Is Donald Trump Still a Democrat?

Donald Trump registered as a Republican in Manhattan in 1987.  In 1999, he changed that affiliation to the Independence Party.  And in August 2001, he registered his affiliation with the Democratic Party where he remained until 2010.  In an interview with CNN’s Wolf Blitzer (July 21, 2015), Trump said “In many cases, I probably identify more as a Democrat. . . .It seems that the economy does better under the Democrats than the Republicans . . . we’ve had some pretty bad disasters under the Republicans.”  

On October 19, 2021, the Wall Street Journal featured an interesting article by Gerard Baker “Trump is a Democrat:  How’s that for a Conspiracy Theory?”  The article recounts Trump’s recommendation that Republican voters in Georgia not vote in the Senate elections last year (which resulted in the election of both Democratic candidates by a narrow margin).  And now, Trump has advised Republican voters that “If we don’t solve the Presidential Election Fraud of 2020, Republicans will not be voting in ’22 or ’24.”   The idea for a President of the United States to tell citizens to “not vote” does raise questions.   Mr. Baker’s article suggests that Trump may just be a Manchurian Candidate in the spirit of the 1959 novel by Richard Condon.  Could it be?   I’m only the messenger – and not taking sides on this – except to say that whatever side you are on – it seems to me subversive for any politician to tell his/her constituency (or any constituency for that matter) to not vote in critical elections. 

What say you?    

Sam’s Shoe Shop

[A smile dating back to September 3, 2012] An old man was sitting in his easy chair when he heard the mail fall through the mail slot. He got up, stretched and shuffled off to pick up the mail. There was an envelope with a return address from his old Army unit. My old unit, he thought. He tore open the envelope and read that there was to be a reunion. “Wear your uniform!” the letter said.

My uniform. Where is my unif. . . .the attic! He slowly padded up to the attic and there was his footlocker. He opened it and pulled out the pants. They fit. He then shrugged on the tunic. It fit too! But his shoes were not there. Where could they b. . . . He felt in his pocket and there was a card. “Sam’s Shoe Shop – New York City.”  The old man remembered that he had dropped off his shoes for repair 50 years before.  

There was a telephone number on the card so he picked up the phone and dialed.  A voice answered -“Sam’s Shoe Shop.   Sam here.” 

Sam!  Sam!  I was in your shop 50 years ago and dropped off my shoes.”  The old man read off the claim check number.   “By any chance do you still have them?”   

Sam said “All right.  Just a minute.”  The old man waited for several minutes then Sam got back on.  “Okay.  I got ’em.   They’ll be ready next Thursday.” 

Gabriel

(An interesting ecumenical follow up to the prior post – an update from January 30, 2012)

There are three archangels in religious tradition: Michael, Raphael and Gabriel. Of the three, Gabriel is the one who curiously keeps popping up — not just in Christianity but in other faiths as well.  Gabriel is not just a divine messenger from God, he is an uber messenger. . . . .

In the Jewish tradition, Gabriel is the holy messenger who in the Old Testament book of Daniel offers an explanation of Daniel’s visions. In Christianity, it is Gabriel who foretells the birth of John the Baptist and Jesus. It was Gabriel who visits Mary to deliver the good news of her new role.

In the Mormon faith, Gabriel ministered to Joseph Smith.  In his earthly life, Gabriel was believed to be Noah. Some say, Gabriel continues to serve as a divine messenger having visited earth as recently as 1954.

In Islam, it was Gabriel (Jibril) who revealed the Qur’an to Muhammed.  In the Bahai faith, Gabriel is referenced in their holy texts (Baha’u’llah‘s mystical work Seven Valleys).  Among Yazidis, Gabriel is one of the “Seven Mysteries.”  In the Gnostic manuscripts, Gabriel is a divine spirit who inhabits Pleroma and who existed prior to the Demiurge.  

With Gabriel’s influential involvement in so many religious traditions, one has to wonder if Gabriel, the Messenger, is trying to tell us something.  Perhaps He who sent him is too. . . . 

Sermons

In my post of January 19, 2012, I mentioned “favorite radio stations” including WBBM (news); WFMT (classical music); and WMBI (religious). All three are still on my list. I try to feed my meager brain with the fruits of these stations instead of vegging out on Metallica or Megadeth. Same is true at the local fitness center – listening to TED Talks, language lessons, sermons or speeches. On the religious end of things, I thought I might share four ecumenical examples . . . .

Dr. Erwin Lutzer is the former senior pastor of the Moody Bible Church in Chicago. His sermons are meaty and meaningful. See for example – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=luSsQ_KgpAg&list=RDLVluSsQ_KgpAg&start_radio=1&rv=luSsQ_KgpAg&t=64 I’ve heard a fair number of these . . .

EWTN is the Eternal Word Television Network is the global Catholic radio and television network. Years ago, on Sunday evenings, I would often watch Fr. Benedict Groeschel (1933-2014) – a Franciscan friar who devoted his life to working with the poor. His program “Sunday Night Prime” was not exactly a sermon but involved interviews and commentary. A wonderful example is at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EV8U2j1hVEM

On September 16, 2013, Rabbi Peter Rubinstein delivered a Rosh HaShanah sermon (titled “Choosing your Legacy”) that knocks it out of the park. There is nothing he said that one cannot agree with. See https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5DaSqibU0aU Your life is a work of art. . . .

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints (the Mormon Church) has a number of interesting offerings. There is a wonderful series on Biblical teaching. One powerful example is at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BTO7-Jarl-E

Wherever you are on the religious spectrum, the messages above — can be educational and inspirational. Spend an hour and a half. We are all here for a reason. Presentations like these can help us to understand that.

China

China’s economy has been doing well. Education is big. Astronauts. Space stations. And the culture is nothing like it was during the reign of Mao Zedong. Mao was the epitome of evil — the biggest mass murderer in the history of the world. Mao takes credit for the starvation and execution of 45 million of his own people during the five years from 1958 to 1962. And we’re not counting the before and after. . . . .

Xi Jinping has had a role to play in China’s rise but also its increasing descent. He is covetous. He wants to be the King of China for years and years more. He is growing the military. And being aggressive. Threatening. Hong Kong is victimized and Taiwan is in his sights. Mao’s poisonous visage is again being touted. And Xi is beginning to kill and punish anyone who disagrees. What he doesn’t realize is three things: life is short; his time will end; and yet – he could still be a hero. Simply by adopting the qualities of one. Courage. Compassion. Integrity. Charity. Friendship. Reconciliation. Self sacrifice. And serving as a role model for others.

Unlike Russia, I perceive Xi and China as still having a bare sliver of a chance. Think of the leaders who have made a difference by adopting these qualities. Leaders with character – Lincoln, Gandhi, Mother Teresa, Martin Luther King, Nelson Mandela, Winston Churchill, and so many others. Wouldn’t it be great if world leaders and would-be leaders would strive to be heroes instead of planning and executing violence, hatred and corruption against their people and others? Haven’t they learned in the last 4,000 years that it doesn’t work?

I’d love to meet Mister Xi. I would like to squeeze his nose and say 醒来我的朋友 (XING LÁI WO DE PÉNGYOU or “wake up my friend“)! Though that would achieve nothing. I would probably gently tell him – maybe – just maybe – you could still be a hero. . . .” Whether he would listen is purely up to him.

Beatbox

“Beatbox.” I’d never heard the term before. Until. . . .

Let me back up. When I go to the local fitness center, I usually hop on the recumbent bike for a half hour or 45 minutes. When I do this, I listen to TED Talks (see posts of 2/5/17 and 12/29/16), language lessons or famous speeches and sermons. So last Friday, I perched on the bike, noodled my Iphone onto the TED channel and began scanning the offerings I’d not seen. One of the “most popular” was “The Orchestra in my Mouth” by an Aussie from Brisbane named Tom Thum. 34 million views. Soooo. . . .

I had no idea what to expect. But it soon became apparent. Tom Thum is a “beatboxer.” He uses his voice to replicate all manner of sound, beat, instrument, and amplitude. Over the years, I’ve used my voice to make various sounds (I’m sure most guys have too) but Mr. Thum’s offering was very different. Verrrry . . . .

I am sure you will enjoy spending 11 minutes to watch this video. When you’re through, I want you to practice Michael Jackson’s “Billie Jean.” It may take a lot of practice. See https://www.ted.com/talks/tom_thum_the_orchestra_in_my_mouth#t-651460 To make a living out of making different noises with your mouth? My kinda job. After all. I’m a lawyer. . . . .

The 1000 Pound Man

(A repeat from October 20, 2013)

The heaviest person in the world weighs 1,076 pounds. He is about 5 feet 8 inches “tall.” The regulation National Hockey League goal is 6 feet by 4 feet.   You see where I’m going?? 

I have long felt that the Chicago Blackhawks could win the Stanley Cup every year by simply recruiting the largest people in the world to be the goalies.  You upholster them in padding, mask and protective gear, give them a stick and stuff them into the goal and let them take a nap. Every shot on goal would simply bounce off the goalie. Defense would become a thing of the past. The goalie would go into the history books and the Blackhawks would win the Stanley Cup every year.

The only “hitch” would be that other teams might start recruiting similarly-endowed goalies.  Games would typically end 0 to 0.  Shootouts in overtime could go on for years . . . .

Man Cave

My home was built in 1938 by a man named Henry Selinger. Henry was a violinist with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra and a music director for WGN-Radio. Shortly after moving in, he built a room over the garage in which to play and practice the violin. The room is all pine and acoustically perfect. When the Selingers moved out, the Weiss family moved in. And then around 1987 – the Petersens.

The room over the garage was originally a rehearsal room for Mr. Selinger. It later became a bedroom for a young boy. This young lad had a BB gun and if you look carefully at the walls and ceiling, you can see it is dotted with BB’s. All over. . . . .

The room became my office, my safe house, refuge. . . . my man cave. There is a door to an small outdoor porch (which I rarely use) and a bees’ nest in one corner above the boards. I leave them alone and they leave me alone. I have left the BB’s as they are (they add character), as well as a University of Michigan “M” decal on the window which adjoins an American flag. And then in the corner – out of sight of prying parents – there is scratched prominently in the wood “RW + DM.”

I learned that Mr. Selinger also bought and sold violins. At one point he owned at least one Stradivarius and a Guarneri. Thus – when I am noodling on my guitar, I sometimes think that Stradivarius and Guarneri also sang in this room. Ahhhh to have been a fly on the wall. . . . .

Chocolate in the Night

I’m usually the first one up & at ’em in the morning. I make the coffee, get the newspapers off the driveway and make my breakfast (usually cereal and fruit). I turn on “Squawk Box” and switch between it and the “Today” show. Donna makes her appearance somewhere in mid-afternoon. . . . . YES I’m kidding. Anyway, a few mornings ago, she came downstairs and lamented that she’d been awake for a few hours. “It must’ve been that chocolate I had last night.”

Chocolate for dessert. Ugh. . . . .I did observe that neither of us can eat chocolate at night without eye-opening consequence at night. Caffeine and all that. Soooo while sitting at the kitchen table – sipping my 4th cup of java – I penned a song – which I (yes) sang. It is to the tune of “Strangers in the Night.”

Chocolate in the Night – Keeps my eyes open 

When I douse the light – I just try copin’ 

I just start to read – Until the clock strikes four.

I just took a bite – then an another

I tried with all my might – Thought of my mother

But it didn’t work – I took another piece.

Chocolate in the night – It’s an addiction

It really is a fright – it’s not a fiction

Everywhere I go – Rain, heat, frost or snow

I will grab a candy bar – a Hersheys’ kiss or chocolate star. . . .

You get my drift. . . . .

So this guy. . . .

So this guy goes to the doctor.  He’s nervous and fidgeting.  The doctor says “do you smoke?”   The guy responds “yeah – four packs a day.”  The doctor responds “well, if you don’t quit smoking, you’re going to be dead in five years.”  The guy says “But Doc – I’m nervous.  I gotta have something to keep me calm.”  The doctor thought for a moment “why don’t you chew toothpicks?” 

So the guy quit smoking and started chewing toothpicks.  Three boxes of toothpicks a day.  He died five years later.  Dutch elm disease. . . .