Trump’s Selective Isolationism Would Endanger US Support For Israel

April 3, 2016 at 4:48 pm | Posted in Dysfunctional Politics, Presidential election, Terrorism | Leave a comment
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Flipped version of Trump Sr. at Citizens United Freedom Summit in Greenville South Carolina May 2015, photo by Michael Vadon.

Flipped version of Trump Sr. at Citizens United Freedom Summit in Greenville South Carolina May 2015, photo by Michael Vadon.

As long as the US remains fully engaged with the rest of the world, actively promoting open stable societies and allies, it makes perfect sense for the US to aid Israel. Israel is an open society, socially and technologically advanced (apart from its short-sighted ‘lebens-raum’ policy of settlements, and is a steadfast ally.

But Trump wants to drastically reduce US involvement with the rest of the world – to save money!

Does Trump know what pennywise and pound foolish means?

If we pulled back fron NATO, does he think that we would still have international partners for embargoes, sanctions, and for cooperation in fighting terrorism?

Does he think that we would have diplomatic and military allies when we suddenly needed them?

Trump’s policy would unleash unintended, undesireable consequences.

Here is just one that he hasn’t thought of.

If the US became isolationist, as Trump favors, then US aid to Israel would become an anomaly. It would become an exception. It would stick out like a sore thumb. It would soon cease.

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What Trump DOESN’T Know About Business

April 1, 2016 at 11:18 am | Posted in Conceited, Disinformation, Enemies of Freedom, Presidential election | Leave a comment
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Upside-down version of Trump Sr. at Citizens United Freedom Summit in Greenville South Carolina May 2015, photo by Michael Vadon.

Upside-down version of Trump Sr. at Citizens United Freedom Summit in Greenville South Carolina May 2015, photo by Michael Vadon.

Trump understands: real estate (especially hotels and entertainment), entertainment, self-promotion (a type of advertising), and selling the use of his name.

Trump doesn’t understand: international trade, the effect of international trade upon jobs, manufacturing, transportation, treaties, international law.

Most of the areas of business that Trump does understand are not relevant to the tasks of a President. The only exception is self-promotion. Even in the business areas that Trump understands, his record of success has been spotty.

The areas of business that Trump doesn’t understand are critical to the tasks of a President.

But Trump will never learn to understand those areas, because he doesn’t care about facts, and he doesn’t admit to mistakes (his insecurity forbids him to admit to them, especially to himself). So he will never be able to map out what he needs to learn. Learning involves forming provisional pictures, testing them, and correcting them. His refusal to admit to errors means that he cannot do that. By his own admission, Trump habitually relies on his gut guesses rather than on knowledgeable advisors. That habit does not promote learning.

In disputes, Trump is quick to sue. He does that to intimidate, harass and threaten those who disagree with him. He learned that trick from the practices that were common in the real estate business when and where he started out.

That won’t work in domestic politics, and it won’t work in international politics.

As a side note, given Trump’s well known proclivity to sue, it is surprising that anyone would sign a contract with him, without at least insisting that the contract require that disputes be resolved by arbitration, with the arbitrator being pre-specified in the contract.

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Bernie Sanders As Commander in Chief?

March 14, 2016 at 5:15 pm | Posted in Conceited, Fairness, Presidential election, Terrorism | Leave a comment
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Flag of the Islamic State. This flag is also used by al-Shabaab, al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP), al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM), and Boko Haram. Graphic by Yo.

Flag of the Islamic State.
This flag is also used by al-Shabaab, al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP), al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM), and Boko Haram. Graphic by Yo.

Here are some questions about Bernie Sander’s fitness to be the Commander in Chief.

Does Bernie Sanders agree that we need a capable – hence adequately funded – Department of Defence?

What capabilities of the Department of Defence does Bernie Sanders want to enhance?

How does Bernie Sanders plan to respond to the non-traditional military sitiations posed by terrorism and by countries (Syria, Russia, China, North Korea) that sneer at international law?

What policies does Bernie Sanders think should govern the use of drones?
What are his thoughts on collateral damage?

