Joe Biden won the 2020 Presidential race with 306 electoral college votes and 51% of the popular vote. Data doesn't lie. In 2016 when Trump beat Clinton with the same number of electoral college votes, he referred to the result ... as a "Landslide."

The Dark Triad

If we had the faintest of hope that Donald Trump might concede the 2020 election and affect a dignified transition, then we were wrong. It seems he is incapable of accepting the people's will and, unfortunately, is surrounded and counseled by equally deplorable people.

The walls are closing in, and in under sixty days, Joe Biden will be sworn in as the 46th President. Trump will if tradition holds board 'Marine One,' give one last wave and fly away with his bride to work on his legal issues, refinance his many loans, continue to whine and incite his many supporters. 

Trump has the classic personality traits that compromise the 'dark triad.' 

Narcissism, Machiavellianism, and Psychopathy.

All antisocial at their core, those scoring high on these traits are more likely to commit crimes, cause social distress, and create severe problems for an organization, especially if they are in leadership positions. 

They also tend to be less compassionate, agreeable, empathetic, satisfied with their lives, and less likely to believe others are good.

Narcissism is characterized by grandiosity, pride, and egotism.

Machiavellianism is characterized by manipulating and exploiting others - an absence of morality, unemotional callousness, and a higher self-interest level.

Psychopathy is characterized by continuous antisocial behavior, impulsivity, and remorselessness. 

All three traits of the dark triad have been found to have substantial genetic components. 

While it is hard to find any empathy for a man who has created so much division and turmoil over the last four years, the apple doesn't usually for far from the tree. Fred Trump (father) was investigated by a U.S. Senate committee for profiteering in 1954, and again by the State of New York in 1966. In 1997, when his net worth surpassed $1B, he transferred most of his buildings to his surviving children, who sold them in 2014 for over sixteen times their previously declared worth, effectively dodging hundreds of million dollars in taxes.

Trump won the 2016 presidential election fairly, and we had our 'experiment.' It proves for outside of the 1%, the grass isn't always greener.

If our elected officials didn't learn anything from the past four years, let's hope they understand the need and expectation to 'step up' and govern for all Americans. To provide basic services such as healthcare for all and a society for every citizen to earn a living wage, to fulfill their potential. 

 

Moving on from the Four Seasons Landscaping Company, Rudy Giuliani held a press conference in Washington DC yesterday. Devoid of any substance or evidence, the highlight (no pun intended) was hair dye trickling down his face under the bright lights. Somebody, please pull the plug on this guy and find him a cabana at Mar-a-Lago where he can watch 'Wheel of Fortune' and be spoon fed soup.

The 2020 Cover Up

It turns out was nothing to do with Georgia, Michigan, Pennsylvania, Arizona, or Wisconsin. It was nothing to do with voting fraud.

The 2020 cover-up was the use of hair dye by Rudy.

At 76, he's no spring chicken, but the images of the heavily sweating former Mayor of New York with brown streaks running down his cheeks were sad. Rudy, clinging to the wreckage as he spins a fairy tale of vote-rigging, was clearly rattled in the small room at the RNC headquarters and under the bright lights.

As the late-night host, Stephen Colbert pointed out, "Guiliani got a bad batch of just for henchmen hair dye."

When will Rudy learn that nothing good ever comes for anybody associated with Trump? Of course, he must take some personal responsibility for his actions, but letting someone of Rudy's caliber 'run wild' is a recipe for disaster. It makes me wonder if Rudy hasn't always been this way, even when he was Mayor. We didn't see this extreme behavior, perhaps because more checks and balances were placed on him, and more responsible people shielded him. 

I do not doubt at some point; when he lead the Southern District of New York, he had some smarts, some game. So, where did it all go so wrong? Failed marriages, drink, or too many trips to Ukraine? Possibly, but I think as the sun, Rudy is drawn to a hopeless cause. Defender of the indefensible, the ultimate martyr. He probably gets up in the late morning, looks in the mirror to apply his hair dye, and tells himself he is the savior of humanity.  

Thankfully the sun is setting on Rudy and this rigged election charade. 

My one piece of counsel to Trump would be when he becomes a private citizen, not to have Rudy in charge of his legal defense team.

Then again, Rudy might not have the time with his own legal troubles.   

Rudy Giuliani, the President's personal attorney holds a press conference on 2020 election fraud at the Four Seasons. That's the Four Seasons Landscaping company in Philly, down the street from an Adult 'Fantasy' store and across the road from a Crematorium. The landscaping company, taking advantage of the media attention are now selling a range of apparel on-line with tag lines such as ... lawn and oder, rake America great again, landscaping and press conferences.

11.05.2020 ... Lawn and Order

All we needed was Inspector Jacques Clouseau and Borat to make an appearance for the farce to be complete. How can a man who lead New York City and America through 9/11 have come to this, holding a news conference on behalf of the United States President, for the international press corps, in the parking lot of the 'Four Seasons' Landscaping Company? 

With a backdrop of hoses, slapped up campaign flyers, and a block from an adult 'fantasy' store and across the road from a crematorium. It seems there was a mix-up, even the President tweeting that the presser was going to be at the 'Four Seasons,' and we all assumed he was referencing the upscale hotel in downtown Philly.

Apparently not. Rudy, perhaps looking to drive a message of support for small businesses and highlight suburban America had other ideas. We even had the President pivot and clarify that it would be at the landscaping company, not the hotel. Adding to the melee was that the major television networks had called the race for Biden, and Rudy only learned from reporters as he prepared to address the gathering. To which Rudy quickly improvised and, looking heaven-bound, theatrically chided the media for doing so.

We were only missing the smoker in the corner, offering free hot dogs and a car wash fundraiser for a local school. Credit to the Four Seasons, that being the Four Seasons Landscaping Company, for capitalizing on the spectacle by selling a range of apparel to promote their new notoriety. Tees and hoodies now available with slogans such as 'rake America great again, lawn and order, and landscaping and press conference services.'  

As if the world wasn't already sitting on their couches, with buttered popcorn and having a good laugh at democracy in action. Tinpot dictators thinking that there was nothing they couldn't get away with or justify now. Putin and Xi especially must have an extra spring in their step, broad smiles on their face, yet dreading the hour that the Trump circus folds up the big tent and leaves DC. 

How many individuals, how many reputations have been ruined in their complicity to follow one man blindly? Did anyone come out of this administration in better standing, revered, and truly thankful for the opportunity to serve? Name me one. Sure, partial blame lies with Trump for his actions; they must have run out of knives in the White House kitchen judging by the numbers stabbed in the back. Yet, these same people should have taken personal responsibility and walked away on their own terms, with a certain amount of self-respect intact, and continued the resistance. Republican Senators remain mute, selfish, and shrinking violets. 

Many supposed individuals of stature have lost their way, more concerned with clinging to a President's coattails, hiding in their basements, and waiting for the storm to pass. A  sorry and unworthy bunch.

It just happened to be Rudy Giuliani in that parking lot at the landscaping company. It could have been Ted Cruz, Marco Rubio, Jim Johnson, or Ron DeSantis. Desperately sad, flawed, and inexcusable. 

We look forward to the next Press Conference at the Hilton in New York.

That's the Hilton Community Child Care Center in Hilton, New York. 

Machu Picchu, the Incan citadel which dates back to the 15th century and sits atop a 7,970-foot mountain reopened to tourists last week. Pre-COVID there were 80 hotels in Ollantaytambo, a town in the Cusco region, but now at least half of them have gone bankrupt. The ancient city did reopen last month for one special person. A Japanese tourist, Jesse Katayama who was stranded in Peru for nearly seven months during the pandemic. Jesse was en route to visit the Inca citadel in March when lockdowns were announced.

Lesson from Peru?

President Martin Vizcarra of Peru was this week removed from office by Peru's congress. Amid accusations of corruption and his mishandling of the pandemic, a governmental clause was invoked that "allows lawmakers to oust a President who is mentally or morally unfit for office."Vizcarra had not been found guilty of anything but accepted the vote, reducing the likelihood of a constitutional crisis. Let me repeat that. Vizcarra had not been found guilty of anything. Any trial or legal action is yet to come. Replaced for now by the President of Peru's congress. All very civil. 

So, how could this happen? Well, Peru's concept of government is unicameral. That means a single legislative or parliamentary chamber. The principal advantage of a unicameral system is more efficient lawmaking, as the legislative procedure is simpler, and there is no possibility of deadlock. It can also be argued that this system reduces costs, even if the number of legislators remains the same since there are fewer institutions to maintain and support. 

Approximately half of the world's sovereign states are unicameral. In the United States, Nebraska is, and the territories of Guam and the Virgin Islands. 

Sweden was a country where two chambers existed, as in the US. Today, they have one chamber. Other countries that followed suit are Denmark and New Zealand. 

I understand the checks and balances of a multicameral system such as the House and Senate in the United States, but does it have to remain that way? Peru's congress comprises many competing parties, and Vizcarra was removed across party lines with 87 out of 130 votes. I'm under no illusion that seeing a unicameral government system for the United States would be a long shot, but 'to evolve' and accept the 'status quo' for the sake of tradition and history is perhaps wrong and damaging. 

Bipartisanship, in its extreme, dominates politics in the United States and shows no sign of changing. Politicians are not progressive. Most cling to self-preservation and make a career out of obstruction.

Why couldn't we consolidate the job of a Senator and Representative for a state into one position? Those with a vision and mandate to serve the best interests in their state and do the 'right thing' for the country.

Can we not find and elect such people, give them the mandate? 

 

In 1968 MLK and many others called for a "revolution of values" in America. Today, the Poor People's Campaign: A national Call for Moral Revival picks up this unfinished work. People are coming together to confront the interlocking evils of systematic racism, poverty, ecological devastation, militarism, and the war economy, and the distorted moral narrative of religious nationalism. Learn more at www.poorpeoplescampaign.org ... we must, and can do better.

Games you shouldn't play ... 11.02.2020

How many more people and families must slip below the poverty line before our nationally elected officials stop playing politics and authorize the second round of stimulus, financial relief? Republicans and Demoncrats are both equally to blame. Claiming that as elected officials, they know what is best for 'America.' Hiding behind this pretense, they have mortgaged the well being of many for the chance of an election victory. Did any of them ever really negotiate in good faith, or was it all optics and done knowing that the other side would never compromise for the greater good? Pelosi and Trump have not spoken, let alone met, for well over a year. It's well known that Mnuchin (treasury secretary) doesn't like conflict and has never seen a deal he didn't like or wouldn't do. Yet he was handcuffed by McConnell and his old, white Republican caucus that suddenly developed a consciousness about government spending. Notably, Ted Cruz, the spineless senator from Texas. I'm writing this the day before the Presidential election, and realistically, even with a Biden victory, no one will see a penny of stimulus, relief before January 2021. Shambolic. Of course, we are at this point because of the underlying ineptitude of the government's response to COVID. Total lack of Federal leadership by morally bankrupt individuals playing too many games!

When it's your time, it's your time. Or as Donald J Trump did say, "It is, what it is."

4 Quotes to consider from Thomas Cream ...

Thomas Cream was a real-life 19th-century mass murderer, and one of John Rivers manifests in the Amazon series ... 'River.' 

I wrote this blog thinking about all the White House staffers still doing Donald J Trump's work in Washington, DC. 

“ The greatest deception is to the self.”

Sometimes we all need to take a step back, deep breath, and consider our own best interests. We are not indispensable, the cause is not bigger than ourselves, and waiting for the last lifeboat does not bestow certain honor. We often take cues from our organization’s leader. We cling to their rhetoric, convince ourselves to identify with their self-inflicted deception. Continuing to evangelize for them reflects badly on us, taints us with guilt by association, but still, we press on. At some point, we have to wake up.

“ You don’t have to pretend when you’re on your own.”

Making a clean break and establishing some personal space can be energizing. Toxic environments, where justification and spin is the norm, only make us tense, erode our credibility, and seal an uncertain fate. We all hang on too long, play the game too long and believe regrets are something we can deal with over a 5K run. The moment comes for everyone to do the old ‘Pontious Pilate’ and wash our hands of the current situation and move forward. You can’t shape your future while around people who traffic in negativity and division.

“ Old sins cast long shadows.”

We all need to create legacies we are proud of and not be tainted or stymied by our past actions. People remember. It’s especially true when we have worked and been visibly associated with those in leadership. Their fates do cast long shadows over those that executed their orders, and for all we try, we can never escape and revel in satisfaction through major contributions again. We will never have the high road, evoke unconditional trust from those we need. The sins don’t have to be ours. The sins of others caught us in their net.

“ The person to fear the most is the one to whom you gave your trust.”

No doubt, passion leads you to the White House to serve in a Trump Administration. Know that at some point, we are all let down by those we trusted. Caught up in their self-preservation, afraid of becoming irrelevant, their selfish and narcissistic nature takes over 24/7/365. They say, “trust me.” They become more withdrawn, and when they can find time for you, it becomes a case of “ what have you done for me lately.” We left everything on the field for them, only to find out that the clock ran out for you a long time ago.

As of writing the deal terms of the UK's withdrawl from the European Union are still not ratified. The eleven month transition period ends January 1, 2021. Boris Johnson, the current British PM and an original advocate for leaving the EU has failed miserably in his negotiations, both internally and externally to effect a smooth transition, and it looks highly likely that the UK (minus Northern Ireland) will leave the EU with 'No Deal' in place, causing chaos. The only winners will be the contractors building staging areas, aka lorry parks in Kent!

06.23.2016 ... Brexit

The nuts and bolts of Brexit are pretty complex. Still, in its most distilled form, this is about a withdrawal from membership of the European Union by all countries of the United Kingdom, except Northern Ireland. Here's a basic timeline.

In 2005 David Cameron was elected to the Conservative leadership after losing their third consecutive general election. Percolating during these years in the political wilderness, Conservatives embraced a philosophy of the 'Anglosphere' or a focus on 'special relationships' with certain countries and allies that served the British Empire's interest. Within the Conservative party, there was a rebellion underway about Europe.

When in 2010 Cameron came to power as head of a coalition government that included the Liberal Democrats, the issue accelerated. In 2011, eighty-one Conservative MPs went against the party line and voted in favor of a referendum on the UK's EU membership. Then. in the run-up to the 2015 General Election, Cameron publicly stated that if re-elected, he would re-negotiate the terms of Uk membership to the EU and then hold a referendum on whether or not to remain a member on those new terms.

Cameron won in 2015, and on June 23, 2016, the referendum happened. I won't get into the minutia of what transpired during the campaigns 'to leave' and 'remain,' but the overall margin to 'leave' was tight with 52% of the vote. Only Gibraltar and Northern Ireland voted to 'remain.' Around 60% of Londoners voted to 'remain,' but every other region of England voted to 'leave.' Cameron had staked his position as the leader in remaining. The following morning after the referendum results, when he arrived at Downing Street, he said, "Well, that didn't go as planned." The pundits predicted that Cameron wouldn't last the day as leader and PM, and indeed he did not.

Fast forward to 2020, and Cameron's successor, Theressa May, has come and gone. Boris Johnson is the PM and flailing to negotiate the UK's withdrawal, which went into effect on Jan 31, 2020. As it stood from that date, the UK began an eleven-month transition period that ends Jan 1, 20121. The UK effectively remains in the EU's customs union and single market and continues to obey EU rules. However, it is no longer part of the political institutions, which means there are no longer British MEPs in the European Parliament. So, the haggling goes on about the terms of the UK's leaving, and while trade remains the focal point, other areas such as security and law enforcement must be reconciled. Regardless, major changes will come into effect on Jan 1, 2021. Peoples free movement will end, and businesses trading with the EU will have to follow new rules. Reality has hit the UK, and I suspect that if a 're-do' took place, a second referendum might have seen a different result. The EU has been resilient in not letting the UK dictate their terms of leaving, holding three consecutive PM's feet to the fire.

I guess it's a case of believing the grass is always greener on the other side and be careful what you wish for. As close to a shambles as you can get, perhaps, yet what is done, is done. The Ireland issue is sad in the respect that achieving peace was a hard and long process. Implementing a border as called for by the EU would be optically demoralizing and a regression period. Long lines of trucks in Kent, increased prices on many consumables, and unable to work freely across the EU will kick in soon.

The overriding mistake that consecutive governments have made over many decades is that they failed to protect, listen to, and understand the average citizen's concerns. Free trade is great and has advantages but also brings consequences. When combined with austerity policies that increase taxes, it results in less government spending and rising unemployment.

Votes matter and have consequences!