Top 10 Reasons to Vote Against Trump

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10.  Trump is a serial liar.  I’m not even sure he knows he lies as much as he does.  It’s as if he only has a short-term memory and a very tiny and selective long-term memory.  He seems to remember only slights and compliments.  He said he was against the Iraq war but is on record as saying he was for it.  He says he never met the disabled journalist he mocked at one of his rallies and yet the said journalist had interviewed him multiple times.  He said he respects women but is on record as saying he doesn’t and his actions and comments suggest otherwise.  He said his taxes are under audit, but has provided no proof that they are.  He and his surrogates have said he has given hundreds of thousands of his own money to his foundation but there is no proof that this is true.  He said Hillary Clinton is under investigation by the FBI and she technically is not. He said she is going to lock her up when he is elected and he can’t.  This is something done by Fascist regimes, not in a Democracy. He said he’s going to bring back jobs to America but leaves out that his own businesses manufacture outside the U.S. and buy products made in other countries that are also made in the U.S.  He said he met Putin, then said he doesn’t know Putin.  He has told so many lies and distorted the truth so many times about Hillary Clinton’s record that I’ve lost count.  Fact checkers reveal that Trump routinely lied during the debates and continues to do so at his rallies.  Trump says he is a great businessman, yet his companies have filed bankruptcy papers 6 times.  And amid fraud claims, Trump University folded.

9.  Trump might govern as an authoritarian dictator. He was inspired by a quote from a notable fascist, Benito Mussolini  which reads, “better to live one day as a lion than 100 years as a sheep,” and has praised Vladimir Putin repeatedly for being a strong man and for complimenting him for being “brilliant” which turned out to be a bad translation.  Putin himself clarified that he meant Trump is colorful or flamboyant, not brilliant.  Putin salivates at the prospects of using Trump as a puppet, which he seems to be doing to influence U.S. elections. Trump even went so far as to encourage the Russians to hack the missing 33,000 emails. This is outrageous – encouraging a foreign country to commit espionage on the U.S. and some would consider treasonous. Trump prides himself on being a strong man, with large hands and once bragged of being the best baseball player to come out of New York.  His masculine pride notwithstanding, Trump has shown a shocking lack of understanding and respect for democratic principles.

8.  Trump disrepects women.  He is on record as saying he likes to kiss them and grab them because he can get away with it.  A number of women have alleged that he sexually assaulted them.  His response has been that he doesn’t know the women and that after the election he is going to sue them all.  He is also on record as saying that women who obtain abortions should be punished.

7.  Tump has made racist and bigotted comments, calling Mexicans rapists, and denouncing a Mexican American judge as being biased in a case against Trump “University.” He was slow to denounce David Duke, a former KKK grand wizard who endorsed him.  He called for a ban on Muslims entering the country and even suggested the need to close down mosques.  He has essentially blamed the entire Muslim American community in the U.S. for not rooting out the terrorists among them – as if it were their sole responsibiltiy. He has shown very little concern for the humanitarian plight of Syrian refugees and argued that the U.S. should not accept any until we establish a vetting process, which we already have.  Trump has repeatedly dismissed the Black Lives Matter movement, has insisted that blacks live in hell, which many blacks take issue with, and has called for more policing.  He called for the death penalty for the black men who were wrongly convicted and subsequently exonerated for the rape of a central park jogger. And his father’s company, of which Donald was an employee, repeatedly discriminated against blacks in their housing properties and was fined by the Justice Department for doing so. Trump has appealed to white nationalists who blame immigrants for the ills of the country by promising to build a wall that Mexico will pay for to keep them out. Additionally, white supremcists groups including the KKK have endorsed Trump because they identify with his values. And now he is calling for people to go to the inner cities and watch (code for intimidate) for voter fraud in clear violation of the consent decree that the GOP was hit with in the 80’s for committing voter intimidation in New Jersey. One of the more egregious racist actions he has taken was questioning Obama’s citizenship and thus his right to be President. Then Trump tried to partially walk it back by suggesting that it was the Clinton camp in 2008 who started it all.  He tried to suggest that the many years he pushed this crazy birther conspiracy was somehow excusable because the story may not have begun with him.  And to top it off, he’s floated other consipiracy theories about whether Obama even attended Ivy schools demanding that he submit transcripts to prove he did.  This from a man who won’t even release his tax returns.

6. The Trump Foundation appears to be a fraud.  Apparently, people have contributed to the foundation and Trump has used some of this money to settle law suits and to buy a life-size portrait of himself. “Billionaire” Trump has said that he has contributed hundreds of thousands of dollars to the Foundation, but there is no evidence of this.  See David Fahrenthold’s reporting.  Not only is the Foundation fraudulent, but his business practices are suspect as evidence by the multiple contractors and small businesses who claim they were not paid for work done for Trump.  That coupled with his anti-union practices make Trump unfit to make anything about America or Americans great again.

5.  Trump refuses to release his tax returns that almost every presidential candidate in modern times has done before him, even his own running mate. He says he’s under audit and will release them after.  Nixon once released his while under audit.  There is nothing in the IRS code that prevents Trump from releasing tax returns while under audit if in fact he really is under audit.  He is obviously hiding something.  Could it be that he isn’t a billionaire?  Could it be that he has never given the charitable contributions that he said he has? Could it be that he does not pay taxes at all?  Actually, the one leaked release indicates that he did not and Trump subsequently said in a debate that the fact that he doesn’t pay taxes makes him smart.  A man who doesn’t pay taxes not because he’s poor but wealthy and privileged is a shameful man who is NOT a patriot.  Tax dollars fund education, defense, roads, entitlements, to name a few.  He is ok with YOU paying for these services and thanks YOU for paying them for him.

4.  Trump claims he is religious but is not, and apparently knows very little about religion.  Not that that religion is a test I use for a candidate, but he has shamelessly pandered to evangelicals suggesting that the Bible is his favorite book.  He does not seem to hold or practice ANY Christian values that I can detect raising doubts in my mind as to whether he has even read the Bible.

3. Trump seems to want to begin a nuclear arms raceHe has said that South Korea and Japan should have their own nuclear weapons.  He doesn’t understand why we have them if we can’t use them and has not ruled out their use in the future.  He is also on record saying that he likes war. What’s more, he has taken a pro-Russian position against NATO calling it ineffective and expensive and intimating that we should break our alliances in Europe. This is what I mean about Trump being Putin’s puppet – his Petrushka.

2.  Trump has no interest in governing.  He had even said that he would leave the buisness of governing to his running mate and simply go around the country making America great again, presumably by holding pep rallies. This is code for promoting his business brand which his children will continue to operate if he became president in an obvious conflict of interest.  He doesn’t seem to get how governing works and that he can’t just rule by decree.  He has repeatedly said that he will appoint supreme court justices without any mention of the senate’s role in the advise and consent process. Actually, the president can only nominate and there is no guarantee that the nomination will be confirmed by the senate or even get a hearing by the judiciary committee.  President Obama’s nominee, Garland, has yet to get a hearing and it has been nearly a year since Justice Antonin Scalia died leaving a vacancy on the court.

1.  His policies would simply be disatrous.  He calls for tax breaks for the rich.  He would end regulations that ensure safe food, water, drugs and air quality.  He would invest in practices that contribute to global warming which he denies is caused by humans.  He would end Obamacare resulting in millions losing health insurance. He might enact protectionist policies and start a trade war with China and Mexico.  The markets would respond disastrously and we would all lose our retirement savings and Social Security which Trump will probably have privatized.  If we are not wiped out by a nuclear war or swept away by rising ocean levels first, his policies will create a depression so deep it will make your head spin.

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Drumpf Will Self-Dumpf

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The GOP knows it cannot survive as a party with Donald J. Drumpf at the top of the ticket. For the record, Drumpf is Trump’s ancestral name changed to Trump in Europe long before he was born. I use Drumpf in jest because of its silly sound in English and not derisively, although if he takes offense, he should learn to take a dose of his own medicine which he frequently delivers in the form of nicknames to ridicule his opponents. The presumptive and  presumptious GOP nominee seems only to care about his brand and ego. As far as I can tell, he has no core ethical principles.  He appears to say and do only what he believes will be in the best interest of his brand, not the country, and he has shown no restraint in this regard.  Drumpf has repeatedly made racist remarks against Mexicans, even calling a judge of Mexican heritage, who was born in Indiana, unfit to preside in a case brought against Trump University because as Trump put it, “I’m building a wall!” Drumpf has called for a ban on Muslims entering this country, making an exception for the Mayor of London, until “we can figure out what is going on.” As a result of this policy that he now calls a suggestion, he doubts whether Muslim judges could be partial in court cases in which Trump concerns are involved.  What?

Drumpf is the most divisive candidate I can remember in my lifetime.  Exhibit 1: The clashes at rallies recently in California.  Doesn’t it strike you as unusual that the Drumpf campaign would choose locations where the candidate has virtually no support, where  large numbers of students including latino activists would be upset by his presence and come out in full protest? He is a provocateur and knew of the potential for violent clashes and wanted the cameras to spread images of prideful flag holding Mexican-Americans and immigrants that Trump wants the electorate to believe are un-American, illegal and violent.  He relishes chaos and favors the tactic of race-baiting to divide people.

