Today is Day 8 since Donald Trump was nominated for President by the Republican Party and has refused to release any of his income tax returns.

Perhaps he’s just too busy communicating with his close and highly respected buddy Vladimir Putin, urging the Russians to continue to interfere with American politics?

Dumb Donald

Today is Day 7 since Donald Trump was nominated for President by the Republican Party, and Day 7 he has refused to release any of his income tax returns.

Why? Because they will certainly show him to be:

1) A poor businessman who is worth only a fraction of what he claims;

2) A self-centered misanthrope who has never given the substantial sums of money to charities that he has claimed throughout his life;

3) A deceitful person who has consistently cheated and lied in all parts of his life.

And we haven’t even gotten around to his divorce settlements and bankruptcy papers. And there are a lot of the latter because Trump is not a smart businessman like Michael Bloomberg, who has the education and morals and business acumen that Trump so pitifully lacks.

Bloomberg is also both sane and competent, two words seldom associated with Trump. That must really sting an unprincipled bully like Trump.

Way Past Time…

With Republican Donald Trump’s presidential candidacy officially confirmed and Hillary Clinton’s assumption of the Democratic candidacy hours away, a few thoughts come to mind.

As for Trump, what can be said of a racist bully whose raging narcissism and incoherent brain patterns show him spectacularly unqualified to hold political office? He is a bad piece of bacteria, an ugly man who has never shown he cares for anything beyond gratifying his selfish needs and wants.

It remains puzzling that so many potential voters have been willing to overlook or disregard his persistent and consistent lying, his distressing lack of even basic policy, his horrible business practices, his racist and sexist taunts, his arrogant embrace of the worst elements of behavioral decency. Yet some have.

And so … Even with the issues that she brings to the race, Hillary Clinton emerges as a Mount Everest next to Trump’s molehill. At the very least, she stands in Trump’s way to the White House, and for that she merits gratefulness if not a full-throated embrace. Yes, she has been a part of some unsavory moments politically and personally, and she is no saint. She is, however, a committee and experienced woman — let’s not downplay that last word — who can be a worthy President of the United States. She deserves that chance.

Which brings us to the Bernie Sanders supporters, or at least some of them. Their disappointment at Bernie’s failure to prevail in the Democratic nomination process has become achingly juvenile. Comedian Sarah Silverman’s observation that “You’re being ridiculous” was well-put. It is now past time, way past time, to acknowledge that the process is over and the only hope for our democracy is to unite in support for Hillary.

In a Hillary White House there will be opportunities to press for the Sanders agenda, or “revolution” as some call it. In a Trump White House, there can be only futile protests against a Republican-controlled Congress and Presidency and ultimately Supreme Court. It will be a dark time for our entire nation.

It’s more than ridiculous to persist. It’s foolish and self-destructive. For all of us who care about the future of this country.

Let’s Move Past Blame

There are a lot of nasty, severely sick people out there. Some of them are cops. Some of them are school kids. Some of them are black. Some of them are white. And that’s kind of the point: it’s hard to pin down the ugly ones. It’s hard to cast blame in just one direction.

The cops who have killed unarmed black men and boys are cowards disgracing their badge and and who deserve stern punishment. That shouldn’t include paid leave while their cases are investigated. Their behaviors are despicable to all who care about honor and justice and fairness.

And the black man, a soldier who disgraced his service, who filed five Dallas police officers merits no sympathy at all. He too was a murderous coward; but his trial is finished. May he rot in the hell he has created.

And he will find lots of company there. Other cop killers. Murderers of civil rights workers. Murderers of gays and lesbians. Murderers of small children and so many, many tens of thousands of innocents. The list is inexhaustible, sadly. But there’s room in that hell for all of them in their miserable afterlifes, I’m confident.

No tears for them. No, save the tears for their victims, for the families and friends of victims, for the families of the murderers, most of whom remain stunned and uncomprehending.