What areas of defense R&D does Bernie Sanders think needs to be pursued? What new weapons and tactical capabilities are needed?

What is Bernie Sander’s rough estimate of the proper level of funding for the Department of Defense next year? How many Divisions and how many aircraft carriers should we have?

A Syrian soldier aims an AK-47 assault rifle wearing a Soviet-made, model ShMS nuclear–biological–chemical warfare mask. Unknown author - http://picasaweb.google.com/lh/photo/0JoLDPpw5WbYCMAmPsXL1g

A Syrian soldier aims an AK-47 assault rifle wearing a Soviet-made, model ShMS nuclear–biological–chemical warfare mask.
Unknown author – http://picasaweb.google.com/lh/photo/0JoLDPpw5WbYCMAmPsXL1g

When Assad used chemical weapons against peaceful Syrians, did Bernie Sanders support the idea of US participation in setting up a no-fly zone to protect Syrian civilians from attack by Assad’s military? (A no-fly zone was not set up after Asaad’s use of chemical weapons, despite our prior hollow talk of a ‘red line’. That created a vacuum. That vacuum helped catpult ISIS into becoming a priminent player. Our lack of follow-through, and the hollowness of our threat, bears a major responsibility for the flourishing of ISIS.)

What would Bernie Sanders do to protect the non-extremist anti-Assad groups in Syria from Assad, and from Putin?

What would Bernie Sanders do to protect the very effective Kurdish fighters against attacks by Erdogan’s authoritarian Turkey?

Yazidi refugees and American aid workers on Mount Sinjar in August 2014" USAID U.S. Agency for International Development - https://www.flickr.com/photos/usaid_images/14783000490

Yazidi refugees and American aid workers on Mount Sinjar in August 2014″
USAID U.S. Agency for International Development – https://www.flickr.com/photos/usaid_images/14783000490

What would Bernie Sanders do about the desparate refugees who have fled ISIS?

Any candidate who cannot come up with thoughful, practical answers to these questions is utterly unfit to be commander and chief.

Any candidate who has not already pondered these questions is utterly unfit to be commander and chief.


During the Presidential election, that will be obvious to anyone who values practical effects over wishful thinking.

Being good-hearted is not enough.

Economic fairness is important, but do not underestimate the importance that most voters assign to:
– adequate defense
– our role in supporting international fairness
– and to being respected internationally, and effective internationally.

Some of those latter urgeswere a major factor in the ability of Mussolini and Hitler to replace open political systems by authoritarian ones.

Those same aspects drive Putin’s high popularity in the face of the economic disaster he has brought to Russia.

The importance of same aspects are why China follows an aggressive, nationalistic policies in south-east Asia, despite the political and economic backlash from neighboring countries, and because of China’s falling rate of economic growth.

In the Presidential election, a candidate that lives in dream-land will lose to a candidate who at least cares about what is achievable, no matter how ill-considered are that candidate’s specific goals and paths to those goals.

So a vote in the primary for a well-intentioned candidate who does not care about defense and about foreign policy will inadvertantly aid the victory of the candidate of the opposite party, as long as that competing candidate does have strong opinions (however stupid) about defense and foreign policy.

Remember how votes for the egotist Ralph Nader first made George Bush president instead of Al Gore, and then four years later help George Bush win a second term. (Recall also Nader’s hypocritical claim that there would be no difference between Gore and Bush presidencies.)

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Was David Eisenhauer a Jekyll-Hyde-like psychopath?

February 11, 2016 at 8:25 pm | Posted in Uncategorized | 3 Comments
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Torrential rain on Thassos island, Greece, photo by Edal Anton Lefterov, 6 July 2011.

Torrential rain on Thassos island, Greece, photo by Edal Anton Lefterov, 6 July 2011.

You probably have heard the horrifying story.  (If not, you can read about its various aspects here, here, here, here, here, here, here, and here.)

A sweet, cheerful, friendly, affectionate young girl, Nicole Lovell, in Blacksburg, Virginia, had overcome challenges that most of us will never face. She overcame lymphoma (a type of cancer), had a liver transplant, and a trachoetomy. The tracheotomy left a scar on Nicole’s throat.

