Tuesday, November 08, 2016

I Cannot Support a Tempestuous Man-Child Who Undermines Democracy

I will not vote for a tempestuous, cold-hearted man-child who is more akin to an elementary school bully who is far from being a balanced thoughtful leader of a nation. He is a thin skinned, blowhard, feckless egotist whose shaky proposals to complex national and international problems is offer “trust me” and a handfuls of empty platitudes. He had serious critical reasoning shortcomings, and I fear that he will make decisions based upon either feelings of the moment or taking the opposite posture of his predecessor, even when Obama's action is upright, thoughtful and balanced. I am concerned that he claims that he knows more than the generals and a host experts on international relations and processes, yet at the same time highly trusts a retired general who was dismissed from his last security position.

I will not support a candidate who feels his own views are better than the nation’s intelligence agencies, dismisses his intelligence briefings, thereby casting doubt upon the various intelligence agencies that have input into the briefing. I cannot vote for a man whose statements regarding the military suggests that the military is not a major power. Further, I cannot support a man with control of the American nuclear arsenal who states that he loves war, speaks about bombing enemies, and all from a man who used questionable means to avoid the draft. In my view, the likelihood that he will take the nation into a hot war with either Iran or North Korea within 30 months of assuming office is high.   

I definitely cannot support a man who is neither capable of accepting criticism nor able to acknowledge mistakes because he is always right. Such a man tends to be incapable of taking advice of either his cabinet officials, Congress or other experts....he is right, they are wrong, and they should do his bidding.

He is a man who is a bully, inside the business world and in society, verbally and who is a major cyberbully.  He is a man of contradictions with regard to women, hiring and appointing women to significant positions in his organization while at the same time speaking of various women in most degrading terms, and treating women as mere sex objects subject to his advances and bedding. He is a man who behaves and thinks in a pre-1998 framework when this nation via the Clinton-Lewinski event rightly went through the redefining what is and is not acceptable behavior between men and women, particularly between those in power positions over those subordinate positions. He acts and thinks that that national redefinition doesn’t apply to him.  

Trump postures himself as not being a politician. He has made a plethora of sketchy promises which I doubt will come close to being fulfilled. It stands to reason that a number of them cannot be fulfilled as he claims they will be fulfilled, such as boarder wall, Mexico paying for the wall, that North Korea will not get the bomb as he will stop them, and the coal industry will return to robust form regardless the high volume of cheep, clean, natural gas pouring onto the market. Either he is naïve, which is scary to think a person entering the White House as being that naïve, or he is a bold crass man using the ultimate political technique, selling promises that he knows are empty. How can I trust such a man being in the top office in the nation and representing the nation to the world. 

Above all, I cannot and will not support a man who by his word and actions undermines the democratic process, its election system, its institutions and leaders! His comments repeatedly undermine the press and the role that they play in keeping the public informed and elected officials accountable. His numerous comments about the election process question the system's soundness, and thereby putting the results under a cloud (interestingly, it would by extension imply that we would not really know if the truly won the election). 

That Trump was selected by the Republican masses to become their standard-bearer is most disappointing. That he was selected speaks volumes regarding the party. My respect for the party is greatly diminished, so much so that at this time I would vote for a Green party candidate ahead of any Republican. The big-tent party Reagan envisioned and challenged the party to be has devolved into being a pup-tent party of hate and division that has turned its back upon the Nation’s founding processes and principles. Mr. Trump has not only ridden this dark segment of the party to be the nominee, but he has embraced and enlarged it, bringing it to be one of the dominant forces of the party. I pray and hope the Republican leadership and the balanced portion of the party will undertake some serious soul-searching in the coming years and move back towards Reagan’s big tent so that a Trump like character cannot again be the nominee. That said, I fear that the leadership of the party will be found wanting, and that they will be enablers of a man who will have undermined the office of the presidency and American democracy.

Trump's Obfiscation of Income?

It seems that every time Mr. Trump refers to how much he earns, that the figure is not only highly impressive. While on the disclosure finance form he reported that he made $557 million last year, in September he revised the figure during a debate. He verbally reported that he earned more than $694 million, just over $1.9 million per day.

As evidenced by his two ice rinks it seems he has the Midas touch. He reported that the two rinks he earned him more than $13 million in personal income. The gross income must be staggering, and extrapolating the $13 million to be at least double for the gross, by assuming a net of 50% of gross dollars gives a gross of $26 million. Accounting for other related income at the rinks, it means he is netting well over $1,400 per hour ice rental. To have that net income, the rental rates must be at least a staggering $2,800+/hour. If his rate is well less than 50% of gross say 35%, the rental rates per hour would be well over $3,500 (in 1987 Trump reported that his Wollman rink had a profit of $500,000 on income of $1.5 million).   

Is it possible that the $13 million figure is gross income? The hourly ice rental would be high, and in light of the 1987 Wollman figures, the $13 million would seem to be an inflated gross. If the $13 million is not inflated and is only gross, then Trump defines personal income differently than commonly understood, thereby a significant obfuscation. The redefinition seems to be in keeping with how he seems to continually inflate, redefine and obfuscate, connect and recombine unrelated information, and create grand statements without evidence or even when the facts say otherwise.

If the $13 million figure is gross, then all his other financial statements regarding income must be viewed with askance. Hence the $694 million figure is likely gross. After accounting for salaries, utilities, property upkeep and mortgage, his net income would be a fraction of what he has stated, possibly as little as a 20th, and he may well be losing significant money in some of his operations that he says makes money (much like a capital campaign firm stating that all their campaigns are successful, even those that fall short by 75% for they argue campaign success as it made money for the organization, even though the organization paid much of what they made to the firm and had no money to do even a portion of the capital project they desired).

Even when a critical look and drill down on specific properties and figures seem not to be close to making sense, Mr. Trump asks people to accept his word regarding his wealth and success. He asks the nation to trust him without verification or questioning. Not only will I not accept his word when statements contradict reasoning and evidence, but his repeated use of “trust me” increases my skepticism and reinforces my distrust for use of such statements is a common approach used by despots over the centuries who have channeled populist dreams, frustrations, fears and desires. 

Despots ask that we trust without verifying that data. Despots use a kernel of truth to obfuscate and refine reality. Throughout history despots intimidate and threaten those who question and challenge their statements.  Despots talk of others lack of transparency while lacking transparency themselves. That he admires other despots, such as V. Putin, increases by skeptical view of him. My conclusion is to take what is presented, and his lack of transparency in light of history over the centuries, and view the lack of transparency, inflated statements, obfuscation and volume of  unsubstantiated statements as a being from a highly disingenuous and dishonest person. As mentioned in an earlier blog, he is likely to win the White House, but at the end of the day, I fear that at the end of his term, American democracy's shining light will be flickering and the presidency greatly harmed.