But also save the blame. There’s way too much to go around to single out “all” cops, or “all black men” or “all” anything. or anyone. The blue easily stretches far and wide. And searching for blame can misdirect from what need to be done — which is to begin searching for solutions.

This is not the column to offer those at this moment, although it is inescapable to think for a precious second that the approval of reasonable new gun control measures cannot help but generate an immediate positive impact. Hold that in reserve, perhaps, though not for long.

Let’s focus on one thing at a time, and that starts with grieving for the victims and for our country, which has been dishonored by the actions of these cowards of every stripe. We are a better country than to simply endure this, or attempt to put it behind us quickly. Grieve, and then let’s decide what we do to resolve these issues of gross violence. We’d better not take much time, either, or we will count many more victims. I fear.

Enter Sanity….

It seems absurd to have to write about the obvious need for tighter gun regulations in the wake of Aurora, Newtown and Orlando. But here we are once again, beset with a group of Republican NRA-toadies (and a few Democrats) who evidently prefer dead bodies to any limits on firearms ownership. What a shameful travesty.

With the activities of Democrats and a minuscule group of Republicans this week, however, there are least some glimmers of change afoot. A filibuster in the Senate and a sit-in in the House give us modest reason to believe legislators might be starting to pay some attention to the overwhelming body of evidence that Americans want more gun controls. The numbers in the polls vary, but on average it is clear that some 80% of Americans want better and tighter regulations.

The most obvious targets for legislation remain limits on the sales of high-capacity magazines and assault rifles, prohibiting gun sales to those on no-fly lists, and closing loopholes the for gun sales at shows and by individual dealers. These are as obvious as the money in the wallets of NRA-supported Republicans. (And, by the way, please remember that a majority of NRA members support these proposals; it’s the crazies in the leadership who are pulling the strings, and yes, I’m talking to you, the murder weapons-enabler Wayne Lapierre.)

Briefly, no one needs high-capacity magazines for hunting and most certainly not for home defense. They are devices for killing fast and efficiently, and they are preferred by terrorists of all stripes. The opposition to this comes largely from money-hungry weapons manufacturers, supported by the NRA. It a policy of greed over common sense, and it’s a tragedy for the American people. These magazines need to be abolished from public sale. And so do assault rifles. Even well-trained military men and women say thee are not needed for hunting or home defense. To the contrary, they are the preferred weapons of terrorists and wannabes, and while prohibiting their public sale will not stop all murders in this country, this action will help to curb such wanton killing.

As for closing loopholes on gun sales, this is no less obvious. It’s not taking guns away from anyone, it’s just mandating that potential gun buyers at shows meet the same qualifications for a purchase required at gun stores. This is in no way onerous to anyone, and no one’s rights re being violated. Again, it’s merely common sense.

And finally, those no-fly lists. Let’s note there are over 1 million people on thee lists, but only about 15,000 American citizens. According to a 2014 FBI review, the accuracy of the lists has gotten better, and means for removing inaccurately placed people have improved. But here’s the bottom line: Having a few people finding their Second Amendment rights limited in some ways is far less offensive than finding thousands of people murdered because of abuses.

It’s way, way past time to begin righting these wrongs. May we hope that more members of Congress are slowly discovering their spines stiffening as they consider the welfare of their country over the partisan interests of one murderously demented lobby group.

And we haven’t even begun to discuss what the Second Amendment REALLY means…..

We Have Work To Do, America

It is very difficult to write about the Orlando shooting. It is such a monumentally sad, tragic moment in American history that it almost defies comprehension. Fifty people dead, more than 50 seriously wounded. A savage attack, a specific target, and yet an attack on all Americans.

Prayers for those who died, who were wounded and their family and friends have been forthcoming and will continue. For those who suffered most acutely, the losses are inconsolable. We cry for you and we share our love for you and know the universal bond of our sorrow.

There is much we do not know about the motives of the shooter. We know at this point he pledged himself to Islamic terrorists, and we are told he harbored some anger at the LGBT community. Beyond that, speculation roams.

What we do know is that he obtained his weapons legally. We know that they included an assault rifle (an AR-15) which figured prominently in the slaughter of innocents at the Orlando club. And we know the same weapon was used by cowardly murderers in many other shooting incidents in recent years (Aurora, Colorado, and Newtown, Connecticut, for instance). And we know this gun can be purchased legally in much of the United States.

No, I’m not going to launch another plea for gun sanity in this country. At least not now, for now is the time to mourn the losses of our brothers and sisters. To celebrate and honor the lives of those who died and were wounded. To acknowledge their humanity. To accord them the dignity and respect and love they so deserve. To hold them close in our hearts.

We will soon need, however, to try and understand more of what is behind the shootings, and then turn our attention to what we can do to stop the increasingly pervasive, horrific series of violent incidents that seem almost to define our lives in the 21st century.

There has to be a better way than this. A true memorial to these victims and to the tens of thousands of victims of gun attacks in America would be action that ensures that tens of thousands of others would not share that fate.

We have a lot of work ahead.

Farewell Trump

Donald Trump — I’m referring here to the bigoted, narcissistic, incompetent loser who is the Republican candidate for President — has been the subject of too many words from me. He’s just not worth it, for all the reasons mentioned above and so many, many disgusting more.

But there comes a point of no return, and I’ve reached it when it comes to writing about this babbling, racist, incoherent fool. I believe there likely aren’t more than 7 people in the United States who have not already formed an opinion on Loser Don. And for those who are willing to vote for him, there is nothing I could write that would change their minds. Nothing. And for that matter, I doubt there’s anything anyone could write that could deter these voters.

Everyone else — I’m confident that’s an overwhelming majority of the American people — needs no additional reasons to consider the matter. Donald Trump is waste. Let’s stop there.

There are other subjects that I’d rather invest my time in, topics that include consumer matters, business, other politics and, yes, even occasional bits of humor. There is no further mistaking my views on this presidential election; any vote against Trump is a vote for sanity.

So I’m moving on, with the thought that I’ll not write again about the cancer that is Donald Trump. That’s my mission. I intend to stick to it. But I’m not betting the farm on it, friends.

What’s Left to Lose?

Donald Trump is such a loser. He’s a really bad businessman who makes stupid business mistakes. And he’s a bully who uses lies and bluster in weak attempts to to cover up the vast plateau of ignorance that lies quietly beneath his orange hair.

Let’s look at just a few of Dangerous Don’s really bad business decisions that are so inept you’ll think they are some of the worst decisions you’ve ever heard. They are so stupid. They make you wonder how the tiny-hands bigot could ever have been responsible for them if it weren’t for the fact that Dangerous Don is really a big loser.

This week the PGA announced it is removing a major golf tournament that has been held at one of Loser Don’s courses in Miami. The really fun part is that the PGA is moving it to Mexico, one of Loser Don’s most detested countries. The PGA is not doing this to make a political statement, it says. Rather it is shifting the event because no major sponsors are willing to plop their money into something so brainlessly controversial as a Trump-held course. And that’s a big hit in prestige for the little Trumpie-town empire.

Of course that’s not the only golf hit loser don has taken lately. His Scottish gold course at Turnberry has lost its place in the rotation to host the prestigious British Open because officials there say Trumpie is such a bigot.

And then Loser Don was forced to sell his Miss Universe Pageant after NBC/Univision refused to broadcast it because of Trumpie’s bigoted comments. And NASCAR had to move a big awards program at one of loser Don’s resorts because sponsors wanted nothing to do with him, and executives at the sponsors noted his “blatantly bigoted and racist comments.”

Those are costly decisions all made as a result of what Loser Don has said and done. What a loser. What a poor businessman.

What else is there for Dangerous Don to lose? Well, for one there’s the election.

(Thank you Joe Nocera at the NYT for your sharp-eyed column)

Let’s Line Up and Wait

With the arrival (and departure) of Memorial Day, summer is unofficially here, marking the time to speak briefly about another kind of disturbing arrival and departure. I’m talking about airports, which are experiencing a kind of institutional chaos these days.

Social media accounts as well as the airlines tell us that many thousands of ticketed passengers have missed their flights, and airlines have endured hundreds of delays, because of extraordinarily lengthy delays at some large-city airport security lines. The blame is usually laid at the feet of the TSA for slowing the process of making certain that passengers are safely placed on their flights, even if the delays ensure that some of them will never get to their flights.

And yes, the TSA is partly responsible. It is beset with seemingly inept management at the top. But let’s take note of who else shares in that blame, starting with the do-nothing, Republican-dominated Congress which has sliced funding for the TSA and guaranteed that it will be short-staffed. Those are both devastating problems which are feeding the airport issues.

But let’s not ignore the airlines, who have spent a lot of their marketing money making certain he TSA gets all the blame. Nope. Some of these problems arose in the wake of the airlines charging fees — and ever-rising fees — for passengers wanting to check baggage. Given a choice between paying up to $50 for one bag checked, passengers have not surprisingly decided to carry on everything they possible can. The result: far more work monitoring baggage that slows the operation of the TSA security lines.

And we cannot ignore the role of passengers who arrive at airports either woefully ignorant of TSA guidelines or so careless and stupid as not to follow them. We’ve all seen them in action: hey forget to empty their pockets, or forget the extra liquids, or even try to bring guns and knives on board. These people are costing others time and money, and their role in the chaos must not be neglected. (More of them should also sign up for pre-check lines.)

It all adds up to … well, chaos. And with summer passenger traffic expected to hit record levels, the problems likely are going to get worse. Now, TSA says it is bringing on more workers, and that’s good, although it seems just a drop in an awfully big bucket. It would help more if the greedy, uncaring airlines drop their checked baggage fees, at least for the summer months. And finally if flyers would familiarize them in advance with what they can and can’t carry and how to negotiate the security lines, we’d all be ahead a bit.

And the are admittedly short-term solutions, but let’s try to get to the fall as best we can. I’m not naive enough to believe all passengers will do that. And I’m especially not naive enough to believe the airlines will do anything that benefits customers. My recommendation? Drive or make the train if at all possible.

I know, I know. You;re flying to Europe, and what are you going to do? I’d suggest that for every day you’ll spend in Europe add one hour to your projected wait in the TSA lines. And have a fun summer.

Donald Trump, the Loser

Donald Trump, the lazy, tiny-hands bigot, says he won’t be publicly releasing his income taxes before the November election. Interesting.

Of course I don’t know what he’s hiding. But I can make a guess. I think he’s hiding the fact that he isn’t as smart financially as he claims, and that he probably isn’t worth nearly as much as he insists. It’s likely he doesn’t want everyone to see how he uses high-paid lawyers and accountants to scam the tax system. And I believe his returns will show his contributions to charities are negligible and reflect little or no cash contributions. In other words, on top of everything else, he’s a cheapskate.

It adds up to the fact that Donald Trump is a loser. Income taxes or not, he is exactly what he likes calling others: a weak, narrow-minded, braggart, cheap-shot loser.

But let’s not resort to Trump’s name-calling style. No, let’s take the high road here and just say that he’s a loser and let it go. All the rest of it — the policy ignorance, the contradictions, the lies, the serial adultery, the misogyny, the thinly-veiled racist attitudes, the narcissism, the pandering, the small hands — let’s just drop it for now.

No, let’s just remember he’s won primaries by getting a majority of ballots from voters in the relatively small base of right-wing Republicans. Let’s recall that he seems unable to tell the difference between the truth and what isn’t truth. Let’s remember he lacks a basic curiosity. Let’s remember he’s a bully.

Oops, sorry about that last one. We want to stay away from labeling the way Trump does others. Forget that last one. Instead, just focus on those very tiny hands and wonder what that tells us about the size of his ….. brain.