By Richard John Stapleton

Trump had the better bullshit given the intelligence of US voters and the US electoral college.

And now we have no choice but to suck it up and get on with it.

Let us pray now that they are in power that Trump and his fundamentalist cronies might accidentally do more good than harm for everyone aboard Spaceship Earth.

Which is what we would have had to pray had Hillary won, or had Bennie Sanders won, or had Jill Stein won.

ALEC, the American Legislative Exchange Council, is probably the most unfair, pernicious, and egregious right-wing organization in the US, presumably only concerned about the US of America—not Canada, Central America, and South America—set against true democracy for we the people of all countries.

It’s funded by the Koch Brothers, Exxon, and Big Pharma.

They provide state legislators in the US free meals, drinks, lodging, and entertainment at luxury resorts for conferences at which ALEC experts give them legislation they have drafted for the so-called legislators to enact in their state legislatures.

This is probably the most effective top-down fascist organization run by the rich in the world, a descendant of the John Birch Society in the US.

If it gets what it wants, listed in the article below by Simon Davis-Cohen, like all fundamentalists, such as the Taliban in Afghanistan, and ISIS, they will set the US back economically, culturally, and democratically two hundred years,  and they will probably usher in another Great Depression, a depression greater in terms of human suffering than the depression of the 1930’s.

They are hell bent for leather on achieving their goals, having been at it since the 1950s.

We the people of Spaceship Earth can only pray that saner and wiser spirits in the US and worldwide can somehow muster enough countervailing power to thwart them.

Unfortunately, corporate and elite rich money talks much louder than words from the mouths of ordinary human beings.

Read all about it at

The Right Wing:  Corporate America Is Inching Even Closer to a Constitutional Convention

In statehouses across the country, ALEC-backed legislators are pushing for a balanced-budget amendment, a repeal of the federal income tax and more.

By Simon Davis-Cohen / In These Times

January 26, 2017

 By clicking here:



Greetings from Statesboro, Georgia

by Richard John Stapleton

I think our local newspaper the Statesboro Herald put together a great video report last week covering the Martin Luther King parade, the Scottish Heritage Society Robert Burns Supper, Georgia Southern basketball, and last year’s business leader of the year selected by the Rotary Club.

I carried the haggis in for the opening ceremonies of the Robert Burns Supper.  As clerk of the Scottish Heritage Society of Southeast Georgia, I was sitting with my wife Debbye at the end of the head table.

Joe McGlamery, president of the Bulloch County Historical Society, and president of the Statesboro Herald, was our speaker for the evening.  He said he remembered giving a similar address to our society in 2004.  His knowledge of Robert Burns and Scotland of his time in the 18th century is laudable and was well received.

Good cheer was had by all.

Watch and listen to the excellent Statesboro Herald video report by clicking here.


John Chuckman’s Comprehension: Stories about fact, fiction, good, and evil: Part Two

US class, economic, political, religious, ideological, and military wars internally and externally have been quieter in recent years under a charming, deceptive, ineffective President Obama and a sullen, anti-social, do-nothing Repub Congress. Now that Trump is about to take over, things are heating up.

The US is like a recently quieter volcano that is once again emitting larger plumes of smoke and ash at its summit. All hell could break loose.

The Repubs are already on the move trying to get rid of the Affordable Care Act, aka Obamacare, in short order, and there’s rumors they are about to attack Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid in a serious way. The Demos are attacking Trump in more vicious ways. Trump is fighting back with his Tweets.

As John Chuckman cogently points out in his article below, “Of Wizards and Washington and the Dreary, Unrelenting Reality of American Politics,” Trump has been hardened and toughened in a long career of wheeling, dealing, and intrigue, which might be a good thing when he gets into the heat of battle in Washington. How much heat he can take and how much backbone and conscience he has for doing the right thing and not doing the wrong thing remains to be seen.

Read an excerpt from Chuckman’s article below and click on the full article in the Intrepid Report for an erudite comprehensive overview of what is going on and what might happen.


Of wizards and Washington and the dreary, unrelenting reality of American politics

A raw and sometimes darkly comic survey of America’s treacherous political terrain


By John Chuckman
Posted on January 13, 2017 by John Chuckman in the Intrepid Report.

The books about The Wizard of Oz were written as satire on American politics, but Hollywood, in its inimitable way, turned them into a song-and-dance picture for children. Still, one scene in the film has a sense of the author’s intent. That scene is when Dorothy, in Emerald City, approaches a closet-like structure, which, as it happens, is the Wizard’s control booth for sounds and smoke and lights, his special effects for intimidating visitors and impressing them with non-existent power.

The entrance curtain happens to be open, so Dorothy sees a modest man busily pulling levers and pushing buttons and speaking into a microphone which alters his voice into a great booming one, echoing like a great organ in a cathedral. When the man realizes that he is being watched, he makes a last effort and booms out words along the lines of “Pay no attention to the man in the booth.” Of course, the jig is up, and we all understand there is no wizard.

What better allegory for events in Washington today could there be? We have booming noises and smoke and glaring lights, and it all comes from a rather sad little—little in the sense of failed—man with about two weeks left to sit at his big desk and pretend that he is a great and powerful wizard. Except, when you are president, as this man is, you can never be observed in your control booth and you have your stunts and booming claims seconded by a chorus of flacks, hangers-on, and political appointees, presumably lending a semblance of authenticity and substance.

What the controversy engendered by “the Russians did it” has achieved is almost the opposite of what was intended. Dubious claims and pretend evidence have caused lights to shine brightly over what is a blanketing fabric of dishonesty in America’s establishment. The fabric covers everything from foreign affairs and the military to the details of domestic affairs. It is an immense, complex, and carefully constructed covering, and those who created it have very little tolerance for any of it being scrutinized under spotlights. Achieving this scrutiny may be regarded as Obama’s final act of failure.

Whether it is “the Russians hacked the DNC” or “America has been bombing ISIS in Syria” or “the Russians threaten Eastern Europe” or “the Russians committed atrocities in Aleppo” or “Russia shot down Flight MH-17,” the same tiresome actors making the same unsupported claims have for eight years expected that just their inflated job titles should intimidate us into believing them. Proof? Who needs that? Would I lie to you about such matters? Once you start something foolish as Obama has done, and it is widely understood as being foolish, you only weaken your authority over all the other less-obviously dubious claims you have been making. The fabric of lies becomes weakened, and that is one of Obama’s small, but unintended, achievements now.

Read the article in full in the Intrepid Report by clicking here, .

The Smartest Guy in the Room: Stories about Fact, Fiction, Good, and Evil: Part One

By Richard John Stapleton

Several times in recent weeks I have been lured into clicking on Internet posts purporting to show the IQ’s of US presidents, including the president-elect now waiting to take over.

You will find over 700,000 results if you ask Google, “What is Donald Trump’s IQ?”

I have scanned several of them but I have yet to find a definitive IQ for any president. Based on one study using biometric data, John Quincy Adams had the highest IQ of all US presidents, 168.  Donald Trump was not included in this study. These IQs are estimates based on biographical data and other historical evidence.

One Internet post asserted Donald Trump had an IQ of 156, which was shown by Snopes, a fact-checking website on the Internet, to be bogus. Most of the posts I read indicate all US presidents have been more intelligent than the average US college graduate.

I have seen Trump in a video extolling his high “aptitude”, which he said he inherited from his parents. He also said in a video he was proud of his German “blood”.

Having little concern about the meaning of words or context, he did not say what he thought his aptitude was for in his video.  One can have a high aptitude for screwing up.  I suppose he was saying he had high aptitude for making money in business and that aptitude would make money for everyone in the US when he took over as president.

I have also read on the Internet Trump only has about a 200-word vocabulary. It’s probably larger than that, but based on hearing him talk many times it seems to me he has the smallest vocabulary of any president I have heard talk, including Bush II.  In general people with high IQs do not have small vocabularies.

Regardless, Trump has told us over and over again in various ways he is very smart because he has made so much money. No one can use the aphorism “If you’re so smart, why aren’t you rich?” against him. At the outset of his presidential campaign he let his Repub competitors for president know he had more money than all of them put together, implying that made him smarter than they were, maybe smarter than all of them were put together.

In the process of running for president Trump talked about the Wharton graduate school of finance as though he went there.  Wharton is a respectable graduate business school, at the University of Pennsylvania, not too many rungs down the business school prestige ladder from Harvard Business School, where Bush II got a master’s degree.  I assumed Trump had an MBA from Wharton.

It turns out Trump does not have a master’s degree from Wharton. He took some finance courses at the University of Pennsylvania, where Wharton is the graduate business school, while earning a bachelor’s degree. It’s unclear whether his SAT, GRE, GMAT or other aptitude test scores were high enough to get accepted into the Wharton graduate school of business, or whether he wanted to get a graduate degree.

We have also been told over and over that Trump is a “billionaire” with no definition of the term and little context. In general a billionaire is a person who has a net worth of one billion dollars or more. Net worth is total assets owned minus total debts owed. There is no way to prove whether Trump is a billionaire because we have no idea what his total assets are worth and what his total debts are. Since most of his assets are land and buildings he can say they are worth whatever he says they are worth, enough to produce a net worth of ten billion dollars, which he has done.

In reality his land and buildings are worth what they can be sold for in today’s market. One analyst said Trump has about two hundred million dollars in cash and liquid assets, not shabby for sure, but that sounds far less “bigly” than billions.

Apparently his parents gave him one or two million dollars or so to play with as a young man after college, telling him he was a king and such, and he lost some of it in failed deals and schemes; but it seems he learned on the job how to function playing a real estate mogul and oligarch role in life, as no doubt his father and mother wished; and eventually apparently some of his deals and schemes paid off, after he smartly learned to always hire the “best” people to make decisions for The Trump Organization.

Trump worked for his mother in her business called Elizabeth Trump & Son, which no doubt included assets inherited from her husband when he died, when the Donald attended the University of Pennsylvania as an undergraduate. He changed the name of Elizabeth Trump & Son to The Trump Organization after he inherited it in 1971.

One article on the Internet posted a few years ago said in the process of borrowing money from a bank Trump was forced to disclose enough verifiable asset and debt data that the bank was able to determine that his net worth was about $700 million, a lot of money, but not enough to be a billionaire, based on a good definition of the term. On the other hand, based on market values for his land and buildings he may be a billionaire now, assuming his holdings could be sold for the asking price.

As anyone who has studied or done accounting knows, it’s not easy to prove what facts are in large businesses, even if the large business hires certified public accountants to audit their business, and even if the audited financial statements are made public. Almost nobody has seen any audited financial statements for Trump’s mainly rentier businesses since they are not publicly traded. Rentier businesses do not produce products; they mainly collect rents.

The fictive business called Enron, in Houston, Texas, named and spelled to sound like Exxon, back in the Bush II days, was run by what business pundits called the smartest guys in the room, until it imploded, wiping out the jobs and retirement savings of hundreds of employees and stockholders; and two of those smartest guys in the room, who had MBAs from Harvard Business School, were sent to prison for faking facts and cooking the books, books audited and certified by Arthur Andersen & Company, one of the five largest certified public accounting firms in the world, that also did management consulting for Enron, which was a conflict of interest. The smart guys running Enron not only ran Enron into bankruptcy, they caused Arthur Andersen to be broken up.

A relevant question is how much net worth did the Donald inherit from his parents after they died. According to Fortune and Forbes magazines Trump’s net worth in today’s dollars is somewhere around three billion dollars. It’s possible he inherited that much wealth from his parents after you compound what he inherited up to the present using historical inflation rates. If so he has not “made” any money on his own.

Nor is it easy to prove what “smart” is, or what an IQ is. My mother told me once, in our lumber yard and hardware store at Wolfforth, Texas in the 1950s, “You don’t have to tell people how smart you are. If you are they will just know it.”

After proving he was smart enough to get elected, it remains to be seen how smart the Donald will be as president of the United States.  Buying his election only cost him about forty-five million dollars of his own money; how much this deal will pay off for him also remains to be seen.

Richard John Stapleton is an emeritus professor of business policy, ethics, and entrepreneurship at Georgia Southern University who writes on business and politics at He is the author of Business Voyages: Mental Maps, Scripts, Schemata, and Tools for Discovering and Co-Constructing Your Own Business Worlds.