Doing so took courage, fortitude, the strength of character to overcome fear, to endure physical pain. It entailed loneliness from being separated from her friends. It caused her unease about falling behind her classmates. What she did was nothing short of heroic. Her parents were subjected to staggering burdens, which they lovingly accepted.

The tracheotomy scar and Nicole’s medical absences from school made her the target of bullying and snubs at her middle school.

That, and her entry into adolescence, made her eager for a boyfriend. She sought one on social media. At 13 years old, in middle school, she thought she had found one, David Eisenhauer, 18 years old, an athlete and accomplished student at nearby Virginia Tech. She was proud and happy: she now had a handsome affectionate defender, and a living proof that she was lovable and attractive. For a girl in middle school, he was a trophy. She dreamt of starting a family with him. She spoke of running away with him.

At some point they had sex. At some point David Eisenhauer decided to kill her. He and a friend of his, Natalie M. Keepers, plotted for a month on where and how to do it. They bought a shovel. He had a knife. They selected a secluded spot on campus.

In November 2015, David arranged for Nichole to sneak out of her house to meet him in secret.

On the night of November 27, 2015, she climbed out of her bedroom window to meet him. She must have been happily excited and eager: she had even told a friend that she was going to run away with him (but not when). At some secluded location David stabbed Nicole to death. He and Natalie took Nicole’s body a little across the border of North Carolina and buried her.

Was David Eisenhauer a Jekyll-Hyde-like psychopath?

No, not according to what his roomate and others say.

Why then did he plot with a friend, for a month, to cold-bloodedly murder a sweet, trusting, affectionate young girl, Nicole Lovell, who adored and trusted him?

Here is a guess.

According to those who knew him, David Eisenhauer is intelligent, and is focused on the future.

He knew he had made a very serious mistake when, probably in a moment of weakness, he had earlier had sex with Nicole Lovell. Since she was a juvenile and he was not, if their sexual activities ever became known, he would be classed as a sex offender who took advantage of an under-age girl. For the rest of his life he would have to declare himself to the local police wherever he lived, and he would have to obey restrictions that barred him from proximity to schools and playgrounds, and even those used by his potential future children. If the sensible proposal to mark the passports of sex-offenders is eventually approved, some countries would thereafter deny him entry. He would be shamed in the eyes of his parents, friends, and classmates. Even his family would be disgusted by him, and would feel let down by him, and would even feel shame at having raised him.

Because of the bullying she had suffered, Nicole Lovell had a pattern of boasting about any evidence that she was lovable and attractive. In particular, she had boasted about him, on social media, and Nicole Lovell’s friends knew about him. David Eisenhauer knew that it was only a matter of time before Nicole boasted to her friends about having sex with him, and then that damning fact would quickly become widely known. All the bad consequences would ensue.

So David Eisenhauer felt that he had no choice but to silence Nicole Lovell by killing her.

He revealed his quandry and his plans to fellow student Natalie M. Keepers, a close and supportive friend, and enlisted her help.

We know what happened next. David Eisenhauer compounded his earlier serious crime of having sex with a minor by the far more serious crime of murder.

But suppose the plot had succeeded, and the murderers had never been identified?

After the murder, the only person who knew David Eisenhauer’s secret was Natalie Keepers. She herself had in the past been bullied, and was somewhat unstable – perhaps as a result of the bullying. So she was the only remaining threat. She was emotionally unstable. She might blurt out the secret during some therapy session in the future, or during some future dispute with David Eisenhauer.

Natalie Keepers was lucky that she and David Eisenhauer were caught.

Most likely, David Eisenhauer still had the knife and the shovel.

The scenario described above is just a guess. But it could explain what had seemed inexplicable.


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The Koch Conspiracy to Subvert American Democracy

January 29, 2016 at 5:16 pm | Posted in Dysfunctional Politics, Enemies of Freedom, Enemies of Planet Earth, Global warming, Judicial Misjudgment, Presidential election | Leave a comment
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David H. Koch in 2007, as cropped and rotated from a photo by freddthompson

David H. Koch in 2007, as cropped and rotated from a photo taken by freddthompson

The remarkable new book, ‘Dark Money’, by Jane Mayer, shows that a many-fingered long-lasting conspiracy by very wealthy, very greedy, very defensive individuals, underlies much of what has degraded and coarsened American political life over the past two and a half decades.

