Bob Schwartz

Tag: Donald Trump

Trump Van Winkle

The U.S. just dropped the biggest non-nuclear bomb ever on an ISIS target in Afghanistan.

The president apparently believes he can “defeat” ISIS and “win” the war in Afghanistan by dropping really big bombs. The biggest. Sad that no one thought of that before.

A number of times in world situations (and in domestic situations too) it appears that Trump has been completely absent from any discussion, debate or learning for decades. It doesn’t matter, since his opinion, at least until recently, has been based mostly on what he sees and hears on the news and on his emotional gut reaction. And as with most uninformed gut reactions, subject to change at a moment’s notice

Or maybe he’s been asleep. Like Rip Van Winkle, who slept for at least 20 years, only to wake up and discover a strange but more satisfactory world. Maybe one in which he is suddenly president.

The Albatross: REPUBLICAN President Trump

Ah! well a-day! what evil looks       
Had I from old and young!
Instead of the cross, the Albatross   
About my neck was hung.
The Rime of the Ancient Mariner, Samuel Taylor Coleridge

Barring extraordinary intervening events such as impeachment (which may not happen), Donald Trump will be president for the next four years. For those unhappy with that prospect, one obvious strategy is to limit his power/damage by reducing the number of Republicans in Congress and elsewhere.

As complex tactics are devised to achieve that end, here is a magic incantation—an albatross—that can help:

REPUBLICAN President Trump

Yes, it is that simple. Three words. It was only months ago that many Republicans were distancing themselves from candidate Trump—trying to hold onto their integrity, dignity, principles and sanity. Once he won, it was understandable that they stood by him, given the power that comes with the office. A lot of Republican dreams could come true with a Republican president, even if it is Trump.

Now Republicans are wondering about the consequences of being attached to the wackiest and least popular president in modern history—maybe ever (after only two months in office!). Not even distancing is going to work, since Trump showed during the campaign that he would attack anyone at any time, regardless of party. Those attacks carry a lot more weight now that he is actually the president.

Even if Republicans try to delicately distance themselves, it should be made as difficult as possible. And the best way to assure that is to identify Trump regularly as REPUBLICAN President Trump. Not President Trump. REPUBLICAN President Trump. REPUBLICAN President Trump.

Let’s see Republicans shake that albatross.

Trump and Administration as Comic Book Characters

trump-comic-1

Comic books aren’t always funny. They include some very dark characters with dark intentions and powers. Those intentions and powers are found in the real (non-comics) world, so we should pay attention and shouldn’t laugh.

One other thing, though, is that these dark characters are two-dimensional, even when they are turned into compelling movie characters. Upon close inspection, they have no intelligence, because they have no brains, because they are…comic book characters.

And so, as long as we recognize that the real President and his real administration have very real intentions and powers, we might gain perspective from treating them graphically as comic book characters. In any case, we are probably already tired of seeing photos of Donald Trump. Maybe this is a way to make the view a little bit different and more interesting.

The news is that Rick Perry will be nominated as Energy Secretary, head of a department he had trouble remembering he wanted to eliminate. So here he is:

rick-perry-comic-1

Republicans Wake Up to Find Themselves Married to Trump

trump-maples-wedding

The Washington Post reports:

Two closely-watched Republican lawmakers are calling on their colleagues to maintain aggressive congressional oversight of the Trump administration next year even though the new president hails from the same party controlling Capitol Hill.

Sen. Tom Cotton (R-Ark.) and Rep. Trey Gowdy (R-S.C.), who have large national followings and grander political ambitions, agreed that House and Senate committees must keep close tabs on Donald Trump’s new government starting next year — not because they want to stick it to a man that neither originally endorsed for president, but because doing so would help rebalance power between the three branches of government.

During the campaign, Trump was like a rich and wacky member of the Republican family—a crazy uncle you could distance yourself from, but who was after all a member of the family, and you did want to make sure that he left you something in his will. This led to many Republicans doing some fancy dancing.

But Trump is very much alive, and the Republican Party woke up to find itself married to him. So while Republican Senators like Cotton and Gowdy say they will “maintain aggressive oversight” because they want a proper balance of power, that isn’t it. Married to Trump, they know that if he screws up, come the next election—or sooner—they will get the blame and take the hit. Trump may now be head of the household, but his new family is going to try to make sure he doesn’t burn down the house. Because they know he just loves to play with fire.

Trump Appointments: Qualifications? We Don’t Need No Stinking Qualifications.

USS George Washington

“Badges, to god-damned hell with badges! We have no badges. In fact, we don’t need badges. I don’t have to show you any stinking badges.”
Treasure of the Sierra Madre (1927) by B. Traven, changed slightly for the movie.

The naming of Ben Carson to be Secretary of Housing and Urban Development brings this to mind.

Imagine that you are a really, really rich guy with a big ego and a big yacht. You pilot that yacht all around America and some locations around the world.

