Through the Storm

Airs of moral superiority are swirling around this election day with tornadic ferocity. The intensity of these winds is due to the populist but hypocritical hot air emanating from the mouths of the two major-party candidates, Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump, and many of their most fanatical, myopic supporters. Whichever direction the vote goes today, these winds are very likely to increase in ferocity and further batter this country in the months ahead.

Weathering this storm depends on you. It requires that you be of independent mind and keep pressure on politicians of all sides and not be a simple loyalist. It requires that you take your blinders off, look at your neighbors face-to-face, drop the hypocritical stances, and start talking about issues honestly without partisan labels or baggage. Only then can the heated winds of rhetoric calm. We then will be able to see clearly that there is a much wider and richer America out there, an America beyond the two-party duopoly manipulating our political process, an America beyond the team-sports mentality dividing us against one another, an America where people agree much more on major issues than the vested political interests want us to believe, an America that is ready to accomplish amazing things by not allowing politics to dominate every aspect of our lives. We will be awed with the spirit of cooperation and accomplishment that will sweep the nation.

But…, I say again, that depends on you. Approximately 90% of the likely voters in this election, if recent polls are to be believed, will cast their ballots for one or the other of the two major-party candidates. Those voters have so bought into the two-party system that even though those voters say and know that the system is not offering them the options that they want, those same voters feel compelled to continue voting for one or the other major-party candidate despite there being several other options available. Thus, voters will do as they have repeatedly done in almost every election for decades. If you are, indeed, among the roughly 90% of voters casting a ballot for a Republican or Democrat in Tuesday’s presidential election, the perpetuation of our current political environment is your fault. The system certainly depends on you, and I predict, sadly, that you will not let it down.

I know, I know, you HAVE to vote for your preferred candidate because the other major-party candidate is ssssooooo horrible. I get the sentiment, really, I do. The problem is that both of these people are horrible candidates. They are both horrible for our government, horrible for our nation overall, and they are simply horrible people. Their words and actions have proven this to be true.

If you do not realize this, then you are still in the denial stage of your mourning for your favorite political team. As the two parties continue to collapse under the weight of their failings, you will progress through the stages. It will be painful, but you’ll get through.

So, how and when can we expect to make it through this storm? We will make it through only when we use our collective pressure to force the politicians to be the public servants that they claim to be. It would be wonderful if the politicians then rose to meet this challenge. However, by far the most likely scenario is that our favored parties will only complete their failures. At that point, we will realize that they offer nothing of worth. The parties will collapse without our support, and the winds of heated rhetoric will cease. We then will have the opportunity to drop our own party labels and drop the partisan labels with which we view others. As others, in turn, do the same, animosities can be dropped over differences that do not really exist, and new political coalitions can begin forming to get past those minor differences that do exist to achieve more for the American people than has been accomplished in decades.

A great American middle will arise to check the extremists to our left and right. The great American middle believes in personal responsibility but also compassion for those that fall through the cracks. It recognizes that Constitutional protections enable the rule of law to shield us from the political biases and personal grudges of government officials. It understands that fossil fuels will not last forever, that access to many of those fuels forcees American involvement in unstable areas of the world, and that those fuels have polluting impacts on the environment. Yet, it also knows that reliable access to electricity is critical for our modern lives, that “green” energy options are most often not as environmentally sustainable as their sales pitches suggest, and that climate is more complicated than the simplistic warnings issued by global warming alarmists. The great American middle does not care whom you marry just as long as you don’t force them to participate in your ceremony. The great American middle recognizes that it is not scientifically credible to assert that a just-fertilized human egg is a human being, but it also recognizes that it is equally unscientific to deny the humanity of a baby just because it has not yet left the womb. The great American middle understands that the right to bear arms enables Americans to protect themselves both from routine dangers and from encroachments of a tyrannical government. The great American middle supports limiting the terms of members of Congress and forcing those Congressional representatives to pass a balanced budget. The great American middle demands that parents have total freedom to send their kids to schools of their choosing. It demands the opening up of medical markets so that patients have a wide selection of medical care and associated insurance best suited to meet their needs. As each accomplishment is made by a rational middle, the extremists become increasingly impotent.

Achieving anything on these and many other important issues will require earnest conversations and, possibly, some grand compromises. However, in a political environment in which failed political parties have lost much of their influence, overcoming the points that divide us can be so much easier. So, I say, let’s get on with it. Hang onto your hats and increase the pressure on our politicians to serve us and not themselves. If we do it together, the facades of partisanship separating us from one another can fall, and we then can truly be amazed by what we can accomplish together.

Fifty Shades of Trump

Fifty Shades of Grey became a bestselling book sensation and then a movie over the course of the last several years. The title character, Christian Grey, self-absorbed and thin-skinned, seeks to dominate others financially and sexually. He is a ruthless businessman that does not let others stand in the way of what he wants. His sexual preferences go beyond simple kink to the point of subjugating women to his punishing whims. The reasons for the novel’s success, particularly the fawning admiration that many women show for the title character, are beyond my comprehension.

As the title of this blog suggests, one particular candidate for president might have more than a passing similarity to Christian Grey. Yes, Donald Trump is that candidate. While I do not suspect that Trump has a sexual toy room (I do not even want that image in my head), he does have a particular habit of utilizing sexuality as a weapon. Furthermore, Trump, like Grey, focuses everything on himself and has no capacity to tolerate any criticism. He is a self-absorbed prima donna. The reasons for Donald Trump’s success as a presidential candidate, particularly the fawning admiration that many supposed Constitutionalists and supposed Christians show him, are beyond my comprehension.

Despite a great many people seeing the same obvious negative comparisons as me, there are millions of other Americans that defend Trump as if he were some heroic knight rescuing our nation from the troubles that plague it. And my response to their assertions is, “Really?! Are you serious? Have you actually taken a look beyond his own boasts to examine his record of words and actions? You really need to wake up and have a look before it’s too late.” So, let’s have look.

The most titillating of all of the comparisons between Christian Grey and Donald Trump are focused on sex. The sordid details of the Christian Grey character can be discovered in the book and movie. The details of Trump’s sexual obsessions are regularly viewable in the news.

The Donald has long been in the tabloids for his many love interests and his affairs. “So what?,” people might say. Fair enough. They do not necessarily impact the job that he might do in public office. The real issue is how, like Grey, Trump uses sex as a tool for manipulation and abuse.

Trump regularly uses sexuality to put others down. He distills the value of women, even professional women, down to their physical appearances rather than their professional skillsets. It’s as if he thinks that a woman’s physical beauty and competence are intimately linked such that she must be physically beautiful to be considered amazingly competent, and if she is not beautiful, then she is not competent.

One of the most shocking comments was when he said to Celebrity Apprentice contestant Brande Roderick, “that must be a pretty picture you dropping to your knees.” The statement is shocking by itself, but hearing it and watching a video of it reveal the contemplative pause he made as he was mulling over an image of her in his mind. Trump and Piers Morgan shared knowing chuckles and looks.

The example most relevant to this presidential campaign was when Trump referenced then-candidate Carly Fiorina by exclaiming, “Look at that face! Would anyone vote for that? Can you imagine that, the face of our next president?!” Trump subsequently tried to weasel his way out of it by claiming that he was not really talking about her looks, but Carly called him out on it in the subsequent debate, and the shell-shocked look on his face revealed him for the fool that he is.

The other prominent incident from the current campaign was at one of the debates in which Trump tried to deflect a legitimate question about his treatment of women by not addressing the issue and proceeding to demean the woman asking the question. Megyn Kelly asked about many of his derogatory comments about women, and he made comments that, “You could see there was blood coming out of her eyes. Blood coming out of her wherever.” Many took the words and tone to be suggestive of bleeding associated with menstruation. Is he suggesting that a woman cannot ask a tough question without it being attributed to some mood connected to her female functions?

Donald Trump rises to another level of disturbing, however, when he comments about his daughter, Ivanka. He has talked about how beautiful she is, including her “great body.” On “The View,” he said that he would perhaps be dating her if she weren’t his daughter. On “Wendy,” Trump was asked what was the thing that he most has in common with Ivanka. His response: “Well, I was going to say sex, but I can’t relate that to—” as he points to her. Ivanka is a business professional that works with his businesses. I know that he was “joking,” but could he not think of anything work-related or some recreational activity that he had in common with her? Furthermore, it is every parent’s right, including fathers, to be proud of their children, even for superficial things such as looks. However, Trump’s comments are for the most part creepy, particularly when you consider them in light of his comments and treatment of other women.

Trump’s sexual obsession does not just extend to women. He feels the need to brag that he is a very good lover, and he will take the opportunity to demean other men. He even took that to a debate where he belittled the looks of Rand Paul. There are many other examples, but they generally are not as atrocious as comments made about women.

Nevertheless, I cannot get the impression out of my mind that if Trump were president, we would witness the laughable spectacles of Putin and Trump competing to demonstrate to the world who is most virile. Who can build the biggest wall, who can intimidate the most countries, and of course, who has the hottest wife and mistresses? The behavior of these two men is so ludicrous that I honestly would not be surprised if they made locker room comparisons. Yeah, they are both that pathetic.

This world is superficial enough. Do we really want to raise our children in a nation where the president reinforces the shallowest of behaviors almost every five minutes? We need to encourage our children to develop their own abilities and meaningful relationships rather than being consumed by their physical appearances and fragile social networks. Good looks and popularity are nice, but they can warp our priorities and destroy the true richness of life.

Donald Trump’s sexual obsession bleeds into his business dealings as the arousal he gets from being a wealthy businessman is readily apparent by the way he struts around like a peacock showing it all off. He uses money as the ultimate yardstick with which to measure himself against others. At his campaign launch, Donald Trump bragged about how rich he was as a qualification for him to be president. He has belittled Mitt Romney as not being as wealthy as he is. And if he demeans Mitt Romney for his comparatively low level of wealth, then what in the world does he think of the average American? You can be sure that it is very little indeed.

Despite Trump’s boasts about his wealth, it is widely believed that he stretches the truth about its size. Is that why he is dodging on releasing his tax returns? Maybe he is embarrassed to reveal how small his pe.., I mean, pocketbook, really is.

Donald Trump definitely has achieved business success. He deserves credit for the quality of many of his properties, media ventures, and other products. However, he regularly boasts that he is always successful at business, that he is always a winner. When pushed on these assertions, he tends to backtrack somewhat, but nevertheless, his boasts keep reappearing.

Time magazine did a good summary of “Donald Trump’s 16 Biggest Business Failures and Successes” (9 failures, 7 successes) in August of last year. This list is not comprehensive of either his successes or failures, and it is important to note that all successful people and businesses have their shares of both. However, this Time list provides a reality check to anyone that thinks that we should just trust Trump to do the right thing because he is so successful. His failures include personal misjudgments, bankruptcies, hubris, the inability to hire the smartest people, and deceit (for which Trump is still in litigation and will likely be making a court appearance this summer). He is not the universal winner that he makes himself out to be.

Donald Trump’s successes also are not simply due to his overwhelming talents (as he tends to describe them with terms such as genius, great negotiator, pick the smartest people, etc.). His success is built upon the shoulders of others. There would be nothing wrong with that, of course, if he gave his benefactors proper credit and if he did not attempt to grind so many others of them into the ground.

The success of the Trump brand was built upon the success of his father, Fred Trump. Donald does give his father credit, but he is very dismissive of its importance. To get started, he received a loan that he referred to as “a small loan of a million dollars.” Yeah, I think many people could have done well with funding of a million dollars. The assistance continued, but in a scheme to avoid financial reporting, Fred Trump had a lawyer buy over $3.35 million worth of casino chips at Donald’s Trump Castle casino and then simply not using them, thus, effectively giving the casino a loan. They were busted and fined for the illegal loan, but Donald still benefitted.

Donald Trump also has benefitted from extensive subsidies and tax breaks from local, state, and federal governments for his projects. While it is common for real estate developers to receive breaks for new and redevelopment projects, Donald has pushed those to their limits, twisting the parameters of government programs while giving substantial donations to government officials. These breaks withheld from taxpayers many millions of dollars that would have supported government services, thereby pushing higher taxes on others to pay for them. Trump added insult to injury by engaging in unusual accounting schemes to dramatically reduce his tax liabilities even further. Trump also has petitioned for the lowering of real estate tax assessments for some of his properties. This is a common practice when an owner feels that a property is over-assessed, but the reductions of over 80% that Trump received for some of these properties were out of the norm received by most other properties in those communities. Thus, Trump added further burdens to taxpayers who lived there.

The most egregious of all of Donald Trump’s actions that he has personally taken and continues to defend is the utilization of the government power of eminent domain for general redevelopment efforts, not just public use purposes. Trump colluded with governments to use this tactic several times, but each time he has failed. He’s even taken the tactic international as he attempted to force elderly people out of their seaside Scottish cottages to make way for another golf course. He demeaned the people as pigs, and the people of Scotland rightly turned against him and told him to take a hike.

Donald’s failures at this legal “theft” for his own benefit were why he is so enthusiastic in his support of the U. S. Supreme Court’s shocking decision to uphold governments’ expansive use of eminent domain in Kelo vs. The City of New London. The decision created a gross expansion of the parameters of eminent domain, which traditionally had limited the definition of “public use” to those uses that were for direct public benefit such as roads, schools, and utility lines. “Public use” had been opened up to mean anything that benefits the public by generating higher tax income or some other amorphous public benefit. Thus, anyone’s property could be taken, with some compensation, and handed over to private developers to build what government officials consider to be a better, nicer use.

The Kelo decision shocked Americans of both political parties and caused many new local and state laws to be passed to restrict their respective governments from exercising the power of eminent domain in such a manor. Trump has the opposite view because the decision gives extensive power to government and to people like him who wield considerable influence over the politicians that enforce that power. It puts the boots of big government and big business squarely on the necks of average Americans in a coordinated attack. It succinctly demonstrates that Trump absolutely cannot be trusted to break the grips that big government and big business have on our politics, economy, and personal freedoms.

Donald Trump’s insults to hardworking Americans, however, do not end there. He employs sleight of hand with the immigration issue. Donald Trump vaulted his campaign to the top of the pack riding on the promise to build a wall on the Mexican border and deport all illegal immigrants. However, he has vacillated back and forth on the issue. In late 2012, Trump lamented the fact that Romney and other Republicans were too “mean spirited” when it came to dealing with Hispanics, and in 2013, he was very supportive of the authors of the Gang of Eight immigration bill (which actually did include a wall despite not being a good bill). Now, Trump is claiming that the wall was his idea, that he will build it HUGE, and that he will deport all of the illegals. It is, therefore, very logical to assume that once political circumstances change sufficiently, so too will his position on the issue. This is particularly true since Trump is a big fan of using low-wage foreign workers at his own properties. Donald Trump cannot be trusted to stick up for hardworking Americans; his own interests come first.

The Christian Grey character ruthlessly pursued his business goals, as does Donald Trump. All of their efforts are put into achieving business success. They so completely subsume themselves in it because it is one of the security blankets in which their fragile little egos are wrapped. This leads them to pursue goals in ways that blur in their minds many moral issues that are distinct to others. Thus, for Christian Grey and Donald Trump, every issue fragments from black and white into many shades of gray that are filtered through the whims of the ever-changing demands of their own egos.

How on earth can anyone think that the political realm is any different for Donald Trump? It is not; it is simply another arena in which he can build up his ego. There is immense power and prestige that comes with being President of the United States. And tell me, what president (or vice-president and many high-ranking cabinet officials) in recent memory has not come out of the presidency with a potential for multiple millions of dollars in annual income? The presidency has a multiplier effect on whatever income potential a person might already have had. A President Trump would come out the other end of his term(s) in office on a path to immensely more wealth than he had going in. Anyone that posits the theory that Trump is so wealthy that he does not have anything to personally gain from the presidency is kidding themselves. Politician is just another business venture.

Indeed, politician is a role that Donald Trump actually has been playing for just about his entire life. He has simply thus far remained on the unelected side of things. His lifelong efforts at buying influence with politicians are well-documented and even admitted to by him. He has flirted many times with running for president, each time circling closer and closer to actually engaging in a full campaign effort.

It was easy for many on both sides of the political divide to dismiss Trump as no more than a passing interest of voters on their way to more serious candidates. However, they failed to realize that Trump is playing the political game supersized. A master of showmanship, he disguises his history of political maneuvering and outright flip-flops (Democrat or Republican? Nobody knows!). As long as he says something with enough bombast, the people will believe just about anything. This is even true of things that are outright lies as long as you repeat them often enough. A few examples are presented here: he was against going into Iraq (lie), he was against going into Libya (lie), he does not want government-run healthcare (lie), Ted Cruz’s ads lie about Trump’s record (lie; the ads simply repeat Trump’s own words), and punishing tariffs against Chinese and Mexican goods will benefit American workers and will not cause American consumers to be crushed under mountains of growing prices (li…well, not so much a lie as a delusional fantasy of which he might have actually convinced himself). As is evident, Trump has had great success with these lies and fantastical delusions.

In fact, there was a dedicated group of political spinmeisters in Central Europe in the early-to-mid-20th Century that was very successful for a while with this same technique: lie big and lie often. Trump must have read his European history. Maybe he has discovered their missteps and is now trying his hand at perfecting the technique.

“Now, wait a minute.,” you might be saying. “All of this is starting to sound rather extreme.” Well, maybe you’re right. I mean, one can be assured that as long as you agree with what Donald Trump is saying at an exact particular second, it does not matter what he said a few years ago, months ago, weeks ago, days ago, minutes ago, one minute ago, or even one second ago. All you have to do is say, “I agree, Mr. Trump.” In that way, you, too, can be a loyal employee of Trump Nation, Inc. In that way, everything will be awesome, everything will be cool when you’re part of HIS team.

Team Trump is a team that appreciates the value in that old proverb, “If you cannot say anything nice about Mr. Trump, do not say anything at all.” After all, Mr. Trump says that he is a man that has never done anything in his life for which he has needed to ask God’s forgiveness, so why in the world would anyone think that they ever would have anything about which to disagree with him. Thankfully, Team Trump knows of many ways to keep team discipline, with Mr. Trump himself giving them examples. He has demonstrated that a lighthearted joke now and again about hurting journalists is a playful way to keep the media on your side. Another hilarious one is to threaten to blackmail journalists and anyone else with revelations of their secrets unless they keep their stinking mouths shut about their criticisms. Or you just attack them with crazy lawsuits just to keep them preoccupied. One of the most hilarious methods to shut up non-team-players is to pick out a physical feature to make fun of, particularly if they have an actual physical disability (because, you know what, those individuals actually are pathetic human lifeforms). In group meetings, it is important that you make clear to the audience that they should beat the crap out of any dissenters because they really do deserve it, and Mr. Trump will personally cover any legal costs that they might incur due to their violent attack of another person. Also, that dissenter must immediately be thrown out without their coat, most especially if the temperature outside is below freezing. Oh, and before I forget, it is critically important when you are speaking before Jewish groups that you tell them that you do not want their money lest they try and influence you (as Jewish groups are wont to do). In all these things, it is important that you not ever completely rule out placing entire classes of citizens into a government registry, just in case they need to be closely monitored and managed; make sure that they feel that ever so slight pressure to stay off any such non-team-players list. Finally, and this is really important, throw out a little suggestion every other week or so that Mr. Trump’s devoted team members are so loyal that he could do anything, even publicly murder someone, and they would not turn their backs on him. That really underscores the fact that it definitely is more cool to be part of the team.

Yeah, sounds like a plan, right?…..

It is important to emphasize that, my sarcastic comments aside, every single one of the above-mentioned tactics have been utilized by Donald Trump in this campaign. Additionally, he has a long history of using some of these and other tactics throughout his career. If ever there was a thug running for president, he is it.

