No Longer Any Doubt

The GOP has for some time claimed to be the party of business and low taxes and free enterprise. Time and again leaders of the GOP from Kasich to Rubio to Cruz to McCain to McConnell have claimed the mantle of “conservative”.

All the while, many liberals have claimed that the GOP was giving quiet approval to the racist tendencies of the mob. Quiet approval to the coded language of race hatred. The dog whistles. The winks and the nods.

The GOP, of course, has denied that charge. They have given lip service to “freedom” and condemned, in the most general terms, racism. It is easy to do. To condemn evil in the abstract. “Racists are bad. OK. I’m done.”

If there was ever any doubt that the “Party of Lincoln” has become the party of bigotry that doubt was erased this weekend. The president of the United States, the leader of the GOP, refused to condemn the KKK and Nazis that marched and murdered in Charlottesville, Virginia

And the rest of the GOP fell in line with the leader. Not a single member of the GOP , to my knowledge, has condemned Mr Trump for his refusal to call evil by it’s name. Not a single member of the GOP “leadership” has stood up for American values.

These same “leaders” who took every opportunity to degrade and diminish President Obama now stand shoulder to shoulder with Mr Trump. Along with the skinheads and under-educated morons who marched in Virginia in support of racism, the leaders of the GOP have given the silent Nazi salute to Trump and his supporters.

They are standing shoulder to shoulder with those who have lynched.  Those who have set up death camps. Those who have burned books and destroyed synagogues and bombed black churches. They are standing tall with those who will reinstate Jim Crow laws. Those who kill blacks with impunity by appealing to “stand your ground” laws. This is the bed in which they are sleeping. These are the fleas with whom they awake.

The leaders of the GOP are standing with David Duke and Mr Trump and Steve Bannon. Against the values of freedom and non violence and racial harmony.

The leaders of the GOP needed to come out forcefully and condemn Mr Trump and his association with the racists.  In no uncertain terms. In specific and strong language. Unequivocally. They did not.

Next time your GOP Senator or Representative mouths the empty phrases  of “Let’s work together” and ” I condemn racism” keep in mind what they have said today.  Hear the deafening silence as the race haters gain the upper hand in the corridors of the White House.

If there was ever any doubt that the GOP has become the party of hate that doubt was erased this weekend. By silence.

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Those Phone Calls…Very Presidential

Mr Trump has (once again) claimed that something has happened which did not happen.  Despite what he has said,  he did not receive congratulatory phone calls from the president of Mexico. Nor from the Boy Scouts. In fact, the Boy Scouts apologized for his remarks.

While some might suggest that the erroneous statements made by Trump are untrue, that is hardly the case.   As his current spokesperson. Ms Huckabee Sanders , has stated about these falsehoods: “I wouldn’t say it was a lie — that’s a pretty bold accusation.”

But, in the world of Trump, up is down, right is left, truth is lies and real news is fake. This incident did remind me of some phone calls I have received over the years from parents, public figures and various members of the animal kingdom. I shall share. While these might not be completely “true”, none of them are “lies”. According to Ms Huckabee Sanders.

The Pope called to beg me to return to the one, true apostolic church. Since I had left the church attendance at all Roman Catholic masses had declined. A lot. The Pope told me that I was the best Catholic ever, except for my sins. He said I was an amazing apostate. And he wants me back. Honest. He said that.

Tiger Woods called to congratulate me on my latest golf score, a scorching 89 (from the women’s tees). He told me I had the most amazing hook he had ever seen.  He wished he could play as well as I do. And my 3 putting was fantastic. Really. He did. He said that.

A former principal I worked for called and left a message. He told me I was the best employee that he had ever supervised. And he loved the many suggestions I made to him as to where to place his various suggestions for improvement. He said my creative responses were the best he had ever seen. Although he was finding it difficult to actually insert my suggestions into the appropriate orifice. But, according to him, I was the best! Amazing. Really. He said that.

Then there was the parent whose kid failed my class. As a result he was not admitted to Trump University’s School of Relativity and Prevarication. Even though I ruined the kid’s life , the mother insisted that I was the best teacher ever. She praised my firm stand on the issue of doing at least some homework once in awhile. She placed the complete blame on the situation on her son. I was blameless. I was fantastic. I was amazing. Honest. She said that.

The Donald himself called me just last week. He insisted that I was a political genius. He stated that he had never read any comments as clever or “on the spot” as mine. He talked about how he welcomed criticism as a way to improve his performance in the difficult task of president. He told me to keep up the great work. I was doing a fantastic job! Amazing! Really. He said that.

And the list goes on. But I am too modest to continue.

If you don’t believe me, please contact Ms. Huckabee Sanders. She can explain that it is not a lie to tell a story that isn’t true. It is presidential.

 

 

 

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полезные дураки, (polezniye duraki)

The meeting between Vladimir Putin and Donald Trump was a private affair. No cameras. No notes. Two different accounts about what actually happened.

However, while the meeting was in progress, Mr. Trump inadvertently sat on his phone and called my number. So, I was able to record part of the exchange. This is an honest, factual account. Believe me.

Donald: Welcome Mr Putin. It is an honor. A great honor. A fantastic honor for me to meet you. Amazing honor.

Vlad: Stand up. Stand up, please. No need to kneel. It is also a very interesting thing for me to meet you, as well.

Donald: First off, let’s get this election stuff out of the way. You know my fake press is making up stories about you. Awful. Terrible stories. You would never tamper with an election, would you Mr. Putin.

Vlad: Oh, please my good friend. Call me Vlad. Of course not. I never tamper. Never. Fake news, as you say in your very smart twitter writings. Fake news.

Donald: I knew it. I mean you helped me put on a fantastic Miss Universe Pageant. Remember . Best pageant ever. Great looking girls. Young ones. Fantastic ratings. And no one talks about it. CNN , they never mention it. Why are they ignoring it? Fantastic pageant. Amazing.

Vlad: I know. I know. I have the tapes still in the Kremlin. We look every day . We watch you help the girls undress backstage. We have the tapes. Also, of the hotel we have the tapes. Understand?

Donald: This fake news about the election is all Comey’s fault. Nutcase. Fired him. Now I have that other nutcase Mueller to deal with. The elections are a big problem. Do you have that problem with the fake news and elections, Vlad?

Vlad: No , Donnie. We have no problem with elections. It is easy. You just let the people vote . Vote for whoever . Just vote. They vote in Moscow. They vote in Siberia. They vote in Crimea. You know we own Crimea now. Then they send all the ballots to the Kremlin. No problem. We count all the ballots in the Kremlin. Every one. Then there is no mistake to be made. All the ballots are good. A good result. I won again.

Donald: It’s all about security. Good security. Best security. We need a plan for having the best security ever. Best in history. I wanted all the voter’s info in my office. In the White House. All the names. All the Social Security numbers. What party they support. Centralize it. In the White House. Make it easier next time to find those illegal voters. Millions of them.

Vlad: Now , Donnie, let me give you an idea. Maybe you like it, maybe not. Did I tell you we have the tapes of the hotel during the Miss Universe pageant? Oh, good. Now, my idea. We cooperate. We share our voter technology. We do this to prevent any hanky panky in next election, no? Me, personally, I know nothing about computers. I turn on. It works. I surf the net.  We , in Russia , know nothing of what you call it… uh..hacking.

Donald: Me , neither, Vlad. I watch the TV . Great shows. Ever see The Apprentice? Used to be great, now, not so much. Best show ever. I just watch reruns. Got a Tivo? They ruined it. Ruined it. Sad. Very sad.

Vlad: Donnie, focus. focus. We work together, Russians and Americanskys, eh. You give us your classified voter programs, we give you ours. Together we keep them safe. We figure them out together. No more hacking. No more fake news, eh?

Donald: Sounds fantastic ,Vlad. Best system . Cooperation. We need more cooperation with the Russians. I am the president, you know. I can send you any classified information you need. It’s legal. I can do it. Don’t need Congress. Let’s do it.

Vlad: OK. That is good thing we agree on. So, I must go now and talk to spies…er..ambassadors and tell them good news. I give you highest honor of Russian state. The best name ever. I give you name that all Russian people understand , OK.

Donald: Very good meeting Vlad. I accept the honor. Great honor. Best honor ever. Good bye my friend.

Vlad: And good bye to you. I pronounce you the best honor in Russia. I name you the  greatest friend of Russia. You are the biggest полезные дураки, ( polezniye duraki) I have ever known.

End of tape…..

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Useful_idiot

 

 

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Who Was That Old Lady, Anyway?

When I was little we had an old lady living with us. We called her “Busia” (boo-shah). She had been born in Poland and came to the USA in 1913 by boat, two small kids in tow. In steerage. She was meeting her husband, who was already in the USA working in the mines.

When I knew her she was already pretty old. She didn’t speak English because she had had a stroke. It also left her right arm partially paralyzed so the time I accidentally slammed the car door on her she didn’t feel a thing. Small favors.

Her husband, who I never met, was long dead. Her only son went to war against the Nazis. He was shot down and killed over Germany. She had a flag. The US government had sent her a flag.

She cheated at cards. And when you tried to call her on it she could not (or pretended she could not) understand what you were saying. Hopeless. But she made the best potato pancakes I ever have had. Been trying to duplicate them for 50 years. Haven’t succeeded.

Who was this old lady? For a long time I thought she was a close family member with a “bone fide” relationship. For a long time I treated as though she was a member of the family.

