A G-7 Solution

This morning, I sent the following letter to President Trump.

Dear Mister President:

I understand you have decided not to host the G-7 meetings at the Miami conference center you own and that is losing money at a staggering rate. You are now considering having the sessions at Camp David, but according to your own White House advisors, everyone hates Camp David.
I have a solution. I am willing to sublet my place of dwelling to you for a modest daily fee so the G-7 meetings can be held here.
My apartment is located in Virginia, minutes from the Metro and on major bus lines. Uber and Lyft are a phone call away, and racks housing rental bicycles and electric scooters are mere yards from my front door. The area has a number of restaurants ranging from the inexpensive to the stupidly costly, which would allow G-7 participants to eat cheaply but bill their respective countries for very posh meals. There is a Target store nearby, and parking is available for the limos.
My building has two elevators, except on weekends when one is always in use by people moving in. Though at first glance, this may seem to be an inconvenience, it will actually allow you and other leaders to carefully consider your thoughts while waiting for the elevator, and possibly save you, Mister President, from saying outrageously stupid things that you will need to deny later, even though your words were recorded by members of the fake media. This is turn might lead some people to agree that the fake media is indeed conducting the greatest witch hunt in American history. Plus, you might be able to blame former President Obama and Hillary Clinton for a Teleprompter malfunction.
Did I mention I am mere miles from Dulles International Airport? That’s a big plus as well.
My building has a concierge who is there from time to time. It has two party rooms, a bowling alley, a ping pong table as well as a foosball table, so the G-7 people can entertain themselves between meetings. There is also a gym with treadmills, Exercycles, and a rowing machine that work relatively often. Management of my building recently—and very thoughtfully—installed a punching bag in the gym. This can be reserved for half-an-hour at a time, though G-7 visitors will have to wait their turns as the punching bag is in high demand among my building’s tenants.
The only drawback may be sleeping accommodations. My apartment is a one-bedroom, with one queen-size bed. There is also a couch that can accommodate one or two short people. In addition, I can provide yoga mats.
As mentioned before, there are party rooms and these could easily be re-configured as sleeping quarters, if the guests sleep in shifts.
The G-7 members, we all know, meet in the spirit of world unity and international betterment. Their attendance at the meetings held in my building can be seen as an Outward Bound adventure, except that it will be indoors.
By coming here, the G-7 will save American taxpayers millions of dollars, which we know is of paramount importance to you. With minimal efforts, these savings may be used to fund your golf outings. So as you can see, it’s win-win.
And let’s not forget that within walking distance we have a McDonalds, Arbie’s, Taco Bell, KFC, and Burger King? Also a Home Depot.
Please let me know your thoughts.

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The Grand Guignol

Sometimes it’s hard to write. The subject matter might be beyond my comprehension, or dull, or occasionally inappropriate. Lately, as I try to write about the state of the union, I find myself at a loss for words, a rare event.

Almost everything, it seems, hinges on Trump. He is the village idiot and the bête noire, and as such, it’s gotten difficult to write about him and his GOP cohorts in a coherent fashion. I’m reduced to thinking of him as the grand guignol in an increasingly perilous theater of the absurd.

Part of the problem is that in the US today, fact belittles fiction. Can a 21st century President really, honestly, want to buy Greenland, another country? Yes indeed. And there are precedents, we are told by the Trump proponents. Truman wanted to buy the place shortly after World War II, but times were different then. Now there are issues of conservation and native rights that back then hardly existed. Truman’s offer was turned down by the Danish government. So was Trump’s, which caused a fit of pique and the cancellation of a state visit to Denmark.

And then there’s the Sharpy incident. Trump, or one of his aides, added incorrect details to a weather map to show that Alabama was threatened by Hurricane Dorian. They used a Sharpy to redraw the possible sphere of threat. Such childishness would merit a bare few inches of print on the back page of the local paper, were it not for Trump’s obstinacy. While all sources and experts said Alabama was safe, Trump insisted the state was not and, to the best of my knowledge, still does. Add to this the love affairs with dictators, the migrant children in camps, the paper towel roll toss in Puerto Rico, the belief that he’s the Second Coming (yes, I do think he believes this) and a host of other farcicalities, and you quickly reach the indefensible.

