Thursday, September 22, 2016


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


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.