This chapter comes from the 33rd edition of the "Secret Guide to Computers & Tricky Living," copyright by Russ Walter. To read the rest of the book, look at


Our country is run by lawyers, who write & analyze laws requested by politicians, who start wars. Let’s peek at those lawyers, their politicians, and their wars.


Political philosophies

Why do they call it “politics”? Because discussing it gets Aunt Polly ticked.

Conservative’s lament

Conservatives say:

If you’re young and not a liberal, you haven’t got a heart.

But if you’re old and not conservative, you haven’t got a brain!

That quote was attributed to Winston Churchill (Britain’s prime minister during World War 2), but according to his fans, there’s no record he ever said it. That thought was expressed by many people, including a French historian in the 1800’s. I call it the Conservative’s lament.

The lament is correct. Young people, forever optimistic, believe that the world will be a beautiful place if you treat everybody kindly and liberally. Old people, who’ve been mugged and cheated by many “nice-looking” people, become cynical.


When President Jimmy Carter and I were young, we both believed the Soviets would treat the rest of the world kindly if the rest of the world would treat them kindly. But then the Soviets, without provocation, invaded Afghanistan. I was disillusioned, and Jimmy Carter was voted out of office.

When I was young, I believed that all people who claimed to be poor should be given generous welfare benefits. But after I chatted with many welfare recipients who used their money to eat in fancy restaurants, buy drugs, and visit prostitutes, I grew more cynical about the needs of the “needy.” Sure, there are members of society who are truly desperate and do need welfare money; and sure, the rich have a moral obligation to give large sums of money to the truly needy poor. But when I see the large percentage of welfare recipients who abuse and even laugh at the system, I want to cry.

When the governor of Alabama, George Wallace, was young, he ran for office on a platform of being nice to blacks. He even kissed black babies. He lost the race. Then he changed his tune, became a cynical anti-black segregationist, ran for office again, and — because he was a cynical segregationist — won! Although I don’t recommend imitating him (since segregation is immoral), his life proves one point: cynicism pays.

Why Democrats make me smile

Democrats tend to be liberal, and Republicans tend to be conservative. But what is “liberal,” and what is “conservative”? What’s the difference?

The answer used to be simple:

Republicans were rich.

Democrats were poor.

Republicans were conservative, to preserve their wealth and status.

Democrats were wild, because they wanted to change their status.

In 1974, Representative Craig Hosmer (Republican from California) published a funny list of those differences in the Congressional Record. He got it from a source that wished to remain anonymous. Several people tried updating (or censoring) that list (especially Rowland Nethaway, senior editor of the Waco Texas Tribune-Herald, in 1998). Here’s my own attempt to update that list further:

Republicans raise dahlias, Dalmatians, and eyebrows.

Democrats raise hell, kids, and taxes.

Republicans employ exterminators.

Democrats step on the bugs.

Republicans go fishing on their boats.

Democrats stay fishing at the docks.

Democrats eat the fish they catch.

Republicans hang them on the wall.

Republicans grab financial pages and love them.

Democrats grab financial pages and shove them — into bird cages.

Republicans consume ¾ of all rutabaga produced in this country.

Democrats throw out the rest.

Republicans follow the plans their grandfathers made.

Democrats make up their own plans — but ignore them.

Democrats take individual delight in reading banned books.

Republicans form censorship committees to read those books as groups.

Democrats give their worn-out clothes to the less fortunate.

So do Republicans, who are smarter and take the tax deduction.

The junk along the road was thrown from car windows by Democrats,

but can’t be seen by Republicans from the back of their limos.

Democrats name their kids after athletes, entertainers, and politicians.

Republicans name their kids after the richest ancestors.

Republicans close their curtains at night — but needn’t bother.

Democrats leave their curtains open — to amuse Republicans.

Republican boys date Democrat girls.

They plan to marry Republican girls but feel entitled to a little fun first.

Republicans sleep in twin beds, often in separate rooms.

That’s why there are more Democrats.

But recently, it’s become less true that most Republicans are rich and most Democrats are poor. To predict how a person will vote, don’t ask about the person’s income; instead, ask about church attendance: Protestant “churchgoers” (who attend church at least once a week) tend to vote Republican.

Researchers recently discovered an even more accurate way to determine who’ll vote Republican: ask what kind of God the voter believes in. If the voter believes God is vengeful (punishes sinners and other “bad people”), the voter will probably vote Republican; if the voter believes God is forgiving (like Jesus) or laissez-faire (he created the world but then left it alone), the voter will probably vote Democrat.

According to Democrat analysts, Republicans believe government should be like a stern father (tough police enforcement) while Democrats believe government should be like a loving mother (kind to the helpless). Why can’t we have both?

It’s fun to be extreme. The ultimate Republican male would say to his daughter:

What? You’re pregnant! No, you’re not going to have an abortion! I forbid it. You’re going to keep that baby for the rest of your life and suffer for it. Your life will be tough, miserable. That’ll teach you not to be the irresponsible woman you are!

The ultimate Democrat female would say to a jailbird:

What? You’re a mass murderer and killed 200 people? I feel sorry for you. You must have had bad parents, a bad upbringing, bad friends. You got cheated out of learning how to have a good life. The rest of your life will be full of pain. I feel sad for you. Let me pat you on the back. Let me hug you. Here, have a cookie.

Left-right issues

American voters have been arguing about the following issues recently.

Income inequality Should the rich pay higher taxes? Leftists say yes, are called progressive taxers, and say:

The rich should be nicer to the poor. The rich should offer to donate to the poor, but some rich folks are stingy and should be required to donate; the simplest way to do that is to charge them higher taxes.

Karl Marx said the perfect society would act as a friendly team: each person would contribute as much as able, and each person would receive as much as needed, so wealth should be distributed more equally.

Though some people got rich by working hard, others got rich just by luck (in gambling or the stock market, or by being born to rich parents, or by being born to parents that provided a good education, or by being in the right place at the right time with the right idea about how to make money). Other folks had worse luck, perhaps because of medical bills, and should get help from the government, paid for by contributions from the lucky.

Rightists say no, are called flat taxers, and say:

If you tax the rich too heavily, people won’t try to get rich, so people won’t be motivated to work hard. They’ll become lazy bums looking for government handouts.

The Bible says each person should be taxed at a flat 10%, or maybe even 24%, but not more. If the government takes most of your money, why bother earning it?

Get the government off our backs, so we can have the freedom and independence our Constitution promised us.

A simple, flat tax, where everybody pays the same percentage of income, is a great idea and fair. Charity beyond that should be voluntary, not a requirement. High praise for giving to charity will encourage the rich to give more, so they become truly moral people.

Minimum wage Should the minimum wage be increased a lot? Leftists say yes:

A person who works a full 40 hours per week responsibly should be paid enough to survive: that’s called a “living wage.” A parent should be able to earn enough, by working 40 hours per week, to pay the living costs for the parent’s family of 4 (the parent and 2 kids and the spouse who manages the kids & household).

The current federal minimum wage (which in 2016 is still just $7.25 per hour) is too low to handle that. In expensive cities such as New York City, you need at least $15 per hour to support a family of 4 (yourself, 2 kids, and a caretaker spouse), unless you work a lot more than 40 hours per week, but that’s inhuman! God said everybody deserves at least 1 day of the week for rest.

Raising the minimum wage will help the economy, because a higher minimum wage will give workers more money to spend, so sales will increase. Raising the minimum wage will also reduce the need to give workers welfare money and food stamps. It’s better to let workers earn a living wage than charge taxpayers to give workers welfare handouts.

Rightists say no:

If you raise the minimum wage, companies can’t afford paying that wage, so companies will hire fewer workers and try to rely on machines instead. The workers you’re trying to help will wind up unemployed instead.

Not all companies are rich enough to pay everybody high. Many companies are small, run by entrepreneurs who’ll go bankrupt if their costs skyrocket. Raising the minimum wage will put many small companies out of business. Some big companies, too!

If you raise the bottom employees to $15 per hour, all other employees will want raises also, since they’re better than the bottom. Your payroll costs will rise through the roof. Companies will have to raise prices to compensate. Higher prices cause inflation. Inflation means the money that retirees saved will be worth less.

It’s best to let companies be flexible about how much to pay. For example, if you’re a kid who never had a job before, a company might be quite willing to give you your first job at a low starting pay but with a promise to pay you higher when you get good, as the company trains you how to improve. If the company is forced instead to pay you a high minimum wage, the company will decide you’re not worth that much yet, so the computer won’t hire you at all and won’t train you. A company should have the right to pay trainees less than regular workers, since trainees get free training from the company.

Some of you leftists are willing to “compromise” by saying trainees can get paid less than minimum wage if the trainees are called “interns,” but then you create a bureaucratic nightmare by creating complicated hoops the company must go through to prove somebody’s an “intern.” Just get off our backs and let us companies pay people what they deserve to earn. If a worker does well, we’ll pay the worker more, partly to show appreciation and partly to prevent the worker from jumping to another company that pays more.

If the worker needs more cash, the worker can hold 2 or 3 part-time jobs simultaneously for a little while, until the worker gets skilled enough to earn higher pay. Holding several jobs simultaneously gives the worker a chance to try several careers to see which career is the best match.

The federal government can’t create a high minimum wage that’s fair in all regions. The cost of living in New York City is quite different than living in a rural area, where a “living wage” is much less. Let each city create its own minimum wage, rather than have the federal government treat the whole country as a single blob. Better yet, don’t have any minimum wage at all!

Unions Should union membership be encouraged? Leftists say yes, are called pro-union, and say:

Workers should have the right to band together to form unions. The Constitution guarantees the right to free assembly & free speech. Unions can confront stingy bosses to demand higher pay & better working conditions & benefits.

In many companies, if workers don’t unionize to complain, the management continues to do evil. A solo worker who complains about working conditions might get fired for being a nuisance, but an organized union complaining about working conditions can force managers to be nice, by threatening a strike that would shut down the company and hurt the managers too.

Unions are necessary, to balance the power between workers & employers.

Suppose most of a company’s workers join a union that achieves better benefits for all workers. The workers who haven’t joined the union should be required to help pay for the union’s management, by being forced to either join the union or pay a fee to the union, for services rendered.

Rightists say no, are called right-to-work supporters (and union-busters), and say:

In many unions, membership dues are too high and go straight to the pockets of the union’s managers, who are assholes that love fighting against the company’s owners instead of peacefully negotiating a deal that pleases everybody.

Forcing all employees to join such a union and pay union dues & fees is effectively putting an unwanted tax on all employees. Instead of forming an expensive union to threaten the company’s owners, a bunch of employees should first go together, as a group, to the owners to air grievances humbly, before getting into a unionized shouting match.

Employees should have the right to not join a union and not bribe the union’s managers to start fights. That’s called “right to work.” It’s also called freedom!


Immigration Should the government be kinder to immigrants? Leftists say yes:

This country was founded by immigrants. We’re all either immigrants or descended from immigrants, unless you’re a pure Native American. We should treat immigrants as nicely as we were treated in our own lives.

Immigrants who snuck into this country did so because life was unbearable in the countries they came from. If you lived in one of those countries, you’d probably try to sneak into this country too.

Some immigrants were dragged here when they were little kids, by their parents. Those kids grew up here; America is their home. If you throw them out, they’ll have an unreasonably tough time adjusting back to the countries they came from.

If a kid was born in the U.S., the kid’s legally an American citizen. If the kid’s parents snuck to the U.S., it’s unreasonable to send the parents back to their old countries and have the kid get put in a foster home here, at government expense. It’s more reasonable to let the parents stay here to take care of the kid.

In some families, the grandparents, parents, and kids all have different legal statuses from each other, because of the peculiarities of U.S. immigration laws. It’s unreasonable to split up those families.

Anyway, our government doesn’t have enough time & money to chase the 11 million illegal immigrants onto busses & planes and transport them all back to their original countries. It’s cheaper to let the illegal immigrants stay here, make them pay taxes, and make them get drivers licenses if they try to drive.

Some immigrants came here legally but then overstayed their visas because they love this country so much. Must we be so mean to people who love us? Taxing them should be enough.

Rightists say no:

This country was founded on the basis of laws. If people break laws, they should be arrested. If we don’t arrest illegal immigrants, many more illegal immigrants will come; then the problems of dealing with immigrants will just increase. We must stop this madness now.

Some immigrants come here to get free schooling & housing & better jobs, but they hide in the underground economy and don’t contribute any taxes to pay for the benefits they receive.

Most of our ancestors came here legally. The new immigrants should do the same. It’s unfair that some immigrants snuck in while the better immigrants tried to go through the legal process, had to wait a long time because of paperwork and quotas, then got rejected for reasons that weren’t their fault. Maybe increase the quotas a bit for legal immigrants, but don’t let in hordes of potential criminals & terrorists & tax cheaters & welfare burdens. We can’t afford it.

If you let in too many immigrants, they’ll start by taking low-paying jobs, so fewer jobs will be left for poor Americans, who’ll become even poorer.

Trade Should cheap imports from other countries be stopped? Leftists say yes, are called protectionist, and say:

Discount retailers, such as Walmart, get too many of their supplies from China, Vietnam, and other countries. Walmart should be more patriotic and buy more American-made goods instead!

American farmers & factory workers want to sell their products to Walmart but face unfair competition from other countries, where wages are shamefully lower, working conditions are unfair & hellish, and products are made in ways that are unsanitary & bad for the environment. Unfair competition from other countries drives American wages down, causes American factories to move to other countries, and makes American workers unemployed.

Stop buying foreign crap!

Rightists say no, are called free-traders, and say:

We should keep buying from other countries.

If we buy less from other countries, those countries will retaliate by creating their own taxes & tariffs & trade barriers to prevent their citizens from buying from us. Then we’ll have a harder time exporting what we make here, so American workers will be worse off.

If American workers want to be paid more than foreign workers, American workers must learn how to produce goods that have higher quality.

We should think internationally: competitive trade makes the whole world a better place. Trading freely with other countries makes those countries like us, so we don’t have to spend so much on our military & war. Happy trading makes friends. Friends become tourists. Tourists pay us money. Win-win.

Military Should the U.S. shrink its military? Leftists say yes, are called doves (and peaceniks), and say:

We should spend less money on creating wars. Spend more on education and other human services instead.

If two countries are fighting each other, we can offer to help the good guys, but we shouldn’t get involved heavily. If we try to act as the world’s policeman, people around the world will think we’re just bullies, hate us even more, and start more wars against what we stand for.

Give peace a chance. Negotiate. Use diplomacy. Try harder to find clever ways to please both sides of conflicts. Lead by example: show the benefits of peace.

Sure, we need to defend ourselves, but let the U.N. handle international crises. That’s what the U.N. is for.

Rightists say no, are called hawks (and war mongers), and say:

If we don’t have a strong military, you’ll be very sorry, because there are lots of bad guys who’ll find any opening to blast at us. Look at 9/11. Look at Paris. If we’d bombed the hell out of the jihadists, they wouldn’t have grown into the terrorist nightmare they’ve become.

Get real. The world is not a peaceful place. As long as there are nutcases willing to start wars, it’s our responsibility to destroy them before they destroy us.

The U.N. is mostly useless. Whenever a bad guy does something and the U.N. votes on how to react, the U.N. usually votes to do nothing, because either the security council or the general U.N. membership has enough objectors to block any action beyond giving cute speeches or a token slap on the wrist. If we want something definitive accomplished, we must do it ourselves and bypass the U.N.

Guns Should guns be limited to just the police & military? Leftists say yes:

Guns are too dangerous and should be banned. Too many people die from homicides & suicides caused by guns.

Background checks are inadequate to prevent bad guys from getting guns, so all guns should be turned in, no guns sold.

Rightists say no:

People should be allowed to keep guns, especially in rural areas, for several reasons: to hunt animals for food, kill animals who are dangerous, protect homes against burglars, protect pedestrians against robbers, and protect women against rapists.

Police can’t get to danger spots fast enough to stop the bad guys, so we citizens must have the right to protect ourselves. The Constitution’s 2nd amendment gives us the right to bear arms.

If gun ownership is made criminal, then just criminals will have guns, and the world will be more dangerous. If good guys can keep guns, criminals will think twice before attacking good guys who might have guns.

People who are mentally ill should get therapy, which is more effective than laws trying to restrict everybody.

Anyway, eliminating guns is impossible, since smugglers will just import guns from other places and sell them to all the bad guys here.

Marijuana Should selling & smoking marijuana be legal? Leftists say yes:

Marijuana is a helpful tool, prescribed by wise doctors to reduce chronic pain. Like alcohol, marijuana should be permitted if used in moderation by adults.

Smoking marijuana is perhaps less harmful to your body than smoking tobacco and eating foods that are high in saturated fat, such as bacon. Since adults are allowed to smoke tobacco and eat bacon, adults should be allowed to also moderately smoke marijuana, to be consistent.

By legalizing marijuana, with moderate controls and tracking of who’s selling it, we can stop the gun-toting criminal business that scares law-abiding citizens.


Rightists say no:

Marijuana is a gateway drug to heroin and cocaine. People who get in the habit or smoking marijuana are more likely to “graduate” to heroin and cocaine, to get a higher high, then get themselves into legal & medical trouble and a life of gun-toting crime. We should stop adults & kids from getting hooked on marijuana, an addiction that leads to dangerous escalation. The government should protect the innocent from getting hooked on bad habits.

Marijuana prevents the brain from thinking clearly. If you use marijuana before driving a car or operating machinery, you increase your chance of causing an accident. If you use marijuana before thinking, you increase your chance of saying something stupid that can haunt your life forever.

Marijuana is potentially much more deadly than alcohol, because the effects of marijuana haven’t been studied as thoroughly yet.

Don’t risk your life. Don’t put our society at risk. Don’t use or permit marijuana.

If you need a pain killer, get it from a doctor prescribing a tiny dose of a pain pill; don’t take marijuana, whose potency can vary dangerously.

If you smoke marijuana, your non-inhaling neighbors will complain: they don’t like the smell, and they should have the right to not be subjected to it. Many places have laws against smoking tobacco in public places; legalizing marijuana will mean creating new laws against smoking marijuana in public places. We don’t want even more laws, do we?

Abortion Should abortions be allowed? Leftists say yes, are called pro-choice, and say:

A woman should be allowed to choose what happens to her body and what’s inside it. The government should keep its hands off a woman’s body.

Prohibiting abortion discriminates against women.

Although late-term abortions are disgusting and repulsive, sometimes they’re needed to save the mother’s life & sanity and prevent the birth of a baby who wouldn’t be cared for enough. If a woman gets pregnant, abortion should be permitted at least in the first few weeks, when the fetus is just a few cells, has no personality yet, and isn’t truly a person. If the woman got pregnant because she got raped or drunk or was just plain stupid or had an accident, she shouldn’t have to suffer though many years of a motherhood she wasn’t prepared for.

Rightists say no, are called pro-life, and say:

Abortion is murder. It’s murdering a human. When an egg meets a sperm, it becomes a person. The Bible says it’s wrong to murder the innocent. The Bible says we should be kind to the helpless, not murder them.

If abortion is allowed, kids & adults will have sex too freely, knowing they can just kill the baby.

If it’s okay to kill an innocent baby, how about a toddler, or a schoolkid, or an adult? Where will the killing stop? We should stop the killing immediately, as soon as the egg meets the sperm.

If the woman doesn’t want the baby, she can put it up for adoption. She shouldn’t just kill it.

Gay marriage Should gay marriage be legal? Leftists say yes:

If two people love each other, they should be able to live together and express their love to each other.

People whose hormones or backgrounds make them gay shouldn’t be discriminated against. The Constitution protects freedom of expression.

The most complete person would be able to love everybody, be bisexual, and choose a favorite to be married to, without government nagging to love differently.

Rightists say no:

The Bible says marriage is between a man and a woman. Marriage should stay that way, as God said.

The Constitution was written with just male-female relationships in mind. If we make it too easy to get married, people will marry their friends just to get tax breaks and dishonest medical benefits for “spouses.”

Gay sex is disgusting, leads to AIDS, and should be stopped before we good Christians all vomit.

Religious symbols Should religious symbols be removed from public property? Leftists say yes:

The United States is supposed to be a melting pot that accepts people from all different religions, and the Constitution guarantees religious freedom. Muslims, Hindus, atheists, and other non-Christians shouldn’t be forced to pay taxes to fund Christian symbols.

Government buildings and government-funded parks should avoid religious displays, since people entering feel those displays intimidate them to switch religions. Those displays discriminate against people with different religions; religious discrimination is illegal. Religious symbols should be displayed just on religious properties and at homes of religious people.

Religious symbols should be avoided at companies unless all prospective employees & customers have the same religion, which is unlikely. Displaying symbols from a variety of religions might be okay in some museums and art collections, but that risks intimidating people whose religions aren’t included.

Rightists say no:

This country was founded by God-fearing Christians. References to the Christian God appear throughout our Constitution and laws. I swear to tell the truth “so help me God.” Christmas is a federal holiday, and no reasonable person wants to change that.

The Constitution guarantees the right to express yourself, and that includes the right to express your religion. Showing a picture of Jesus is less offensive than what some kids wear nowadays. You anti-religious people, get off our backs!

We all agree we should all be moral & ethical. Religious symbols encourage people to be moral & ethical. Gentle religions make the world a better place and should be encouraged.

If you disagree with our particular religious symbol, we hope you’re adult enough to realize our underlying intention is sound. We respect your right to feel differently about religious details, but we hope you’re adult enough to respect our own right to express the love that Jesus tried to give the world.

Other issues Here are other issues to argue about:

                                                                                             Left  Right

Should companies who hurt the environment pay bigger fines? yes     no

Should the government provide & require health insurance?  yes     no

Should we keep the fancy tax system (breaks & penalties)?   yes     no

Should governments make college be free, like high school? yes     no

Should governments provide free daycare & preschool?        yes     no

Should private schools be ineligible for government funds?   yes     no

Are donkeys nicer than elephants?                                         yes     no

Lament by Adler & Stevenson

In 1929, Alfred Adler (the Austrian psychotherapist) wrote:

It’s always easier to fight for one’s principles than to live up to them.

In 1952, that quote was repeated in a speech by Adlai Stevenson (the brilliant egghead Democrat who ran for president against Eisenhower but lost).

3 keys to success

Lorne Michaels invented the Saturday Night Live TV show. He said (on page 111 of the May 2, 2016 issue of Time magazine:

In politics, as in show business, you need 3 things to be successful:

talent, discipline, and luck.

Canada’s prime minister, Justin Trudeau, clearly has the first 2. I wish him luck.

That list of 3 requirements is so true! Many politicians and entertainers have exciting raw talent, but to be truly successful you must also discipline yourself (by studying hard, practicing, and keeping focused) and also have good luck, unlike Al Gore, who almost became President in the year 2000’s Presidential election: he got 543,895 more American votes than George W. Bush but lost the election anyway, just because 537 voting cards weren’t punched clearly in Florida, a swing state critical to Electoral College counting.

Cynical slogans

In the 1800’s, famous for corruption, this cynical slogan arose:

Vote early. Vote often.

Modern politicians follow 4 strategies:

Stand up for your principles — and to succeed, change them.

Speak decisively but without deciding anything.

To win the middle, embrace Joe Six-Pack. He has a big middle.

If you vote for what’s right, you won’t be left in the race.

Modern candidates urge the public:

Don’t vote for who’s right. Vote for who’ll win!

Protest with your heart, but vote with your brain.

Folks fought for your freedom, but don’t freely use freedom in ways we don’t like!

If you don’t vote, you can’t complain — but if you vote unwisely, we’ll complain about you!

Republican language

Republicans appeal to voters by changing the jargon. Here’s how the typical voter responds, according to Frank Luntz (a Republican pollster and spin doctor) and
Eric Effron (managing editor of The Week):

The voter doesn’t mind an “estate tax” but opposes it when called a “death tax.”

The voter is unsure about “tort reform” but favors it when called “ending lawsuit abuse.”

The voter is against “global warming” but accepts it when called “climate change.”

The voter is against “government eavesdropping” but accepts it when called “electronic intercepts.”

The voter is against “torture” but accepts it when called “aggressive interrogation techniques.”

The voter is against the U.S. starting an “invasion” but accepts it when called a “liberation.”

The voter is against war’s “escalation” but accepts it when called “troop surge.”

The voter is against war’s “civilian casualties” but accepts them when called “collateral damage.”

The voter is against the U.S. being an “occupying power” but accepts it when called a “coalition partner.”

The voter is against a U.S. “retreat” but accepts it when called a “phased troop redeployment.”

The voter is worried about “civil war” but less worried about it when called “sectarian strife.”

According to Mark Kleiman (a Democrat who’s a public-policy professor at UCLA) and his friends, here’s how Republicans redefine political terms:

Political term                 Republican definition

laziness                              when the poor aren’t working

leisure time                        when the rich aren’t working

growth                               justification for tax cuts for the rich

simplify                             reduce (especially the taxes of Republican donors)

compassionate conservatism poignant concern for the very wealthy

bankruptcy                        a means of escaping debt, available to corporations but not poor people

ownership society              civilization where just the owners have power

class warfare                      any attempt to raise the minimum wage

alternative energy sources  new places to drill for gas and oil

healthy forest                     no tree left behind

climate change                   progress toward the blessed day when blue states are swallowed by oceans

voter fraud                         a significant minority turnout

honesty                              lies told in simple declarative sentences, such as “Freedom is on the march.”

stuff happens                     I don’t have to live in Baghdad

stay the course                   continue to perform the same actions and expect different results

pro-life                              valuing human life up until birth

woman                              a person trusted to raise a child but not to decide whether to have one

No Child Left Behind         ensuring that stupid kids learn enough to get jobs in the military

creation science                  theory that Bush’s resemblance to a chimpanzee is just coincidental

Patriot Act                          preemptive strike on American freedoms, to prevent terrorists from
                                          destroying them first


Republicans fear that the year 2029 will have these headlines:

Ozone from electric cars kills millions in 7th largest country, Mexifornia, formerly called California. White minorities still try to get English recognized as Mexifornia’s 3rd language.

Castro dies at age 112. Cuban cigars can now be imported legally, but President Chelsea Clinton has banned all smoking.

Baby conceived naturally; scientists stumped. Couple petitions court to reinstate heterosexual marriage.

Spotted-owl plague threatens Northwest crops and livestock. France pleads for global help after being taken over by Jamaica. New federal law requires registering all nail clippers, screwdrivers, fly swatters, and rolled-up newspapers. Postal Service raises price of 1st-class stamp to $17.89 and reduces mail delivery to just Wednesdays. IRS sets lowest tax rate at 75%. 85-year 75-billion-dollar study says diet & exercise are keys to weight loss. Supreme Court decides:  punishing criminals violates their civil rights. Massachusetts executes last remaining conservative.


The Internet says the government’s decided to change the national emblem from an eagle to a condom, which more accurately reflects the government’s political stance:

It permits inflation, halts production, destroys the next generation, protects a bunch of pricks, and gives you a sense of security while you’re actually being screwed.


Presidents we’ve had

Have we been had?

Obama’s good point

People are amazed that President Obama is our first multiracial president. But I’m more amazed at something else: he’s the first president who’s a caring, candid intellectual. Some other presidents have been caring, some have been candid, some have been intellectual, but Obama is the first president that has all 3 qualities simultaneously.

I don’t agree with all his decisions, but I like his style of getting there.

Bush the younger

Let’s look back at George W. Bush. We journalists were thrilled when he became president, because he gave us somebody to make fun of!

Imitated Carson Here’s why America voted for George W. Bush and made him president: he resembled Johnny Carson. Like Johnny Carson, Bush smiled and was a semi-intellectual affable joker.

That’s what America wanted in a president: a talk-show host who smiled. That’s what America got. But after 8 years, America got tired of seeing the same old smiles and changed channels.

But he’s ba-a-a-a-ck… reincarnated in a new body, called “Trump.” Still a talk-show host who smiles… but now infused by the devil’s scornful yell.

Bush outsourced While Bush was president, this news flash appeared on the Internet:

Congress announced the Presidency will be outsourced to India. The move’s being made to save the president’s $400,000 yearly salary and the record 521 billion dollars in deficit expenditures and related overhead the office incurred during the last 5 years.

Mr. Bush was told by e-mail of his termination.

The office of president will be assumed by Mr. Gurvinder Singh of Indus Teleservices, Mumbai, India. He’s eligible for the Presidency because he was born in the U.S. while his Indian parents vacationed at Niagara Falls.

Singh’s future

He’ll be paid $320 a month but no health coverage or other benefits.

Because of the time difference between the U.S. and India, he’ll work mainly at night, when most U.S. government offices are closed; but he can handle the job without support staff. He said, “Working nights will let me keep my day job at the American Express call center.”

Singh isn’t fully aware of all presidential issues; but that’s okay, since Bush wasn’t familiar with them either. Singh will rely on a script that lets him respond to most topics. Using those canned responses, he can address common concerns without understanding the underlying issues. A spokesman said, “We know those scripts work. President Bush used them successfully for years.”

Singh might have difficulty producing a Texas drawl; but Bush recently abandoned that “down home” persona anyway, to appear more intelligent.

Bush was given the outplacement services of Manpower, Inc. to help him write a résumé and prepare for his next job. According to Manpower, Bush might have difficulty securing a new position, since his practical work experience is limited. A greeter position at Walmart was suggested because of his extensive hand-shaking experience and phony smile.

Bush the elder

Which President was the nicest? Maybe George H.W. Bush.

Reagan picked him to be Vice President. After Reagan, George became the next President but lasted just one term, because in 1992 he was beaten by Bill Clinton. On Bill’s inauguration day (January 20, 1993), George had to step down but handwrote, on White House stationery, a very nice letter to Bill. Here it is (edited slightly by me):

Jan. 20, 1993

Dear Bill,

When I walked into this office just now, I felt the same sense of wonder & respect I felt 4 years ago. I know you’ll feel that too.

I wish you great happiness here. I never felt the loneliness some Presidents have described.

There will be very tough times, made even more difficult by criticism you may not think fair. I’m not a very good one to give advice, but just don’t let the critics discourage you or push you off course.

You’ll be our President when you read this note. I wish you well. I wish your family well.

Your success now is our country’s success. I’m rooting hard for you.

Good luck —                           George

Grading the presidents

Of all the U.S. presidents, who was the best? Who was the worst? Occasionally, surveys were taken of scholars (historians and other analysts), to get their opinions. The scholars were asked to rank all the presidents, from best to worst.

Details of 18 surveys are at:

Here’s my summary of the 5 most important surveys. They were done in 2005, 2009, 2010, and 2014. For each survey, I translated the rankings into letter grades: the 3 top presidents got A+, the 3 bottom presidents got F-, the middle-ranked Presidents got C, and the other presidents got grades that are in-between:

                                            2005    2009   2010    2010   2014

President                 Party   WSJ     CS        Siena  USPC   APSA   Av.

  1. George Washington  none  A+        A+        A          A+        A+        A+

  2. John Adams           Fed    B           B-         B-         B          B-         B-

  3. Thomas Jefferson   D-R   A          A-         A          A          A          A

  4. James Madison      D-R   C+         C+        A          B-         B          B

  5. James Monroe       D-R   B-         B          A-         B          B-         B

  6. John Quincy Adams  D-R   D+        C+         C+        C           C          C

  7. Andrew Jackson     Dem  B+         B          B           B+        A-         B+

  8. Martin Van Buren  Dem  D+        D          C           D          C-         D+

  9. William Henry Harrison  Whig              F           F+                      F           F

10. John Tyler              Whig F+         F+         F+         F           F+         F+

11. James Polk            Dem  B+         B          B+         B-         C+        B

12. Zachary Taylor       Whig F+         D          D-         F+         D-         D-

13. Millard Fillmore    Whig F           F           F           F           F+         F

14. Franklin Pierce       Dem  F-          F-         F           F-         F           F-

15. James Buchanan    Dem  F-          F-         F-          F-         F-         F-

16. Abraham Lincoln   Rep   A+        A+        A+        A+        A+        A+

17. Andrew Johnson    Dem  F           F-         F-          F           F-         F-

18. Ulysses Grant        Rep   D          C-         C-         D          D+        D+

19. Rutherford Hayes   Rep   C-         D-         D          D-         D          D

20. James Garfield        Rep                D+        D+                     D          D+

21. Chester Arthur       Rep   D+        D          C-         D-         D-         D

22 & 24. Grover Cleveland Dem  B          C          C+         C          C           C+

23. Benjamin Harrison Rep   D-         D+        D-         F+         D+        D

24. William McKinley Rep   B-         B-         C           C+        C          C+

26. Theodore Roosevelt  Rep    A          A          A+        A          A          A

27. William Howard Taft Rep    C          C           C-         D+        C+        C

28. Woodrow Wilson   Dem  B+         A-         A-         A          B+        A-

29. Warren Harding     Rep   F-          F           F-          F-         F-         F-

30. Calvin Coolidge     Rep   C-         D+        D+        D          D+        D+

31. Herbert Hoover     Rep   D-         F+         F+         D+        F           D-

32. Franklin Roosevelt Dem  A+        A+        A+        A+        A+        A+

33. Harry Truman       Dem  A-         A          A-         A-         A          A-

34. Dwight Eisenhower  Rep    A-         A-         B+        B+         A-         A-

35. John Kennedy       Dem  B-         A          B+         B-         B          B

36. Lyndon Johnson    Dem  C+         B+        B-         B          B+        B

37. Richard Nixon       Rep   D-         D+        D          C-         D-         D

38. Gerald Ford           Rep   D          C          D+        C-         C-         C-

39. Jimmy Carter         Dem  F+         C-         D-         C+        C-         D+

40. Ronald Reagan      Rep   A-         B+        C+         B+        B+        B+

41. George H.W. Bush Rep   C           C+        C           C-         B-         C

42. Bill Clinton            Dem  C-         B-         B           C          A-         B-

43. George W. Bush     Rep   C+?       F+         F           D-         F+         D-

44. Barack Obama       Dem                            B-?        A-?       C+?       B

The rightmost column shows the average of the 5 surveys.

Here’s a summary of the rightmost column:

      Which presidents got that average

A+  George Washington, Abraham Lincoln, Franklin Roosevelt

A    Thomas Jefferson, Theodore Roosevelt

A-  Woodrow Wilson, Harry Truman, Dwight Eisenhower

B+  Andrew Jackson, Ronald Reagan

B    James Madison, James Monroe, James Polk, John Kennedy, Lyndon Johnson, Barack Obama

B-   John Adams, Bill Clinton

C+  Grover Cleveland, William McKinley

C    John Quincy Adams, William Howard Taft, George H.W. Bush

C-   Gerald Ford

D+  Martin Van Buren, Ulysses Grant, James Garfield, Calvin Coolidge

D    Rutherford Hayes, Chester Arthur, Benjamin Harrison, Richard Nixon

D-  Zachary Taylor, Herbert Hoover, George W. Bush

F+  John Tyler

F    William Henry Harrison, Millard Fillmore

F-   Franklin Pierce, James Buchanan, Andrew Johnson, Warren Harding


Here are more details about the surveys:

In 2005, The Wall Street Journal (WSJ), working with James Lindgren of Northwestern U. Law School and the Federalist Society, surveyed 78 scholars (30 historians, 25 political scientists, and 23 law professors) and told them to judge each president on 2 factors: “his presidency’s accomplishments” and the “leadership he provided the nation.” It tried to give equal weight to conservative scholars and liberal scholars. For example, Republican-leaning scholars thought George W. Bush was A-, but Democrat-leaning scholars thought he was F+, so his grade is a compromise: C+.

In 2009, C-SPAN (CS) surveyed 65 scholars (historians and other professional presidential analysts) and told them to judge each president on 10 factors: international relations, economic management, crisis leadership, administrative skills, relations with Congress, public persuasion, moral authority, agenda-setting vision, pursued equal justice for all, and performance within context of times.

In 2010, Siena College (a Catholic College in Loudonville NY) surveyed 238 scholars and told them to judge each president on 20 factors: foreign-policy accomplishments, domestic accomplishments, handling the economy, executive appointments, court appointments, relationship with Congress, ability to compromise, willingness to take risks, communication ability, leadership ability, executive ability, overall ability, intelligence, avoiding crucial mistakes, integrity, imagination, party leadership, background, luck, and overall impression.

In 2010, the United States Presidency Centre (USPC) at the University of London surveyed 47 British specialists in U.S. history & politics and told them to judge each president on 5 factors: foreign-policy leadership, domestic leadership, moral authority, agenda-setting vision, and historical significance. The results were published in 2011.

In 2014, the American Political Science Association (APSA) surveyed 162 members of its Presidents & Executive Politics section. The results were published in 2015.

Here are more comments about the presidents:

Brief presidents William Henry Harrison and Garfield were presidents just briefly. (William Henry Harrison was president just 31 days until he died of pneumonia. Garfield was president just 200 days because he was shot.) Because there wasn’t much data about them, WSJ and USPS didn’t grade them.

Lincoln era Lincoln gets A+. The presidents before him (Fillmore & Pierce & Buchanan) get F or F- because their incompetence led to Civil War — though as Kennedy pointed out, don’t be so quick to criticize Buchanan until you thoroughly understand what dilemmas he faced. The president after Lincoln (Andrew Johnson) gets F- because he badly handled the South’s reconstruction from the Civil War.

Mixed bags John Quincy Adams, Van Buren, and Taft accomplished a lot during their lifetimes but not during their presidencies, so their presidential grades are mediocre. Kennedy was a mixed bag: he had nice rhetoric but didn’t accomplish much. Nixon was a mixed bag: he did some things that were wonderful and some things that were terrible.

Recent presidents George W. Bush and Barack Obama were presidents just recently, so it’s too early to grade their accomplishments accurately. Some surveys omitted them or gave them question marks.

In 2013, Charlie Rose chatted candidly with famous historians about presidents Theodore Roosevelt, Wilson, and Kennedy at:










2016 election

In the 2016 election for President, the Democrats nominated Hillary Clinton; the Republicans nominated Donald Trump.

Most Americans preferred Hillary: she got 2.86 million more votes than Trump. But the Electoral College system of voting gives voter in low-population states (small states & rural states) more influence than voters in high-population states (big states & urban states). Trump’s supporters were in rural states, so Trump gets to win the Electoral College vote and become President.

How you can become President

It’s easy to run for President. Just meet the minimum requirements, which are:

You’re at least 35 years old.

You were born in the U.S.

(or have some other excuse to call yourself a “natural-born citizen”).

You’ve lived in the U.S. at least 14 years, while a citizen or permanent resident.

You didn’t make Congress call you a jerk

(by getting impeached or breaking an oath to uphold the Constitution).

You weren’t already President for 2 terms (or most of 2 terms),

since you’re not allowed to be President thrice.

If you meet those requirements, go ahead: just scribble your name on the ballot when you vote!

Though it’s easy to run for President, it’s hard to win.

To win, here’s the first step: get your name printed neatly on the ballot that voters see. That’s easy! For example, to get on the Presidential ballot in New Hampshire, just pay $1000 to New Hampshire’s Secretary of State, to help pay for the printing cost. Then all voters in New Hampshire can see your name! How thrilling! How easy! That’s why about 100 candidates were on the 2016 Presidential primary ballots in New Hampshire. But just one of them ultimately became President. All the others lost (so the whole contests resembles a reality-TV survivor show); but they’re glad they ran, because running made them famous, so they can become top government officials, lobbyists, guest speakers, consultants, and other types of braggarts.

8-year rule

Every 8 years, voters want change: they say “throw the bums out,” so they throw out the party that won the previous election. So for President, we had:

8 years of a Republican (Eisenhower)

then 8 years of Democrats (Kennedy & Johnson)

then 8 years of Republicans (Nixon & Ford)

then a Democrat (Carter)

then Republicans (Reagan & Bush the elder)

then 8 years of a Democrat (Clinton)

then 8 years of a Republican (Bush the younger)

then 8 years of a Democrat (Obama)

then a Republican (Trump)

That’s because Democrats have great forward-looking ideas, but Republicans are great at scaling back the messes Democrats have created. The only exception to the “8-year rule” is:

Democrat Carter had a disaster (a war with Iran that led to an oil crisis, recession, and failed mission to rescue hostages), so he lasted just 4 years. The Republicans stole his other 4, so the Republicans got 12 years instead of 8 that time.

Crazy candidates

Who ran for President in 2016? Lots of crazy megalomaniacs put their names on the ballot. So did comedians, such as the famous Vermin Love Supreme (yes, he made that his legal name), who wears an upside-down boot on his head.

Most Americans were totally disgusted by all the candidates who ran. Many Americans preferred this candidate instead: Know Buddy. He’d have been a success, because when you ask Americans which candidate should be President, most say “Know Buddy!” Here are his slogans:

Know Buddy for President! Put Know Buddy in the White House!

Know Buddy is your buddy. Put your Buddy in the White House!

Know Buddy is really right for this election!

Know Buddy can make a difference!

I wait for Know Buddy! I’ll stand behind Know Buddy!

Nobody is equal to Know Buddy!

Once you know Buddy, you’re for Know Buddy!

No candidate is loved more than Know Buddy!

Once you know who’s your Buddy, you’re for Know Buddy!

Lili Timmons wrote this jingle about Know Buddy:

When Know Buddy’s ahead, others take note,

So give Know Buddy your vote!

Composers wrote these hit songs about how Know Buddy sympathizes with the downtrodden and helps them by his love:

Know Buddy knows the trouble I’ve seen!

Know Buddy loves you when you’re down and out!

Know Buddy loves me — Know Buddy cares!

I need some Buddy to love!

His followers created many ads about Know Buddy. Each ad ends by saying:

This ad was approved by Know Buddy.

24 serious candidates

Of all the candidates who tried to win the 2016 Presidential election, just these 24 were taken seriously:

2 Democrat governors                      When quit

Lincoln Chafee     Rhode Island               Oct.  23, 2015

Martin O’Malley   Maryland                    Feb.    1, 2016

9 Republican governors

Rick Perry            Texas                          Sept. 11, 2015

Scott Walker         Wisconsin                    Sept. 21, 2015

Bobby Jindal         Louisiana                    Nov. 17, 2015

George Pataki       New York                   Dec.  29, 2015

Mike Huckabee    Arkansas                     Feb.    1, 2016

Chris Christie        New Jersey                  Feb.  10, 2016

Jim Gilmore          Virginia                       Feb.  12, 2016

Jeb Bush               Florida                        Feb.  20, 2016

John Kasich          Ohio                           May    4, 2016

1 Democrat U.S. senator

Bernie Sanders      Vermont                      July  12, 2016

5 Republican U.S. senators

Lindsey Graham    South Carolina            Dec.  21, 2015

Rand Paul             Kentucky                    Feb.    3, 2016

Rick Santorum      Pennsylvania               Feb.    3, 2016

Marco Rubio         Florida                        Mar.  15, 2016

Ted Cruz               Texas                          May    3, 2016

2 Democrat administrators

Jim Webb             Secretary of the Navy  Oct.  20, 2015

Hillary Clinton      Secretary of State        Nov.   9, 2016

1 Republican administrator

Mark Everson       Commissioner of IRS  Nov.   5, 2015

1 Democrat outsider

Larry Lessig             Harvard law professor Nov.   2, 2015

3 Republican outsiders

Carly Fiorina        Hewlett-Packard CEO Feb.  10, 2016

Ben Carson           Johns Hopkins surgeon   Mar.    2, 2016

Donald Trump       NY real-estate owner   winner

8 finalists

By February 13, 2016, 16 of those 24 candidates had quit, leaving just 8 finalists, who organized themselves into 4 pairs. Here they are, listed from leftist to rightist:

Democrats     Fame

Bernie Sanders   U.S. senator & congressman from Vermont, socialist, Jewish

Hillary Clinton   Secretary of State, First Lady, U.S. senator from New York

Republican governors

John Kasich       Ohio governor, U.S. congressman, wanted kind compromises

Jeb Bush            Florida governor, brother of President George W. Bush

Republican U.S. senators (and both have Cuban heritage)

Marco Rubio      Florida, born in Miami, both parents immigrants from Cuba

Ted Cruz            Texas, born in Canada, both parents U.S. citizens, dad born in Cuba

Republican outsiders (never held public office)

Donald Trump    rich Manhattan real-estate developer, host of The Apprentice

Ben Carson        Johns Hopkins brain surgeon, on boards of directors, black

I confess to my Republican friends: I’m a Democrat. In my leftist opinion, the only 3 finalists who’d be a great President are the first 3 I mentioned: Bernie, Hillary, and John.

I graduated from Dartmouth College in Hanover, NH. That intellectual town’s voting record shows its voters felt the same way as I: the only 3 candidates who got lots of votes were Bernie, Hillary, and John. Intellectuals liked that trinity, who acted like father, daughter, and holy ghost.

A Democrat like me could have accepted the next 2 candidates also: Jeb Bush & Marco Rubio, who both started as moderate Republicans but, alas, tried to turn themselves into right-wingers, which made them seem inconsistent, so they got few votes. The remaining right-wing Republicans (Ted Cruz, Donald Trump, and Ben Carson) were too nutty for a Democrat like me, though each had his own unique charms.

Let’s look at each of the 8 finalists, their charms and disabilities.

Bernie Sanders

Of the 8 finalists, Bernie is the farthest left.

He thinks the rich should be much nicer to the poor. He hates the rich for being rich. He rails against what he calls the “billionaire class.”

Of all the 24 serious candidates, he’s the oldest: 74! But he’s in excellent health. Of the 8 finalists, he speaks the most energetically.

He wants big changes:

The federal minimum wage is currently $7.25, but he insists it should be raised to $15 quickly. A few rich cities have raised their minimum wages to $15 already, but he insists the whole country should do the same.

He insists the government give free tuition for all 4 years of public college. He says the government already gives free tuition for public high school, so why stop at just high school? To get a high-paying jobs, kids normally need 4 years of college. He says a good education should be a right, not just a privilege.

Same for health care: he says everyone should get Medicare benefits, even the young, not just senior citizens, since good health should be a right, not just a privilege. Same for family leave: everyone should get free paid vacation time to care for their babies.

How will the government pay for all those benefits? By taxing the rich! He says the rich and stock traders should pay higher taxes, and big banks should be split up to prevent them from abusing wealth by making strange investments.

Really? Force the rich to give a lot to the poor, so the rich stop being so rich? Isn’t that against the capitalist spirit of encouraging the lazy to work hard to get rich?

Yes, it’s anti-capitalist! Bernie’s not a capitalist: he’s a socialist, which is like being a Communist but without Communist corruption, without forced labor, without censorship. Like many Communists & socialists, he ends each memo and letter by saying “In solidarity” instead of “Respectfully yours.”

To soften his stance, he doesn’t call himself a straight “socialist”: he calls himself a “democratic socialist,” because he believes in free elections and just wants the government to be more generous to the poor. He wants the U.S. to imitate Scandinavia, especially Denmark, but ignores these facts about Denmark:

Denmark acquired its prosperity back when it was capitalist.

Denmark’s experiment with being socialist is being scaled back.

Denmark is tough on immigrants.

He’s popular. When he gives a speech, over 10,000 people often flock to the auditorium.

I have lots of sympathy for Bernie, because we’re alike.

We’re in the same generation. We were both born in New York City to a Jewish father who immigrated from Europe to escape the Nazis. We both have New York accents; his is stronger, pure Brooklynese! We both care about religion but don’t go to religious services often. We both escaped New York, went to prestigious college elsewhere, and wound up living most of our lives in New England: he in Vermont, I in Massachusetts then New Hampshire.

We both look unkempt: a journalist described him as looking like an “unmade bed,” and the same could be said about me. We both hate wearing suits but wear them when we’re forced to. We tend to wear the same clothes, the kind that was popular 50 years ago at J.C. Penny’s.

We even eat the same cereal: Kellogg’s Raisin Bran.

When in college, we both got involved in the country’s civil rights struggle. We both traveled south to make a difference. He was a protester; I was a teacher.

Later, I was both a teacher and a writer; he was both a protester and a political leader, first as Mayor of Burlington Vermont, then as a U.S. Congressman, then as a U.S. Senator. He ran as an Independent (since his views are farther left that most Democrats) but recently renamed himself to be a Democrat, so he could be the Democrat candidate for President.

We both have similar speaking styles: we speak dramatically and candidly, not censoring our mouths when the truth must be said.

So did I vote for Bernie? No, because he has 4 flaws.

1. His proposals don’t lead to a balanced budget.

His extra taxes on the rich aren’t enough to pay for all his benefits to the poor.

2. His campaign is based on hate: hating the rich!

Most Democrats believe the President should run a campaign based on love. Love for everybody, rich & poor. Sure, nudge the rich to give more to the poor, nudge strongly and by taxes, but do it with a smile. Bernie and I both love Pope Francis, but I wish Bernie would act more like that pope, talking love!

Not all rich people are evil. Bill Gates is often the richest person in the world, but he’s a philanthropist who encourages other philanthropists to give to worthy causes, such as improving world health. Bill Gates is not evil.

Bernie’s yelling at the rich “billionaire class” sounds scarily like Hitler’s yelling at the “rich Jewish class.” I’m not rich, but Bernie’s hate speech scares me anyway.

3. He’s against free trade.

A true socialist/Communist, Bernie wants to protect U.S. unions from having their factories shut down by competition from Mexico, China, Vietnam, and beyond, so he wants lots of laws & taxes to prevent trade.

I believe in showing love for the whole world. Let people from all countries compete in the global marketplace: if U.S. factories are no longer competitive, teach those workers new skills.

If you make Walmart stop buying cheaply from China, many Walmart shoppers won’t be able to afford the higher prices Walmart will charge; many Americans will get fewer goods and be, in effect, poorer. Also, people who work in factories that export to China and Mexico will complain they can’t sell their goods, because China & Mexico will retaliate against the trade barriers by creating their own.

4. He doesn’t try to improve himself.

In every speech, he says the same stuff. He’s like a broken record, saying the same comments repeatedly. He complains that the media doesn’t give him enough attention, but the media can’t give much attention to a guy who so boringly repeats himself.

No matter what question you ask him, he’ll just blame the billionaires. I expect that if I asked him even an innocent-sounding question, such as whether he prefers vanilla or chocolate, he’d turn it into another excuse to blame billionaires: he’d say they manipulate the cocoa market, so we’re morally bound to protest against chocolate and choose vanilla?

I offered, to his staff, that I’d volunteer to help Bernie improve as a candidate, but his staff had to give me the usual answer: the staff was unable to communicate with Bernie. Bernie was too wrapped up in his fame to have enough time to chat with underlings.

Bernie Sanders has the initials B.S., which is slang for bullshit. I told his staff to create a funny bumper sticker saying:

I love B.S.

Bernie Sanders

They rejected my suggestion, of course. But that’s the problem with Bernie Sanders: too much of what he says is B.S.

His math is wrong about balancing his budget. His percentages are wrong when he claims the rich control a large percentage of the wealth. His claim is wrong that restricting trade will make life better for the average American.

The main people who like Bernie are young, in their teens & twenties.

They like his idea of getting free college tuition. They like his idea of getting other free benefits paid for by the rich, because those kids aren’t rich yet. They consider Bernie a funnily grumpy old grandpa who’s a cheerleader for everything they want.

As Margaret Thatcher said, it’s easy to vote for a socialist who’s spending someone else’s money. Saturday Night Live said kids like Bernie because he’s like them: full of big plans and no idea how to accomplish them.

Bernie accomplished his goal: he moved the country farther left.

Since he inspired voters and threatened Hillary, he made her change her policies and move farther left.

His hatred of foreign trade was imitated gently by Hillary, dramatically by Donald Trump.

Bernie is anti-military. He’s reluctant to go to war. He agrees with John Lennon’s song: “Give peace a chance.” On that issue too, he’s farther left than Hillary, who’s a bit of a hawk. But Bernie is willing to go to war sometimes. In his past role as legislator, Bernie showed he could compromise, to get things done, so a Bernie presidency wouldn’t be quite as extreme as his speeches. Thank you, Bernie.

How would Bernie convince a Republican Congress to pass his laws? His says it’s easy: he’ll get a million people to protest on Capitol Hill, until Republicans “get the message” that Republican days of “whine and neuroses” are over.

Bernie’s left-wing history is strongly scary.

When he was young, he trekked to South America to join socialist/Communist rebels in their celebrations.

He also wanted our government to confiscate all U.S. TV stations, to prevent them from being biased by billionaire owners. The confiscation would be done without reimbursing the TV’s stockholders: screw them all! He’s soft-peddled that position lately, praise the Lord! Bernie, we already have PBS, which is great, but do we need bureaucrats controlling everything? No opportunity for creatively independent TV?

Hillary Clinton

Hillary acquired lots of smarts:

She’s the only finalist who had White House experience. She was the First Lady, President Bill Clinton’s wife. When Bill Clinton was governor of Arkansas, she was First Lady there too.

She’s the only finalist who had a job in the federal government’s executive branch. She was Secretary of State during President Obama’s first term. She got to run the State Department and meet all the important world leaders.

She’s also been a legislator. She was the U.S. senator from New York.

She knows lots about the judicial system. She’s been a lawyer, with a doctorate from Yale Law School.

She understands the issues of women best, since she’s the only candidate who’s a woman (because the only other serious woman candidate, Carly Fiorina, quit).

She’s the most intellectually gifted politician, since she graduated from a top women’s school, Wellesley College, with honors in political science. She was the first student to ever give that college’s commencement address, which got her a 7-minute standing ovation.

With all those credentials, she’s by far the most intellectually experienced candidate!

She’s the only finalist who actively supported both parties.

Her parents were Republican and raised her to be the same. In high school, she campaigned to make Republican Barry Goldwater be the next President. In college, she was president of the Wellesley Young Republicans.

She helped Republican John Lindsay be mayor of New York City and Republican Nelson Rockefeller try to be President. They were both good guys, but she had the good taste to stop being Republican when she was asked to support Richard Nixon to be President.

She has just one problem: nobody likes her.

Though some folks put up with her and support her because they hate the other candidates, nobody really likes her. That’s because she comes across as cold & crafty in public, mean-spirited in private.

The Secret Service guys try to hide when she comes down the hall, because they can’t stand dealing with her tirades. When she’s supposed to give a speech, she usually comes very late, sometimes an hour and a half after the doors open.

I have sympathy for her:

As former First Lady and Secretary of State, she’s required to keep some of her thoughts private. She’s not at liberty to let her hair down and tell us what she really thinks of all the evil people in the world.

Maybe a less formal hairstyle would help her image? Oh, shucks, I’m not supposed to say that, because it’s not politically correct to criticize a woman’s appearance.

It’s hard for her to chat with folks who ask her questions, since Secret Service guys try to keep her away from folks who might kill her.

A true intellectual, she thinks carefully & cautiously about both sides of each issue, so she tends to take a middle ground, which makes her seem boring, unenthusiastic, too calculating, conniving.

The country’s in the mood for some sort of wild, exciting change. She isn’t wild enough.

She’s 5 months younger than I. At the time I’m writing this, we’re both 69 years old. I wish I could give her a hug, but she’s not the huggable type.

Like most people in my age bracket, I voted for her in New Hampshire’s Presidential primary, because her policies are the most reasonable of all the candidates. But I did so reluctantly, sadly wishing I were stupid enough to vote for Bernie, who’s more exciting. I voted with my head; younger folks voted with their heart instead, for Bernie.

Republicans claimed she was ineligible to become President because she illegally stored classified emails on her personal email system in her home. Democrats considered that Republican tirade to be a cheap sandwich: baloney!

When the emails were put there, they weren’t considered classified. They were declared classified later, retroactively, when standards changed as to what’s considered “classified.”

Republican bureaucrats (such as General Colin Powell and aides to Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice) did the same thing: used personal email to store sensitive messages. And kids do that all the time!

John Kasich

John would be the perfect President, in many ways. He’s a Republican but moderate enough to appeal to Democrats.

If Republicans miraculously got smart enough to make him the party’s nominee, polls said he’d win against the Democrat nominee, no matter whether that Democrat was Bernie or Hillary. The other 2 Republicans (Ted and Donald) would lose to Democrats. So according to the polls, John was the Republican Party’s only hope.

He’s the only finalist who claims to be able to reach across the aisle, get Democrats & Independents to vote for him, and get Democrats in Congress to work with him to solve the country’s problems.

Unlike the noisier finalists (Bernie, Hillary, Marco, Ted, and Donald), he speaks gently & warmly. When he gives speeches, he encourages members of the audience to reply. He loves giving them hugs when they tell sob stories about their miserable lives. He’s the only finalist who’s easy to chat with.

He’s also the only finalist who knows when to shut up. For example, he’s against abortion but knows not to argue about that issue, because there are more urgent issues for the President to work on with a chance of success.

He’s governor of Ohio but was in the U.S. Congress for 18 years, so he’s experienced as both an executive and a legislator, both outside and inside Washington, D.C. He brags that in both roles he balanced the budget: he’s reassuringly practical, not a scary idealist. He’s also experienced in business, as a banker and a member of boards of directors: he knows practical economics beyond just politics. A good explainer, he wrote 3 books and ran his own show on Fox TV.

Though Democrats complain he didn’t support Planned Parenthood, there’s not much else to yell at him about. Of all the candidates, he’s the most mellow, the safest.

But fewer Republicans voted for him than for Ted & Donald, because he’s too quiet.

In 2016, Republican voters wanted a President who’d shake things up. Ted & Donald were more dramatic than John, more noisy, more exciting, and more popular, but also more likely to totally wreck this country.

Smart Republicans in smart parts of this country voted for John, but most Republicans were idiots who voted for Ted & Donald. No offense!

Ted & Donald acted immature, sniping at each other in many ways. John was mature. During Republican debates, John was called “the only adult in the room.”

Jeb Bush

Jeb’s the younger brother of President George W. Bush (and son of President George H.W. Bush). He’d been Florida’s governor. He’s a nice guy, gentle. Even a Democrat like me could like him.

When he was a college kid, he traveled to Mexico and married a Mexican woman, so he has sympathy for immigrants and speaks Spanish decently.

He’s nicer and smarter than his brother. Since some people dislike his brother, he’s scared to mention his last name is Bush, so his campaign signs just said “Jeb!”

As the fight against other Republican candidates got more heated, he made the mistake of trying to imitate them: he nudged himself into becoming more right-wing. How sad!

Marco Rubio

Marco was born in Miami. His mom & dad are both immigrants from Cuba. He speaks Spanish fluently, better than any other candidate. He’s a young, handsome, smart lawyer who speaks eloquently & forcefully, so women fell in love with him and wanted to vote for him. He’s a U.S. Senator from Florida.

Many Republican leaders thought Marco was the best candidate, since his views were moderate. But when attacked by Ted Cruz, Marco tried to imitate Ted by moving farther toward the right; and when attacked by Donald Trump for being short, Marco stooped to Donald’s level by implying Marco had a bigger penis than Trump.

Chris Christy (another candidate) hastened Marco’s downfall: Chris pointed out that whenever Marco was asked a question, Marco just repeated a canned speech he memorized, rather than answering the exact question. The final result: Marco eventually came across as being immature, not ready to be President yet.

Ted Cruz

Ted is consistently right-wing. A true Texan, he even wears cowboy boots.

He has the strongest formal training, even stronger than Hillary:

He graduated from a Baptist high school, as valedictorian. He got his bachelor’s degree in public policy from Princeton University, where he won many championships for being a debater & speaker.

He got his law doctorate from Harvard, where he was an editor of 3 different law journals. Law professor Alan Dershowitz called him “off-the-charts brilliant!”

He got involved in the U.S. Supreme Court, first as a clerk to William Rehnquist, then as a lawyer arguing cases before that court. He often won.

Then he became the U.S. Senator from Texas.

People said “Don’t mess with Texas!” Then they said “Don’t mess with Ted!” because Ted’s an extremely accomplished lawyer and debater. Argue with Ted? You’re bound to lose!

If Ted won, he’d have been the first U.S. President who’s Hispanic.

His dad was an immigrant from Cuba. His mom was not Hispanic: she was born in Delaware, of Irish-Italian descent.

Both of those parents were mathematicians. While they visited Canada to analyze oil drilling, he was born, so he got dual Canadian-U.S. citizenship. To simplify becoming U.S. President, he gave up his Canadian citizenship in 2014.

His competitors argued that since he wasn’t born in the U.S., he couldn’t be the U.S. President. But most lawyers felt it would be okay for him to be President, and a court ruled in his favor.

Evangelical Christians love him because his views are far-right:

He believes abortion should be illegal unless birth would kill the mom.

He’s against gay marriage and gay civil unions.

He wants to abolish the IRS, have a flat tax (where everybody pays the same tax percentage, regardless of whether rich or poor), and make the tax very simple, so the whole 1040 tax form fits on a postcard. But he didn’t reveal his plan’s details, because any details would prove his plan is impossible.

He believes the federal government should be smaller and impose less tax. To make sure the government shrinks, he wants to eliminate not just the IRS but also the departments of education, commerce, energy, and housing-and-urban-development.

He’s against raising the minimum wage.

He even hints he’d prefer to have no minimum wage at all.

He’d let each business decide for itself what wage to pay to get good workers. He’d let businesses pay less, so they can hire unemployables for
on-the-job training.

He wants to ditch Obamacare. In 2013, he was the main guy responsible for shutting down the government 2 weeks, to protest Obamacare.

He believes strongly that Americans have the right to carry guns. He’s against increased background checks on gun buyers.

He wants to be mean to illegal immigrants, not give them any amnesty. But he wants to make it easier for skilled immigrants to get visas to come to the U.S. and work for U.S. businesses. Unfortunately, his ability to chat with immigrants is limited, since he doesn’t speak Spanish well yet.

A skilled debater, his tactic is to talk logically but tough.

You want a tough-taking America? Cruz is your guy. He’s the cowboy lawyer for you.

You want a touchy-feely warm President? Then not Cruz.

Senate Republicans hated Cruz, because they found him obnoxious, unwilling to compromise to get things accomplished.

Cruz bragged that he’s hated. He said it proves he’s not part of the Washington establishment, and he’s the best guy to spearhead the drive to “throw all the bums out” of Washington.

That made Washingtonians hate him even more.

Right-wingers loved Cruz for promising to rip up the bloated government and its crony system. Left-wingers and normal people wished he’d shut up.

Since I’m a Democrat, I disagree with Cruz. If he became the Republican nominee against Hillary, I planned to put this bumper sticker on my Chevy Cruze car:

Cruze for Hillary!

Donald Trump

Donald Trump’s dad was a beloved landlord in Brooklyn. Donald Trump himself is famous for being a hated landlord in Manhattan. He’s also owned casinos in Atlantic City & Las Vegas.

To get started in the landlord biz, he borrowed a million dollars from his dad. Then his dad helped him get loans from banks. Now he claims to be worth 10 billion dollars, though most analysts think he’s worth just 4 billion.

He married 3 women because they were pretty:

His first wife, Ivana, was a fashion model from Czechoslovakia. They had a daughter (Ivanka) and 2 sons (Donald Junior and Eric). Because Ivana’s English grammar wasn’t good, she called him “The Donald,” and so do reporters now.

His second wife, Marla, was an actress from the U.S. (Georgia). He started an affair with her while still married to Ivana.

His third wife, Melania, was a fashion model from Slovenia.

He got famous by running The Apprentice, a TV show in which contestants try to manage his hotels but fail, giving him the pleasure of telling them “You’re fired!”

He was the most disgusting finalist. People in other countries wondered how the U.S. could elect a candidate as disgusting as Trump.

Trump likes to disgust, because it gets him attention. He’s fascinating to watch. The media can’t help itself: writing about Trump sells newspapers.

Here’s a list of disgusting thoughts Trump encouraged (but rewritten in my own words, which I’ve exaggerated slightly — and later he softened his thoughts after being criticized):

He’s really, really rich.

He’d like to marry his daughter.

Protesters should be punched in the face.

We should torture the terrorists we capture.

Anybody who isn’t perfect should get fired.

He has a bigger penis than other candidates.

If a woman isn’t beautiful, she should be hidden.

No Muslims should be allowed to enter this country.

If a man threatens the U.S., we should kill his family.

Any newspapers that criticize him are worthless trash.

Every woman who’s had an abortion should be punished.

Any woman who criticizes him must be having her period.

The terrorist group ISIS was founded by Obama & Hillary.

Hillary should be locked up then executed by a firing squad.

Mexican immigrants are mainly rapists, thieves, and drug dealers.

Russia’s leader, Vladimir Putin, is tough and therefore a great guy.

It’s okay to discriminate against blacks, because so does everyone else.

If a woman is overweight, it helps to call her “a pig” and “Miss Piggy.”

The ideal President is the one who’s smart enough to not pay any taxes.

When Americans get massacred, congratulate Trump for predicting that.

Obama’s a liar with a fake birth certificate and was really born in Kenya.

We shouldn’t buy Ford cars, because they’re going to be made in Mexico.

If real-estate prices crash, that’s great, because then he can buy them cheap.

We shouldn’t eat Oreo cookies, because they’re going to be made in Mexico.

Any U.S. soldier who gets captured & tortured by the enemy is stupid, no hero.

Women who oppose him have ugly faces, too ugly to be President or First Lady.

We should build a tall wall on the Mexican border and force the Mexican government to pay for it. Ted Cruz should be banned from being President because immigration courts will delay that inauguration. If a man’s a celebrity, it’s okay for him to walk up to a woman stranger, reach under her skirt, and stroke her genitals. If your son was a U.S. soldier who got killed in battle, your family sacrificed less for your country than a businessman who creates jobs. Trump pays contractors 30% less than agreed on, because that’s the smart way to do business, since the contractors can’t afford to sue. He donates money to both Republicans & Democrats, even if he disagrees with them, because that’s what business leaders must do to stay in business. When Miss Universe contestants are in their dressing rooms, it’s fine fun for Trump to walk in without knocking and to enjoy seeing them nude, because he owns the pageant. The 11 million illegal immigrants should all be immediately removed from their homes and bused back to the border & beyond, even if they fled here to escape from Central American criminals, even if they’re kids in school, even if they or their relatives would become orphans; we should deport them all — and deport Hillary Clinton, too!

Those statements are oversimplifications of Trump’s actual sentences, which were more nuanced. Examples:

Oversimplification: He’d like to marry his daughter. Trump’s actual words: “I said if Ivanka weren’t my daughter, perhaps I’d be dating her.” Trump’s excuse: He just means that his daughter is a very attractive woman. Trump’s weakness: Provocative photos show Trump getting a bit too intimately close to Ivanka when she was a teenager.

Oversimplification: Protesters should be punched in the face.
Trump’s actual words: As for a certain protester, “here’s a guy, throwing punches, nasty as hell, screaming and everything else when we’re talking. And he’s walking out and we’re not allowed, you know —the guards are very gentle with him, and he’s walking out, like the big high-fives, smiling, laughing. Like to punch him in the face, I tell ya!” Trump’s excuse: Trump didn’t say the protester should be punched; Trump just said he felt a momentary desire to punch. Trump’s weakness: Trump’s loose rhetoric made many of his fans punch protesters afterwards. Punching protesters is illegal, because hurting another person’s body is assault.

Oversimplification: No Muslims should be allowed to enter this country. Trump’s actual words: I want a “total and complete shutdown of Muslims entering the United States until our country’s representatives can figure out what is going on.” Trump’s excuse: Many Muslims, even in the U.S., think violent anti-American protests are justified and that the U.S. should obey Muslim law rather than the Constitution. The ban on Muslims entering the country could be just temporary, until our government can learn more about which Muslims are dangerous. Exceptions can be made soon, especially for famous good Muslims, such as Jordan’s king and London’s new mayor. Trump’s weakness: It’s illegal to discriminate against a religion, since the Constitution guarantees freedom of religion. Many Muslims are peaceful and do not feel anti-American. If a peaceful U.S. citizen who’s a Muslim visits another country as a tourist and then wants to return to the U.S., it would be crazy for customs officials prevent him from returning and take away his citizenship and passport. Banning people who say they’re Muslim would backfire, because if a customs official asks, “Are you a Muslim?” a good Muslim would say “yes” (and be banned) but terrorist Muslim would lie by saying “no” (and enter). Banning Muslims would also make our Muslim allies in the Middle East hate us (and refuse to work with us) and accidentally help anti-U.S. propaganda attack us.

Oversimplification: Any woman who criticizes him must be having her period. Trump’s actual words: About reporter Megyn Kelly attacking me by asking me tough questions on TV, “She gets out and starts asking me all sorts of ridiculous questions. You could see there was blood coming out of her eyes, blood coming out of her wherever.” Trump’s excuse: He says he didn’t mean she was menstruating, just meant she was very angry, about to burst a blood vessel and have a nosebleed. Trump’s weakness: Observers don’t believe his excuse. They believe that when he said “her wherever” he had in mind her vagina.

Oversimplification: Mexican immigrants are mainly rapists, thieves, and drug dealers. Trump’s actual words: “When Mexico sends its people, they’re not sending the best. They’re not sending you, they’re sending people that have lots of problems, and they’re bringing those problems with us. They’re bringing drugs. They’re bringing crime. They’re rapists. And some, I assume, are good people.” Trump’s excuse: Many illegal drugs are brought to the U.S. by travelers from Mexico & Central America. Some of the immigrants came from Central America to flee drug violence there, and Trump read an article saying some of the smuggled immigrants were raped by their smugglers. Trump’s weakness: Many of the immigrants were the victims of rape, not the perpetrators, and were fleeing from drug gangs, not members of them.

Oversimplification: Any U.S. soldier who gets captured & tortured by the enemy is stupid, no hero. Trump’s actual words: As for John McCain, “he’s not a war hero. He’s a war hero because he was captured? I like people who weren’t captured, okay? I hate to tell you.” Trump’s weakness: When John McCain was captured by North Vietnam, he was horribly tortured and repeatedly beaten and maimed for many years because he refused to be disloyal to the U.S., so he deserves lots of sympathy. As the Washington Post put it, “As Trump was preparing to take Manhattan, McCain was trying to relearn how to walk.”

He’s the only candidate disgusting enough to deserve a song. Here are the lyrics of my song about him, with one verse for each day of the week:

Moon Day

Donald Trump! Donald Trump!

The candidate who ends on his rump

Then bounces back, eats you as a snack.

If you object, he calls you a “hack.”

Twos Day

Blondie boy! Blondie boy!

He plays with you like you’re his new toy.

He slaps your sex, says you have bad genes.

If you object, he calls you all “queens.”

Wed Day

Drama guy! Drama guy!

Yes, he’s the one for whom we all cry.

Some cry their love, while some cry their shame,

But all he loves is hearing his name.

Thirst Day

Greatest guy! Greatest guy!

Our Trump’s the guy who gets us all high.

Just Trump can make America great:

As great as mace, he grates on your face.

Fried Day

Dis that guy? Dis that guy?

Oh, he’ll find you and hurl you a pie.

A fine meringue, it lands with a bang,

Your face disgraced by Donald Trump’s gang.

Sat Day

Donald Trump! Donald Trump!

The candidate whose polls get a bump.

Now you’ll become a strumpet-whore, too:

Say “hi” to guys, then blow them and screw.

Some Day

Screw poor whites. Screw the blacks,

Then screw Latinos: call them “wet backs.”

Next, screw Chinese and Muslims. Who knew

That someday he will even screw you?

Though he’s usually very right-wing, he’s left-wing in 4 ways:

He wants to permit medical marijuana.

He wants to discourage trade with other countries.

He wants the U.S. to show more sympathy for Palestinians.

He wants the U.S. to do less fighting in the Middle East, though he wouldn’t mind occasionally dropping a bomb.

He’s often switched parties: he was a Republican, then switched to the Independence Party in 1999, the Reform Party also in 1999, the Democrat Party in 2001, the Republican Party in 2009, became Independent in 2011, then returned to the
Republican Party again in 2011.

Each President (from George Washington to Barack Obama) had prior experience in government or military, and so did the other 7 finalists (Ben Carson was in the ROTC), but Trump did not. He’s inexperienced.

Ben Carson

Ben’s the only candidate who’s black. Of all the candidates, he’s also the most soft-spoken, contradicting the stereotype that black candidates should be noisy. Though he speaks softly, his words are often wise & cynical.

He’s smart, since he’s the brain surgeon who ran the team that separated Siamese twins joined at the head, though those twins did not live happily ever after.

He’s very religious and takes the Bible literally: for example, he doesn’t believe in evolution (even though he’s a scientist), and a sentence in the Bible makes him believe the pyramids were used for storing grain (though archaeologists think that’s crazy).

He believes that to help young blacks you should give them better education (so they can get better jobs) rather than just hand them welfare checks. His anti-welfare attitude makes him popular with right-wingers; he’s a white guy’s idea of what a black guy should be.

His main weakness is he doesn’t know much about foreign affairs. While running for President, he studied hard to try to catch up on foreign affairs, but his staff complained he was a slow learner on that topic.

The 5

By March 16, 2016, 3 of the finalists had quit (Jeb Bush on February 20, Ben Carson on March 2, and Marco Rubio on March 15). That left just these 5, listed from leftist to rightist:

Left-wing Democrat

Bernie Sanders   U.S. senator & congressman from Vermont, socialist, Jewish

Moderate Democrat

Hillary Clinton   Secretary of State, First Lady, U.S. senator from New York

Moderate Republican

John Kasich       Ohio governor, U.S. congressman, wants kind compromises

Right-wing Republican

Ted Cruz           U.S. senator from Texas, born in Canada, dad born in Cuba

Wild Republican (very right-wing but sometimes left-wing)

Donald Trump    rich Manhattan real-estate developer, host of The Apprentice


Many voters liked the 3 extreme noisy finalists (leftist Bernie Sanders, rightist Ted Cruz, and wild-card Donald Trump) because those finalists displayed anger at Washington politics. Other finalists (such as Hillary Clinton and John Kasich) had a milder style and were more thoughtful, displaying more nuance, more love for all Americans.

Why are angry extremists more popular than loving, thoughtful moderates? Some analysts say: because of Hollywood movies.

Nowadays, the most popular Hollywood movies glorify explosions, violence, and super-strong comic-book characters, where even the villains are fun. Hollywood and politics used to uphold romance, love, and caring instead of violence. New Hollywood movies & politicians are turning America into a country of callous assholes.

I usually disagree with Daniel Henninger (a right-wing columnist for The Wall Street Journal) but admit he wrote this brilliantly correct paragraph (on page A11 of the May 19, 2016 issue):

A typical Trump conversation makes minimal linear sense. But most big superhero movies today make no sense either. They’re just a lot of quick spurts, jumbled points of view, and over-the-the-top caricatures. Like Donald Trump.

Which would you rather watch: slow-moving detailed policy analyses by Hillary and Kasich, or dramatically violent screeching by Bernie, Cruz, and Trump? The latter group is more entertaining and makes you want to cheer them on, half-jokingly, half-seriously, like watching a superhero movie or football game, beer in hand. Wine-sippers whine, but beer bellies beat ’em.


Let’s peek again at the 16 serious non-finalists. Though they quit the 2016 race early, they could surface again, in another era!

Democrat governors:

Lincoln Chafee (Rhode Island) He was a Republican, then an Independent, then a Democrat.

He was a mayor, then a U.S. Senator, then Rhode Island’s governor. His dad was Rhode Island’s governor also; so were his great-great-grandfather and great-great-uncle.

When he announced he was running for President, he said the U.S. should switch to the metric system. Science teachers applauded, but everybody else thought that was the wrong priority for a Presidential candidate. He got laughed at and ignored.

He got further pooh-poohed when he admitted that as U.S. Senator, his first vote was wrong because he didn’t know what he was doing.

Martin O’Malley (Maryland) Before being governor of Maryland, he was mayor of Baltimore. Baltimore is still a troubled city, but he claims he made it slightly better than before and made Maryland wonderful in general.

Politically, he’s a pleasant, reasonable compromise between Bernie & Hillary: he’s less extreme than Bernie but less hawkish than Hillary.

Since he’s reasonable and his initials are M.O’M., I told him to distribute a bumper sticker saying “Reasonable M.O’M,” which many moms would put on their cars. He thanked me for the suggestion but didn’t use it.

Unlike Bernie & Hillary, he was easy to approach, shake hands with, and chat with, since he wasn’t mobbed by thousands of fans.

He got mostly ignored. At one Iowa event, just one voter came to see him.

He’s a good guy, proud of his list of 15 goals the U.S. should strive for. Alas, he didn’t propose ways to accomplish them, and none of them involved foreign policy, since he didn’t know much about that.

Unlike other candidates, he emphasized improving the environment.

He was 53. He bragged he was younger than Hillary & Bernie and represented a new generation. But his youth was also his liability: he wasn’t yet mature enough to run the country and give good speeches. He sounded like a robot (or a high-school kid running for student council). His speeches didn’t have the fire & pointedness needed to enflame a national campaign. But after he matures further, he could become a great President someday.

Republican governors:

Jim Gilmore (Virginia) He didn’t campaign much. He got ignored. He should have quit earlier.

Mike Huckabee (Arkansas) Evangelical. Commentator on Fox TV. Strongly against abortion and gay marriage.

George Pataki (New York) Gentle. Hadn’t much to say. Cynics said he stayed in the race just to become famous and get paid more as a consultant.

Scott Walker (Wisconsin) He campaigned around New Hampshire by riding his motorcycle (to look cool), instead of taking a car or bus. He was proud he was tough on unions.

Rick Perry (Texas) He made too many gaffes. His most famous was back in his 2012 campaign, when he tried to say he wanted to eliminate 3 departments of the U.S. government (Commerce, Education, and Energy) but couldn’t remember the 3rd one; he got laughed at, then ignored.

Bobby Jindal (Louisiana) Born in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. His mom & dad were immigrants from India. He was born a Hindu but converted to being Catholic. He was a U.S. Congressman from Louisiana, then became Louisiana’s governor.

He wants even the poorest people to pay taxes, so they’ll feel involved in the tax process and the government. he wants:

  2% tax on the first $10,000 per person ($20,000 per married couple)

10% tax for the next tax bracket (up to $90,000 per person)

25% tax for over $90,000 per person

Chris Christie (New Jersey) I’m from New Jersey too, so I sympathized with this guy’s bold candor & bluntness. When he began campaigning, I thought he’d be a better President than Hillary Clinton, even though he’s Republican and I’m Democrat; and Hillary’s staff feared him more than any other candidate. But when he started announcing specific policies, I realized his thinking made no sense.

His image was tarnished by a scandal called Bridgegate, where his assistants illegally closed ramps to the George Washington Bridge to punish the mayor of Fort Lee for being anti-Christie. Though Christie himself was never implicated, the incident proved he had poor judgment in choosing assistants.

Republican U.S. senators:

Lindsay Graham (South Carolina) A hawk. Got few votes.

Rick Santorum (Pennsylvania) Nice guy, gentle. But very right-wing on religious-related issues: against abortion & gay marriage.

Rand Paul (Kentucky) Son of Ron Paul, who ran in the previous election. Like his dad, he’s a libertarian: believes in as little government as possible, so wants to shut down the Department of Education and many other government activities and get involved in fewer wars & interventions. But he’s less extreme than his dad: he admits the U.S. should still keep military bases in other countries.

He believes in a flat tax: every person and business should pay a 14.5% flat income tax but no other payroll taxes (no taxes for Social Security & Medicare) and no investment taxes (no taxes on capital gains, dividends, interest, and inheritance).

Besides being a senator, he’s also an eye doctor (ophthalmologist). His supporters think he’s the only candidate who can see straight.

Unfortunately, his speeches and writings contained many passages he plagiarized from other sources, though he eventually promised to stop doing that.



Mark Everson (Republican, Commissioner of IRS) Ignored. Quit early.

Jim Webb (Democrat, Secretary of the Navy) He received many awards for his heroism fighting in the Vietnam War. His 3rd wife was a Vietnamese immigrant. Ronald Reagan eventually made him Secretary of the Navy, but he quit when his request for more ships was refused. Then he became a U.S. Democrat Senator from Virginia. He ran for President but was too hawkish to appeal to Democrats, and the Democrat platform was too left-wing to appeal to him, so he quit.


Larry Lessig (Democrat, Harvard law professor) He wants campaign-finance reform. He promised that if he gets elected and accomplishes campaign-finance reform, he’ll immediately quit being President and let the Vice President take over. But he got few votes, was never invited to the debates, and quit.

Carly Fiorina (Republican, Hewlett-Packard CEO) The only Republican candidate who’s a woman, she looked forward to having a cat fight against Hillary Clinton. She also looked forward to threatening Vladimir Putin (Russia’s head), whom she met while being Hewlett-Packard’s CEO.

Hewlett-Packard’s board of directors fired her because Hewlett-Packard did poorly during the tech industry’s downfall. She also failed at trying to become a California senator.

She talks tough, dramatically, and clearly, so voters liked her, until voters discovered that what she said was often inaccurate.

Donald Trump criticized her for having an ugly face.

She’s very right-wing. 2½ months after she quit, Ted Cruz chose her to be his Vice-President candidate. She accepted, but 6 days later Ted quit.


These 2 Massholes (people who come from Massachusetts) were urged to run in 2016 but steadfastly refused:

Elizabeth Warren    (Democrat, U.S. senator from Massachusetts)

Mitt Romney          (Republican, Massachusetts governor)

These 3 administrators seriously considered running but eventually decided not to:

John Bolton (Republican, Ambassador to U.N., said no May 14, 2015) Got ignored. Gave up early.

Joe Biden (Democrat, Vice President, said no October 21, 2015)
He was the U.S. Senator from Delaware, then Vice-President under Obama. He wanted to run, but one of his sons suddenly died. That son had urged him to run, but Joe was too grieved to have enough energy to run. Also, Joe was busy being Vice President, his wife was skeptical of being dragged through another mudslinging election, and he’d also suffered through heartbreaking deaths before (a car accident killed his first wife & daughter and seriously injured his 2 sons).

Mike Bloomberg (Independent, New York mayor, said no March 7, 2016) He was shocked by the 2 extremists (extreme leftist Bernie Sanders and extreme rightist Donald Trump). He said: if the election turned into a choice between those 2 crazies, Sanders-versus-Trump, he’d run as a middle-of-the-road reasonable independent candidate. He said he’d decide by March 2016. When March came, he realized Bernie Sanders would not be the Democrat nominee, so Mike bowed out, to let Hillary be the middle-of-the-roader.

Vice Presidents

Hillary & Trump both chose the same kind of person to be the running mate (Vice President): a white, male lawyer (with a J.D. degree) who was also a governor and in Congress, speaks softly & reasonably, is not extreme, and is in his 50’s.

Trump picked Mike Pence (Indiana’s governor and previously in the U.S. House of Representatives, with a J.D. from Indiana University, age 57).

The next week, Hillary picked Tim Kaine (Virginia’s U.S. Senator and previously Virginia’s governor, with a J.D. from Harvard, age 58). Bonus: he learned to speak Spanish.

In the Vice Presidential debate on October 4, 2016, each accomplished his mission: Tim Kane reminded voters of all the awful things Trump said, so you should vote for Hillary; Mike Pence reminded voters that although Trump often sounds extreme, the Trump-Pence ticket puts at least one adult in the White House: Mike Pence!

Anti-Trump cartoon

Trump said anybody trying to visit the U.S. should be subjected to “extreme vetting” before being allowed to enter.

Larry Stone, in a cartoon, joked that Trump’s “extreme vetting” would subject each visitor to this interrogation:

Blood test reveals presence of hummus? If yes, stop, because terrorist!

Burn readily when exposed to U.V. rays? If no, stop, because too brown!

Can float? If yes, stop, because witch!

Now — or ever was — a columnist? If yes, stop, because unfair to Trump!

Ever was First Lady, senator, and Sec. of State? If yes, stop, lock her up!

If you’re a woman, are you “hot”? If no, stop, because you’re a fat pig!

Otherwise, welcome to the United States of Trump!

To see the full cartoon, go to

Anti-Trump speakers

In June, July, August, and September 2016, many Democrats (and some disgruntled Republicans) held an informal contest, to see who could argue best that Trump doesn’t have enough knowledge, sanity, and empathy to be President.

Here are the top 8 anti-Trump speakers. Here’s what they said, as abridged by me and edited for clarity.

Tim Miller (Jeb Bush’s communications strategist) said on July 30, 2016:

Trump has no self-control. He has no sense of decency or empathy when dealing with others. He apparently always thinks, “If you compliment me, I compliment you. If you criticize me, I mock you.”

Sally Bradshaw (who was Jeb Bush’s top advisor and worked for the Republican party 30 years) said on August 2, 2016, to CNN:

The Republicans nominated a total narcissist — a misogynist — a bigot. Trump must not be elected president.

I can’t look my kids in the eye and tell them I voted for Donald Trump. I can’t tell them to love their neighbor and treat others the way they wanted to be treated, then let myself vote for Trump.

Voting against Trump is the only real choice for reasonable, thoughtful Republicans. Our President must represent what’s good about America: a belief in opportunity for all (regardless of race, gender, and background) to rise up and live the American dream. A President mustn’t tear down Hispanics, mock the disabled, and print symbols Jewish voters understandably find offensive. To continue to be the world’s hope, all Americans (regardless of party affiliation) must reject him.

I’m leaving the Republican party and becoming an Independent. If the party regains its sanity, I’ll return. Republicans must send a message to party leadership that Trump’s behavior can’t stand.

Louis C.K. (comedian) said in June 2016:

The U.S. government’s a very volatile, dangerous mechanism, and Hillary has the most experience with it.

It’s like if you were on a plane and wanted to choose a pilot. One person, Hillary, says, “Here’s my license. I’ve flown thousands of flights. I’ve flown planes in difficult situations. I’ve had good flights and some bad flights, but I’ve been flying a long time and know how this plane works.”

Then you’ve got Bernie, who says, “Everyone should get a ride right to their house with this plane.” “How are you going to do that?” “I just think we should. To be fair, everyone should get to use the plane equally.”

Then Trump says, “I’m going to fly so well! You’re not going to believe how good I’m going to fly this plane! By the way, Hillary never flew a plane in her life.” “She did, and we have pictures.” “No, she never did.”

It’s insane.

That summarizes the 3 candidates:

Hillary: experienced

Bernie: unreasonable optimist

Trump: liar


Barack Obama (President) said on August 2, 2016:

Trump’s unfit to be President and keeps proving it. His attack on a family whose son died on behalf of our country and his lack of basic knowledge about critical issues in Europe, the Middle East, and Asia means he’s woefully unprepared to do this job.

That’s not just my opinion. His statements are repeatedly denounced by leading Republicans, including the Speaker of the House, the Senate Majority Leader, and prominent Republicans like John McCain.

They should ask themselves: if you repeatedly say strongly that his words are unacceptable, why do you still endorse him? What does that say about your party, that he’s your standard bearer?

This isn’t a situation where you have an episodic gaffe; this is daily, where they’re distancing themselves from statements he’s making. There must be a point where you say, “This is not somebody I can support for President, even if he purports to be a member of my party. Somebody who makes those statements doesn’t have the judgement, temperament, and understanding to occupy the world’s most powerful position.”

That’s different than just disagreeing about policy. I’ve disagreed with some Republican presidents but didn’t doubt they could function as President. I think Mitt Romney & John McCain were wrong on certain policy issues, but I never thought they couldn’t do the job. If they’d won, I’d have been disappointed but said to all Americans, “This is our President, and I know he’ll abide by norms, rules, and common sense, observe basic decency, and know enough that our government will work.” But that’s not the situation with Trump. There must come a point where you say, “Enough!” Mr. Trump’s positions don’t represent the views of most Republicans.

See Barack’s complete unedited 5½-minute speech at:

In an email he sent me & others on September 15, 2016, he said:

Let’s compare the 2 candidates, side by side.

While Hillary was fighting school segregation in the South, Trump was sued for discriminating against people of color. While Hillary’s released every tax return from the past few decades, Trump’s provided next to nothing about his financial situation. While Hillary was fighting for first responders after tragedy struck on 9/11, Trump was bragging his building was now the tallest in lower Manhattan. While Hillary’s foundation has saved countless lives around the globe, Trump has used money people gave his so-called charity to buy a 6-foot-tall painting of himself.

He utters things on a daily basis that would disqualify any other candidate; but because he says something outrageous or nonsensical every time, he gets a pass. Let’s change that.

Michelle Obama She’s President Barack Obama’s wife. She disliked that Trump said: America’s terrible because of immigrants and must be made great again by making him President, since he’s a strong rich businessman who can accomplish things by intimidating his opponents, such as by sending 140-character insults about them, using Twitter.

On July 25, 2016, at the Democrat Convention, Michelle said the following (written mainly by her speechwriter, Sarah Hurwitz):

Barack & I tell our daughters: the hateful language they hear from public figures on TV doesn’t represent this country’s true spirit. We explain that when a person is cruel or acts like a bully, you don’t stoop to that level. No, our motto is: when they go low, we go high. Barack & I take that same approach to our jobs as President & First Lady, because we know our words & actions matter, not just to our girls but kids across this country, kids who saw us on TV. This election is about who’ll shape our kids for the next 4 or 8 years. I trust just one person with that responsibility: Hillary.

I want someone who knows this job, understands that the issues a President faces are not black & white and can’t be boiled down to 140 characters, because when you have the nuclear codes at your fingertips and the military in your command, you can’t make snap decisions. You can’t have a thin skin or tendency to lash out. You must be steady, measured, well-informed.

I want a President with a record of public service, whose life’s work shows our children we don’t chase fortune for ourselves, we fight to give everyone a chance to succeed — and we give back, even when we’re struggling ourselves, because we know there’s always someone worse off, and there but for the grace of God go I.

I want a President who’ll teach our kids everyone in this country matters, a President who believes the vision our Founders put forth: we’re all created equal, each a beloved part of America. When crisis hits, we don’t turn against each other: no, we listen to each other and lean on each other, because we’re always stronger together.

Hillary will be that kind of President, so in this election I’m with her.

I want a leader worthy of America, a leader who’ll be guided by the love, hope, and big dreams we all have for our kids.

In this election, we can’t sit back and hope everything works out for the best. We must knock on every door, get out every vote, pour every last ounce of our passion, strength, and love for this country into electing Hillary!

See Michelle’s full 14-minute speech and transcripts at:

Alan Pomerantz (real-estate lawyer) wrote:

Trump claims his business experience will help him “make America great again” (despite failed ventures such as Trump University & Trump Steaks). But business isn’t politics. I’ve been a real-estate lawyer for 48 years and handled huge deals. The skills that make a successful real-estate entrepreneur would produce a bad President, because real estate differs from the presidency in 6 ways:

1. Businessmen can always walk away from a deal. If a real-estate developer doesn’t trust a potential partner, he can find another interested party. At the White House, no: the President can’t just walk away from China if he doesn’t like Xi Jinping. Failed talks with Iran, Iraq, Syria, Russia, or North Korea can devastate more than an unsuccessful real-estate deal.

2. Companies can usually fire at will. Not in politics. Trump would have to work with 535 members of Congress he can’t fire, and many will want him to fail. He hasn’t shown any skill handling people who disagree with him, nor any desire to learn how; instead he mocked & belittled anyone who challenged him, by calling them names: “Little Marco,” “Lyin’ Ted,” and “Crooked Hillary.” If German Chancellor Angela Merkel sharply disagrees with him, could he restrain himself from attacking personally that American ally?

3. Executives are autocrats. Though real estate is heavily regulated, developers aren’t: they can typically buy whatever they want, if they have money. But the President is tightly constrained by laws, rules, and regulations; courts may disagree with him. Trump doesn’t seem to understand Presidential limits. His pledge to make Mexico fund a border wall by imposing a tariff on imports from Mexico would need Congressional approval and violate the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA). His plan to confiscate remittances to Mexico would require court action and proof of criminality; courts would say no.

4. In business, fact checkers are rare. Sellers can say almost anything they want during a real-estate negotiation, which is usually private. Those representations are eventually put into writing, but the buyer must verify. Most contracts say the parties can’t rely on anything said beforehand. If a falsehood’s found just after the buyer signs the agreement, too bad for the buyer! In Trump’s campaign, he’s often lied; but on the world stage, words matter.

5. A common business ploy is to create anxiety. By threatening to not repay loans, Trump made lenders give him a better deal. But what if a world player has a finger on the nuclear button?

6. A business always has bankruptcy as an option. If a real-estate deal must be modified, the developer can threaten to go bankrupt, as Trump did often with his casinos. That tactic helped Trump (at the expense of others) but will be destructive if used to avoid paying the government’s bills. He’s already threatened to renegotiate America’s debt and print more money to pay it.

People keep doing what made them successful. Trump promises to handle the presidency the same as a business deal. But profitably buying real estate and licensing his name doesn’t mean he’ll lead the free world well.

His full argument’s on page A13 of The Wall Street Journal’s 6/15/2016 issue.

Mike Bloomberg (billionaire Independent who was New York’s mayor) said on July 27, 2016, at the Democrat Convention:

Thanks for letting me deliver an unconventional convention speech. I’ve been a Democrat, a Republican, and eventually an Independent because I don’t believe either party has a monopoly on good ideas or strong leadership. Too many Republicans blame immigrants for our problems and block action on climate change & gun violence; too many Democrats blame the private sector for our problems and block action to reform education and reduce the deficit. Sometimes I disagree with Hillary; but whatever our disagreements, we must put them aside, for the good of our country, and unite around the candidate who can defeat a dangerous demagogue.

We’ve heard lots of talk about needing a leader who understands business. I agree, but we need a President who’s a problem-solver (not a bomb-thrower) and can bring members of Congress together, to get big things done. Hillary can do that.

I was elected mayor 2 months after 9/11, as a Republican. I saw Hillary worked with Republicans in Washington to ensure New York got help to recover & rebuild. Throughout her time in the Senate, we didn’t always agree, but she always listened. That’s the approach we need in Washington today.

I’ve often encouraged business leaders to run for office, because many of them share that my pragmatic approach to building consensus. Most of us who’ve created a business know we’re only as good as the way our employees, clients, and partners view us. Most of us don’t pretend we’re smart enough to make every big decision by ourselves. Most of us who have our names on the door know we’re only as good as our word. But not Trump.

Throughout his career, he’s left behind a record of bankruptcies, thousands of lawsuits, angry shareholders & contractors who feel cheated, and disillusioned customers who feel ripped off. He says he wants to run the nation like he’s run his business. God help us.

I’m a New Yorker, and New Yorkers know a con when we see one! Trump says he’ll punish manufacturers that move to Mexico or China, but the clothes he sells are made overseas in low-wage factories. He says he wants to put Americans back to work, but he games the U.S. visa system so he can hire temp foreign workers at low wages. He says he wants to deport 11 million undocumented people but seems to have no problem hiring them.

The richest thing about Trump is his hypocrisy. He wants you to believe we can solve our biggest problems by deporting Mexicans and shutting out Muslims. He wants you to believe erecting trade barriers will bring back good jobs. He’s wrong on both counts.

We can solve our biggest problems just if we unite and embrace the freedoms our Founding Fathers established and we all enjoy. Trump doesn’t understand that; Hillary does.

We can create good jobs just if we make smarter investments in infrastructure and do more to support small businesses, not stiff them. Trump doesn’t understand that; Hillary does.

I understand a businessman President sounds appealing, but Trump’s business plan’s a disaster in the making: he’d make it harder for small businesses to compete; he’d damage our economy, threaten retirement savings, lead to greater debt & more unemployment, erode our world influence, and make our communities less safe. He’s too risky & reckless.

Hillary isn’t flawless; no candidate is. But she’s the right choice, the responsible choice. She understands this isn’t reality TV; this is reality. She understands the President’s job involves finding solutions (not pointing fingers) and offering hope (not stoking fear).

America’s the greatest country. When people vote with their feet, they come here. The U.S. presidency’s the most powerful office in the world, so I tell Independents: your vote matters now and will determine the future of your job, your business, and our future together as a country. Join me in love of country and together elect a sane, competent person with international experience, a unifier who’s mature enough to reach out for advice, build consensus, and recognize we all have something to contribute.

Hillary said on July 28, 2016, at the Democrat Convention:

Trump wants to divide us from the rest of the world and from each other. He wants us to fear the future and each other. Over 80 years ago, President Franklin Roosevelt said the perfect rebuke to Trump: “The only thing we have to fear is fear itself!” We’re not afraid. We won’t build a wall; instead, we’ll build an economy where everyone who wants a good job can get one; we’ll build a path to citizenship for millions of immigrants already contributing to our economy. We won’t ban a religion; we’ll work with all Americans & allies to fight terrorism.

There’s a lot to do: too many people haven’t had a pay raise since the crash; there’s too much inequality, too little social mobility, too much paralysis in Washington, too many threats at home & abroad. But
don’t believe anyone who says “I alone can fix it.” Those were Trump’s words. True Americans don’t say “I alone can fix it.” We say, “We’ll fix it together!” Our Founders fought a Revolution and wrote a Constitution so we’d never be a nation where one person had all the power. America needs us all to lend our energy & talents to make our nation better, stronger. “Stronger together” guides the country we’ve been and the future we’ll build, where the economy works for everyone (not just those at the top), where you can get a good job and send your kids to a good school (no matter what ZIP code you live in), where all our kids can dream and those dreams are reachable, where families are strong, communities safe, and love trumps hate.

Millions of hardworking immigrants contribute to our economy, so it would be self-defeating and inhumane to kick them out. Immigration reform will grow our economy and keep families together.

If you share these beliefs, this is your campaign. Join us if you believe companies should share profits (not pad executive bonuses), the minimum wage should be a living wage (and no one working full-time must raise their kids in poverty), every American has the right to affordable health care, working women deserve equal pay, and we should say no to unfair trade deals, expand Social Security, and protect a woman’s right to make her own health-care decision. That’s how we’ll make this economy work for everyone, not just those at the top.

At his convention, Trump spoke for 70-odd minutes (and I do mean odd), offered zero solutions. He doesn’t believe those things, so he doesn’t like talking about his plans.

I love talking about mine. In my first 100 days, we’ll work with both parties to pass the biggest investment in new, good-paying jobs since World War 2: jobs in manufacturing, clean energy, technology, innovation, small business, and infrastructure. If we invest in infrastructure, we’ll create jobs now and also lay the foundation for future jobs.

We’ll transform how we prepare the young for those jobs. We’ll make college tuition-free for the middle class, debt-free for all, and liberate millions of people who already have student debt. It’s wrong that Trump can ignore his debts while students & families can’t refinance their debts. College is crucial, but a 4-year degree shouldn’t be the only path to a good job: we’ll help more people learn a skill or trade and make a good living at it.

We’ll give small businesses a boost: make it easier to get credit. Too many dreams die in banks’ parking lots. In America, if you can dream it you should be able to build it.

We’ll help you balance family & work. If fighting for affordable child care and paid family leave is playing the woman card, deal me in!

Besides making those investments, we’ll pay for them. Here’s how: Wall Street, corporations, and the super-rich will start paying their fair share of taxes. That’s not because we resent success; but when more than 90% of the gains have gone to the top 1%, that’s where the money is. If companies take tax breaks then ship jobs overseas, we’ll make them pay us back; we’ll put that money to work where it belongs, creating jobs here at home.

I can do it. I’ve worked across the aisle to pass laws & treaties and launch programs that help millions of people.

Some people think “Trump’s a businessman, so he must know about the economy.” But look closer. In Atlantic City, contractors & small businesses lost everything because Trump refused to pay his bills. He could pay but wouldn’t pay. He stiffed them. You know the sales pitch he’s making to be President: put your faith in him and you’ll win big? That’s the same pitch he made to those small businesses, then walked away and left working people holding the bag.

He talks a big game about putting America first; but what part of “America first” leads him to make Trump ties in China, Trump suits in Mexico, Trump furniture in Turkey, Trump picture frames in India? He says he wants to make America great again; he could start by making things in America again.

The choice in this election is just as stark for national security. I’m proud we’ve put a lid on Iran’s nuclear program without firing a single shot. I’m proud to stand by NATO allies against any threat they face, such as Russia. Trump says, and this is a quote, “I know more about ISIS than the generals do.” No, Donald, you don’t.

Does he have the temperament to be commander in chief? He can’t even handle the rough & tumble of a presidential campaign. He loses his cool at the slightest provocation, when he gets a tough question from a reporter, or challenged in a debate, or sees a protester at a rally. Imagine him in the Oval Office facing a real crisis: a man you can bait with a tweet isn’t whom we can trust with nuclear weapons! During the Cuban Missile Crisis, President Kennedy worried a war might be started not by big men with self-control but by little men moved by fear & pride.

America’s strength doesn’t come from lashing out. It relies on smarts, judgment, cool resolve, and precise strategic application of power. That’s the kind of Commander-in-Chief I’ll be.

We can’t afford to have a President who’s in the gun lobby’s pocket. I won’t repeal the 2nd Amendment and take away your guns, but I don’t want you to be shot by someone who shouldn’t have a gun in the first place. We’ll work tirelessly with responsible gun owners to pass sensible reforms keeping guns out of the hands of criminals, terrorists, and others who’d do us harm.

We must heal our country’s divides, not just on guns but on race, immigration, and more. That starts with listening to each other, trying to walk in each other’s shoes.

Many people mistakenly laughed off Trump’s comments, excusing him as an entertainer just putting on a show. They thought he couldn’t mean the horrible things he says, like when he called women “pigs,” or said an American judge couldn’t be fair because of his Mexican heritage, or mocked & mimicked a reporter with a disability, or insulted war prisoners like John McCain (a hero & patriot who deserves our respect).

Here’s what Trump doesn’t get: America’s great because America’s good! So enough with the bigotry & bombast. Let’s build a better tomorrow.

Earlier, on June 2, 2016, she gave a more detailed speech, explaining how she’d handle foreign policy better than Trump:

We count on the President to decide questions of war & peace, life & death. Trump can’t do the job. His ideas are dangerously incoherent. They’re not even real ideas, just a series of bizarre rants, personal feuds, and lies. He’s not just unprepared: he’s temperamentally unfit to hold an office that requires knowledge, stability, and immense responsibility. He should never have the nuclear codes, since he could lead us into a war just because somebody got under his thin skin. We can’t put our kids’ security into his hands and let him roll the dice.

He’s said nuclear weapons should be in the hands of more countries, including Saudi Arabia. He threatened to abandon our NATO allies, who work with us to root out terrorists. He believes we can treat the U.S. economy like one of his casinos and default on our debts to the rest of the world, but that would cause an economic catastrophe. He said he’d make our military murder & torture civilians who are relatives of suspected terrorists, even though that would be a war crime.

He says he doesn’t have to listen to our generals, admirals, ambassadors, and other high officials, because he has “a very good brain.” He also said, “I know more about ISIS than the generals do, believe me.” I don’t believe him.

He says climate change is a hoax invented by the Chinese. He has the gall to say that prisoners of war like John McCain aren’t heroes. He praises dictators like Vladimir Putin. He picks fights with our friends: Britain’s prime minister, London’s mayor, Germany’s chancellor, Mexico’s president, and the Pope. He says he has foreign policy experience because he ran the Miss Universe pageant in Russia. To top it off, he believes America is weak, an embarrassment, and called our military a disaster.

No other country comes close to matching our military, values, and capabilities.

Even if I weren’t in this race, I’d do everything I could to make sure he never becomes President, because he’ll take our country down a dangerous path.

Unlike him, I have experience with statecraft’s tough calls & hard work. I wrestled with the Chinese over a climate deal, brokered a ceasefire between Israel & Hamas, negotiated reduced nuclear weapons with Russia, twisted arms to unite the world in global sanctions against Iran, and stood up for the rights of women & minorities around the world. I’ve sat in the Situation Room and advised the President on some of the toughest choices he faced. I’m not new to this work.

I believe in strong alliances, clarity dealing with rivals, and rock-solid commitment to the values that made America great. I believe America is still, in Lincoln’s words, “the last, best hope of earth.” We’re not a country that cowers behind walls; we lead. If America stops leading, we’ll leave a vacuum that causes chaos or makes other countries fill the void, so they’re the ones making decisions about your lives, jobs, and safety. The choices they make won’t benefit us.

Our next President must do 6 things to keep America leading & safe and grow our economy:

1. Be strong at home. To make our economy strong, we must invest in our infrastructure, education, and innovation, reduce income inequality (because our country can’t lead when so many citizens struggle to provide basics for families), and break down barriers holding Americans back: bigotry & discrimination.

Trump’s economic plans would add over 30 trillion dollars to our national debt over the next 20 years. He has no ideas on education or innovation. He has many ideas about whom to blame but no clue about solutions. He offers nothing to make America stronger internally. He’d make us weaker in the world.

2. Stick with our allies. America’s allies help make us exceptional. They help us every day: armed forces fight terrorists together; diplomats work side by side; allies provide staging areas for our military and share intelligence.

When I was Secretary of State, we worked closely with Japan & South Korea to create a missile defense system ready to shoot down any North Korean warhead aimed at the U.S. All 3 countries contributed. That’s the power of allies. Moscow & Beijing envy our alliances around the world. They hope we’ll elect a President jeopardizing that strength. If Donald gets his way, the Kremlin will celebrate. We mustn’t let that happen.

It’s no small thing when he talks about leaving NATO or says he’ll stay neutral on Israel’s security.

It’s no small thing when he calls Mexican immigrants rapists & murderers. We’re lucky to have 2 friendly neighbors on our land borders. Why’d he want to make one of them an enemy?

It’s no small thing when he suggests we withdraw our military support for Japan and said this about a war between Japan & North Korea: “If they do, they do. Good luck, enjoy yourself, folks.” Does he realize he’s talking about nuclear war?

Sure, our friends must contribute their fair share. I said so, long before he came onto the scene, and several increased their defense spending. The issue is whether we keep these alliances strong or cut them off. What he says would weaken our country.

3. Embrace all tools of American power, especially diplomacy & development, to solve problems before they threaten us at home.

Diplomacy’s often the only way to avoid a conflict costing more. Diplomacy takes patience, persistence, and an eye on the long game.

When Obama took office, Iran was racing toward a nuclear bomb. Some called for military action, but that could have ignited a broader war. Obama got me working to impose global sanctions instead. We brought Iran to the table and eventually reached an agreement that should block every path for Iran to get a nuclear weapon. We must enforce that deal vigorously: distrust & verify. The world must understand we’ll act decisively, including military action if necessary, to stop Iran from getting a nuclear weapon. Israel’s our closest ally in the region; we have a moral obligation to defend Israel’s security. The world & U.S. are safer than before the agreement. We accomplished it without firing a single shot or putting a single American soldier in harm’s way.

Trump says we shouldn’t have done the deal, should have walked away. But that would have meant Iran resuming its nuclear program and the world blaming us. Then what? War? Trump doesn’t have answers to those questions. He doesn’t know the first thing about Iran or its nuclear program. Ask him. His ignorance will become clear quickly.

The stakes in global statecraft are much higher & more complex than in the world of luxury hotels. We know the tools Donald Trump brings to the table: bragging & mocking, composing nasty tweets. But those tools won’t do. Instead of solving global crises, he’d create new ones. He has no sense of how to handle multiple countries with competing interests and reach a solution everyone can back. He’s more likely to lead us into conflict.

4. Be firm but wise with our rivals. China hurts American workers by dumping cheap steel into our markets. Russia’s taken aggressive military action in Ukraine. I’ve gone toe-to-toe with Russia, China, and many other countries. I know how to stand our ground when we must, find common ground when we can. I worked with Russia to reduce nuclear stockpiles and with China to increase pressure on North Korea. Our diplomats negotiated the landmark agreement on climate change, which Trump wants to rip up. The key was to remember whom we were dealing with: not allies, but countries that share some common interests with us amid many disagreements.

He doesn’t see the complexity. He wants to start a trade war with China. Many Americans have concerns about our trade agreements, and so do I; but a trade war is different. Combine that with his comments about defaulting on our debt, and it’s easy to see how his presidency could create a global economic crisis.

I don’t understand his bizarre fascination with dictators & strongmen who have no love for America. He praised China for the Tiananmen Square massacre, said it showed strength. He said, “You’ve got to give Kim Jong Un credit” for taking over North Korea, which Kim did by murdering everyone he saw as a threat (even his own uncle), an action Donald described gleefully, like he was recapping an action movie. He said if he were grading Vladimir Putin as a leader, he’d give him an “A.”

I’ll leave it to psychiatrists to explain his affection for tyrants. How could anyone be so wrong about who America’s real friends are? Then men like Putin will eat your lunch.

5. Have a plan to confront terrorists. 6 months ago in San Bernardino, we saw the threat is real & urgent. Over the past year, I’ve laid out my plans to defeat ISIS. What’s Trump’s? He won’t say. He keeps it a secret. The secret is: he has no idea what he’d do to stop ISIS. Look at the few things he’s said on the subject. He said, “Maybe Syria should be a free zone for ISIS.” So let a terrorist group control a major Middle East country? Then he said we should send tens of thousands of American ground troops to the Middle East to fight ISIS. He refused to rule out using nuclear weapons against ISIS; that would mean mass civilian casualties. He doesn’t have a clue what he’s talking about, so we can’t be certain which of those things he’ll do, but he could do all of them: let ISIS run wild, launch a nuclear attack, and start a ground war.

Through all his loose talk, one theme runs constantly: demonize Muslims. His proposal to ban 1.5 billion Muslims from entering our country violates the religious freedom our country was founded on, is a huge propaganda victory for ISIS, and alienates the countries who could help us fight ISIS. Defeating global terrorist networks takes more than empty talk & slogans. It takes a real plan, experience, and leadership. Trump lacks all 3.

Our troops deserve a President who sends them to battle just when needed and with a clear, well-thought-out strategy. We can’t put our troops’ lives in his hands.

6. Stay true to our values. Trump talks against our deepest values.

He says he’ll order our military to murder the families of suspected terrorists. During the raid to kill bin Laden, our SEALs took time to move the women & children living in the compound to safety. Trump may not get it, but that’s what honor looks like.

He makes fun of the disabled, calls women pigs, proposes banning an entire religion from our country, and plays coy with white supremacists. America stands up to countries that treat women like animals or treat people of different races, religions, or ethnicities as subhuman. What happens to the moral example we set for the world & our own kids if our President engages in bigotry?

By the way, Mr. Trump, every time you insult American Muslims or Mexican immigrants, remember that plenty of Muslims & immigrants serve & fight in our armed forces. Trump could learn something from them.

Final point: the temperament it takes to be Commander-in-Chief. Every President faces hard choices daily, with imperfect info & conflicting imperatives. When a revolution threatens to topple a government, or an adversary reaches out for the first time in years, what do you do? Making the right call takes a cool head & respect for facts. It takes willingness to hear other people’s views with an open mind. It takes humility, admitting you don’t know everything — because if you’re convinced you’re always right, you’ll never ask yourself the hard questions.

When I was in the Situation Room with Obama, debating the potential Bin Laden operation, Obama’s advisors were divided. The intelligence was compelling but not definitive. Now imagine Trump sitting in the Situation Room, making life-or-death decisions on behalf of the U.S and deciding whether to send your relatives into battle. Imagine if he had at his disposal, when angry, not just his Twitter account but America’s entire arsenal. Do we want him making those calls — someone thin-skinned and quick to anger, who lashes out at the smallest criticism? Do we want his finger anywhere near the button? Making him Commander-in-Chief would undo much work Republicans & Democrats did over many decades to make America stronger. It would set back our standing in the world and fuel an ugly narrative about who we are. That’s not the America I love.

The video of her complete speech is at:

In the video, you can skip ahead to 3:14, which is when she starts speaking. She speaks for 35 minutes.


Economic policy

Politicians try to create an economic policy.

Reagan’s summary

Ronald Reagan complained that the government’s economic policy can be summed up in 3 sentences:

If it moves, tax it.

If it keeps moving, regulate it.

If it stops moving, subsidize it.

One-armed economist

The first president to appoint a council of economic advisors was Harry Truman. He enjoyed hearing the advisors’ comments but wished they’d be more definitive.

He moaned, “Give me a one-armed economist,” because he was tired of listening to economists who gave reasonable advice followed by, “On the other hand…”


Here’s a tale from the Internet:

A surgeon, an architect, and an economist were arguing about which profession was the most important and godly.

The surgeon said, “God’s a surgeon: the first thing He did was extract Eve from Adam’s rib.”

The architect said, “No, God’s an architect: He built the world in 7 days out of chaos.”

The economist smiled, “And who made the chaos?”

2 cows

Economics courses often begin with this lecture:

In ancient times, a farmer had 2 cows. His neighbor had 2 chickens. The farmer wanted a chicken, so he bartered with his neighbor: he’d swap one of his cows for the neighbor’s chicken. Then each farmer could produce his own milk and eggs and was happy — until the first farmer realized the cow-chicken swap ripped him off, since he spent more labor raising the cow than the neighbor spent raising the chicken. That’s why bartering is unfair and inadequate — and why currency was invented.

When the Internet was invented, folks started posting jokes about how different types of governments and political beliefs would treat the 2-cow farmer differently. Here are examples:

Countries around the world

Communist Russia: You have 2 cows. The government seizes both and produces milk. You wait in line for hours to get it. It’s expensive & sour.

Modern Russia: You have 2 cows. You count them, realize you have 4, drink more vodka, count the cows again, realize you have eleventy-six, drink more vodka, and fall asleep. Upon waking, you realize eleventy isn’t a number. You count the cows again and have 2 cows. You drink more vodka and try to drown the loss of eleventy-four cows. The Mafia shows up and takes over your cows.

China: You have 2 cows. 300 people try milking them, so you claim full employment & bovine productivity but arrest the reporter who revealed the numbers.

Japan: You have 2 cows. You reengineer them so they’re a tenth as big and produce 20 times the milk. You teach them to travel on crowded trains, bow to each other, and do well at cow school. You sell cow cartoons, called Cowkimon, worldwide.

Israel: 2 Jewish cows open a milk factory and ice-cream store then sell the movie rights and send their calves to Harvard to become doctors.

Italy: You have 2 cows but don’t know where they are. While looking for them, you see a beautiful woman, so you break for lunch.

France: You have 2 cows but want 3, so you go on strike, eat lunch, and drink wine. Life is good.

Switzerland: You charge for storing 5000 cows that don’t belong to you.

Cuba: Your 2 cows swam away to Florida.

India: You have 2 cows. You worship both of them.

Quebec: You’re allowed 2 cows just if the French-speaking one is bigger than the English-speaking one.

Afghanistan’s Taliban: You get executed because your 2 cows are infidels and you’re accused of teaching those female bovines to read.

United Nations: France & Russia veto you from milking your 2 cows. The U.S. & Britain veto the cows from milking you. China abstains.

American political activists

Democrat: You have 2 cows but your neighbor has none, so you feel guilty and vote for politicians who tax your cows. To get money to pay the tax, you sell a cow. The government uses the tax to buy a cow and give it to your neighbor. You feel righteous. Barbra Streisand sings for you.

Republican: You have 2 cows. Your neighbor has none. So what?

Libertarian: Go away! What I do with my cows is none of your business!

Constitutionalist: You can’t have cows. Our God-given Constitution doesn’t mention cows, so they don’t exist.

U.S. bureaucracy

U.S. farm policy: You have 2 cows. The government takes both, shoots one, milks the other, pays you for the milk, then pours it down the drain.

U.S. foreign policy: You have 2 cows. The government taxes you enough so you must sell both, to support a man (in a foreign country) who has just 1 cow, which was a gift from your government.

Food & Drug Administration (FDA): You have 2 cows. To test, you make the first cow drink 400 gallons of water a day. It dies, so you ban water. The other cow has cancer, but you ban cancer pills because making them requires water, so that cow dies.

Automated phone system: You have 2 cows? Press 1 if that’s correct, 2 otherwise.… Please hold while we connect you to an operator.…
(Moo-zak)… Please continue to hold. Your cows are important to us.

American security

Central Intelligence Agency (CIA): You have 2 cows but can’t tell anyone about them. Yesterday they weren’t at your farm. Today they’re not there, again. If you ever have 2 cows, they have no names. You have no name. I have no name. Nobody has any names. Got it?

Disclaimer: Warning! Your 2 cows can cause bodily injury if not treated properly. Keep out of reach of children. We can’t be held responsible for any bodily injury sustained by interacting with cows.

American financiers

Capitalist: You have 2 cows. You sell one, buy a bull, and build a herd.


American corporation: You have 2 cows. You sell one, lease it back to yourself, and do an IPO on the second one. You force the 2 cows to produce the milk of 4, so one cow drops dead. You’re surprised but tell analysts you’ve downsized and cut expenses. Your stock goes up.

Enron: You have 2 cows. From your bank, you borrow 80% of the forward value of the 2 cows, then buy another cow, with 5% down and the rest financed by the seller (on a note callable if your market cap goes below $20 billion) at a rate 2 times prime. You sell the 3 cows to your publicly listed company using letters of credit opened by your brother-in-law at another bank, then execute a debt/equity swap with an associated offer so you get 4 cows back, with a tax exemption for keeping 5 cows. The milk rights of 6 cows are transferred through a Panamanian intermediary to a Cayman Islands company owned secretly by the majority shareholder, who sells the rights to 7 cows’ milk back to your listed company. The annual report says the company owns 8 cows, with an option on one more. The public buys your bull.


Florida: You have 2 cows: 1 black, 1 white. You hold an election to see which is best. Some preferring the white cow accidentally vote for the black; some vote for both; some don’t vote at all; some vote correctly but their votes are declared invalid. Outsiders come and decide which cow is your favorite.

California: You have a cow and a bull. The bull is depressed because it spent its life living a lie, so it gets a sex-change operation, taxpayer-paid. Now you have 2 cows: 1 makes milk, the other doesn’t. You try selling the transgender cow, but its lawyer sues you for discrimination. To pay damages, you sell the milk-generating cow. Now you have one transgender, rich, non-milk-producing cow, so you change your business to beef. Then PETA pickets your farm, Jesse Jackson makes a speech in your driveway, the California legislature passes a law giving your farm to Mexico, and the LA Times quotes 5 anonymous cows claiming you groped their teats. You declare bankruptcy and shut down all operations. The cows starve to death.

Hollywood: You have 2 cows. You give them udder implants and teach them to dodge bullets, climb walls, and shoot milk from udders on command.

Arkansas: You have 2 cows. That one on the left is kinda cute.

Nevada: You have 2 cows. You charge lonely men from Arkansas to spend the night with them.


Racist: You have a black cow and a white cow. You abuse and fear the black cow. Then it produces less milk and becomes more violent. You say that proves the black cow was bad all along.

Rapper: You grew up with 2 cows but hated your parents, so you moved away at 16 and got shot. Now you have no cows. You say that’s because you’re black.

Affirmative action: You have 2 cows. The first cow has more black spots, so it gets into college.

Religious feelings

Catholic: You feel guilty for having 2 cows. Your priest says “Having cows is no sin; but if you feel guilt, free them and say 10 Hail Mary’s.”

Jehovah’s Witness: You have 2 cows. You go door-to-door, telling neighbors.

Vegan: You have 2 cows but must not use them.

Famous characters

Bart Simpson: You have 2 cows. Don’t have another cow, man!

Homer Simpson: You have 2 cows. Mmm… cows!

Spock: Dammit, Jim, you have 2 cows! They live long and prosper. That’s logical.

Dave Barry: You have 2 cows. They tend to explode. I’m not making this up.

Oprah: You get 2 cows. You get 2 cows. You all get 2 cows!

George W. Bush: You have 2 cows. You own them. We’ll give those 2 cows back to you and invest another 2 of those cows in the stock market to pay your retirement, and we can sell 2 of those cows. My opponent will say that’s impossible, but he’s just trying to scare you to vote for old-government ways to do things. Under my plan, everyone gets cows back.

Rush Limbaugh: Did you see the news that tree huggers are after a fellow who owns 2 cows? They say the cows’ gaseous emissions cause global warming. Meanwhile, the femi-Nazis say udders insult women’s bodies. Well, I’ll just keep eating cheeseburgers and shooting cows, because that’s why God made them. If white Christian men earn their cows, tax-and-spend Democrats have no right to give them away to welfare moms.

Donald Trump: You have the world’s 2 biggest cows. You form a reality show called “Cowprentice,” where cows compete to live on your farm. Then you discover your farm’s bankrupt.


Quantum physics: Your 2 cows might actually be 1 cow in 2 places.


Shakespeare recommended we kill all the lawyers. I recommend laughing at them instead.

John Adams

Arguing about laws can eat up lots of time & money. What a waste! What a shame!

President John Adams said:

In my many years, I’ve come to the conclusion that 1 useless man is a shame, 2 is a law firm, and 3 or more is a Congress.

Courtroom bloopers

In courtrooms, lawyers asked these silly questions:

Did he kill you?

Was that the same nose you broke as a child?

How many times have you committed suicide?

Were you present when your picture was taken?

The youngest son, the 20-year-old, how old is he?

You were there until the time you left, is that true?

How far apart were the vehicles at the time of the collision?

Was it you or your younger brother who was killed in the war?

Here are more courtroom transcripts of lawyers and witnesses having trouble communicating:

Are you sexually active?

No, I just lie there.

Have you lived in this town all your life?

Not yet.

Are you qualified to give a urine sample?

Yes, I have been since early childhood.

Doctor, did you say he was shot in the woods?

No, I said he was shot in the lumbar region.

What gear were you in at the moment of impact?

Gucci sweats and Reeboks.

Doctor, how many autopsies have you performed on dead people?

All my autopsies have been performed on dead people.

Officer, what led you to believe the defendant was under the influence?

Because he was argumentary and couldn’t pronunciate his words.

Did you tell your lawyer that your husband had offered you indignities?

He didn’t offer me nothing. He just said I could have the furniture.

What can you tell us about the truthfulness and veracity of this defendant?

Oh, she’ll tell the truth. She said she’d kill that son-of-a-bitch, and she did!

What did he do then?

He came home, and the next morning he was dead.

So when he woke up the next morning, he was dead?

Can you describe the individual?

He was about medium height and had a beard.

Was this a male or a female?

What is your relationship with the plaintiff?

She’s my daughter.

Was she your daughter on February 13, 1979?

Mrs. Johnson, how was your first marriage terminated?

By death.

And by whose death was it terminated?

Are you married?

No, I’m divorced.

And what did your husband do before you divorced him?

A lot of things I didn’t know about.

Did you blow your horn or anything?

After the accident?

Before the accident.

Sure, I played for 10 years. I even went to school for it.

How old is your son, the one living with you?

38 or 35, I can’t remember which.

How long has he lived with you?

45 years.

Do you recall the time you examined the body?

The autopsy started around 8:30 PM.

And Mr. Dennington was dead at the time?

No, he was sitting on the table wondering why I was doing an autopsy.

All your responses must be oral. Okay? What school do you go to?


How old are you?


What did the tissue samples taken from the victim’s vagina show?

There were traces of semen.

Male semen?

That’s the only kind I know of.

What was the first thing your husband said to you when he woke that morning?

He said, “Where am I, Cathy?”

Why did that upset you?

My name is Susan.

She had 3 children, right?


How many were boys?


Were there any girls?

Do you know how far pregnant you are right now?

I will be 3 months November 8.

Apparently then, the date of conception was August 8th?


What were you and your husband doing at that time?

Doctor, before you performed the autopsy, did you check for a pulse?


Did you check for blood pressure?


Did you check for breathing?


So it’s possible the patient was alive when you began the autopsy?


How can you be so sure, doctor?

Because his brain was sitting on my desk in a jar.

But could the patient have still been alive nevertheless?

It’s possible he could have been alive and practicing law somewhere.

Those transcripts and other weirdos were recorded by court stenographers and collected in several anthologies, such as Humor in the Court (1977), More Humor in the Court, (1994), Disorderly Conduct (1999), and Disorder in the Court (1999 & 2004).


If you’re a good lawyer, you can become a judge, whose job is to make nasty remarks to other lawyers.

Famous female judges Here’s a tale of two women; which would you rather be?

Both women are judges in the U.S. Both are over 60 years old.

The first woman runs a small-claims court, which decides little questions such as “Did this guy overcharge for cleaning a shirt?” The second woman is on the U.S. Supreme Court, which decides big questions such as “Is abortion legal?”

The second woman (Ruth Bader Ginsberg) seems to have a better career, except for one detail: the first woman gets paid more. A lot more! 188 times as much!

Ruth Bader Ginsberg’s salary is $249,300; the other woman’s salary is $47,000,000. That’s because the “other woman” is Judy Sheindlin, the “Judge Judy” on TV.

Which would you rather be: a respected Supreme Court jurist (like Ruth Bader Ginsberg) or a rich TV judicial comedian (like Judge Judy)?

Which of those women is more famous? Ruth Bader Ginsberg’s writings will become famous through U.S. history books, but at the moment more people know Judy Judy’s face. Ruth Bader Ginsberg’s decisions will change the laws of the land and how they’re interpreted, but Judge Judy is teaching more people how law works.

I’m glad we have both women.

How to become a judge A judge is supposed to be an old, wise person who’s all-knowing, solving all arguments on all topics.

The British comedy troupe called Beyond the Fringe told of a bloke who said:

I’m a miner but plan to become a judge. When you’re old, they say you can’t be a miner anymore; it’s just the opposite with judges. To prepare to be a judge, I’m reading a book called “The Universe and All That Surrounds It: an Introduction.”


Lawyers can be mean — and so are jokes about them.

Dogs Lawyers screw their clients’ opponents — then screw their own clients by charging large legal fees. Here’s a tale of how lawyers screw around:

An architect, a doctor, and a lawyer held a contest to see whose dog was smartest.

When the architect said “Go, Fifi,” his dog Fifi immediately constructed an exact replica of the cathedral of Chartres — out of toothpicks. Everyone clapped, and the architect gave Fifi a cookie.

Then the doctor said, “Go, Fluffy,” whereupon the doctor’s dog Fluffy immediately performed an emergency Caesarian section on a cow. The cow and calf came through the operation fine. Everyone clapped, and the doctor gave Fluffy a cookie.

Then the lawyer said, “Go, Fucker.” The lawyer’s dog fucked both other dogs, took their cookies, and went out to lunch.

More such tales are in Truly Tasteless Jokes (by Blanche Knott).

Barracuda When a boat got shipwrecked, barracuda ate all the passengers except the lawyers. Why not eat the lawyers? Professional courtesy!

Doctor versus lawyer When a doctor crashed his car into a lawyer’s, the lawyer asked the doctor, “Are you okay?” The doctor said, “Yeah.”

The lawyer said, “Have a drink.” The doctor took a swig from the flask and said “Thanks — aren’t you going to have one too?” The lawyer replied, “After the police get here.”

Farmer versus lawyer A lawyer went duck hunting in Texas. He shot a bird, but it fell into a farmer’s field on the other side of the fence. As the lawyer tried climbing over the fence, the elderly farmer drove up on a tractor and asked what he was doing. The lawyer said, “I shot a duck. It fell into this field. Now I’m going to get it.”

The old farmer replied, “This is my property. You’re not coming over here.”

The lawyer said, “I’m one of the best trial lawyers in the USA. If you don’t let me get that duck, I’ll sue you and take everything you own.”

The old farmer smiled and said, “In Texas, we settle small disagreements like this with the Texas 3-kick rule.”

The lawyer asked, “What’s that?”

The old farmer replied, “First I kick you 3 times, then you kick me 3 times, and so on, back & forth, until someone gives up.”

The lawyer figured he could easily win that against the elderly farmer, so he agreed.

The elderly farmer slowly climbed down from the tractor and walked up to the city fella. His first kick planted the toe of his heavy work boot into the lawyer’s groin. The lawyer fell on his knees. The second kick nearly wiped the lawyer’s nose off his face and landed the lawyer flat on his belly. The third kick, to a kidney, nearly made the lawyer give up. The lawyer, with great effort, managed to stand up and say, “Okay, you old coot! Now, it’s my turn!”

The old farmer smiled and said, “No, I give up. You can have the duck.”

Heart An old patient needed a heart transplant. His doctor said, “We have 3 possible donors: the first is a young, healthy athlete who died in a car accident; the second is a middle-aged businessman who never drank or smoked and who died flying his private jet; the third is a lawyer who died after practicing law for 30 years. Which do you want?”

The patient replied, “I’ll take the lawyer’s heart, because I want a heart that hasn’t been used.”

Cigars A young lawyer, on his first case defending a lawsuit, asked a senior partner whether to send the judge a box of cigars. The partner replied, “The judge is honorable. If you do, you’ll lose the case.”

The young lawyer’s client won the case. The senior partner asked, “Aren’t you glad you didn’t send the cigars?”

The young lawyer replied, “I did send them. But I enclosed the opposition’s business card.”

Philly An elderly gentleman entered a bordello and asked for Norah for a night. The woman running the bordello said, “Sir, she’s our most expensive woman. She charges $1000 per night.” He replied, “That’s okay.” He handed $1000 to Norah and spent the night with her.

The next night, he returned, handed another $1000 to Norah, and spent another night with her.

The third night, he did the same. At the end of that night, Norah told him, “Nobody before ever spent 3 nights in a row with me. Where are you from?”


“Oh, I have a sister in Philadelphia!”

“I know. I’m her estate lawyer, and I was instructed to give you $3000.”

Satan God said:

Let there be Satan, so people don’t blame everything on Me.

And let there be lawyers, so people don’t blame everything on Satan.

That quote is from Pete Luchini.

Q&A Here are questions & answers about lawyers:

How can you tell when a lawyer is lying? His lips are moving.

How does a lawyer sleep? First he lies on one side, then he lies on the other.

What’s the difference between a lawyer and a liar? The pronunciation.

Know how copper wire was invented? 2 lawyers were fighting over a penny.

What does a lawyer get when you give him Viagra? Taller.

What do you throw to a drowning lawyer? His partners.

How can a pregnant woman tell she’s carrying a future lawyer?

She has an uncontrollable craving for bologna.

What’s the difference between a good lawyer and a bad lawyer?

A bad lawyer makes your case drag on for years.

A good lawyer makes it last even longer.

How many lawyers does it take to screw in a light bulb?

3: one to climb the ladder, one to shake it, and one to sue the ladder company.

What do you call a lawyer with an IQ of 100? Your Honor.

What do you call a lawyer with an IQ of 50? Senator.

Why are lawyers like nuclear weapons?

If one side has one, the other side has to get one.

Once launched, they can’t be recalled.

When they land, they screw up everything forever.

What do you get when you cross the Godfather with a lawyer?

An offer you can’t understand.

What do you call a smiling, courteous person at a bar association convention?

The caterer.

What’s the difference between an accountant and a lawyer?

Accountants know they’re boring.

What’s the difference between a lawyer and God?

God doesn’t think he’s a lawyer.

What do lawyers and sperm have in common?

One in 3,000,000 has a chance of becoming a human being.

What’s the difference between a lawyer and a rooster?

When a rooster wakes up in the morning, its primal urge is to cluck defiance.

What’s the difference between a lawyer and a prostitute?

A prostitute will stop screwing you when you’re dead.

Why does the law society prohibit sex between lawyers and their clients?

To prevent clients from being billed twice for the same service.

What can a goose do, a duck can’t, and a lawyer should?

Stick his bill up his ass.

Why do they bury lawyers under 20 feet of dirt?

Because deep down, they’re really good people.

Internet More lawyer jokes are at:

Noah’s Ark

Government creates lots of laws. So if Noah were living in the U.S. now, his tale would go like this:

The Lord told Noah, “A year from now, I’m going to make rain until the whole earth’s covered with water and all evil people are destroyed. I command you to build an Ark to save the righteous people and 2 of every living species.” In a flash of lightning, God delivered the Ark’s specifications.

One year later, the rain began falling. But the Lord saw Noah sitting in his front yard and weeping, with no Ark. “Noah,” shouted the Lord, “where’s the Ark?”

Noah replied, “Lord, forgive me. I did my best, but there were big problems.

“First, I had to get a building permit for the Ark. Your plans didn’t meet Code, so I had to hire an engineering firm to redraw them. Then I got into a fight with OSHA about the Ark needing a fire sprinkler system and approved flotation devices.

“My neighbors complained that to build the Ark in my front yard violated zoning ordinances, so I had to get a variance from the city planning commission.

“I had problems getting enough wood because there was a ban on cutting trees, to protect the Spotted Owl. I finally convinced the Forest Service I needed wood to save the owls, but the Fish & Wildlife Service won’t let me catch any owls.

“The carpenters formed a union and went on strike. I had to negotiate a settlement with the National Labor Relations Board before anyone would pick up a saw or hammer. Now the Ark has 16 carpenters but still no owls.

“When I started rounding up the other animals, I got sued by an
animal-rights group objecting that I’d take just two of each kind. Just when I got that suit dismissed, the EPA said I couldn’t finish the Ark until I file an environmental-impact statement on your proposed flood. They didn’t take kindly to the idea they had no jurisdiction over the conduct of the universe’s Creator.

“The Army Corps of Engineers wanted a map of the proposed new flood plain. I sent them a globe.

“I’m trying to resolve the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission’s complaint about how many Croatians I must hire.

“The IRS seized all my assets because it claims my Ark’s goal is to flee the country to avoid paying taxes. The state sent a notice saying I owe a use tax and another saying I failed to register the Ark as a ‘recreational watercraft.’ The ACLU made the court issue an injunction against further construction, on the grounds that ‘God flooding the earth’ is a religious event and therefore unconstitutional.

“I can’t finish your Ark for at least 5 more years.”

The sky began to clear. The sun began to shine. A rainbow arched across the sky. Noah looked up and smiled. “You mean you’re not going to destroy the earth, Lord?”

“No,” He said sadly. “I don’t have to. The government did already.”

The original version of that was copyrighted in 1997 by Hugh Holub; you can read it at Thanks, Hugh, for permission to print an edited version here!


Most wars are caused by xenophobia: fear of strangers. The best way to end wars is to share Pepsi and pizza.

Peace first

Before starting a war, try to resolve the conflict peacefully. If you absolutely must start a war, make sure you’re well prepared.

Will Rogers said:

Diplomacy is the act of saying “nice doggie” until you can find a rock.

Revolutionary wars

The American government says the September 11th terrorists did a despicable “cowardly” act. I thought the word “cowardly” strange: that’s probably what the British said about us hiding behind trees during the Revolutionary War.

In the Revolutionary War for the liberation of America, we hid behind trees and fired at the British. The British complained it was “unfair” we weren't standing in an easy-to-shoot line: we weren’t following the rules of war; we were unfairly terrorizing the British troops, whose families were quite upset.

In the Palestinian War for the liberation of Palestine, the pro-liberationists hid in planes and kamikazeed civilians in the World Trade Towers. We said it was “unfair” that they killed civilians instead of paid soldiers.

I guess what’s “fair” depends on which side you’re on.

America’s first popcorn war

Back in the early 1960’s, John Kemeny (who invented the Basic programming language) said wars should be replaced by video games, where the opponents would fight each other on screen, winner take all.

Here’s what actually happened… the time is March 2003, and you are there…

Saddam is attacked by Baby Bush, but the media treats the “War against Saddam” as a football game, like the Super Bowl. We wait for the referee to fire the opening shot. It’s the first scheduled war: “War will begin at 8PM EST.” We get stats on the players, with pre-game comments from the coaches & quarterbacks. We see whether Bush attacks up the middle or does an end-run around the defensive tackles; whether he lobs some passes up into the air or throws straight ahead, Tomahawk style; and whether the sides, in their strategy huddles, lift their fingers with fake signals to fool the enemy. The TV shows photos of the quarterbacks, Bush & Saddam, displayed side-by-side.

While watching the battle, I was sorry to be out of popcorn. I was eating a veggie burrito instead, which fortunately is non-political, since we haven’t attacked Mexico yet.

I waited for the Food Channel to show a snobby chef recommending the best food for war watching. “May we suggest the fillet? Perhaps after an aperitif?”

This war was funny: for the first time, Bush was seen by most of the world as more evil than so-damn-insane Saddam Hussein. I wondered when Bush would feel tired of fighting, “bushed.”

This whole war was based on sex. Bush & Blair (heads of the U.S. & England) were young, their penises still strong and frustrated, and they wanted to attack Saddam’s opening, to cum to an orgasmic conclusion to the crisis. The heads of France and Germany were older, tired, and wanted the young headstrong men to quiet down and stop disturbing Europe’s naptime.

After the battle, Bush and Saddam should have shaken hands and exchanged after-dinner mints.


When France objected to the American war on Saddam Hussein, Americans quoted these retorts:

“Going to war without France is like going deer hunting without an accordion.” — Jed Babbin

“The only time France wants us to go to war is when the German Army is sitting in Paris sipping coffee.” — Regis Philbin

“I don’t know why people are surprised that France won’t help us get Saddam out of Iraq. After all, France wouldn’t help us get the Germans out of France!” — Jay Leno

“What do you expect from a culture that exerted more of its national will fighting against Disney World and Big Macs than Nazis?” — Dennis Miller

“Here’s why the French don’t want to bomb Saddam Hussein: because he hates Americans and wears a beret. He’s French.” — Conan O’Brien

“I’d rather have a German division in front of me than a French one behind me.” — General George S. Patton

On the other hand, Jacques Chirac, who was France’s president, said:

As far as I’m concerned, war always means failure.

Military advice

Here’s advice from Infantry Journal about how to fight:

If the enemy is in range, so are you.

Try to look unimportant: they may be low on ammo.

If your attack’s going too well, you’re walking into an ambush.

5-second fuses last just 3 seconds.

Here’s more fighting advice, from members of the military:

When the pin is pulled, Mr. Grenade is not our friend.

Don’t draw fire: it irritates the people around you.

Any ship can be a minesweeper… once.

Bravery is being the only one who knows you’re afraid.

Never tell the platoon sergeant you have nothing to do.

Never be the first, never be the last, and never volunteer.

Here’s advice about flying, from the Air Force:

It’s generally inadvisable to eject directly over the area you just bombed.

Try to stay in the middle of the air. Don’t go near its edges, which can be recognized by the appearance of mountains, ground, buildings, sea, trees, or interstellar space. It’s much more difficult to fly there!

Airspeed, altitude, and brains: two are always needed to successfully complete the flight.

When faced with a forced landing, fly the thing as far into the crash as possible.

Never fly in the same cockpit with someone braver than you.

Weather forecasts are horoscopes with numbers.

Flashlights are metal tubes kept in a flight bag to store dead batteries.

The only time you have too much fuel is when you’re on fire.

If you see a bomb technician running, follow him.

When one engine fails on a twin-engine plane, you always have enough power left to get you to the scene of the crash.

If you crash because of bad weather, your funeral will be on a sunny day.

Without ammo, the Air Force would be just another expensive flying club.

You’ve never been lost until you’ve been lost at Mach 3.

What’s the similarity between air-traffic controllers and pilots? If a pilot screws up, the pilot dies; if the ATC screws up, the pilot dies.

The 3 most famous last phrases in aviation are “Why is it doing that,”
“Where are we,” and “Oh shit!”

The military likes to poke fun at itself:

Air Force weapons troops: “Without weapons, it’s just another airline.”

Navy intelligence: “In God we trust; all others we monitor. You didn’t see me, I wasn’t there, and I’m not here now.”

Marines, U.S. Marine Corps.: “Here’s what M.A.R.I.N.E.S. stands for: muscles are required, intelligence not essential, sir! Here’s what U.S.M.C. stands for: Uncle Sam’s misguided children.”

Army: “If you spell U.S. ARMY backwards, you find out what it really stands for: yes, my retarded ass signed up.”

Coast Guard: “Support search-and-rescue: get lost.”

That list is part of what’s on page 140 of Uncle John’s Bathroom Reader, 18th edition. For more fun, get that edition and the other editions, too!


How does a “mechanical” engineer differ from a “civil” engineer? The Internet gives this answer:

Mechanical engineers build weapons.

Civil engineers build targets.

Whose shoes?

I feel sorry for Palestinians who live in Israel and want to make an honest living. Their thinking goes like this:

Yeah, go call me “Ali Baba.”

Do you want to buy a shoe?

Please don’t call me now an “Arab,”

And I won’t call you a “Jew.”

Say I’m just from Meso’tamia

Where our Western culture grew.

Say that Israel is for “us,” and

Not just “me” and not just “you.”

What about the intefada?

Is it just for infants there?

Can us old folks have some peace, or

Must we tear out all our hair?

I am just a kind commuter,

Not a looter, not a shooter.

My computer? Want to boot her

But no ’lectric power there.

Want to calm her, but the bombers

Coming out of both sides’ lairs

Make me wish I were a kishka

Or a hummus dumpling there.

Sure, go call me “Ali Baba.”

Do you want to buy a shoe?

Please don’t call me now an “Arab,”

And I won’t call you a “Jew.”

Call me “Frank.” I’ll call you “Moe.”

Then mo’ frank we both will go;

And our children, they will thank us,

And our parents will not spank us,

As together we will grow,

Searching for our heaven’s glow.

— by Rasaalah Al-Walta

      (Russell Walter’s Arabic cousin)

Cute dictators

Donald Rumsfeld was Secretary of Defense under presidents Ford and Bush Junior. He bragged that Saddam Hussein met the same end as other bad dictators, such as Hitler, Stalin, Lenin, and that Romanian guy whose name is hard to spell.

But was Lenin so bad? Compared to Stalin, Lenin was cute.

So was Saddam’s son, Odai. Though Odai had a reputation for being even crueler than his dad, when I look at photos of him I just melt, because his face is so cute! He looks like the Italian actor Marcello Mastroianni: he has the same cute smile and puppy-dog eyes. Too bad Odai’s dead: he could’ve had a wonderful movie career. His dad raised him wrong.

Osama Bin Laden — who dictated to terrorists — looked cute too. He looked just like the Jewish longhairs I went to school with. Too bad he disliked my group and started a cafeteria food fight, throwing airplanes. I don’t understand his goal: the Palestinian cause already got worldwide sympathy; what did he expect to gain by making Muslims disliked? He seemed immature. He was just a kid throwing temper tantrums, forcing the rest of the world to childproof everything, for protection from him.

African missionaries

Bishop Desmond Tutu, from South Africa, said:

When the missionaries came to Africa, they had the Bible and we had the land. They said, “Let us pray.” We closed our eyes. When we opened them, we had the Bible and they had the land.

Antiwar slogans

Antiwar protesters invented these slogans:

Slogan                                                                                                             Author

War is a mad game.                                                                                            Jonathan Swift

Draft beer, not people.                                                                                       Bob Dylan

In war, truth’s the first casualty.                                                                          Aeschylus

War makes thieves. Peace hangs them.                                                               George Herbert

When the rich wage war, it’s the poor who die.                                                   Jean-Paul Sartre

Fighting for peace is like screwing for virginity.                                                 anonymous

Old men dream up wars for young men to die in.                                                George McGovern

War doesn’t determine who’s right, just who’s left.                                               Bertrand Russell

Someday they’ll give a war and nobody will come.                                            Carl Sandburg

War is just a cowardly escape from the problems of peace.                                 Thomas Mann

A solider will fight long and hard for a bit of colored ribbon.                              Napoleon

You can no more win a war than you can win an earthquake.                              Jeanette Rankin

Civilization advances. In every war, they kill you in a new way.                          Will Rogers

The way to win an atomic war is to make certain it never starts.                          Omar Bradley

Unlike women, men menstruate by shedding other people’s blood.                     Lucy Ellman

Join the Army: see the world, meet interesting people, and kill them.                  1978 pacifist badge

Organized slaughter doesn’t settle a dispute. It just silences an argument.            James Green

War’s the only game where it doesn’t pay to have the home-court advantage.     Dick Motta

Everyone's a pacifist between wars. It’s like being a vegetarian between meals.   Colman McCarthy

If just one man dies of hunger, that’s a tragedy. If millions die, that's just statistics. Joseph Stalin

All murderers are punished

unless they kill in large numbers and to the sound of trumpets.                           Voltaire

“There are no atheists in foxholes” isn’t an argument against atheism.

It’s an argument against foxholes.                                                                       James Morrow

A great war leaves the country with 3 armies:

an army of cripples, an army of mourners, and an army of thieves.                      German proverb

Anyone who’s looked into the glazed eyes of a soldier dying on the battlefield

will think hard before starting a war.                                                                   Otto von Bismarck

If people want to make war they should make a color war,

and paint each others’ cities up in the night in pinks and greens.                          Yoko Ono

The problem in defense is how far you can go

without destroying from within what you’re trying to defend from without.        Dwight Eisenhower

If you shoot one person, you’re a murderer.

If you kill a few, you’re a gangster.

If you’re a crazy statesman who sends millions to their deaths, you’re a hero.     1939 newspaper

To delight in war is a merit in the soldier,

a dangerous quality in the captain,

and a positive crime in the statesman.                                                                 George Santayana

More antiwar slogans are at: