First Things That Trump (or Clinton) Needs to Address in Their Respective Presidencies

Well, it sure looks as if Trump might pull it off and win the Presidency, sad as I am about that. ( and I, in all seriousness, invite Trump supporter friends to send me words of encouragement to help me feel better about this and reassure me that this wont be a major catastrophe for America) . I will let the experts determine why HRC lost. Now.. in case I am wrong and HRC wins, I have also included a section on what she needs to do right at the beginning.

That being said, here are my thoughts on what Trump will need to address immediately after assuming office.Po

  1. He has to bring the county together. It must not be forgotten that the name of the nation is the United States of America. There will be a lot of lingering anger and bitterness over this election, which I think everyone will agree reached a new level in acrimony, rancor, and just plain animosity. Trump has to realize that there a lot of people out there who hate him to the depths of their souls, and will never give him an inch. That hatred will linger, and go on. A lot of people will be holding grudges.  It is this group that he has to reach out to and try and bring together. If he wants to accomplish anything, he will need greater support than just those who voted for him. This country, as of now is divided like I’ve never seen it, and in my opinion, there is a potential for a ersatz civil war if he doesn’t try and calm down the frayed nerves that the nation has right now. If he doesn’t, his 4 years in the White House could be living hell for him. There will be opposing rallies, protests and of course, that brings forth the possibility (or probability?) protests and major forms of civil unrest. Comes down to this. There are a lot of people out there who hate him. How will he bring them together? Only time will tell.
  2. His reputation.  Closely related, he has to change his persona. He is perceived as as an angry, racist, sexist bigot who thinks that everything he want to do he can.  From his making fun of the disabled reporter to his tape about groping females, whatever he has done or said has set off a storm of controversy. At one point, the House of Commons in the UK debated a bill that would prevent him from entering Great Britain. His reputation around the world is not very flattering. And among his opponents, it is even worse. Even members of the Republican Party rejected him. He will have to show that he is not what he appears to be. He will need to prove that he is even-tempered, respectful and not what his campaign showed him to be. Huey Long, probably the greatest political genius that this country ever produced, had the ability to play directly to his audience. If speaking to a rural constituency, he dressed in mis-matched, outrageously colored wardrobes, spoke broken, back-country English and made the audience feel like he was one of them. If he was speaking at a university graduation or professional convention of some sort, he dressed in conservative dark suits and spoke perfect English. Is Trump maybe doing the same thing here? There is no doubt he has touched an anger in the country that everyone underestimated, and he is playing to it as much as is possible. Is this, like Huey Long, a show so he can get elected? Maybe. Maybe not. But if it is a show, he has put on such a masterful performance that no matter what he does, he may be “typecast” for his entire term. He definitely has a long road to tread to rehabilitate that reputation. Of course, he may not care. For the domestic audience, that may be fine, but internationally, it will definitely hurt him.
  3. Allies. He has to convince our allies such as the UK, Germany, Japan, South Korea that the US is still a reliable ally, and can be counted on. In a similar vein, he has to let Nato know, and quickly, where his administration will stand on mutual defense. His remarks during the campaign raised a lot of eyebrows and caused a lot of uncertainty around the world. The British House of Commons even debated a bill banning Trump from being allowed in. His talk about the US possibly not defending NATO member Balkan nations really stirred deep concern in Europe. Feeling was that he was giving Russia Carte Blanche to attack nations whenever they wanted to. And of course, there is the suspicion that Trump and Vladimir Putin are soulmates  and are in cahoots. There is real concern that Trump may break away from what as been traditional US Policy, regardless of the party in power. He also raised eyebrows and fear  in Asia by saying he could withdraw troops from Japan and South Korea.  If he is interested in keeping the alliances intact, he will have to reassure our allies that there will be no major changes. A key element of that will be who he selects as Secretary of State. If he chooses someone with a deep foreign affairs background, that will certainly help. If he chooses someone who is a loose cannon or has no foreign policy experience, then that could very well keep the uncertainty alive. Trump must take this very seriously
  4.  Asia-Asia is a real hot spot right now, and he will have to address it immediately. The main hotbeds are:
    • North Korea-Kim Jong Un is a madman who is a real threat to the world. He is quickly developing a nuclear arsenal, test firing missiles, threatening every nation out there, and in addition, has a history of sinking South Korean Navy vessels and attacking the South Korean island of Yeonpyeong. In addition, he is starving his own countrymen, throwing people into gulags on a whim, and executes his government officials (even his own family members) if they sneeze the wrong way. He doesn’t care about UN Sanctions, as he keeps doing what he likes regardless of the impact it has on his citizens. As I see it, the world has not taken this guy seriously enough and will, sooner than later, have to pay the price. Trump will have to pay attention to this situation, as Kim would not think twice about attacking US interests, along with Seoul or Japan. As isolationist as Trump is, he will not be able to avoid the situation with Kim. The lesson of Munich applies here very strongly.
    • China-The situation with China goes every which way. Closely allied with North Korea, Trump (and the rest of the world) will need them to try and reign in Kim. They have expressed their displeasure with North Korea, previously, but apparently to no avail. I don’t think the PRC will pull away from North Korea because they want to save face. At the same time though, China is bullying their way into the South China Sea, making overt threats to nations in that area by their increased military presence in that area. The US has expressed it’s concern over this, but to no avail. Additionally, the PRC has apparently been playing cyber-security games and technology theft. For example, they just came out with a passenger airplane that looks suspiciously like a Boeing 787. All the time, they keep saying they are out for peace and keep signing trade agreements with nations. In my opinion, they seem to want their cake and eat it too.  They say they want trade, good relations, etc but at the same time commit acts that contradict what they say. Call it being two-faced or what have you, but that is what it appears to be. So, Trump will need China to help pull in North Korea, but at the same time challenge them regarding the South China Sea, technology theft and so forth. A very tricky situation, and Trump will have to play a very fine balancing act. Closely related is ,
    • Philippines-Philippine president Duterty is as populist as they come. He will say anything regardless of diplomatic protocol or courtesies. He relishes in the reactions he gets when he calls people names and insults other nations. He loves pushing buttons. And he is just loving picking a fight with the US. Thing is, he pretty much is holding the trump card (no pun intended) because he is getting cuddly with China, and has threatened to kick the US military forces out. In March of this year, the Philippine government and the US signed an agreement called the Enhanced Defense Cooperation Agreement. This allowed the US military access to 5 bases in the Philippines along with the Philippine military. This was in response to tensions with China over their increased presence in the South China Sea. But now Duterty is getting closer to China. Carrot and Stick scenario? Is he just playing mind games with the State Department? Trump will have to figure that out. And tread lightly.
  5. Syria/ISIS-Terrorism is now just the cost of living a daily life. No matter WHO is in office, if someone wants to pull and act like the Boston Marathon, or the San Bernardino massacre, they can and will. Organized attacks like 9/11 may happen, but I dont think so. I think ISIS has found that lone wolf attacks are easier and more efficient than massive attacks. Until we can find out the reason for the anti-western attitudes, military action will still be required. At the same time though, the coalition is trying to get rid of Bashar Al-Assad at the same time. Sounds to me like the old story of fighting a two front war. Maybe take things one at a time.. ie; get rid of all the ISIS strongholds as much as can be done, and after that, then get rid of Assad. I don’t know if that will happen, but Trump will just have to accept  the fact that there will be attacks on his watch.
  6. European Union-EU is not only fighting the UK and Brexit, it also looks like they are looking for a trade war with America. The World Trade Organization recently ruled against the EU in a case Boeing filed claiming that the EU subsidized Airbus, causing unfair competition in the commercial aircraft industry. The EU has also consistently put restrictions on US tech companies such as Google, Microsoft et al in favor of European IT companies.
  7. Russia-He needs to make plain and without question his exact relationship with Vladimir Putin. It very much looks like that they are very close, to the point where there are questions as to whether Trump is buying off Putin to hack government I.T systems, even going so far as to having  have Putin to interfere with the election  process. This put into question the integrity of the whole election, the value of the individual votes, and having an asterisk hang over whoever won. The appearance of complicity of Putin is damning, this is a valid question, and he will need to answer it as soon as possible, or else when he runs for re-election, the whole issue will arise again.

There you have it. These are what I feel are what are the most important issues that Trump will have to face in the early stage of his presidency. Only time will tell if he can, or is willing to face these issues.

Now.. I have talked about Trump, what if I am wrong and Clinton wins?  What will she have to face right away?

  1. Her credibility. Simply put, she is as hated by Trump supporters as Trump is by Clinton supporters. She has no credibility among Trump voters and probably not much among those who did vote for her. Even though the FBI just recently cleared her of any criminal activity in the email scandal, it is apparent to me that she was at the very least reckless with the protocols in place. It will be a very difficult task at hand to try and make her opponents believe her when she says trust me, if possible at all.
  2. Russia-she will have to have a showdown with Putin and force him to stop bullying our armed forces, hacking our IT systems and forcing Russia on the rest of the world. She will also have to find a way ensuring that if Russia plays games, the US has the capability of playing “tit-for-tat”.
  3. The Asian situation-Not rehashing what I have mentioned before, the issues in Asia apply to Clinton as well, and will be as much a tricky path as it is for Trump. North Korea, China and the Philippines; they all apply.
  4. Syria /ISIS– Same as I mentioned before. Based on her experience as Secretary of State, she may have an easier time dealing with coalition members.
  5. European Union-She will have to react to the trade war, keeping in mind that they are engaged in a war of words with the UK over Brexit, which may impact free trade and tariffs.

 

CONCLUSION (yes, I know , finally)

It looks to me like the country is going to be divided for a long time. Both Trump and Clinton have reputations among their opponents that are unfixable. Despite both talking about unity and togetherness, I can’t see any of that happening. The divisions are just too great. Neither Trump or Clinton are, or will ever be, accepted by those who oppose them.  Depending on the Congressional elections, Congress could be a real stumbling bloc. There are enough enemies, in both parties, of both Trump and Clinton to obstruct anything they want. The selection of Justice Antonin Scalia and the hearings should be VERY interesting, if not almost as vicious as the presidential election. In my view, the parties could have come up with better candidates; candidates who had integrity were above all the personal hatred. This is one time where it is possible democracy just didn’t work. Politics has to change it’s reputation of being just a way of settling personal scores to a position of service, a higher calling of being of service to the country and the world. If both parties ever come back to that meaning, then maybe, just maybe, it will attract a higher caliber of people than were forced down our throats this year

So there you go. I tried to be as objective as possible on this, but like everything written, I am sure some  some of my views made their way in. At least, I hope I was respectful to both sides. If you read this, I hope I didn’t bore you too much and I invite your comments.

In closing, I just want to say that I was always interested in and followed politics all my life. Always tried to look at the game from a few steps back to take an objective look at it. This campaign though, was really different. It was so hostile, so angry, so vicious that it sure seems like the scars are going to last for an indefinate period. I can’t help but feel that this campaign has really damaged the fabric of the American family. Regardless of who was in power, in a crisis, we could always count on all of America coming together as one. After this election, will that be the case? I don’t think so. Will I continue to follow the political scene? I dont know. I can’t answer that now, Maybe someday, maybe never. Only time will tell.

Thanks for reading.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Coffee Excursion #1. Blue Bottle Coffee

coffee-roasts I love coffee. I am fanatical about it. My next life I am determined to be a coffee grower/roaster/importer..  Anyway, the coffee scene in LA is more than Starbucks and Coffee Bean and Tea Leaf. So I have made a list of what I call “niche” coffee houses to see and experience what is out there. By “niche” i am meaning non-Starbucks or Coffee Bean store. Can be a chain, but not to the level of those two.

Anyway, my first stop was to Blue Bottle Coffee on Beverly in West Hollywood. Now I must admit that I am judging everyplace against a baseline I found long ago; Portola Coffee Lab in Costa Mesa.

So, anyway, that being said, here goes:

Blue Bottle Coffee

I had guatamala, Mary had latte and pastry.

