Tag Archives: Donald Trump;

Supreme Thoughts

Supreme: 1) Highest in rank or authority; 2) Highest in degree or quality; 3) ultimate or final
–  Merriam-Webster

I recently read a fun and interesting article by Jonah Goldberg.  (Yes, I know – that Jonah Goldberg – please don’t roll your eyes and give up on me). At once randy and riveting – sending insults in many directions –  he does cite and make some interesting points.

After starting out on the topic of the weird magic of orbs, he quotes an Annandale Public Policy survey that determined 75% of American adults cannot identify all three branches of government. (Yes, I know – shocking).  And more than one-third of Americans cannot name a single right conferred by The Bill of Rights.  (As my wife and I say at this point: “And they vote.”)

Trump touches “The Orb” in Riyyad, Saudi Arabia, with Saudi King Salman and Egyptian President al-Sissi.

It’s a good enough starting point for me, but I’ll go off into theory and conspiracy-land instead of slinging poison-dart words.

The US Constitution’s first three Articles deal with the three branches of government.  Article I – The Congress; Article II – The Executive Branch; Article III – The Judicial.

Digging into Article III, it is interesting to note that the Constitution does not – I repeat: the Constitution does NOT – set the number of Supreme Court Justices.

Seal of the Supreme Court of the United States

In fact, the number we have come to know and grow accustomed to – specifically, nine – has not always been the total number. The number is set by acts of Congress. And can be modified by acts of Congress.

When the Supremes first sat, in 1790, the odd number was six. [1].  Why is six odd? It is not, generally speaking, a good idea to have an even number of people deciding things.  Ties can result, and in the Supreme Court, ties lead to no action at all.  Whatever was law before is law after.

In 1807 they judiciously raised the number to seven.  In 1837 it was raised to our familiar nine (perhaps some sort of north-south compromise … I’ll have to look into it).  Oddly, in 1863 it was raised to an even ten.  [At this time the South had virtually no representation in Congress, they bolted to their own government, and it was pretty clear that the North would probably win the war. Not sure if that’s why a seat was added.]

Finally, in a fuss over President Andrew Johnson (Lincoln’s successor … remember, he was impeached and avoided getting removed from office by a single vote), the number was reduced back to seven.  This precluded Johnson, a Tennessee southerner, from appointing any judges.

Then in 1869, with Johnson out and Grant in office, the number was raised back to nine – I suppose to re-enforce the government position on Reconstruction. Or to spite Johnson.

And there, at a total of nine, is where the number of justices has remained for nearly 150 years.

The Supreme Court has had its own building, shown here, since 1935.

Upshot #1 is that Roosevelt’s plan to “pack the court” was not the least bit unconstitutional; although it did represent the sort of power grab that was a hallmark of the his presidency.  Roosevelt believed in “go big, or go home”; he attempted to jack up the number to fifteen, thus giving himself a slam dunk on any issue before the court. Probably no other president did more to establish the tradition of a very powerful executive branch.  [After Obama, and, especially, now Trump, it looks like people in both parties have recognized this danger].

Upshot #2 is a wild long-shot prediction – or perhaps observation of the possibility – that something supremely weird could happen, most likely in 2021: Expansion of the court to 11 members, or more.

My thought process. The backlash against the Republicans for painting themselves into a corner: first with Trump, and then with Moore. These will yoke their general popularity numbers in the ditch for years – and will almost surely result in Congressional seat losses in 2018.  Even popular presidents lose seats in off-year elections (see Obama in 2010).

Unless the Reps can bump Trump and field a Knight (or Dame [2]) in shining armor for 2020 – or the Dems run another truly “horrible” candidate, as in 2016 – there is a good chance the Dems will hold the Whitehouse and both branches of congress come 2021.

Here’s where current events come into play.

  • The Senate has gone “nuclear”. That means the good old days of needing 60% and plenty of compromise to get anything passed (used to be two-thirds) are basically gone.  No one plays nice anymore.  Could blame Harry Reid, but there’s not enough mud or ink for all the villains.  Now it takes only 50-50 (if you have the Whitehouse … the VP casts tie-breaking votes in the Senate).

[The lower house of Representatives has always been designed to go fast: only a simple majority has ever been required … except to commence the Amendment process]

  • Some Supremes are destined to retire, or pass away, soon. So, look for good odds that Trump will get to appoint at least one more judge, securing the Right’s slight advantage (currently approx. 5-4, even noting that Kennedy and – in a few cases – Roberts have swung left a few times).
  • Anthony Kennedy is 82. Although the left sees him as a hateful ideological enemy, he sides with them frequently and is always the “swing” vote in closely decided 5-4 cases.  He probably isn’t sure about Trump (who is?), and, as a relative moderate among right and left sharks, might be hanging on to see what happens in 2020.
  • Even older is Ruth Bader Ginsberg. She is 85 years old and looks 105; her energy is visibly dwindling to all court observers.  A true Progressive/Leftist believer, she is surely hanging on, hoping that Dems win the Whitehouse in 2020.  But she could pass any day, and no one would be surprised.
  • Steven Breyer, at 79-1/2 could keel over too.

If Trump gets to appoint even one more judge, look for the Left and Dems to get super energized. Even more than the hornet’s nest we are observing now. Why? This could “lock in” a perceived rightward slant for at least another decade (even though this court did uphold “Obamacare”, AKA The Affordable Care Act, and Same Sex Marriage rights).

They will seek to overturn any perceived disadvantage by adding at least two seats to the court.

That’s my Far-Out-From-the Center-Field-Peanut-Gallery prediction for now.  Call me out on it in a few years if the Dems take the elections in 2018 and 2020.

Well, the future beckons.  Let’s be careful servants out there!

Cheers and best wishes for 2018.

Joe Girard © 2018


[1] Actually the number was five, although Congress set the number at six.  The sixth justice was not confirmed by the Senate until a few months later.

[2] The equivalent of Knight for females is Dame. When she receives her title, she is said to be “daymed”, not “knighted.”  Link


I often miss what’s going on right in front of me. Just ask my wife.  That includes before the brain injury.

For example, evidently there is a significant amount of cheating going on in marriages.  In anywhere from 25% [1] to 80% [2] of marriages at least one partner cheats. Eventually.

Now, I have  known literally hundreds and hundreds of couples in my lifetime.  I can cite exactly one case of cheating; and that was so obvious that even a drunk couldn’t miss it.

But, statistically speaking, I must have known many couples where this had happened.  Even if it was only once.

I have no idea which couples to guess. Zero.

Likewise, I suppose I must be missing similar clues with regard to  sexual bad behavior and sexual predation.  Really.  There seems now to be no end to the list of men being credibly accused of this vile behavior. In fact, as a candidate, Donald Trump even identified himself as an offender on tape.  I have to wonder: Have I missed this, too, in plain sight?

“Just what is going on with men?” I found myself wondering aloud at work the other day (a dangerous thing), asking no one in particular. “What is it with all these creepy old men? How the mighty and admired have fallen: Bill Cosby, Charlie Rose, Matt Lauer, Al Franken. Who next?” A co-worker, just out of sight, immediately piped up: “My news feed says Garrison Keillor!”

Garrison Keillor? You’ve got to be kidding me! But no, it’s true.


I found myself browsing the screenplay script for Casablanca a few days ago. Why? I was writing an email and wanted to get a quote exactly right. I’ve written about Casablanca before, in That’s Entertainment.  I probably will again. It is one of my favorite movies of all time. It is a powerful story of human struggle and emotion amidst the wild throes of history. Classic Good vs. Evil, with a few gray areas. In That’s Entertainment I delved into the personal lives of two actors who played important supporting roles.

One character I didn’t discuss is Louis Renault, the French Prefect of Police in the city of Casablanca.  Claude Raines plays the part and — even as a supporting character — he nearly steals the whole show.  He played “a poor, corrupt public official” so well, and with such flair, that he earned a nomination for Best Supporting Actor. [He lost to Charles Coburn, from The More, The Merrier, which I’ve never seen]. It was Claude Raines who delivered the famous and frequently spoofed line: “I am shocked — shocked!! — to find that there is gambling going on here!”

I started reading at the scene where Ilsa Lund (Ingrid Bergman) sits down and talks to Sam, the piano player (Dooley Wilson).  She finally convinces him to play and sing the song “As Time Goes By” by saying “Play it once, Sam, for old time’s sake” and then humming a few bars for him.  He can’t resist.

“You must remember this, a kiss is just a kiss. A sigh is just a sigh.
The fundamental things apply, as time goes by.”

Once you know the story, you realize this is a pretty emotional scene.  Each one is having difficulty letting go of memories.

I kept reading.

The panache of Raines as Prefect Renault came out more clearly than ever before.  I’ve seen the movie many dozens of times.  Yet reading the script — while seeing the scenes only in my head — was different. The story was oddly different.  Somehow clearer.

Renault is a powerful man, but in a difficult position. As Prefect of Police, he is, by law, one of the most powerful people in Casablanca, French Morocco.  Virtually no one can leave Casablanca without his signature on an exit visa. Many people are in Casablanca because they are refugees from Europe — from the expanding Nazi empire — and they wish to do exactly that: leave Casablanca for some safe place, especially nearby Lisbon, in neutral Portugal, from where they can sail freely to America.

But Renault is in a bind, too.  As an official of Vichy France, which is subject to the whims of Nazi-occupied France, he must be careful to not bring too much attention to himself.  “In Casablanca, human life is cheap”; even his. Therefore, he permits very few people to leave.  His choices for who leaves are typically based on two types of bribes.

The first type of bribe is cash.  In fact, he probably is poorly paid for his responsibilities. This makes sense. The second type of bribe can be guessed by the fact that he is probably a lonely man; your guess assisted by inference from a scene you will please allow me to describe.


Rick Blaine, the protagonist played by Humphrey Bogart, owns and operates a night club in which he also operates an illegal casino in the back; a casino which is an open secret.

A young wife — a refugee from Bulgaria — approaches Blaine, asking whether Renault can be trusted to keep his word. Blaine acts as if he’s not paying the young lady much attention, answering somewhat curtly and rudely. He soon abruptly cuts off the conversation. He walks away, and goes directly to the Roulette wheel, where the young lady’s husband is gambling and losing badly.

He is down to a final few chips, about to quit. Blaine says softly to him, but loud enough for the croupier to hear: “Have  you tried twenty-two tonight?”

Blaine: “Have you tried 22 tonight?” … while eyeing his croupier

The young man puts his chips on 22.  Blaine and the croupier exchange knowing glances. Renault, at a nearby table, takes notice of Blaine’s presence, and with whom he is speaking.

The marble lands on 22.  A 35-1 winner!

“Twenty-Two, Black” — a winner. Roullette is French for Little Wheel.

The young man is about to pick up his pile of chips.  Blaine barks: “Leave it!!” He knows the young man does not have nearly enough money, yet.

The marble again lands on 22.  A gigantic pile of chips — probably representing the illegal casino’s entire profits for the night — now rests near 22 on the board.

Blaine snaps: “Cash it in and never come back!”

At a nearby table, Prefect Renault’s interest in this exchange of words and chips grows to what could be interpreted as alarm.  The young man soon openly approaches Renault with a fantastic pile of money.  This is clearly going to be an Exit Visa bribe.  But it is clearly also not what Renault intended. When it is established that they can meet at his office at 10AM  the next morning, “to do everything business-like”, Renault goes over to Blaine and says: “You’re a rank sentimentalist. … Why do you interfere with my little romances?”

Oh my gosh!  How had I missed this for decades? Right there in front of me.  Renault was using his position of power for sexual gratification.


I don’t think any less of Casablanca, the actor Raines or the character Renault because of that.  It is still a great movie and, in the end, Renault turns out to be something of a hero by standing up to Nazidom … at some sacrifice to himself.  In fact, the movie ends with Blaine and Renault at the “beginning of a beautiful friendship.”  Presumably based upon their mutual interest in fighting fascism.


I do, however, think a lot less of the XY half of the human race about now. I have been such a naïve simpleton. I know that most men are not pigs.  At least I think not. Certainly none with whom I am acquainted — so far as I know. But with such a cannonade of credible accusations my confidence in the gallantry of the testerone-half has been severely shaken.

Hey XY.  That’s you, men!!!! Let’s start noticing and calling out each others’ piggish behavior and speech.  And holding ourselves and each other to high standards.  The world really needs it.

“You must remember this” —

“The world will always welcome lovers
As time goes by.”

The world will indeed always welcome lovers and sentimentalists and romancers. Even when they fail. But not pigs; especially when they succeed.



Joe Girard © 2017


[1] https://psychcentral.com/blog/archives/2013/03/22/how-common-is-cheating-infidelity-really/

[2] http://www.catalogs.com/info/relationships/percentage-of-married-couples-who-cheat-on-each-ot.html

Collegial Codes and Conspiracies

November 20, 2016

A few Tuesdays ago – a day we will all recall for decades to come, if we live that long – I just couldn’t bring myself to watch the election returns. I was disgusted by the campaigning, the candidates, and the pompous potshots by everyone from ants to asshats.

After reading that Nate Silver had the chance of a popular vote/electoral mismatched vote as high as 10% [1] – and hoping to dear God that would not be the case – I squirreled myself safely away from outside earshot of the TV and commenced to thinking about the Electoral College.  Its birth.  Its history.  What it means today.  Then I tapped out a pretty good rough draft of an essay.  A Joe Girard classic format.

The essay was overtaken by destiny. As Rick Blaine (Humphrey Bogard) said in Casablanca: It seems destiny has taken a hand. Maybe someday I’ll finish it and publish it.  Here’s what happened.

I tapped my notes out on my ASUS tablet, onto which I’ve installed the Politico app (a well-regarded and usually considered slightly left-leaning news source).  Politico feeds news headlines – usually very, very occasionally – across the bottom of my screen.  After a couple of hours I took a peek.

Virginia for Clinton.  Of course.

Florida for Trump.  Odd, but Okay, not totally unexpected.

North Carolina for Trump.  Less unexpected.

Then the feed that Ohio was looking like a Trump win.  And possibly Pennsylvania too.

Now to Central Time Zone.  Wisconsin looks like a Trump win.

Oh… My… God.  This could really be happening. It IS happening. I saved the draft essay and browsed to the CNN and Fox sites for maps shaded red, pink, purple, sky blue and navy blue.  Some quick math showed Trump with a very plausible path to 270, well before 10PM Mountain Time.

And THAT was the end of the Electoral College essay.


Soon, on December 19, 2016, the 538 Electors from the 50 states, plus DC, will meet in their respective states and District, and cast their votes for President and Vice President of the United States of America. Presumably at least 290 will vote for Donald Trump, and 232 for Mrs Clinton, with the destiny of Michigan’s 16 electoral votes STILL not determined at this writing (although it is looking like a slim margin Trump win at the time of this writing).

This is the “Real” Election for President and Vice President.  When we voted for Clinton or Trump (or whomever) on November 8, we were actually voting for an entire slate of Electors who are pledged to vote for those candidates on December 19.

Some people are saying it ain’t over til it’s over; it ain’t over till the fat lady sings; and other such mixed metaphors. Well, they’re right.  That’s how the system works and Mr. Trump is not officially President-elect until those votes are cast.

Before discussing that, let’s talk about who these Electors are.

They are not just Joe and Jane average-citizen who have signed a pledge to vote a certain way, if they should themselves get elected.

They are party loyalists.  The life blood of their respective parties. Almost always they’ve been very active in their state’s political parties.

For example, an elector from California is Christine Pelosi.  The daughter of Nancy Pelosi.

An elector candidate from Maryland is Michael Steele, the (black) former head of the Republican National Party.  [Maryland went for Clinton, so Steele will not be voting as an Elector on December 19].

All potential candidates for Elector are screened by their state parties well in advance of the election. It’s obvious that the main qualification is party loyalty, and the bar for party loyalty – as you can surmise and see from the examples – is very high.

Can you imagine a Pelosi voting for anyone other than Mrs Clinton?

No, of course not.

But for those who simply fall ill at the very thought of a President Trump, let me offer an alternative outcome.  It involves my own wildly conceived conspiracy.

The Electors were chosen, in most cases, well before it was clear that Mr Trump would be the Republican candidate.

Since their selection by their state parties as Electors, an astounding number of Conservatives and Republicans have gone quite public with their disdain for Mr. Trump.  So much, that they did not support or vote for him.  From the ranks of politicians there is, for example, Mitt Romney and all the Bush families. Karl Rove considers Trump “a complete idiot.” Three term South Dakota Senator Larry Pressler didn’t support Trump. Neither did former Minnesota Senator Norm Coleman (who lost his seat to comedian Al Franken by a few hundred votes in 2008). John Huntsman.  Christine Todd Whitman.

It’s actually quite a long list, which I will spare you the tedious task of scanning.These are big name Republican politicians who openly did not support Trump.  Trump was publicly shunned.

And then there’s the “conservative” intelligentsia.  Jonah Goldberg, chief editor at at National Review (William F Buckley’s magazine!! For crying out loud) lambasted Trump every chance he got.  Glenn Beck ran far away from the “idiot” Trump.  George Will brilliantly pointed out on a Sunday Talking-heads news show this summer that Trump “has been a Republican for all of about 15 minutes.”

These were the “Never Trump” folks. Their cast was large, significant and influential.

That Trump won without much support from the faithful Right is truly astounding.

But could it also be his undoing?  As most of the Electors were chosen before it was certain that Trump would be the Republican candidate … could they turn the tables on him since so many “Conservatives” and “Republicans” don’t consider Trump a true Republican? Not a qualified representative of their “party of values” to serve as President.

That’s the genesis of my conspiracy theory.

Now, don’t presume that ANY Republican Electors will vote for Mrs. Clinton.  Not gonna happen. Mrs Clinton is stuck at 232 and no petition is going to get her to the 270 needed to be President.

But … What if 37 or more Electors conspired to cast their Presidential vote for someone more … uh, digestible… than Trump?

That would reduce his tally from 306 to 269, or less.  A person cannot be elected President outright by the Electoral College with fewer than 270 votes.

But whom would these 37 (or more) unfaithful Electors vote for, and how would they choose such a person?

Well, consider the Constitution’s provision in such a case. The House of Representatives chooses the next President, and they can only choose from among the THREE candidates who receive the most Electoral votes. [In 1824 John Quincy Adams ran second to Andrew Jackson in the Electoral tally, but was chosen by the House as 6th President, since Jackson did not secure a majority of Electoral votes and was considered, by many, to be too wild and uncivilized to be President.  He eventually did win outright in 1828 and 1832).

Here’s how the House of Representatives chooses: Each state gets only ONE vote.  And a clear majority, that is 26 states, is required.

When the new Congress is seated, next January, the Republicans will have a majority of Congressional seats in about 33 states, the same as now.  Suppose … now just suppose, a band of unfaithful Republican Electors spoke secretly with Republican House leaders, including Speaker Paul Ryan (WI) and decided to bump Trump.

In this conspiracy, 37 Electors (who are sworn and pledged to vote for the Republican candidate, Donald Trump) break their pledge.  Most vote for the pre-arranged preferred candidate, let’s say it’s Joe Girard.  Ha!! Just kidding.  Let’s say Mitt McCain (another fictional character). Who then comes in third place.

When the votes are sent to Washington, no single candidate has a majority.

The top three candidates are sent to the House for consideration.  And John Romney is chosen.

Yes, this is the stuff of cheap fictional novels.

And it’s not going to happen.

But it IS possible. Trump COULD still be thwarted.

Sincerely, I am your conspiracy theorist …

Joe Girard © 2016

[1] Nate Silver has become something of a highly regarded prognosticator in election season.  I think he’s more of an eccentric and talented statistician.  A wizard with numbers.  Here are a couple of his newsfeeds in the last week before the 2016 election.

(a) http://fivethirtyeight.com/features/the-odds-of-an-electoral-college-popular-vote-split-are-increasing/

(b) http://fivethirtyeight.com/features/election-update-the-campaign-is-almost-over-and-heres-where-we-stand/

[2] Politico is highly regarded. I take it to be slightly left leaning by this review, and that it’s editorial leadership came from Washington Post. http://www.allsides.com/news-source/politico

Also slightly Left per this research (as well as NPR’s taxpayer funded slight Left lean):



Decision 2016: Not Lard Dump


Not Lard Dump

 “He (Donald Trump) is a good and honest man.”
– Larry Arnn (President of Hillsdale College)

“… I will never look at that fleshy pile of vanity, crudity, and deceit and say: ‘There’s a good and honest man.’  ”
– Jonah Goldberg (senior editor of National Review)

Fairly regular readers will note that I’ve pretty much avoided politics for quite some time.  I’ve ventured slightly into that area occasionally; for instance last month I risked a brief walk into the mine field, touching on the issue known as “Citizens United”.  [We are all citizens, not united]

Discussing politics turns people off; drives readers away.  So I only dabble in that arena.   And then Donald Trump happened.

I was searching for the right words to describe The Donald. I had an overly long list going: boorish, crass, braggart, childish.  He’s … he’s … and then I came across an essay by Jonah Goldberg with the words in the header.  [Jonah Goldberg will not “come around” to supporting Trump]

“Fleshy pile of vanity, crudity and deceit.” Concise, descriptive and complete.  That’s why Goldberg is the professional writer, and I am not.

I have no horse in this race.  I could go off on Clinton, Sanders or Cruz ad nauseum with facts – chapter and verse – to justify my loathing.

Yet, I’m aware that each of these candidates has loyal followers who are decent people; who can rationalize their support.  Yes, the rationale ranges from shallow and simple to deep and profound.  In fact, a good reason to support any one of them is that they are not the other three. I generally don’t criticize other citizens for whom or for what they support; but I feel completely authorized to analyze and criticize candidates, parties and issue positions.

This one is for Donald Trump.  Sure he’s smart.  He’s rich. He’s slick and irreverent. To some extent I “get” the support for him (which I see as rather similar to Sanders’ support): people are angry.  But, as Goldberg writes: “Let me ask you something: How many times have you been justifiably angry in your own life yet still let your anger lead you to a bad decision?

And it is, indeed, justifiable anger.  The “system” has not worked.  Blue collar jobs are waning.  Average is synonymous with mean. And average wages are mean: adjusted for inflation mean wages have decreased for the middle class (and below) over the last 25 years. Virtually all of the Fed’s Quantitative Easing money has ended up with the 1%, with the banks and financing mergers.  Banks are bigger than ever.

And there’s confusion, and frustration, and complexity. The world is complex.  The economy is complex.  There’s creeping evil and chaos in the world.  Trump (and Sanders) offers catchy slogans for responses (although few valid solutions). For Trump: Let’s Win!  I’m smart and rich; trust me!

Looking at the larger world milieu, we can see that Trump is not unique. In a world context, the “right wing xenophobic reactionary anger” that Trump seems to represent is on the rampage, like Rommel racing across the open fields of France.  In Germany and Austria the xenophobic “Alternativ” parties are very vocal (AfD and AfÖ). In Great Britain, it’s the anti-immigration Euro-skeptic UKIP. In France, it’s the National Front (FN).  Netherlands? Geert Wilders leads the xenophobic nationalistic Party for Freedom (PVV).

