Would there never even be a statue of Donald J. Trump?

Donald Trump, from His Tower, Rages at “the Other Side” in Charlottesville

At a press briefing that was supposed to be about infrastructure, Trump tossed aside his previous condemnation of white nationalists like an ill-fitting suit.

Photograph by Pablo Martinez Monsivais / AP

“Wait a minute, I’m not finished. I’m not finished, Fake News,” President Donald Trump said at a press conference, on Tuesday. He was using fake news as an epithet, directed at a reporter who had asked about Senator John McCain’s admonition about the wider influence of “alt-right” forces, which McCain had connected to the “Unite the Right” rally that, with its white-nationalist and neo-Nazi displays, had set off a weekend of violence in Charlottesville, Virginia. Trump began by asking if the reporter was talking about the same Senator McCain who had voted against his side on Obamacare, and then continued by asking, “What about the alt-left that came charging at the, as you say, the alt-right? Do they have any semblance of guilt? Let me ask you this: What about the fact that they came charging with clubs in their hands, swinging clubs, do they have any problem? I think they do.” This was a repeat of the first comment he had made, on Saturday, in reaction toCharlottesville, placing undifferentiated blame on “many sides,” never mind the swastikas. He had revised that, on Monday, with a grudgingly delivered statement of what ought to have been obvious: that white supremacy and Nazism are bad ideologies. Now, in a couple of lines, he had tossed that aside, like an ill-fitting suit. But, as he said, he wasn’t finished. Trump kept talking, in louder, uglier terms.

“You had a group on one side that was bad and you had a group on the other side that was also very violent. And nobody wants to say that. But I’ll say that right now.” The bad group was the white nationalists; the “very violent” group was those who had come to object. In case anyone missed his point, he continued, “You had a group on the other side that came charging in—without a permit—and they were very, very violent.” Trump wasn’t putting the two sides on the same level; he was saying that the counter-protesters were worse.

His outrage at the counter-protesters’ lack of a permit stood out all the more, given that he had spent the beginning of the briefing, which was meant to be about infrastructure and was held in the lobby of Trump Tower, complaining about how permits slowed down him and other builders. He promised to do away with as many as he could. Not that he had ever been held back; he knew how to get the permits he needed. That was one of the instances in the press conference when his native narcissism caused him to ramble; another was when he began talking about how he’d heard that “the young woman”—Heather Heyer, age thirty-two—who was among the counter-protesters and was killed when someone drove a car into their ranks, was a fine person, and that the person charged with killing her had done something “horrible,” but he ended up just going on about how her mother had said “the nicest things” about him, Trump. The media, he said, didn’t appreciate his niceness. (Later, Trump acknowledged that he had not yet reached out to Heyer’s family.)

As this story has played out, what has been striking is how put upon the President has seemed to feel when asked to condemn neo-Nazis. At the press conference, he kept insisting that this was a matter of being responsible—all the facts weren’t in yet. All the facts still aren’t in, but the swastikas and the Confederate flags were out from the first moment. The only way Trump wouldn’t have seen them is if he didn’t want to or didn’t care, or perhaps he viewed them with political opportunism, emblems of a base to be catered to. All those explanations—that he is indifferent; that he is calculating—remain on the table. The press conference added another possibility: that his judgment is, and perhaps always will be, consumed by his own sense of resentment. When he realized that his statement on Monday had been found wanting, he tweeted, “Made additional remarks on Charlottesville and realize once again that the News Media will never be satisfied . . . truly bad people!” ‬

On Tuesday, that media wanted to know if Trump was, as one reporter put it, saying that the alt-left was “the same” as neo-Nazis. Trump erupted again. “I’ve condemned neo-Nazis. I’ve condemned many different groups,” he said. “But not all of those people were neo-Nazis. Believe me. Not all of those people were white supremacists. By any stretch.” He continued, “Those people were also there because they wanted to protest the taking down of the statue of Robert E. Lee.” He said that if the press were honest—“which in many cases you’re not”—they would see it his way. And, he added, with a note of dismay, “This week it’s Robert E. Lee, and I notice that Stonewall Jackson is coming down. I wonder, is it George Washington next week, and is it Thomas Jefferson the week after? Ask yourself, where does it stop?”

One might note that Robert E. Lee took up arms against the United States government, the one that George Washington put his life on the line to build. It is true that our history is full of figures who are flawed, but endure. Lee, though, is not a symbol of our values whose life does not match the ideals he is purported to embody; he is a symbol of the betrayal of those ideals. He is our worse self. And if there is not a constant conversation challenging our idols—an effort to look for our better angels, to borrow Lincoln’s phrase—if statues never come down, or new ones stop going up, then we have, in some way, stopped trying to be a more perfect Union. The organizers of the “Unite the Right” rally in Charlottesville had not gathered out of some architectural-preservationist urge: they were there for ideological reasons.

Trump acknowledged, again, that some of those people were bad, but he also said, again, “You also had people that were very fine people—on both sides . . . you had people in that group who were there to protest the taking down of, to them, a very, very important statue and the renaming of a park from Robert E. Lee to another name.” Trump didn’t pause to ask why the statue of Robert E. Lee would be so very, very important, nor did he mention the other name: Emancipation Park. Instead, he had reduced a moral crossroads for the country to a question of naming rights. Standing in front of reporters, Trump came across as an angry man sheltered by a building bearing his own name in big, gold letters. But for how long? Tenants in some buildings have already asked to have the “Trump” taken off. Where would it stop? Would there, perhaps, never even be a statue of Donald J. Trump?

  • Amy Davidson Sorkin is a New Yorker staff writer.

Admiral McRaven, on how one man can change the world

How one person can change the world

Admiral McRaven.  He’s a brilliant man, dedicated to serving our country.  His remarks in this speech remain profound, about how one person can change the world:

If you want to change the world, make your bed.

Little things in life matter.

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(2) On a team, exert equal effort.  Everyone must paddle, or the boat in rough waters will fail on course.

You can’t change the world alone.

You will need some help.  If you want to change the world, find someone to help you paddle.

(3) In SEAL training, the bigger guys would make fun of the little guys, but the little guys always ran faster and swam faster and paddled faster than the big guys.  Nothing mattered, not social status or ethnicity or religion or education.  If you want to change the world, measure a person by the size of their heart, not the size of their flippers.

(4) Everyone failed uniform inspection.  Staying in a failed wet uniform with “sugar cookied” sand on them got under the skin of many students.  No matter how well you prepare or perform, you still end up as a sugar cookie.  Get over it, and keep moving forward.

The DRILL, practice and exercise matters

(5) If you failed to meet the standard, your name went on a list.  Those people were invited to a circus … 2 hours of additional calisthenics, designed to wear you down.  At some point, EVERYONE made the circus list. But over time the students that frequently made the list got stronger and stronger.  You will fail often in life; it will be painful and discouraging… but if you want to change the world, don’t be afraid of the circuses.

Tests to break the spirit, build the inner self

(6) At least twice a week you had to run the obstacle course.  The most challenging was the slide for life.  You had to climb the 3 tiered tower, and pull 200ft to the 1 story tower on the other side.  One student broke the record by going head first, and cut the time in half.  If you want to change the world, sometimes you have to go head first.

(7) If you confront a shark, stand your ground.  Do not run away, swim away…  Punch him in the snout and he will turn away.  There are many sharks in the world.  If you want to change the world, don’t back down from the sharks.

(8) One of the challenges is swimming 2 miles underwater using a depth gauge and a compass to a target.  Once you get to a ship, it blocks the ambient light at night.  To be successful, you must swim under the ship, where the keel and the darkest part of the ship is.  It’s disorienting.  You can fail.  Every SEAL knows at that darkest point you must be most calm and composed using inner strength.  If you want to change the world, you must be your very best in the darkest moments.

(9) Ninth week of training is known as hell week.  6 days of no sleep … constant mental and physical harassment and one day at the mud flats in Tijuana surviving freezing cold and howling wind.  As the sun began to set, his training class was ordered into the mud.  The mud consumed each man until their heads were the only thing above the mud.  Some students were about to give up… 8 hours more of the bone chilling cold.  One voice began to echo through the night.  The song was terribly out of tune but was enthusiastic… then two voices… then all the voices began to sang.  Suddenly the mud was a little warmer and tamer.  The power of hope… one person… can change everything.  Washington, Lincoln, Malala… If you want to change the world, start singing when you’re up to your neck in mud.

(10) All you have to do to quit in SEAL training is ring the brass bell.  Ring the bell and you no longer have to be in the freezing cold swims.  You no longer have to endure the hardships of training.  If you want to change the world, don’t ever ever ring the bell.

“Start each day with a task completed.  Respect everyone.  Know that life is not fair and you will fail often.  Take some risks.  Step up when times are the toughest.  Face down the bullies.  Lift up the downtrodden.  Never, ever give up.  The next generation and the generations that follow will live in a world far better than we have today.  What started here will have changed the world for the better.”

Life instructions for my children in college

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To my children in college, mom’s lessons she learned and wished you knew before you take a leap

  1. Forgive but not forget, always fill your mind with positive and happy thoughts
  2. Learn from your mistakes, know the cues of what is going to be a wrong decision
  3. Gratitude will bring you blessings untold, and keep you safe for the future
  4. Confidence but with preparation and grace, in service with others so that you can be served
  5. Select your friends for a lifetime, they can pull you up and bring wealth untold
  6. Friends can influence you, can walk with you and help you attain success and happiness
  7. Your thoughts can translate into action with conviction
  8. There is ambition and goals and not procrastination to get what you want
  9. Early bird catches the worm, be early and ahead of others or be prepared
  10. Expect the unexpected if you lack preparation
  11. Select your tools and gadgets to save your life when you need them
  12. Bring your smart phone, computer and driving glasses when you go places
  13. Always save 6months worth of emergency funds
  14. Borrow only when necessary or exchange your skills and knowledge to earn
  15. Always up your skills, they will save you in times of trouble
  16. Be street smart not only book smart
  17. Always have a back up in life, living simply and in practical ways
  18. Love, friendship and family are very important and so is prayer
  19. Learn to dance, sing , paint, fencing, swimming and any worthwhile relaxing and uplifting activity
  20. Gain respect and put yourself in service to your well being and that of others you are responsible for.
  21. Write a journal to keep your spirit strong and continue this list to impart to your children. You can write up to 300 things to share with others to walk your talk.




How Can You Receive Nursing Home Benefits Without Losing Your Hard-Earned Assets?

Retirement_Asset_Protection connie dello buono

You do not have to lose your hard earned money for lifetime retirement should you need nursing home care. Prepare many years in advance for asset protection and health planning. Government regulations for health care benefits look at your assets 5 years back. Plan for your estate, gifting your children and grandchildren and health/financial planning in advance.

Estate Taxes

Year Exemption Top Rate
2008 $2 million 45%
2009 $3.5 million 45%
2010 Tax Repeal 0%
2011 $1 million 50%
2012 $1 million 50%
2013 $1 million 50%

Current estate taxes range from 37-48%, with an exemption of the first $2 million in 2006.  The exemption amount gradually increases and the top tax rate gradually decreases until 2010, when the estate tax is repealed for one year.  Without additional Acts of Congress, the estate tax will be reinstated to 2001 levels in 2011.

The federal estate tax exemption is rising gradually, from $2 million in 2006 to $3.5 million in 2009. Meanwhile, the top estate tax rate declines 1% per year until it reaches 45% in 2007 where it stays until 2010. The estate tax is scheduled to phase out completely by 2010, but only for a year. Unless Congress passes new laws between now and then, the tax will be reinstated in 2011 when the exemption reverts to $1 million.

Legal and tax advice are not provided.  Please consult your tax attorney before you act on any information provided in the materials above.


If you want more information on long term care ,retirement planning and asset protection, contact Connie Dello Buono 408-854-1883 motherhealth@gmail.com . CA Life lic 0G60621
1708 Hallmark Lane San Jose CA 95124. With offices in Fremont, South San Francisco, San Jose,Sacramento and Milpitas.

Call for a one on one info sharing or a free seminar in Fremont this Sat from 9-10am.