Tuesday, July 31, 2018

New Constitutional Amendments

    It seemed impossible that Donald Trump could win the Republican presidential nomination and yet he did. Then it seemed impossible that he could win the election but, against all odds, he did.
    And now Trump is running roughshod over the framework and principles of American governance. Clearly some new Constitutional amendments beyond the current 27 are sorely needed. New amendments like the following:
28th Amendment
     No person shall be elected to the office of the President if he (1) fails to reveal his income tax returns for the previous ten years, (2) has never held elected office or a rank in the military at any level or (3) is congenitally incapable of telling the truth.
29th Amendment
     The right of a citizen of the United States to vote shall be subject to the following conditions: (1) obtaining a high school diploma, (2) passing the equivalent of a citizenship test and (3) knowing the difference between true and false.
30th Amendment
     Congress may pass any law it deems necessary to limit campaign financing contributions by individuals, corporations or any other legal entity. Any allowable contribution must be made directly to a candidate and must not be made anonymously. Any 5-4 U. S. Supreme Court decision to the contrary whether having the word Citizens or the word United in its style of cause shall be null and void and of no effect.
31st Amendment
     The right to vote shall not be infringed or restricted by a citizen’s former criminal record, failure to own a photo ID or inability to pay for any such documentation.
32nd Amendment
     Gerrymandering from this point forward is unlawful. The drawing of Congressional district boundaries shall henceforth be left to an impartial neutral commission comprised of five honest citizens having no political party membership or affiliation.
33rd Amendment
     If two or more of a sitting President’s former or current Cabinet members refer to him as a moron, an idiot or an imbecile, that shall be grounds for impeachment.
34th Amendment
     No citizen who has orange hair, orange skin, an elaborate comb-over, an absence of conscience and an overinflated ego shall qualify for the office of President.
35th Amendment
     For the next ten years, no person shall be elected to the office of President who has attained the age of 74 or greater. This amendment automatically expires on January 1, 2029 or the death of the current incumbent whichever comes first.

Sunday, July 22, 2018

Invasion From The North

BULLETIN: Invasion Alert
TO:        All Americans
FROM:  U. S. Customs and Border Protection
     Recent attacks by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau against President Trump suggest that Canada is now on a wartime footing against our country and that we must remain ever vigilant.  
     President Trump has answered Mr. Trudeau’s incendiary attack with a typically measured response, stating that the Canadian prime minister made “false statements” and calling him “dishonest & weak.” Ordinarily such a response would be enough to silence a weak-willed state like Canada but recent intelligence indicates otherwise.
     It is easy to dismiss such a small player but Americans should be aware that there are methods other than military that Canada can employ. In particular, we must be on guard for an invasion of illegal Canadian immigrants seeking to undermine our nation.
     Thanks to a 4,000-mile undefended and overly porous border, millions of barely-documented Canadians threaten to overrun the United States. Unless we take action now, we risk becoming a minority in our own country.
     Most Americans see little or no evidence of this invasion since they live in areas that so far have been spared an influx of Canadians. However, those living within fifty miles of the border have likely run into more than one of these folks usually while shopping at the local mall.
     Although these Canadian “shoppers” tend to blend in, there are a number of tell-tale signs. During winter months, these folks often wear down vests, oversized boots and knitted hats they call “tuques.” In the summer, they are often spotted sporting Bermuda shorts, socks and sandals.
     Other identifying indicia include attempts at spending their own Monopoly-style currency consisting of different colored bills and large coins called “loonies” and “toonies.” Although many of these folks speak what generally passes for English, their repeated use of the words “eh?” and “sorry” tends to give them away.
     If in doubt, ask the suspected Canadian to spell such words as “honor”, “neighbor” or “color.” Typically, they’ll add the letter “u.” If they’re clever enough to avoid that trap, they’ll more than likely fail the test of identifying the word “check.” If they spell it “cheque”, you’ve caught yourself a Canadian.
     Regrettably, this immigration problem is not restricted to the northern border area. For decades now, and most often from November to April, millions of these folks continue further south bypassing the northern areas and overrunning certain southern states, particularly Florida and Arizona.
     These so called “snowbirds” seem to think that it is their right to take up residence wherever the temperature is above 70 degrees (or 21 degrees Celsius, as they call it). These winter visitors tend to be older and, as with the summertime cross-border shoppers, favor Bermuda shorts, socks and sandals.
     A more recent trend of Canadian immigration is the insidious introduction of their cultural traits into American society. Many of these immigrants speak of such things as “socialized medicine”, “gun control” and “welfare” thereby infecting many Americans with dangerous alien concepts and threatening our cultural institutions and our very way of life.
     Sadly, this Canadian immigration problem only seems to be getting worse. Not only are these people inundating Florida and Arizona, they are now also invading contiguous warm weather states like California, New Mexico, Georgia and the Carolinas. Like any invasive, non-native species which encounters no natural enemies, Canadians will go wherever the sun and discount shopping take them.
     If you spot an unwanted Canadian, alert the authorities but don’t be alarmed. Although they have currently taken great offense to President Trump’s personal attacks, they’re generally inoffensive and mild-mannered so long as you don’t annoy them by pointing out their lack of homegrown success in postseason NHL competition.
     At this point, we don’t think the problem is serious enough to warrant building a northern border wall. But if we start hearing rumblings about making Florida or Arizona Canada’s eleventh province, we may have to revisit the issue.

Sunday, July 15, 2018

Donald Trump: Literary Giant

     As we approach the one-and-a-half-year anniversary of Donald Trump’s presidency, undoubtedly commentators will take it upon themselves to assess his performance for the eighteen months ending on July 20th. And, in all likelihood, many of those assessments will not be flattering.
     Yet from where I sit, The Donald has not been an unmitigated disaster. Notwithstanding the numerous racist, sexist and puerile tweets from the Tweeter-in-Chief and the countless dysfunctions emanating from the White House, President Trump should be given credit for his accomplishments.
     First up is his revolutionary communication strategy. Love it or hate it, Trump’s use of Twitter as a means of announcing his administration’s positions, plans and policies has been a huge success.
     Trump has violated just about every traditional political rule of conduct and jettisoned conventional communications strategies. He has fashioned himself into America’s first social media president with an electronic bully pulpit having forty million followers.
     Instead of carefully crafted press releases and intricately massaged messages from the White House press secretary, we now have direct, unfiltered, unedited pronouncements from the President himself. No more inoffensive, non-contentious bureaucratese; now it’s Trump’s stream-of-consciousness 24/7.
     But governance-by-Twitter is not Trump’s only accomplishment. Believe it or not, the President has broken new literary ground both verbally and in written form.
     In this past year alone, the President has expanded the English language beyond even what George W. Bush managed to do in his two terms in office. Thanks to Mr. Trump, we now have such words as “bigly”, “yuge”, “schlonged”, “covfefe” and “euphenism.” Not since Mrs. Malaprop in Richard Sheridan’s play The Rivals has anyone twisted the English language so frequently and delightfully.
     My favorite accomplishment in this vein is what Los Angeles Times columnist Virginia Heffernan called Trump’s tweet that Steve Bannon “not only lost his job, he lost his mind.” She labeled it “zeugma” which, it turns out, means a modifier used for two words in a different way.
     Who would have thought that Donald Trump would become a presidential linguistic giant? Not only has he “authored” several books, it turns out that he has also broken new presidential ground in the use of literary devices.
     Zeugma is only the latest in the President’s forays into the creative use of language. Think “foreshadowing” as evidenced by Mr. Trump’s favorite response to media questions: “We’ll see. We’ll see.”
     Or what about his carefully crafted euphemisms such as his “bigger button”, “tiny hands”, “drain the swamp” and “locker room talk”? Or his creative insults like “Sad!”, “Pathetic!”, “the failing New York Times” and “fake news”?
     Then there are his endless epithets such as “Little Marco”, “Crooked Hillary”, “Low Energy Jeb”, “Lyin’ Ted”, “Little Rocket Man” and “Sloppy Steve.” And the “millions” of uses of hyperbole like “the largest audience to witness an inauguration, period”, “we’re going to win so much you may even get tired of winning”, “my I. Q. is one of the highest” and “we’re going to build a wall and Mexico is going to pay for it.”
     Donald Trump’s final and perhaps greatest accomplishment has been the validation of the American myth of the self-made man. As Adlai Stevenson, Jr. once said: “In America, anybody can become President. That’s one of the risks you take.”  For that poor youngster waiting to inherit a million or two from his father or that failing businessman filing for bankruptcy for the third time, thanks to Donald Trump, there is now hope. You may not be able to hang on to your house but not to worry; you’ll still have a shot at the White House.          

Thursday, July 05, 2018

Death Notice for Civility

WASHINGTON, D. C. – July 4, 2018
     The American family is sad to announce the death of Civility. Born in 1776, Civility was present at the country’s founding and was carefully nurtured by her Founding Fathers including George Washington, John Adams and Thomas Jefferson. Her enduring effect can be seen throughout the nation’s founding documents including the Constitution and the Declaration of Independence.
     Over the years, Civility helped a young nation grow and thrive assisted by her siblings Reason and Compromise. Her calming presence allowed for difficult issues to be discussed sensibly often leading to mutually acceptable solutions.
     Hers was not an easy life and, in fact, in the early 1860s, she was hit with a life-threatening ailment called the Civil War. Despite four years of severe illness, Civility persevered and helped oversee the reunification of the nation.
     In every age and era, Civility came under attack from many sides but usually was able to transcend the petty squabbles of the day and overcome many strident differences. Her ever-present equanimity helped defeat historical demons like bigotry, hatred and inequality. She was even able to survive such nasty pestilences as Jim Crow and the KKK.
     It was not advancing years that felled Civility for even at the age of 165 during the early 1940s, she was able to unite the nation in its fight against fascism and tyranny. She became a shining beacon and a glowing example for all citizens of the world.
     It was hoped that Civility could continue to prosper, thrive and grow and thereby spread her good cheer everywhere. However, in recent years, she made fewer and fewer public appearances and was quickly forgotten and ignored.
     The nascence of her fatal illness is hard to identify. Some say it began ten years ago with the advent of the Birther Movement. Others believe her fate was sealed in the presidential campaign of 2016 which was marked by a precipitous increase in name-calling, vitriol and ad hominem attacks. The proliferation of lies, slander and hate-filled invective clearly took a toll on her failing health.
     Much of the blame for Civility’s decline can be placed on one party, possibly even one man. Doctors attending at her deathbed noted multiple wounds and cuts inflicted upon her just within the last two years.
     Civility’s body was riddled with racist sleights, character assassination, gross exaggerations and outright lies. Even when the source of these attacks was identified, they were repeated again and again with few persons intervening to stop them.
     People from all sides pretended to befriend Civility but their actions were often disingenuous or too little, too late. In fact, many people began to engage in uncivil retaliations themselves thereby further endangering the Public Discourse and undermining Civility’s chances for survival.
     On her deathbed, Civility was surrounded by many well wishers but few true supporters. Some paid homage to her achievements but the praise was hollow and ineffective and did little to stem the onrushing tide of boorish attacks.
     Civility was predeceased by Tolerance, Patience and Politeness. She is survived by her ailing mother Democracy who many fear does not have long to live.
     A memorial service for Civility will be held on November 6th. In lieu of flowers or donations, mourners are urged to exercise their franchise.