Monday, May 29, 2017

The Care And Feeding Of Your New President

     Congratulations on acquiring your new president. Although you may not have initially wanted a new president or even voted for one, you and your family will likely grow to love him over time.
    First things first - your new president must be housebroken. And that means imposing discipline right from the start. If he insists on making a mess in different sectors, be sure to put him on a short leash and restrict his access to discretionary resources. 
     Failure to take these crucial first steps may give him the message that he can unilaterally “do his business” anywhere and anytime he likes. Some owners have found newspapers to be useful aids in housebreaking their chief executive although there are presidents who simply refuse to be “paper trained.”
     Once your president is housebroken, ensure that he maintains a healthy policy diet. Most presidents will readily take to books, newspapers and in-depth briefings. A few, however, will digest only what they want. In such a case, try restricting your president’s cable news network viewing and he will likely start opting for healthier choices. If not, check to see if he is being negatively influenced by his neighborhood playmates.
     When it comes to playmates, it is essential that they be good role models for your president. For example, if his colleagues are prone to fabrication, deception and exaggeration, he will likely ape those traits. Or even worse, if your president is not one of the brighter breeds, he may believe everything his playmates tell him. This is particularly common where the playmates are older generals or executives who have picked up bad habits from playing without adequate supervision.
     One crucial element in president training is to get him to follow a set direction and obey simple commands. Some presidents are often very frisky and jump from one position to another. Don’t inhibit that playfulness but be firm in insisting that he eventually stick to one path. If he continues to wander, try using a light Congressional or judicial restraint.
     If you have achieved success with the basics, you may want to try teaching your new president some tricks. By using simple commands and small rewards, you should be able to get him to sit up, speak coherently and even balance budgets. But don’t force the issue. Some presidents are not readily trainable and excessive pressure may just yield negative results.
     The training of older presidents can be particularly difficult. Unfortunately, there is more than a kernel of truth in the old adage: “You can’t teach an old president new tricks.” If that turns out to be the case, do your best to avoid further problems by distracting your president with his favorite activities be they golf, campaign rallies, tweeting or signing executive orders.
     It is crucial that you ensure that your president is healthy. It is not enough simply to have his doctor vouch for his extraordinary health. He should have routine checkups and get regularly vaccinated against common diseases such as tetanus, hubris and narcissism. Depending on his behavior pattern, you may want to consider having him neutered.
     Good luck with your new president. Remember; a little patience and a bit of work in the beginning will save you lots of trouble down the road. But even if all your efforts ultimately fail, there’s no reason you can’t eventually get a new president some day. A standard rule of thumb is to wait about four years. 

Thursday, May 25, 2017

Dear Donald

                   15 Old House Lane
                                                                          Chappaqua, New York


Dear Donald:
     Long time, no see. It’s been quite awhile since we last met onstage at our final debate. I hope things are going well.
     Look; who am I kidding? I can see things aren’t going well for you and, despite our past differences, I’d like to help.
     First, I’d like to sincerely thank you for not pursuing charges against me once you assumed office. It’s bad enough that I have to live in this New York backwater but it sure beats spending time in Sing Sing, right? J
   Anyway, it’s clear you’re in a bit of hot water and are headed for possible impeachment. I’m sure that’s not what you had in mind when you became president and I wouldn’t wish that on anyone (except maybe Bill when I first heard about that Lewinsky broad but that’s another story).
     I’m going to go out on a limb here and speculate but I don’t think you even want to be president. I think you were even more surprised than me that you won in November and now you’re stuck doing a job that you hate and you don’t see any easy way out.
     I know you can’t resign; that would be too big a blow to the ego to absorb. But I have a couple of what Kellyanne might call “alternative” plans that you might like.
     Just spitballing here but what do you think about conceding to me? Hold on a second; give it some thought.
   Just say that you had your folks look into the election and they discovered that there were no irregularities and that I did, in fact, win the popular vote by almost three million votes.
    All you have to do then is say that the only fair thing to do is to withdraw my concession back in November and concede yourself. As you’ve always contended, the Electoral College is unfair and the winner should be the one who got the most votes.
     You concede, I accept and you’re out of the White House and back in New York doing whatever it is that you do. The important thing is that you won’t have to be stuck doing all that boring stuff like reading, writing and governing. Plus, you’ll look magnanimous and probably go down in history as one of the greatest presidents ever.
     The problem is, of course, that if you adopt this approach, then Mike Pence is going to get his shorts in a knot and complain that he should become president. Not to worry; just tell Bible Boy that this is an extra-Constitutional proceeding and he can go back to Indiana or Kentucky or whatever deplorable place he came from.
     Now if this plan doesn’t suit you, I’ve got another one. Remember that guy Tony Schwartz who basically wrote your book The Art of the Deal? Well, he’s what we call a ghostwriter.
     What I’d like to suggest is that you make me your ghost-president. You’d still get to be president and do all those important things like welcome visiting dignitaries, sign things and promote your businesses.
     What you wouldn’t have to do is read briefing notes, attend cabinet meetings or learn any of that government nonsense. That’s where I’d come in.
     I know all that boring bureaucratic stuff and, if the truth be known, I love it. Call me a policy wonk but nothing turns me on like debating issues, discussing briefing books and drafting legislation.
     You remain president and I do the dirty work. It’s a win-win arrangement and, if I do say so myself, a great deal for both of us.
     So, think it over Donald and let me know what you decide but don’t wait too long. Trust me; that impeachment stuff can sneak up on you like a hog in a holler as Bill used to say.

Yours truly,

* I assume you know what this means. It’s kind of like “top secret” or “classified.”

Sunday, May 21, 2017

Donald Trump Deserves An "A"

     In an interview earlier this year on Fox News, Donald Trump assessed his presidency and gave himself an “A” for achievement. Crazy as that sounds, maybe he’s right.
     When it comes to Mr. Trump, the letter “A” pretty much says it all. I don’t think anyone could challenge his ownership of English language words beginning with that prefix.
     First of all, the man is definitely “atypical” as in “not typical; not conforming to the type; irregular; abnormal.” Even considering the likes of Millard Fillmore and George W. Bush, Donald Trump’s words and actions fall far outside the realm of typical presidential behavior.
     It’s also pretty clear that America’s 45th president is “atonal” in that his performance is marked by an “absence of key or tonal center.” Whatever The Donald says or does tends to strike a strident chord with most people.
     One might also conclude that Mr. Trump is “asymmetrical” as in “not identical on both sides of a central line; unsymmetrical; lacking symmetry.” When it comes to balance or logic, Trump’s positions are all over the grid. You could even call him “alogical” as in “beyond the scope of logic or logical reasoning.”
     Likewise, Trump is “awry” as in “away from the proper or expected direction; amiss; wrong.” In fact, given his history of misspeaking, it’s probably time to change the word “amiss” to “amister” in his honor.
     Mr. Trump is also “aloud” in that he sometimes speaks “with a loud voice; loudly.” It might even be fair to say that he talks “bigly” as in “boastfully; haughtily.”
     Then, of course, there’s “addlebrained” as in “having a muddled or confused mind; foolish, silly or illogical.” Given his contempt for facts and logical reasoning, he qualifies on all counts.
     There can be little doubt that Mr. Trump is “amoral” as in “having no moral standards, restraints or principles; unaware of or indifferent to questions of right or wrong.” From his genital grabbing to his sexist slights to his demeaning of war heroes to his stiffing of contractors, Trump is definitely amoral with a capital “A.”
     It may not be intentional but Trump definitely has the ability to “amuse” as in “to cause mirth, laughter or the like.” It’s a fine line, however, since his actions also have the power to “arouse”, “annoy” and “alarm.”
     Finally, The Donald seems to qualify as America’s first “aliterate” president in that he is “a person who is able to read but rarely chooses to do so.” For better or worse, the nation’s fate now rests with someone whose only sources of information are TV, Twitter and the last person he spoke to.
     There are some who might claim that prefixing the word “hole” with the letter “A” describes Trump best of all but that’s beyond the scope of this inquiry. Let’s just say that he more than qualifies as an “A”-rated president and deserves to wear a giant, scarlet “A” on his chest.

     Next week, we’ll examine the arguments of those who say Trump only deserves a “C” since he’s a “conman”, a “cheat” and a “charlatan.” Those looking to assess the letter “F” will have to wait until the 2020 election.

Wednesday, May 17, 2017

Winning Over The Donald

     For many Americans, these are scary days as the unpredictable con man Donald Trump threatens both the nation and the world with his unceasing tweets and tirades.  
     Those in the media (or at least the mainstream media) figure it’s their job to challenge Mr. Trump’s fabrications, flip-flops and lies. Those on the left feel compelled to organize at the grassroots level and fight the president’s agenda one vote at a time. And even average citizens have been frightened into action in the form of rallies, marches and town hall meetings.
     All this sounds great but, in fact, nothing much has come from these actions. Notwithstanding all the hard work done by reporters, commentators, protesters and marchers, President Trump carries on with his destructive plans for America and his fans remain faithful supporters. So what’s a nation under attack to do?
     The problem is that the efforts to date have been directed at halting, or at least slowing, Trump’s actions by attacking him and his plans head on. This has had little effect since they only serve to anger Mr. Trump and to further secure his base.
     Thus it’s time to think outside the box, ditch the plans currently in use and adopt what I like to call “alternative plans” to lessen the potential damage. And the way to do that is to play to Trump’s weaknesses.
     My first proposal is to concentrate on The Donald’s love of golf. As it is, the Duffer-in-Chief already spends a significant percentage of his time on the links. Don’t forget; that’s time that he’s not trashing environmental regulations, cutting social welfare programs or cutting taxes for the rich.
     The plan is to do whatever it takes to maximize Trump’s time on the links. The more golf he plays, the less harm he can do to the commonweal. Thus, it behooves anyone who owns a championship golf course to invite the president for a round or two of golf. If he’s jetting to St. Andrew’s in Scotland or Cabot Links in Canada, that’s good news for the rest of us.
     Even if you don’t own a course, you can help by donating money to assist in this presidential golf promotion exercise. Donations can go to help buy Mr. Trump fancier clubs, more powerful golf carts and more flattering golf togs. Anything to keep him golfing would help immeasurably.
     Another approach is to get the president out on the stump again. You’ll notice that he loves reverting to campaign mode and speaking to the faithful at rallies throughout the land. All Democrats, liberals and other rational citizens need do is organize more of these rallies under the banner of faux-Trump supporters.
     Organize events as often as possible and fill them with folks pretending to adore Mr. Trump and every pronouncement he makes. It might be hard at first but most of us have at least some acting ability and should be able to convincingly pander to the president. And don’t worry; these events are like catnip for Trump. Organize them and he will come.
     Finally, let’s not forget Trump’s giant, outsized ego. This is a man who loves to be loved and will go out of his way to accept praise and acclaim. It would therefore help immensely if those looking to mitigate the Trump effect would swallow their pride and send some love his way.
     That means writing to the president and extolling his virtues. It means stroking his ego with on-line comments or letters to the editor. And it also means tweeting, facebooking and instagramming nonstop exalting Mr. Trump and his “accomplishments.”
     The more encomiums, panegyrics and even on-line “likes”, the better. Like a moth to a flame, The Donald will spend time reading every single one. With any luck, he’ll be spending all his waking time golfing, campaigning and reading flattery and we can make it to 2020 unscathed. 

Sunday, May 14, 2017

The Fire Comey Letter - Draft Version

     By now, everyone’s seen the dismissal letter that President Trump sent to James Comey, the former Director of the FBI. What most folks haven’t seen yet, however, is the following earlier draft version:

May 9, 2017 January 21, 2017 (rethink this since it will be hard to backdate that far)
Dear Jim (Sean’s right; this is too informal) James (better but still a bit too chummy) Director Comey,
I have drafted, forwarded and in turn received the attached letters which are fantastic letters (Kellyanne says don’t go there and I guess she’s right although these are fantastic letters if I do say so myself) from the Attorney General (Reince says to keep Jeff out of this since he has recused himself from anything to do with the Russia investigation but I’d like to keep him involved just in case I need someone else to take the fall) and Deputy Attorney General of the United States (Steve says I should at least keep this in just in case although I don’t remember the guy’s name) recommending your sanctioning suspension dismissal (go hard or go home) as the Director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, I have accepted my their (oops, my bad; I almost forgot the ploy) recommendation and you are hereby terminated and will have 48 hours to remove yourself from your office and removed from office, effective immediately. (OK, got it; we’ve gotta bury the bodies now)
While I greatly appreciate you informing me, on one two three four (OK, agreed, four is overkill) separate occasions, that I am in no way involved in any bad stuff with the Russians or any cover-up or anything that would make me not President anymore am not under investigation, I nevertheless concur with the judgment of the Department of Justice and Hillary Clinton (thanks for spotting this one, Ivanka) that you are not able to effectively lead the Bureau.
It is essential that we find new leadership someone friendly, loyal and obedient (when you’re right, you’re right Jared; sounds too much like we’re looking for a new pet dog for the White House) for the FBI that (shouldn’t this be ‘who’; never mind, grammar’s not my strong suit) does what he’s told and keeps his nose out of the President’s business restores public trust and confidence in its vital law enforcement mission. (great wording, Steve; you’re the best)
Despite everything, I want to thank you for reopening Hillary’s e-mail case and helping me win the presidency. I wish you the best of luck in your future endeavors. Maybe we could do lunch at Mar-a-Lago sometime and I could show you my appreciation. (you’re right, Reince; KISS: keep it simple, stupid.)
Donald J. Trump

Thursday, May 11, 2017

Is Donald Trump My President?