And then, of course, there is the ever-growing number of mass killings by men wielding firearms. While the NRA still mouths the bizarre Guns Don’t Kill People, People Kill People, more and more are killed by people wielding guns and nothing is done about it. This is unbelievable. What it comes down to is that the right to own and wield firearms trumps (sorry) the right to lead a safe life. Trump, after a recent mass killing, posed smilingly in a hospital holding a surviving baby. He promised to do something about the violence but, when the NRA stirred, he quickly backed off.

Recently, I had an online discussion with a woman acquaintance, a gun owner and NRA member. I was trying to get her to explain the disparity found in the number of gun-related death in countries where gun ownership is strictly regulated and countries where it is not. She avoided answering, and then said that registering guns would lead to guns being taken away. I wasn’t smart or quick enough to mention that, to the best of my knowledge, registering cars has not resulted in cars being confiscated. I did, however, suggest that guns should indeed be treated with the same respect afforded to automobiles. They should be titled, taxed, registered and insured, subject to yearly inspections, and not employed by anyone who has not demonstrated the skills necessary to use them. The woman told me to fuck off, which pretty much ended that discussion.

I don’t own a gun. I used to have an 18th century flintlock but I sold it to a collector. I have things I could hit people over the head with, and things that could stab or slash, which I am told would be quite useless if faced with gun, but that’s okay. My understanding is that guns are to be kept in gun safes, which means that should an intruder break into my home and threaten me, I’d have to ask permission to unlock the safe so I could defend myself.

That’s probably not going to work.


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King Donald and Emperor Norton

Having been raised on Rousseau, Racine and Camus, and being in my heart of hearts a devout royalist, I believe I have come up with a workable solution to the problem presented by our benighted president.

Are you ready?

Make him king.

Yes. Get him a throne, a small mansion in the country, and one of those paper crowns from Burger King (he can buy a real one with his own money.) Televise the coronation. Tell him, after the fact, that the ceremony was watched by more people than were the moon landing and the last Superbowl. Give him a scepter, a rabbit fur-trimmed robe and an orb. If you really want to gild the lily, have someone from Fox tell him he rules by divine right. Voila.

After all, this is what he really wants, to be king of the US of A, and to have citizens worship him. If we accede to his wishes, he’ll be encouraged to spout off inane Tweets all day. He can be a racist, a demagogue, a male chauvinist, a liar, a thief, a con man. He could even dye his hair and bathe in Man Tan, and it wouldn’t matter!!!!

By being king, Trump will join a select society of rulers that include King Philippe of Belgium, King Norodom Sihamoni of Cambodia, King Willem-Alexander of the Netherlands, King Tupou VI of Tonga, and my personal all-time favorite, Almu’tasimu Billahi Muhibbuddin Tuanku Alhaj Abdul Halim Mu’adzam Shah Ibni Almarhum Sultan Badlishah of Malaysia.

King Donald would be a benign ruler, since he would have not a shred of power. He could, however, surround himself with all those people he nominated for government posts and who resigned for one scandalous reason or other. These could be his court, and wear funny costumes. Since many of them are wealthy, they could support King Donald and his family in the proper style. I am not sure how to resolve the Prince Baron conundrum, but I’m working on it.

King Donald would have ceremonial duties. He might ring in Daylight Savings Time, for example, or lend his presence to the opening of new Chik-fil-A franchises. He could throw out the first pitch in Little League games. In a crunch, he might direct traffic or be a greeter at Wal Mart.

There is a precedent to royalty in the States.

Joshua Abraham Norton, a citizen of San Francisco, proclaimed himself “Norton I, Emperor of the United States” in 1859. He later assumed the secondary title of “Protector of Mexico.” He was massively popular and routinely signed edicts for citizens, and currency issued in his name was honored in the places he frequented.

Emperor Norton ordered that the United States Congress be dissolved by force and penned numerous decrees calling for the construction of a bridge and tunnel crossing San Francisco Bay to link San Francisco with Oakland.

Mark Twain and Robert Louis Stevenson immortalized him and, more recently, so did Neil Gaiman.

On January 8, 1880, according to Wikipedia, “Norton collapsed at the corner of California and Dupont (now Grant) streets and died before he could be given medical treatment. Upwards of 10,000 people lined the streets of San Francisco to pay him homage at his funeral. 

