The 45th Prediction

I’ve said this since November 2016, but I want to codify it here for posterity’s sake.

Donald Trump will not be impeached unless and until his approval ratings fall below 40% for two consecutive polling terms. Once that happens, then and only then, will Republican Senators feel ‘safe’ enough in opposing Trump that they will denounce him. Once the Republicans begin opposing Trump, whispers of impeachment will grow loud enough to be considered a reality, and that’s when I expect Trump to resign in disgrace.

Well, if he’s smarter than a five-year-old he’ll resign.

But none of that, none of it, can happen until Trump’s constituents are personally and demonstrably affected by something he does that cannot be pushed off onto someone else. I believe this because people are loath to admit when they are wrong during the best of times and for the smallest of reasons. How much more resistant do you think foolish people can be when it comes to the fool they voted into the highest office of the land? People hate looking foolish when they’ve been fooled, but I hope they learn to hate the fool who fooled them more than their own foolishness.

Personally, I believe this will all happen sooner, rather than later.

In November, when Trump became President-Elect, I predicted that by end of summer 2017 enough of his constituents would turn on him to bring his approval ratings under 40%. Based on what’s been happening lately, I wholeheartedly stand by that prediction. The only problem I have is figuring out whether Pence or Ryan become the new President. As it stands, I think the odds are 50-50.

And that scares me. A lot.

President Trump – Week 1

Below are 22 things President Trump has done during his first week in office. I am not including things his cabinet members, advisers, and surrogates have said and/or done during this week because I’m only interested in the what the President himself is doing. While the people he surrounds himself with, and who claim to speak for him, are a window into who President Trump actually is and how he will govern, there is no better way to REALLY know him than to list out everything the man actually does. I’m also not including actions others have taken in response to President Trump (the Women’s March, government senior management resignations, etc.). So, without further preamble, here are 22 things President Donald Trump has done during his first week in office.

  1. Signed an Executive Order aimed at rolling back the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare). The order instructs the Secretary of Health and Human Services and heads of other departments to “waive, defer, grant exemptions from [and] delay” requirements of the Obamacare law.
  2. Announced a new, and potentially illegal, national policy of taking the national resources of sovereign nations (for example, keeping Iraq’s oil)
  3. Signed the “Border Security” executive order stating that Congress will allot federal funds (taxpayer dollars) for the immediate construction of a southern border wall. It includes plans to increase the number of border patrol agents by 5,000 and construct more detention facilities, and outlines a broad crackdown on immigrants who cross the southern border.
  4. Insulted the nation’s third largest trade partner by insisting Mexico would pay for the aforementioned wall despite Mexico’s refusal to do so. This has led to strained relations with our southern neighbor, the first sign being the canceled meeting at the end of January.
  5. Issued executive orders to withdraw from the Trans Pacific Partnership trade deal negotiations.
  6. Escalated tension between Israel and Palestine by beginning discussions to move the US embassy in Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem
  7. Has signaled a change in policy regarding the use of torture during interrogations, directly at odds with longstanding international rules and regulations on the treatment of prisoners, potentially putting the US Military in a position of having to refuse to follow a direct order from the President.
  8. Signaled a shift in the Justice Department’s civil rights efforts when it requested a delay in the lawsuit over a Texas law requiring voters to present certain types of government-issued IDs.
  9. Halted a reduction to the annual mortgage insurance premiums borrowers pay when taking out government-backed home loans, increasing mortgage payments for thousands of homeowners.
  10. Signed three executive orders to benefit oil pipelines, including the completion of the highly controversial Dakota Access Pipeline, and remove Obama environmental protections. Noteworthy is the fact that President Trump may be personally profiting from the pipeline.
  11. Reinstated the 1984 Mexico City Policy which bans U.S. support to foreign organizations that offer abortion or abortion counseling to women.
  12. Ordered a hiring freeze on nearly all government workers, including thousands of highly skilled scientists, engineers nurses, and veterans.
  13. Announced his intention to renegotiate, or end, NAFTA.
  14. Targeted “Sanctuary Cities” by signing an Executive Order that bans giving federal funds to jurisdictions that “willfully violate Federal law in an attempt to shield aliens from removal from the United States.”
  15. Put gag orders on multiple government agencies and removed vital internet content, including scientific studies pertaining to climate change.
  16. Announced he is preparing to sign an executive order to block the entry of refugees from war-torn Syria, Sudan, Somalia, Iraq, Iran, Libya and Yemen.
  17. Ordered agencies to freeze new regulations, giving the new administration time to review them (nearly every new President does this).
  18. Announced his intention to let his son-in-law play a prominent role in his administration, potentially putting him at odds with anti-nepotism laws.
  19. Proposed, and then quickly rescinded, imposing a 20% tax on Mexican made products sold in America.
  20. Announced he will ask for a “major investigation into VOTER FRAUD, including those registered to vote in two states, those who are illegal and even, those registered to vote who are dead (and many for a long time).”
  21. Regardless of the hypocrisy, President Trump continues to use a private, unsecured cell phone, while many of his staffers use private email servers.
  22. He still refuses to release his tax returns.

Orange Nation

Tomorrow.

Tomorrow may very well go down in history books as the true beginning of the unraveling of the United States of America. While you might believe I’m being hyperbolic in my declaration of doom, I respectfully disagree. In fact, I’m trying my best to be as calm as possible. Oh, you might want to point out that America has weathered crises before; The Civil War, the Great Depression, WWI, WWII, the Cold War, and the Cuban Missile Crisis to name just a few. And yes, the country may have been even more starkly divided in times past than it is now but, and this is important, never before has there been an American President-Elect as ill-prepared for the presidency as Donald J. Trump.

Regardless of how you might personally feel about the man himself, whether you voted for him, against his opponent, for one of his opponents, or for no one at all; it doesn’t matter. Donald Trump will be the 45th President of the United States. And THAT should worry EVERYONE. And it’s not because he’s a thin-skinned, sexist, narcissistic, rude, bombastic, aggressive, obnoxious, lying, buffoon. That’s not really debatable because he has shown over and over and over again, through tweets, speeches, and interviews, that he is all of those things and PROUD of it. And despite all his flaws, the hard truth is that enough people in enough important districts in enough important States were willing to ignore all his negatives and vote for him. So, yes. Donald Trump will be the next President of the United States.

And no, this isn’t a “not my President” moment.

However, it must be noted that never before in American history has there ever been a President-Elect like Donald Trump. Not only is he frighteningly, WILLFULLY ignorant of nearly EVERY facet of the unimaginably huge bureaucracy he will soon be in charge of, but he’s actively and AGGRESSIVELY attacking the people he should be relying upon for help and guidance. Attacking political enemies is one thing, attacking the press can perhaps be overlooked by his supporters, but attacking the very agencies he’s now supposed lead? Belittling and antagonizing the science and intelligence agencies he’ll need to rely on for unbiased, up-to-the-second, top-secret information? How can even his supporters not feel a little uneasy? If he doesn’t trust anyone in the government now, before he’s receiving the truly scary, life-or-death, wrong-decision-and-the-world-ends reports, who will he trust and when will he trust them? Where will he get the information he needs to make the important decisions the President needs to make every day? His gut? Twitter? Putin?

But, you say, he’s a billionaire, a successful businessman. He must be smart enough to run the country, right?

Wrong. Dangerously, foolishly, horribly wrong.

There are a myriad of reasons that type of thinking is wrong, and nearly all have been hashed to death for the last two years all over the web by nearly every media outlet in America. I won’t even bother to use the usual talking points of his many bankruptcies, poor business decisions or even his failed businesses and fake school to make my point. Instead, I’ll try something a little easier to understand.

Let me give you a hypothetical that will hopefully illustrate what I mean. Let’s say you’re a big fan of flight simulator games. Let’s also say that you’re a huge fan of one of the top players in the world. Let’s also say that player becomes so proud of his flight simulation skills that he decides to get his adoring fans (you) to demand that NASA let him fly the space shuttle. Caving in to massive public pressure, NASA not only agrees, but allows him to fly a shuttle that will carry a payload of 25 armed nuclear warheads. You and millions of other fans cheer him on for taking on, and “beating” NASA and it’s silly rules. Not wanting the mission to fail, NASA tries to help our flight simulator hero prepare for the awesome responsibility of flying such a dangerous mission by offering him private lessons and all the studying materials he could ever need. But our hero not only refuses their help, he actively and publicly mocks and ridicules them for even trying. To make matters even worse, our intrepid hero then chooses a flight and ground crew with absolutely no experience in the positions he gives them. The mechanics he brings in have never even changed the oil in their car. The scientists he hires are “smart” people suggested to him by his sponsors. His head of mission control is his manager. When people in the press point out that he should really study for the upcoming flight and maybe think about hiring people with some actual experience, he just insults the reporters and bans them from future press conferences. When other, more experienced shuttle pilots, control and ground crew personnel voice their concern, he cries that they’re treating him unfairly because he’s going to be the best pilot ever and they’re all just jealous. Then, word gets out that your hero may have won his flight simulation matches because the referees were influenced by a third party and that maybe he’s not quite as successful as people thought…

Now, no matter how much of a fan you might be of this person, and no matter how great he may or may not be at playing flight simulator games, can you honestly say you’d be comfortable letting him fly a nuclear shuttle?

The point is, just because a person is good at one thing does not mean they have ANY aptitude at all in something else. Even if that something else seems superficially similar to their own area of expertise. Especially if that something is VASTLY more complicated than the thing that person is supposedly good at. And even more especially if that person refuses all advice and assistance offered by experts at that new thing.

And this is just the tiniest scratch on the very tip of all the things I see and feel when I think about our President-Elect. As I said before, this goes way, WAY, beyond my personal feelings. Sure, we’ve had Presidents who weren’t very smart before. And of course, some Presidents of the past have done things for selfish reasons, or passed bad laws, or been lousy human beings. But at the very least, all of them, ALL of them, surrounded themselves with smart people who knew what they were doing and had experience in the roles they were cast. And that’s because those past Presidents, no matter how personally incompetent, mentally challenged, or downright evil they may have actually been, NONE of them were truly willing to destroy the country. Each and every one of them believed what they were doing was best for their country. So at the very least, previous generations of the American public that may have opposed their Presidents policies could rest easy knowing that as bad as things might have seemed to them at the time, the Executive branch of the government wouldn’t really destroy America in a fit of anger over an imagined insult.

The question now is; does anyone have 100% confidence that the same will hold true after Donald J. Trump is sworn in tomorrow?

For the Sake of History

Below are a small collection of links to articles, blog posts and videos that might be of interest a few days, weeks, months, and/or years from now. Not sure if any of them will amount to much, but at this moment in time they help explain some of what is going through my own head. I’ll add more as I find them over the next couple of weeks.

An historical look at what Donald Trump’s presidency might mean for humanity.

A melodramatic post-mortem for America.

Michael Moore on MSNBC’s Morning Joe discussing the why’s and how’s of Trump’s ascendancy.

The 2016 Exit Polls

Bernie Sanders shares his thoughts.

Theories on how Trump won.

Thoughts on what those who voted for Trump can expect from those who did not.

The “normalization” of Trump begins.

Why white women vote Republican.

An angry journalist on why myths and falsehoods believed by Democrats lead to Trump’s victory.

The rift between urban and suburban voters.

The End Is Nigh

I don’t recognize America anymore.

There is an old saying, wrongfully attributed as being a Chinese curse, that goes, “May you live in interesting times.” It’s meant to be read as ironic, the implication being that uninteresting times are peaceful and boring, while interesting times are full of turmoil and conflict. Well, no matter what you may think of the outcome of last night’s election, I think we can all agree that we’re now living in interesting times. And while I am personally horrified at the prospects that I see ahead of us here in America, there is no denying the fact that last night Donald Trump became the next president-elect of the United States of America.

I still can’t believe it.

I know a lot of you are thinking, “Get over it. Don’t be so melodramatic. The people have spoken and he’s the president, but this isn’t a dictatorship. There are checks and balances in place that will keep him from doing anything truly horrendous. And if he’s a bad president in four years we can put somebody else in office. It’s really not such a big deal.”

To you I respectfully say, “You’re wrong.”

