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Trump to Play Grinch to the World in National Security Speech!

This is the news

Prioritizing national sovereignty over alliances, President Donald Trump is poised to outline a new national security strategy that envisions nations in a perpetual state of competition, reverses Obama-era warnings on climate change, and de-emphasizes multinational agreements that have dominated the United States’ foreign policy since the Cold War.

This new “vision” will apparently come today in a speech. Let’s hope it is short, vague and soon forgotten.

In case you are wondering, I am an “America first” kind of guy myself. I believe that America can offer the world its best values, and to the extent that it does, I am proud of my country for doing so. I also believe that this enhances America’s role in the world.

But the vision that Donald Trump is about to lay out is very different. He will phrase America’s role in the world in terms of using its power rather than values. The argument is about as simple as it gets — America is powerful, and therefore it will “win”.  Well, America is indeed powerful. But we have already learned that the more America has to use that power (as we have in Vietnam, Iraq, Afghanistan, etc.) the less our power strengthens iour competitive advantage, and the less America adds value to the world. And the more power we rely on, the more we need because fewer allies will help us.

America becomes one of the global bad boys., exploiting rather than partnering. This is a recipe for America’s decline. And I for one, do not want that to happen.

Anyone for some hubris?


Trump’s “I Wish I Hadn’t tweeted that” Moment

It was going to catch up with Trump sooner or later. And when I say “it”, I mean the deadly combination of having only a loose grasp of reality and at the same time, a propensity to talk too much.

And so here we are. Whether or not the Trump campaign colluded with Russia to throw the election (and there is evidence of that), Trump himself has provided all the evidence that Bob Mueller needs to prove an obstruction of justice charge. Here are the elements

  • Trump himself tweeted that he fired Mike Flynn because Flynn lied to the FBI (a federal crime)
  • Trump himself said that he fired then FBI director Jim Comey because of Comey’s continued pursuit of the Russia investigation.

In other words, by his own words, Trump knew that Flynn had committed a crime and he tried to block the investigation of that crime. This is not a tough call .Add to that, Jim Comey’s testimony before Congress that Trump directly asked him to let Flynn off the hook because he is a “good guy” and this looks very bad indeed.

At this stage, Trump’s only defense is to argue that he didn’t mean what he wrote. Errr …. Here is the argument. “When I wrote that I fired Flynn for lying to the FBI, I meant to write that I did not know Flynn had lied to the FBI when I fired him.” Or how about this, “When I wrote that I fired Flynn for lying to the FBI, I thought it was ok to lie to the FBI. The problem was that the lie wasn’t effective enough.”

Are you persuaded? I am persuaded only that this dude will say and write just about anything to anybody if at that given moment he thinks it will get him something. The problem is that he cannot remember what he is not supposed to say.


BTW, Trump has recently denied that he asked Comey to let Flynn off the hook. So do you believe Comey (who made a contemporaneous record of that conversation) or Trump (who has reason to be less than honest, and has a history of being less than truthful)? Anyway, we already have evidence that Trump knew of the crime, and that he tried to block an investigation of that crime.

Oho! Trump is Off his Meds Again!

Amidst all the mess that is Washington politics these days, the Donald is once again veering into fantasy land.

Remember birtherism? Trump pretty much led the birther movement before he became president. Then he disavowed it. Now he is saying in private again that he thinks Obama was not born an American citizen. This, despite the fact that Obama took the extraordinary step of releasing his birth certificate showing that he was born in Hawaii. Good Lord!

Remember the election results? Trump argued that he lost the popular vote because of massive voter fraud. He even appointed a dude to find that fraud. No such fraud was found and the matter disappeared from the front pages. Apparently, it is still in Trump’s conversation.  he is still talking about the massive voter fraud that cost him in the election.

Remember the Access Hollywood tapes? When they were  released, Trump sort of apologized for his crude talk. Now he says in private that the tape was faked. Errr … one wonders why Donald can’t make up his mind here. And what evidence there is that this was faked. Apparently there is no such evidence.

Errr …  time to go back on your meds, Donald?

Saving Venice!

It might not work out, but a government committee has decided that large cruise ships should be banned from the grand canal area.

Under the new rules, which follow a temporary limit imposed three years ago, the largest ships weighing 100,000 tonnes or more will take a less glamorous route to the industrial port of Marghera, far from the Grand Canal.

Almost 99% of the 18,000 Venetians who voted in an unofficial referendum in June supported the ban.

The Guardian has the story.


The Future is Now, but Only for Some of Us!

Here is a question that has been asked many times. What separated Steve Jobs from the rest of us? And you can ask the same question about Elon Musk. Why did these guys see opportunities that others did not?

The answer is surprisingly simple. Both men spent the time and effort to develop a vision for the future. Not an abstract vision, like world peace. But a vision about a concrete aspect of the future. In Jobs case, a vision of what mobile technology could offer. In Musk’s case, how to ween the world off of fossil fuels. With that vision in hand — that they were firmly committed to — they asked the easier question. How do we get there?

George Blankenship was there and he knows. In this video hes pills the beans.


What Worked for Hef

Hugh Hefner was not your usual business man. And yet, he was indeed a very successful business man. Whether you liked him or scorned him for what he sold, he sold lots of magazines. Then when the magazine business started to go south, he sold his brand name, Playboy.

Hef knew instinctively how to sell the brand – by living it.  The brand sold the “good life”. Not the old fashioned Victorian good life. But the good life that the mid-20th century offered – materialistic and somewhat hedonistic. Hef conspicuously lived it up with parties, women, resorts, casinos, air travel, everything. And he took none of it too seriously, just demanding that it was a great time.

Of course, this eventually got old. Still dating in your eighties? Yuck! But before Hef became a caricature of himself, the good life that he promoted and lived was taken seriously.  People went to Playboy Clubs.

Image result for Playboy Club

People took notice of his wild parties

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His Playboy jet was iconic

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Lots of people envied the man at the center of it all.

The Playboy magazine publisher can be seen with his then-girlfriend, actress Barbara Benton, and other playmates arriving at Le Bourget airport

If you are into it, here is a link for more pics

And he started the whole thing off with a $1,000 loan from his mother.

Could one make up a story like this?