You conclude that based on this experience, you are able to captain the biggest destroyer in the U.S. Navy fleet (USS Zumwalt, 610-foot, 15,000-ton, $4.4 billion to build) or a Nimitz-Class nuclear-powered aircraft carrier (USS George Washington, 1092-foot, 100,000-ton, crew of 5,000).

You further conclude that in general, qualifications are overrated and unnecessary. You therefore feel free to ask anyone to do anything, no matter how big the job or small the experience or knowledge. After all, that’s how you got your job in the first place.

You’re hired!

“Drunk men screaming Trump’s name try to rip off Muslim student’s hijab as straphangers stand idly by on East Side subway, cops say”

Yasmin Seweid

This is from today’s New York Daily News.

I have mixed feelings about repeating such a negative story. But I am repeating it because Google News shows that at this point it has been covered by only 26 news outlets in America and the world.

Only twenty-six news outlets. Practically any story gets more coverage than that—let alone a story with major social implications, involving the next President of the United States, or at least his name as a rallying cry.

One more thing: Take the hateful actions of these attackers, and imagine their shouting the name of some other President. Imagine these men shouting “You look like a f—ing terrorist! Get the hell out of the country! You don’t belong here!” followed by “George Bush! George Bush!” or “Ronald Reagan! Ronald Reagan!”

Are we ready for this New World?


STRAPHANGERS STOOD BY AND WATCHED as three drunk white men repeatedly screamed “Donald Trump!” and hurled anti-Islam slurs Thursday at a Muslim Baruch College student before trying to rip her hijab off of her head on an East Side subway, the woman told the Daily News.

Yasmin Seweid said she was stunned by the assault — and the fact that no one in the subway car came to her aid.

“It made me really sad after when I thought about it,” she said. “People were looking at me and looking at what was happening and no one said a thing. They just looked away.”

The terrified 18-year-old recounted her harrowing encounter with the hate-spewing trio.

“I heard them say something very loudly, something about Donald Trump … I also heard them say the word terrorist and I sort of got a little scared,” Seweid told The News.

Seweid had left an event at Baruch and was on her way home on an uptown No. 6 platform at the 23rd St. and Park Ave. stop at about 10 p.m. Thursday when the men started taunting her, she said.

They hollered at the business major as she boarded a train.

They kept screaming Trump’s name at her, and then said, “Oh look, a (expletive) terrorist,” she said.

“Get the hell out of the country!” they yelled during the train ride. “You don’t belong here!”

Seweid, who was born in Williamsburg, Brooklyn, to Egyptian parents, was shocked.

“I born and raised in this country,” she told The News. “I’m an American, you know?”

When Seweid ignored them, they pulled on her bag to get her attention and the strap broke.

“That’s when I turned around and said ‘can you please leave me alone,’ and they started laughing,” she said.

She walked to the other end of the train, and they followed her and tried to pull off her hijab, a head covering worn by Muslim women.

“Take that thing off!” they hollered.

“I put my hand on top of my head to hold it,” Seweid said. “Then I turned around and screamed ‘what the (expletive).’ ”

Seweid got off the train at Grand Central Terminal on E. 42nd St. and reported the terrifying incident to police.

Her father, Sayeed Seweid, 55, of New Hyde Park, L.I., said he was also angry that no one else stepped in to defend his daughter.

“Nobody even offered to help an 18-year-old girl,” he said. “That means something. Her phone was dying. You offer help — it doesn’t matter the race, religion, or the country.”

After filing a police report, shaking and crying, Seweid made her way to Penn Station where she called her father after finding an electrical outlet to charge her phone, her father said. She was not injured.

He came and picked her up and they chatted with police into the early morning hours before driving home.

On Friday, Seweid sat with police officers and tried to help spot the men on surveillance video, her father said. No one has been arrested.

The incident is another in a growing list of bias crimes across the city since Trump’s election. Cops said that from Nov. 8 through Nov. 27, there were 34 reported incidents compared to 13 in the same period in 2015.

“American Muslims, and particularly men and women who wear religious attire, are being increasingly targeted by hate nationwide in the wake of the Nov. 8 election,” said Afaf Nasher, executive director of the New York chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations.

“I was very shaken up … I’m definitely traumatized,” Seweid said. “I’m really scared.”

Of the 34 incidents between Election Day and Nov. 27, 18 have been anti-Semitic in nature, compared to five in the same period last year. Five of the incidents have been anti-gay, and five others, anti-white. Two targeted Muslims and one was anti-black.

President John Barron

Things happened so fast in this campaign that it is hard to remember everything. I had forgotten, and was just reminded by a previous post of mine, that Donald Trump reportedly had called up journalists pretending to be a publicist for Trump named John Miller or John Barron (Barron is the name of Trump’s youngest son).

This gave me an idea, to help those who are still having trouble with the election results, and may have trouble for a while to come. Consider identifying the next President as either John Miller or John Barron. (Between the two, President John Barron has a very presidential, almost royal, sound to it.)

The news about the next administration may not be easy for some people to accept. But if you think of it as the administration of President John Barron, that might make things just a little bit easier.