Trump cannot stomach those that disagree with or criticize him. He does not merely get upset, he uses strong-arm tactics to attempt to put others in their place. How does that translate to a leader of a nation of over 310 million people? It means that there will be countless disagreements with him that will occur, and he will have many levers of power to deal with those dissenters. Both Bush and Obama have abused their powers. Trump is even more used to getting his own way, and his ego is supersized. We can expect presidential abuse of power to accelerate, not just continue, under a President Trump. Our very own American Putin-light would be bullying all dissenters. It is not a stretch to imagine that executive actions might be taken that would directly or indirectly work to suppress that dissent.

For those that have been unaware of details about Trump, now is the time to educate yourself before you make a dreadful mistake. For those that are aware but somehow think that he is all bark and no bite, you are beyond naïve; we cannot afford to indulge your foolishness. For those that are fully aware and support Trump because you want him to act exactly how he says he will, you have revealed yourselves to be frauds. Any of your claims that you are Constitutionalists are revealed to be utter falsehoods. Any of your claims to be Christians or people of common morality are obvious lies. Trump’s positions are not rooted in the Constitution or common morality; they are rooted in the cult of his own personality and the ethos of us versus them. We now part ways.

The colorations of Mr. Trump’s positions are not reflective of any underlying political philosophy; they simply are reflective of him. All his actions and statements are filtered through the dark, clouded prism of his ego such that they blur clear distinctions between right and wrong into many different shades of gray. This allows Trump to justify whatever position he chooses at any particular moment. The end result is an image that reveals a somewhat faint, yet distinct hint of fascism. I will NEVER support that.

Why All the Fuss?

A lot of people may be asking, “Why did you do a new version of the Declaration of Independence to protest President Obama, and why make a website about it?”  To many of you, the answers are obvious.  Others of you, however, may think that the complaints that I have listed are just rehash of the complaints of many others or that a new Declaration is over the top.

Many people feel exactly the same way as I do about the disaster that is the Obama Presidency.  I mean, I am not the first to list complaints against the President and his political allies.  Many conservative political commentators and average citizens have made their complaints known about President Obama.  Additionally, I am not even the first to do a Declaration of Independence from President Obama, from collectivism/liberalism, or both.

I have written this Declaration of Independence from President Obama (and collectivism) and designed this website to make the new Declaration a plan of mutual action.  That is exactly what the original Declaration was.  The original signers committed the thirteen colonies to a conflict with Great Britain that would open the world to freedom.  The ending summed it up:  “we mutually pledge to each other our lives, our fortunes, and our sacred honor.”  Today we must not rehash, but we must specifically lay out our grievances with President Obama and pledge ourselves to action to redress them.

To those that think that a new Declaration of Independence is over the top, perhaps a bit dramatic, I say simply that the problems in our nation have reached crisis levels equal to the task of dismantling our national covenants.  If you do not feel the same, I urge you to read through our Declaration of Independence from 1776 and then read through our Constitution (including all amendments) that established our governmental framework.  After you have read through those documents, think about your own life with the freedoms that you enjoy and the dreams that you expect to fulfill.  Then in this context, think about the policies of President Obama and his political allies and whether those policies promote individual aspirations or rather enlist individuals in fulfilling the aspirations of the government.  Consider also whether their policies honor your civil rights as innate to your being or whether their policies enforce the idea that you only have those rights that the state chooses to grant.  If you do that, I believe that you will conclude with me that all the freedoms that we take for granted are in jeopardy.

Finally, I do not believe that holding up our nation’s political leaders to a comparison with the Declaration of Independence and Constitution is ever over the top.  We and they should constantly be mindful of the ideals those documents espouse and the governmental limitations and structures that were put into place to achieve them.  When our leaders do not live up to the standards of those national covenants, it is our right and responsibility to vote them out of office.  There is nothing over the top in that.

So, please consider joining me and making the pledge to vote out President Obama and collectivism on November 6.  Together we can preserve the rule of law and keep our nation free.