Feeds:
Posts
Comments

A Very Dark Day

donald_trump_screaming

Ladies and Gentlemen, the President of the United States! Sad!

Who Is That Guy?

trump-christie

That guy behind the candidate.

The other candidate who said that Trump was not qualified to be anywhere near the Oval Office.  The guy that said Trump had to be stopped.

The guy who then lined up behind Trump like a good soldier when Trump had won the nomination. Maybe he’d get to be VP? Maybe he’d get a cabinet slot? The guy who went out to spin for Trump whenever Trump said something stupid or offensive.

Who is that guy that looks like he thinks he sold his soul?

The guy who got dumped the night of the election, the guy we never saw in public after Trump actually won?

The guy Trump used until he no longer needed him.

That’s Chris Christie, the first major politician who got completely screwed by Trump.

There will be encores.

Rex Tillerson – Secretary of State – Exxon CEO with deep ties to Russia and no diplomatic experience, who thinks confirmation hearings and questions from lowly senators are beneath him.

Betsy DeVos – Secretary of Education – Thinks public school teachers are overpaid, never taught, never went to public school, does not believe in public education.

Rick Perry – Energy Secretary – Misunderstood what the job meant. Is on record wanting to abolish the department he now wants to head up.

Scott Pruitt – E.P.A. Administrator – Has sued the E.P.A. many times as Attorney General of Oklahoma. Has worked for the interests of oil companies fighting the climate change lobby.

Is Trump trying to dismantle the United States government as we know it? Are we handing our welfare and well-being to the oil companies to control? Are we out of our minds?

The way I see it, none of the candidates for Trump’s cabinet are even remotely qualified for the offices they intend to hold. This isn’t going to end well.

 

trump-playboy-interview

These are all excepts from Trump’s Playboy Interview in 1990. Here is the full link to the interview.

Another game: What’s the first thing President Trump would do upon entering the Oval Office?
Many things. A toughness of attitude would prevail. I’d throw a tax on every Mercedes-Benz rolling into this country and on all Japanese products, and we’d have wonderful allies again.

But if the grass ever did look greener, which political party do you think you’d be more comfortable with?
Well, if I ever ran for office, I’d do better as a Democrat than as a Republican–and that’s not because I’d be more liberal, because I’m conservative. But the working guy would elect me. He likes me. When I walk down the street, those cabbies start yelling out their windows.

Another game: What’s the first thing President Trump would do upon entering the Oval Office?
Many things. A toughness of attitude would prevail. I’d throw a tax on every Mercedes-Benz rolling into this country and on all Japanese products, and we’d have wonderful allies again.

What would be some of President Trump’s longer-term views of the future?
I think of the future, but I refuse to paint it. Anything can happen. But I often think of nuclear war.

Nuclear war?
I’ve always thought about the issue of nuclear war; it’s a very important element in my thought process. It’s the ultimate, the ultimate catastrophe, the biggest problem this world has, and nobody’s focusing on the nuts and bolts of it. It’s a little like sickness. People don’t believe they’re going to get sick until they do. Nobody wants to talk about it. I believe the greatest of all stupidities is people’s believing it will never happen, because everybody knows how destructive it will be, so nobody uses weapons. What bullshit.

You categorically don’t want to be President?
I don’t want to be President. I’m one hundred percent sure. I’d change my mind only if I saw this country continue to go down the tubes.

Then what does all this–the yacht, the bronze tower, the casinos–really mean to you?
Props for the show.

And what is the show?
The show is “Trump” and it is sold-out performances everywhere. I’ve had fun doing it and will continue to have fun, and I think most people enjoy it.

Brilliant Chart by Randall Munroe.

Make sure you give it a good read, and scroll down slowly, all the way to the bottom. This is a good visualization for those who argue that “the climate is always changing” like some of our illustrious members of Congress.

earth_temperature_timeline

Trump told the German tabloid Bild that Chancellor Merkel had made an “utterly catastrophic mistake by letting all these illegals into the country.”

The populist German attitude is similar. The people are upset about a massive flood of refugees. It is driving up prices for housing and other goods in Germany. The refugees, in general, do not live up to the standards of cleanliness of the Germans. The social skills of the refugees are at odds with German expectations. Clearly, culture clashes are rising everywhere, and the people are not happy.