The conspiracy was instigated by Charles and David Koch.

The conspiracy is driven by the self interest of Charles and David Koch and their co-conspirators. They all rationalize it to themselves as the defense of liberty – but only of those liberties that benefit themselves.

It is a conspiracy to subvert American democracy. Jane Mayer shows that it was started when Charles Koch concluded that he couldn’t achieve his goals via the open political process.

Prominent members of this group are (quoting from Mayer’s page 4) “Richard Mellon Scaife, an heir to the Mellon banking and Gulf oil fortunes; Harry and Lynde Bradley, midwesterners enriched by defense contracts; John M. Olin, a chemical and munitions company titan; the Coors brewing family of Colorado; and the DeVos family of Michigan, founders of the Amway marketing empire.”

Their convocations impose utmost secrecy: no mobile phones, no notes, no audio or video recording. The eleborate precautions are described on page 9 of Jane Mayer’s book.

That it is a conspiracy is proven by its secrecy.

Supreme Court Justices Antonin Scalia and Clarence Thomas have been speakers at these meetings.

Were Scalia and Thomas paid to speak? How much?

Was their air travel and lodging reimbursed, or paid directly by the meeting’s sponsors? Almost certainly.

Scalia’s and Thomas’ attitudes on issues that were likely to come before the Supreme Court may have been influenced by those at the secret meetings at which they spoke. But more likely, they were invited to speak, and agreed to speak, because they were known to already favor plutocracy over democracy.

In turn, that almost certainly influenced how they voted when the Supreme Court was reaching its decision on Citizens United.

The Supreme Court’s majority decision on Citizens United enabled wealthy donors and the executives and board members of wealthy corporations to have much more influence – per person – on elections and on elected officials, than do ordinary citizens such as you and I. As a result, PACs became prominent. A PAC is not supposed to coordinate in any way with the candidate it supports, but news stories too numerous to count cite direct contacts and indirect signalling between candidates and ‘their’ PACs (yes, that is how some of the PACs are described in news stories), and there is much transfer of personnel between the campaign staff and the PAC and vice versa. PACs provide an effective way of influencing political outcomes, and are one of the Koch conspiracy’s major tools. No more ‘significant political say for each active citizen’. The political voice of a  director of a PAC, of a lobbyist or of a politician who has an affiliated PAC, or of a wealthy individual, a corporate executive, or a member of a corporate board that contributes importantly to a PAC, is much louder than the voice of any ordinary citizen. This has seriously corrupted American political life, and has greatly attenuated poltical democracy.

Because of – or as evidenced by – their participation in these secret meetings, Scalia and Thomas were biased, and should have recused themselves from the decision on Citizens United.

If asked, Scalia and Thomas might claim that they attended and spoke as private citizens, that they were merely speaking for themselves, exercising their Constitutional rights of freedom of assembly and of speech.

As private citizens? Hah! No one believes that for a moment.

By virtue of their special status, Justices of the Supreme Court are always seen – accurately or inaccurately – as reflecting upon the Supreme Court when they speak on any topic having political ramifications.

By virtue of their special status, Justices of the Supreme Court receive special treatment at airports. Unless their hosts proved travel in a private airplane, both Scalia and Thomas probably availed themselves of that special treatment in their flights to and from these Koch-sponsored events.  Private citizens do not receive this special treatment.

Doesn’t the Supreme Court issue guidelines on the out-of-court activities of its Justices?

Federal employees receive such guidelines, to reduce as much as possible both impropriety and the appearance of impropriety.

Common sense says:

Attendance and giving a speech at a public meeting is proper for a Supreme Court Justice, as long as that attendance is not subsidised nor paid for.

Attendance at secret meeting is proper for a Supreme Court Justice, as long as the meeting is within the premises of the Supreme Court, and includes all of the Justices.