The other day I found out I was wrong. The USA’s new, improved “travel ban ” from a number of countries has gone into effect. No longer can anyone emigrate to the USA. The only exceptions are people from these countries who are close family members. Who have a “bona fide” relationship to a citizen or legal immigrant. I think that is not such a bad idea.

So, who is included as a “close family member”? Parents, spouses, siblings, fiances and children.

And who is specifically EXCLUDED from the category of “close family member”? Who cannot claim a close family relationship. Who is, for purposes of sponsoring immigration, a “stranger”.

This may surprise some of you whose children have had children. Among those not in the category of “close family member” are  “grandparents”. Grandma and grandpa are not “close family members” Fiances are. But not Gramps.

Which brings me back to Busia. Busia was my mother’s mother. Who lived with us off and on for many years. She was my grandmother. Who , at the time, I THOUGHT was a fairly close relative of mine. Not so. My mother’s mother was something else. What was she?

Who was that old lady, anyway?

https://www.reuters.com/article/us-usa-immigration-ruling-idUSKBN19S08N

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I Could Keep You Safe

Not guilty.

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Filed under african-american, blacks, gun control, police, police brutality, Politics, Terror, violence

372,000 Heroes and Silence

Congressman Scalise was shot by a nutcase with a gun. The usual nutcase, a white male. He was targeted for his political beliefs by a disgruntled , out of work male and shot. Not killed, but almost.

The same thing happened to Congresswoman Giffords a few years ago. On the other side of the political spectrum. Shot by a disgruntled white male. A nutcase. Like Scalise, she survived.

In both cases Congress rose as one to condemn the senseless violence. In both cases Congress was appalled by the mindless, fanatic attack on one of their own. The Congress pulled together behind Giffords and Scalise. They condemned the violence. They praised the courage of their colleagues in the face of near-death.

Scalise and Giffords are heroes. They survived. They live . Congress is outraged. Congress is sickened. And Congress will do nothing about it. You can take that to the bank.

Since the terror attack on 9/11 over 372,000 Americans have been heroes. You don’t know their names. 372,000 Americans have been injured by guns. Intentionally. 372,000 heroes who have been cocooned in silence as far as Congress is concerned. Not a peep from the outraged. Not a condemnation from the Capitol dome. Nothing.

In addition. Approximately 186,000 Americans have been killed, intentionally, by guns. 186,000 heroes. Silent heroes. Unnamed heroes. They were not important. They were not in Congress.

There have been 62 tragedies of 9/11 proportions since 9/11. Americans terrorizing other Americans with guns. Americans murdering other Americans. Sixty-two 9/11s. From Congress? Silence.

Every day in America, on average, 7 children and teens are killed by guns. Every day. This week there will be 50 Gabby Giffords who do not survive. All of them under the age of 20. Over 5000 children hospitalized each year with gun-related injuries. And Congress is silent.

Every day 93 Americans are killed by guns. Homicide. Accident. Suicide. They are all dead. This year 34,000 Americans will die because someone had a gun. And didn’t keep it safe. Or used it aggressively in during a moment of anger. Or in a temporary fit of depression just took their own life. It is almost equivalent of one 9/11 each month. And Congress is silent.

So, it may seem cold. But I do not get outraged by the shooting of Giffords or Scalise. I don’t applaud the violence. But it leaves me a bit cold.

After all, there were over 66 Steve Scalises  shot today and sent to the hospital. They survived as 66 unnamed heroes. No Congressmen shed tears or made speeches condemning their assailants.  And the 230 Gabby Giffords who were shot this week did NOT survive. 230 dead unnamed heroes. Not a peep from Congress. Not a word. Silence.

When compared to other industrialized nations the US has a homicide rate which is, on average, 25 times higher. The US homicide rate by guns is 18 times greater than France. The gun homicide rate is 60 times higher than Germany. And the US murder rate with guns is a whopping 90 times that of the UK. (Note: These numbers are out of date, but not that far off).

To be fair, Latin American nations like Brazil, Mexico, Colombia, Guatemala, Belize, etc. have significantly higher murder rates that the US. So, I guess that is some consolation. We are better than Honduras. Hurray!

Nothing will change. Scalise will be lionized and applauded for surviving. He lives. But the applause will end. Our representatives  will cry their collective crocodile tears. Then Congress will get back to regular order, which includes taking massive donations from the NRA and the gun industry.  In the last election cycle the NRA and gun industry spent $ 52,000,000 opposing candidates who support gun control.

So the killings will continue. And so will the silence.

https://everytownresearch.org/gun-violence-by-the-numbers/

http://www.snopes.com/gun-murders-per-100000-residents/

https://www.theguardian.com/news/datablog/2012/jul/22/gun-homicides-ownership-world-list

https://www.opensecrets.org/orgs/summary.php?id=d000000082

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No Surprises Here

Over the last month I have watched various talking heads discuss the travesty that is the Trump presidency. They feign shock and horror at his false tweets. They are shocked by his lack of respect for the separation of powers. They are amazed that the GOP sits by while he fires a man investigating him and admits to obstruction of justice on a TV interview.

Hello.

What did you expect? What is new?

President Obama  said: “I have to tell you, this office, it’s about who you are and what you are and it doesn’t change after you occupy the office – it just magnifies it.”

https://www.thesun.co.uk/news/2104523/barack-obama-says-donald-trump-is-not-fit-to-become-the-next-us-president/

We all knew who and what Donald Trump is before he was elected. Did anyone expect that a 70 year old man, who has spent his entire life surrounded by sycophants, was going to become “presidential”? Really?

This is a man who has the following history:

Refuses to rent to black folks and is sued for discrimination (and loses) by the federal government. Had to pay a multi-million dollar settlement.

Inherited a multi-million dollar real estate empire and inside political connections with mob bosses in NYC, without lifting a finger.

Somehow managed to mismanage a casino and actually go bankrupt.

Multiple times failed to pay contractors for work done, driving some of them to the brink of bankruptcy.

Bragged about sexually abusing women.

Forced to pay over $20,000,000 damages to students he fleeced at “Trump University”.

Refused to divulge any Russia dealings in his tax returns.

Had a number of campaign advisers with strong ties to Putin. Flynn, Tillerson, Manafort, Stone, Page, Sessions, etc.

Then, of course, there are his multiple, regular false statements. A serial liar:

Obama was born in Kenya.

Clinton broke the law.

Insisted that Ted Cruz’s father was involved in the JFK assassination.

He knew Putin. Then he did not know Putin. Then he met Putin. Then he did not meet Putin.

Obama illegally wiretapped his phones.

Supported a health bill that did the opposite of what he promised in the campaign.

Fired Comey because Comey was mean to Clinton. Because he was asked to do so by the assistant to Sessions. Because he was tired of the “fake” Russia investigation. Take your pick.

So, what’s the big deal. The talking heads KNEW this. Why are they surprised? The GOP rank and file KNEW this when they went into those voting booths and voted for this person. He did not get 60,000,000 votes without overwhelming support from the GOP. We all knew what he was and is. The GOP voters did not care.

And , as President Obama opined in North Carolina as the election was drawing to a close:

“This guy is temperamentally unfair to be commander in chief, and he is not equipped to be president.”

“It’s strange how over time what is crazy gets normalised, and we just kinda assume, ‘Well, he’s said a hundred crazy things, so the hundred-and-first thing we don’t even notice.”

So, let’s stop pretending that this is somehow a surprise. The question is: What does the GOP do about it? You brought us to this point. Surprise us.

 

 

 

 

 

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Civil War Mystery

I thoroughly enjoy listening to Don Trump, the President of the United States.  He brings into the light extremely important issues which have been ignored for too long. In his latest interview he once again challenged the American people to expand their intellectual horizons. This time in regard to one of the greatest mysteries in American history.

WHY was there a Civil War in America? What could have caused it? What happened? Until today this dark  period of American history has been shrouded in secrecy. But before I go on,  here are the actual words of our president in an interview on April 30 on Sirius Radio  (not be confused with Serious Radio).

Trump: ‘People don’t realize, you know, the Civil War, if you think about it, why? People don’t ask that question, but why was there the Civil War? Why could that one not have been worked out?

So, let’s all think about the causes of the Civil War. For the first time. What could have been the issues? Why have these causes been ignored by historians and educators for over 150 years? Why has no one come forward to solve this mystery? Sad. Very sad.

So, I decided to do some digging. Although I taught history for over 30 years I must confess that the coverage of the Civil War is just not part of any curriculum.  There is just not enough written about the Civil War to draw any inkling of an idea as to why this conflict occurred. So, Donald got me thinking. Maybe I , and I ALONE, could solve the riddle!

After my third morning beer I set to work on the interweb. I googled “Civil War Causes”. The search offered only 28,600,000 hits. Well, that is no help. Only 28,600,000 references to the causes of the Civil War. Donald was right. Nobody knows !

So I wondered . Has anyone written any book about the Civil War? So I googled Civil War books. I found a New York Times (FAKE NEWS) which claims to have a list of the best books about the war. From the website:

“Far more books have been written about the Civil War than about any other event in American history, and Lincoln’s stack of books towers over that of any other American figure…

OK. Well .  Books.  I mean, You have to READ them. The president of the US is much too busy to read a book. That is hard. I tried to read one and discovered that reading is hard. Very hard. So, I thought. What about movies? Maybe someone, somewhere has made a movie about the Civil War? A movie is easier to read than a book, plus you can eat popcorn and learn at the same time. Brilliant.

Checking Wikipedia I found a list of movies. Starting in 1908 and continuing to today. A lot of movies and documentaries. Over 100 years of movies and films. About the battle between the states. Perhaps one of them has a clue as to the causes of the war?

So if we all work together to Make  America Great Again perhaps we can solve this mystery. Somewhere there is the answer. Until Donald mentioned it no one even cared. Once again, the Educator-in-Chief has caused us to rethink the old ideas and focus on new ones. What could have caused the Civil War? Who knew? Why have we ignored this for so long? Sad.  Very sad.

Do your own research.  Solve the mystery. And send your results to Mar-a-Lago along with a $200,000 entry fee. Donald wants to know. He’ll be glad you did.

https://www.google.com/#q=civil+war+causes

http://www.nytimes.com/ref/opinion/civilwar-booklist.html

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_films_and_television_shows_about_the_American_Civil_War

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The Trump Doctrine

We have now seen Mr Trump in action  (or inaction) for almost 3 months. Since he came into office with no real life experience it would be unfair to expect him to know what he was doing. Few of us made that mistake.  So we must look to his actions to discover  what his philosophy of governance is.

Now, we could pause and wait for him to clearly articulate the “Trump  Doctrine”.  But I  fear  that waiting for a well-reasoned, organized and concise explanation of that particular set of priorities and actions may be well  beyond the time frame allotted us in the current age of this universe. After all, there is a Black Hole at the center of the galaxy which will eventually devour us all. (Stupid scientists)

So, I will help.

The Trump Doctrine seems to be based on a few fundamental principles.

  1. DRAMA. Mr Trump must always be at the center of attention, whether positive or negative. This is consistent with the old adage that there is no such thing as “bad publicity”. PR is PR. Mr Trump must always be the focal point of any discussion of domestic, foreign, athletic, entertainment, government,  or any other human , vegetable or animal related policies.  As opposed to “No Drama Obama”, Mr Trump demands drama as the key element of his doctrine. Whenever the discussion veers from him personally he does a midnight tweet to bring himself back into the center of the public discussion. The more outrageous, the better the drama.
  2. CARPE DIEM. (For those of you deprived of a parochial  school education, this means “Seize the Day”). No matter the original meaning of Horace, the term today refers to enjoying the present. Doing what feels good now. Latin scholars may disagree, but Horace is dead! The Trump Doctrine involves saying or doing anything in the short term without regard, or perhaps understanding, of long term consequences. Example: Tweet that Obama tapped my phone. It felt good to tweet that. No evidence.  Who cares. I just accused the former president of a felony? Without evidence? Who cares. See principle #1. Drama. Another example: Bomb Assad. Feels good. I look presidential. Looks good on TV (See principle # 1). Tomorrow? Who cares.
  3. CONSISTENTLY INCONSISTENT. No matter what the Trump Doctrine is today, the good news is that it will definitely change tomorrow. No matter what the firm position on any topic is today, we can be sure that the alternate or in some cases opposite position will be held tomorrow. Example #1: Obamacare will be repealed and replaced on day one. Easy. OK. Now on day 35. Congress will act.  I demand it. It will happen. OK, maybe we will do it later. Who knew healthcare could be hard?  Example # 2: The wall will be built by Mexico. OK. Not Mexico. OK. Maybe not a “wall”. Maybe just better border security (Like Hillary said?). I never said a “wall”. Who said a wall? Not me. Example # 3: Do not get involved in Syria. Never. OK. Maybe bomb an airfield. Why? I saw a picture on TV (See principle # 1). The Syrian people can have Assad. He is their problem. We must take Assad out of power. Example #4: Flynn is fantastic. Great American. Flynn who ? Who hired this stranger? Never met him. … We can be certain of one thing. No matter what Trump says or does today we can rest assured that tomorrow will bring a reversal. Or denial.
  4. FAMILY BUSINESS BEFORE PLEASURE, ON WEEKDAYS. The Trump Doctrine puts the family business interests at the dead center of any decision making. He has never divested himself of his multiple business interests. Nor has his family. He funnels tax dollars his Mar Lago Resort and Trump Towers as he now has 3 residences.  (Can you even IMAGINE the outcry had No Drama Obama done anything close to this?)  His daughter and son-in-law, while running the Trump empire, are also now involved in public policy decisions. To those who claim they are not qualified by intellect or experience to be at the locus of political power I answer thus: They have the same qualifications as Mr Trump himself. They have no formal education in government, the hard sciences or the social sciences. They are deeply involved in selling stuff to unwitting buyers. They have never exhibited normal human curiosity about life outside the realm of accumulating wealth. (I use the term “accumulating wealth” so as not to insult the millions of honest Americans who actually work  to “make money”). And they have achieved their great wealth the old-fashioned way… by inheritance. All three, Donald and his two offspring or offspring-in-law,  are cut from the same Chinese imported silk. The fact that Donald golfs every weekend does not bother me.  But he did say he would not golf if elected president (See Principle #2).

So, there we have my suggestion as to  the principles of the Trump Doctrine.

Drama. Carpe Diem. Consistently Inconsistent. Family Business Before Pleasure,  On Weekdays.

The warhawks, especially the chickenhawks, got all tingly in their nether regions this week when Trump bombed Assad. Oh Boy. Let’s go to war. Refer to the Trump  Doctrine.

The Obama haters got all tingly with the idea that they could take away health care from 24,000,000 working class Americans. Refer to the Trump Doctrine.

The Mexican haters were flushed with joy at the idea of the “Big Wall” and massive deportations. Refer to the Trump  Doctrine.

The Muslim haters were ecstatic that Mr Trump was going to ban those potential terrorists and their children from entering the US. Refer to the Trump  Doctrine.

So, don’t look for any well articulated formal policy from this man or his family. Look  to the Trump  Doctrine for answers.

 

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Filed under ACA, Economy, Foreign policy, Hillary, Politics, POTUS, Republicans, Trump, Trump University, twitter, United States, workers

The Great Health Insurance Lie

The ongoing debate about about health care continues. Is the ACA better than Trumpcare? Is Trumpcare better because it includes more free market choices? Is Obamacare better because it covers 24,000,000 more people? What about the deficit.

And so forth.

But there is one fact, one truth, one absolute “know” that all sides of the debate seem to accept at face value. If you can disabuse yourself of this “truth” the health care issue can be solved.  There is one “given” that no one  from Sanders to Clinton to Trump to Cruz or any of their associates seems to challenge. That given is the following fallacy

Companies provide health insurance to employees. The government supplies health insurance to employees. Health insurance costs “job creators” billions of dollars a year.

False. Absolutely false.

There is not now, never has been and never will be any company or school district or government that provides health insurance to the employee.  Every employee from the highest to the lowest paid. In every industry. In every business. In every time period. Every employee has always paid and will always pay their own health insurance costs. Period.

Health insurance costs are not taken out of profits. They are not taken out of investors’ dividends. They are taken out of the employee’s salary. Every time.

Anyone who has ever been involved in negotiating contracts should understand this. As should anyone who has an understanding of basic economic theory. Every employer , whether public or private, has  an amount  of money that it sets aside for the “cost of labor”. Part of that “cost of labor” is benefits. One of those costly benefits is health insurance.

Does anyone think, really, that health insurance is some “gift” from an employer? Really? Never. The cost of health insurance is simply deducted from the employee’s salary as part of the “cost of labor”. The employee takes a lower salary and pays for his own insurance.

Does anyone really think that a business negotiates  a contract and then, out of the goodness of its heart, just adds on health insurance? Really?

Once you understand that you, as an employee pay for your own insurance you realize how vile the CEOs of companies like Hobby Lobby truly are. Hobby Lobby employees pay for their own insurance, yet the Supreme Court has decreed that the CEO of Hobby Lobby can dictate the kind of coverage the employee has paid for. Ludicrous.

So, next time someone tells you that their employer is “providing health insurance” and so the employer should be able to dictate what coverage they can have. Set them straight. Tell them they pay for their own insurance. And will continue to do so. Even though their boss may dictate what kind of coverage they get.

Your employer “gives” you health insurance. The big fat heath insurance lie. And another reason why we should have a single payer option. After all, the workers are paying for health insurance, shouldn’t they decide what option they want?

 

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Filed under ACA, Congress, Cruz, economics, Economy, government, healthcare, Hobby Lobby, logic, Obamacare, Politics, Society, unions, United States, workers

Something Deeper

Let me start by clarifying. I am not a conspiracy nut.

Lee Harvey Oswald acted alone. Bigfoot does not exist. The “government” did not take down the Twin Towers on 9/11 as an “inside job”. Millions of illegals do not vote in US elections. There is no  secret cabal of Jewish bankers running the world. The UN is not trying to destroy freedom in America. Etc. Etc. Etc.

I am a fact guy. A pragmatist. Show me the evidence and I will consider your case. But evidence is a must.

Which brings me to the latest, ongoing attacks by Mr Trump on the free press. Over and over he has been slamming any news organization that does not pay him proper homage as “the enemy of the people”. All news that is not completely positive is FAKE news.

Why keep harping on FAKE news? Why continue to try to undermine faith in such news organizations as the New York Times, Washington Post, Politico, The LA Times and others? News organizations that once in awhile make mistakes  but have spent years cultivating processes that lead to accurate reporting. News organizations that vet sources and double check  facts before putting ink to paper.

Mr. Trump is a stupid man. Yes. He is. He knows virtually nothing except how to put together real estate deals. How to manipulate  (or rather HIRE accountants to  manipulate) the tax code. He is singularly UNCURIOUS about the world. He has demonstrated no understanding of basic science, literature, history, sociology or any other field. Since he was given $13,000,000 by his father as a young man his existence has been one of self-promotion. Period.

But, Mr Trump is also a clever man. A con man. A manipulator of his supporters. A cult figure. He sees himself as larger than life. And so do the Trumpsters and Trumpettes who follow him. He knows how to use the media for free publicity, as he showed us in his  campaign for president. He hates any media that does not adore him. And he encourages his followers to do  the same.

But he WON the election in the electoral college. He is the president of the United States. So, why continue to attack the press? He won. He beat them, at least in his way of thinking.

As I said, I am not a conspiracy nut. But there is something deeper going on here.

The “leaks”, which every president hates, have gotten to Trump. He even had Sean Spicer take away the phones of his (Spicer’s) staff and had them checked for possible news leaks. Trump calls the leaks FAKE news, yet he seems to be giving credence to the validity of the information. Otherwise, why try to find the source?  If these negative reports are really “made up”, as he says, then why suspect his own inner circle?

I suspect something deeper is going on.  There are skeletons, probably Russian ones, in Mr Trump’s closet. There are connections, financial  and political, with Russian oligarchs. Perhaps with Putin himself. Connections that may be illegal or at least very damaging .

By trying to destroy the public confidence in the press, Mr Trump is staging a Pearl Harbor attack. Destroy the credibility of the press. then, when the stories come out about his corruption people may say it is simply the press out to “get him”. Mr Trump likes to control the agenda and he seeks to marginalize legitimate investigative journalism by preemptive strike. The press LIES. All the time. Don’t believe them.

Something is deeper here. Not just the rantings of our first  (and god help us, our LAST) twitter president. He is the master of distraction. He has called the New York  Times and Washington Post losers and his enemy.They did not  crumble.  When distraction  does not work he goes for destruction. Exactly the same way he did business in his real estate shenanigans.

There is something deeper here. And the press will discover it. Sooner or later. After all, Pearl Harbor was not a total defeat, it was a setback. Eventually the US won the war. The free press will not  be governed or destroyed by Mr Trump, no matter how hard he tries. But he is trying to set the stage for the inevitable investigations into his financial and political  chicanery. He hope to destroy the confidence of the citizenry in the free press. In the end, they will find him out. And publish.

The is something deeper here. Wait for it.  It will happen.

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Trump’s Moonies

When  I was in college from 1968-72 there was a guy I knew who was incredibly smart. Probably the most intelligent person I ever met, aside, of course, from yours truly. I forgot his name so let’s call  him Rex.

Rex had a scientific, analytical mind. A good sense of humor. An all around swell fellow.  He liked to talk and debate and discuss. Issues. Not the latest American idol.  (Thank god we had no  American idols back then). No,  he liked to discuss politics and history and philosophy.And he was always open to see things in a new way. If you could show him some evidence.

Then, something changed. One day he showed up with his head shaven.  And in robes. He has joined the Unification Church of Sun Myung Moon. He was a “Moonie”. He walked around and collected money from people. Like most churches. And like most churches,  the bulk of the money collected found a route to the top. No trickle down economics in this group.

But Rex was no longer Rex. He could not articulate any views other than the approved teachings of the Great Reverend, the second coming of Christ.He could spout the exact dogmas and doctrines of his church, but could not defend any of them using logic or evidence.  He never even tried. It was not necessary. He had found a coherent system of beliefs and no external evidence that challenged that system was going to be heard. He never argued.  He never explained. He simply told us the truth. And asked for money.

Which brings me to Trump’s Moonies.

They have a leader who can do no wrong. Even though factchecks show him to be wrong 65% of the time, it matters not.  The Trump Moonies have closed ears and closed minds. If he says there was a terror attack in Sweden, it must be true. If he says  his inauguration attendance was the greatest ever, any photographic evidence to the contrary is ignored. If he says that thousands of Muslims in New Jersey were cheering the downfall of the WTC on 9/11. Then it happened.   If he says the borders are porous, even though under President Obama the USA deported more people than ever before, then the borders are porous. The facts are not important. He is correct. That is all a Moonie needs to know.

The Trump Moonies are blind to any evidence or facts that contradict their leader. They do not argue. They do not demonstrate with evidence. They select a false reality. They create an alternate set of “facts”. They are beyond evidence. Facts are a fungible commodity. Facts do not exist as a thing apart. Facts, in fact, do not exist at all. All news is “fake news”.  Any story that does not fit the religion is a lie. Period. The earth IS flat.

That is why it is a fool’s errand to wait for Trump’s Moonies to “come around”. It is inconceivable that they will abandon their religious dogma in the face of facts or evidence. No matter how badly Trump performs or how he lies or makes a mess of the nation, the Moonies will be blind.

Like my friend Rex they simply will not look. They choose willful ignorance and blind obedience. They have a religion which provides for them a clear vision of the world. Blacks are thugs. Immigrants are rapists. Refugees are terrorists. Welfare is wrong. Abortion is murder. Liberals are evil. Taxes are bad. Climate change is an Al Gore plot. The list goes on. It cannot be debated. It cannot even be considered. There is only one true religion, and they have found it in Trumpism. There is only one savior.

So, don’t expect any changes or compromises. Don’t expect anything other than what you have seen. The magnificent delusion of Trumpism. Now, all join hands and repeat after me, five times a day, on your knees facing Trump Towers: There is no  god but Trump, and Bannon is the messenger of Trump.

 

(I have argued in the past that the Tea Party Republicans are not a political entity, but are in fact a fundamentalist religion. A post from 3 years ago: The Most Holy Church of the Republican Party  ).

 

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The Leopard’s Spots

“Can the Ethiopian change his skin, or the leopard his spots?…”  Jeremiah 13:23

Donald Trump received the votes of 46% of the American people.

Despite his crudeness, vulgarity, arrogance, xenophobic comments and outright lying. So, Donald Trump was approved by millions and millions of mainstream Republicans. The voter that does the lockstep, into the voter booth, pull the lever Republican. There are, undoubtedly, equal numbers of Democratic voters who do the same for any Democratic candidate.

But I have to  think that not all Trump voters are racists and haters . (Even though my essay of November 11 says otherwise.    https://josephurban.wordpress.com/2016/11/11/to-trump-voters/)

I have to think that many Republicans thought that the Donald Trump Show was just a show. A way to attract attention and get votes. A way to win using any tactic available. Like winning a real estate deal. Or cleverly avoiding paying taxes. Or deflating footballs.

And perhaps these folks thought that once Trump was sworn in as POTUS he would take on a different demeanor. He would naturally come to understand the importance of being president. Of acting presidential. Of bringing people together.

He would ignore the petty insults. Stop tweeting his every thought. Ask professionals to assist in the decision making. In short, once he was elected he would become an adult. Not go off the deep end. Not see every word of opposition as an attack to be repelled and all opponents to be smashed.

In short, perhaps they thought the office would impact the man.

But the leopard, we have seen over the first 3 weeks, does not change his spots. Trump is who he always has been and will continue to be. Abrasive. Ignorant. Crude. Combatative. Thin-skinned. A child.

An adolescent mind in a septuagenarian body. A CEO who is used to everyone kowtowing and telling him how wonderful he is. And if no one else does, Mr Trump will tell you himself. He is every bit as incompetent as we thought.

He writes executive orders without going through the process of determining their legality. He gives no thought to the ramifications of his actions.

If a judge disagrees with him he attacks the judge. Just as he attacked an American judge of Hispanic descent as a “Mexican” because he did not rule in Donald’s  favor. Another court says that, perhaps, the Immigration EO is not Constitutional.  He attacks a judge as a “so-called judge”, impugning the judiciary. Attacking the third, equal branch of the government.

He calls a US senator a liar for quoting  Judge Gorsuch and his concerns about Trump’s attacks on the judicial branch.  Despite the fact that the spokesman for Judge  Gorsuch verified  that the senator was correct. And another GOP senator, Sasser, reiterated the Judge’s concerns, further undermining the veracity of Trump.

Trump demeans the military service of Blumenthal and , just yesterday, of John McCain. Again. Mocking them out, one for serving in the military and not going to Vietnam, the other for being a pilot in a war that the US lost. Losers both. Of course, Trump himself COULD have gone to Vietnam but was given 5 deferments.

Trump makes a public statement that crime is at a 47 year high. Not even close. Does not matter. He simply repeats lies because he wants to. The data (from the FBI) shows that the violent crime rate since the time of Reagan has dropped 40% . To paraphrase Donald, that is a “very big deal, big number, lots of numbers”. Does not matter, Mr Trump says crime is at a 47 year high.

Trump makes a speech about the vilest incarceration and extermination of human beings in the 20th century. The Holocaust. He mentions gays and Gypsies and other who were caught up in the “Make Germany Great Again” hysteria of the Third Reich. But he fails to mention Jews. Is he a Holocaust “denier”, anti-Semitic or just stupid?

Of course, at this point, we have become immune. The man lies so regularly and so pointlessly that we can just assume that 1/3 of what he says is false. I expect that Mr Trump thinks that 65% of the time telling the truth is considered a  passing grade.

He uses the powers of the presidency to help his kids and wife hawk their clothes and jewelry. Openly threatening any company or group that “insults” his flock. He is right at home in this role. Huckster,  Bully. Conman.

What is fast becoming clear is what those of us in the majority have been saying all along. The man is unqualified to be president. He is not INTERESTED in doing the hard work of the presidency.

A president must have a grasp on reality. He must be a quick study or at least attempt to study. He must have more than a National Enquirer  (a rag that Trump has quoted as a source ) understanding of the world. He must be open to new ideas and open to science. It is HARD WORK. That is why presidents go grey.

Trump is not going to change. He wanted to WIN an election. He never has shown any inclination to serve the people. Never any curiosity, however minuscule, about the real world. He is a conman who is not going to change now. He doesn’t want to put in the effort. He shies away from anything close to hard work or intellectual activity.

Perhaps that is why Steve Bannon seems to be the one really in charge.

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Lugenpresse…Testing the Waters

At a Trump campaign rally in Ohio two of the Trump supporters called out to the journalist filming that rally that he was “lugenpresse”.  A term used by the Nazis to condemn any newspaper or journalist that did not toe the party line . Especially newspapers owned by Jews. The epithet aimed at any newspaper that criticized the Nazi Party. Or failed to bow down to the Fuhrer. “Lying press”.

On Sunday Kellyanne Conway did her weekly news “alternative fact” show, this time in an interview with Chris Wallace.  While not using the term, she echoed the sentiments of the “lugenpresse” when she wondered aloud why many members of the press had not been fired.  Why? For their coverage of Donald Trump.

She wondered why these members of the press were not dismissed by their bosses. Why they continued to appear on talk shows and give their opinions. Why are they not being silenced?

One of the first things the Nazis did when they gained control of Germany was to intimidate and suppress the free press. I say “gained control” because the Nazis never won the popular vote in a free election. They were always a minority party. Hitler was able to get only 32% of the vote for president in the last free election in Germany, with massive support from the rural  areas.

Once the Nazis did gain power they were quick to use it to suppress any opposition. Key to that was the free press. Communist newspapers. Jewish-owned newspapers. Independent newspapers were quickly brought under the control of the new regime. By intimidation.

The “lugenpresse” were any newspapers or journalists who dared contradict the Nazi facts. The Nazi “alternative facts”. Control of the media was seen as crucial to ultimate control of the nation.The opposition, no  matter how slight, must be silenced. Real news must not be reported. Facts must not be reported. An “alternative ” reality must be established with Goebbels deciding what is acceptable. The idea that the press must be the mouthpiece of the government  was the goal. And , for the most part, it was.

Kellyanne Conway and Steve Bannon are testing the waters. Attacking the press. Calling for the removal of those who dare criticize. Calling for a ban on people of the Muslim faith based on an idea that Muslims are all terrorists and all alike. Mr Trump calling into question the actual photographic evidence of the crowd size at his inauguration.  An attempt to bully the leader of Mexico into paying for a wall that Trump wants to build.  The first “press conference” with Sean Spicer, Mr Trump’s spokesman, was an attack on the press. And the attack ended with Spicer walking off refusing to answer questions. The message was clear. We will control the press. We cannot allow any contradictions or criticisms.

An all out attack on the facts, evidence and common sense. An “alternative” reality compete with “alternative  facts”

They are testing the waters to see how far they can go. Can they bully the press into silence? Can they bully our neighbor into compliance? Can they bully the American people into subservience? Can they bully the GOP controlled Congress into silence?

I think not. (Well, maybe they CAN bully Congress). The USA in 2017 is not Germany in 1933. The US citizens in 2017 are not going to sit back while Muslims are treated harshly and Mexicans are stereotyped and the free press is under attack. And the press is not going to roll over to an alternative reality.

The Trump folks are testing the waters to see how far they can go. Those waters will get hot very quickly.

(Note: The most thorough set of books on the Nazi rise to power is the trilogy by Richard J Evans. The Coming of the Third Reich, The Third Reich in Power and The Third Reich at War)

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Women’s March For Slavery

Today is the 44th annual Women’s March For Slavery as tens of thousands of women and men will descend on Washington, DC.

These marchers, who have Vice President Mike Pence as their keynote speaker, will once again demand the imposition of slavery on every woman of childbearing age. They are demanding that Big Government take control of women’s bodies. They are marching for the ideal that Big Government , not women, should control what a woman can and cannot do with her own body.

Keep on mind that Mike Pence, the main speaker,  was very clear that he opposes the ACA, also called Obamacare. Like most opponents of the ACA he does not want the government getting between a patient and his doctor.He thinks Big Government is bad , especially when it comes to interfering with a man and his doctor. But that does not apply to women.

Women, on the other hand, NEED Big Government to tell them what to do with their bodies. That is one area where Big Government knows best.

Those who march today support this idea. Women should not control their own bodies. Women and doctors should not be making medical decisions for women.  Women must NOT control their own bodies. Women do not have that right.

Which brings us to the March For Slavery.

People who do not control their own bodies are called “slaves”. Slaves do not control whether or not they have babies. The Master does. Slaves do not control whether or not they have access to birth control. Their Master does. Slaves do not control medical  decisions that may or may not lead to negative physical  or psychological consequences. The Master does. If the Master wants you to “breed”, you are a breeder.

Those who march today are holding signs that SHOULD say: We Support Slavery .  But they are too cowardly to do so.  Instead they hide behind the misnomer “Right to Life”.  In fact, it is “Right to Impose My Medieval Ideology” .

So, the anti-Big Government Mike Pence and others are publicly supporting keeping half of our population in virtual  slavery. They support Big Government deciding when and IF a woman  has baby. They support reducing every woman to the category of a brood mare. A slave.

There is no middle ground on this issue. Either half the population controls their own bodies or Big Government does. The March For Slavery mob thinks that Big Government should decide.

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Trump’s Alternative Reality Explained

I saw Kelly Conway, Trump’s spokesperson ,  explain that she has a right to “alternative facts” if the actual facts are not suited to her story. Hey, this is America. When the facts are liberal what other choice does she have?

But as I examine the myriad of demonstrably false claims of her boss I am left wondering if he is, in fact (or, more precisely, in “alternative fact”) correct and honest in his  statements . Can one man deliver so much misinformation? Does he really have the IQ to make up all the stuff he makes up? Or does he really believe it?

Which brings me to Star Trek.

Anyone who has ever watched Star Trek or the many spin offs of Star Trek understands that we are not alone.  Spock (Mr, not Dr), would be the first to tell us that in addition to our own universe there are millions of parallel universes which also exist.  In space. And in time.

For those of you who  are ignorant of the realities of the hard science of fictional characters and preposterous ideas on TV shows, let me try to explain. Perhaps your puny human brains will be able to comprehend.

In the space-time continuum there are many points of overlap. As time and space bend (according to Einstein) there are points at which space and time meet and fold . Kind of like a bean burrito on a hot day in east LA.  It can get messy.

Where these folds occur there are sometimes breaks and openings or fissures in the space-time continuum. Again, according to Einstein (not Albert, but Juan Einstein who runs the taco stand on 112th Street), this is similar to what happens when the soft taco shell leaks. While the entire taco holds together, certain breaks in the tortilla allow beans, salsa, cheese and some other goo to leak through. This is nearly identical to  a fissure in the time-space continuum.

When that happens, in the universe or at a Mexican eatery, things get sloppy. Leakage occurs. Things spill over from one reality to another. It ain’t a pretty sight.

This explains Donald Trump. Every one of Donald Trump’s statements is factually correct and accurate. It is just that he (and many of the folks who followed him through the wormhole) are living in a parallel universe. They have seeped into our reality like the sloppy drippings of a three day old soft shell burrito.

In Universe Trump  the size of a crowd on a photo is inversely proportional to the actual number of people there. For example, in Universe Trump I have over 6 billion followers of my blog, rather than being limited to my wife and the neighbor’s cat. (Well, the cat skips a lot of them).

In Universe Trump millions of people vote illegally whereas in our universe, let’s call it the Real Universe, there is no voter fraud of any consequence. None. Zippo.

In Universe Trump Mexican people are lined up at the 2,000 mile border 8 deep while Obama border agents hand them $1000 bills and pull them over to our side. In the Real Universe, of course, deportations and border security are at an all-time high.

In Universe Trump there is chaos everywhere. Carnage in the streets.  Well, any streets that have not been destroyed by liberal policies.Carnage in our schools where kids learn nothing. Absolutely nothing.  (I guess in Trump’s Universe knowing nothing is a sign of an educated person). Carnage, carnage everywhere. What a mess.In the Real  Universe there are problems, but no bodies piled up by the thousands (except at anti-Trump rallies).

In Universe Trump our military is a bunch of worthless wimps, our factories have all closed and the planet is getting colder by the minute. Of course, in the Real Universe none of this is true.

So, to understand Trump you have to realize that somewhere in the space-time continuum he fell through a hole. (Or maybe pushed by someone on the other side. Barron? Ivanka? Melania?)There is a place in space where our universes meet, the Real one and the Trump one. Somewhere there is that fissure in the burrito.

How do we find it ? It would have be a place devoid of integrity. A place where conmen and the mob feel at home. A place where all hope, dignity and honesty  goes to die. Kind of like New Jersey but not quite as despicable.

So, what do we do? The Trump Universe has taken power in the Real Universe.Can we go  back in time and seal the fissure? Can the Real Universe overcome the Trump Universe and bring back Real Universe sanity. Can we build a time machine, maybe with illegal labor? Or will the Donald return to his own universe voluntarily, perhaps seeking a younger eastern European bride?

The solution is obvious. We need a transporter. (Do I have to explain? You know , it dissolves you and then sets you down someplace else). A transporter beam that we can use to beam back Trump to the universe from which he came. Transport him right through the fissure in the burrito.

Unless it is already too late.  By now those who he left behind may be worried that he will return. I expect they are already building  a wall.

 

 

 

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Trump’s Inaugural Address

Trump’s inaugural address was interesting. While some people believe that it lost something in the translation from the Cyrillic, I can’t say. Like most Americans, my foreign language abilities are pitiful.  Why should I learn a bunch of foreign languages when it is much easier for the other 6 billion folks on Earth to just learn English? But I digress.

While some found Trump’s speech to be hostile I am willing to approach it as Fox Entertainment, er, News would. I say ignore most of it and focus on what you agree with. Or better yet, twist it to express what you want it to express.

For example. From Trump’s speech:

“…At the center of this movement is a crucial conviction, that a nation exists to serve its citizens. Americans want great schools for their children, safe neighborhoods for their families, and good jobs for themselves. These are just and reasonable demands of righteous people and a righteous public…”

Trump is taking the liberal position that it is the proper role of the government to serve the citizens! YES. A proper function of government. Serve the people. Chairman Mao could not have said it better.

The government must provide good schools for ALL. No. Not good. GREAT schools. Which means more funding for public schools to help make them great. Innovation.Higher wages to attract the BEST people to the profession. Donald knows that to get the BEST people you need to pay them well. Donald, I agree.

Safe neighborhoods. AMEN. Let’s increase police protection, especially in poor urban areas. Hire more cops. Hire more minority cops who can relate better to our highly segregated cities. Maybe return to police on the beat. Demand that police PROTECT people and not arrest them without  cause. And protect little boys who play with toy guns by not shooting them on sight. (As Trump also stated: This carnage stops right here and right now) Donald, I am with you!

The government must supply good jobs. YES. We have so much that needs to be done. An FDR style public works program is what we need. Build up the economy. Put people to work. Not next year. Not in five years.  But immediately with a massive public works program. I am  with you, Donald! Now, can you get the Congress to go along?

So far, Donald and I see eye to eye on these liberal solutions to the problems caused by 30 years of conservative Congress rule. AMEN.

More from Donald:

“….Every decision on trade, on taxes, on immigration, on foreign affairs will be made to benefit American workers and American families. We must protect our borders from the ravages of other countries making our products, stealing our companies and destroying our jobs….”

Finally. A POTUS who understands that low, non-union wages have driven down the middle class and created a class of working poor. He understands that a tax system that gives breaks to millionaires (some haven’t paid taxes in 20 years!)while adding to the tax burden of the working poor is wrong. He will  roll back the Reagan and Bush tax cuts for millionaires and multinational corporations that have robbed America of so much revenue. And transferred the tax burden to the working poor. He will go back to the days when unions were strong and working families could enjoy the good life. He will immediately implement a living wage ! Go, Donald, go! Support the workers! Workers of the World , Unite !

And he will punish companies that buy cheap Chinese steel that undercuts American made steel. Companies like Trump International  Hotel  in Las Vegas. A company that rejected steel from Ohio, Michigan,  Pennsylvania and Wisconsin mills in favor of cheaper Chinese steel. He will  punish the Trump Signature Clothing Collection.  Even though companies like Brooks Brothers use 85% American made clothing, the Trump Collection uses only Chinese fabric. Finally, we have a POTUS who will  stand up for the American worker and buy American made products.  (Sorry,  Walmart…you have to go…)!

One more section of the speech:

“…For many decades, we’ve enriched foreign industry at the expense of American industry; subsidized the armies of other countries, while allowing for the very sad depletion of our military. We’ve defended other nations’ borders while refusing to defend our own.

And spent trillions and trillions of dollars overseas while America’s infrastructure has fallen into disrepair and decay. We’ve made other countries rich, while the wealth, strength and confidence of our country has dissipated over the horizon….”

Go, Donald , go!  The US spends trillions and trillions of dollars overseas and almost NOTHING at home. Our military has been starved of resources. Time to turn it around.

For example, in the last year for which data is available the US spent 50 trillion dollars on foreign aid. No. Wait. That is 50 BILLION dollars on foreign aid. OK. So maybe we don’t spend trillions and trillions. Most of it goes to either humanitarian or economic aid.

According to a poll done by the Kaiser Family Foundation, Americans think that foreign aid consumes about 26% of the US budget. Amen. That is what Americans THINK. Except …well…the fact is that foreign aid consumes about 1 % of the total budget. ONE per cent.

So. Maybe foreign aid isn’t really draining the US economy after all. Maybe one percent is not a big drain.  But, Donald is right that we are starving our military. In 2015 military spending in the US was ONLY $600,000,000,000 (That’s $600 billion). That was about 54% of all discretionary spending. (Spending on education was about one-tenth of that.)

MASS STARVATION in the ranks! How can the US stay safe when the rest of the world is outspending us?  Oops. Well. Er. The total US spending on the military equaled the spending of the next 7 highest spending nations…combined….China, Saudi Arabia, Russia, United Kingdom, India, France and Japan. How do we expect our military to survive when we only outspend the next highest spender, China, by a ratio of almost 3:1?

OK. So maybe Donald fibbed a little on the last point. But you can’t expect him to fact check ever inaugural address!

So. Take heart. Donald is going to spend trillions on infrastructure. Return us to union wages. Make safe streets for black people. And he will send all those little black boys and girls   (without toy guns) to the best schools ever.

It’s all there. Just read between the lines.

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From the Sublime to the Ridiculous

“From the sublime to the ridiculous is but a step”…Ulysses (James Joyce), 1922

It is a saying that has roots in the 18th century.

What does it mean?

Sublime: of such excellence, grandeur, or beauty as to inspire great admiration or awe.

Ridiculous: deserving or inviting derision or mockery; absurd.

We are at a point where one of the brightest, most thoughtful and classiest presidents is leaving office. He considers decisions. He looks at all sides of an issue. He compromises. He puts the needs of the less fortunate above his own financial state. He will have a longstanding legacy  and will go down in US history as one of the great ones. Washington, Lincoln, FDR, Obama.

We are at a point where one of the least informed, thoughtless presidents is about to take power.  He tweets like a schoolgirl. He is thin skinned and sees every disagreement as a challenge to his manhood. He mocks the disabled. He puts his own wealth and family business interests ahead of anything else. He will go down in US history as one of the great catastrophes of democracy. Buchanan, Harding, Andrew Johnson, Trump.

It is not the end of the world. As President Obama has said recently:

“The only thing that is the end of the world…is the end of the world.”

But this ridiculous man. This boy-clown. This tweeter will dominate the news for the next 4 years. He will be a source of entertainment. A source of sadness. A major step backward.

But eventually the “ridiculous” will end. Hang in there. The tide of history moves forward.

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The Adolescent President?

Watching Donald Trump tweet constantly about every moment of his life is disturbing to adults. Like a teenage boy or girl he seems to constantly need to place himself at center stage. Me. Me Me.

Every minor criticism or inconvenience becomes the topic of a Trump tweet. Like a middle school girl who has to keep tabs on her “boyfriend” and tweets about every real or imagined liaison or slight.  Every moment of every day is either an adventure or an insult which must be responded to.

Did you see that Tommy was dancing with Pam? Wait till I tell Margie that Bobbie was holding hands with Billy. Why didn’t Jimmy bring me a soda?  Sean likes me more than he likes Jenifer because Barb told me so!

So, I ask myself: Did the American electoral college just put an adolescent into the Oval office? There is a qualification that the POTUS must be at least 35 years old, but that refers only to chronological, not mental age.

I was wrong. Looking up the characteristics of adolescent thinking it becomes clear that Donald Trump does NOT fit the profile.

From the WebMD site discussing adolescents.

“…Early adolescents gradually become more sophisticated in their thinking. Adolescents are also starting to recognize that issues are complex and that information can be interpreted in different ways. They learn flexibility, complex reasoning, inductive and deductive reasoning, sensitivity toward others, and problem solving. The ability to see other points of view sometimes can be unsettling for adolescents who may then question issues that they accepted at face value in the past…”

http://www.webmd.com/children/tc/how-adolescent-thinking-develops-topic-overview

Sophisticated thinking? Nope

Understanding the complexity of issues? Build a wall!

Complex reasoning? I am smarter than the generals.

Questioning issues they have accepted in the past? Obama born in Kenya.

No. Donald Trump, the next president of the USA, does not possess adolescent thinking processes. Not yet, anyway. So, how do we categorize his mental age?

Piaget, Elkind and other child psychologists seem to have a better grasp of Trump’s mental development. Around the age of 6-8 children enter a more sophisticated stage of thinking. The pre-adolescent period lasts until the child achieves the mental abilities outlined in the WebMD site noted above.

According to child psychologists…

“…Although concrete operations liberate the child from preoperational egocentrism, the child nonetheless falls prey to a form of egocentrism all its own In middle childhood, children fail to differentiate the products of their cognition— their convictions and claims about the world—from empirical reality. It is almost as if children believe that their perspective has a certain felt necessity which renders alternative perspectives nonsense or contrary evidence inadmissible. It is not until the emergence of the final stage of cognitive development—formal operations—that this form of egocentrism is surmounted…”

http://www.education.com/reference/article/egocentrism/

Egocentrism?

Denial of empirical reality?

Contrary evidence inadmissible?

So, Donald Trump does not show the typical characteristics of an adolescent boy or girl, as I had previously thought. I was wrong. Donald , instead, shows the cognitive development of a child of 8 years of age. We can only hope that his intellectual development is rapid, although at the chronological  age of 70 that is not likely.

So, we can all relax as an eight year brain bounces around a 70 year old skull while tweeting at 3 AM in the White House.

“What a pretty red button. I wonder what that one does?…..

 

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Donnie’s Thank You Notes

(Special guest article by Consuela von Hauftmann, Donald Trump’s longtime nanny)

My little Donnie has always had trouble thanking people for their help. He simply believes he gets what he deserves by right. Divine Right.  I have TRIED to get him to write thank  you notes, but it is impossible to get him off Twitter. So, as usual, I will send the thank you notes for him. He is just too busy ! So, here goes. This year’s thank you notes to those who made him president of the USA.

To: Rupert Murdoch, Fox Entertainment

Rupey. Thank you so much. For starting an entertainment network devoted 24/7 to shouting out that government is bad. The constant “liberals are evil”, “government is bad”, “facts are silly” message has taken root. Because of you millions of Americans no longer think for themselves and no longer even try to evaluate information. Thank you so much for helping make facts and evidence irrelevant in the political  process. Without you my little Donnie would never have had any shot at the nomination.

To: Fred “Daddy”  Trump

Although you are no longer with us and Donnie never thanked you I know that you are the one who made him what he is. Thank you for the $15,000,000 “loan” that Donnie never paid back. With that tiny bit of seed money Donnie built a great brand.  He showed others what they could do with just a small bit of help! And your insider contacts with NY Mayors Carey and Koch allowed Donnie to get special treatment from the city that allowed him fantastic tax breaks and not too much “oversight” when he used your money to develop “his” properties. Your financial support also helped the local government “ignore” Donnie’s connections with the mob “fixer” Roy Cohn. It takes a village to build a real estate development. Although Donnie would never thank you, I do.

To: The 5 activist members of the Supreme Court

It only took 5 of you, but you got the job done. Thanks so much for 2 decisions. Even though you are highly principled and believe strongly that the SCOTUS should not “make the law” by overturning Congress, at least in two cases you put aside that principle to”make the law”. Kudos and thanks.

In the Citizens United case you overturned the law and allowed all kinds of money to influence US elections by coming in through the back door. Now we have PACs and 501(c)4 organizations which can raise money anonymously and spend it in nasty attack ads which need have no basis in fact. And the best part? No one needs to take responsibility. As a result at least $17,000,000 was spent by foreign held companies to elect the POTUS in 2016. (Well,  that was the REPORTED amount…who really knows). And millions more were raised anonymously right here in the US by either citizens or foreigners. All legal.  You have made US elections a truly international contest where companies and various  leaders from all  over the world can now help elect a US president.

In the Shelby County v Holder case you generously overturned the Voting Rights Act, another law passed by Congress. This law for years has made sure that voters in selected states were protected from Jim Crow style voter suppression. Because of  your judicial  activism you have allowed many states to immediately reimpose Jim Crow style voter restrictions, aimed specifically at voters likely to vote for Democrats.Within hours of announcing your decision some states imposed new voting restrictions. Thanks for your judicial activism! You helped suppress the Democratic vote.

To: The Republican “moderates”

Republican rank and file voters gave my Donnie less than 45% of the vote in the primaries. Why? Because they thought he was crude, vulgar, crass, ignorant, unqualified, a bully, a pussy grabber and an overall idiot. They thought he was uniquely unqualified to be the leader of the USA. But when push came to shove, you came through.

Millions of Republicans who call themselves “conservative” or “moderate” hobbled off to the polls and cast their voted for my Donnie. They did not let their judgement interfere with “party loyalty”. Even though the saner members of the GOP refused to accept Donnie, you came through and put him in the White House. You helped us make the White House WHITE again! Thank you.

To: Vladimir, Julian and the 9 Benghazi committees

Thank you all. By simply keeping the idea that “emails” are somehow “criminal” you accomplished what Donnie could never do. You were able to make a public servant who has devoted her life to children and good government seem like some evil, corrupt politician. By “leaking” innocuous emails and pretending the very idea of “leaking” implies criminal acts you were able to  destroy the reputation of a  woman who has been the most transparent candidate in history. You were able to convince many voters that there “must be something” wrong, even though no evidence supported that conclusion. Innuendo and gossip worked. Donnie could not have done it without you!

To: Jill Stein and the Green Party

In the end it was your help that put my Donnie in the White House.  While he will never admit it, he could not have done it without you! Thanks so much. Just as Ralph Nader and his 97,000 votes in Florida kept Al Gore out of the White House and put GW Bush in, so your votes did the same for Donnie.

By refusing to throw your support to the “lesser of two evils”, Hillary Clinton, you managed to give the election to my Donnie! Thank you for sticking to your guns and not supporting the liberal candidate. You certainly showed her who was boss! You demanded “purity” and you got it. My pure Donnie!

In Pennsylvania my Donnie won by 44,292 votes.  Thank you Jill for your vote total of 49, 941. If those liberals had voted for Hillary my Donnie would  have lost the state.  And in Wisconsin my Donnie won by only 22,871 votes. Thank you for siphoning off 30, 934 possible liberal votes and help give Donnie the state! Of course, I also thank you for your work in Michigan. Out of over 4,000,000 votes cast my Donnie won by just 10,704! Thank  you Jill for your  51,463 votes, more than enough to have turned the state to Hillary.

So, thanks to  the Green Party votes in Pennsylvania, Wisconsin and Michigan my Donnie will be president. Thank you for standing on your principles and refusing to vote for the liberal who was not “pure” enough.

To: Rudy and Chris

A special thank you. You stood by my Donnie. You supported him through it all. Rudy even got the help of the FBI involved at the last minute. Sorry that Donnie can’t come through on the jobs he promised you. You lose. No cabinet posts for you. That is just the way he is !

 

 

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A Modern Christmas Story

A Reblog of a Christmas Story

The Old Liberal

The line of ragged refugees trying to gain entry into the US winds around the corner. Men in robes and tattered clothes. Women wearing veils and hijabs. Little , wide -eyed children peering out from behind their mothers’ flowing dresses.

The Border Control agent barks .”Next”

A young bearded man, with wife and baby crouching behind, slowly approaches.

“Name”?

“Yusef”

The agent is filling in a form.

“Where are you coming from?”

“The Middle East. We have had to leave our home.”

Agent:” Why did you leave?”

Yusef: “They are killing us. The new government has taken our property and demands that we give up our homes and possessions. We fled from the violence. If we go back they will kill us. Don’t send us back”

Agent: “Do you have any documents?”

Yusef:”No. We had to flee quickly. We left everything behind except what we carry.”

Agent, writing : “How did you…

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Presidential Tweets Exposed

President-elect Donald Trump has been (unjustly in my mind) harshly criticized for some of his tweets on twitter. For example, while stumbling around looking for the potty at 3 AM he tweeted about some porn movie. I mean, who hasn’t done that? Then he tweeted that he won the popular vote when he actually lost the popular vote. But in fairness to him what is a couple million votes one way or another?  Within the margin of error.While some suggest that he tweets for every real  or imagined offense, like a 13 year old school girl, I object. Most 13 year old school girls have more self-control.

But Trump is not the only tweeting president in US history. In my research I learned that other presidents and famous Americans have also tweeted. I think  it was Benghazi investigation #22 or #23 that discovered a trove of past presidential tweets that had been deleted from the public record. I have put together a smattering of them just to show that The Donald is hardly alone in his twittering.

From the hidden Benghazi Committee archives.

GeorgieWashington: Hey Martha, you fat pig. Can’t find my ivory molars. Where are they? Wait.  Never mind. Found them in my mouth. #WoodenTeeth

TomJefferson: Sally loves it when I grab her pussy.  All my dark girls do.  I am the best master they ever had. #SlavePussyIsBest

AndyJackson: Send them Cherokee back from where they came.Bunch of rapists. Back to  Oklahoma where all them red  injuns belong. #TrailOfTears

JimmyPolk: What are those Mexicans doing on their…er..our land. Send in the troops. What’s theirs is ours. Manifestly. #DirtyLittleWar

JeffyDavis: Two week war. Those Yankees will be begging for peace. Easy victory. God on our side. No,  I won’t be going myself. #RebelLoser

BobbyLee: Heading to Gettysburg. Supposed to be nice this time of year. Need a break  from the war. # BackedTheWrongHorse

AbeLincoln: Won the war. Freed the slaves. Need a break. Two theater tickets. Can’t wait. #OpeningNight

GeorgieArmstrongCuster: Be home tomorrow. Need to wipe out a few hostiles. Only good Indian is a dead one. Have dinner waiting. #LittleBigHorn 

FrankieRoosevelt: Round them up. Put them in camps. Build a fence around them.Can’t trust a Jap. Or Jap kids. #SlantEyeCamps

LyndonBainesJohnson: Two week war. Those Viet Cong will be begging for peace. Easy victory. God on our side. No, I won’t be going myself. #GulfOfTonkin

JimmyCarter: Conserve energy. Stop buying from the Saudis. Go solar. The American people are willing to sacrifice. If I just explain it to them. # OneTermer

RonnieReagan: No taxes. No regulations. No welfare. No unions. No healthcare. And guess what, mommy.  The suckers love me. #GreedisGod

BillyClinton: Monica sweetie. Just keep this between me and you, ok. No need to upset Hillary.And have your dress cleaned, already. #HaveACigar

GeorgieWBush: Two week war. Those towelheads will be begging for peace. Easy victory. God on our side. No,  I won’t be going myself. #WhereAreThe WMDs?

BarryObama: The economy recovered. Unemployment down. Heath care expanded. Out of Iraq. Our policies worked. Hillary is a shoe in. What could go wrong? #MakeHimFail

So, if President #DonaldTrump  continues to tweet and twitter his way through the next four years keep in mind that he can explain his in depth policies in only 140 characters . If no one is listening.

Note: Have a tweet of your own to add? Use the comments.

 

 

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Trump’s Great Wall

Mr Trump was adamant. He was going to build a WALL. A concrete, brick solid WALL across the entire 1900 mile border with Mexico. His minions chanted : Build the Wall! Build the Wall!.

Of course, people with common sense said, “No”. The border crosses desert, mountain and river. Areas where building a wall would not only be prohibitively expensive, but impractical. And, we already have walls and fences covering much of the border where it is appropriate and feasible. Certainly extending some fencing and increasing border security was reasonable. But not a 1,900 mile solid wall.

Nevertheless, Mr Trump insisted that the border was porous. Rapists and criminals were streaming across the “open border”. Only his 20 or 40 or 90 foot high wall would stop the deluge of criminals pouring in from Mexico. Hillary Clinton, he said, wanted those borders “open” so all those rapists could easily force their way across the border. Of course, Clinton actually voted FOR the 700 mile border security fence in 2006, as did Obama. A sensible, bi-partisan approach to a real  problem. But we won’t let facts get in the way.

http://www.politico.com/blogs/2016-presidential-debate-fact-check/2016/10/did-clinton-once-want-to-build-a-wall-too-230026

And the $25,000,000,000 price tag for his wall? No problem. Mexico would simply pay for it. He would somehow force Mexico, one of the poorer nations in the world, to fund a massive wall that he wanted. And they would do it for free. According to his campaign website Mexico would be “forced” to pay at least $5-10,000,000,000 for the wall on day one of his administration. Trump assured us.

Then Mexican president Nieto said: “Nope. Not going to happen.” He met with Trump and told him point blank. Then, after Mr Trump was elected the Mexican foreign minister, Massieu, reiterated that Mexico would not give the US any money to build a wall.

One of Trump’s main supporters during the election, Brandon Judd is the head of the Border Patrol Union. He supported Trump and his wall. In an NPR interview on November 17, 2016 Mr Judd seemed to be hedging his “wall” bet. He claims he has been advising Mr. Trump about border issues.

Now, Mr Judd says, Trump did not really mean a “wall”, just a border security system. Like we have now, except expanded. (Kind of like Senators Obama and Clinton voted for when they were in the Senate.) Walls already exist, said Judd. But a wall all the way across the border …uh…nope..

“…JUDD: The wall is going to be absolutely effective in certain locations. We do not need a wall along the entire 2,000 miles of border. And what I really appreciate about President-elect Trump is he understands that he doesn’t know everything. And every single time that I’ve sat down and spoken with him, we’ve talked about a wall. We’ve talked about whether it needs to be the full 2,000 miles of the Southwest border or if we just need it in strategic locations. And he’s been willing to listen and that’s very refreshing….”

http://www.npr.org/2016/11/17/502402360/border-patrol-agents-union-confers-with-trump-on-securing-the-border

So, we don’t really need a wall after all.  Just enhanced security. Like Clinton voted for in 2006 in the Border Security Fence Act? That 700 mile fence in strategic locations that has helped reduce illegal immigration?

But Trump wants a brick and concrete and mortar wall, right?

Again, the Judd interview:

“…JUDD: Well, we do want walls in certain locations. We do want a very effective wall. We’re not talking about a brick-and-mortar wall. If you build just a brick-and-mortar wall, they’re going to come up and they’re going to break that wall down. And then it’s going to be very, very hard to patch that type wall. You have to build something that is going to be very difficult to defeat….”

So, we shall see. Will Trump really try to build a massive wall,  as his supporters wanted. Remember the “Build the Wall” chant ? Second only to the “Lock Her Up” chants at the Trump rallies?

Of course, Trump HAS built wall before. In Scotland. When he took revenge on the Scots who lived on the land of their ancestors next to his newly built “golf resort”. When these Scots publicly opposed this boondoggle Trump responded by building a wall across their land,  effectively blocking their view of the ocean they had enjoyed for years. And he sent them the bill for the wall.  They never paid. But he did successfully destroy their ocean view. He taught them a lesson.

And in the past Trump has headed many building projects. And failed to pay his contractors.

So, maybe that is his plan. He will hire contractors to build a wall and simply NOT PAY FOR IT !  Or not build a wall as he promised? Or do nothing but simply TWEET that he has accomplished something?   Meanwhile, we haven’t heard much lately about the Great Wall of Trump. Time will tell.

 

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Trump Wins Popular Vote !!!

It is now official.

Donald Trump has won not only the votes of the electoral college, but the popular vote as well.

I know this because the president-elect himself has tweeted it.

“In addition to winning the Electoral College in a landslide, I won the popular vote if you deduct the millions of people who voted illegally.”

Over 3,000,000  illegal aliens voted for  Hillary Clinton, giving her the 2,500,000 lead in popular vote totals with 500,000 voted to spare. It is simple math. All you do is subtract the 3,000,000 illegal votes and VOILA! Trump  wins the popular vote ! Any third grader can do  the math.

Despite the fact that there is no evidence. Anywhere. None. Zilch. No evidence that any illegals voted,  we know now that over 3,000,000 DID,  in fact,  vote.  But we don’t need evidence. Facts are not the issue. The issue is tweets. And we have tweets!

So now we know that  3,000,000 illegals voted and we know exactly who they voted for! Hillary. Hillary lost.. A loser.  Trump is a winner. BIG TIME !

So, we can put to rest any illusions that 2,500,000  more Americans supported Hillary Clinton than supported Donald Trump.  REAL Americans voted for Trump. Illegals voted for Hillary. The tweet is clear. The tweet is all we need.

We don’t need evidence, we have the tweet of the Donald. He won. People LOVED him.  He is the “bestest” president-elect ever president -elected. He tweets it, so it must be true.

Next tweet: How Donald won the Vietnam War.  I can’t wait !

 

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Trump Bait and Switch Part 4

“Lock her up! Lock her up”.

Donald Trump was clear and precise. Hillary Clinton was a criminal. She had so many crimes against the American people that it was unbelievable. Crooked Hillary. Lock her up.

He promised that when he was elected he would call for a special prosecutor to put her in the slammer.

Of course, she HAD been investigated over 9 times over the years. And more. And not a single Benghazi committee (run by her political enemies) or the FBI email investigations (run by her political enemy)  had found anything illegal. Nothing. Zero. Zilch.

(Side note : Trump himself had been found to have broken the law by not renting to minorities and been force to pay a fine. And just this week he as forced to pay $25,000,000 to the poor fools who had enrolled in his Trump University con. Actual court findings.Not to mention whether he was using illegal techniques to avoid paying taxes the rest of us have been paying for 20 years. He also funneled $25,000 to the Florida attorney general when his Trump U was being investigated for fraud. An investigation that disappeared soon after)

So, when the Donald was elected his  little minions were beside themselves with joy.  Chanting away “Lock Her Up”. The chants often led by the man Trump has appointed to  his inner circle. Even in the throes of victory, the viciousness came out .  On election night they shouted “Lock  Her Up”

https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/2016/live-updates/general-election/real-time-updates-on-the-2016-election-voting-and-race-results/as-trump-amasses-wins-his-supporters-chant-lock-her-up/

She would finally be brought to justice for all her heinous (yet unnamed) crimes over the years. No one was above the law. It was the cornerstone of his campaign. Crooked Hillary.  Lock her up.

Except. Oops.  Another bait and switch. Having gotten the Hillary haters to vote for him by his promises to put her behind bars for some imaginary wrongdoing, (The BAIT)  he has now decided he has more important things to do (The SWITCH).

His spokesperson, Kelly Conway, now says…well.. yeah..but. you see, even though he promised that during the campaign, now that the campaign is over he has …uh…changed his mind. A week later ?

http://www.cnn.com/2016/11/22/politics/conway-no-clinton-charges-donald-trump/

Personally I was hoping he would appoint a special  prosecutor. The problem was, if he had done so,  he himself could have been deposed by Clinton’s lawyers. And the last thing Trump wants is to be questioned about his own activities over the years.

So, sorry Trump fans. But you will  NOT get to see Hillary in the court. Looks like the conman has just given you your fourth wedgie. OUCH.

Bait and Switch number 4. I am sure there are more to  come..

(I welcome likes, positive and negative comments)

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