Thursday, September 22, 2016

SPACE MASTER



Since the federal budget for NASA has declined, American billionaires have entered the space race. Led by Elon Musk of Tesla Motors and Amazon’s Jeff Bezos, Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen and Richard Branson of Virgin Galactic have been  testing rockets and preparing a manned trip to Mars. One failed exploit was an attempt by Mark Zuckerberg of FaceBook to launch a satellite that would have provided internet service to the developing world.

Can you think of any famous billionaires who have not been mentioned? Of course, there is Donald Trump, who has a hand in dozens of enterprises. A Leisure Times staff member investigated the possibility of a Donald Trump space endeavor. It has been kept on the hush-hush, but The Donald does have a rocket being prepared for a trip to distant planets.

“I didn’t want to say anything about it earlier,” Trump said, “because I don’t like to draw attention to myself, but I can tell you, I will be the best space master that God ever created.”

It seems that the entrepreneur has assembled a group of wealthy businessmen to finance the operation. Although he will head the organization, none of his own money will be involved. He didn’t have a lot of information about the fine points, saying, “It’s called management.”

“In a risky undertaking,” the real estate tycoon continued, “it’s better to use other people’s money. That way, if the thing blows up, I won’t be out any of my own money. In fact I would still come out ahead, because I would pay myself a nice salary as CEO of the project.”

We were impressed with the brilliance of Trump’s plan. “I’ve got a very good brain,” he said, tapping himself on the forehead. “After all, I went to Wharton.”


Saturday, September 10, 2016

A DESCENT INTO ANARCHY



There are unwritten rules of conduct between civilized people. When we ignore these rules, we do so at the risk of descending into anarchy. Several politicians have destroyed what should be the decorum and gravitas of presidential politics and brought it down to the level of crude, middle school name calling.

This descent into chaos is not limited to presidential politics. Maine Governor Paul LePage compared the IRS to the Gestapo and said that President Obama “hates white people.” When the assistant senate majority leader Troy Jackson said the governor was “delusional,” LePage replied that Jackson was “the first to give it to the people without providing Vaseline.” When the governor thought that Democratic Representative Drew Gattine had called him a racist, he left a message on Gattine’s answer machine. The message contained these words: “you little son of a bitch, socialist, c*ck sucker.”

Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte is another politician who finds it easy to come up with nasty words to express his thoughts. When he was mayor of Davao City, an Australian woman was gang-raped and murdered. Duterte made a joke about it. More recently, when he was scheduled to meet President Obama at the ASEAN conference, Duterte made a reference to Obama as a son of a bitch. He later apologized and said he hadn’t meant it personally. Nevertheless, Obama cancelled the meeting.

The outrageous things that Donald Trump has said are too numerous to mention, but here is a sampling: He has insulted woman many times as well as Muslims and Mexicans. He has used offensive language to describe all of his opponents in the Republican primary elections as well as his opponent in the general election. He called Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsberg an incompetent judge. He mocked disabled reporter Serge Kavaleski. Trump belittled John McCain’s military service and attacked the parents of a fallen American soldier.

So these three men have shown themselves to be crude, uncivilized bullies. Does that mean that they are unfit for high office? Yes, it does, and not only because they lack the dignity to represent the constituency they serve. If they cannot or will not follow the rules of civil intercourse, then they cannot be trusted to follow the larger rules which they must. Otherwise the result is anarchy.

Last year Governor LePage proposed an amendment to the constitution, which would abolish the state income tax. The House of Representative voted 82-64 against the amendment. In a snit because his proposal had been voted down, the governor for a while vetoed all bills, regardless of their merit, if they had been sponsored by Democrats.

Last year Democratic House Speaker Mark Eves was hired by hired by
Goodwill-Hinckley as president of the charitable organization that works with at-risk youth. Because of the governor’s dislike of the Eves, he threatened to withhold $500,000 in state funding if they hired Eves. The intimidated board of Goodwill-Hinckley withdrew the job offer.

At the very least these actions are abuse of power or failure to perform his duty as governor of the state.

Since Duterte became president hundreds of people suspected of being drug dealers or even drug users have been killed. This is not new. For several years, While Duterte  was mayor of Daveo City, there were over a thousand extra-judicial killings of people believed to be involved in drug traffic. According to the State Department, the U. S. government has “solid evidence that Duterte was responsible for these extrajudicial killings.”

So here is a man who “Gets things done.” But at what cost? People suspected of crime were killed without benefit of a trial by jury. Where is the protection to ordinary citizens in this kind of government?

Donald Trump has never served in elective office, but he has shown his true colors in many ways. He has already told us what he would do if he had a chance.

In the face of Russian intransigence, Trump would have us renege on our pledge to NATO allies unless they begin paying more for the maintenance of NATO forces. After that our word would mean nothing.

He would reduce the national debt by getting the people we owe to accept pennies on the dollar. It worked for him in his many bankruptcies. Paul Krugman said that Trump wants to run the U S Treasury like a falling Atlantic City casino. This action would destroy the confidence in American currency that was established by Alexander Hamilton.

He would use nukes against our enemies. During his security briefing, he asked three times whey we couldn’t use our nuclear bombs. Trump would be willing to launch a nuclear holocaust, which could mean the end of humanity on earth.

He would subject suspected terrorists to waterboarding and worse. John McCain, who was tortured while he was a POW, said that torturing prisoners was not what this country is about.

Finally Donald Trump would get revenge on terrorists by assassinating their families. Here is still another example of his willingness to commit illegal acts to get what he wants.

Donald Trump’s unwillingness or inability to follow the rules of civil discourse are indications of his unwillingness to follow the laws of the land or international law. To put in his hands the power of the presidency would be the first step toward a descent into anarchy.


  







Sunday, July 31, 2016

WE CAN TRUST DONALD



A lot of people don’t trust Hillary, but we can all trust Donald Trump. For example, we can trust him to tell outrageous lies. He said that he objected to the dates of the proposed debates with Hillary because the dates conflicted with major league football games. He said that the NFL had written to him objecting to the proposed dates because of these conflicts.

However, the NFL stated they had written no such letter to Trump!

Since the beginning of his campaign he has made such disgraceful, untruthful claims. Furthermore, when confronted with his falsehoods, he has continued to insist that they are true, like the claim that thousands of Muslims in New Jersey were cheering after 9/11.

He has to know that he would be caught out in his claim about the letter from the NFL. Why would he even say such things? It seems to be a cynical view that despite the obviously lies, some of his followers would continue to believe him.


It is clear, of course, why he does not want to debate Hillary. He doesn’t have a chance against her. She will destroy him. Her insight into what is going on in the world and her logic against his uninformed rant. It would be no contest. 

Saturday, July 30, 2016


WHAT ARE YOU AFRAID OF, MR. TRUMP?



Donald Trump still refuses to release his income taxes, unlike every presidential candidate going back several decades. What doesn’t he want us to see? It can’t be good. It must be something that he is ashamed of.

Writing in the Washington Post, Chris Cillizza offers several possibilities.

1. Maybe Trump has major investments in Russia. That would explain his admiration for Vladimir Putin and his willingness to let NATO fall by the wayside. No wonder Russia is hacking Democratic computers and doing what it can to help Trump win the election.

2. He is being audited. Evidently he is. That didn’t stop Richard Nixon from releasing his taxes during an audit.

3. Maybe he didn’t pay any taxes. During the 1970s he did not pay any taxes for two years in a row. I haven’t paid income taxes since I retired from teaching 11 years ago because I don’t make enough money to be taxed on my income. But I am not pretending to be a crackerjack businessman.

4. Maybe he has ties to the mob. Ted Cruz brought that up during the primary campaign (Nice guy!) I don’t really think that’s the reason Trump is hiding whatever his income taxes would reveal. But his secrecy makes you wonder.

5. He donates very little money to charity. That is certainly credible. He has shown himself to be a cheapskate on several occasions.

6. He’s not as rich as he says. That’s another credible charge. While he obviously has a lot of money, it might not be as much as he says. To reveal that his statements about the size of his fortune is another empty boast, would damage his ego.

Mark Cuban suggested that possibly Trumps income taxes would reveal that he paid more in taxes that Trump made. It could be.

Anyway it comes down to this: Donald Trump is applying for the job of President of the United States. Since he has no public service experience, his major qualification, according to him, is his experience as a highly successful businessman. His income tax should support his assertion. If he is unwilling to share that with the public, we should not vote for him.

If you or I apply for a job and have a blank spot on our resume, say from 2009-2010, the employer would naturally wonder what we were doing during those years. If we refused to tell, there is no way we would get the job. Donald Trump is refusing to let us know how his business has been doing in the last few years. We would have to be really stupid to take his word for his business success in those years. We would not hire anyone for a sensitive position if that person refused to reveal what he was doing for two years. We should not hire anyone who claims to be qualified by virtue of his successful business experience if that person refuses to show us evidence of that experience.

Sunday, July 3, 2016


GOP CONVENTION SPEAKER



No one knows what will happen at the GOP Convention in Cleveland, but whatever it is, it probably won’t be pretty. Former Republican Presidents and Presidential candidates have announced that they won’t be there. Donald Trump is even having trouble getting prominent Republicans to speak at the event.

In one of the strangest developments in this Strangest Show on Earth, rumors are circulating that the Donald will ask former Presidential candidate Dr. Carl Perrin to speak in Cleveland. What! Perrin is a life-long Democrat. How can anyone think that he would even consider speaking at the Republican convention, especially one that is poised to nominate Donald Trump?

We must emphasize that this is only rumor, a rumor that we have not been able to verify from other sources. According to this rumor, Trump is really desperate to get speakers for the big event, and although Perrin is not nationally known, within his small circle, a lot of people know him. Further, according to the story, the retired English professor will be able to speak on any topic he wants. The Trump people are even suggesting that Perrin will be encouraged to talk about cheap beer.

You can see the dilemma that puts Perrin in. People who know him are aware of much he likes to talk about cheap beer. As one close associate said, “He won’t shut up about cheap beer.” Will this life-long Democrat go to the convention in Cleveland and witness the possible nomination of the least-qualified presidential candidate ever in order to get a chance to talk to the country about cheap beer?


Only time will tell.