Not to be outdone, such parties have not just come to prominence; they’re running the country in Poland and Hungary. And more: populist right wing xenophobic parties are running countries from Finland to Macedonia, from Switzerland to Norway, from Estonia to Norway.

So, Trump and the US are not unique here.  Accepting that Trump is rich and smart, and accepting that he is a clever media-playing populist, let’s go just a bit deeper.

Going a bit deeper we find, as Gertrude Stein famously said: “There is no there there.”

Insofar as intellectual depth, intellectual breadth and even intellectual curiosity are concerned – I submit that Trump is a lightweight.  A self-loving, bombastic, emotional simpleton.

I submit three examples.


  1. I’ve watched a majority of the debates and town halls. [Yes I have a disease.]

In a recent CNN Town Hall Trump was asked: what are the 3 most important duties of the federal government?

This is a classic “softball question.” It is the sort of question that any thoughtful person – and especially a candidate for any national office (let alone President) – will always have a ready answer for.

Here’s what happened. Via my paraphrasing Trump said “the most important thing the government can do is protect its citizens.  So security is number 1.  It’s so important, that the top three duties are security, security and security.”

Good start. Security. Then … completely feeble.

Anderson Cooper tried to help him.  “Is there anything else the government should do?”

Trump: “Well there’s Health Care and Education, and you go on from there….”

You go on from there?  Is he a statist?  At this point, Trump has clearly knotted the noose, tied it to a branch, climbed up on a stool, and stuck his neck into the loop – at least to any thinking Republican voter.

Cooper tried to help him again.  “So you’re saying that the Federal government should be more involved in Health Care and education?”

Trump then kicked the stool over: Yes.  What’s being done now isn’t right.  We can do better. Security, Health Care and Education.”

For the next 30 minutes Trump continued to display ignorance and lack of thought. He pouted and smiled.  He has more facial expressions than Jackie Gleason. And more one liners than Henny Youngman.  He swayed gently in the breeze, hanging from the tree.

As a populist Republican, Trump could have said something like:

“Every nation must protect itself and its interests.  Every citizen of every country has a reasonable expectation of safety to be provided by their government. So priority #1 is security.  It’s the only ethical and common reason for any government to exist since the beginning of time.

“Moving on we have to consider what makes us unique as Americans.  So #2 you have the defense of individual rights.  We can start with the enumerated rights of the Constitution’s Amendments, especially the Bill of Rights: freedom to assemble, freedom to worship, speak, … and legal rights like fair legal processes.  And, for #2, we expand to rights that we’ve come to expect that are not in the amendments.  We have a reasonable expectation of privacy, to travel, to conduct commerce,  … Because really, this is a beautiful country.  I love this country.  And it’s often called a free country. The 9th Amendment basically states that rights of people not listed in the Constitution are still rights. So #2, we protect the citizens’ rights from government.

“And now #3, which is consistent with the spirit of American expression.  Government must do all that is practicable to ensure a level playing field.  All individuals have gifts, skills and intellect; and it’s in our DNA to desire to grow these, to use these, to contribute these gifts to the greater good of society, the good of ourselves , the good of our family, and for our posterity.  If a bright hard working young man in Detroit can’t have a reasonable path to individual actualization – similar to a young lady, say, from Beverly Hills – then we are all being cheated.  That young man is worse off.  Detroit is worse off. America is worse off.  We are all worse off when all of us – in all of our diversity – do not have as level a field as possible to aspire, grow, contribute.

“So the top 3 responsibilities – and not by any means all government responsibility – are security,  rights and a level playing field.”



  1. Trump recently fielded a hypothetical question from MSNBC’s Chris Matthews about abortion (Matthews is hard left and always eager to trap any Republican). It is mind-boggling that any candidate – especially a Republican candidate for national office – would not be well-coached and well-prepared for such a question.

    The paraphrased question was: If abortion becomes illegal, should the woman be punished?

Trump’s simplistic answer (which he made several attempts to walk back later): Yes. You need to have some punishment.

Matthews actually tried to help him!  What punishment?  10 cents?  10 years?

To which Trump had no answer other than: I don’t know.  It’s complicated.

Really? Complicated?  This was such an easy trap to avoid. If he gets the party nomination, this video will haunt every Republican candidate come November.

Let’s start with Trump’s own words and try a better response.

“Abortion is complicated.  It’s because life is complicated.  Look, reproductively speaking, it’s unfair that woman carry the burden – literally – of carrying a baby to term.  Of giving birth.  And since life is complicated, pregnancy is complicated.  I’m sensitive to the myriad stressful and inconvenient circumstances that could lead a woman to consider abortion. Really, I am sensitive.  I’m sympathetic. My heart goes out to them.

“Look, this is a hypothetical question.  Right now the law of the land has been established by Roe v. Wade.  And that says woman have the right to confront life’s complications armed with the option of abortion.  As president I will enforce the law of the land.

“If and when abortion becomes illegal, I would never push for any punishment for the woman who’s made that choice.  In many cases, most cases I’ve been told, she will likely carry a psychological burden for years, if not the rest of her life.  That’s punishment enough.

“Do I like abortion?  No.  It is a violent option.  It ends a beating heart.  That’s why I support so many wonderful organizations – not Planned Parenthood – organizations that help women struggling with problem pregnancies. They’re encouraged to carry the baby to birth.  We give them financial and health resources.  Sometimes they abort; mostly the don’t. They baby is adopted – there are so many loving couples who’d love to adopt. Sometimes she keeps the baby to raise as her own.  We provide more financial and health resources so that the child can grow up in a healthy and loving environment.

“Chris, there are no easy answers.  We do what we can.  Even though I said I’d enforce the law as chief executive, I’d never enforce punishment on a woman who decided that abortion was the right option for her unique situation.”


  1. Number 3 is a bit shorter. In a recent interview with the Washington Post’s Bob Woodward (of Watergate fame), Trump predicted that we’d soon have a major economic meltdown.  The system is screwed up.  Fair enough.

But he went on to say that if he’s elected president, the federal debt of $19 Trillion (a truly mind-boggling amount) would be eliminated in 8 years.   HA!

In the shadow of disaster he’s going to eliminate a debt that took almost 90 years to amass? [Here, I’m dating back to the dawn of the Great Depression].

When pressed how he’d eliminate the massive debt (let alone the annual deficit, which is currently running at one-half trillion dollars per year, and projected to run at least that high through 2020) Trump said simply that he would re-negotiate all of our trade agreements.  Citing an annual balance of payment trade deficit with China of about $500 Billion, Trump offered no other explanation, except “I’m a great negotiator.”

[Actually our entire worldwide trade deficit is about $500 Billion [1]; our deficit with China is about $360B [2]]

Evidently Trump seems to think that if the trade imbalance were removed – trade that occurs between corporations and individuals and has little to do with the government  – all of that money would somehow end up in the federal treasury.  And that wouldn’t even extinguish the annual deficit, let alone the Everest-sized total debt.

And how in the world could this be achieved in an atmosphere of imminent financial doom?

Trump may be a genius in real estate, media manipulation, reality TV, getting people riled up, and bankruptcy law.  But he is not intellectual or thoughtful or careful enough to be allowed anywhere near the Oval Office and the Executive reigns of power.

The more he talks, the stupider he sounds.  Keep talking.

Joe Girard © 2016

Note: the subtitle “Not Lard Dump” is an anagram of “Donald Trump”. Of the many options, I did not use “Damn Turd Pol” or “Dump Lord Ant.”


[1] https://www.census.gov/foreign-trade/statistics/historical/gands.pdf

[2] https://www.census.gov/foreign-trade/balance/c5700.html