Thursday, June 1, 2017

Dear Vice President Pence, Speaker Ryan, and Majority Leader McConnell:
Donald J Trump is the most ignorant, incompetent, unethical, and mentally unstable President in at least my lifetime, and most probably the history of the United States.  The Trump presidency is the single biggest threat to the future of America and the world in existence today.  He must be removed from office immediately before he does any more damage.
Trump is mentally incompetent.  It is obvious that he suffers acutely from Narcissistic Personality Disorder and Antisocial Personality Disorder, also known as Sociopathy.  I invite you to research these mental disorders online and view their descriptions in the context of Trump’s words and actions.  You will find they fit Trump to a T.
From a practical point of view, Trump is also the biggest threat to the future of the Republican Party.  The Republican Party does not need Trump.  They currently hold a majority in both the House and the Senate and, with Trump gone, will actually control the White House, in fact and not just in name.  The longer Trump remains in office the more seats the Republican Party will lose in both houses of Congress as well as in state houses and state legislatures in subsequent elections.
I urge the leaders of the Republican Party to work together to remove Trump from office for mental incompetence under Section 4 of the 25th Amendment to the Constitution.  It allows the Vice President, together with a "majority of either the principal officers of the executive departments or of such other body as Congress may by law provide", to declare the President "unable to discharge the powers and duties of his office" by submitting a written declaration to the President pro tempore of the Senate and the Speaker of the House of Representatives.  The Congress can then vote to remove the President.
When Trump is removed from office our national nightmare can end and America can truly be great again.
Sincerely yours,
Robert D Flach
THE LIBERTY BUZZ – Online Digest
+ Speaking of the 25th Amendment, Ross Douthat explains “The 25th Amendment Solution for Removing Trump” in an op-ed piece in the NEW YORK TIMES.
In the piece Ross correctly observes (highlight is mine) -
“ . . . from the perspective of the Republican leadership’s duty to their country, and indeed to the world that our imperium bestrides, leaving a man this witless and unmastered in an office with these powers and responsibilities is an act of gross negligence, which no objective on the near-term political horizon seems remotely significant enough to justify.”
+ Also from the NEW YORK TIMES, an excellent assessment of the current White House  from Nicholas Kristof titled “On a Portland Train, the Battlefield of American Values” -
"Today’s White House seems to stand for nothing loftier than crony capitalism and the scapegoating of refugees, Muslims and immigrants. To me, Trump “values” are primarily narcissism, nepotism and nihilism.
And this is infectious: Cass Sunstein of Harvard cites psychology research indicating that Trump has made it more acceptable for Americans to embrace xenophobia. I wrote last year that “Donald Trump is making America meaner,” prompting bigotry in rural Oregon where I grew up, and around the country.
 What the three men in Oregon understood, but the White House doesn’t, is that in a healthy society, Islamophobia doesn’t disparage just Muslims, racism doesn’t demean blacks alone, misogyny hurts more than women, xenophobia insults more than immigrants. Rather, we are all diminished, so we all have a stake in confronting bigotry."

Monday, May 1, 2017

The idiot in the White House (I know there are currently several, but when I use that descriptive phrase I refer, of course, to the biggest one – Trump) FU-ed what should have been an easy task for a Republican-controlled Congress – repealing Obamacare, or, more better, repealing the many bad aspects of the ACE (see my TWTP post OBAMACARE- THE GOOD, THE BAD, AND THE UGLY).
He is now apparently ready to take on tax reform.  Please, let us hope he does not also FU that, too.
As a tax preparer I know full well that the United States Tax Code has grown into what I frequently refer to as a “mucking fess”.  
The major reason for tax return errors, by both paid tax preparers and taxpayers who “self-prepare”, is the excessive complexity of the Tax Code.  I strongly believe the current Tax Code needs to be shredded and totally rewritten from scratch.
I also strongly believe that the one and only purpose of the Tax Code is to raise the money necessary to fund the government.
The new Tax Code must –
(1) Be simple – easy for everyone to understand.  Simplicity for simplicity’s sake. 
(2) Be fair and equitable - treat all taxpayers equally.
(3) Be consistent – treat specific conditions, situations, and activities, and maintain specific definitions and descriptions, the same in all instances.
(4) Encourage savings, investment, and growth.
(5) Index for inflation all allowable deductions and credits.
The new Tax Code must not –
(1) Be used for social engineering, to redistribute income or wealth, or to deliver social welfare and other government benefits.
(2) Encourage or discourage certain economic decisions (other than savings, investment, and growth), or provide exclusive benefits for specific industries, business activities, or classes of taxpayers.
(3) Contain any refundable credits, or any phase-outs, exclusions or adjustments based on Adjusted Gross Income or Modified Adjusted Gross Income. 
(4) Contain any “alternative” tax calculation systems (such as the current “Alternative Minimum Tax”).
(5) Contain any temporary deductions, credits, benefits, or provisions.
This new Code would state “Everything is taxable, except . . .” and “Nothing is deductible, except . . .”.  Only those “excepts” – exclusions and deductions - that are absolutely necessary and appropriate, in the context of the “musts” and “must nots” listed above, should be added back.
One of the biggest problem with the current system is the inappropriate use of the Tax Code to deliver social welfare and other government benefits – hence its appearance as #1 on our list of “must nots”.  This practice is not only inappropriate, but it also invites and encourages tax fraud.
The Internal Revenue Service, and the tax professional community, should not be required to act as Social Workers and administer and verify government program benefit payments.
I am  not saying that the government shouldn’t provide financial assistance to the working poor and college students, provide encouragements for purchasing health insurance, making energy-saving purchases and improvements and other “worthy” actions, .  What we are saying is that such assistance and encouragements should not be distributed via the tax return.
The benefits provided by the Earned Income Tax Credit and the refundable Child Tax Credit should be distributed via existing federal welfare programs for Aid to Families with Dependent Children. The benefits provided by the education tax credits and deduction for tuition and fees should be distributed via existing federal programs for providing direct student financial aid. The benefits provided by the Premium Tax Credit, the energy credits, and other such personal and business credits should be distributed via direct discount payments to the appropriate vendors or direct rebate programs funded by the budget of the appropriate Cabinet department.
Distributing the benefits in this manner is much better than the current method for many reasons:
1. It would be easier for the government to verify that the recipient of the subsidy, discount or rebate actually qualified for the money, greatly reducing fraud. And tax preparers, and the IRS, would no longer need to take on the added responsibility of having to verify that a person qualifies for government benefits.
2. The qualifying individuals would get the money at the “point of purchase,” when it is really needed, and not have to go “out of pocket” up front and wait to be reimbursed when they file their tax return.
3. We would be able to calculate the true income tax burden of individuals. Many of the current “47 percent” would still be receiving government benefits, but it would not be done through the income tax system, so they would actually be paying federal income tax.
4. We could measure the true cost of education, housing, health, energy and welfare programs in the federal budget because benefit payments would be properly allocated to the appropriate departments.
Let us hope that the idiots in Congress act intelligently for once and enact true and appropriate tax reform.
The American Dream is that anyone born in the United States can grow up to become President.
The selection – not election (he wasn’t elected – he lost the election by over 3 Million votes) of Donald Trump has perverted the dream.
Trump has shown us that any idiot with lots of money and a big mouth, regardless of how unqualified or inappropriate or deplorable, can become President.
THE LIBERTY BUZZ – Online Digest
+ “Worse than just being a liar or a narcissist, in addition he is paranoid, delusional and grandiose thinking and he proved that to the country the first day he was President. If Donald Trump really believes he had the largest crowd size in history, that’s delusional.”
So says one of the group of psychiatrists attending a conference at Yale University.
Donald Trump has a ‘dangerous mental illness’ and is not fit to lead the US, a group of psychiatrists has warned during a conference at Yale University.
Mental health experts claimed the President was ‘paranoid and delusional’, and said it was their ‘ethical responsibility’ to warn the American public about the “dangers” Mr Trump’s psychological state poses to the country.”
Many of the psychiatrists assembled agree with me, and many other professionals and lay people, that “Trump is mentally unfit to be president”.
Republicans must use the 25th Amendment to remove Trump from office for mental incompetence!
+ The LA TIMES has published an excellent series of editorials on “The Problem with Trump”.  The series includes -
Why did the paper present this series?  (highlight is mine)
The answer is simple. Even though we’re only 11 weeks into the Trump presidency, there is good reason to believe that rather than grow into the job, he’ll remain the man he was on the campaign trail — impulsive, untruthful, narcissistic, ignorant of the limits on presidential power and woefully unprepared to wield it. Rather than wait until the public grew inured to the lies, the undermining of democratic institutions, the demagoguery and bluster, we decided to lay out our concerns at length and in detail.”
+ Trump’s selfishness and consistent use of the Presidency to line his pockets and the pockets of his family costs American taxpayers millions of dollars unnecessarily. 
That is the “take-away” from the NBC piece “Trump’s Mar-a-Lago Travel Triggers Cost and Ethics Concerns”.
The item also highlights Trump’s hypocrisy.  He constantly complained about Obama’s vacations and golf-playing.