     It’s often said that the current occupant of the White House is every American’s president notwithstanding their party affiliation. However, in Mr. Trump’s case and given today’s huge partisan divide, that rule seems to have gone out the window. To determine if he is, in fact, your president, just take the following brief quiz:
It looks like Trump’s tax plan disproportionately favors the very rich and some middle class Americans may actually pay more. How does that make you feel?
1) Those are just lies spread by the fake news. If President Trump says I’ll get a tax break then I know I will.
2) Billionaires and millionaires have needs, too. I’m sure the President will be fair.
3) I’m not very happy about that but let’s give him a chance to see how his plan plays out.
4) I told you so. What did you think he was going to do?
Mr. Trump has frequently expressed his admiration for Russian President Vladimir Putin. Are you OK with that?
1) Absolutely. We need a strong leader, too.
2) I guess so. After all, George W. Bush looked into Putin’s eyes, got a sense of his soul and declared him trustworthy.
3) I’m a bit uncomfortable with that given Putin’s actions in Syria, Crimea and Ukraine.
4) Are you nuts? Putin’s a dangerous demagogue but then so, too, is Trump.
For years, Mr. Trump questioned Barack Obama’s American birth. Did you agree with him?
1) You betcha. I just wish he had also emphasized that Obama was also a Muslim.
2) It’s hard to say although that birth certificate Obama produced did look a little sketchy.
3) No but I do think that he created ISIS.
4) Aaaarrrggghh!
A video revealed that Trump was OK with sexually assaulting women. Does that change your opinion of him?
1) I am sure that the video was doctored by the failing media.
2) No, it was just locker room talk.
3) Maybe although if it was true I’m sure he’d apologize for it.
4) Lock him up.
 How do you feel about presidential advisor Kellyanne Conway?
1) She’s so sweet. I think she’s great.
2) I’m glad she knows what’s in Donald Trump’s heart.
3) I’m a little uncomfortable with her use of alternative facts.
4) Every time I see her I want to throw a brick at my TV screen.
How do you feel about Trump’s chief strategist Steve Bannon?
1) Who?
2) Is he the guy who turns into the Hulk?
3) He’s OK, I guess.
4) Are you crazy? He’s the devil incarnate.
President Trump has vowed to repeal and replace Obamacare. Do you agree with that position?
1) You bet. Obamacare is socialized medicine and is communist just like Canada.
2) Yes, so long as he doesn’t touch my Medicare.
3) Not completely. There are some things about Obamacare that should be retained.
4) Absolutely not. The only plan is to screw the working poor and benefit insurance companies.
Should President Trump release his tax returns?
1) No way. He’s rich and we know he doesn’t pay taxes so what’s the point?
2) I guess not. After all, he’s under audit.
3) I suppose it might be helpful.
4) Of course he should. He’s a crook, for God’s sake!
What do you think of President Trump’s plan to build a wall along the Mexican border?
1) The sooner the better.
2) I agree so long as Mexico pays for it.
3) Maybe we could scale it back a bit.
4) That’s absolutely insane and totally unnecessary.
Some have criticized President Trump’s temporary immigration directive as being a Muslim ban. Do you agree?
1) For sure. I wish he had included Indians and Asians as well.
2) Sean Spicer says it’s not a ban so it must not be a ban.
3) Strictly speaking, no.
4) What the hell else could it be?
     Now tally up your responses giving yourself one point for each 1) answer, two points for each 2) response and so on. See where you fit in:
10-15 points:  Trump is your President for Life.
16-25 points:  He’s your president for at least four years.
26-35 points:  Let’s wait and see.
36-40 points:  You wouldn’t have him as president of your local book club.

Saturday, May 06, 2017


     Remember “Convoy”, the 1975 novelty song by C. W. McCall telling the story of a CB radio-organized truck convoy that outran the police? No? Well, never mind because now there’s a 2017 version of the song detailing a similar tale of deception and escape. It goes a little something like this:
     Was the start of spring in search of the ring
          In a campaign supporting Cruz.
     She was pulling out all of the stops
         Looked like he just couldn’t lose.
     They were heading for D. C. on I-95
          Just a few hundred shy of a pick
     When a guy named Trump went over the hump
          ‘Bout to pull off an amazing trick.
     ‘Cause we got a gal named Conway
          Workin’ for the right.
     Yeah she’s our President’s Conway
          Ain’t she a beautiful sight?
     Come on and join Ms. Conway
          Ain’t nothin’ gonna get in her way.
     She’s gonna guide his movement
          ‘Cross the U. S. A.
     By the time they got to Cleveland town 
          Trump had delegates by the score.
     So Kellyanne says “Goodbye Cruz”
          And joins The Donald’s hardcore.
     Them media types they’re as thick as pols on pork
          They were even dissing Trump’s facial sheen.
     So they called on the one and only Kellyanne
          The number one pivoting queen.
     ‘Cause we got a gal named Conway
          Workin’ for the right.
     Yeah she’s our President’s Conway
          Ain’t she a beautiful sight?
     Come on and join Ms. Conway
          Ain’t nothin’ gonna get in her way.
     She’s gonna help The Donald
          ‘Cross the U. S. A.
     As the race wore on and Hillary gained
          The Democrats looked sure to win.
     But Kellyanne said “Don’t worry ‘bout facts”
          Trump’s victory is just about sure as sin.
     Well that Tuesday night with the polls outta sight
          The unthinkable began to take place.
     As Ms. Conway continued to deflect the truth
         The Donald won the presidential race.
     ‘Cause we got a gal named Conway
          Workin’ for the right.
     Yeah she’s our President’s Conway
          Ain’t she a beautiful sight?
     Come on and join Ms. Conway
          Ain’t nothin’ gonna get in her way.
     She’ll do whatever’s needed
          ‘Cross the U. S. A.
     Well, the race is run and the day is done
          And The Donald sits in Watergate City.
     And that Conway gal still pivots and spins
         Claiming alternative facts look pretty.
     She and her pal the Spicey Man
          Keep working for the number one louse.
     And so long as she’s able to dissemble
          He’ll stay in that big White House.
     ‘Cause she’s the mighty Conway
          Workin’ for the right.
     Yeah she’s our President’s Conway
          Ain’t she a beautiful sight?
     Come on and join Ms. Conway
          Ain’t nothin’ gonna get in her way.
     She’s gonna ride his movement
          ‘Cross the U. S. A.

Monday, May 01, 2017

Hillary Clinton: The First Hundred Days

January 20
     Watch TV as Donald Trump sworn in. Throw red pantsuit and “I’m With Her” t-shirt at set every time he says “winning” or “make America great again.” Phone rings but I don’t answer. Call display shows it’s Al Gore probably wanting to commiserate again. No way I’m joining that loser in Loserville.
January 26
     Channel all energies into tracking down those who leaked my e-mails. Phone James Comey and Julian Assange for advice but neither returns my calls.  
January 31
     Bill issues ultimatum: either I stop moping around the house in bathrobe and yellow pantsuit or he’ll cut off my weekly allowance. His words hit me like a cold splash of water. Stop watching C-SPAN in hopes of finding ongoing election recounts. Briefly leave house to avoid Bill repeatedly saying “I told you so.”
February 2
     Groundhog Day. If I see my own shadow, there’ll be six more years of Republican rule. If I don’t, there’ll be eight. Back to bed. What’s the point?
February 9
     Concerned about Trump’s reform proposals, I visit local Social Security office and enquire about filing application for extended benefits. Informed that new income limits disqualify me for anything and reminded that I am still technically employed by the Clinton Foundation. Vow to attend at least one board meeting in coming year if Bill and Chelsea agree to return my copy of the boardroom key.
February 15
     Out of desperation, finally decide to answer Al Gore’s call. Instantly regret decision. Al rambles on suggesting I grow a beard, put on weight and start stumping for climate change. Finally cut him off by telling him it’s Wednesday night and I have to wash my hair.
February 16
     Try again to phone James Comey and Julian Assange for advice on my e-mail troubles. Still won’t take my calls. Even Barack Obama won’t answer now.
February 28
     Bill informs me of overdue Netflix bill. Suggests I pay outstanding balance and cancel the service to free up some spare time. Tell him I’ll do that just as soon as I get through the movies on my saved list including “The Best Man”, “The Manchurian Candidate” and “Death of a President.”
March 10
     Bored silly. To pass time, make prank calls to Vladimir Putin and ask if he’s got Czar Nicholas in a can. When he replies curtly “Who is this?”, I tell him he better let him out and quickly hang up. Consider calling back and asking for a Seymour Butz.
April 1
     Front page of my morning New York Times features article reporting Supreme Court may be looking at issue of potential voter fraud in Wisconsin, Florida and Pennsylvania in last election. Reporter’s speculation about possible Clinton victory gets me re-energized. When I excitedly relay news to Bill, he announces “April Fool” and informs me that he printed mock front page from the web site. We both share a laugh and I retire to my room for a quiet cry.
April 15
     File tax returns for Bill and me. Reconsider opposition to Trump tax cuts when I see all the money we get back. Maybe Bill’s wrong and he’s not the devil incarnate.
April 20
     Consider issuing press release captioned TOLD YOU SO with back of page headed I’LL BE BACK IN 2020. Bill discovers draft version and passes it through paper shredder. Vow to get him back by anonymously leaking Clinton Foundation financial statements to James Comey.
April 30
     Al Gore stops calling.