1. Is it possible that President Trump — with his behavior, ambition and star quality — may be extending the lives of thousands of Americans, especially those of us who are 80 years old or more?
Here’s how it might be working: If you read the obits regularly, you will note that Americans are living longer. The longevity experts confirm that fact. This means that throughout our land are armies of men and women — aged 80, 90 or more — who know full well that although they may die soon, they still would like to tack on a few more years.
Consciously or otherwise, these folks are looking for a reason or attitude that might somehow help them live longer. And so, the bargaining begins. “Dear Lord, just give me X years longer and I will quit smoking, or shooting heroin, or cheating on my spouse and tax returns, and so forth.”
A large percentage of these proposals will be phrased this way: I will do anything I can just to reach the day when Donald Trump is no longer in the White House. I will jog six miles a day, give up ice cream, eat broccoli by the ton and meditate at least four hours a day."
These Trumpophobes will go ahead and keep their promises, and thus extend the longevity statistics for our beloved land.
Or a variation may go like this: “If Trump wins in 2020 and I must face another four years of his reign, I don’t know if I can stand it."
But a third cry may be heard: “Heavenly spirits, please keep Mr. Trump in office as long as possible. Without his leadership, our nation is lost. I don’t want to live without his guidance.”
With all these conflicting prayers being uttered, aren’t you glad you’re not God?
2. Our government’s security forces are working hard to prevent Russia, China and other enemies from again invading our election procedures. But rigged elections would (or will) be a minor problem on the day that enemies of the USA, in a single stroke, are able to paralyze the U.S. financial system. Or even worse, to shut down our electrical power grid, whether for an hour or for good.
Will the U.S. be able to retaliate by crippling the cyber capabilities of the offending power? Maybe, maybe not. From what I read, the day may already have arrived in which a solitary independent hacker in a Siberian cabin is now able to plunge a nation or a continent into darkness or chaos. And how can we strike back if we have no idea of the perpetrator’s identity?
There may be adequate responses to these questions, securely hidden in the Pentagon or elsewhere. I hope so. If you hear of them, please let me know.
3. Now that the Mueller investigation is over (sort of), shouldn’t we set up another commission to dig into the American advertising industry? Common sense — or the law of averages — says that wherever enormous power exists, there surely must be corruption.
With advertising this corruption usually takes the form of lying. Or, to be less blunt, with misstatements, exaggeration, scare tactics, unproven statistics, brain-deadening repetitions and blatantly false testimonials by paid actors hired to tell us, “Buy our product and you will be happy; fail to do so and you will soon die.”
I’ll cut this diatribe short. I’ve already beaten the anti-advertising drum in earlier columns. I may do it again. I’m fully aware that without advertising our economy would sag and possibly collapse. But that doesn’t mean some of advertising’s power and practices shouldn’t be curbed.
4. To close on an upbeat note, would you like to watch a superb new (to me) TV organization? It’s the Smithsonian Channel. In a recent 48 hours of viewing I somehow stumbled across three informative hour-long productions describing Scotland, Napoleon’s defeat at Waterloo and Queen Victoria’s sex life. Unfortunately, the programs do have advertising interruptions, but they’re well worth the wait.