IMPRESSIONS:

DECOR: very nice. simple but elegant. plain white walls, simple japanese style furniture.
COFFEE: mine was good. somehwhat sweet and fruity at beginning, but had somewhat bitter finish
mary said her late was good, pastry just ok
PRICES: Mine was $8 , pricey.. Mary’s was 4.50 and pastry was 6. not the cheapest place around
MISC: though crowded, the line moved very fast. they have great selection of accessories, such as chemex  in different sizes; had aeropress, and mini grinders and a nice coffee travel kit. There is no parking lot, parking is on street. On weekends, it is really busy so parking may be an issue.
OVERALL: a good place, really nice atmosphere and great website. compared to Portola Coffee Lab, though, Portola is better. their coffee doesnt seem to be quite as bitter. I like tartness, but nothing real bitter.

Short yes, but I dont like to go on and on. Anyway I would reccomend this place

The Decline of An Institution

1-disneyland_castleOnce upon a time there was a theme park. A theme park that worked. A theme park that set new standards of excellence for cleanliness, customer service and creativity; a place that CELEBRATED imagination. A place that families could go to and have fun and be educated at the same time. A place that was so unique in its conception and execution of entertainment that it actually became an important element of United States foreign policy.
This place was called Disneyland. It’s founding father, Walt Disney, was a creative genius who embraced the past but was fascinated by the future. He wanted Disneyland to be a place where visitors could be immersed in his movies, explore exotic lands, see the hope and possibilities of the future, and visit the past. In short, to have an experience that could not be duplicated anywhere else.
And for the longest time, it worked.
Then Walt died. Once he died and the family no longer had any say in the park, then the suits who look only at the bottom line took over, and the creativity and imagination started a catastrophic trip down the drain.
And it has now come to this. Disneyland is no longer the place it once was. The Walt Disney company in its present form has made it a crass, money-grubbing tourist trap. The creativity and imagination that it once celebrated is dead. The wonder of learning and thinking that once was a hallmark of the park is now just a series of tacky movie tie-ins, uncontrollable crowds, and spiraling prices, and now, reduced number of attractions for a year.
Per Se;
• When the studio let the animation department go to pot, they solved the problem by BUYING Pixar. Of course, the park cashed in on that with Monsters Inc. and Cars Land.
• Took a classic attraction that Walt himself had a hand in and completely changed it into a ridiculous movie tie in by putting Jack Sparrow at every corner, removing original characters. This was supposed to be an attraction for guests to experience what is was like to be in the Caribbean during the days when piracy was at it’s peak; not a movie comedy show.
• Took another attraction that Walt had a hand in, ie; It’s a Small World, an attraction made to celebrate the innocence of wonder of children and childhood, and strategically placed movie characters in that.
• Took one of the most iconic attractions, the Haunted Mansion and tied THAT to what was really a pretty bad movie on it’s own
• Could not think of a new attraction for Adventureland, so they simply BOUGHT the Indiana Jones franchise and plopped a ride in there. It was my understanding that Adventureland was supposed to expose guests to exotic areas of the world by replicating areas unique to those lands, not become part of a sci-fi movie.
• When they did try and think of something original for a new gate, they came up with the disaster called DCA (version 1)
• Now, and perhaps the worst of all, when they decide to build a new land at Disneyland, they can’t think of anything on their own. They take a franchise they never had anything to do with previously with the exception of one attraction in Tomorrowland. They take the easy way and BUY the Star Wars franchise and decided to build an entire new land for it. And to do that they are amputating part of Walt’s beloved Frontierland; that is, shutting it down for a year, REROUTING the Rivers of America and the Disneyland RR, and slashing out the Big Thunder area adjacent to the Big Thunder coaster. (I wonder what kind of transition they will put there, a time machine found inside one of the Big Thunder mines?) At the same time, they are jacking up the prices of, and eliminating the old annual passports. So basically, you are getting less but paying way more.
In the meantime, while the imagination and creativity was dying, prices were increasing, crowds were becoming unmanageable, and Annual Passport kept changing.
This is what Disneyland has turned into; a typical tourist trap that has lost its way.
Walt’s dream is no more.
The Disney management team should go to Forest Lawn in Glendale, kneel before Walt’s niche, and humbly apologize and beg for forgiveness. Of course, as long as the park is a cash cow, that won’t happen.
Rest In Peace Disneyland, or as it should now be known as “Six Flags over Anaheim” or “Cedar Fair-Disney”.

You must watch this! Suki Kim TED talk

slack-imgs-com_This will be short and simple. Beating the proverbial horse again, but this is important. This is an incredible video that should be watched. It really reveals the truth about North
Korea. Suki has an incredible amount of courage to do what she did. And even though she hoped that her students would be safe as north-korea-democratic-people_s-republicsoldiers of the regime, I have to say that we must look at Munich for lessons. This country and this leader is a real and valid threat to the stability of the world. Munich taught us that whenever an individual or nation threatens the globe and the rest of the community of nations, some sort of action has to be taken. While I hate to put lives in harms way, Kim Jong Un has to be taken out. If it was a perfect world, once he was ousted, then the infrastructure would collapse and the two Koreas would be united. Don’t know if that will happen, but keep your fingers crossed. In the words of Tom Hanks, sometimes countries have to be spanked. In the meantime, watch this video. It is a real eye opener. I am definitely buying her book.

 

FOLLOW UP: I bought the book and read it in less than a day. Get it. One of the most moving books I have ever read. It broke my heart to read of the conditions there. Again, get it. A very important read.

folk music in this country ( just my opinion)

bentonThe other night I saw a vidAeo embedded in the Kruger.com website. It was a video of a Swiss TV show called “Viva Volksmusik”. It was a celebration of Swiss folk music. It was a wonderful show, even though it was in German, so I couldn’t follow the interviews or lyrics. But the music and playing was beautiful. One of the highlights was a competition of traditional folk music by kids. It was great to see kids take in interest in their countries musical heritage. All in all, a wonderful program.

I just wish people in this country would appreciate folk music. I know in America, Folk Music is regarded by many as the music of the McCoys and Hatfields, rotten teeth, Black Lung Disease, and Fathers/Daughters/Sons and Daughters marrying each other, but there is so much more to it than that.

American folk music reflects the history, events and emotions of the various regions of the country. From Cajun, to Bluegrass, to Spiritual, the music has a story behind it, and to me, is more heartfelt than other musical genres.

It has always been the music of the people, it has been the musical genre of hope; from the songs of struggles, but at the same time  hope for the future by slaves in the Antebellum South, to the depression era songs of Woodie Guthrie. The subject matter has ranged from War, to Civil Rights to being just plain funny. Today’s contemporary Folk Music has rich and varied melodies, (ie more than just 2 chords) heartfelt lyrics that is more than just the Pop genre fluff, and a high quality of playing of traditional instruments such as the banjo and fiddle that would impress the most die hard skeptic.

In short, American Folk Music is a hugely rich and varied genre that has so much to offer. It is a genre that is just as valid and important as any other kind of music out there, I and think that it is a real shame that it hasnt been exposed to kids; a potential tragedy in fact, if it somehow fades into extinction.

Most importantly, if people in this country would learn to appreciate Folk Music in this country, it would make it so much easier for these same people to appreciate the folk music of other countries.

Korea

North Korea: Daily life remains a struggle

North Korea: Daily life remains a struggle (Photo credit: EU Humanitarian Aid and Civil Protection)

I have written on various places about the danger that North Korea poses for the rest of the world. Though they’ve been quiet lately, they are still a rougue nation that, in my opinion, is still a grave threat to the peace and stability of Asia. Now, I am by far not a pro-war advocate, but history has shown that it occasionally requires nations to take action against other nations to get rid of leaders who pose a massive threat to the rest of the world, and when the world takes no actions, worse events occur than just a limited military action.

An article in the current issue of World Affairs Journal by Robert Park makes a very good argument (though he doesn’t state it outright) that Kim Jong-Un  and North Korea Needs to be taken care of.

Consider the following from the article:

  1. On January 14, 2013, UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay called for an international inquiry into what “may amount to crimes against humanity” in North Korea.
  2.  Per the UN special observer on human rights in nk, Vitit Muntbhorn, stated in his 2010 report that NK has the largest per captita army in the world, and the worlds highest military expenditures per GDP, is not poor. they have large mineral deposits and makes billions in exports and trade, but it all goes to the military.
  3.  International  policy research institute says hunger sit @serious level
  4.  From Dec 2011 to april 2012 20000 of 10 % population dried from starvation in south hwangehae province.
  5.  food  confiscated from families to feed military.
  6.  in additionn to state organized famine, state killing goes on as well. in 2011, Genocide Watch(an NGO)  publised a report that stated that “there is ample proof that genocide has been committed and mass killing is still underway in north korea.”
  7.  this article states that this is the most neglected case of genocide in the post-holocaust era.
  8.  not only famine but masses have been tossed into prison camps were inmates, including kids are north_korea_famine_children201subject to slave labor, torture, rape, summary executions, infanticide, and biological and chemical experimentation.  humanitarian groups and outside observers state that these prison camps represent the worst violation of human rights today. Estimates have the number of prisoners at a quarter million, one third of that number being kids.
  9. Kim Jong-un’s government has declared that it would carry out “immediate executions when people are caught trying to cross the borders” . So escaping from the North, always, dangerous, is now even more hazardous.

It is obvious that this leadership is still a danger to the world, and he will be making noises again, whether it is by threatening to launch missiles, or sink South Korean ships, he will be making noises again.

It is an unfortunate fact that there are times when the world must get together to oust a tyrant. History has shown that when that doesn’t happen, the result is even greater carnage, destruction and death. Remember the Saar, the Rhineland, The Sudetenland, Czechoslovakia and all the other territories that Hitler was given.

Kim Jong-un is the type of loose cannon that he wont be afraid to try anything, regardless of the cost. So next time he threatens any nation or does some sort of provocative act,  he should be taken out, the North conquered, and the Korean Peninsula unified into a singe nation.

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Summerslam and the WWE

 

wwe

Over the weekend, I took my son to WWE’s Summerslam 13 at the Staples Center. I hung out at LA Live while he was at the event. I did have a chance to check out the axxess event which preceded the ‘slam and saw quite a few things that made me do some thinking about the popularity of pro wrestling.

First of all, even though pro wrestlin
g is strictly a staged show, these wrestlers are athletes in the truest sense of the word, Their bodies are in top condition;  they need to be. These people take a pounding every night, they lift several hundred pounds of opponents and other things such as stairs and chairs, and climb, leap, and jump all over the place in a choreography of punches, kicks, jumps and slams.  And they do these things in one continuous flow of action. One cannot help but admire their stamina . So while some criticize WWE as a faked show, no one has the right to say they are not athletes.

Second thing I noticed, is that these people sincerely appreciate the fan support. There was a pre-event call axxess, where wrestlers were available to the fans for autographs, photos, etc. Even though I didn’t have a ticket to it, I was able to see part of it while walking through the LA Live Plaza.  I saw these guys, both “good guys” and “villains” spending time with little kids, talking to the fans, having pictures taken with them all the while not rushing anyone.

Afterwards, while watching the fans file into Staples,  a lot of them wearing  paraphernalia of their favorite wrestlers, it occured to me that Vince McMahon is an absolute genius. Though he didn’t invent pro wrestling, he certainly has led it to is unprecedented level of popularity that it enjoys now.

How did he do it? A stroke of genius. He and his staff  creats story lines that are basically morality plays, and made it so the audience can connect to it by participating. Participatory morality plays…Genius! The characters that they create, be they “good guy” or “villain” each has a shtick or gimmick that is so far out of the box that audiences naturally  latch on to whatever meet their fancy. See the reaction of the crowd whenever “Fandango” makes an appearance; when that tango music starts and he appears in his glitter costume, the fans start doing a dance themselves, waving their arms and swinging their hips. And this is for a character who I understand is one of the bad guys Same with The Undertaker. The fans feel a real connection to to these characters, and whatever happens to the character they feel is happening to them as well.  And as long as they feel connected, the fans will continue to pump in the aircraft-carrier-like loadfull of money that the WWE has earned.

In short, take characters fans can connect to, storylines that simplify good vs evil, combine these with the PT Barnum showmanship that McMahon has created, and you have a winning formula. And there is absolutely nothing wrong with that. I saw plenty of families spending time together, performers that others look up to spending time with their fans, and a good show being presented.

After it was over and I met up with my son, he was absolutely glowing… his face was beaming with w grin from ear to ear. At that moment, I realized that letting him go to Summerslam 13 was one of the best things we ever did for him as parents!

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