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PJMcK

Profile Information

Name: Paul McKibbins
Gender: Male
Hometown: New York City
Home country: USA
Current location: New York City
Member since: Mon Jun 5, 2006, 05:16 PM
Number of posts: 4,164

About Me

Lifelong Democrat

Journal Archives

Your last sentence is sad but funny

Americans have been getting more and more ignorant about our civics for years. It is eroding our republic. Distrust of our governments has been stoked by Republicans' decades-long assault on the structures of our nation. In our schools, very little time is spent teaching the civics of the U.S. and how they work. The complexity and intricacies of our governments are profound yet Americans don't make the effort to comprehend them.

We see the examples of this ignorance nearly every day. The misunderstandings of the Bill of Rights and the other Constitutional Amendments has been glaringly highlighted in the recent disputes about NFL players' free speech rights. Trump's ignorance about the Founding Documents, the Rule of Law and the mechanics of government exemplifies how little too many Americans know about the philosophical and practical structures of the U.S. It's been demonstrated many times that, in general, voters really don't know very much about the candidates and the issues they cast ballots for.

Trump thought being president would be very different than what it is. He wants to be dictator so he could, in fact, fire the Speaker of The House.

Trump is an idiot but it frightens me that so are so many of our fellow citizens.

The Great American Experiment

Is it possible that the experiment put in motion by the Founding Fathers is a failure? Do our present circumstances represent the end of our representative government?

The polarization of our citizenry cannot be bridged by any of the people in our governments. The battle lines are deep and darkly drawn and it is not going to change. So many of our government officials are corrupt and we are led by some of the most incompetent people in the world.

The racial issues that have erupted with Trump have been with us all along. The efforts of the Civil Rights Era seem to have been ineffectual in redirecting our society. The slow destruction of our public education systems has produced an incurious and ignorant society. The greed of capitalism has caused our people to become selfish and self-important.

I'm distressed by what I see and what it augers for our once-great country.

Hey, Alisyn Camerota!

Fuck you!

First, you're on cable TV. Anything goes. It is not broadcast television so there are no FCC regulations on speech.

Second, you saw President Fox's videos taunting Trump. That's exactly why you and your producers put him on the air.

Third, how dare you suggest that you would censor free speech? Without that Constitutional guarantee, you and your network would be out of business.

Besides, why would you bleep the word "fuck" anyway? Where is the offense? The real offense is that your network will allow Republicans to spout blatant falsehoods and in most cases, your crew doesn't push back with facts. That is far more obnoxious, nefarious and dangerous than a four-letter word that gets used daily by so many people of all ages.

Lastly, Alisyn, fuck off because you thought it was funny, too.

Posts and commentaries about Hillary Clinton are a waste of time!

Mrs. Clinton does not hold any lever of power. She is not involved in anything to do with our government. There is nothing she can do to alter our nation's political trajectory. Rightly, wrongly or otherwise, she lost the election. Do ya'll remember that night?

Seriously, the Democratic Party will move forward. We have to. The rear-view window/navel gazing is a waste of time. While there are lessons to be learned, aren't most of them quite obvious?

Please, let's be progressive.

Thanks for reading.

Words have meanings

My dictionary is nearly six inches thick with thousands of words and their definitions. The Guardian article articulates most of the reasons we have language. In order to communicate and cooperate as a civilization, we have to agree on the meanings of words or we're only making noises at one another. I mean, fundamentally, if you say the grass is green while I insist that it's purple, we'll never be able to effectively discuss the grass.

Donald Trump abuses language every time he speaks. If you want to give yourself a headache, try reading the transcript of his interview with the Associated Press. Nearly the entire interview is gibberish. I cannot parse a single sentence so I have no real idea what he was talking about. His thought process is unintelligible as he veers all over the place.

This is a short quote from Kathleen Parker's column today:

The disconnect between the witty and the witless was that Trump fans took him seriously, not literally, while the media — silly gooses — took him literally but not seriously — as many have mentioned.

This is a clever observation, but it’s ludicrous to suggest that reporters shouldn’t take literally a president’s or candidate’s words. Certainly other nations and leaders do.

I added the emphasis and the rest can be found here:

https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/dealmaker-in-chief-more-like-the-backdown-president/2017/04/25/7cddddc6-29df-11e7-b605-33413c691853_story.html?utm_term=.1fdb617f702a&wpisrc=nl_headlines&wpmm=1

My point is that words have meanings and unless it's very clear that the president is joking, then his words must be taken literally. That job doesn't allow for ambiguity in communication. That path leads to confusion and danger.

I don't know why that is so hard to understand. After all, grass is green.

You're welcome

When I was in graduate school at the Manhattan School of Music, one of my composition teachers was the maestro's music associate and he arranged for me to work with them for about 6 months. It was an awesome and heady experience. He was an incredible genius and his personal life was as rich as his professional work.

In addition to the musical chores he gave me, I was invited to many events each of which were unique in their own way. One performance he gave was with the NY Philharmonic and he conducted the Brahms Third Symphony paired with his own Third Symphony, "The Kaddish," which happens to be my personal favorite of all his music. He conducted the entire program from memory!

Bernstein had a large apartment at the Dakota in NYC and when John Lennon was murdered, the maestro held the wake at his place and that was an evening I'll never forget! The list of celebrities who attended was amazing. Lauren Bacall was there and had just cracked a bone in her foot performing in Kander & Ebb's Broadway show, "Woman of the Year." Earlier, I had met her at Bernstein's birthday bash and she was sitting in the breakfast nook with her foot up on a chair. When she saw me, she called over to me, "Darling, come keep me company and entertain me." Mind-blowing stuff for a 22 year old!

Another time, at his estate in Fairfield, Connecticut, I was invited for dinner, (my parent's lived in nearby Westport). The other guests included Rudolph Nureyev, Franco Zeffirelli and Stephen Sondheim (who I would later represent as a music publisher). We ate dinner on the screen porch sitting with TV trays as we watched "The Naked Civil Servant" which is about the writer/raconteur, Quentin Crisp. Wild!

One example of his brilliance happened some years later. On the occasion of his 70th birthday, the NY Times offered him a space on the Op-Ed page of the Sunday edition. He could have written anything so he wrote a poem! What a multi-talented man.

The one event that bummed me out was a political fund-raiser for Senator Ted Kennedy who was challenging President Carter in the 1980 Democratic primary. Given Bernstein's long relationship with the Kennedy family, his support wasn't surprising but Kennedy's long-shot challenge harmed the president's reelection and we know how that turned out.

Nonetheless, the opportunity to work for him was tremendous and shaped much of my musical thinking and aesthetics. (Note my sig line!)

Of course, Donald Trump cheats at golf

He cheats at everything else so why would anyone expect his golf claims to be true?

Golf is a curious sport with unique components not found in most other activities. One of the most striking elements is that, in general, there isn't a referee adjudicating every stroke. It's a game of honor where the players are required to enforce the rules on themselves. There are times when an official ruling must be determined in competitive play but that doesn't happen often and almost never in most recreational play.

There are two basic approaches to the game: keep a strict adherence to the rules and keep score mercilessly OR go out and have fun and don't fret over the rules or the scores. If a player keeps an official handicap with the USGA, it is understood that they will play strictly by the rules and post every score they shoot for calculating their official handicap index.

Since Mr. Trump cheats, (and in addition to Alice Cooper there are others who've observed Mr. Trump's casual approach to the rules) his claimed handicap is suspect. The false equivalency of Bill Clinton's liberal use of mulligans illustrates that Mr. Clinton plays for fun, that is, he doesn't claim that he's a single-digit player, (for non-golfers, that's an amazingly difficult achievement requiring hours of training every week). Here's an interesting article about Mr. Clinton's golf game:

http://www.golftoday.co.uk/news/yeartodate/news00/clinton.html

Conversely, Donald Trump makes outlandish claims about his abilities. In New York, there's a public course that's managed by Mr. Trump's golf company. It's ridiculously expensive but it's quite beautiful with panoramic views of the NYC skyline and the upper East River. On a par-3 hole, there's a big brass plaque alleging that in the inaugural round, Mr. Trump got a hole-in-one. It sounds to me like a claim Kim Jong-Il would make, and I just don't believe it. That's because Mr. Trump always lies and his arrogance knows no limits.

I cannot imagine spending four hours playing a round with Donald Trump. That would be hellacious. And I hate it when someone cheats and thinks I don't notice it. It's insulting because only one of two things can be true: the cheater thinks I'm too unobservant to see the cheating OR the cheater thinks I'm stupid.

It's the same with Mr. Trump's campaign. He thinks we'll not see his blatant lies and contradictions OR he thinks he's so much smarter than we are that he can gaslight us with his lies.

Donald Trump is an idiot.

Trump TV won't happen

The reasons are simple:

- It's incredibly expensive to start a TV network from scratch. Where is Donald Trump going to get the money? American banks won't lend to him. We know he won't spend his own money. Will it come from Russians? Don't count on that.

- Which cable company will accept Trump TV on their service? Time-Warner? Comcast? Optimum? There is already a plethora of news on their systems. The controversy of distributing Trump TV would hurt their over-all business models. By the way, cable operators are not required to carry any and all programming that comes their way.

- The base of supporters that Mr. Trump enjoys is probably not large enough to sustain the 24/7 programming a new channel would have. In order for the channel to work economically, it would have to be a premium channel. Would enough of his supporters pay an additional monthly charge for Trump TV?

- Far too many corporations have shunned Donald Trump because of his extremism and bigotry. The list is long and includes Macy's, NBCUniversal, the PGA and many others. Where would the big money advertisers come from? Mr. Trump is toxic to so many Americans that the corporations will not want to associate with such a divisive man. The ads on a Trump TV would end up mirroring old-time late-night broadcast television. There's not enough money there to sustain a business that way.

- Where will Trump TV get its programming? An important point to consider is that Roger Ailes will not be able to assist a nascent Trump TV because of his severance deal from Fox News. But who is going to create the shows? Donald Trump is not a producer and it's very difficult to come up with 168 hours a week of programming. It's also expensive.

- A review of other attempts by right-wing individuals demonstrates the fragility of such programming. Sarah Palin's shows were failures so were Glen Beck's. Even Rush Limbaugh's programs (and their advertising dollars) have diminished in recent years. An entire network of such programming would be exceedingly difficult to execute.

- Donald Trump is going to be the thing he hates the most: a loser. He's trashed his own brand so thoroughly that it's hard to see how he could establish a consistent audience. In addition, Mr. Trump is going to be facing something else he hates: scrutiny. His legal problems are just beginning and he's going to find himself in a lot of courtrooms in the next couple of years. Does he really have the focus and business model to make a network successful? He doesn't seem to ever put in the hard work for any of his endeavors.

- The Financial Times article about Jared Kushner's informal talks with Aryeh Bourkoff also points out some of what I've written above. More importantly, the article doesn't indicate that anything concrete came of those talks. The article is speculative, at best.

Even if Trump TV gets off the ground, history has repeatedly demonstrated that Donald Trump's endeavors have an extremely high rate of failure. One analysis showed that only 25%-30% of his businesses made money.

Donald Trump is in a swirling vortex of personal, business, financial and legal troubles that will finally take him down. I won't watch Trump TV (if it happens) but I'll certainly enjoy the shows and news detailing his demise.

We are witnessing the beginning of the end of Trump

Throughout his life, Donald Trump has exaggerated everything he's been involved with. Given all of his obvious psychological problems, each step of his existence has to exceed the last. In the drug culture, it's called "chasing the dragon" because the user keeps grasping for a higher high. This need is the same in Mr. Trump and it could be more catastrophic than anything we've seen in the public sphere.

I believe we are going to witness a piece of cultural history as one by one, Donald Trump's (leveraged) Houses Of Cards collapse. Here's my scenario.

First, he loses the election. He'll bitch and moan and come up with a thousand conspiracies and excuses but none of it will matter and Hillary Clinton will be sworn in as president. This will humiliate him in front of the world, something he's never experienced. It will affect him profoundly.

Next, his fraud cases regarding Trump University will go to trial at the end of November. As the cases unfold, it will take more and more of his time. Ultimately he'll lose. I believe there are two cases, one is a class-action civil suit and the other is a RICO fraud case. I don't know if jail time is a possible punishment for the RICO case but there will be no way for Mr. Trump to spin his losses as wins.

Meanwhile the civil case against him for allegedly raping an underage girl years ago is ongoing. He could lose that one, too. Imagine the public humiliation he is going to be going through! With each loss, his supporters will dwindle and he'll lose his audience.

As if those issues weren't enough, the investigations into the Trump Foundation are going to result in some serious repercussions for Mr. Trump. The public scrutiny that this narcissist has willingly subjected himself to is yet another example of his unbelievable hubris.

Now, things get really interesting. Mr. Trump has bragged about how his company is so awesome with the most incredible assets around the world. But the value of these assets is flexible as Donald Trump himself has sworn in testimony.

The first problem is that the assets that he owns have been impacted by his divisive campaign. As two examples, bookings at his hotels are down and rounds of golf paid for at his courses are down.

The second problem is that a great many of his endeavors are licensing deals for the use of his name, that is, he doesn't have equity in many of his ventures, he only receives a fee for the Trump™ brand.

His campaign for president has seriously damaged this brand name. Consider the corporations and organizations that have severed their ties with him because of his bigoted and ignorant comments: Macy's, Univision, Televisa, NBCUniversal (home of his TV shows), Serta, ESPN, NASCAR (sort of), and even the Professional Golfers Association of America. There are more and these organizations do not want their brands associated with such a controversial buffoon as Donald Trump.

Specifically, his ugly campaign has tremendously limited his future businesses. His kids must freaking out about the old man.

There's been speculation that he wants to start Trump TV. There won't be enough of an audience; look at what happened to Sarah Palin's TV shows. There is no way that Mr. Trump could program enough material for a 24-hour cable channel and sell enough advertising to pay for it. Remember all of the corporations that do not want to work with him anymore. Such organizations seek to avoid controversies because it shrinks their customer base.

I think Donald Trump is accelerating wildly towards a crash of Fitzgeraldesque proportions. What a show we're in for!

Donald Trump is not a deep thinker

He has never demonstrated an ability to plan a project and see it through to completion without an undue amount of drama or fraud or some other malfeasance. He is incapable of playing the long game because he has a terribly short attention span. And he's not particularly bright or articulate.

Specifically, he's seriously damaged his brand. Originally, Mr. Trump was a real estate developer. But for more than the last ten years, he hasn't been able to raise or borrow the capital to actually build and own the buildings that bear his name. Banks won't lend to him because they know he's a huge risk. So, he's merely licensed the "Trump" brand for those structures which were built with other peoples' money. Likewise with the products that he promoted including the steaks, vodka, bottled water and board games.

But after all the things that he's said and done over the course of his campaign, he's ruined that brand. There will be very, very few organizations that will want to associate with him when the campaign is over. Keep in mind that corporations desire to sell their goods and services to the greatest number of customers. They avoid controversies- and controversial people as spokespersons- because trouble tends to diminish their sales. Donald Trump's imprimatur will not help grow sales after this is finished.

The signs of that damage have already occurred: Macy's terminated their partnership with Mr. Trump. Univision dropped Trump's Miss USA pageant from their programming. NBC ended their relationship with the star of "The Apprentice." And the Professional Golf Association moved a marquee event from Trump Doral in Miami to, get this, Mexico City! These are just some of the many organizations that don't want to be associated with Mr. Trump.

Simply put, he's insulted far too many people and groups. His lame attempt at apologizing doesn't mask the ugliness and sincerity of what he's said. People know this.

I do agree with you, onehandle: "The joke's on the GOP."

Hope you have a good week.
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