However, Germany carries with it a national guilt complex still lingering from its deeds during World War II. It seeks to be a leader in human rights, and it feels it has a responsibility for taking in refugees. These two opposing forces, the protectionist and populist conservatives, and the socialist liberal humanitarians, are in a tug of war that is challenging the country.

However, what Trump probably does not realize is that Germans in general blame the United States for the refugee crisis in the first place. Walk the streets, and 99% of the people will tell you that Bush’s illegal wars started it all off, and then Obama’s pull-out set it in motion. We now have ISIS, we have a humanitarian nightmare in the Middle East, and America’s ill-conceived policies created it all. Germans are just trying their best to help clean up the mess.

Being lectured by Trump is not going to be well-received. Trump ridiculing German policies in this effort is not going to make friends in that country.

 

Yeah!

Ends and Beginnings

dons-johns

These are the port-a-potties being used for the Donald J. Trump presidential inauguration. What do you think, America’s number one of number two? What a powerful and prophetic visual.

View original post

Troubled Times Ahead

November 22, 1963 – John F. Kennedy is assassinated. February 21, 1965 – Malcolm X is assassinated. April 4, 1968 – Martin Luther King Jr. is assassinated. June 5, 1968 – Robert Kennedy is assassinated. In the span of five years the citizens of the United States lived through four very traumatic assassinations. I was […]

via Fear of the unknown — Ends and Beginnings

sigmar-gabriel

Germany’s Deputy Chancellor, Sigmar Gabriel – Photo Credit: Sascha Steinbach/EPA

In an interview with the German papers Bild and The Times, Trump complained that the car trade was “out of balance” with Germany.

“If you go down Fifth Avenue everyone has a Mercedes Benz in front of his house, isn’t that the case?” he said. “How many Chevrolets do you see in Germany? Not very many, maybe none at all … it’s a one-way street.”

— Donald Trump

First of all, I just walked down Fifth Avenue a couple of days ago, and there are no houses, and there are no cars parked in front of houses. It’s midtown Manhattan. But that’s beside the point.

Asked what Trump could do to make sure German customers bought more American cars, the German deputy chancellor Sigmar Gabriel said:

“Build better cars.”

It appears that Trump does not realize or know that BMW is already employing directly and indirectly nearly 70,000 people in the United States. Seriously, Trump really thinks our relationship with Germany is a problem for the United States?

Starting a trade war with Germany does not seem a smart move to me.

 

 

 

the-path-for-linda-and-dick

My painting The Path just became a wedding gift for our friends (L&D). This was done after a motif by Masqua’s Art, who published a photograph that got my attention, and I challenged him to a “paint-off”. I was happy with the outcome.

Here is the painting at their house.

Here is a full digital image for reference.

billy-joel

Photo Credit: Trisha – [click to enlarge]

Last Wednesday we saw a wonderful concert by Billy Joel at Madison Square Garden. He played without an opening act. He played songs and interacted with the audience for two hours. Then he came out for an encore that consisted of another six or seven songs. We were captivated. Fifty years of practice of his craft made Billy Joel a master artist and performer. In the picture above you see him in the center, sitting at the piano.

I couldn’t help it. I had to write a poem for him:

The Piano Man

Sing us a song, you’re the piano man
Sing us a song tonight
Well, we’re all in the mood for a melody
And you’ve got us feelin’ alright.

Madison Square Garden is a giant place
And we all came to hear you tonight
Twenty thousand of us were in unison
We were rocking with your music and light.

We were old, we were young, we were fired up
To hear the old songs for the heart
You lived up to what we expected of you
You did so much more than your part.

You have practiced your craft a half century
The master in you showed grand
You sang and you played for hours on end
We tuned into you and your band.

Together we hummed the old melodies
And swayed to the beat and the light
We felt great all being together there
Before we left at the end of the night.

Sing us a song, you’re the piano man
Sing us a song tonight
Well, we’re all in the mood for a melody
And you’ve got us feelin’ alright.

Here are the actual results:

electoral-results-through-history

Click for Source

The fact is, Trump won with 56.88 percent of the electoral votes, which puts him in Rank 46 out of 58 electoral results in history. He also lost the popular by the largest margin ever. Just getting the record straight.

 

On Friday night I visited the MoMA, since they have extended opening hours until 8:00pm. To my surprise, they had free tickets for all on Friday. I just walked in. It was packed! Everyone in the world seems to come to New York for the MoMA. I am less interested in “modern art” per se, and particularly in “modern” furniture as produced in the 1920s. But their collection of some of the classics is amazing.

For instance, there are some beautiful works by Gaugin, Cezanne and Seurat. I am not usually a Chagall lover, but this is my absolute favorite Chagall. It’s huge, taller than I am.

my-favorite-chagall

And then, there was the absolute prize, one of my favorite paintings in the world – Van Gogh’s Starry Night. Just imagine, walking around a corner and there it is:

starry-night

What an amazing painting to see. People literally gasped as they spotted it. I stood there for a while, taking it in.

But then, there is a problem with taking it in with serenity. Because here is what it looked like stepping back a few feet:

starry-night-2

But just a few seconds of reflection, while I was in the front, was worth the entire visit.

crisis-of-character

A White House Secret Service Officer Discloses His Firsthand Experience with Hillary, Bill and How They Operate.

Gary Byrne was a uniformed Secret Service agent who started his White House duty during the first Bush administration. He was there when the Clintons moved in, and through most of their tenure in the White House. He was there outside the door when Monica Lewinski was in the Oval Office with the president. Whether he wanted to know what was going on or not, he knew, and he had no choice.

Later, when the scandal blew open that would eventually get Clinton impeached, it was Gary Byrne who was catapulted into the national spotlight by being forced to testify against the president, his protectee. He was in an extremely tenuous and dangerous position. On the one hand, the Secret Service has incredibly tight protocols about revealing information about their processes and their protectees. On the other hand, the FBI was investigating the scandal and Ken Starr with his Grand Juries was pressing forward for information. The Secret Service was threatening him to stonewall, and the FBI was threatening to arrest him. Either way, he could lose his job, his career and his credibility. He was alone in the middle.

And he believed it was the recklessness of the Clintons, and their disregard for everyone in their way that put him, and many others, into impossible situations.

Reading Crisis of Character reveals a fascinating look behind the scenes in the nation’s most elevated offices, the West Wing of the White House.
This is not a tell-all book by a disgruntled Clinton hater. This is a book by a man of character who has spent his entire life trying to do the right thing, every step of the way. He tells his story beginning with Papa Bush, as he calls the elder President Bush, and Barbara Bush, whom he describes as graceful, honest and hard-working, through the Clinton administration, and his career with the Federal Air Marshal Service after 9/11. We learn about the lives of the men and women who have pledged to throw themselves into the paths of bullets to protect their clients, whether they agree with their lifestyles and choices or not.

For that reason alone, regardless of the fact that the Clintons are exposed, you should read this book. Yet, I must admit that I am glad I read it after the election, not before.

Byrne describes Bill Clinton as the friendly, jovial and charming man that we all know, even though he made some terrible moral choices and caused irreparable harm to the dignity of the office, his own career and pretty much everybody who got in his way or crossed his path.

One surprise to me was the portrayal of Monica Lewinski. She was a very young intern in the White House, and from the time the scandal actually occurred more than twenty years ago until now I had always thought of her as the victim of a sexual predator, namely Bill Clinton. However, I now know that it was not so. There is no way an intern in the White House would ever even get near the president. To be in the position she ended up in, she was actively stalking him relentlessly for months, making up daily schemes just to get access to the West Wing and somehow cross paths with the president. Byrne knew that, because much of the time it was he who had to turn her back. I now know that Monica Lewinski was not a victim. She got exactly what she aimed for. She was just too young and naive to know how it would end, and what it would do to her life. And of course, Clinton was a ruthless sexual predator.

At one place in the story Lewinski was held back by the Secret Service in the guard house outside the White House at night because the guards knew the president was with another young woman. When she eventually blew up and threatened them, one of the agents lost his cool and blurted out that “he was with another piece of ass and she had to wait her turn….”

And finally, there is the portrait of Hillary. He describes her as cold, calculating, and utterly ruthless. There was one time when a young agent wished her a “good morning, ma’am” and she just shot back “fuck off!” What does it say about the character of a woman who talks like this to Secret Service agents who are paid $50,000 a year and pledge to stop a bullet to protect her and her life?