Wednesday, March 1, 2017

It is vitally important to understand that opposing and denouncing the idiot in the White House – Donald J Trump – has absolutely nothing whatsoever to do with politics.
I do not oppose and denounce Trump because he is allegedly Republican or because he is allegedly conservative – make no mistake, he is neither. 
I do not oppose and denounce Trump because he “speaks his mind”.
I oppose and denounce Donald Trump BECAUSE HE IS DONALD TRUMP!
Trump is a truly deplorable and despicable human being, a dangerous mentally unstable malignant narcissist.
The “mind” Trump “speaks” is unstable and incompetent.
Obama hit the nail on the head when he suggested that Trump is not “ideological”.  Trump has absolutely no political philosophy.  He has absolutely no political convictions or beliefs.  The one and only thing that Trump truly believes is “Trump is good and Trump is great” – and anyone who does not believe this, and kiss his ring, so to speak, had better beware.
Trump does not care about anyone or anything except feeding his undeservedly enormous ego.
Trump does not deserve any respect – because he doesn’t respect anyone or anything.
Opposing Trump is not political.  Opposing Trump is patriotism!

Wednesday, February 1, 2017

Please read my open letter to Vice President Mike Pence and Congress.    Click here.  If you agree please send a similar letter to Pence, Ryan, and McConnell.

The 2nd Amendment has absolutely nothing to do with the right of an individual citizen to own a gun.  It was written to appease those among our Founding Fathers who opposed a national Army.
This amendment does not simply say “the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed."  It says "A well-regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed."  The important wording in the Amendment is “A well-regulated militia being necessary to the security of a free state”. The Founding Fathers preferred state militias to a national army.
Our Founding Fathers were afraid of standing armies.  They wanted to maintain the authority of the individual state militias that had made up Washington’s Revolutionary Army.  The members of Congress during that first gun debate believed that “standing armies in a time of peace are dangerous to liberty”. Those were the exact words used in the state of New York’s amendment to the gun debate.
James Madison, political theorist, American statesman, and the 4th President, hailed as the "Father of the Constitution" for his role in drafting and promoting the Constitution and the Bill of Rights, believed, “Oppressors can tyrannize only when they achieve a standing army, an enslaved press, and a disarmed populace.”
Had the early framers of the Constitution supported a standing army during times of peace there would be no need for a “well-regulated militia”, and thus no need for the 2nd Amendment.
Instead, they openly opposed a standing army during times of peace. Want proof? In the entire Constitution, there are no time limits on the power of Congress to raise money and pay for anything – except an Army. We can have a Navy forever. We can have roads or bridges or post offices or pretty much anything else that supports the ‘general welfare’ without limit and in perpetuity. But an Army? That had to be re-evaluated every two years, when all spending for the past two years of army was zeroed out. It's right there in Article 1, Section 8, line twelve reads that Congress has the power: "To raise and support Armies, but no Appropriation of Money to that Use shall be for a longer Term than two Years."
The Founding Fathers were well aware, based on the history of Europe, that military coups by a standing army were a great threat to any nation. So they required a re-evaluation of the need for a national army every two years.
This is what I believe -
A mentally stable, law-abiding citizen should be able to purchase and own a traditional “one shot at a time” pistol or rifle for the purpose of hunting, target shooting, or, in limited situations, protection.  But it should be illegal for an individual or organization to purchase and own an AK-47, an assault rifle, or any such weapon.  By the very nature of its name, the obvious purpose of such a weapon is “assault” and not hunting, target shooting, or protection.
In order to purchase and own a gun an individual should first obtain a license, issued by one’s state of residence – similar to the current driver’s license system.  A thorough background check must be required as part of the licensing process.  And, similar to a driver’s license, in order to obtain a license an individual must pass a written test and a “demonstration” test, like a driving test, to show that the individual knows how to operate and maintain a gun.  As with motor vehicle licenses there would be age restrictions.
And if a person is considered potentially dangerous enough not to be able to fly he or she should not be able to obtain a gun license.  No fly – no gun!
Unfortunately Trump is a “yuuge” supporter of the 2nd Amendment – a position he took during the campaign, as with all of his positions, only because it is what his core followers wanted to hear, so he could continue to bask in the “roar of the crown” at rallies, and to get the NRA endorsement (while Trump defends the 2nd Amendment he apparently has little or no respect for the 1st Amendment, which guarantees free speech and freedom of the press).  And with Republican control of Congress there will be no much needed gun control legislation, and the many tragedies of the past couple of years will no doubt continue.   
The reasons Trump is totally unfit to serve as President of the United States are indeed multitudinous.
But if I were to choose one of his proven consistent behaviors that absolutely makes his unfitness a certainty and will probably cause the most damage it would be this -
It is literally impossible to have a normal, intelligent and rational debate, or even discussion, with Trump.
Trump says, “A = B.”
Someone else says, “I disagree. I think A = C.”
 A normal, intelligent and rational person would respond, “I believe A = B because . . .” and go on to explain the reasons he thinks A = B, citing legitimate and identifiable sources (other than “most people agree”) to support the belief.
Not Trump.
Trump responds, “You are fat, ugly, stupid, hormonal, weak, sad, incompetent, a loser, etc, etc, etc”.
In other words, Trump is saying to anyone who disagrees with his presumably infallible pronouncements, “You have no value, so your opinion has no value.”
Well Trump, you arrogant buffoon, most of the world believes that it is you who have absolutely no value, and it is your opinions that have absolutely no value! And certainly no basis in truth.
A Trump Presidency will, quite possibly irreparably, diminish the stature and credibility of America in the eyes of the world.
How amazing was Saturday, January 21st!
Millions of people around the world joined together to protest the fact that a dangerous mentally unstable narcissist, a totally unqualified and ignorant reality tv cartoon clown, was selected to be President of the United States despite losing the election by almost 3 Million votes.
Arrogant buffoon Trump is truly a unifying factor! He unites men and women, young and old, gay and straight, Republican and Democrat, conservative and liberal, white, black, brown, red, and yellow, of all faiths and religions to protest his idiocy and denounce and oppose his Presidency.
+ Jennifer Rubin provides “More signs that Trump is out of touch with reality” in her “Right Turn” blog at the WASHINGTON TIMES.
My Twitter response to Jenifer’s post title – “How many signs do we need before we realize we're all in serious danger with this fool at the helm?
Jennifer correctly describes dangerous Donald Trump as – “A man whose ego is so frail that he, like the rooster taking credit for the rising sun, sees all good news as a reflection of his own fabulousness.”
And goes on to observe (highlights are mine) -
The narcissistic personality is ever-present. Every person is judged to be a 'good guy 'or a 'loser' based on what he or she says about Trump. Every bad bit of news is the result of the no-good, sleazy, rotten, most-dishonest-people-he-ever-met media. Terrorist massacres are not tragedies, but vindication that he was 'right' (right about exactly what is not clear). Trump’s seeming inability to take himself out of the equation and assess events, people and policies on their own merits remains the most frightening aspect of his impending presidency.”
And (again, highlight is mine) –
Sure, all presidents have big egos. The problem arises when their psyche impairs their ability to function rationally.”
+ In “Temperament Tantrum” by Susan Milligan at US NEWS AND WORLD REPORT we learn the truth about Trump’s mental instability.
"’Donald Trump is dangerously mentally ill and temperamentally incapable of being president,’ says John D. Gartner, a practicing psychotherapist who taught psychiatric residents at Johns Hopkins University Medical School and is author of 'In Search of Bill Clinton: A Psychological Biography'. Trump, Gartner says, has 'malignant narcissism', which is different from narcissistic personality disorder and which is incurable.
Gartner acknowledges that he has not personally examined Trump, but says it's obvious from Trump's behavior that he meets the diagnostic criteria for the disorder, which include anti-social behavior, sadism, aggressiveness, paranoia and grandiosity.”
Psychoanalyst Otto Kernberg has described malignant narcissism as a syndrome characterized by a narcissistic personality disorder (NPD), antisocial features, paranoid traits, and egosyntonic aggression. Other symptoms may include an absence of conscience, a psychological need for power, and a sense of importance (grandiosity).  
+ I agree 100% with the STUFF THAT NEEDS TO BE SAID in John Pavlovitz’s post “Let the Record Show” -
I do not believe this man is normal.
I do not believe he is emotionally stable.
I do not believe he cares about the full, beautiful diversity of America.
I do not believe he respects women.
I do not believe the sick and the poor and the hurting matter to him in the slightest.
I do not believe he is a man of faith or integrity or nobility.
I do not believe his concern is for anything outside his reflection in the mirror.
I believe he is a danger to our children.
I believe he is a threat to our safety.
I believe he is careless with our people.
I believe he is reckless with his power.
I believe America will be less secure, less diverse, less compassionate, and less decent under his leadership.”
+ Trump lied again.  We will never see his tax returns unless Congress forces him to make them available to the public.  Pat Garofalo discusses this in the editorial “Tax Returns” Still MIA” at US NEWS AND WORLD REPORT - 
"Failing to release his returns certainly isn't the most disqualifying thing about Trump – take your pick from among his misogyny, authoritarian tendencies, willingness to whip up racial animosity amongst his supporters or cavalier attitude toward warfare and nuclear weapons, just for starters – but it is symbolic of the lying, fantasy-based campaign that he has run. It's one final insult to the intelligence of the American electorate."

Sunday, January 1, 2017

I have never been able to understand why Republican candidates, Trump included, feel they must pander to fundamentalist Christians – aka “evangelicals”, the religious right, or the Tea Party – in order to be perceived as a true conservative.
It has always been my understanding that one of the basic tenets of conservatism is limited government – the belief that the government should intrude in one’s personal and business life as little as possible.  The role of government should be to provide citizens with the freedom necessary to pursue their own goals; conservatism emphasizes empowerment of the individual to solve problems.
The Republican Party has perverted conservative philosophy to include the tenets of extreme fundamentalist Christianity.
The Libertarian Party, whose core beliefs also emphasize limited government involvement, individual liberty, and increased personal and political freedoms, states “. . . we defend each person's right to engage in any activity that is peaceful and honest, and welcome the diversity that freedom brings. The world we seek to build is one where individuals are free to follow their own dreams in their own ways, without interference from government or any authoritarian power.”
Contrary to the belief in limited government, “evangelicals” want the government to tell citizens how to live their lives by forcing the specific religious beliefs of fundamentalist Christianity on them.
Religious belief is personal and individual.  It should never be legislated, or used as the basis for legislation.  One’s religious beliefs may cause a person to become involved in political activity as a way of helping society and one’s “fellow man”, but one religious group’s specific religious beliefs and interpretations should NOT be made into law.
Murder is not illegal because God said, "Thou Shall Not Kill".  It is illegal because it deprives the victim's civil right to life as guaranteed by the Constitution.
If your religious beliefs instruct you that abortion is bad – then do not have an abortion.  If your religious beliefs tell you that homosexuality and same-sex marriage is wrong - then don’t practice homosexuality or marry someone who is the same sex as you.  But you cannot force your specific religious belief on your neighbor, regardless of any sincere desire to save him or her from the “fires of hell”.
The religious can certainly "preach the gospel" to those who will listen, but cannot make the government force non-believers to follow their perception of the gospel.
America is NOT a “Christian country” - it is not a religious country, period.  The idea of religious freedom and the separation of Church and State is a cornerstone of American democracy.  It is one of the main reasons the first settlers came here.  Separation of Church and State means that the government cannot tell a citizen how to worship or what to believe.  It also guarantees the right of citizens not to worship and not to believe.    
A while back I noticed the following observation on a sign displayed at a local Jersey shore eatery –
The last time we mixed politics with religion people got burned at the stake!