Last night America elected into the highest office of the land the most hateful, racist, xenophobic, misogynistic, and spiteful candidate ever to run for president. A man whose presidential platform centered around the alienation, vilification, and deportation of a vast swath of people who he calls rapists, drug dealers, and murderers. This is a man who belittled, bullied, and insulted his way to the top of the Republican ticket using hate speech to incite enough anger in his followers that he could point them at whatever target he wished and they would willfully, gleefully attack. Mexicans, Muslims, African-Americans, women, the media, his political opponents, and even his supposed political allies. No one was spared. His entire candidacy is based on inciting fear and stoking the fires of anger towards minorities in the general population. And historically, people who depend on vilification of a subset of their citizenry in order to win public approval and lead their country have had to follow through with their threats and promises or face the wrath of the masses themselves. So, I fully expect the wall to be built, and for people of color to be shipped “back to their country” regardless of how many generations they’ve lived in America.

I hope I’m wrong, I really do. But these are the things that will keep me awake at night for the next four years.

The seething anger that many Americans, myself included, have felt towards the political leaders of this country over the last 20 or more years has led to this. For years and years now, so very many years, we the people have been forced to choose between two political parties that have forgotten who their constituents are, and who, once in office, conveniently forget the promises they made to get to that office. By doing that over and over again, time after time, year after year, election after election, the ruling class in Washington has made it clear that there is no longer such a thing as a government “of the people, by the people, and for the people.”

And so, entered Donald Trump.

He realized before anyone else that there was just enough fear, anger, and hate to be found in the electorate, that if a charismatic leader could capture it, that person had a very good chance of winning the presidency. Here was somebody who saw the people that felt forgotten by their party. He heard them when others turned a deaf ear. He said the things they wanted to hear and promised to supply all the things they thought they wanted. But unlike everyone else seeking their votes, Donald Trump didn’t speak down to them. He spoke in a way they understood without using political correctness or Washington doublespeak.

And the people ate it up.

Now he’s the president. The man who praised the leadership styles of Vladimir Putin, Kim Jong Un, and Saddam Hussein will now get a chance to lead. The man who personally insulted his political rivals, vilified immigrants, ridiculed vets, mocked women, and endorsed violence against his political opponents will try to unify America. The man who couldn’t be bothered to prepare for presidential debates, who has bankrupted 4 businesses, who has lied to and cheated his business partners, bankers, and employees, will oversee the most complex and most powerful economic power in the world. The man who doesn’t know what nuclear triad means, who has suggested that North Korea and Japan should have nuclear weapons, and who believes that Crimea already belongs to Russia will now be commander in chief. Since World War II, every military engagement authorized by Congress has been under the leadership of a Republican president. The Vietnam War, the Persian Gulf War, the war in Afghanistan, and the Iraq war were all initiated by Republican presidents. That even includes the Lebanon crisis of 1958 and the multinational force in Lebanon in 1983. Donald Trump has made it clear that he is willing to start fights with anyone who he feels has insulted him, and he has shown no ability to control his emotions whenever he has been attacked. And now he, and he alone, has access to the nuclear codes.

This scares me so much I can barely breathe.

This morning I woke up with no idea how I was going to face my children for the next four years. How do I teach them that bullying is bad when a bully has won the White House? How can I expect them to study and learn, to use facts and figures to back up their arguments, when making up facts, spouting lies, and glorifying unpreparedness can win you the presidency? How can I expect them to be nice, to respect the thoughts and feelings of others, when they can just point to our new president and say, “He doesn’t so why should I?”

I honestly don’t know what I’ll say, I just hope I won’t burst out in tears.

So, to those who now live with me in Trumpland, I urge you to be prepared. Be prepared to see more hate crimes and violence against minorities on your TVs, because our next president has endorsed and encouraged such behavior. Be prepared for more earthquakes in Oklahoma, a neutered EPA, and fewer and smaller protected national parks, because our next president has made it clear that conservation of the environment doesn’t matter. Be prepared for the rights of the LGBT community, minorities, and women to be set back dozens of years, because our next president has been consistent in his degradation of them throughout his candidacy. Be prepared for our international allies to distance themselves from us, and for the countries we currently vilify to become our new best friends, because our next president has shown no understanding of the intricacies of international politics. Be prepared for economic disparity greater than we’ve seen in recent memory, because our next president believes losing money or bankrupting a business is perfectly acceptable as long as his own finances remain safe. And America, be prepared for war, because our next president has made it very clear that his idea of diplomacy is to bully, insult, and frighten his opponents.

Be prepared, America. The monster we thought we defeated has stepped back out into the light, but this time, instead of fighting it we’ve greeted it with open arms.