So here it is: Gary Byrne’s story, to me, is so convincing that I do not think that I could vote for Clinton now that I read this book. I could not vote for Trump either, because I believe that 20 years from now some agent that had to protect Trump will come out with even more incredibly sordid information about our 45th president.

No, I could not vote for Clinton again, and I could never vote for Trump. I am glad Clinton is not president, and I am at the same time utterly dismayed that Trump is. What to do when a nation of over 320 million people comes up with those two choices to pick from?

I am truly, truly troubled about the terrible lack of character at the highest level of American politics.

You should read Crisis of Character.

Rating - Three Stars

Here ae some excerpts you might enjoy:

About using government resources:

Controversy followed the Clintons even when they were leaving office and purchased a $ 1.7 million mansion in Chappaqua, New York (so Hillary could carpetbag to the U.S. Senate from New York). Per its normal procedure, the Secret Service maintained a detail at their residence to continue to protect the former First Family as Hillary prepared and ran for Senate. Nothing out of the ordinary there. Perfectly proper.

To protect the Clintons, Secret Service personnel were stationed at a former garage on the property, and I had the chance to spend some time there on protection details myself. Rumors have since swirled that the Clintons receive $ 1,100 per month rent from the Secret Service.

That doesn’t appear to be the case. But what I heard from other Secret Service personnel on the scene was this: The Service paid $ 7,000 per month rent on an adjacent house to serve as their unit headquarters from a rental company. Again, nothing wrong there. But what was also well known and what I also heard was that— at least for a while— the Clintons were charging the identical amount for that small garage of theirs to the Secret Service to basically have the Service cover the cost of their mortgage as Hillary ran for office.

I can’t verify that (I’m former Secret Service— not Ken Starr), but it’s interesting to once again contrast the Clintons with Papa Bush. The USSS did, in fact, cover the costs of renovating former president Clinton’s garage, which was mostly space heaters and meager basic utilities.

When Papa Bush was still president, the Secret Service needed to construct a facility on his Kennebunkport, Maine, property. President Bush said fine— but on two conditions. One, make it bigger, so you guys aren’t cramped. He cared about the little guys. Two, you’ll be protecting me after I leave office— so I’m paying for it.

— Byrne, Gary J., Crisis of Character – (Kindle Locations 3451-3464).

About the emails:

Just last year, Mrs. Clinton claimed that as secretary of state she didn’t carry a work phone. It was too cumbersome and inconvenient for her to carry two phones. She didn’t have room for them.

Then we learned she carried an iPhone and BlackBerry, neither government issued nor encrypted. Then we learned she carried an iPad and an iPad mini. But she claimed she didn’t do email.

Then we learned she had email— on a private server. But then she claimed her email was for personal correspondence, yoga, and wedding planning.

Then we learned her email contained government business as well— lots of it.

Listen, nobody transmits classified material on the Internet! Nobody! You transmit classified material via a closed-circuit, in-house intranet or even physically via courier. You can’t even photocopy classified data except on a machine specially designed for hush-hush material, and even then you still require permission from whatever agency and issuer the document originated.

So the only way for that material to be transmitted over an email is for her or someone in her office to dictate, Photoshop, or white-out the classified material in question, to remove any letterhead, or to duplicate the material by rewriting it in an email.

Government email accounts are never allowed to accept emails from nongovernment email accounts. We’re supposed to delete them right away. Exceptions exist for communications with private contractors, but those exceptions are built into the system.

I repeat: To duplicate classified material without permission or to send it over an unsecured channel is completely illegal. That’s why every government agency employs burn bags, safes, and special folders for anything marked Confidential, Secret, and Top Secret. People have lost their careers and gone to jail for far less.

Yet Hillary Clinton transmitted classified material by the figurative ton. No one else can operate like that in government. But she takes her normal shortcuts and continues to lie about it.

There is no greater example of double standards in leadership than First Lady, Senator, and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. Is it too inconvenient or cumbersome for her to follow the same rules that agents in the field have to follow? Maybe it would make morale too high? Clinton’s behavior harkens to the old motto: “The beatings will continue until morale improves.”

— Byrne, Gary J., Crisis of Character – (pages 274-276).

 

uday-and-qusay

eric-and-donald

%d bloggers like this: