Friday, February 7, 2020

I Have Had It!


            That is it!  I have had it!  There is nothing more to say.  We have just heard the final word on Donald J. Trump.  And it came from his own vile mouth.

            I have made no secret that I am deeply concerned about Donald Trump, the man.  I have said many times in multiple ways that he is a con man who has no interest in the United States or the office of the Presidency.  He is only interested in himself.  Everything he does – and I mean everything – is calculated by how it will benefit him.  that is fine if he wants to frolic in the world of real estate or even television and entertainment.  I care not.  But Mr. Trump sealed his own fate on the morning of February 6, 2020, when he spoke at the National Prayer Breakfast and made a mockery of the Christian faith.

            Donald John Trump blasphemed God and denounced the Lord Jesus Christ in a pitiful display of pride, arrogance, vengeance, and hate.  The previous speaker was Arthur Brooks, a social scientist and University professor.  Brooks set the stage for Mr. Trump with what appears to be a truly good speech.  He spoke about what he called “the biggest crisis facing our nation today” which he identified as “the crisis of contempt.”  Brooks continued to speak about the deep political divide that threatens our nation and runs counter to the New Testament.  He quoted the words of Jesus from The Gospel of Matthew 5:43-45.

43  "You have heard that it was said, 'Love your neighbor and hate your enemy.'
44  But I tell you: Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you,
45  that you may be sons of your Father in heaven. He causes his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous.

Brooks went on to present a plea for understanding and reconciliation built on the words of Jesus: Love your enemies.  It was a good speech.  It was timely and much needed in this country.  And it largely fell on deaf ears.

            Immediately after Brooks concluded his call to civility and peace, Donald John Trump spoke by directly contradicting everything Brooks said.  Trump began by declaring he did not agree with Arthur Brooks.  He openly admitted he had no intention of seeking reconciliation with those who disagree with him.  He even went so far as to declare his political opponents “corrupt” and “evil” people.  The Complainer In Chief kept going, complaining about people who claim to pray for him – an obvious jab at Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, who went on record saying she prays for the President daily.  The President revealed his contempt for prayer – at a prayer breakfast, no less -by using this moment to mock Pelosi and by implication anyone else who prays.

            In the end, he made it all about himself and his political aspirations.  He made a mockery of faith and the entire purpose of the breakfast.  And just a few hours later, in the East Room of the White House, he cut loose like a man possessed, casting all restraint to the wind in a hate-filled, vengeful attack on his political opponents.  It became extremely clear that the words of Arthur Brooks earlier in the day meant nothing to him.  Trump is not about to humble himself or give any hint of reconciliation, let alone repentance.  In the Gospel According to Donald “love your enemies, and pray for those who persecute you” is never to be found. Such a thought is foolish, weak and offensive. Rather, he teaches “hate your enemies, and persecute those who disagree with you”!  While Jesus taught to forgive seventy times (NIV, Matthew 18:22), The Gospel According To Donald says to hold a grudge.  Jesus says to turn the other cheek, but Donald says strike back, stronger and relentlessly.

            Donald John Trump was acquitted in his recent impeachment trial.  He may even be reelected in November 2020.  But I am here to say that no one, not even Donald John Trump, can thoroughly contradict Jesus Christ and escape judgment.  Trump has proven he can break man’s law and not be punished by man.  Things will be different in the Court of Eternity.  Trump will not have his Senate Slaves who willingly bow down, kiss his feet and lock their arms together to create a human shield to protect him.

            This is why I say that I have had it!  Trump has managed to seize the Republican Party and place a stranglehold – yea, a death grip - upon it.  It is frightening how he manipulates the likes of Mitch McConnel, Tom Cotton, John Kennedy, Mark Meadows, Jim Jordan, Devin Nunes, Lindsey Graham, and all their spineless co-conspirators.  One thing is for sure, however.  Donald John Trump will not be in power forever.  I wonder if his Congressional floormats will be able to stand on their own two feet when that day arrives.


G. D. Gehr

Tuesday, February 4, 2020

The Un-Reality Star Is Falling


On June 16, 2015, Donald J. Trump descended the escalator of Trump Tower to announce his candidacy for President of the United States.  It was the latest attempt by this flamboyant flop of a con artist to make a name for himself.  Like nearly everything he touches, it became a mixed bag of success and failure.  That single event proved to be far more symbolic than anyone ever could imagine, for when The Donald descended, he took the United States of America down with him.

Love him or hate him, one has to admit Donald Trump does things in a big way.  Its about the only thing that is consistent with him.  He loves a show!  And he will do anything to grab the attention.

In his dramatic style Trump touted his outstanding success in the business world as the clue to do what no one else could do – namely “Drain the swamp”!  Trump loves to position himself as the unique outsider who can change Washington politics by incorporating his business model into government.  In those early days he claimed that government was nothing more than a very big business and it would take a great businessman like him to straighten it out.  Among his criticisms of the Federal government was the deficit spending, national debt, and endless wars.  As the campaign unfolded, he singled out the problem of immigration as his signature issue, blaming illegal immigrants for virtually all our nation’s ills, including violence, disease, economic distress, social tensions, and expensive entitlements.

This raises an obvious question of just how successful Donald Trump has been as a businessman.  To begin with let’s look at his record with regard to bankruptcy.  While it is true the The Donald has not personally filed for bankruptcy, seven of his business ventures have, according to Snopes.  They are:

1.      Trump Taj Mahal, Atlantic City, NJ (1991)

2.      Trump Castle Casino, Atlantic City, NJ (1992)

3.      Trump Plaza Casino, Atlantic City, NJ (1992)

4.      Trump Plaza Hotel, New York City, NY (1992)

5.      Trump Hotels and Casinos Resorts (2004), a restructure and consolidation of his 3 Atlantic City Casinos and several other properties.

6.      Trump Entertainment Resorts (2009), another restructuring of the same business that went bankrupt in 2004.  New name, same company, same results.

In the four bankruptcies in 1991 and 1992 Trump was forced to surrender half of the businesses in order to stay afloat.  In 2004 his ownership was reduced from 47% to 27 %.  His 2009 bankruptcy resulted in a difficult fight with his Board of Directors.  In the end Trump was forced to resign as Chairman of the Board and reduced his ownership share to a mere 10%.  I wonder what the other Board members knew about Donald J. Trump that the rest of us do not.

In 2011 Trump Entertainment Resorts filed for bankruptcy yet again.  This time he was forced to close the Trump Plaza Casino for good and surrender the Taj Mahal to become a subsidiary of another company.

In addition to these failures Trump launched 13 other business ventures that likewise failed.  The list is long and unimpressive, including Trump Steaks, Trump Vodka and Trump University, just to name a few.  Trump University was especially embarrassing, facing a $40 million lawsuit after being revealed as a fraud and forced to close.  And then there was the Trump Foundation.  It was discovered that Trump was using the Foundation as his personal checkbook in violation of State laws.  Not only was it shut down by the State of New York, but The Donald himself has major restrictions placed on him in the event he should ever serve on another charity board.

When you look closely at the facts it is not hard to see that Donald Trump is not, and never has been, a particularly good businessman.  Perhaps he made more money for himself than I ever will, but in the aftermath, he left a horrible heap of rubbish in the form of destroyed businesses.

This is the legacy that Donald Trump brought with him to Washington.  No one benefits but Donald himself.  Consider his campaign promises.  He promised he would build the wall along our Southern border to keep out all those wretched, evil immigrants.  Of course, it doesn’t stop there.  Not only will he build the greatest, most secure wall ever, but it will not cost the American taxpayer a thing.  Mexico will pay for it!  The only thing funnier than this con is the fact that the American people bought it.  Not everyone, mind you.  Not even most Americans.  But enough properly placed voters to give Trump the Electoral College win he needed to overcome his popular vote loss.  Just another shell game.

Then there is the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017.  In Typical Trump style, it looks good; it sounds good;  and for the largest corporations and 1% of the richest Americans it was good.  Really good.  But for most Americans – in fact, nearly all Americans – there was no advantage.  One thing it did do is increase the deficit.  For Fiscal Year 2019 the Federal deficit was $1.10 trillion, up 17% from the previous year.  It doesn’t take an accounting degree to understand that increased spending coupled with less income results in a losing proposition.   Talking about degrees, Trump did manage to graduate from the Wharton School of business at the University of Pennsylvania, but not with any kind of master’s degree.  He possesses a bachelor’s degree in Finance, according to Quora.  There is no indication of what his GPA was, but he clearly did not earn honors.  This only shows that Donald Trump is certainly not a financial genius. 

Another campaign promise by Trump was his commitment to “drain the swamp”.  That was his way of saying he would root out the corruption and gridlock in Washington. Because he was a self-proclaimed “stable genius” and the master of The Art Of The Deal he alone could make government work.  Instead, the swamp is swampier than ever.  To date 34 associates of Trump have been indicted on criminal charges, seven of which have pleaded guilty.  The rest are awaiting trial.  Just let that sink in for a moment.  34 people close to the President of the United States, most involved in one way or another in his campaign, have been charged as criminals.  I don’t recall any other administration with that kind of blemish. 

Most swamps swallow things up and bring activities to an end.  Trump’s divisive nature has brought things to a standstill in Congress.  He may have derided Congressional deadlock prior to becoming President, but since he has taken office this swamp devours bills and has exasperated the partisan divide to historic lengths.  I do not have exact figures but the House of Representatives has sent several hundred bills and resolutions to the Senate only to see them die.  We are talking about some 340-400 pieces of legislation just in the past year and a half.  Moscow Mitch McConnell, in lockstep obedience to Donald Trump, has personally and unilaterally chosen to see to it that they would go nowhere.  And they haven’t.  Trump likes to label the Democrats “the do-nothing Democrats”.  In reality, however, it is the Senate Republicans who have done nothing. Nothing, that is, but destroy American democracy.  Rather than serving the will of the people these guys have committed themselves to only serving themselves.  It starts with Donald Trump.  But it has filtered throughout the GOP to include McConnell, Lindsey Graham, John Kennedy, John Thune, John Barrasso, Roy Blunt, Tom Cotton, John Cornyn, Rand Paul - - the list is long and doesn’t stop here.

Donald Trump’s only success, if you can call it that, was discovered in “Reality Television”.  His show, The Apprentice, gave Trump a very public platform.  For 14 seasons he was the host and central player.  I can’t really comment much on it because I never watched a single episode.  I have this thing against Reality TV.  To me it is anything but real.  It is only a cheap excuse to produce a money-making show with as little work as possible coupled with unprofessional and untrained “actors”.  It is a distortion; fake; a rip-off - - just like Donald Trump himself.  In my opinion Reality TV is a misnomer.  It should be called “Unreality TV”.

Trump is as fake as it gets.  His list of deceptions cannot possibly be listed in their entirety.  From the “birther movement” lies to climate change denial to the Russian propaganda that falsely claims Ukraine hacked the DNC server and attempted to interfere with the 2016 election in the United States rather than Russia, this imposter has told well over 15,000 lies since becoming President, according to such resources as The Washington Post and Politifact.  The man cannot be trusted at all.  How many times have lawmakers thought they worked out an agreement with Trump on some issue only to see him change his mind and reverse course later?  I do not know the answer to that question, but I can tell you it has been far too often.  DACA, infrastructure, the budget and so much more.  Trump loves to call anything he disagrees with “Fake News” or “Alternative Facts”.  In truth, however, he and his minions are the ones pushing the lies.

This is far more than Donald Trump.  This is a man who has single-handedly stolen the Republican Party, its leaders and defenders, its rank-and-file members, the United States Senate and American democracy in general.  He has perverted virtually everything the United States once stood for.  His slogan, “Make America Great Again” is perhaps the greatest scam in history, for Donald J. Trump has done nothing but bring out the very worst of American society.  Our Allies no longer trust us.  Our political landscape has been destroyed .  Our security is severely threatened, including the integrity of our national elections.  Democracy has been replaced with an autocratic plutocracy.  The Statue of Liberty – once the proud symbol of liberty, justice and refuge – might just as well be dismantled and beaten into swords.  Racism and hate groups are experiencing a renaissance.  The American economy is on the threshold of bankruptcy and destruction with unmanageable debt and an unstable market.  Even our spirituality has been transformed into something unrecognizable.  The Evangelical Christian community no longer exists.  It once stood for moral integrity and “black-and-white Truth”.  Now, it too is a symbol of contradictions and hypocrisy. 

The United States of America has been replaced by an imposter mirage led by the ultimate UN-Reality Star, Donald John Trump, whose fall is undeniably eminent.  The only question that remains is this:  Will this con man permanently destroy this country along with himself?  The answer lies deep within each one of us.



G. D. Gehr
February 4, 2020
Comments are encouraged:  Let's converse!

Saturday, December 21, 2019

An Open Letter to Sen. Toomey

Note:  the following letter was sent to Senator Pat Toomey on December 21, 2019 in reference to the Impeachment of President Donald Trump.


Dear Senator Toomey,



I write to you as an American who is deeply concerned for the future of America.  I truly fear we are on the verge of destruction.  I say this with a heavy heart and tremendous sorrow.  Allow me to explain.



I am a Christian pastor.  I have a very strong sense of right and wrong, of morality, ethical conduct, process and Truth.  I believe in being fair and providing justice.  I attempt to hear all sides of an argument before I make up my mind.  I have no delusions of superiority or perfection.  I am convinced that the only way we can succeed in life is to respect one another and work with each other for the common good.  “We the people…” is more than a phrase that sounds good.  It is the very fabric of our nation; our DNA.  This country lives and dies on the “we” because it is larger than the individual.  We are the UNITED States of America, which simply means there are times when we must put our personal agenda aside and do what is right.



For this very reason I beseech you to approach the impending Impeachment trial in the United States Senate with an open mind and a patriotic heart.  I am deeply troubled by the thought of this impeachment.  It is not good for our country, on the one hand.  However, more importantly, it is necessary for our future.  This is a time in history when we must decide once and for all who we are.  Do we stand for Truth?  Do we believe in Justice?  Can we put aside political identity in favor of national integrity?  We have reached a defining moment in history, one that will determine our very existence.



Politically I am registered non-partisan, or independent.  I refuse to identify as a Republican or a Democrat.  Rather I seek to hear both sides and reach my own conclusion.  Consequently, I want very much to hear from people like John Bolton, Mick Mulvaney, and anyone else who can add clarity to the facts surrounding the actions of President Trump.  Because the President has refused to allow these persons to testify thus far we remain uninformed and unable to draw any conclusions.  If, in fact, their testimony will prove the President’s innocence beyond any doubt they must testify.  It is the only way to put an end to this disturbing mark on our character.  On the other hand, if their testimony will prove his guilt we again need to hear it.  Let us settle this issue once and for all.



I urge you to do all you can to convince Majority Leader Mitch McConnell to agree to letting these key persons testify.  Furthermore, I plead with you to let the evidence – ALL of the evidence – enlighten your vote on the question of impeachment.  If you remain silent and complicit with Mr. McConnell’s stated intention to deny these voices and work hand in hand with President Trump’s wishes you will bear the responsibility for your actions.  You will go down in history as a weak, failed puppet who was manipulated and used by powerful – and possibly corrupt – associates.



A defendant cannot set the terms of his/her own trial.  That is absurd.  When Mr. McConnell says he is working with the accused to set up the trial he himself becomes a co-defendant.  He should resign his position and stand trial with the President.  That is the only reasonable conclusion.  I am shocked an intelligent person like you cannot see this.



You yourself have gone on record, according to your website, as saying the following.

"In a Senate trial, House impeachment managers should be permitted to make their case, and the president's lawyers should be able to make their defense. At the conclusion of these presentations, the Senate can then decide what further steps may be necessary."

If you believe this you will agree that witnesses must be allowed to testify.  Otherwise, House impeachment managers will not “be permitted to make their case,”  as you advocate, and you become just as partisan as the process you have denounced in the House of Representatives.



“We, the people” are better than this.  We must be.  For if we are not, then the American experiment is over and we are no different from the other despots, monarchs, dictators and empires of the world.



Speak to your colleagues.  Plead with your leadership.  Search your soul.  Let the American Justice system prevail so the world will know we are authentic and worth following.



Sincerely,



George Douglas Gehr

Sunday, December 15, 2019

Greta Gets Her "Time"


She is sixteen years old, but she looks several years younger.

She is about 5 feet tall and usually wears her brown hair in braids.

She is focused, determined and uncompromising.

She appears to be unimpressed with fame and attention – whether it is her own or someone else’s.

And she has Asperger’s.

            Greta Thunberg is an amazing young woman.  Her mission is both simple and powerful.  She does not mince words as she issues her warning of eminent destruction from the dangers of climate change.  Greta has addressed the United Nations and met with Prime Ministers, Presidents and the Pope.  And now, Greta Thunberg has been named the 2019 Time Magazine Person of the Year.

            It is an honor that is well deserved.  In my opinion this Swedish teenager has displayed wisdom and courage way beyond her years.  But above all her message is desperately needed in this world.  Global warming is a genuine threat to our survival.  Most of us know it but have become a bit numb to it.  Perhaps it is because the problem seems too big to tackle.  Or maybe we are hoping that someone else will deal with it, if not in our generation then in the next.  Or the one after that.  However, as Greta Thunberg reminds us, it may be now or never.

            National Geographic reports some troubling facts.

·         Ice is melting across the globe.  For example, Glacier National Park in Montana had 150 glaciers in 1910.  Today it has 30 remaining.  The changes are even more dramatic at the polar caps.

·         Earth’s sea levels are rising by 0.13 inches per year.  This is the inevitable result of the melting ice.

·         Many species of life are migrating to different areas because of temperature changes, and in some cases they are nearing extinction as their ecosystems are disappearing.

·         Precipitation is becoming more erratic and extreme, with some areas receiving too much rain and others experiencing drought conditions.

I am no expert on climate change, and the list above is only a sampling.  But one

thing National Geographic makes clear is that our world is dependent upon a very delicate balance, and that balance is disrupted by environmental changes.  Each change for one specie or condition negatively affects multiple other life forms.

            Many of us just don’t let these facts sink in.  Maybe we are too concerned about our family finances, or our children’s education.  Some of us may be so invested in our jobs that we do not have time to be worried about such huge issues as climate change.  Besides, we reason it will take drastic measures by nations – not individuals – if anything will really make a difference.  But what we forget is that nations are made up of individuals.  And in order for nations to make a change the citizens must initiate it.  This is the essence of Greta’s message.

            I am so pleased that Time magazine chose to honor this amazing young lady.  She deserves it.  The cause for which she is fighting deserves it as well.  I suppose this is why I am so devastated that the President of the United States has chosen to act like a small child when Time revealed the 2019 recipient of this award.  73 year old Donald J. Trump, in a typical Trumpian Tantrum, lashed out at Greta Thunberg with wrath, name-calling, and disrespect.  It is no secret that Donnie wanted to be named Person of the Year by Time,  and since he wasn’t he had his little feelings hurt.  Consequently, he felt compelled to take it out on the one who did receive the honor.  How predictable!

            In doing so Donnie proved why he was not named Person of the Year.  73 year old men should not act like they are 7.3 years of age!  It only reveals how shallow and trivial they are.  Of course, this behavior should not surprise us.  Trump is always trying to belittle someone.  Not only is he a sore loser, but he embodies disrespect and dishonor.

            But this is not about Trump, thankfully!  This is about Greta.  It is about the climate crisis.  And it is also about Asperger’s and how Greta turned her disability into her ability.  Asperger’s Syndrome varies greatly from one individual to the next, and I admit that I am not familiar with just how it is manifested in Greta.  Generally, Asperger’s involves challenging social skills, hypersensitivities, and at times anxiety.  However, persons with Asperger’s often display a sharp focus and great attention to details.  Many learn to overcome their challenges by building on their strengths.  Or, as I like to say, utilizing their abilities to overcome their disabilities.  Greta Thunberg has done just that.  She is a wonderful example for everyone who lives with some form of disability (aka, all of us).  In this way she has proven that she deserves the Person of the Year award, both for her social activism and her personal triumph.

            We need more people like Greta Thunberg in this world – people who can focus on a problem and challenge all of us to work on solutions; people who are not afraid to speak Truth to Power; people who inspire rather than belittle; people who use their abilities for the common good.



George Douglas Gehr

December 15, 2019

For more information on Asperger’s Syndrome visit www.autismspeaks.org or www.autism-society.org