book reviews, Trump

Repost: A review of Lost Tycoon: The Many Lives of Donald J. Trump…

Here’s a reposted review of Harry Hurt III’s book, Lost Tycoon: The Many Lives of Donald J. Trump. It was originally posted in 1993, but I reviewed it on April 28, 2017. It appears here as/is.

I was determined to finish my latest book last night, even though we had a brief power outage.  I have been reading Lost Tycoon: The Many Lives of Donald J. Trump for ages.  There was a time when I used to breeze through books in a matter of days, but this one took forever.  So last night, I pushed through and got the thing read.  Written by Harry Hurt III, Lost Tycoon was originally published in 1993, long before anyone in the world would know the horror of President Trump.  Although it took me a long time to get through it, Hurt’s book offers a telling look at the man who would be the United States’ 45th president.  And yes, according to this book, he was every bit as much of an asshole in the 80s and 90s as he is today.

I happened to discover Hurt’s book back in February, less than a month after Trump’s inauguration.  I read an article that mentioned Lost Tycoon.  In it, there was an anecdote about how Mr. Trump, pussy grabber extraordinaire, was recovering from a painful hair replacement surgery.  Trump’s then wife, Ivana, had suggested the surgeon.  He had done good work on her own aesthetic work.  But Mr. Trump was reportedly in agony after the procedure and he allegedly became so enraged at Ivana that he raped her and pulled out chunks of her own hair.  Then, as she sat sobbing after her husband defiled her, Trump asked “Did it hurt?” 

The story about Trump’s violence toward Ivana came from their divorce proceedings.  Although the story is clearly depicting Trump as a violent sex criminal, Ivana only calls it “rape” in that he wasn’t “loving” to her.  As I understand it, this wording is due to Trump’s concern over his image.  But according to Hurt in story after story, Trump is interested only in conquests.  According to Hurt, he lies and mistreats women, including his second wife, Marla Maples.  Stories about Trump’s affair with Maples figure prominently in Lost Tycoon.  Granted, she is depicted as a homewrecking bimbo, but she and Trump also weathered their share of storms.  And we’ve seen how he treats Melania, too.

Aside from stories about how Trump treats women (and how he lies about the ones he’s dated, like Carla Bruni Tedeschi), Lost Tycoon offers plenty of sordid tales about Trump’s shady business dealings and famous arrogance.  Twenty-four years after this book was published, I can see that Trump hasn’t changed.  While what I was reading may have seemed scandalous to the point of tabloidesque in 1993, in 2017, I can see that Hurt’s depiction of the future president is dead on.  

Harry Hurt III is an award winning journalist who has worked for The New York Times and Newsweek.  He clearly did extensive research for this book.  It’s well-written and packed with astonishing tales about Trump and his family, giving readers an interesting look at him when he was a younger man.  Naturally, because this was written in the 90s, you won’t read about Melania or Barron Trump or even Tiffany Trump, Marla Maples’ daughter with the president.  What this book offers is a glance at what was coming.  I was a young woman in 1993 and I distinctly remember the headlines about the Trump love triangle, as well as Trump’s tycoon business deals, much of which was built on other people’s money.

Toward the end of the book, there’s even a story about how Trump tried to keep heavyweight boxing champion Mike Tyson out of prison for raping nineteen year old Desiree Washington.  Hurt writes that Trump tried to broker a deal in which Tyson would set up a fund for rape victims.  The author alleges that Trump was really thinking of himself and his own issues with sexual assault.

By contrast, in 1991, Trump’s then 79 year old mother, Mary, was mugged by a sixteen year old kid who had skipped school.  The kid had knocked down Mrs. Trump, causing her to suffer a broken hip. She spent time in the hospital and Trump was reportedly “incensed” about it, wanting the kid to go to prison.  I agree, the kid should have been punished, but so should have Mike Tyson, right?  A 44 year old black maintenance man who happened to witness the mugging caught the teenaged criminal and held him for the police.  Trump invited him to dinner with him and Marla Maples.  The future president smiled for cameras as he thanked the man for helping his mother, but he did nothing to help the guy with better work opportunities, something that the man needed and Trump could have easily provided.

Although it took me way too long to finish this book, I do think it’s worthwhile reading.  This man is now our president and it’s scary as hell (ETA: Thank God he was not re-elected).  Maybe that’s why I took so long to get through Lost Tycoon.   The future looks bleak.

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nostalgia, politicians, politics, Trump

I was right again…

This morning, I was looking through my Facebook memories, when I came across this post from 2018…

I have about had my fill of Trump supporters. It’s not about conservatives vs. liberals. Donald Trump seriously doesn’t give two shits about anyone but himself. It makes me sad to see people defending him, either willfully ignorant or just plain ignorant. I normally don’t care about politics or politicians, but he truly is a scumbag who seems hellbent on humiliating the most vulnerable people. It sickens me to see people cheering that on, especially since they seem to think he will do something for them. He won’t. He is a narcissist, and he does not care about anyone but himself. He’s basically akin to a reptile.

I have known some decent conservatives in my day. I used to vote Republican myself. Trump just turns my stomach. He’s destined to be a blight on our history.

As I reread this post this morning, I realize that I was spot on in 2018. Why other people didn’t see it, and still don’t see it, I will never know. I think some folks just hate to admit they’re wrong. And some people are secretly not good.

What prompted that post? Based on the original comments, it was inspired by an article that was run in the newspaper I used to read when I lived in Gloucester, Virginia. At the time, Donald Trump was talking about replacing SNAP cards (aka food stamps) with meal boxes. I read the article, then some of the comments. I got upset, and wrote this as an explanation.

…this status was inspired by comments I read last night in the Daily Press about Trump’s new food box idea. A couple of people commenting were people I used to know when I lived in Gloucester. I grew up in a small community among many conservatives. I was raised by conservative people– well, mainly my dad was conservative. Mom is less so. I know these people are not horrible folks deep down. But some of their comments on that article were just sickening. I never noticed this mindset as much before Trump came to power. It’s like he’s awakened all of the most base and vile instincts in certain populations and some people have become downright cruel. I find it depressing and had to vent. Thanks to those who took the time to read and comment. I’m particularly grateful to see the comments here are respectful, which is all I could ever ask for.

It seems that a lot of Trump supporters assume that anyone who needs food assistance is “taking advantage”. And so, they liked the food box idea. It would put a stop to the mythical “welfare queens” buying steak and lobster with their EBT cards. Beggars can’t be choosers, right? It doesn’t matter if the recipient can’t use or doesn’t want the food put in the boxes. Let’s just humiliate them as much as possible. If you’re broke, it’s obviously YOUR fault.

I used to have a “friend” who felt that anyone receiving food aid should be compelled to use the money on “healthy” food. She felt that since people were receiving taxpayer money (never mind that anyone who’s ever worked has paid into that fund), should have to buy what she considers “good food choices”. That means no birthday cake, sugary cereal, or soda.

On the surface, I can kind of see what she means. I’d love for people to eat healthier, and since the people receiving food aid are clearly broke, we need to keep them healthy so they won’t get a chronic disease that will put them in the hospital. Except that government food aid is not forever, and it doesn’t buy much. Recipients must regularly prove they need the help. And not everyone who needs a SNAP card has access to a good grocery store or even a kitchen. Sometimes, a frozen burrito that can be microwaved is the best choice simply because the person doesn’t have the time or the facilities to prepare a nice homemade pot of vegetable soup or brown rice. Sometimes people have allergies or religious restrictions that don’t allow certain foods. Sometimes people have special occasions they’d like to celebrate. Why is it anyone else’s business? Does being poor mean that a person can’t choose what he or she wants to eat?

I suspect some folks think that anyone who ends up “poor” has bad judgment. They don’t consider that sometimes very successful and intelligent people end up needing temporary help. My husband was once poor. When I met him, he was living on $600 a month, because he was sending the rest of his money to his ex wife and kids. He certainly didn’t need some conservative asshole telling him to eat a salad instead of a bowl of Sugar Smacks. But some people think that’s what’s required. For the record, Bill wasn’t getting food aid at that time. He mostly survived on per diem payments he got while traveling. At that time, he was lucky enough to have a job where he had to go TDY a lot. It was before we were married.

I see that I vented about this issue three years ago in my original blog. In that piece, I included these photos:

The people who came up with the food box idea tried to frame it in a way that almost sounded caring. They didn’t want people getting sick on rich, sugary foods that aren’t nutritious. The government would save money and people would be getting “healthy” (but simple carb heavy) foods instead of money on EBT cards that they can’t be trusted to spend appropriately. Carbs keep people compliant. They made it sound akin to a program like Blue Apron or Hello Fresh. BUT– unlike those meal kits, the USDA kits would not contain fresh fruits or vegetables. And the Hello Fresh and Blue Apron kits usually cost about $10 per meal, while the USDA kit would cost about $1.37. So it’s a win/win, right? The government saves money, and people get food. Never mind that some people won’t be able to prepare a pot of beans because they lack the facilities or have a disability that makes food preparation difficult.

But Trump doesn’t even have the humanity to try to frame the program in such a way. I think he thinks of the poor as “losers”, and they should just be happy with whatever scraps the government deigns to throw at them and shut the fuck up. For some participants, the food box program ended up being a bit of a flop, anyway, although some people were happy with the program. People did try to warn Trump that the food boxes weren’t a good fit for everyone.

I ended up unfollowing the Daily Press because of the comments that were written by the people who live in that part of Virginia. I just could not stomach reading them. There was just too much ignorance and meanness. One comment was written by a former neighbor of mine. I’m sure she doesn’t remember me, but I once went to a school dance with her son. Sadly, he passed away when he was 15 years old. He had a brain tumor. I remember her daughter, who is now married to the brother of a good friend of mine. They all still live in Gloucester. Many of them still hate poor people and love Trump.

Of course, in 2018, I had no idea what was to come… a poorly handled pandemic, an insurrection, and a second impeachment. Nevertheless, I wrote this:

To be honest, I never hated any politician before I encountered Trump. He makes my skin crawl. I hate what he’s doing to otherwise decent people, too, who are buying into his bullshit. I had to stop following the newspaper I have read my whole life because I could not stand to read the Trump inspired drivel in the comments. It was too depressing for me to see people that I know are basically decent falling into Trump’s disgusting plans for the country and cheering about it.

And for the Facebook post on the Daily Press, I wrote this:

And then I posted the status that leads today’s post. I didn’t know what was coming. I was depressed enough about Trump in 2018. Now, it looks like he could get away with egging on an insurrection. And people are still hoping that he’ll come back and run for office again!

But– as I write this, I do realize that we have a new president now. Joe Biden has brought some decency back into the U.S. presidency. So why can’t I relax? Because I feel like the past four years has just been a prelude to something worse. I know the basic type of person Trump is. When you deal with narcissists, you’re always waiting for the other shoe to drop.

I feel like the whole world has been dealing with a harassing narcissist for four years. And the clueless have championed him the whole time. Now, we read about politicians who have decided to get off the Trump train… people like Nikki Haley and Kevin McCarthy and even Mitch McConnell, who once kissed Trump’s ass and are now finding out that he’s utterly devoid of regard for anyone but himself.

I am pretty proud of Virginia, though… Virginia has finally gone blue. I know it pisses off a lot of people from my hometown. But to me, it’s a sign that the tide is turning somewhat. I get being conservative, but there’s a difference between being fiscally conservative and being inhumane. Trump is inhumane and dangerous. I hope the Senate does the right thing and convicts him. I doubt they will, but I have hope. Otherwise, the message is that a lame duck president can pull whatever outrageous bullshit they want to and get away with it. Hopefully, we will never again have one as narcissistic and hateful as Trump is.

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modern problems, politicians, politics, Trump

Impeachment trial #2…

There are many advantages to living in Europe. One of the biggest advantages is that I can watch things affecting the United States from afar. A lot of what I’ve seen regarding the past few years has been pretty heartbreaking. Like, right now, I’m listening to a video of a woman who spoke to CNN about how she “escaped” QAnon when Joe Biden was inaugurated.

This lady was “devastated” when Biden was inaugurated… but now knows she fell into a conspiracy theory.

South Carolina mom, Ashley Vanderbilt, explains that she was raised to do as everyone else said and did. She was told she was a Republican when she was growing up, so she’s always voted “red” without a second thought. I know how she feels. I grew up similarly. My whole family was Republican and I grew up in a Republican community. I didn’t care about politics, so I didn’t follow the news much. It wasn’t until I was older and left the United States that I started changing my political views.

I suspect that Ashley Vanderbilt is a perfectly nice person who was complacent about who was leading the country. But now that Trump is out of office and Biden’s inauguration hasn’t immediately led to a dystopian socialist nightmare, she realizes she was duped. She says she feels “foolish”. I’d say she’s one of the lucky ones. So many people are still mired in Trump foolishness, and they don’t understand that QAnon is a bunch of bullshit. And they see the attack on the Capitol last month as perfectly fine… it’s akin to the Boston Tea Party to them.

I haven’t been following the impeachment trial religiously. It’s hard to do that when you’re six hours ahead. I did, however, watch a video this morning that was shown to Congress as the second impeachment trial against Trump commenced. I don’t understand how any sane, rational person can support what happened. It’s just horrific.

This is just insane.

The sad thing is, many lawmakers will ignore this footage. They will vote against convicting Trump because they don’t want to break away from Republican Party lines. What exactly does Trump have to do before people realize how incredibly toxic he is? How do otherwise decent people excuse this? If you manage to watch this video, you will see and hear people calling police officers “faggots” as they repeatedly say, “Fuck you!” to them and use American flags to break the glass windows of the Capitol building. You will see Ashli Babbitt trying to penetrate the Capitol through a broken window and get shot for her efforts. Is this the kind of future we want? If Trump is excused– and he probably WILL be– we will send a message that a lame duck president can pull this kind of shit and get away with it.

It depresses me that we have so many people in leadership positions who literally don’t care about anything more than their “job security” as politicians. It’s sad to me that Donald Trump can have two bumbling attorneys represent him– two lawyers that Trump is said to be deeply unhappy with, by the way— and they can do a mediocre job of making their points and still win. Why? Because nothing said or shown to some of the people charged with protecting the country is going to sway them from “protecting” Donald Trump for the sake of the hijacked Republican Party (which is nothing like my father’s Republican Party was). I find it deeply disturbing and very sad that he probably won’t be held accountable.

There is a chance I’m wrong. I hope I am wrong. It’s hard to let myself think positively, even though Biden won last year when I didn’t know for sure that he would. You’d think that more people in the United States would see how bad Trump is. But no… I think a lot of them are like Ashley Vanderbilt. Perfectly nice, but uneducated, uninformed, and uninterested… and voting red because that’s what everyone in their families and communities does. If you don’t go with the crowd, they will turn on you.

This isn’t to say that this kind of thing isn’t also a problem on the blue side, either. I’ve seen it and ranted about it more than once. We talk a lot about freedom of speech and freedom of expression, but when it comes down to it, there’s great pressure not to say or think the “wrong” thing. And precious few of us are listening to anyone, anyway.

Sometimes, I wonder if the many people who have died over the past year are the lucky ones. They no longer have to think about this, or worry about what will come in the future. Even the heady news of new COVID-19 vaccines has been more sobering lately, as new mutations of the virus resist the vaccine. I’m wondering what the future holds, and if it’s even worth hanging around for it. Germany is probably going to stay locked down until March 1… and I won’t be the least bit surprised if the lockdown continues through the spring. And even when things open again, will I even care about going out or doing anything? Is this living?

Well… I’m sure more news will come out about the impeachment trial. I do hope it will be successful. Trump’s successor is bound to be more refined and cunning. You can bet he or she is waiting in the wings. We have to do something to set a precedent against his kind being allowed back into power. And we have to focus on making the world a place we want to stay in.

I do find a glimmer of hope when I hear people like Ashley Vanderbilt speak, though. She managed to find her way out of the rabbit hole and join us in reality. There must be more people like her. I sure hope there are.

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book reviews, politicians, politics, Trump

Repost: A review of Fire and Fury: Inside the Trump White House

Here’s a repost of a book I reviewed on January 22, 2018. It’s appearing as/is, circa 2018. Interesting, given what actually happened in 2020… and what is happening now during Trump’s second impeachment trial.

A couple of weeks ago, Michael Wolff’s new book, Fire and Fury: Inside the Trump White House, was all over the news.  There was talk that Donald Trump even tried to get the book yanked before it could go on sale.  But Wolff’s book was eagerly snapped up by Americans who have watched Trump’s circus like presidency in shock and awe.  Although I don’t usually like reading about American politics, I decided to read the book myself.  I just finished it this morning.

Wolff, who had deep access to the White House, dishes on the unorthodox way Donald Trump is serving as President of the United States.  Lots of juicy details are offered, including plenty about how Trump’s staff sees him, the feud between Steve Bannon and Jared Kushner, and how dumb Ivanka Trump really is.

To be honest, I thought I would eat up this book and be done with it in a couple of days.  It actually took a couple of weeks to finish Fire and Fury.  Maybe it’s because reading about Donald Trump depresses me.  It makes me really sad that the American people fell for his bullshit and now he’s the most powerful man in the country, if not among the world’s leaders.  I find Donald Trump tacky, vile, and immoral, and reading about his poor leadership is not easy to do, especially before I go to sleep.

That being said, I know plenty of people have enjoyed or are now enjoying Fire and Fury.  It’s well-written and comprehensive.  I probably bought it more because Trump was so against it than actually wanting to read about his misdeeds in politics, a field about which he clearly knows nothing.  Trump is leading the United States into the gutter and I fear the effects of his time in the White House are likely to be disastrous for years to come.  But there’s nothing I can do about it.  Maybe it’s better to just put my head in the sand.

I guess I don’t have much more to say about this book.  Read it if you can stomach it.  It’s pretty sad when Ivanka Trump is considered the “brains” among Trump’s offspring.  I weep for the future.  Especially since according to Wolff, Steve Bannon is going to make a run for the White House in 2020.  If he does, and actually wins, I might have to either off myself or denounce my US citizenship.  Oh… and Bannon thinks there’s a 33.3% chance Trump will be impeached, a 33.3% chance he will resign, and a 33.3% chance he will limp to the end of his term.  And he’s also said Trump will not run again.

We really do need to drain the swamp.  I think I’d give this book four stars for being well-written and well-researched.  But I didn’t enjoy it as much as I thought I would. 

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complaints, funny stories, humor, Trump

Repost: Rude awakenings…

I’m reposting this article from my old blog. It originally appeared on August 10, 2018. I’ve decided to share it again as/is because it makes me laugh. I think we need a laugh, and I don’t feel like writing about the usual stuff today. I might do that anyway, because something is bound to irritate me… but here’s an alternative post for those who are sick of the usual 2020-21 topics. This was truly a WTF moment for me.

I had a “rude awakening” this morning.  You know that expression, “rude awakening”?  People often say it when someone is about to face reality in an unpleasant and unexpected way.  Well, that’s not the type of rude awakening I had.  I literally had a “rude awakening”… as in, someone rudely accused me of being rude and offensive!

Last night, just before I went to sleep, a Facebook friend who does stand up comedy posted this.

I don’t usually play along with these things, but decided to this time…  perhaps it was my mistake.

So here was my response, which several people “liked”.  

I didn’t think this was offensive.  Given our president’s penchant for affairs and grabbing women by the pussy, I thought it was spot on.

Imagine my surprise this morning when someone called me out for being “rude and offensive”.  Have a look.

Well, it’s not the first time someone has called me rude and offensive, but I was truly puzzled by this…

I gave some thought to going off on this guy, especially since it was about 5:00am and I hadn’t yet had my coffee.  Fortunately for him, I was sitting on the toilet, which gave me a few minutes to compose my thoughts.  Below was my response.

This was actually much nicer than the first response that came to mind.

Then, the guy came back with a response I never in my wildest dreams would have come up with, even on my most random thinking day.  Behold…

Thanks for mansplaining this for me.  I clearly never would have made the connection.

Honestly, I was baffled by this response.  Yes, I am old enough to know who Ryan White was.  He was my age and, when he died at 18 years old, was already 100 times the man Donald Trump is.  Moreover, while he did have a infection that can be transmitted sexually, White did not himself contract AIDS sexually.  He was a hemophiliac who received weekly blood transfusions to treat his condition.  Unfortunately, he received blood that was tainted with the virus that causes AIDS, and that’s why he got sick.

Ryan White made headlines because he wanted to keep attending school. People in his community were ignorant about how AIDS is spread and fought to keep him out.  White very bravely kept fighting and educating, and he eventually died a hero among my peers.  I have tremendous respect for Ryan White.  I have zero respect for Donald Trump.  They are completely different people.  In fact, Trump probably would have been squarely on the side of the people who wanted White banished from school.  To bring Ryan White into a discussion about Donald Trump is, in my mind, the height of bad taste and offensiveness.

I never in a million years would have ever thought of Ryan White as being the reason I shouldn’t crack jokes about STIs.  Even if Ryan White had contracted AIDS sexually, I just plain wouldn’t have made the connection.  To be honest, I was initially very offended that this random stranger would make this kind of comment to me, a person he doesn’t know from Adam.  But, once again, I fought the urge to write a nasty response.  Instead, I posted this.

Civil enough?

And he posted this…

Dude, I could have “thought” all day and never come up with the Ryan White/Donald Trump connection…  That’s just a little “out there”, in my opinion.  But thank you for the suggestion and the chastising.  

I think it’s funny that as this conversation was occurring, I was actively thinking about what I was going to post.  I really wanted to tell him off in an epically snarky way, but held off on doing that because I got the feeling he’s not your usual Internet troll.

And then I decided to add a suggestion of my own.

Wise counsel?  I hope some people have learned from Trump’s White House fiasco.

I must admit that I was curious about this man.  I wanted to know what made him call me out for insinuating that Donald Trump should have a sexually transmitted infection named after him.  I went to his Facebook page and found it wide open, with a hodgepodge of odd public videos, YouTube videos of himself, and posts lamenting about cyberbullies and how miserable his life is.  

It appears that some people have had a go at this dude, sending him mean-spirited private messages.  And even though I did not engage him first, I guess he equated me with the Internet meanies for making a joke about Trump and STIs.  Obviously, I didn’t do enough thinking about how Ryan White and Donald Trump have things in common. 

Of course, I have no way of knowing what will offend people, especially those I don’t know.  He took offense at my generic comment about our current White House occupant, but failed to realize that his very personal comment accusing me of being rude and offensive was much worse.  After all, we don’t even know each other.

I am glad I didn’t give in to my initial impulse to blast him.  Even though I think his comment about Ryan White is completely ridiculous, it appears that he’s troubled.  I don’t know what his issues are, and I wish we hadn’t crossed paths, but I don’t want to cause him pain.  I am a bit surprised that he wasn’t upset about another suggestion that appeared in response to that meme…

I mean, this seems more offensive to me than suggesting an STI named after Trump… but, like I always say, you never know what will shake the nuts from the trees.

This is what inspired the comment about monuments to fucking daughters…

Edited to add:  The above comment was posted by a different person who was responding to the original meme, not to me.  No one is in any danger or being threatened– the “daughter” referred to in the comment is Ivanka Trump and the comment refers to Donald Trump’s statements about how he’d want to date her.  The person who posted that is referring to a hypothetical monument named after Donald Trump.  It’s just tasteless political humor.  I’m sorry I wasn’t clearer about that.  

Anyway… I think he will go on my block list so I don’t offend him again.  Who’s got the time for that shit?

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