Wednesday, November 30, 2016

How Trump Did It and a Few More Words about Politics by Suz deMello (#TrumpTrainWreck #NotMyPresident #CalExit)

Many of us are still shell-shocked by DJT's Electoral College win. How on earth did he do this? we wonder, given his offensive style, numerous bigoted remarks, continual lying, sexism, racism... I could go on and on, but most of my readers know about DJT already, given that he's been ubiquitous for the last eighteen months.

not my family, but it might as well have been
What you may not know is that I am very much a political animal. My first clear memory is at five years old, watching primary election returns on TV. I started reading the LA Times newspaper and Newsweek shortly thereafter--what I could understand of it. I later earned a master's in political science and worked on several political campaigns--I was going door-to-door for George McGovern even before I was qualified to vote.

So I do write with some background in US politics.

And to the point: how did he do it?

First, he started with a massive fan base from Apprentice and Celebrity Apprentice.

I don't watch reality TV, but millions of people do. This URL has some stats: 

To condense them: the season one finale of Apprentice had nearly 30 million viewers. The shows aired for 14 seasons, and by the end of the run, a lot of people felt comfortable with Trump. In fact, they probably loved his direct, bombastic style. They loved how he insulted the contestants on his show--why else would they watch? 

Here's one example:

Feel free to surf youtube for more. There's plenty there. But the point is: there are millions of voting Americans who aren't distressed by sexism. There are millions of voting Americans who aren't distressed by religious or racial bigotry...his fan base.

Millions of Americans aren't bothered by his manners or his message. In fact, they love him, inexplicable as that seems to the rest of us.

Second--surmising here--he, or someone in his organization researched his fan base to discover their political opinions, fears, and motivations.

And he spoke to those, aware that those were shared by an astoundingly large
number of less-well-educated Americans. And those were the additional folks he needed to get the EC.

He didn't care that he was pandering to the worst in America. He cares only about one person, the guy he sees in the mirror when he brushes his teeth (and I don't mean his valet).

The problem? We don't actually know what DJT thinks. He's been too busy catering to his fan base to give us any sort of truth, whether it be about climate change or his own heart.

Problem #2: His message brought out a lot of people we wish had stayed in their caves:

Third: Trump was an aspirational candidate.

DJT cleverly appealed to the hopes and fears of millions of old white guys who feel dispossessed. They lost their jobs to computer geeks. They lost their women to feminism. They're really not badly off--very few in the USA are. 

Let's not forget that we live in a time when each of us lives better than 99.9% of the people in the world have ever lived.

But many are always discontented with their lot. It's just their nature to be negative rather than positive, to look at their neighbor's slightly-bigger flat-screen TV and feel deprived.

nothing says "man of the people" like gold-leaf chairs!
Many who voted for Trump looked at the fat, ugly old guy with the mega-bucks, sexy wife and the Stepford-perfect kids and wanted to be like him. This isn't something that occurs on a conscious level, but this is how branding works and this is why it's valuable to purveyors of products. Remember that DJT rarely makes or builds anything of value--he simply sells his name, and people buying Trump Steaks or ties or whatever feel that they now are a part of the gold-leafed Trump World.

And let's not forget: he got a lot of help:

Fourth: The mass media gave Trump, oh, maybe close to one billion dollars of free airtime.

I don't think that DJT is a particularly intelligent person, and wouldn't be stunned if it came out that Daddy DJT had bribed Junior's way through Wharton. However, I believe that in business school, DJT excelled in marketing and promotions. 

A shrewd, clever man, he knows how to get media attention and to keep it, and that made a big difference:

Fifth: The GOP's 25 year-long Hate Hillary campaign.

If you don't believe that this has been a carefully crafted, decades-long campaign, read these:

She has an undeserved reputation as being abrasive and shrill--fact is, strong women are often labeled as such. Hillary Clinton is actually a likable, even charming woman. Check out this reel:

Most importantly: she has spent her entire adult life trying to help others. Her focus has always been on empowering women, strengthening families, and uplifting children. 

Though the GOP has painted her as one of the elite, the opposite is true. Her mother was so poor that she had to go to work as a maid at age 14. Her father, a WW2 vet, had a small business which designed, printed and sold draperies.

Although HRC attended Yale Law School, and could have gone immediately to Wall Street for a high-paying job, she instead worked for the Children's Defense Fund. She later landed a prestigious appointment as an attorney advising the Congressional committee investigating then-President Nixon. She then moved to Arkansas, taught law, and co-founded Arkansas Advocates for Women and Children.

