Loyal to a Fault

In the era (or should I say, error) of Donald Trump, the word “loyal,” which has always had a positive connotation, has shifted. Let me explain.

New presidents are expected to nominate highly talented, well-qualified people to fill appointed positions in the executive branch of the federal government. Appointees should be able, creative, and experienced people who will serve the needs of the government and the people it serves.

I’m not suggesting that loyalty to the ideas and ideologies of the president shouldn’t play a role in making political appointments. But that should not be the primary criterion.

The president should not be appointing someone to head up the Department of Justice who is a well-known segregationist and racist. Nor should he appoint someone who has sued the EPA and is a vocal climate change denier to lead the Environmental Protection Agency.

The Secretary of the Interior should not be someone with deep ties to the fossil fuels industry. The Secretary of Health and Human Services should not be someone who profited from insider trading of health care company stocks and who is devoted to his boss’ aim of destroying health care coverage for 20+ million Americans.

The president should not appoint as his senior strategist a right-wing nut job and white nationalist who wants to dismantle the establishment. The president should not ask the FBI Director to pledge his loyalty and then fire him when he doesn’t. And nepotism is not a qualification.

I could go on and on, but I think you get my point, which is that loyalty should not trump qualifications.

It’s a shame that our president has turned “loyal” from something positive to something questionable.

Written for today’s one-word prompt, “loyal.”


The Un-President

Years ago, from 1969 to 1975, 7-up started to advertise itself as “The UnCola” in an effort to differentiate itself from Coke and Pepsi.

I was thinking about the American disaster known as Donald J. Trump, the fraud and con man who is now our country’s first un-President.

Trump says he prides himself on being unpredictable. But the leader of the free world must be a stabilizing influence, and Trump is clearly unstable. His behavior and demeanor are totally uncharacteristic for someone in the position of President of the United States. Many of his actions have been unprecedented. On the world stage he seems to be taking our country into uncharted waters.

He’s undoing most of the regulations intended to protect our environment. He’s also undermining Obamacare mostly because it’s named for Obama.

Trump may lead us into an unwinnable nuclear war with North Korea. He’s even undercutting his own Secretary of State’s efforts to come up with diplomatic solutions to North Korea. And he’s unlikely to re-certify the nuclear deal with Iran.

There’s an undercurrent of discontent among those who deal with Trump both within and outside of the White House. Many pundits and politicians are declaring Trump to be unfit for the office and that he has become totally unhinged.

From my perspective, the only hope we have to save the American democracy is for our elected representatives in Congress to grow a spine, to show some backbone, and to put the good of our country ahead of the good of the Republican Party and their own unenlightened self-interests and start the impeachment process.

My concern, though, is that Donald J. Trump, America’s first un-president, America’s most unpresidential president, America’s most un-American president, may also be America’s most unimpeachable president.

And that’s unfunny.

I originally published this post about an hour ago. But then I saw today’s one-word prompt, “fraud,” and decided this post fit that prompt well. So….

A Method To His Madness

F945969A-8E93-41AD-9731-42CD922B9904White House reporters were unexpectedly summoned Thursday evening and told the president wanted the press to document a dinner he was holding with the military leaders and their wives.

Once the “fake news” reporters were gathered and pictures were taken, Trump gestured to the press. “You guys know what this represents?” Trump asked. “Maybe it’s the calm before the storm. Could be the calm, the calm before the storm.”

“What storm Mr. President?” one reporter shouted. “ISIS? North Korea? Iran?”

“You’ll find out,” the president said.

Some, including his own Secretary of State, consider Donald Trump to be a moron. Others label him as a con man. There are those who perceive him to be the second coming of Jesus. Whatever.

I think the man is a genius, at least when it comes to self-promotion. He is a true master of the art of diversion and distraction.

Whenever the news about him turns negative, whether it’s collusion with Russia in last year’s election, his handling of the devastation in Puerto Rico from Hurricane Maria, or myriad other blunders, he adroitly changes the narrative.

Yesterday he gave us yet another distraction to divert us from the really important matters. Using the phrase, “you’ll find out,” he has created yet another “cliffhanger” designed to keep the press and public on the edge of their seats.

Tune in next week for the next installment of “President Apprentice” to find out what Trump means by “the calm before the storm.” It’s must see TV. The ratings will be over the moon!

I can’t stand Donald Trump, but I have to admit that when it comes to self-promotion, he’s pure genius.

Written for today’s one-word prompt, “genius.”

What Really Matters

14A93604-F897-4BD2-A57C-E51C56CDF94DThis morning at 3:44 a.m., President Trump ramped up his criticism of NFL players who refuse to stand for the national anthem, calling for them to be fired or suspended and slamming the league.

About a half hour later he claimed in another tweet that attendance at NFL games this year is down because people love our country.

Huh? It is true that attendance for the first two weeks of this season’s NFL games is down by about 8%. But I wonder if that might have anything to do with hurricanes Harvey and Irma? In fact, there were two fewer games so far this year than last year — one in Miami and one in Tampa Bay — because of Hurricane Irma.

Plus, with many homes without electricity in the immediate aftermath of those horrific hurricanes, is it any wonder that attendance and viewership are down?

But don’t be caught up in this Trump-manufactured controversy. It’s just a way to divert attention from the Russia scandal, from the latest attempt by the Senate to get rid of healthcare benefits for millions of Americans, and from the inexplicable way Trump is provoking a nuclear-capable North Korea and its dear leader, Kim Jung-un.

Don’t let yourself be drawn into these trumped-up distractions and diversions. Stay focused on what really matters.

Relevance is Relative

Image result for irrelevant

“One man’s ceiling is another man’s floor.”

“One man’s meat is another man’s poison.”

What one person finds relevant, another finds irrelevant. In other words, relevance is not absolute. Relevance is relative.

Let’s take Donald Trump as an example. Donald Trump is a liar. That is an absolute, indisputable truth. Yet to many people — to too many people — the fact that he is a liar is irrelevant. It’s not that they don’t know that he’s a liar. They do. It’s just that they don’t really care. They are not bothered by his lying. To his supporters, his being a liar is irrelevant.

To others, me included, Donald Trump’s lying is highly relevant. It means that you can’t trust anything that he says (or tweets) to be the truth. And he’s the President of the United States.

Some people claim that all politicians lie, so the fact that Trump lies is irrelevant. They point to Obama’s promise that “if you like your doctor you can keep your doctor” as the illustration of a lying president. Yet most people under Obamacare were able to keep their doctors. I was.

But everyone knows that Mexico is not going to pay for “the wall.” Most people, even Donald Trump, know that Russia interfered in last year’s presidential election. Most people don’t think that climate change is a hoax.

But to Trump supporters, it just doesn’t matter. To them, it’s irrelevant. Because relevance is relative.

Written for today’s one-word prompt, “irrelevant.”