His slogan to Make America Great Again suggests that America is on the decline, which one could argue, but Trump’s particular arguments don’t hold water.  He argues America doesn’t win anymore.  He claims the military and our foreign policy positions are weak citing the Iran deal and the continued existence of ISIS and NATO.  He suggests that our trade deals are bad and have led to outsourcing and the loss of manufacturing jobs to cheap foreign labor.  Some of these impacts have to do with corporate greed.  So Trump would incentivize American companies to return home with more tax breaks – some corporations pay very little at all as it is – and Trump would call for massive tax breaks for the top 1%. America, however, on many measures can be said to be already great or  even greater than before.  We have a stable constitution and system of democracy which give Americans the right to vote (or not); the right to free speech and assembly; the right to freely worship any religion or none at all.  On other quality of life metrics, Americans are living longer thanks to Obamacare which has insured millions of the previously uninsured.  Gas prices are the lowest they’ve been since 2008 and much lower than during the Bush years. Unemployment remains below 5% and for President Obamas’s 8-year tenure, (8.1%) lower than President Reagan’s numbers at (8.2%). In fact, the unemployment rate of 4.9% so far for 2016, is the lowest rate since November of 2007 before the financial meltdown of 2008, and the stock market has become more stable and productive due to regulatory reform. On the foreign policy front, the Taliban, Al Queda, and ISIS have been kept in check of late; chemical weapons have been reduced in the Middle East and Iran is no longer in pursuit of nuclear weapons.  Far from being on the decline, America is still a key world leader and for better or worse, the only real superpower in terms of overall influence.

America, while great on some measures, is not so great on others.  There are serious problems that America must tackle, including income equality, immigration reform, racism, crumbling infrastructure, gun violence, climate change, and spiraling education costs to name a few on the domestic front. And America must do its part to help solve the refugee crisis in Europe, to broker peace in the Middle East and to reduce the threat of global terrorism.

But what Drumpf means by Make America Great Again is that America is becoming more diverse which is a direct threat to white supremacy.  White supporters of Drumpf are freaking out over changing demographics or the “browning” of America which will lead to declining white influence, power, and control. Drumpf has done a masterful job of  stoking these fears and insecurities and now has an army of angry whites who feel wronged by an African American president who Trump has tried to delegitimize by calling into question his citizenship and his academic and presidential accomplishments. Trump entertains all kinds of conspiracy theories and insinuates that Obama is a Muslim at heart because he won’t use the phrase Islamic terrorism, and that he is hell bent on taking down Christianity, a religion that Trump, ironically, appears to know very little about – remember the 2 Corinthians comment?

Finally, it would appear that the GOP leadership has had enough of Drumpf’s schtick.  They no longer support him and don’t want to be associated with his racist rhetoric. The general electorate has become increasingly alarmed about this unhinged candidate whose bizarre behavior is no longer entertaining and has become frightening. And Drumpf himself understands that his poll numbers have dropped significantly but is too stubborn and egotistical to pivot to unite the GOP.  He only cares about his brand, and now the brand is, as Trump would say, “taking a hit.”  As a businessman, Drumpf knows when to cut his losses and I wouldn’t be surprised if he dropped out of the race shortly before or at the GOP convention.  And who will step in to save the day for the GOP?  Will it be Paul Ryan or Mitt Romney? How about Marco Rubio? Will Ted Cruz be back in the mix? God, I hope not! Who would the leadership get behind? Could Jeb Bush reemerge? I had predicted from the beginning the nominees would be Clinton and Bush.  Might I be right after all?

50 or Something

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You know you are 50 when:

You get the membership invitation to the AARP.  Funny acronym, the AARP, it’s like something a dog would say – “aarp, aarp” or a seal maybe, and it also looks and sounds  like the word harp, which is mentioned numerous times in the bible and certainly connects to aging and death.

Psalms 108:2

Awake, harp and lyre! I will awaken the dawn. (NIV) Awake psaltery and harpe: I my selfe will awake early. (KJV (1611))

I rather prefer the King James version which may have been the first recorded instance of the world selfie.  That aside, and even though the context here is giving praise to God, the fact is that King David, the author of this particular passage, references the act of getting up early, which is something I can’t help but do each morning.  5:15 a.m. on weekdays and 6:00 a.m. on weekends, without fail, my internal alarm strums softly not unlike the harp, or the smaller psaltery, two stringed instruments I do not own.  When I was younger, I could sleep the whole day away in a state of hibernation, but in my advanced age, I’m lucky if I get 6 hours.

And speaking of harps, there is this nugget:

Revelation 14:2

And I heard a voice from heaven, as the voice of many waters, and as the voice of a great thunder: and I heard the voice of harpers harping with their harps.

This is what it’s like when I have to get up earlier than 5:00 a.m. and my alarm goes off. Although when I can’t find the alarm, it’s as if the harpers are thunderously harping on their harpes.