Let’s Raise the Bar …

I have an idea that I would like to propose: Any candidate running for federal office – either Congress or President/Vice President – should have to take and pass the U.S. Citizenship test.  It should be requisite.  If it were, I can guarantee you that Donald Trump would not be in the Oval Office today, for much of the citizenship test pertains to history and the U.S. Constitution, and Donald Trump is relatively illiterate in both areas.  A few examples of his grasp on historical details:

  • Napoleon finished a little bit bad. But I asked that. So I asked the president [Macron], so what about Napoleon? He said: “No, no, no. What he did was incredible. He designed Paris.” The street grid, the way they work, you know, the spokes. He did so many things even beyond. And his one problem is he didn’t go to Russia that night because he had extracurricular activities, and they froze to death.
  • “I mean, had Andrew Jackson been a little later you wouldn’t have had the Civil War. He was a very tough person but he had a big heart. He was really angry that he saw with regard to the Civil War, he said ‘There’s no reason for this.’ People don’t realize, you know, the Civil War, if you think about it, why? People don’t ask that question, but why was there the Civil War? Why could that one not have been worked out?”  (Jackson died 16 years before the beginning of the Civil War)
  • “I am very proud now that we have a museum on the National Mall where people can learn about Reverend King, so many other things. Frederick Douglass is an example of somebody who’s done an amazing job and is being recognized more and more, I notice.”   

And those are but a few examples of Trump’s grasp of history.  Nada.  I knew more by 4th grade than he knows at age 72.  Why?  Did they not teach history in that fancy military school his daddy sent him to?  Or was he simply not smart enough to learn?  Sad.

Back in May 2016, I wrote a piece titled Why Goats Can’t Vote, about the U.S. Citizenship test and how only 62% of U.S.-born citizens can pass the test.  One of the comments on that initial post was from my UK friend Bushka:

“Always been amazed by this phenomenon…Even Presidents are known to lack such simple knowledge…..No Names!!!”

Fitting, don’t you think?  I was thinking about this tonight and I thought it might be interesting to see just how Trump would fare.  Let’s give him a few questions and see how he does, shall we?  The following are actual questions from previous citizenship tests. Trump’s answers are in his favourite colour, red.

What is the supreme law of the land?
the Supreme Court 
the Bill of Rights
the Declaration of Independence
the Constitution

The correct answer is “the Constitution”.

The idea of self-government in in the first three words of the Constitution. What are these words?
We the Government
The President is
We the People
The Founding Fathers

The correct answer is “We the People”.

Citizenship Study Questions 1-20
What is an amendment?
a change (to the Constitution)
an addition (to the Constitution)
both a and b
none of the above

The correct answer is “both a and b”.

What do we call the first ten amendments to the Constitution?
The Bill of Rights
The Ten Commandments
The Bill of Laws
The Preamble to the Constitution

The correct answer is “The Bill of Rights”.

What is freedom of religion?
Religion has power over the government
You can force anyone to participate in your religion
You can practice any religion, or not practice a religion
Religion should not exist, and all citizen should be free from it

The correct answer is “You can practice any religion, or not practice a religion”.

What is the “rule of law”?
Everyone must follow the law, except the leaders
Everyone must follow the law, except the government
Only Congress is above the law
Everyone must follow the law, leaders and government must obey the law, and no one is above the law.

The correct answer is “Everyone must follow the law, leaders and government must obey the law, and no one is above the law”.

Well, well, well … looks like Bushka was right, eh?  To his credit, Trump got #3 half right, so I can give him a half point, which brings his score up to 8%.  This ‘man’ could not even become a citizen of the nation he is in charge of! I was pleased that I got them all right … I actually took 20 of them and got them right … so even I am more qualified to be president than Donald Trump!  Hmmmm …

Seriously though, folks … I understand why the framers of the Constitution set very few eligibility requirements for president:  one must be 35 years of age, a resident “within the United States” for 14 years, and a “natural born Citizen”.  That was in 1787, and the framers already knew they were writing the rules for George Washington to become the first president. Looking to the future, they set the age requirement in order to ensure a mature man (women weren’t even allowed to vote or own property back then, so they didn’t count) would be elected.  The citizenship requirement was simply to keep Alexander Hamilton, who was born in the West Indies, from becoming president.  Our constitution is an 18th century one developed for a newly independent British colony.  And it worked well for a number of years.  But this is the 21st century and times have changed.  Just as we amended the Constitution to allow women to vote and to abolish slavery, it is time we amend it to set a higher standard for the presidency.