Create a Fragrance by Abraham Lincoln

Trump Success Launch

We know what Donald Trump thinks that driven and confident men should smell like.

Success

“Success By Trump captures the spirit of the driven man. The scent is an inspiring blend of fresh juniper and iced red currant, brushed with hints of coriander. As it evolves, the mix of frozen ginger, fresh bamboo leaves and geranium emerge taking center stage, while a masculine combination of rich vetiver, tonka bean, birchwood and musk create a powerful presence throughout wear.”

Empire

“Empire by Trump is the perfect accessory for the confident man determined to make his mark with passion, perseverance and drive. For those who aspire to create their own empire through personal achievement, this dynamic scent is both compelling and leaves a lasting impression. Bold notes of peppermint, spicy chai and a hint of apple demand attention.”

What would a fragrance by Abraham Lincoln be like? What would he call it? How would he describe it?

Abraham Lincoln

To get started, here is the list of ingredients Trump put in his fragrances, Success and Empire. But please feel free to be creative. You are creating a fragrance for one of our greatest Presidents.

Apple
Bamboo leaves
Birchwood
Chai
Coriander
Geranium
Ginger
Juniper
Musk
Peppermint
Red currant
Tonka bean
Vetiver

After 70 Years of Progress, America Must Face Itself Again

Church

Black Church Burned, With ‘Vote Trump’ Scrawled on Side

In 1945 America helped defeat Nazi Germany, a global force that threatened to engulf the world in virulent hate and tyranny. In the aftermath of a brutal but noble victory, and despite deserved self-congratulation, America was forced to look at itself. It was not immune to or unfamiliar with similar levels and types of hate within—in certain places, among certain people.

We worked at identifying and eliminating that sort of hate, institutionally and individually, to the extent that is ever possible. There were missteps and resistance, along with denials and rationalizations. Progress was made, sometimes in fits and starts, and the work goes on.

This has been a year of staggering, stupefying realizations. Among the things we know better, as if we weren’t aware, is that there are plenty of people with hate in their hearts who for a long while have felt marginalized and silenced by a degree of public decency. Another thing we learned, and should know, is that once public decency is called into question or invalidated, those same people will be encouraged and emboldened.

I wrote about this eight months ago, in a post Unleashing the Dogs of Hate. If you haven’t noticed, that hate is barking louder and starting to bite.

Like it or not, these are our countrymen. Pretending they are not has never worked, nor has giving up because there’s nothing to be done. Progress has been made, and though it would be comfortable to believe things inevitably move forward, they don’t. Backwards happens, but not if we start by facing up again to who we are and hope to be. And then get back to work.

Making America Crazy Again: How to Survive and Thrive After the Election

make-america-crazy-again

You don’t want to hear this, but things may get crazier after the election.

If Hillary Clinton wins, she will be the least liked, least trusted President to ever take office. All the assumptions and suppositions about how the Clintons’ good intentions have been mixed with and compromised by expedient centrism, ambition, greed, secrecy and overall ugliness have been confirmed.

Progressives who tried an insurgency within the Democratic Party will learn that if they have a place at the table, it will be set with modest meals, if not mere crumbs.

Republicans will be gleeful at the prospect of obstructing everything and unwinding anything, without much of a plan of their own. Their glee is misplaced, since there is no Republican Party left, not one recognizable as such. Instead, it is merely the shaky platform for another set of would-be Presidents to start jockeying for position as the candidate in 2020.

And then of course there’s Donald Trump, whose hat should have first read Make The GOP Crazy, then Make The Election Crazy, and finally Make America Crazy Again. He is good at each of these. There is no doubt, whatever form his public pathology takes, he will help make 2017 a year we will not forget, just as 2016 is an election we will not forget, no matter how we try.

And so, some suggestions for getting on with our lives, not just surviving, but thriving, after the election.

  1. Religion, spirituality, philosophy, or something like them. Principled views of reality and the world can be very helpful. There is nothing inherently wrong with making stuff up as we go along. Except that when the wind blows, which it does pretty much all the time, and sometimes with hurricane force, we might want to have something to keep us steady.
  1. Media diet. When I see the ad for that cheeseburger with six strips of crisp bacon on top, something in me wants one. Except I don’t eat cheeseburgers any more, don’t eat bacon anymore, and if I did, I don’t think it would be in that particular configuration, since I plan to live a long and healthy life. The news media, even the supposedly respectable ones, are mostly offering us the equivalent of 1-pound burgers with an entire package of bacon on top, hour after hour. If you don’t want to be crazy unhealthy, please watch what you eat.
  1. Learning. You don’t have to learn about anything or anyone. You can learn exactly as much as you need to get on with your life and through the day. If you do choose to be interested in something, including public affairs, do try to learn and discern. We have spent the past year in a storm of misinformation and disinformation, lies and nonsense. That is not going to stop after the election. In fact, it could get worse, hard as that is to believe.
  1. Silence.