I can’t guarantee any famous writer will immortalize our regent. I mean, I wouldn’t, and I’m not even famous. Nor can I guarantee that 10,000 people will come to King Donald’s funeral, but then again, facts and numbers could be altered, as he so often does, to make the king posthumously happy.




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Epstein; Dreyfus

I’m not much into conspiracies. I think they require too much effort by too many people and, let’s face it, most people can’t keep a secret. I do believe there’s a lot more to learn about both the Lincoln and Kennedy assassinations, but I’m pretty sure ticks are not a runaway biological warfare experiment, and I do think Napoleon is buried in Napoleon’s tomb.

This being said, I’m certain there’s more to the Epstein hanging than we’re being told, and I really hope the Washington Post or New York Times will sic a bunch of young and hungry reporters on the story.

The Metropolitan Correction Center in Manhattan has been host to a bunch of villains over the years, all of whom managed to survive incarceration there. El Chappo, aka Joaquim Guzmàn, Bernard Madoff, John Gotti, and members of al-Qaeda, spent time at MCC and walked out alive. Epstein, certainly one of the most infamous inmates in recent times, did not.

According to reports, Epstein was in good spirits just prior to his death. He spent hours discussing legal maneuvers with his attorneys. He seemed neither depressed nor frantic. The official story is that the facility’s staff members are overworked, tired, sleepy, and quite obviously incapable. They left Epstein alone for more than a half-hour. He was supposed to have a cellmate but that man had been moved to another venue. Epstein was an at-risk inmate who had attempted suicide some months ago, but had been taken off suicide watch recently. He was not supposed to have anything that could be used to end his own life, i.e. shoe laces or a belt.  When guards came to check on him (after they took a nap, I suppose, since they were so tired and spent) Epstein was dead. Security cameras, amazingly enough, were not trained on his cell.

Epstein had enemies. He was, among other things, a procurer of underage women to the rich and famous, including Prince Williams, Trump, perhaps Bill Clinton, the attorney Alan Dershowitz, and a myriad others who gloried in his company.

So I am tempted to yell J’Accuse, à la Émile Zola, the French writer who protested the incarceration of Alfred Dreyfus in what came to be known as the Dreyfus Affair and rocked France in the early 1900s. In modern day English, J’Accuse might be translated as ‘oh bullshit,’ which was my first reaction when I learned of Epstein’s death.

Simply stated, far too many important people—including no. 45—stand to benefit from his demise. Epstein would undoubtedly have contrived during his trial to inculpate others. His lawyers would have sought to make deals with anyone who might lighten their client’s inevitable sentence. He was too dangerous to live.

The head of the MCC will be fired, as will some prison guards. Blame will be apportioned, and the affair soon forgotten. Some important miscreants will breathe sighs of relief. Victims will be left without closure. A few books will be written. That’s America.


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The Voices in My Head

I hear voices in my head. I admit it. The voices say things like, “Shouldn’t you pee before leaving the house on a road trip?” Also, “No, not the brown shoe. Look for the other blue shoe.” And, “I wonder if I should eat more bananas?”

I’ve been told that hearing voices is a sure sign of mental disease. Strangely, I have not tried to assault or kill anyone. I mention this because Trump’s recent speech said it wasn’t guns that killed all these people, it was mental illness.

Sometime the voices in my head can get downright violent. “Look at the way that idiot is driving!” Or, “If one more person writes genuine imitation leather, or free gift or growing smaller, I swear I’ll…”

According to the Washington Post, there’s very little relationship between mental illness and violent crime. Certainly, some seriously deranged individual have been responsible for murders but by-and-large, the killings are fueled by hate, racism, or a desire for recognition, not by delusions.

Mind you, it’s my opinion that anyone who picks up a gun with the obvious intent of killing people is dealing with some serious issues, but most of these are not listed in the American Psychiatric Association DSM V.

Sometimes the voices in my head say, “Right. Yes. Guns don’t kill people; people kill people.” Then I segue into, “I wonder if maybe shoes kill people? I’ve never heard of a barefooted mass murderer. They all wear shoes, so it must be the shoes. Or maybe the Fruit of the Loom?”

In my more rational moments, the voices in my head say, “By golly! The NRA is right! Guns don’t kill people; bullets kill people!” Bullets issued at the rate of 400 per minute from the barrel of a perfectly legal and available to all semi-automatic rifle or pistol can—and do—kill a lot people. After all, that’s what the guns and the ammo are designed to do.

And if I think a little more, I can come to the conclusion that people who foster hate and racism, cowards who hide behind constitutional amendments, and leaders afraid to protect their constituents and perhaps lose their lucrative jobs, well, they all kill people too, right?

I don’t have to hear voices in my head or be mentally deficient to figure that out.



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And Furthermore…

This will be brief.

I find it fascinating that the pro-Trump response to yesterday’s Epiphanettes did not once address the issues brought up. I was informed that some people favored him, but not why. A woman wrote that it takes a strong man to withstand what the Democrats have thrown at him, but she failed to acknowledge that Trump has at every turn defied the law of the land. Am I to understand that pro-Trump women approve of pussy-grabbing, sexual predation and infidelity?

This makes me believe that perhaps we have reached a new Age of Forgiveness, which would be wonderful if it were all-inclusive, but it isn’t. We forgive the rich and the powerful their sins, but not the poor, the migrants, the refugees, the people of any color other than white and any faith other than Christianity. We forgive the killers of children by not allowing laws governing the licensing of guns. We forgive leaders who are murderers and embrace them. All these are issues Trump could address but chooses not to, and none have a thing to do with Democrats, Independents, Greens, Yippees (I’m showing my age here), environmentalists, women soccer stars, or vocal minorities of any stripe.

I remain unimpressed.



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The MAGA Male

I can’t fathom why any woman in the 50 states and US Territories would support Trump. It’s beyond my understanding, but then again, I’m a male and my gender has never claimed to comprehend the other gender(s). I have, however, the beginning of an inkling as to why so many men might proudly sport their MAGA caps. It has nothing to do with Making America Great Again because truly, America has been great for a while now and its recent headlong descent can be attributed almost entirely to Trump and his ilk. No, Making America Great Again is not on these men’s radar. If asked how this greatness might be achieved, I believe most of them would spout inanities about immigration, jobs and LGBTQ without knowing what the acronym represents. Forget logic, forget thinking, forget smarts, forget reality. What many male Trump supporters want is to be like Trump.

They want to be able to grab a woman by the pussy and tell others about it. They yearn to boast about their powers in and out of the bedroom. They admire a man with a trophy wife, and dream of sex with under-aged teens. They want to be allowed to grope and rape and insult women’s appearances and weight. They want to lie with impunity, repeating the same falsehood until it’s believed. They want the pretense of being smart when they’re unread, lazy and incompetent. They gladly accept being spoon-fed anything that corroborates their shallow beliefs, regardless of the source of information. They want to get rid of their debts without paying them off, choosing instead to use loopholes and lawyers, and not caring that their delinquencies might bankrupt smaller businesses. They’d love to hang out with famous sports figures, and invite winning teams to their homes. They think the cheeseburger-and-fries diet is all-American. They’d like to be falsely tanned, and able to dye their hair and create elaborate comb-overs without being ridiculed.  They regret not having developed bone spurs when such growths might have been useful. They firmly believe people much smarter than they are–scientists, economists, statesmen and such–are actually stupid.

Ideally, male Trump supporters would enjoy being successful businessmen, but faking  success is almost as good. Most of them have not inherited the funds necessary to start serious investment career, and many would believe owing great sums makes them great men who have hijacked the system.

But here’s the biggie—male Trump supporters want to be successful conmen, like their idol. They want to bullshit their way to greatness, and have TV shows where they can denigrate others. They want to be the subject of gossip, followed by the social reporters and idolized. They yearn for respect but are clueless when it comes to earning it.

They admire that Trump has perpetrated perhaps the biggest scam in American history. He became president without a majority vote, without experience, without intelligence, without manners or a shred of elegance, and without common sense. He has surrounded himself with sycophants who, though they may have higher intellects, are perfectly happy being yes-men.

Trump is not smarter than the average bear. Neither is the ordinary American male who, in Trump, has found a reason to believe that he, too, can thrive on basest behavior and give the finger to his neighbors.

Wealth often comes accompanied by social responsibility. The foundations of this country were built on the Carnegies and Melons and Rockefellers. Its future will depend on the Jobs, the Gates, the Musks, and tomorrow’s entrepreneurs who will make money and use much of it to better the nation.

Trump will not be among them. Neither will Trump’s male supporters.




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