In a post at THE SURLEY SUBGROUP David J. Herzig says that many experts “believe that President elect Trump’s ownership of active business assets, even in a blind trust, would violate, Article I, Section 9, Clause 8 of the Constitution which prevents the President from accepting ‘presents’ or ‘Emolument’ from foreign states”.
Herzig explains (highlights are mine) -
When a businessperson who runs many active businesses runs and wins for President, clearly there would be many second order problems associated with inherent conflicts between running corporations and the country.  When President-elect Trump won the office, many of these conflicts have bubbled to the surface.
For example, to avoid a conflict of interest between benefiting one’s personal holdings and the Country’s best interests, assets of the President are placed in a blind trust.  As many have pointed out, this works only when the President does not know the nature of the holdings.  Putting existing businesses into a blind trust does not stop the President from knowing the underlying assets of the trust.  The conflict is not ameliorated by trust structure.  Nor, by the way, would it be fixed if President elect Trump divests but the family continues to own the assets.”
The Array of Conflicts of Interest Facing the Trump Presidency” is discussed in detail by Larry Buchanan and Karen Yourish of THE NEW YORK TIMES.
This article reiterates (again, highlight is mine) –
Ethics experts warn that if Mr. Trump puts his children in control of operations but continues to own the company, he will remain vulnerable to charges that his actions as President are guided by personal financial interests.”
To be perfectly honest, I have absolutely no doubt that Trump intends that his actions as President be guided by personal financial interests.  Everything Trump does is about his own personal interests, financial and otherwise, regardless of the ethics, appropriateness, or legality of his actions.
Trump MUST sell off ALL of his investments before being sworn in as President and place the proceeds in a blind trust.  Nothing less is acceptable!
If this causes a financial loss for Trump it is just too bad.  He should have thought of this before deciding to run for President.

The “theme song”, if you will, of President John F Kennedy’s brief administration became “Camelot”, from the Broadway musical of the same name written by Alan Jay Lerner, one of Kennedy's schoolmates at Harvard University.  Jacqueline Kennedy inadvertently coined the phrase "Camelot" as a way to refer to her husband's presidency when she revealed in an interview in Life after the assassination that JFK liked to listen to music from the show.  There will be great presidents again,” she said, “but there will never be another Camelot.”
The “theme song” of a Trump Presidency will also come from “Camelot”.  It is “C'est Moi”, which is French for “it’s me”.  In the musical Lancelot, en route to Camelot to join Arthur’s Round Table, sings of the attributes needed of a member of such a prestigious and demanding organization – which boils down basically to perfection.  He asks, “But where in the world is there in the world a man so extraordinaire?”  His answer, obvious to him, is “C’est moi”.
Trump is the ultimate narcissist.  Donald Trump truly believes that in all God’s creation there is no man more “extraordinaire” than Donald Trump!  His sole motivation in seeking the Presidency, in doing anything, is “love of self” and certainly not “love of country”.