult with about that. You know, no Wall Street snakes in any positions whatsoever period. And consult with Bernie because we know he has his finger on the pulse of the disaffected masses. Absolutely do not disregard the discontent of Trump supporters. They offer valuable lessons on what is not working in this country. Both Bernie and Trump have tapped into the seething rage over a 'rigged' economy, lost jobs, no jobs and terrible trade deals to name a few.

So, this is the way I hope it plays out: At the first meeting of your Clinton Cabinet, all - and I mean ALL - the uncomfortable issues that came up during the campaign are put on the table, analyzed and really 'go deep'. Look at every issue in a new light, from a new angle with creative out-of-the-box thinking. Challenge each other. Upend the status quo. Whether you like it or not, 2016 is a whole new world both culturally and economically. To understand the importance of our disparate American cultures, our distinct tribes - and they are plainly obvious - study them just as I assume you studied the distinct tribes in Iraq: Shia from Sunni Arabs, Kurds, Assyrians, Yazidis, Iraqi Turkmens. The United States is a hot bed of multiculturalism and must be examined accordingly. The Democratic 'most progressive platform ever' is a perfect road map.

Progressives will be watching you very closely and will keep pressure on you and your administration like a tourniquet. We have seen what establishment politics has gotten us - Donald Trump - so don't be doing the same crazy stuff over again hoping for a different outcome. I'm sure after the schooling of this campaign you recognize that.

As the campaign winds down and it pretty much looks like you're going to win - Irish bookmaker, Paddy Power, has already paid out on your win! - you are looking great, relaxed and full of stamina! I wish you the best of luck in your Presidency, Hillary. Your fortitude will serve you well because this is going to be one hell of a ride.

I wrote a long time ago that if people think the Republicans gave Obama a hard time, just wait until Hillary is President. They hate her to their core (sorry), they hate women and the thought of Bill Clinton roaming the halls of the White House...well, they will all suffer everlasting apoplexy. Not much will get done I'm afraid.

We know you have a penchant for secrecy, playing things close to the vest, but it would be advisable to be as transparent as possible. We, the people, deserve to know what's going on. You're going to be our President and our lives depend on you. That's no small responsibility. I'm rootin' for ya!

Hey, if you ever want some advice or ever need to vent, I'm here for you. Just email me. I'm on a secure server.

Monday, September 26, 2016

My sister was a friend of Roy Cohn. Guess who's she's voting for?

Oh, it's a long story about my sister which I shall write about in my memoir - whenever I get around to writing it after I catch up on old newspapers, New Yorkers and learning Esperanto - but to put it succinctly, she's a 'piece of work'. My first wasband nailed her as a cross between Dracula and Auntie Mame. She's a woman so full of judgement, she knows, with certainty, her shit don't stink.

Anyway, she's a rabid right-winger - surprise surprise - and I'm left of progressive so perhaps we will close the circle one day. The day Trump announced he was running for President, she sent him a hundred bucks. At that point, he bragged that he was going to self-fund so I asked my sister why she sent him money when he announced he wasn't soliciting money and didn't want any (ha). "Oh, she said, "I just want him to know I'm supporting him!" in a tone that suggested The Donald would be touched to know that she, ML, wished him well.

Without going into a psychological profile of my sister (remember, I'm saving it for my memoir), she has always been attracted to slimy greaseballs. She married one - the smarmiest greasiest Greek fisherman, eleven years her junior she found on the island of Mykonos. Another story for later. In fact, just today, she reminded me how much she loved smarmy men when she told me she had fallen in love with Paul Manafort, late of the Trump campaign, pal of the "world's nastiest tyrants". Even though he was dumped by Trump, you *know* he's still 'consulting' for the campaign because who wouldn't want this slimmy sonofabitch on their team. 

Knowing a bit about where my sister finds her jollies, it should come as no surprise that she was a friend of Roy Cohn. He was made of sleaze. I remember when she was palling around with him and their crew of lowlifes (she would dispute that), how much she admired him and how much she loved the down and dirty. That was just all so exciting. So, it follows that Cohn being Trump's mentor as extolled in every Trump bio, my sister held Trump up as a shining example - of what? I don't know. She did know Trump and Ivana when she lived in New York so I suppose you could say she's supporting 'a friend'. She just sent him a second hundred bucks a few weeks ago, you know, to solidify the bond. 

BUT, shock of shocks, just today, my sister informed me that she has abandoned Trump! I asked her if she wanted her money back? What despicable thing could possibly have turned this devotee away? Was it that she couldn't take one more lie? She didn't want to be lumped in with all the deplorables? I was dismayed but tried to remain cool, "What was the final straw?" She was completely turned off when she concluded that Trump didn't really want the job, "He's not acting like he wants it." That was it. His lack of ambition did him in. Not his racism, not his misogyny, not his pathological lying, not his sheer ignorance of foreign affairs, not his hair! Nope, he was lazy. 

Me: "So, who're you going to vote for?" Sister: "I don't know. I just can't vote for Hillary." She'll probably just not vote for President and certainly not for Johnson or Stein. End of story.

One less vote for Trump, one vote (by omission) for humankind.

Friday, August 12, 2016

So, you're running from Hillary and Trump to Jill Stein. Why?

I'm sure Dr. Jill Stein is a lovely lady. Smart. Harvard Med School, practiced internal medicine for 25 years. A nice trim lady who, in olden times, would have made a compassionate country doctor who made housecalls to treat little Timmy's tummy ache. Okay, that's not really fair. She's done important medical research and she is an activist's activist. Done terrific activist work over the years. Wonderful résumé...and Jewish, too! But, the question is, is she really qualified to be President of the United States?

Let's get right to the point. Dr. Jill Stein has never held elective or appointive office or held any position in government. She has never run a business. If the latest Green Party convention is any indication of her leadership and organizational skills, by all accounts, the Green Party convention was a shit-show and certainly doesn't put her in the best light.

"But the disorganization, borderline paranoia and participation-ribbon mentality (literally, if the press badges were to be believed) on display left little hope that the Green Party will be anything more than an unproductive nuisance through November. Even when one calibrates one’s expectations ― it’s a given that the Green Party convention will more closely resemble a gathering of nursery school music teachers than hardened political operators ― what transpired was dismaying.

There was the convention’s agenda. It allotted ample time for privilege-checking and inventorying of everyone’s contributions to the dominant paradigm, but very little attention for nuts-and-bolts organizing, get-out-the-vote plotting and press strategizing. During one of the first gatherings of party officials Saturday morning, delegates spent nearly an hour on breathing exercises and aimless discussion about their “anti-oppression skills.” Participants came away knowing how to locate the “deep blue indigo tunnel” at the “throat center,” but not how to write an effective fundraising email."
 Read more...  ~ Eliot Nelson, HuffPost Hill Editor 

There have been people from all walks of life who have run for President who haven't held elective office but they're gone and mostly forgotten. Actual Presidents have held elective office whether as a State governor, U.S. senator, Cabinet position or other legislative offices. Only about three never held elective office before becoming President and they came out of the military: Zachary Taylor, Ulysses S. Grant and Dwight D. Eisenhower. Source  This is not to say it's not possible. Just not probable.

We like to see our Presidential candidates' tax returns. You know, just to see which tax loopholes they're jumping through and to see how generous of heart they really are, philanthropically speaking. What a coincidence, Jill Stein *just* released part of her 2015 Federal tax return today. There's been tremendous pressure on her to do it nigh these past five years and, finally, I'm sure, reluctantly, she did. She still has not released returns from 2011to 2014 so where's the hue and cry from voters who demand other candidates do so?

Jill Stein does have something in common with D. Trump. They are both Putinistas! At a conference in Russia this past winter, she criticized the U.S. human rights record as 'shaky' (agree) without so much as a mention of Russia's rather understatedly revolting human rights record. Dare you call their picking off investigative journalists, assassinating political opponents, their vile anti-LGBT vendetta, a 'human rights policy'? Did Jill Stein forget about that when she was in Russia or did she not want to tempt the assassination snipers by even subtly pointing out those abuses?

So, I'm just curious why legions are running to vote for Stein who has zero experience in government. At least Gary Johnson and his running mate, Bill Weld, are both two-term Governors and they make an interesting team to say the least. UPDATE!!!!! Scratch doofus Gary Johnson. Bill Weld must be withering inside every time Goofy Gary (this time it does apply!) opens his mouth and nothing comes out.

So, if you have an idea why Jill Stein is the default candidate, please tell me. I really want to know.

I am sure, whatever happens, Jill Stein will continue to be an excellent activist for progressive issues and, for that, I am grateful.

Fun fact: Jill Stein has cut several albums with collaborator Ken Selcer in the folk-rock band Somebody's Sister and is able to play the conga and djembe drums and guitar so there's always that. Nobody said she wasn't talented.

Note: I am a Bernie super supporter. This is the way I spin it so I feel better: "I am not voting for Hillary. I'm voting against Trump." ie: I'm holding my nose and voting for Hillary.