It is not proper for a Justice of the Supreme Court to attend and speak at a secret meeting on political policy, outside of the Supreme Court, and probably without even the knowledge and assent of all of the other Justices.

Two Justices of the Supreme Court committed a serious breech of ethics, casting great doubt upon their impartiality.

You can thank the Koch conspiracy for that.


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Shout It! We Do NOT Love Donald Trump

January 23, 2016 at 8:33 pm | Posted in Conceited, Dysfunctional Politics, Presidential election, Uncategorized | 1 Comment
Tags:

320x480.DonaldTrump.May2015.UpsideDown

As explained at the bottom of this post, you can comment on it to show either your agreement or your disagreement with some or all of it.

Trump is insecure. To an abnormal extent, he likes to project strong self-esteem. But the abnormal intensity of his boasting reveals that his self esteem is actually weak. His need for reassurance is why he continually claims that this group and that group loves him. Do you know anyone else who so obsessively boasts that so many groups love him?
Donald Trump, we do NOT love you.

We do not even LIKE you.

We despise Trump because he is an insecure braggart and a bully.

In Atlantic City, Trump tried to bully an elderly widow who just wanted to remain in her own home, rather than have it bulldozed to advance Trump’s plans for a casino. Trump lost. (Despite his inflated claim, Trump does not always win.) Afterwards, instead of expressing remorse and ethical growth, Trump gratuitously and falsely said that she was a nasty person.

We mistrust Trump because he believes in hype as a matter of principle.
An article (by Robert O’Harrow Jr., Alice Crites, Walter Fee) in a recent Washington Post adds detail to what we know about Trump’s spotty business history.
Besides being careless of facts, Trump overstates his assets, overstates what he can accomplish, and spins his failures – as if calling a failure a success makes it so.

As a matter of policy, Trump tells people what he knows they want to hear (voters, casino commissions), without making sure that he can back up what he says.

We despise Trump for his astoundingly incautious handling of large sums of money. Imagine what such an impulsive, feckless investor would do to the US Treasury, and to the financial standing of the US. Alexander Hamilton would have been aghast at the dangers of entrusting any significant aspect of the US economy into the hands of such a gambler and bluffer, especially given Trump’s bumpy track record in business.

We despise Trump for never acknowledging when his claims are proved to be erroneous. Trump’s disinterest in correcting the record shows that he does not care about the truth.
A striking example is his ‘birther’ claims about Obama, which he never retracted despite abundant solid disproof.

We despise Trump because he does not favor an open society, with the time and role it gives to the airing of dissenting views. Instead, Trump likes Putin’s way of doing things, and Putin likes Trump. An open society is the goal of the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution: witness the separation of powers, and the Bill of Rights. Trump thinks those features are merely impediments to decisive action. As explained in a previous post, Trump’s political beliefs developed as a result of the atypical advantages he had in starting his carreer.

We despise Trump because he allows and enables Corey Lewandowski‘s totalitarian control of access – by reporters and by the public – to Trump’s speaking appearances. Lewandowski’s approach is similar to that of Putin in Russia, to Xi in China, to Kim Jong-un in North Korea: only favorable images and reports may come out. Lewandowsky stomps on freedom of speech. Perhaps for his next job, Lewandowski should interview for a job with one of the dictators named above.
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Why Trump Esteems Putin

June 30, 2015 at 11:56 am | Posted in Conceited, Enemies of Freedom, Presidential election | 2 Comments
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Trump Approves of Putin.  Image created by  thepoliblog.WordPress.com.

Trump Approves of Putin. Image created by thepoliblog.WordPress.com.

This astonishing fact appeared in an important column by Michael Gerson on Trump’s political position, and was discussed in the second half of the previous post.

The present post seeks to understand why Trump esteems Putin.

Why does Trump not see in Putin’s actions what everyone else sees?

The explanation is to be found in Trump’s job history.

“Trump began his career at his father’s real estate company”, according to Wikipedia. So he started with a strong dynastic advantage.
Trump spent almost his entire career as the unremovable top executive of a large company.
No one in his company could gainsay him.
No one in his company could contradict him.
No one in his company could refuse to do what he asked.
Despite nearly fatal business mistakes in 1989 through 1991, no one in his company could criticise him.
Only sycophants were allowed.

In his company, he became an autocrat.
He enjoyed being an autocrat. (“You’re fired!”, said he, with relish and glee. )
He eventually came to believe that autocracy was the only effective way to obtain results.

That is why Trump approves of Putin, and is unable to see how massively Putin has damaged Russia.

Conscience leads almost every autocrat to wish to believe that they are a benevolent autocrat.

Trump wants to believe that he is a benevolent autocrat.
That is why he repeatedly says “They love me!” (The emphasis is his.)
When you hear words, even if they were spoken by yourself, they activate the same neural chains that are activated by words spoken by others.
So words spoken aloud by yourself are more comforting and supportive, and they carry a whiff of objectivity and outside validation.
(That is why prayer and wishes and political slogans said aloud, either by yourself or spoken in unison in a crowd, are so much more reassuring than silent prayers or wishes or slogans.)
So Trump says again and again, emphatically, “They love me!”

Of course benevolent autocrats are rare, even among those who wish to believe that they are benevolent. Lord Acton’s insight applies: “Power tends to corrupt, and absolute power corrupts absolutely.” Acton’s insight does not refer to corruption by greed, but to corruption by rationalization and by arrogance.

Picture of John Dalberg-Acton, 1st Baron Acton. Created, no later than 1902, and published in the book 'Letters of Lord Acton to Mary Gladstone', published by Allen & Co.

Picture of John Dalberg-Acton, 1st Baron Acton.
Created, no later than 1902, and published in the book ‘Letters of Lord Acton to Mary Gladstone’, published by Allen & Co.

Trump is the opposite of George Washington, that avid self-taught student of the history of freedom versus autocracy, who, as the first President of the US, deliberately and adamantly refused to set monarchical precedents, and who accepted the decison of Congress even when he thought it to be mistaken. Washington thereby set the most precious precedents of all.

The Lansdowne portrait of George Washington, painted by Gilbert Stuart in 1796.

The Lansdowne portrait of George Washington, painted by Gilbert Stuart in 1796.

Trump is a would-be President who doesn’t understand or like democracy.
He doesn’t understand the creativity and self-correction that is provided by the intellectual
crowd-sourcing that arises from the uproar that occurs in any open society.

Trump is utterly unfit to be President.

Trump’s advantaged career history also explains his other peculiarities:

Trump is arrogant. While announcing his candidacy, Trump astoundingly asserted that he would make Mexico pay for building a wall along its US border. Make? How? This is Bluster’s Last Stand.

Trump is conceited. So he feels no need to have his ideas critiqued before announcing them or acting upon them. Trump asserted that Mexico keeps its good people for itself, and “sends” its criminals and other misfits to the US. Does Trump suppose that a panel in Mexico reviews information about each of it citizens, and then issues orders to each, either stay or head north? This breathtaking idiocy is of a piece with Trump’s assertion that Putin has boosted the rest of the world’s opinion of Russia. It is also of a piece with Trump’s disastrous business decisions during the late 1980s and early 1990s, which nearly bankrupted his business and himself.

Trump is tone deaf. He has far less than the normal ability to see himself as others see him. He has lost much of his former skill in mentally mirroring others that was demonstrated by his college career. He seems to have retained only the mental mirroring skills needed for business deals.

It is sometimes asserted that sucess in business is one of the best indicators of suitability for executive office.

Trump illustrates the truth that being a business executive who lacks extensive experience in elective politics, or in another arena having frequent give-and-take between evenly matched participants, does not indicate suitability for high office. Instead it indicates unsuitability. (The same is true for military leaders.)

Trump illustrates the truth that a sense of entitlement is the root of most evil.

Trump is utterly unfit to be President.

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Was Donald Trump Born in the US?

June 25, 2015 at 12:31 pm | Posted in Conceited, Disinformation, Enemies of Freedom, Enemies of Planet Earth, Global warming, Presidential election | 2 Comments
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Trump Sr. at Citizens United Freedom Summit in Greenville South Carolina May 2015, photo by Michael Vadon.

