Wednesday, January 17, 2018

The State of the Union Speech Trump Should Deliver

On the evening of January 30th President Donald Trump will enter the chamber of the United States House of Representatives and deliver his first State of the Union address to the 115th Congress. If history repeats itself, Trump will spend about an hour giving what will most likely be the most dishonest, fact-deficient, reality-challenged propagandistic speech in presidential history. But what if he actually spoke the truth...?

(to muted applause)...

“Thank you! (nodding). Thank you! Thank you! Ok, shut up! Sittttdowwwwnnnnnn!

My fellow Americans. And Democrats. What a fucking year, huh!? Are ya exhausted yet?! I know I am! Despite what Doc Ronny...the physical...he said I’m in...ya know...the exam was incredible...but he’s full of shit. I’m in lousy shape. Just look at me. I’m blowing up more than Bitcoin! My diet is...I can tell you...I eat like shit, I don’t exercise—but I love golf...is it Saturday yet?—and I have more insecurities than an acne-ravaged teenager. I’m a hot mess, people, believe me! Ok, enough small talk. Let’s get this done. I have TV to watch. 

Speaking of which...what idiot decided this speech should be named after “Fake Tapper’s” CNN show? So stupid! 

So...America....let’s...it’s incredible what I’ve...no president has...never before have we....is anyone worse than Trump?! What a shithole I turned it into, huh? I hate this job! The pay sucks, I have to kiss Congress’s ass—although Kevin McCarthy brought me my favorite color Starbursts in a jar with his name on...WTF is up with that?!—and everybody’s watching me 24/7, so I can’t bang strippers and porn stars. I’m bored as fuck. And Melania hates it too. If she comes into my bedroom and whines one more time I swear I’m gonna divorce her. Just as soon as Sekulow can figure out how to break the pre-nup. 

Let’s start with domestic. Yeah, let’s do domestic. How about that tax cut!? First, and I’m proud, biggest in history, no one ever...so massive...but, too bad none of it’s for the poor and middle class. But don’t tell them. They think I’m...it’s for them...ya know, I’m putting money...it’s going in their pockets. 

And regulations!? Bye Felicia! Trump believes...and I’ve said this...believe me...it’s time to...and people agree...companies should be able to, like, do whatever they want. It's our system of Capitalness. Entrepwhenusers must be allowed to succeed without...and this is...we can’t...they can’t be strangled by regulation. 

Now let’s discuss the environment. Can we...this climate change hoax. Gimme a break. No one but Trump is telling you...winter? Like, and believe me, it’s not...have you seen...holy FUCK it’s been cold! It’s been so cold that the lies literally freeze in mid-air as they leave my face! That’s why I...and the French hate me for it...but...the Paris Climate Agreement is a waste of time. I was...we flew and spent....have you been to Paris recently? The weather there’s just fine, believe me. 

Healthcare? Overrated. I wanna say...and this is...here’s the fix: don’t get sick! And...‘single-payer’ insurance isn’t the answer. Married people would want it too. This issue is...believe me, it’s a disaster. So there is...that’s why...and let me tell you...Obamacare is dead. 

But, the economy...what’s more important than...and who knew...and the numbers speak for themselves people...it’s obvious that....to be honest, the stock market is...when Obama was president he tripled it. It’s way up under Trump, but it’s gonna...you know...stocks drop too. Bigly correction probably coming. Very bigly. 

And jobs? Last year was the lowest in about 6 years. Obama created, like, he was more successful...when it comes to jobs he’s beat me every year. I hate that. You know I hate Obama, right? Why is that skinny black guy so much better than me at every goddamn thing!? Arrrgggggg! 

Ok, time to address the 800lb Trump in the room. Racism. You got me! I’m a racist! Have you seen my record these past 40 years!? I’m so racist I make David Duke sound like Barney Frank. Let’s face it, and this is...I’m not the one who...white people are simply better than the blacks. And the Poo-ER-To Ricans. And the Mexicans. Pssst...here’s a little secret: that “Make America Great Again” thing? You know, it...guess what? I can...it really means “Make America White Again” (makes a weird hand sign). 

I’m gonna do foreign policy now for just a minute because...and let me tell ya...I’m sorry...is it exciting? No. I really don’t really understand any of it and..and here’s what...I just can’t because many foreign leaders...and this includes our allies are... and it’s so frustrating...they’re just so weak and lame. Except Vlad. Can we talk about Putin for a second? 

Look, there’s no collusion! Have I said that before? No collusion. Absolutely no collusion. If collusion walked up to me I’d be like...”Hey collusion...I don’t know you, fuck off!” I’m not kidding. If collusion was a pussy, I’d never even grab it. Not even a little. Ok maybe I would because...hey, what can I say...you know how I get around pussy! 

The truth is, Putin doesn’t...there’s no...I’m totally innocent. Let me tell you...and many people are saying...I don’t care...that Dossier...believe me, it’s fake. Fake. A HOAX! I don’t do bad sex things. It’s all lies. Like... I’d never have two red-headed hookers named Olga and Svetlana come to my presidential suite at the Moscow Ritz Carlton at around 9pm on a cold, snowy Tuesday night in 2013 to pee on each other while I was wearing my Superman bathrobe and masturbating with my left hand. Never.

Ok...(yawns)... I’m done here (drinks water from a Power Rangers sippy cup). It’s 9:55 and I have to get upstairs to watch Don Lemon. I pretend that I hate him but...the truth...ya know, I’m not gay...but if I was...he’s a good looking guy. I could get Don Lemon if I wanted, believe me.
So God bless you all...except Jeff Flake...and God bless the Unired Shates of America Ferrara.”

Friday, January 12, 2018

My Wife Was Not Killed By an "Illegal Immigrant"--PART 2

Two weeks before the 2016 presidential election my op-ed on immigration and crime appeared in the New York Times. My late wife, the actor/filmmaker Adrienne Shelly (WAITRESS), had been murdered November 1, 2006 by a 19-year-old undocumented worker from Ecuador. I had been largely silent for ten years about this extremely personal tragedy. Donald Trump changed that.

Witnessing Trump’s incredibly incendiary and relentless attacks on immigrants and refugees, I decided that if ever there was going to be a time where I could share my perspective and have it have maximum impact, it was on the eve of the most critical presidential election in American history. It infuriated me to watch an entire segment of our population be demonized.

I was right. About the election being important, that is. But like a majority of voters, I wasn’t prepared for the result. Nor could I believe that Trump’s hateful racist, xenophobic rhetoric and behavior at that time would be proven pale in comparison to what would follow throughout the first year of his controversial presidency.  

The man who began his campaign with the now-infamous “Mexican rapists” salvo proceeded to ignite his presidency, and his bigoted base, with attempts at a Muslim ban right out of the White House gate. Throughout 2017 his anti-immigrant rhetoric was relentless, including recent claims that Haitian immigrants “all have aids” and that Nigerians live in “huts.”

And 2018 is off to an even more tendentious start. Late Thursday afternoon The Washington Post reported that Trump, during an Oval Office immigration meeting with lawmakers earlier in the day, unconscionably asked “Why do we want all these people from ‘shithole countries’ coming here?,” referring, for example, to Haiti, El Salvador and Africa. He suggested bringing over more people from Norway. White people. The good people. Ya know, Trump’s master race. 

The tragic irony in Trump’s racist comment is that immigrants from Africa, for example, are not just the most educated immigrants living in the United States, they’re also typically better educated than Americans.

Republican strategist and consultant Frank Luntz tweeted: "43% of immigrants from (shithole) African countries have a bachelor's degree or higher, compared to 33% of the overall American population. Nigerian-Americans, for instance, have a median household income well above the American average." 

While Trump is facing widespread condemnation from both Democrats and Republicans at home and from foreign leaders, the GOP leadership—House Speaker Paul Ryan and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell—has yet to comment as of this writing. Their silence is deafening. And when they fail to condemn, they condone. 

In view of Trump’s continued and shameless campaign of intolerance and hate, I believe my op-ed from October 24, 2016 is as relevant and timely today as it was then. 

To be sure, we’ve had very many ugly days since Trump took office last year. Moments that left us stunned and embarrassed as a nation. But today is an especially dark, sad, shameful day in America’s 241 year history.

America is so much better than this.