Until the Trump presidency, we didn’t question the eligibility requirements, for we had men who were well qualified, who had studied not only law, but also English grammar and history.  But today that is not the case.  Take a look at a few recent presidents:

  • Bill Clinton had a Bachelor of Science (BS) in Foreign Service degree from Georgetown University, a Juris Doctorate (JD) from Yale Law School, and was a Rhodes Scholar. In addition, he had experience in government, having served as Governor of Arkansas for 11 years.
  • George W. Bush had a Bachelor of Arts (BA) degree in history from Yale University, a Master of Business Administration (MBA) from Harvard Business School, and he had served as Governor of Texas from 1995-2000.
  • Barack Obama double-majored in college, earning Bachelor of Arts degrees in Political Science and English Literature from Columbia University, graduated magna cum laude with a Juris Doctorate from Harvard Law School, served as an Illinois State Senator from 1997-2004, and as a U.S. Senator from 2005-2008.

Compare to Donald Trump who has a Bachelor of Science in Economics from Wharton School of Business, four draft deferments, nearly 6,000 lawsuits, numerous sexual misconduct allegations, and six bankruptcies to add to his résumé.  No relevant education, no relevant experience.  What were people thinking when they voted for him?

There are portions of the U.S. Constitution that need to be updated.  The electoral college is one, and I will cover that in a future post, but the qualifications for the head of the government, the man with the most power, seriously need to be upgraded and brought into the 21st century, preferably before the 2020 election.  At the very least I would expect degrees in political science and/or international relations, and at least four years relevant experience.  This nation cannot afford another Donald Trump, or even another four years of this one.  Let’s raise the bar.

A Tale Of Two Evil People — Part II

Senator John McCain died last Saturday, August 25th.  I already wrote a tribute, sans politics, but today I let other voices speak of their thoughts on Senator McCain.  Every former living president offered a tribute …

“Few of us have been tested the way John once was, or required to show the kind of courage that he did. But all of us can aspire to the courage to put the greater good above our own. At John’s best, he showed us what that means.” – President Barack Obama, 25 August 2018

“Some lives are so vivid, it is difficult to imagine them ended. Some voices are so vibrant, it is hard to think of them stilled. John McCain was a man of deep conviction and a patriot of the highest order.” – President George W. Bush, 25 August 2018

“Senator John McCain believed that every citizen has a responsibility to make something of the freedoms given by our Constitution, and from his heroic service in the Navy to his 35 years in Congress, he lived by his creed every day.  He frequently put partisanship aside to do what he thought was best for the country, and was never afraid to break the mold if it was the right thing to do.  I will always be especially grateful for his leadership in our successful efforts to normalize relations with Vietnam.” – President Bill Clinton & Secretary Hillary Clinton, 25 August 2018

“John McCain was a patriot of the highest order, a public servant of the rarest courage. Few sacrificed more for, or contributed more to, the welfare of his fellow citizens – and indeed freedom loving peoples around the world.” — President George HW Bush

And across the globe, world leaders memorialized Senator McCain …

“John McCain was a great statesman, who embodied the idea of service over self.” – UK Prime Minister Theresa May

“He embodied everything that we respect and value and love about our American friends.” – Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison

“Senator John McCain was an American patriot and hero whose sacrifices for his country, and lifetime of public service, were an inspiration to millions.” – Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau

“I am deeply saddened by the passing of John McCain, a great American patriot and a great supporter of Israel. I will always treasure the constant friendship he showed to the people of Israel and to me personally.” – Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu

“John McCain was led by the firm conviction that the sense of all political work lies in service to freedom, democracy and the rule of law. His death is a loss to all those who share this conviction.” – German Chancellor Angela Merkel

“The world has lost a great defender of liberty. RIP Senator John McCain. Prayers and love to your family.” – Former British Prime Minister David Cameron

“Senator John McCain had an illustrious military and public service career and was admired across the spectrum of US politics as a man of integrity and a champion of civility.” – Pakistani Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi

McCain-Germany

Seen in Germany …

And there were many, many more … but the one that was missing speaks volumes about the monster in the Oval Office, Donald Trump.  He said not a single word about Senator McCain, though he did interrupt his rant about “Crooked Hillary” long enough to offer pseudo condolences to the family:

“My deepest sympathies and respect go out to the family of Senator John McCain. Our hearts and prayers are with you!” – Donald J. Trump

Not a single word about John McCain, not a single word of praise or compassion. But even that is not the worst.  The worst was yet to come.  Press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders, Chief of Staff John Kelly and other aides in the administration wrote a statement, praising McCain for both his military service and service to his country as a long-term member of Congress.  The statement also referred to him as a ‘hero’, which is appropriate and true.

But Trump refused to allow the statement to be issued, instead insisting that his brief, vacuous Tweet (see above) would serve as the official statement from the administration.  This, my friends, is unacceptable.  This is NOT the way we expect the president to behave!!!  It is the way we expect a five-year-old child who didn’t get his way, who has to be the center of attention to behave.

Other White House officials, instead, released their own statements in tribute to Senator McCain. By Sunday afternoon, the vice president, secretary of state, homeland security secretary, defense secretary, national security adviser, White House press secretary, counselor to the president, education secretary, interior secretary and others had posted statements lauding Senator McCain.

Although President Obama ordered flags to fly at half-mast for five days after the death of Senator Ted Kennedy in 2009, Trump ordered the flags returned to full staff this morning.  The flag at the Capitol Building remains at half-mast. A few days ago, I used this quote:  “Those who want respect, give respect”. Need I say more?

Author Stephen King summed it up nicely, I think …

“John McCain: American patriot, war hero. Donald Trump: Draft-dodging weasel.”

Former Presidents and World leaders are paying tribute to John McCain today, but the son-of-a-bitch who calls himself “president” cannot be bothered, and not only that, but he won’t allow anybody else to, either.  Every person in this nation should be crying tears of shame that we have no person of conscience, no person with an ounce of humility or compassion in the highest office of the nation.  I hang my head in shame and sorrow.

Remembering John McCain

I was writing an email to a friend last night when a ‘breaking news’ update flashed across my screen:  Senator John McCain had died.  Just two days prior, the Senator had announced that he had discontinued his treatment, and I knew then that it was a matter of days, but still, the news stunned me.

Many others by now have written posts dedicated to McCain, and anything I will say has almost certainly already been said by others who said it at least as well as I can.  For that reason, I debated about writing this post, but I felt I had to.  While I may not have agreed with much of his ideology, many of the views he supported, never once did I question his honour or integrity.  I always believed that whatever his view, he believed that what he proposed and supported was for the good of the people he represented, and he understood, as few do, that he represented the entire nation, not just those who voted him into office.

When John McCain was asked, in an interview with Jake Tapper last September, how he would like to be remembered, he responded:

“He served his country. And not always right, made a lot of mistakes, made a lot of errors. But served his country. And I hope, could add, honorably.”

Yes, Senator, I believe we can add ‘honourably’.

John McCain served his country honourably for almost all his adult life in one capacity or another.  He began his military career in 1960 after completing flight school, but his combat career began in 1967, at the height of the Vietnam War.  It was on 26 October 1967 when, while flying his 23rd bombing mission over North Vietnam, his plane was shot down by a missile over Hanoi. McCain fractured both arms and a leg when he ejected from the aircraft, and nearly drowned after he parachuted into Trúc Bạch Lake. Some North Vietnamese pulled him ashore, then others crushed his shoulder with a rifle butt and bayoneted him.McCain-10.jpgSeriously injured, he was shown no mercy by the North Vietnamese, and received daily beatings and interrogations.  In mid-1968, still recovering from his serious injuries, the North Vietnamese offered McCain early release because of who his father was:  commander of all U.S. forces in the Vietnam theater.  McCain refused unless every man taken in before him was also released.  Kept in solitary confinement, McCain was subjected to a program of severe torture. He was bound and beaten every two hours.  After five-and-a-half years, he was finally released on 14 March 1973.

McCain went on to enter politics, serving in both the House of Representatives and later, the Senate.  Since this is a tribute, not a biography, it is not my intent to outline his long service in Congress, but rather merely to note that, while he had the reputation in Congress for being a ‘maverick’, his was often the voice of reason.  He was often the one who reached ‘across the aisle’ to work through compromises, and because of this, in recent years he often came under fire from his own party.  But through it all, McCain followed his conscience, and though he wasn’t always right, he always fought for what he believed was the right thing for the nation and its people.

This nation and every citizen, both republican and democrat alike, lost a friend and an advocate yesterday.  We need more like him, and he will be missed by so many.  Former Presidents George W. Bush and Barack Obama will give the eulogies at McCain’s funeral.  Even in death, he reaches across partisan lines.  You did more than your share here on earth, Senator McCain, and you will be sorely missed.

Two Former Presidents … Voices of Reason

When your ‘enemies’ say things about you, say that you are no good, a liar and a cheat, and call you names, you rather expect it and most of us simply laugh it off.  I have acquired many new monikers during the last 28 months, since that day in June 2015 when I fell off a stool laughing because Donald Trump actually had the gall to throw his hat into the ring of presidential contenders.  But those new names don’t phase me, for they are people who disagree with me and have declared me their enemy.  A few threats have set my teeth on edge, but those are few and far between.  But when your allies and friends start calling you names and saying things about you, then perhaps it is time to take a long, hard look at yourself and ask yourself some tough questions.

The GOP is not exactly a tight-knit, cohesive organization these days, and more and more we are hearing members of Congress and other party officials speak out against Donald Trump.  The latest in this series was former President George W. Bush who yesterday gave an unexpected and rather eloquent speech at a forum for the George W. Bush Institute in New York. If he had said no more than a handful of words, it would have spoken volumes, simply because he is a fellow republican and a former president.

Like Senator John McCain’s speech on Monday evening, Bush did not specifically mention Trump, but his meaning was obvious to all with half a mind.  I will not replicate the entire speech, but merely a few of the most relevant snippets.

  • And we know that when we lose sight of our ideals, it is not democracy that has failed. It is the failure of those charged with preserving and protecting democracy.

  • Bigotry seems emboldened. Our politics seems more vulnerable to conspiracy theories and outright fabrication.

  • We have seen our discourse degraded by casual cruelty. At times, it can seem like the forces pulling us apart are stronger than the forces binding us together. Argument turns too easily into animosity. Disagreement escalates into dehumanization. (Think, “Lyin’ Ted,” “Little Marco,” “Liddle” Bob Corker, “Crooked Hillary,” “Lock her up,” to name but a few)

  • We see a fading confidence in the value of free markets and international trade — forgetting that conflict, instability, and poverty follow in the wake of protectionism.

  • Our country must show resolve and resilience in the face of external attacks on our democracy. And that begins with confronting a new era of cyber threats.

  • According to our intelligence services, the Russian government has made a project of turning Americans against each other. This effort is broad, systematic and stealthy, it’s conducted across a range of social media platforms. Ultimately, this assault won’t succeed. But foreign aggressions — including cyberattacks, disinformation and financial influence — should not be downplayed or tolerated. This is a clear case where the strength of our democracy begins at home. We must secure our electoral infrastructure and protect our electoral system from subversion.

  • This means that people of every race, religion, and ethnicity can be fully and equally American. It means that bigotry or white supremacy in any form is blasphemy against the American creed.

  • We need a renewed emphasis on civic learning in schools. And our young people need positive role models. Bullying and prejudice in our public life sets a national tone, provides permission for cruelty and bigotry, and compromises the moral education of children. The only way to pass along civic values is to first live up to them.