Clinton's long list of accomplishments includes spearheading the effort to bring health care to all Americans during the 1990s. While that effort failed, she didn't give up, instead creating CHIP, which continues to provide health insurance for eight million children, cutting their insurance rates in half. 

She ceaselessly used her position as First Lady to speak on behalf of women and children, bravely telling  the Chinese in 1995, human rights are women’s rights, and women’s rights are human rights."

And what were the Republicants doing to her then?

She was accused of murdering Deputy White House counsel Vince Foster, a man who had been one of the Clintons' closest friends. (He actually committed suicide).

The GOP launched a multi-million dollar investigation into a failed real estate investment called Whitewater. That spilled over into the infamous Monica Lewinsky scandal.

In toto, $79.3 million was spent on investigating the Clinton Administration. (source:

Bill Clinton's sexual strayings didn't help Hillary's image much. No one can understand the interior of a human heart, and many find her "stand by your man" stance incomprehensible. I, personally, probably would have dumped Bill, but it's really not my business, as I'm not named Hillary, Chelsea or Monica.

About the Clinton Foundation: every accusation in its regard has been found worthless. It's rated very highly by organizations that investigate charities:

And while the Clinton Foundation did indeed receive donations from sexist leaders of sexist countries like Saudi Arabia, I find a little poetic irony in that--the Clintons took money from the worst misogynists on the planet and used it to help women.

And did she accept six-figures to speak to Wall Street executives? Yep, she sure did. I would have also. Be honest, dear reader: wouldn't you also have done the same thing?

And then there was the investigation into the Benghazi debacle, which cost American taxpayers a whopping $6.8 million.(

HRC testified  for 11 hours in front of the Benghazi committee--
which found nothing.
The GOP has admitted that the investigation was a witch-hunt
designed to discredit HRC
On top of that, the State Department spent $14 million answering the GOP Congress's demands for information:

It's tragic that four people, good people, died at Benghazi. However, please do note that Americans have died in embassy attacks on numerous occasions. Rarely if ever have these terrible events generated controversy and investigations that uncovered no wrongdoing. 

Two events during Reagan's presidency resulted in 258 US deaths, and yet, no meaningful investigations were launched attacking high officials.
Instead, bipartisan investigations occurred that were helpful and productive--not witch-hunts designed to tarnish or destroy a public servant's career.

So do please note that the GOP has spent at least $20 million of your money on the Benghazi investigation idiocy. And top GOP congressmen have admitted that it was designed to discredit and damage HRC.

Sixth: The GOP's decades-long, very strategic campaign to erode voting rights.

Check out this article for details, but what you need to know is that the Republicans have been consciously working hard to deny access to the ballot box for groups that tend to vote Democratic: persons of color and the younger voter.

That strategy made a big difference in at least one swing state: Wisconsin, historically blue as the summer sky but went red in 2016.

Seventh: FBI/Comey interference

The media and others have milked the so-called Clinton email scandal as much as possible. This minimal infraction, which never endangered anyone or revealed anything involving national security, was blown up like Bimini during nuclear testing in the 50s. 

Keep in mind that the Clinton email server was never hacked. Says Politifact: "There’s no evidence that anyone successfully hacked Clinton’s email servers, but they certainly were not impervious to attack. It’s possible that a sophisticated hacker gained access but left no trace." 

However, the State Department servers have been under continual attack from Russia for many months if not years: and many government systems have been breached.

On top of that, HRC's predecessors at State used private systems to communicate.

Despite the facts, the FBI was pressured into launching another fruitless and expensive investigation of HRC. The FBI hasn't revealed what that investigation cost, but a couple of sources estimated anything from $20 million ( to $13,000 per day--I guess we have to do the math (

The investigation resulted in unprecedented announcements by the FBI director, James Comey. One occurred on July 5, 2016, early enough to have little impact on the election. Not so the other two, which took place on October 28 and November 6, just two days before the election. 

These events undoubtedly impacted the election results severely.  Check the
interactive map on this page:

It shows clearly that prior to Comey's announcement on October 28, HRC enjoyed an 81.5% likelihood of winning the presidency. Her numbers dropped off a cliff, down to 64.7% after Comey's third statement. They began to rise slightly the next two days, but not enough time elapsed for HRC's campaign to recover from the damage.

Eighth: Russian involvement via Wikileaks 
(added 2/19/17)

Let's initially debunk the myth that Wikileaks is neutral. Wikileaks is an info-
laundering organization for the Russians. Julian Assange, that poisonous, misogynistic sexual predator, has clearly shown his dislike to America and specifically Hillary Clinton. (;

Assange provided the semi-legitimate source for the emails hacked by the Russians, and they were released in a carefully orchestrated flow, designed to inflict the most damage on the Democrats and Hillary Clinton. The Guardian article cited above indicates that the leaks were designed to act as an "October surprise" to damage Clinton.

Furthermore, as time has worn on, and the Trump administration taken office and proceeded to bungle just about everything, it's become clear that members of Trump's inner circle and the Russians colluded before #45 took office. Conversations between Michael Flynn and the Russian Foreign Minister after President Obama sanctioned Russia were recorded by US intelligence services; the content of those conversations undermined the sitting President's actions. That's treason any way you slice it, and Flynn was forced to resign his position as National Security Adviser.

Numerous questions remain:

When did the collusion between the Russians and the Trumpsters begin?
How did it affect the election's outcome?
When did Trump know? How did he personally advance this effort?
Is the President of the United States a traitor?

Given #45's numerous and perplexing compliments about President Putin, it seems highly believable that his favoritism was rewarded by the Russians' acts. Even without overt collusion, this is extremely troubling.

The extent to which Trump and his enterprises are entangled with the Russian oligarchs is unknown. We don't if or how the Russians are blackmailing Trump, but rumors abound. Some of them are excellently sourced, such as the MI6 operative's revelations about Trump's sexual fetishes: 

At present, the US intelligence community is chasing after this plot with everything they've got. The article states: "The people who spoke to Reuters also corroborated a Tuesday New York Times report that Americans with ties to Trump or his campaign had repeated contacts with current and former Russian intelligence officers before the November election. Those alleged contacts are among the topics of the FBI counterintelligence investigation." (emphasis mine)

If this doesn't bother you. nothing will.

So what now?

First: She's not done yet, folks.

I predict that not much will change for Hillary Clinton. She is a person of indomitable spirit and great determination. It's possible that her focus on her core issues: women, children and families--was part of the equation that cost her the presidency. She of all people understands the limitations, frustrations and hardships of that office. I don't believe she wanted the office for the sake of its power. I believe she wanted to wield that power to serve those core issues, and breaking that last, thickest glass ceiling would have done just that.

As such, perhaps she lacked that "fire in the belly" that she needed to win. Whatever.

But she's still a woman on fire for her causes. At a time in her life when most of us would have been sitting on a beach drowning our sorrows in mojitos--barely a week after Election Day--she gave an inspiring speech to the Children's Defense Fund:

Now more than ever, she will have venues open to her for the pursuit of her causes. She's polled as the most admired woman in the world for decades (, and I wouldn't be surprised if she received the Nobel Peace Price for her work, and not only as a slap at DJT.

Second: The Trumpsters will be greatly disappointed.

Barely three weeks have passed since Election day, but Der Trumpster has already walked back on many campaign promises. Most prominently, he swore many times that he'd "drain the swamp" in DC, but instead has hired a bunch of the nastiest swamp monsters to work for him.

What can be done?

--Give to legal defense funds dedicated to protecting the rights of minorities and women, especially access to health care and the ballot box. Two reasons the GOP has done so well is its unrelenting focus on eroding voting rights and gerrymandering of congressional districts in their favor, and not because their policies work or are popular. Fact is: the GOP wins only because they cheat.

--As a Californian, I support the exit of my state from the USA. Without the deadweight, Cali boasts the 6th largest economy in the world. And I'm tired of my vote being rendered meaningless, as are many Californians. FMI:

--Resist via every legal and peaceful means possible. Protest. Show up at appearances of your congressional representative and US senator, either to encourage good acts or discourage bad ones. Make phone calls. Write letters and emails to the editor of your local paper. Stay connected to peers via social media. 

Get up, stand up, and make your voice heard. 

Enjoy! I'm sure the next four years will be interesting. As for me, I'm off to Mexico as soon as arrangements can be made.

Friday, November 4, 2016

SPY GAME IS BACK! by Suz deMello (#cyberspy #newadult #multiculturalRomance #RS)

I've mentioned before that one of the joys of digital publishing is for authors to re-edit and re-release reverted works. Spy Game is one of these old friends. Originally written in 2001, it first was given life by Five Star, a reputable publisher of hard-cover novels for the library market. They gave it a fantastic cover:

The teal was a bad idea--
I've noticed that bright covers sell better.
But the graphic is very cute.

And it got GREAT reviews. One of the cooler aspects of publishing with Five Star was, although they were a very small publisher, they had a reputation for putting out good work, so reviewers like Kirkus and Publisher's Weekly covered them. Here's what PW said about Spy Game:

 Spy Game
Sue Swift. Five Star, $25.95 (277p) ISBN 978-1-59414-658-9
Cyber geek meets seductive spy girl in this feverish Silicon Valley thriller from Swift (Triangle). Half-French, half-Algerian Ani Sharif, whose parents were murdered by extremists 10 years earlier when she was at a private girls' school in Algiers, has joined the United States Security Agency. On her first undercover assignment, Ani must uncover who's selling Defense Department cyber secrets to foreign governments. The prime suspect is Richard “Baby Rex” Rexford of, where Ani lands a programming job by playing the part of an opportunistic cyber pirate. Her mission is to hack into Richard's home laptop and locate incriminating evidence. What she doesn't bargain for is falling in love with this possible traitor. Swift delivers a fast-paced romantic romp as the spy games escalate into erotic games, testing Ani's faith in her ability to separate business from pleasure. Swift's brisk narrative offers an unusual blend of romantic suspense and cyber crime. (Feb.)

You're probably wondering who "Sue Swift" is. That's me, or at least, one of my personae. Writers tend to be schizophrenic. (Just kidding!)

Spy Game was then licensed to a not-so-wonderful publisher which will remain nameless and unlamented as it fades off into the sunset of wrecked publishing dreams--the fate of all opportunists seeking to take advantage of authors.

But then--it came back to me, so I was able to re-edit, update, and perfect. Now, some people might feel that we're too picky about our work:

But really--they're our babies, and we like to launch them properly into the world. So here's the new cover by Sweet and Spicy Designs plus an excerpt from the Prologue to pique your interest:

San Francisco, California

On Saturday afternoon, Gar saw an umbrella hung in the signal tree in Golden Gate Park, so he met his contact in the Castro at midnight. To anyone watching, they’d look like two guys outside a crowded bar, sharing a smoke, but his contact passed Gar a tiny package, a package worth millions to his customers in Indonesia.

He tucked the package inside his jacket and mounted his motorcycle, heading for Potrero Hill and the shelter of a safe house. As he passed through a residential area, he slowed, and only then did he hear the growl of another motorcycle on his tail. At first he thought it was happenstance, but as he turned one corner and then the next, with the following motorcycle’s roar ringing and banging in his ears, he realized he’d been tagged.

Gar tried every trick he knew to shake the tail, but nothing worked. Too late, he saw that he’d been herded toward the shore of the bay, heading too fast down a dead-end alley, with warehouses on each side and a chained metal gate in front of him.

Braking too hard, he jerked the bike into a sharp turn in front of the ten-foot-high gate. The bike slewed on the slick, damp street, drawing a screeching curve to the left before crashing into the cyclone fence.

He hit hard and went down, his bike clattering on its side, sliding out of the fog lamp’s amber halo into the dark, misty night.

In a haze of pain, he lay stunned on the pavement, moving in and out of consciousness, with the bitterness of failure flooding his mouth.

The other motorcycle stopped. Gar heard the scrape of boots on asphalt. Blinking, he raised his heavy head a fraction to see an hourglass figure silhouetted against the golden light. He groaned and dropped his head back. One hand scrabbled toward the precious parcel, seeking to protect it.

The boots stopped close to his head. Too close, but nothing he could do about it. Too weak. Too much pain. Should have worn a helmet…

Motorcycle leathers creaked. He smelled jasmine, felt warmth, sensed she knelt beside him. He blinked again.

She had a jaunty smile and eyes that gleamed green even in the dim light. Opening his jacket, she removed the package, which contained the prototype of the computerized brain that would run some of the United States’ newest, most sophisticated guided missiles.

“Thank you.” She tucked the package into her jacket and walked away, her boots crunching. He heard her bike kick, catch, and roar away, its growl receding into the misty night.

Like what you read? 
Here's where to buy it: