Captain Jack Sigg Remembered on NPR on Memorial Day

I was listening to NPR this afternoon while working at the computer when I almost fell out of my chair. Suddenly there was a woman’s voice talking about her memories of my late cousin, Jack Sigg, who was killed in Vietnam in the 1960s. The woman doing the broadcast was Ann Marshall, an ex-girlfriend that I didn’t even know he had.

Jack was four years older than I. He joined the Army while I was still in high school in Johnstown, Pennsylvania where we lived. He attended West Point and was stationed in Germany before volunteering to fight in Vietnam. He wasn’t in Vietnam long before he was killed.

It was very surprising to hear Captain John Sigg memorialized on national radio on this Memorial Day. I know it’s of importance to no one but me and his other surviving cousins, but I’ll put a link to a recording of the broadcast here anyway. Click here.

He also has a page on the Vietnam Memorial Website. You can view it by clicking here.

Oh, yes, his formal name was John, probably named after my father, his uncle, but no one called him anything but Jack. I suppose we were a pair of Jacks

 

Trump Shoots Himself in the Foot Yet Again

Hillary Clinton has not done a very good job of attacking Donald Trump, but she doesn’t have to. Donald Trump is his own worst enemy.

His latest act of political hara-kiri was his attack on Republican governor Susan Martinez during his recent campaign stop in New Mexico. Susana Martinez is a beloved Republican governor in a state that tends to lean Democratic. She is a conservative and chairwoman of the Republican Governors Association. Several analysts had mentioned her as a possible vice presidential running mate. She could have swung New Mexico’s electoral votes in Trump’s favor.

Granted, given Trump’s repeated attacks on Hispanics, Susana Martinez is definitely not one of his admirers. However, the Trump campaign had promised that their candidate would change tactics and start acting more presidential now that he has the Republican nomination all but sewed up. He could have made friendly gestures to Hispanics in general and to Susana Martinez in particular in an attempt to mend fences and win votes. However, Donald Trump seems incapable of restraining his self-destructive impulses. He lit into Susana Martinez twice during his New Mexico campaign speech, and in doing so, he probably killed any chance he might have had of carrying New Mexico in the presidential campaign. Weary of Donald Trump’s insults, many of the New Mexicans who were previously thinking of voting for him are probably now abandoning him in droves.

If Hillary Clinton herself seems incapable of mounting a fierce attack on Donald Trump, there are others who do have that ability, most notably Senator Elizabeth Warren. Her attacks have worked. Donald Trump seems to spend as much energy attacking Elizabeth Warren as he does attacking the presumptive Democratic nominee, Hillary Clinton, who is only 73 delegates short of sewing up the Democratic nomination. He apparently does not realize that Elizabeth Warren is not running for president.

Donald Trump has a habit of attaching a negative adjective to the name of everyone he attacks: Little Marco, Lying Ted, Low-Energy Jeb, Crooked Hillary, etc. He refers to Elizabeth Warren as Pocahontas, possibly in reference to her claimed but unproved Native American ancestry. However, no one has come up with an adjective to pin on Donald Trump. I have a suggestion. How about Dumb Donald? I don’t suggest that Hillary Clinton use it—it’s in her interest not to stoop to Donald Trump’s level—but perhaps Elizabeth Warren could use it.

Speaking of Elizabeth Warren, she might be a good pick as Hillary Clinton’s running mate. Elizabeth Warren is an unabashed liberal, whereas Hillary Clinton, while considered to be a liberal by right-wingers, is not viewed that way by true liberals. Having Elizabeth Warren on the ticket might help Hillary Clinton pick up some disaffected Bernie Sanders supporters.

Some Bernie Sanders supporters claim that they are going to vote for Donald Trump. I have no idea why they would do that. Donald Trump epitomizes everything that Bernie Sanders has campaigned against. Hillary Clinton needs to do something to attract Sanders supporters. Perhaps after the convention, Bernie Sanders will do the decent thing and endorse Hillary Clinton, but he has given no sign that so far.

I do not believe that Donald Trump will come anywhere close to winning the majority of the electoral votes in the presidential election. Donald will continue to be Donald, and that means he will continue to undermine his own campaign with his ill-considered insults.

As to Trump’s possible running mate, Marco Rubio has been kissing up to Donald Trump, in an apparent attempt to get some sort of important post in the unlikely case that Trump wins the presidential election. He said recently, “It there is something I can do to help…, I’d most certainly be honored to be considered for that.” He should know better. Kissing up to a psychopath will only cause the psychopath to turn on you. Look for more insults directed at “Little Marco” in upcoming Trump stump speeches.

Psychopaths are not capable of feeling normal human emotions such as empathy and love. The one emotion that they can exhibit in spades is anger. That describes Donald Trump to a T.

By kissing up to Donald Trump, Marco Rubio is only going to goad Trump on to belittle him in public again. Although I disagree with Marco Rubio’s political views, I feel sorry for him when it comes to his blindness toward Donald Trump. If there is anything a psychopath delights in doing, it is attacking vulnerable people. Someone should explain that to Marco Rubio who seems very naif when it comes dealing to people who were born with no conscience. Marco Rubio is setting himself up to once again be the victim of one of Donald Trump’s vitriolic attacks.

Donald Trump and Traits of a Psychopath

The website http://www.sociopathicstyle.com/psychopathic-traits/ has an extensive list of the traits of a psychopath. You can check them out of the website if you wish, so I’m not going to list them all here. The thing I found interesting as I read through the list was that almost all of them apply to Donald Trump.

Well, I should clarify that a bit. One is “early behavior problems” going back to childhood. I know nothing about Trump’s childhood, so I can’t say that that trait applies to him. Another few traits that I can’t pin on Trump are “juvenile delinquency” and “revocation of conditional release.” I just don’t know what Trump did as a youth.

As to “criminal versatility,” Ted Cruz claimed that Donald Trump has connections to the Mafia. Of course, he has. It would be impossible to do construction work in New York without dealing with Mafia-controlled contractors, and it would be impossible to enter the gambling business in Atlantic City without doing business with the Mafia. He dealt with the Mafia in both cities. That does prove that Trump himself has done anything illegal. Although his dealings with Mafia figures are legend, those dealings  may not have crossed a criminal line.

As to Trump’s other psychopathic traits, many of them are apparent to any observer: glib and superficial charm, grandiose self-worth, lack of remorse or guild, poor behavior controls, promiscuous sexual behavior, and the list goes on.

It would be very difficult for anyone to argue that Donald Trump is NOT a psychopath. If you’re thinking of voting for Donald Trump, you may want to ask yourself if you want a psychopath’s finger on the nuclear trigger.

Trump vs. Clinton, the Lesser of two Evils?

When it comes to Trump versus Clinton in the presidential election, I have heard several people say they plan to stay home on election day, because they refuse to vote for the lesser of two evils. I find this attitude contemptible. By refusing to vote for the lesser of two evils, the person is effectively voting for the greater evil.

Whatever you may think of Hilary Clinton’s ethics, she is qualified to be president. She has the skills and personality needed to do the job, skills that she demonstrated both as a senator from New York and as Secretary of State. Despite the fact that she stupidly used her own email server for government business and the fact that she has the backing of far too many business oligarchs, she is qualified to do the job. She may not do the job the way that you and I might wish, but she can do the job.

Trump is highly disqualified. He has zero political experience, and his mental stability is in question. There is no way that he is qualified to sit at the helm of the most powerful country on earth. His respect for democratic processes is nonexistent as is his ability to deal with people whose views differ from his own wildly shifting opinions.

He has already dismissed large segments of the American population: blacks, Hispanics, and women to mention three.

Trump would be a much more divisive president than was George W. Bush, and remember how sick of him most of the electorate was at the end of his second term. Even many Republicans were glad to see his back.

Also, consider the security of the United States. Do you really want someone as mentally unstable as Donald Trump with his finger on the nuclear button? Do you want him bringing his simplistic world views to the complex Middle East problems. No one has ever accused Donald Trump of being a diplomat.