The ones in bold are the ones I find the most relevant, especially the last two.  You can read the entire transcript if you wish.

And, though much lower keyed, President Obama also made some statements this week, while stumping for Democratic gubernatorial candidates in New Jersey and Virginia:

  • What we can’t have is the same old politics of division that we have seen so many times before that dates back centuries. Some of the politics we see now, we thought we put that to bed. That has folks looking 50 years back. It’s the 21st century, not the 19th century. Come on!

  • You can’t take this election or any election for granted. I don’t know if you all noticed that.

For two former presidents to speak out against the policies, actions and behaviours of the sitting president is … unprecedented (pun intended – needed to lighten things up a bit).  That they are doing so speaks loudly that they are concerned for the fate of our democracy and the path that the nation is on.  I concur and I appreciate them using their large, yet elegant and respectful voices to make these points.

It Trickles Up … Not Down!

Trickle-down economics is a theory that says benefits for the wealthy trickle down to everyone else. It is a theory that makes sense … on paper.  In reality, it has been tried more than once and proven that it does not work.  Repeat after me:  Trickle-down economics does not work.  It does not trickle down, but rather pools in the bank accounts and investment portfolios of those who already own most of the nation’s wealth.

economy-8The theory is that if the government provides substantial tax cuts, industry de-regulations, and negotiates trade agreements that favour the big businesses of the nation, those big businesses will earn higher profit margins, and will therefore use their additional wealth to build more factories, hire more people, create more jobs, increase workers’ wages and benefits. The workers will have more money to spend, will buy more ‘things’, thereby increasing the profits of the big businesses who will use that additional profit to … well, you get the picture, right?  Sounds about right, don’t you think?  Yes, it sounds good, looks good on paper or white boards in boardrooms and congressional offices around the nation … but it does not work in reality.

economy-3Ronald Reagan tried it in the 1980s, thus leading to some calling it ‘Reaganomics’.  It did not work.  The U.S. economy was in a slump when Reagan took office in 1981, so he did two things:  lowered taxes and increased government spending.  Now, at this juncture I want to take a minute to let you know that I do not intend to provide a lesson in economics.  I am savvy enough, but I am not an economist, and I typically leave these discussions to fellow-blogger Erik Hare over at Barataria.  But Erik sometimes goes into more depth than is needed, as he IS an economist.  Since I am not, I will put what little explanation I deem necessary in layman’s terms.  So, using an over-simplification to explain what happened under Reagan …

Think of it on a personal level.  You decide you want to enjoy life more, so you cut back your hours, thereby reducing the income from your job.  At the same time, since you want to enjoy life more, you spend more money on such things as dining out, travel and household goods & clothing.  For a while, perhaps, life is great, but then … the homeowner’s insurance comes due, there is a huge auto repair, and your daughter starts college.  Uh-oh … it just caught up with you and now you must take out … loans.  Go further into debt.

This is what happened under Reagan.  He decreased the federal revenue by cutting taxes, increased federal spending in order to stimulate the economy, and for a while there was the illusion that it was working.  People had more money, and spent more, and they were happy.  But … time came to pay the piper and the money wasn’t in the treasury, so our federal debt tripled from $997 billion in 1981 when Reagan took office to $2.85 trillion in 1989 when he left office. Money is a finite resource.  If you rob from Peter to pay Paul, as the saying goes, then soon you will need to rob from somebody else to pay Peter back.  And remember that debt is not free.  Take out a loan for that new car, and you will pay approximately 4.5% in interest.  The federal government must also pay interest on its debt.

Then in 2001, George W. Bush tried the theory once again, cutting income taxes in an effort to stimulate the economy.  Which it did … temporarily, until unemployment began to rise.  So in 2003, he further cut taxes on business.  According to the theory, the tax cuts should have helped people in all income levels. In fact, the opposite occurred. Income inequality worsened. Household income rose 6 percent for the bottom fifth. And 80 percent for the top 1 percent who saw their income triple. Instead of trickling down, it appears that prosperity trickled up.

economy-4

Okay, so we see that it does not work, but why?  I could point you to any number of studies with lots of graphs and charts to show inverse correlations, etc., but we would all be bored.  The bottom line, I firmly believe is multi-fold.  First, tax cuts reduce the revenue of the federal government, meaning that, since our government will almost never cut military spending, it will instead cut funding for social welfare programs, meaning the lowest income families will actually have less spending power.  Second, federal debt will have to increase to cover the deficiencies caused by the tax cuts.  And … here is, perhaps, the biggest reason:  GREED.  Big businesses that benefit from tax cuts are typically corporations who owe their very existence to their stockholders.  They will keep those stockholders happy with higher annual dividends before they consider paying their employees higher wages or increasing benefits, let alone hiring additional staff.  Purchasing additional factories?  Perhaps, but that is not likely to increase jobs significantly, especially with today’s rapidly growing technological advances cutting jobs in many fields.

Now why, you are asking, is Filosofa boring me to tears with all this?  Because, friends, Donald Trump is proposing/planning to go far beyond what either Reagan or Bush did in order to help big businesses, and he is dead wrong.  I won’t expound on the potential outcomes if he is fully successful in pushing his plans, for that is an entire topic in itself.  However, he has already begun with his rollback of certain regulations for which we will pay a terrible price, with no benefit to those who most need it.

Take, for example, what he said last week in a speech in Missouri: “We must reduce the tax rate on American businesses so they keep jobs in America, create jobs in America and compete for workers right here in America — the America we love.” Excuse me, but a large portion of Trump’s own products are manufactured overseas, as I have mentioned in previous posts, and 100% of his daughter, Ivanka’s products are manufactured overseas. Put your money where your mouth is, Trump!

What has Trump done thus far to help businesses see higher profits?  Let us look at a few:

  • He has postponed rules that protect workers from dangerous silica dust and beryllium
  • He has given green lights to the Keystone XL and Dakota Access pipelines, which will help create a few thousand very temporary construction jobs
  • He has pulled out of the Paris climate accord, is seeking to scrap rules against coal-fired power plants and allowed the dumping of coal waste in streams
  • He has claimed credit for the opening of the Corsa coal mine in Pennsylvania, even though the mine opened some two months before Trump was inaugurated
  • He claims to have kept some 1,200 jobs at the Carrier plant in Indiana from being moved to Mexico, but between layoffs and some jobs relocating to Mexico after all, the net number of jobs remaining in the U.S. is around 200

There is more, but this is enough for a wake up call, especially when we look at the cost of some of these moves, especially as pertain to the coal industry and oil pipelines.  Coal companies dumping their waste in streams in their backyard obviously, to those of us with eyes and brains, poses a health threat for the families of those coal miners Trump claims to “love”.  The rollback of regulations against coal-fired power plants and the blatant disregard for the environmental studies surrounding the pipelines is nothing short of criminal negligence and failure to protect the environment and those of us who inhabit this planet.  Add to that, the fact that coal jobs may come back in very small numbers and for a short time, but overall, increased use of cleaner energy substitutes like natural gas, solar and wind have come too far and proven effective both in terms of a cleaner environment and cost-effectiveness to ever take a backseat to fossil fuels again.

economy-6.jpgIn addition, Trump has been applauded by businesses for rolling back or repealing workplace regulations – safety regulations – that were costing businesses billions of dollars annually.  I don’t know about you, but I would rather see OSHA do its job in keeping workers safe than trust businesses to take matters of worker safety into their own hands.

So what’s next on the Trump agenda?  Why, tax cuts for business and industry, of course.  And this brings me, after a circuitous route, but I hope one with some value, to the reason for this post.  Tomorrow, Congress returns from its summer break, and among the first, highest-priority orders of business will be Trump’s budget.  The key feature of said budget, from what I am able to discern, is increased military spending coupled with tax cuts, primarily large tax cuts for corporations.