Trump Sr. at Citizens United Freedom Summit in Greenville South Carolina May 2015, photo by Michael Vadon.

Donald Trump recently announced that he is running to become the next President.

This is the same Donald Trump who refused to accept the abundant evidence that Barack Obama was born in the US, and that Obama’s Presidency was therefore legitimate according to paragraph 5 of Section 1 of Article II of the Constitution of the United states of America.

This is the same Donald Trump who insisted that President Obama publish a validated copy of his birth certificate.

Billboard challenging the validity of Barack Obama's birth certificate. The billboard is located in South Gate, and photo was taken on November 12, 2010.

Billboard challenging the validity of Barack Obama’s birth certificate. The billboard is located in South Gate, and photo was taken on November 12, 2010.

Barack Obama's long form birth certificate, from the State of Hawaii Department of Health

Barack Obama’s long form birth certificate, from the State of Hawaii Department of Health.

This is the same Donald Trump who wasted so much of his own time and attention, and that of the public, by being the last prominent ‘birther’ to refuse to accept the abundant solid evidence about the place of Obama’s birth. This is the same Donald Trump who ensured that time and energy and newsprint and bandwidth would continue to be wasted on what was generally acknowledged to be a refuted claim.

This is the same Donald Trump who selected himself to stand in the schoolhouse door, in what everyone knew would be a futile attempt to block Obama’s path.

Is this Donald Trump eligible to be President?

Is the energy and time – his own and the public’s – that Trump expended on this silly charade, an indication of how he would allocate his attention and the nation’s resources, if he became President?

He was smart enough to know that it was a charade, wasn’t he?

If he did, then his wasting of our time and energy was so egregious that it was unpatriotic.
If he didn’t, then he is unfit to be an executive of anything.

I cannot believe that he was stupid enough to fall for the birther wishful thinking.

Therefore he had chosen self-promotion over the welfare of the country.

That is unpatriotic enough to make us wonder, was Donald Trump born in the USA?

At Trump’s every campaign appearance, demand to see his birth certificate.

Demand that he publish a certified copy.

—————————————–Trump’s Approval of Putin

Michael Gerson recently reviewed lesser known aspects of Trump’s political history.

The review contained a bombshell: Donald Trump’s approval of Putin, the most destructive tyrant of Russia since Stalin. Gerson’s column says of Trump:

The defects of democracy, in this view, are remedied by the strongman. It is not a coincidence that Trump expresses admiration for Vladimir Putin. “He’s doing a great job,” says Trump, “in rebuilding the image of Russia and also rebuilding Russia, period.”

Official portrait of Vladimir Putin (2006). This file comes from the website of the President of the Russian Federation and is copyrighted.

Official portrait of Vladimir Putin (2006). This file comes from the website of the President of the Russian Federation and is copyrighted.

Putin: the person who derailed Russia’s transition to becoming a fair and open society, governed by the rule of law, instead of by the convenience of a mafia.

Putin: the mugger who robbed Crimea from Ukraine because Ukraine had overturned Putin’s protogee Viktor Yanukovych. Putin: who subsequently manufactured a surprisingly well equipped military separatist movement in eastern Ukraine that has triggered a new cold war.

Somehow Trump forgot to mention his admiration of Putin while announcing his candidacy.

After all, the voters deserve to know about each candidate’s role models.

Is someone who approves of Putin fit to be President?

At Trump’s every campaign appearance, ask him about his approval of Putin.

At every interview, ask Trump about his approval of Putin.

Donald Trump:

320x480.DonaldTrump.May2015.UpsideDown

A birther, who wasted everyone’s time by pretending that a dead issue was still alive, solely to draw attention to himself.

An admirer of Vladimir Putin’s approach to governing.

This post can be summarized in three words: Trump Tramples Truth!

Your comments are welcome.
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Sex and Food as Meditation

June 6, 2015 at 9:12 pm | Posted in Practical tips | 2 Comments
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Chocolate, taken or created by Fir0002, and uploaded by Shizhao.

Chocolate, taken or created by Fir0002, and uploaded by Shizhao.

As you know, chocolate is one of the major food groups, and constitutes the wide base of the food pyramid, upon which all of the other food groups rest.

What does that have to do with meditation and sex?

In a recent article in the Washington Post, Brigid Schulte interviewed Sally Lazar about recent research that shows how meditation produces beneficial changes in the brain. This finding of benefits is not based merely on people’s reports on how they were affected, but also on functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI). (See the video clip in the online article.)

Sex has much in common with meditation.

Notably, both aim for intense concentration on particular sensations, temporarily shutting out the distracting signals from everything else. In sex, the sensations that are key for satisfying the urge are the pleasurable sensations from your own body, along with the signals of your partner’s pleasure and excitement. Without exclusive focus on those two ingredients, release will not occur.

Mindful eating is similar. It is single-minded concentration on how good something tastes.

If sex, mindful eating and meditation have so much overlap, might frequent sex and mindful eating produce the same benefits as meditation?

Answering that question would benefit society, as well as being enjoyable. Even the research to answer the question would be enjoyable. Is anyone looking for a research project?

Meditation that is regular enough, and of long enough duration, produces substantial benefits. If good sex and good food count as meditation, then without knowing it, you might already be part way to meditating enough.

Chocolate is created from the cocoa bean. A cacao tree with fruit pods in various stages of ripening.  Photo by Medicaster.

Chocolate is created from the cocoa bean. A cacao tree with fruit pods in various stages of ripening. Photo by Medicaster.

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June 4: Tiananmen Square Day

June 3, 2015 at 12:29 pm | Posted in Abuse of Office, Disinformation, Enemies of Freedom, Fairness, Judicial Injustice | Leave a comment
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A drafting board with a T-Square and triangle. Photo by Michael Holley, October 24, 2012.

A drafting board with a T-Square and triangle. Photo by Michael Holley, October 24, 2012.

June 4 is Tiananmen Square Day: T-square Day

An emblem for Tiananmen Square Day.  Created by thepoliblog.WordPress.com

An emblem for Tiananmen Square Day. Created by thepoliblog.WordPress.com

Two previous posts (here and here) on this blog have marked the anniversaries of the massacres in Beijing and Chengdu on and after June 4, 1989. It is that time of year again.

Tiananmen Square Day honors those who believed in the rule of law.

The demonstrators in Beijing and Chengdu thought that the government of China would adhere to its own written laws. They thought that laws exist to benefit and protect the people, not just to benefit and protect the powerful – those who have appointed themselves to rule the country. The demonstrators’ concept was correct, but their prediction was wrong.

The government of China claims to observe the rule of law. But that is a sham. Laws in China are written or are re-interpreted according to the whims and interests of the powerful. In China today, the mafia is in control.

Recent items (here, here, and here) in the Washington Post underscore the arbitrary way in which the laws are invoked, and the impunity with which they are twisted.

Besides stunting Chinese society, besides the unfairness to individuals and communities, this looseness with fact and law could lead to international conflict. The unilateral reinterpretation of territorial claims in the waters around south east and eastern Asia are a recent example.

In discussing this and other government actions, it is essential to distinguish between the government of China, and China and the Chinese people. To say and write ‘the government of China’ takes more time and space than to say and to write ‘China’, but the distinction is so important that it is worth the extra time and space. Never insult an injured people by confusing them with their oppressors.

Tiananmen Square Day honors the rule of law, while demonstrating that the rule of law cannot exist without the separation of powers.

The separation of powers is the only way for the administrators, the legislators and the judiciary of any polity to be independent enough to monitor one another, and to limit each other’s abuse of power. The tendency to abuse power is inherent in human nature. Even people of good will cannot resist the temptation to abuse power. We are excellent rationalizers, so we easily trick ourselves. The trajectory of the French Revolution is a perfect example.

Black was the color chosen by the demonstrators in Beijing and in Chengdu. Wear something black on Tianenmen Square Day. If you need to be inconspicuous, wear black shoes, or a belt, or a tie, or a scarf or a purse.

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