So, even if you do not like Hilary Clinton, you owe it to your country to vote for her. All of the nut jobs will be out voting for Trump. Anyone who stays home and refuses to vote for the lesser of two evils will be culpable if Donald Trump (God forbid) becomes the next president of the United States.

I wrote a novel about a Trump-like character who runs for and wins the American president. You can read sample chapters for free by clicking on the Running for President Excerpts cover image in the left sidebar, or you can read a free excerpt from the Amazon version of the book by clicking on the second cover image. Subscribers to Amazon’s Kindle Unlimited can read the entire book for free.

Cigna Merger with Anthem in Doubt

It appears less and less likely that the proposed merger between healthcare insurers Anthem and Cigna will take place. The Wall Street Journal has obtained some letters between the general counsels of both companies that reveal problems and bickering. According to the Journal, the letters reveal Anthem’s accusation that Cigna has missed deadlines for submitting data and that the information it did submit was in the wrong format. Cigna responded by saying that its documents took so long to approve, because “the flaws in the Anthem draft white papers are too numerous to catalogue [sic] fully.”

As a Cigna HealthSpring Medicare Advantage customer, I can testify that Cigna is far from having its ducks in a row. Its computer systems continue to be only partially functional and do not communicate well with each other.

Recently I received an email from Cigna asking me to take a survey. There were two questions in the online survey, both asking if I was aware that certain information is available to me on my.cigna.com. The only choices for answers were yes and no, and I had to answer no to both questions. It is not that I am unaware of what information is available on the site; the information in my account is not there at all. It seems bizarre that Cigna would ask me if I were aware of the availability of nonexistent information, and in my opinion this is evidence that Cigna’s internal mess is far from being resolved.

Wall Street is also showing its doubts about the merger. Cigna shares closed yesterday at $126.15 a share, well below Anthem’s offer of $188 per share in cash and stock. Anthem’s market value has also been falling. Doubts center not only around the internal dysfunction in both companies but also around doubts that the merger will receive regulatory approval. The two companies compete for health insurance contracts from large US business, and there are fears that their merger could put a damper on competition in this market.

On another unrelated subject, if you would like to read a free excerpt from one of my books, click on the book’s cover image in the left sidebar.

Twenty Percent of Sanders Supporters Will Vote for Trump

Twenty percent of Sanders supporters claim they will vote for Donald Trump if their candidate doesn’t win the Democratic nomination. Why, for God’s sake? They back the candidate who is most against wealth and privilege, and because their candidate appears unlikely to win the nomination, they will vote for the epitome of wealth and privilege? That makes no sense whatsoever!

Of course, this country has a long history of people suddenly switching from the extreme left to the extreme left and vice versa. Christian religious fanatics, when they become disillusioned with their beliefs, often become radically anti-Christian campaigners. Even the Republican and Democratic parties have switched ideologies. The Democratic Party was once formed of conservatives, and the Republican Party was founded as a liberal alternative. Now the parties have switched roles.

Still, it is hard for me to believe that people who proclaim themselves to be opposed to the privilege of wealth would vote for one of those they claim to despise.

Donald Trump’s Pro/Anti-gun Stance

Is Donald Trump really pro-gun? He recently received the endorsement of the National Rifle Association, and he publicly declared that it is time to end gun-free zones. If he’s serious about ending gun-free zones, he might start with the Trump properties, of which most (perhaps all; I was unable to check them all) prohibit the introduction of firearms. Walk into a Trump hotel openly carrying a gun, and someone will stop you.

Trump came out in the past in favor of a ban on assault rifles. Now he claims to be against such a ban. What are his real views? Because Trump will say almost anything on any subject in an attempt to please his audience, it’s difficult to know. He used to be in favor of Obamacare. Now he claims to want to abolish it. He once thought Hilary Clinton was a superb secretary of state. Now he claims she did a lousy job.

What would Trump be like as a president if we were dumb enough to elect him? It’s hard to tell. His opinions can take a 180-degree turn if that is required to please his present audience. His opinions are  as genuine as his hair. In fact, Trumps hair is probably a symbol of his whole personality, fake.

As to the Egypt Air flight that crashed in the Mediterranean, Trump’s words were “A plane got blown out of the sky, and if anyone doesn’t think it was blown out of the sky, you’re 100 percent wrong.” In other words, Trump feels that the experts investigating the crash are “100 percent wrong,” because while not discounting the possibility of a terrorist act, they say the evidence they have gathered so far indicates that the cause was very unlikely to have been a bomb.” Of course, Donald Trump knows more about aviation accidents than any of the people who have dedicated their lives to studying them.

JK Rowling Defends Trump’s Right to be a Bigot

It seems that every public figure is asked to express an opinion on Donald Trump these days including JK Rowling, the author of the Harry Potter series. Commenting on a petition circulating the in UK to ban Donald Trump from visiting the country, JK Rowling said, “I find almost everything that Mr. Trump says objectionable. I consider him offensive and bigoted. But, he has my full support to come to my country and be offensive and bigoted there. His freedom to speak protects my freedom to call him a bigot.”

In these days of attempts to ban speech that some people consider offensive, JK Rowling’s remarks are refreshing. Yes, there are many people including Donald Trump whose utterances are idiotic in addition to being offensieve, but freedom of speech gives everyone, including Donald Trump, the right to be an offensive idiot in public.

I’ve never agreed with policies in some European countries that ban certain topics from public discussion. For example, 16 of them including such supposedly enlightened nations as Austria, Belgium, France, Germany Luxembourg, the Netherlands, and Switzerland forbid denying the Holocaust. Obviously, the Holocaust was one of the most horrible events in human history, and I can easily understand why families of Holocaust victims would consider its denial to be highly offensive, but being I don’t think being so stupid as to believe the Holocaust didn’t happen should be a criminal offense. Being an uninformed idiot should not be a crime.

Countries as diverse as Thailand and Turkey make it a crime to criticize the government, and in Russia anyone who criticizes Putin is subject to extrajudicial assassination, but these are countries that give no more than lip service to human rights. A lack of freedom of speech is the least of these countries’ problems. However, it is astonishing that Germany, Italy, Switzerland, and Poland it is a criminal offense to publicly insult foreign heads of state. If I go to Switzerland and publicly insult Putin, I could theoretically be sent to jail.

In Germany comedian Jan Böhmermann could be sentenced to up to five years in jail for using vulgar language to refer to Turkish president Recep Erdogan as a man who has sexual relations with goats. I find such crude language highly objectionable, but I do not believe it should subject someone to a possible five years behind bars. If Böhmermann were not subject to criminal penalties, almost no one outside of Germany would have  heard of him.

 Although they are rarely enforced, other European countries including Denmark, the Netherlands, Norway, and Spain have laws against insulting the country’s royal family. Just to be on the safe side, keep you mouth shut about the king and queen when visiting any of these countries.

The prosecution of holocaust denial in Europe has resulted in people who have committed the crime gaining wide publicity, just as the press’s intensive concentration on Donald Trump’s idiocies have given him unwarranted popularity in the USA. The best response to idiotic utterances is to ignore them. Showing oneself to be an idiot should not be a criminal offense, and it should also not launch one into the media’s headlines.

Perhaps JK Roling should consider making Donald Trump the villain in a future Harry Potter novel. If she does, will I get a cut of the royalties for coming up with the idea? If that doesn’t work, how about our infamous Maricopa County, Arizona sheriff Joe Arpaio?

“It Can’t Happen Here” by Sinclair Lewis, Book Review

My motivation for reading It Can’t Happen Here and reviewing it here is that I had written a book entitled Running for President (click on the cover image in the left sidebar to read an excerpt) that also portrays an unethical politician who is elected president of the United States. I wanted to compare Sinclair Lewis’ book with mine. However, the character that Lewis created is much worse that the one I invented. Mr. Lewis wins the comparison.

It Can’t Happen Here takes place in the 1930s when fascism had taken root in Germany, Italy, and Japan. In Sinclair Lewis’ novel, it does happen here. A fascist is elected president of the United States and then begins consolidating his power. Instead of Hitler’s SS, the United States has the Corpos running the concentration camps and exterminating people who do not agree with the regime of President Berzelius Windrip.

The main character, Doremus Jessup, is a newspaper editor who is first replaced and then imprisoned. He escapes from a concentration camp and flees to Canada before returning to the US to work in the underground against the regime. At that point the book peters out as if Sinclair Lewis didn’t have the time to write a proper ending. For me, this is the book’s only letdown.

As I am writing this review, a populist candidate who has many of the characteristics of Berzelius Windrip appears to be about to sew up the nomination for the presidency of the United States by one of our major political parties. My first thought is that anyone who supports a populist candidate who promises things that he could not possibly deliver should be required to read It Can’t Happen Here before voting. However, this book is not an easy read for those more used to reading light fiction. It is very much a product of the 1930s, and the reader must have the ability to appreciate a book that is set in a epoch very different from today’s and still see the similarities with the present situation.

If Donald Trump is elected president, I do not believe we will have concentration camps and the extermination of dissidents as is the case in It Can’t Happen Here. However, Donald Trump does sprout promises reminiscent of those spouted by Berzelius Windrip in this novel. There are parallels between today’s political situation and the one Sinclair Lewis portrayed.

I recommend “It Can’t Happen Here” to thoughtful readers who appreciate good literature. I suggest that fans of light fiction avoid it. This book was designed to provoke thought and is best read by those capable of critical thinking. Does that describe you?

Trump is Unqualified to be President

Donald Trump is unquestionably unqualified to be president of the United States. He has no plan for the nation; he has no political experience; his insults to women, Muslims, and Hispanics are an insult to the majority of US citizens; and he does not know how to work with other people. He also has dictatorial tendencies. He is no more qualified to be president of the United States than Hugo Chavez was to be president of Venezuela, and if we elect Trump, we will start down the same road to ruin that Venezuela has been traveling first under Chavez and now under his hand-picked successor, Nicolas Maduro. We will start down that same road that Russia has been traveling under Trump’s buddy Putin.

A real-estate executive like Donald Trump can afford to boss people around, engage in risky ventures, and allow those ventures that fail to go into bankruptcy. The chief executive of the United States who might screw up and send the country into bankruptcy is unacceptable. The presidency of the United States is the most responsible position in the world, and we should only allow it to be occupied by a responsible person. I’ve heard people call Donald Trump many things, but I’ve never heard anyone claim that he is responsible.

Why are so many Americans backing this man despite his lack of ability? I suspect that many are hoping for a strongman who will rule by decree, much as Chavez did and Putin still does. A certain segment of Americans seems to be tired of democracy and willing to turn the running of the country over to a caudillo. They are willing to risk sending the country into financial and political ruin on the slim chance that gambling on Trump might pay off. I suspect that the people who back Trump are the same types of people who buy lottery tickets without realizing that the lottery is rigged against them. The chance that Trump could be a successful president are about as great as my chance of buying a pair of genuine Gucci shoes from an eBay seller in China.

Do you doubt that Donald Trump is campaigning as a potential strongman instead of as the potential leader of a democratic government? Listen to his praise of Vladimir Putin, “I got to know him very well, because we were both on ’60 Minutes,’ we were stablemates, and we did very well that night.” Vladimir Putin is the pseudo dictator of Russia, and Trump admires him. Do we want a president who looks up to Vladimir Putin?

Listen to Trump’s pronouncements. About Mexican immigrants he said, “They’re bringing drugs, they’re bringing crime, they’re rapists.” Rapists? Really? Do we really have tens of millions of Mexican rapists in this country?

Referring Arizona senior senator John McCain, who spent years being tortured as a prisoner of war in Vietnam, Trump said, “I like people who weren’t captured.” His comment on Carly Fiorina, who also campaigned for the Republican nomination for president, was, “Look at that face! Would you vote for that? Can you imagine that, the face of our next president?” On the media, which have given him much more free press coverage than he deserves, he said, “Absolute dishonest, absolute scum. They’re totally dishonest.” Well, given the sycophantic way that much of the press has hung on Trump’s every utterance, the last remark may have some truth in it.