Cuts in revenue, the result of cutting business taxes, must be offset by either cuts in spending or an increase in costly debt. One of the more egregious items reportedly in Trump’s budget proposal is to cut money for mine safety enforcement and eliminate funding for the Appalachian Regional Commission, which has aided hundreds of coal counties by financing job retraining and social services, helping to cut Appalachia’s poverty rates nearly in half.

economy-7The most recent jobs report shows that job growth is slowing and wage rates are stagnant.  No surprise there, as the job growth rates over the first six months of Trump’s administration were merely a continuation of job growth under Obama.  Slow job growth with stagnant wage rates is not exactly a win-win, and Trump has adamantly argued against a raise in the federal minimum wage.

economy-2The budget debate is just about to begin in Congress, and I expect it to be contentious, especially in light of funding that will be required to help with disaster recovery from Hurricane Harvey.  One thing that is not needed, that will not help We The People, is tax cuts for large corporations and the top 1%.

He Likes Waterboarding … A Lot …

Ah, he has done it again.  Yes, I mean da trumpeter, and yes, he opened his mouth again, and yes it came out stupid … again.  How could it come out otherwise?  If he spoke softly when he uttered his ‘trump-isms’, it might pass relatively unnoticed, but no, he has to YELL to make certain that everybody hears just how stupid he is.  Ah well, so much the better, I suppose.  The topic this time?  Torture.

“What do you think about waterboarding?” Trump asked the crowd. They cheered as he gave his answer: “I like it a lot. I don’t think it’s tough enough.”  Waterboarding was banned by the Bush administration in 2006 as both potentially illegal and ineffective.  In the past, CIA operatives underwent waterboarding as part of their training.  I would suggest, that since Mr. Trump “likes it a lot”, he should have the opportunity to experience it first-hand.

Waterboarding is a form of water torture in which water is poured over a cloth covering the face and breathing passages of an immobilized captive, causing the individual to experience the sensation of drowning. Waterboarding can cause extreme pain, dry drowning, damage to lungs, brain damage from oxygen deprivation, other physical injuries including broken bones due to struggling against restraints, lasting psychological damage, and death.

The U.S. used waterboarding as a form of torture, or ‘enhanced interrogation technique’ on detainees suspected of terrorist activities until the Bush administration banned all torture against detainees in 2006.  In a nutshell, it is so traumatic to the person being tortured that they will say whatever they believe their torturer wants to hear, thus it is an ineffective means for extracting valid and useful information from prisoners.  More importantly, it is illegal in the international community.  All nations that are signatory to the United Nations Convention Against Torture have agreed they are subject to the explicit prohibition on torture under any condition.  That includes the United States.

The United States Supreme Court in Sosa v Alvarez-Machain, said that the Universal Declaration of Human Rights “does not of its own force impose obligations as a matter of international law.” However, the United States has a historical record of regarding waterboarding as a war crime, and has prosecuted individuals for such practice in the past.

In the same speech, Trump uttered another stupid-ism … he compared the Trans-Pacific Partnership, a trade agreement between 12 Pacific-Rim nations, to rape.  Now, this one really has me scratching my head.  While it is true that the TPP has been the subject of some controversy both in the U.S. and other participating nations, and some economists have cited doubts that there is significant long-term benefit, I fail to see the connection between rape and a trade agreement.  The short definition of “rape” is “to seize and take away by force.”  There is no logical connection here, and when Donald Trump attempts to make one, he simply reiterates his ignorance, an ignorance that is becoming harder and harder for even his supporters to ignore.

So yes, Donald Trump likes waterboarding … a lot.  I would bet half of my life savings that little Donnie also loved torturing frogs and tying kittens in weighted sacks before throwing them in a lake when he was a boy.  And Donald Trump has no idea what the word “rape” means, but he understands only that it is an ugly word and thus bandies it about when he wants to put something down.  He also, obviously, does not understand the terms of the TPP and has no interest in learning.  It is simpler for him to merely compare it to rape.  Oh yes, you supporters of Trump … it must be getting harder and harder to justify support of this man who is an embarrassment not only to himself, but to the nation.  He is the proverbial ‘pimple on the ass’ of America.  The time has come to wake up, remove your heads from the sandpit, and see what sort of scum you have been cheering for.