Wednesday, January 10, 2018

No, Trump is NOT 'Presidential'

He sat for 45 minutes and behaved himself. He didn’t fidget much. He seemed reasonably focused, despite his typically short attention span. He appeared interested in what others had to say. He didn’t meander or ramble on about unrelated subjects. He was a bit confused at times and didn’t seem too knowledgeable about the subject matter, nor did he have any particular opinions. And he didn’t get nasty, call anyone names or bully anyone. He actually got along nicely with the others. No, this isn’t from a 12-year-old’s report card. It’s about the President of the United States. 

The media, as they’ve done before whenever Donald Trump manages for a few minutes not to sound like a bloviating buffoon, went ga-ga over this suddenly “presidential” president as he presided over a clearly staged video-opp to steer the narrative away from amped-up allegations of mental instability. 

Pardon me if I’m not impressed. After a week where Trump bragged about the size of his “nuclear button” and defended himself as a “stable genius,” are we supposed to now feel comforted because the Leader of the Free world can run a fucking meeting? That’s it? Have we dropped his bar so low that ants could dance the limbo under it? 

CNN quoted unnamed sources after the meeting as saying it was a carefully orchestrated attempt at damage control in the wake of Michael Wolff’s explosive tell-all book “Fire and Fury: Inside the Trump White House” in which 100% of staff and aides interviewed believe Trump is mentally unfit to serve as president. 

Well, can’t have the nation think he’s batshit crazy, right? So Trump (more likely Chief of Staff John Kelly) invited Republicans and Democrats over to ostensibly discuss immigration reform, Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) and border security. But within minutes it became clear that the most powerful human in the world, who wants to “do DACA” and “do bi-partisan,” didn’t bring a lick of vision to the table. And that leaders of both parties were being used as props. 

It got downright bizarre at one telling moment when Trump appeared to agree with Sen. Diane Feinstein (D-CA), who suggested he commit to initially passing a “clean DACA bill” before ultimately moving on to broader immigration reform. He contradicted his prior position of insisting the initial bill also end “chain migration” and the current lottery system, as well as contain funding for his border wall, which rankled members of his own party:

“I have no problem...We're going to do DACA, and then we can start immediately on the phase two, which would be comprehensive. I think a lot of people would like to see that. But we need to do DACA first." 

Nooooooo! House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy, appearing as if he just shat his pants, immediately sprung into partisan action (God forbid the president might actually be allowed to agree on some level with a democrat) to remind Trump that this DACA-first plan is actually the exact opposite of what he wants and that it must include additional funding for border-security.

"I think that's what she's saying," Trump assured him, causing a desperate cross-current of clarification between stunned Republicans and their bewildered ‘send me any bill and I’ll sign it’ leader. 

It was the best, most surreal theater I’ve seen since the “Pee-Wee Herman Show” hit Broadway six years ago.

And nothing material came from it except proof that the President of the Unites States can run a shitty meeting. 

So please stop asking us to give gold stars to Trump just because he takes a momentary break from acting like a petulant teenager. 

Please don’t insult us anymore with these utterly nauseating attempts to normalize the most unqualified president in American history. 

Trump is not “presidential.” He’s never been presidential. And he never will be presidential. My 13-year-old daughter could’ve run that meeting, and she actually would’ve done a much better job at it. She has more maturity, conviction, intellectual curiosity and is more inspiring than the 71-year-old who occupies the Oval Office. 

And that is terrifying.

Monday, January 08, 2018

The Stable Genius and His Executive Time

It was a wild and crazy first year for President Donald Trump. Much of his 2017 had been spent defending against accusations of sexual assault, collusion with Russia, obstruction of justice, money laundering and excessive golfing. And 2018 has gotten off to an even worse, more bizarre start.

In the wake of Michael Wolff’s bombshell tell-all book “Fire and Fury,” Trump now finds himself having to defend against damaging statements from top aides that he’s “stupid,” a “moron,” “mentally unstable” and “unfit for office.” 

Early Saturday morning Trump tweeted about his emotional and intellectual prowess:

“Actually, throughout my life, my two greatest assets have been mental stability and being, like, really smart....I went from VERY successful businessman, to top T.V. Star to President of the United States (on my first try). I think that would qualify as not smart, but genius....and a very stable genius at that!”

Later in the day he stood with Republican leaders at Camp David and doubled-down on the bragging:

“I went to the best colleges, or college. I went to — I had a situation where I was a very excellent student, came out and made billions and billions of dollars, became one of the top business people. Went to television and for ten years was a tremendous success, as you probably have heard. Ran for president one time and won.”

Well for one thing, anytime you have to publicly assert that you’re mentally stable, the likelihood is that you’re not. And what’s with the “like” before “smart?” Is the president not really sure? Or, is this just another example of the United States president sounding like a 13-year-old? And, exactly how many colleges did he attend? He seems confused. Lastly, 2016 was not his first attempt at running for the presidency. He actually tried once before in 2000. It failed. 

Keep in mind all of this occurred just days after the “I know words...I have the best words” stable genius misused the word “misnomer” when downplaying his relationship with former chief strategist Stephen Bannon:

"I don't talk to him. I don't talk to him. I don't talk to him, that's just a misnomer."

Clearly, “misnomer” is not one of his “best words.” 

And judging from Trump’s tweets and public comments over the past couple of years, the argument can easily be made that he is most definitely not stable.

Then there’s the explosive revelation which came Sunday in an Axios scoop about Trump’s shrinking work schedule. The administration which gave us “alternative facts” now artfully redefines sleeping, tweeting, watching TV, phoning pals and lounging around the White House residence half a day (or more) as “executive time.” As his presidency’s progressed, Trump has fewer meetings during the day and spends much less time in the Oval Office (typically 11am-6pm), Axios reported. 

Given how little he appears to be working Monday through Friday, coupled with 90+ weekend days playing golf at his resorts, it’s fair to assume he has a general disdain for the job; has zero appreciation for policy and his role both domestically and abroad; and is utterly indifferent to his impact (or lack thereof) on America’s standing in the world. How his detachment both scares our allies and emboldens our enemies. 

It’s a chilling reality to accept, but for the first time in its 241-year history America, in effect, has an absentee president. It is leaderless.

Tuesday, January 02, 2018

Why I'm Rooting For Trump to Fail

Traditionally, it’s been every American citizen’s patriotic duty to support the United States president whether or not we agree with his basic policies. We’re taught that when it comes to domestic prosperity and security and our standing globally, we must put country before party and root for the Leader of the Free World to succeed. Because rooting against the president is tantamount to rooting against America. Not anymore.

After Donald Trump’s first year in office there’s been a political paradigm shift of epic proportions. No longer are we simply on different sides of the social, economic and foreign-policy spectrum. It’s no longer just about our opposing views on taxation, size of government and nation-building, for example. For the first time in our nation’s history, we have a president who presents a grave danger and existential threat to America. To every American man, woman and child. And to citizens of allied nations. 

With every move, every speech, every tweet, Trump systematically discredits and subverts our democracy. He maligns and undermines our independent judiciary, intelligence community and free press. He is a Baghdad Bob-worthy pathological liar and propagandist who fancies America as a state-run government which therefore makes him the state. He has a fundamental disdain for the Constitution and the rule of law. He’s a home-grown oligarch who’s testing the boundaries of authoritarianism. 

But the most chilling element to Trump’s presidency is his seemingly deteriorating mental state. His massive insecurities and need for constant attention, praise and flattery leads to decidedly unpresidential behavior that is impulsive, undisciplined, immature, undiplomatic and provocative. These emotional shortcomings have left him compromised and exploited by a devious enemy operative like Russian president Vladimir Putin, who’s attacked our electoral system with shocking impunity and threatens to do so again. 

Trump’s questionable state of mind has resulted in him calling the leader of an enemy state, North Korea’s Kim Jong Un, “short and fat” as he also nonchalantly threatens nuclear war. 

It’s not unreasonable to imagine Trump sending our sons and daughters to die in battle, or having San Francisco obliterated, simply because someone like Kim pissed him off that day. Or that he needs to Wag the Dog-like diversion given his abysmally low popularity and because special prosecutor Robert Mueller’s independent RussiaGate investigation is approaching the Oval Office door. 

To be sure, it’s always been about Trump and only Trump. The lives and deaths of our citizens are just props in his twisted, alternate-reality show. 

He is, simply put, very, very bad for America. And it’s getting worse.

Which is why rooting for Trump to succeed equates to rooting for America to fail.