You Never Know

The idea that Trump or Cruz could be elected president is almost unimaginable to anyone with a…well…to anyone. They both have a long history of dishonesty and fabrication. So,  how could either of these two clearly incompetent men ever win that high office.

Well, as grandma used to say regarding just about anything . “You Never Know”.

After all. There are still people who…..

…are convinced that Barack Obama was born in Kenya. No amount of evidence  like a birth certificate, two Hawaiian newspaper notices or witnesses to his birth (I do believe his mother was there) will change their minds. Was he born in Kenya? You never know.    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Barack_Obama_citizenship_conspiracy_theories

…believe that the Affordable Care Act allows the government to establish death panels. These death panels will decide if and when to execute you or me. I should live so long. Have the death panelists earmarked anyone for execution yet? You never know.   https://josephurban.wordpress.com/2014/10/29/clarence-avoids-the-death-panels/

…insist that Sasquatch is real. They know he or she is real because they have seen the videos. And videos, we have learned, do not lie. And for further proof, there is an entire industry devoted to Sasquatch paraphernalia. They couldn’t sell Sasquatch stuff if it wasn’t real!  There is even a Sasquatch DNA site. God, I hope I’m related ! I could be. You never know.      http://www.sasquatchgenomeproject.org/index.html

…deny that the climate is changing. Or, if it is changing , then human activity has nothing to do with the overall increase in global temperatures. Some of the more astute deniers point out that it still snows sometimes, which thoroughly debunks any “global warming” claims. If it was cold today how can the earth be warming up? This entire global warming hoax could be a plot by Al Gore to make millions! (Remember him? The guy who received 500,000 more votes for POTUS than GW Bush?)  Or is it a plot by COMMUNISTS?  The commies are still hanging around. You never know.        http://www.commieblaster.com/climategate/

…insist that Bill Clinton is responsible for 9/11.  ….http://wonkette.com/595179/its-official-bill-clinton-did-911

…are certain that Hillary Clinton refused to send aid to the American ambassador in Benghazi.    http://www.frontpagemag.com/fpm/261442/hillarys-benghazi-stand-down-order-exposed-kenneth-r-timmerman

…have been abducted by aliens. No, not all the Mexican/alien rapists that Trump told us about. Real aliens. The UFO-type. Weird eyes. Pointy heads. Pushed in noses. NO, NOT Trey Gowdy. Real aliens. Trey Gowdy…hmmmmm?             https://josephurban.files.wordpress.com/2016/01/157bc-pinhead.jpeg

http://www.ufocasebook.com/alienabductions.html

…will believe whatever they want to believe.   http://www.theflatearthsociety.org/cms/index.php

So, can Cruz or Trump ever be elected president? As frightening as it is…You Never Know.

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Sideshow Sarah Screeches for Trump

It is just too easy to make fun of Sideshow Sarah. About as challenging as rolling a ball downhill. Just sit back and watch. It is inevitable. And predictable.

Still, it was enthralling  watching Sideshow make her endorsement of the other huckster in the political arena, the Donald. The used car salesman extraordinaire. The man who is the master of the vague generality and the specific vulgarity.

You can find the Palin “speech” on Youtube, along with Tina Fey and the SNL version, which is more coherent. I recommend sitting down and watching with a 4 year old who can interpret for you.

As I said, making fun of Sideshow is too easy. So  seriously. Some things to think about.

1. This woman has been pulling in money for her PAC (SarahPAC) to the tune of over 1 million bucks a year. Her PAC is a way for the faithful Tea Party conservatives to funnel their hard earned cash to conservative candidates.

In the last filing for her PAC it was discovered that about 4% of the money was actually given to candidates. 4%. The rest is spent on various fundraising activities for the PAC itself, consultants and some luxurious hotel and travel arrangements. (When was the last time YOU stayed in the Waldorf-Astoria in New York City?)

From my point of view I think this is great. After all, taking money from the gullible right wingers and NOT spending it to elect right wingers is ok in my book. OKEY-DOKEY. Hopey-changey. Not to mention the boost to the economy by the purchase of $700 blouses, somewhat successful facelifts and something called “speech writing”. Really. $48,000 for speech writing. Someone actually writes those words ahead of time. But, if it wastes right wing dollars, I am all for it.

http://www.slate.com/articles/news_and_politics/politics/2015/07/sarah_palin_s_pac_is_spending_more_on_hotels_and_travel_than_on_gop_candidates.html

2. This woman is stepping up to the plate and doing for Donald what she did for McCain. Ted Cruz must be jumping for joy. Well, maybe not jumping. Perhaps hopping. And not for “joy”. Let me try again: Ted Cruz must be standing on one leg and spewing less bile and invective than usual. After all, Sideshow Sarah has endorsed the last two POTUS candidates.  Ask President McCain. Ask President Romney.

3. And this one gets scarier all the time. WHAT IF? What if McCain had been elected by some fluke of the voting machines. And Sideshow Sarah had to take over the office of the presidency. What if she and her clan had become the “First Family” of the United States of America? Instead of two quiet young, well-mannered girls staying out of the limelight we would have Bristol and Track or whatever their names are? “Family values” on display.  Regular White House visits by the DC police department.

What if Sideshow Sarah was in charge of our nuclear arsenal? Or sat down with Putin to negotiate? What if? The more we see of her the scarier it gets.

So. She is back.  And not funny. An empty shell with a big PAC. The press will always cover her because that is what the press does. It covers “celebrities”. It covers disasters. It publicizes  the odd and crass rather than the normal and the classy. And the crasser, the better. An entertainer endorsing another entertainer. It looks like the Clown Car just got a new member. And if you think elections should be a serious event, it is not funny.

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Advice To My Black Son

Since today is Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Day I thought it would be appropriate to give some advice to my black son. Advice on how to live a long life in a hostile nation.

Problem is I don’t have a black son. Both my son and daughter are white. As is my wife. And we have a long history of ancestors who were also white. Quite a coincidence. Being white, there was never the necessity of having this little talk with him or her. But I digress.

To my black son or grandson. First, I will make some assumptions about you, most of which are not true.

You live in poverty (actually 73% of African Americans do not live in poverty, but the percentage IS higher for children and young adults)  http://kff.org/other/state-indicator/poverty-rate-by-raceethnicity/

Your parents do not own their own home (55% do not, but 45% do).    http://www.infoplease.com/ipa/A0883976.html

You will be  arrested for a violent crime this year . (about 1/2 of 1% of black youths will be arrested for a violent offense, so 99.5% of black youths will NOT be arrested for a violent crime)    http://www.ojjdp.gov/ojstatbb/crime/JAR_Display.asp?ID=qa05261

You are most likely a high school “drop out” . (The drop out rate for African American males is approximately 7%, so 93% are NOT drop outs)    http://nces.ed.gov/fastfacts/display.asp?id=16

Enough of statistics. And stereotypes. I want you to live a long and happy life. Keep in mind the following.

First of all you  have rights. The right to free speech. To drive. To assembly. To individuality. To be young. And to be stupid at times. To walk down the street. To carry a gun in some states. To use a cell phone.

My Rules for my black son. Listen carefully:

1. Take that last paragraph about your rights and forget it. Assume , instead, that you have no rights. Accept reality. Act like you have no rights. You will live longer.

2.If the police stop you in your car or walking be respectful. Don’t argue. Be polite. “Yes, officer. No,officer”. If you see the cops driving around in your neighborhood wave and smile.

3.Sew your pockets shut. So you cannot possibly reach inside them. Don’t carry a cell phone. Or comb. Or knife. Or anything.

4.Don’t be out after dark. If you are a friend’s house, call home and tell ma and pa that you are sleeping over. Do the same for your friends when they are visiting you at night. Don’t be out after dark.

5.Don’t go to places where you know drug dealers hang out. If drug dealers show up where you are hanging out, go home. Now.

6.If you are arrested for some reason say nothing. Nothing. If you are put in a cell do not talk to your cellmate. Be polite and ask for a lawyer. Say nothing.

7.Don’t wear bling. Don’t wear a hoodie. Don’t wear your cap backwards. Don’t argue with anyone about anything. Swallow your pride. Often. Regularly.

8.Act like you are a Jew in Nazi Germany. Pretend you are a foreigner with no rights.

Should you have to follow these rules? No. But in reality these rules will give you  a much better chance of making it to adulthood than the Bill of Rights. Or the Voting Rights Act. Or any other legal protections. Sorry, my black son, but that is reality.

As MLK, Jr hoped, someday you WILL be judged by the content of your character and not by the color of your skin. But January 18, 2016 in America is not yet that day.

 

 

 

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I’ve Seen Enough

Against my better judgment I watched the January 14 “debate” of the GOP candidates. We really should not call  it a “debate”. More like a rant. Or series of rants. The moderators did not seem to know how to ask a question and the candidates obliged by not answering any. Still, it was instructive.

I learned, for example, that I have a higher tolerance for pain than I thought I did.

I also learned how wrong we liberals can be. I thought by now that the nastiness of Cruz and the ignorance of Trump would have disqualified them in the eyes of GOP voters. Seems that those are the traits most admired. Go figure.

Anyway, I am taking this opportunity to present a summary of the last performance as I see it. The candidates, from left to right on the stage.

Kasich. He stood. He shook his head. He looked sad and defeated. What am I doing on stage with these clowns?  He tried to talk about his accomplishments and ideas. No one cared. He shrugged. He’s done and he knows it. Born 20 years too late.

Christie. Buffoonery personified. His message was an attempt to out-buffoon Trump. Can’t be done. So, he came off as a small (I know, I know) replica of the master. He tried to insult  Obama by suggesting he would “kick his  rear end out of the White House” in the next election. Well, I guess. If he ever does rise in the polls his corrupt practices in in New Jersey will doom him anyway. There are people STILL homeless from Hurricane Sandy.

Rubio. 13 year old on speed. Besides looking like he should be home doing his homework (“Time to turn off the lights, Marcky”) instead of standing behind the podium all Rubio did was go bat shit crazy over Obama. A man obsessed. Obama Bad. Obama Bad.  Obama Bad. He even crossed over into Trumpland with his statement that Obama STILL wants to take away all our guns. ALL of them. Maybe when his voice changes he will run again. 2032?

Trump. The Donald. Same old Donald. “We need to figure this out” “We need to hire good people” “We need to make America great again”. ..”We need to kill the bad guys…””My Muslim friends..” “My Chinese friends..” ” I love the Japanese…” With friends like Donald, who needs….? The master of the Bleeding Obvious. The Master of saying NOTHING while pretending to say everything. I don’t want an old man who still  hasn’t figured it out.  A 68 year old body and a 16 year old mind. Singularly uncurious about the rest of the world.  BUT. He is the front runner.

Cruz. Every time I hear this guy speak I feel the urge to take a hot shower. With a good scrub brush. And plenty of soap. LAVA. He just oozes used car salesman… and not the good kind. Cruz is cynical and clever. I can appreciate that. Not once has he answered a question. Every question is an unfair attack on him and his superiority. The NY Times reports a fact. He attacks the NY Times. His minions are thrilled. The entire world is either good or evil. No  room for honest disagreements. No shades of gray. And underneath it all, we know he knows better. Not an ounce of integrity. Scary guy.

Carson. Carson answers all questions. Just not the ones asked. He also answers the ones in his head. The ones no one else hears. He reminds me of an old lady rocking in the corner half asleep. They nudge her awake. ” The Jews did it”. “Go back to sleep grandma. We’ll wake you for supper.” Carson just keeps showing up. Evidently his tactic is just to  stay alive long enough. It works for grandma. We keep feeding her. With this group, it just might work. Have to give him a solid “C” for creative use of the English language. Stringing together unrelated words,  phrases  and ideas into an incoherent mess.

Jeb. Still here. Like Kasich on the opposite side of the room Jeb actually attempts to discuss issues and ideas. He has not yet caught on. You can see the anxiety on his face as he tries to engage the others and the Fox moderators in some meaningful dialogue. Kind of like trying to explain to a group of three year olds that they should not shove spaghetti up their noses. You know your words are falling on deaf ears but there is nothing else you can do.  So you keep trying. And trying. And trying.

Finally, the most pathetic moderators yet. No incisive questions. No follow up. No stopping the candidates and making them explain themselves. A train wreck.

It is fairly apparent now that one of these bozos is going to be the standard bearer for the GOP. We can only hope that when they are confronted with Hillary or Bernie they will be exposed for the doofuses they are. We can only hope. At times like these I wish I were a Christian. At least then I could pray.

 

 

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The New Old GOP

Just for fun I decided to check out the NY Times archives to see what was happening on the day I was born . The archives, called the “Times Machine” is supposed to have every newspaper ever published by the Times. Since I have a digital subscription to the NYT , I get it for free. Not sure if it is available to all.

I found the paper from my date of birth in 1950 and perused the stories. The USA had just recognized the Bao Dai government of Viet Nam while the Soviet Union was recognizing Ho Chi Minh. I guess we know how that played out.

J. Edgar Hoover, that good old cross dressing head of the FBI was asking Congress more more money for more agents to fight the 54,000 “card carrying” communists and millions of “fellow travelers”. He was received with open arms. We know how that played out.

Labor disputes in the coal industry. A strike on hold in the telephone industry.  (Remember when you simply had a black phone and didn’t need a law or economics degree to figure out the contracts?). The courts ruled that the NY City transit authority would  have to give back pay to workers, upon which the transit authority said they would have to raise fares.

Stuck deep in the paper, on page 18, above the half page Ballantine beer ad and next to the new Magnavox 16″ TV offer (a whopping $299.50 , a heck of a lot of money in those days when the average family income was $3,300) was an article titled:

RETREAT ON RIGHTS CHARGED TO GOP, Democratic Congress Leaders Assail 1950 Statement of Party Principles.

To summarize, the article told how the Dems had forced a civil rights agenda into their platform over the opposition of the Dixiecrats. (In a few years it would be the Southern Dems who would walk out of the Democratic party and form their own Dixiecrat Party and then subsequently join the GOP years later). This article related how the GOP, along with the southern Dems, were blocking a vote on  the Fair Employment Practices Commission (FEPC). This commission had been created by Executive Order 8802 by FDR and and supported by Truman.It simply stated that there can be no  discrimination in hiring in the defense industry or government based on race, color, creed or national origin. This order was expanded by Truman to include the military by Executive Order 9981.

In combination with the southern Dems the GOP in the Senate was allowing a filibuster so the law could never come up for a vote. They refused to support the north Dems in invoking cloture and shutting down the southern filibuster. Some suggested the GOP represented “liberty against socialism” although a number of northern GOPers supported civil rights  and were not happy about the position of the leadership. After all, the GOP platform SUPPORTED civil rights.

What stuck me the most, however , about this article on the day I was born were the words of Minnesota Senator Hubert H. Humphrey. He stated that the Republican position was a retreat from their own party platform which supported civil  rights.

The article further states:

“The Senator declared that the Republican statement used “the kind of language that the Dixiecrats would have accepted for the 1948 Democratic plank”

“This may be the FIRST STEP in the LEGAL LOVE-MAKING between Senate Republicans and southern Democrats on the civil rights issue”, he added. “They have engaged in illicit love, as indicated in voting, for  about a year-and-a quarter”. (Capitals mine)

So, the attempt to make fair labor practices the  permanent law of the land failed in 1950 due to the combined efforts of Dixiecrats and the GOP leadership.

Perhaps the “new” GOP of is not so “new” after all. Was this the “first step” in moving the GOP and southern Dems closer together? The basis for the “Southern Strategy” of Nixon? The beginning of the conscious attempt by the GOP to attract racists to the party rather than join in the fight against racism? Was Humphrey correct in his analysis?

To review. Two Democratic presidents use executive orders to expand rights for certain categories of Americans. The GOP fights them every step of the way and refuses to even consider legislation granting rights. Some GOPers claim it is a battle between “Liberty versus socialism”.

Sound familiar?

 

 

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Executive_Order_8802

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Executive_Order_9981

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

http://timesmachine.nytimes.com/timesmachine/1950/02/08/issue.html

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My $17.40 Tax Bill

This is the time of year when property taxes come due. I am not one of those tax complainers. I think we need reasonable taxes to provide a reasonable level of services. My attitude toward the IRS can be found at an oldie but goodie link at the end of this essay.

I am a retired teacher living on a pension and Social Security. Fixed income. My property is evaluated at about $145,000. Fair market value. No problem. My property and school taxes for 2014 were $3,974.45. Let’s round up to $4,000.00.

For this $4,000.00 I paid for a school system . And a county road . My water comes from my own well. My electric I pay for to a private company. I have no kids in school. So, I pay $4,000.00 and get the benefit of the local road crew plowing the road (and dumping piles of snow across my recently plowed driveway) right after their donut run.

And I don’t mind. Kids need an education. A good education. And roads need to be kept in good repair. And the local town road commissioner needs to keep his otherwise unemployable extended family engaged in some meaningful employment. Keeps them off the streets. Or on the streets.

So, unlike many folks I don’t mind paying my fair share of taxes. Which leads me to the following. One of my multitude of  vices is watching some reality TV shows. Not the vulgar ones like the Duggars. But ones like “Cupcake Wars” or “Property Virgins”. People who  are buying homes  or cooking. Pretty mild stuff.

Recently I was watching a “Property Virgins” segment profiling a couple of new home buyers who  were looking to buy in New York City. The Big Apple. They were being shown a brand new apartment in a new condo with a fantastic view. Across the East River. A view of the NYC skyline. A real million dollar apartment with a million dollar view.

The price? A paltry $1,000,000. A wee bit more than we  paid for our first “starter” home, but what the hell. You got? Spend it. And, to be fair,  it was a very nice apartment. Even had windows, floors  and appliances! But the best part. The very BEST part for these new home buyers was that the property was covered by the NYC “tax abatement zone”. So, the average monthly property tax on this $ 1,000,000 condo was, according to the realtor,  about “$10  a month”. For 25 years.

Let’s wait. I know that last two sentences destroyed 1.2 billion brain cells in the area of the brain called the ” Common Sensus Unbelievablus” so I will wait while you recover.  And I repeat. The property tax abatement, for 25 YEARS, meant they would be paying $10 per month. That is (using my calculator) comes to $120 a year. For 25 years.

Some math. Using a calculator again. If I suppose my property tax does not go up and my assessment never goes up for the next 25 years  (LOL) I will pay approximately $100,000 in property taxes. The folks who just moved into the $1,000,000 property with the view of NYC will pay, over the same 25 years , a total  of $3,000 in property taxes. I will pay $970,000 MORE in property taxes than they will. At least. (EDIT: It was pointed out to me that my math is wrong. I will pay $997,000 more).

Now, I don’t begrudge the wealthy their ability to afford a million dollar apartment. Not at all. Nor do I envy them. I like where I live.  But I do think that it may be nice if the top 1% paid their fair share. Or better yet, let ME pay MY fair share,  based on what they pay. If I did, my TOTAL tax bill over the next 25 years would come out to $435.00. American money.

If my tax property bill was the same , per assessed value, as this condo, I would get a tax bill this year for….$17.40. That would be my fair share. I did the math.

I’ll pay it. And I won’t even complain

http://www.nypropertytaxmonitor.com/2012/08/25/avoiding-property-taxes-in-new-york-exemptions-and-abatements-in-the-news/

https://www.habitatnyc.org/pdf/advocate/Pratt421a.pdf

https://josephurban.wordpress.com/2014/04/16/i-love-the-irs/

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Disgusting Women

I quote Donald Trump:

“I know where she went — it’s disgusting, I don’t want to talk about it,” Trump said, screwing up his face, as the crowd laughed and cheered. “No, it’s too disgusting. Don’t say it, it’s disgusting.”

While some people dismiss this as another “Trumpism” I think  we need to take note. After all, when one of the most vile, nasty and ignorant people in the United States calls something “disgusting” it must be REALLY awful.

I admit that I do not have firsthand knowledge, like Donald evidently does, of what “goes on” in the Ladies Room. I have always pictured the Ladies Room as a sanctuary of joy and peace. Comfortable chairs. Flowers in vases. Vogue and Conde Naste. Perhaps a few bottles of the best bottled water.

I can recall many times when I was at dinner and a woman would go to “powder her nose” or “freshen up” . Yet when she returned , as she sometime did, her nose still glowed and she seemed none the fresher. Yet, I  failed to see through the feminine facade.

I have long suspected that Ladies rooms were hiding something. Something only the Donald knows. Perhaps he has traded his fox skin hairpiece for a woman’s wig and so breached the sacred walls? Perhaps he hired an undercover female traitor who had divulged their secrets?  Like Donald, I have known since 2nd grade that girls have cooties. Was this the final proof?  Whatever is going on cannot be simple defecation and urination. It is more vile than that.

I can only imagine. What do  these women DO behind closed doors. Like chimpanzees in the cages at the zoo do they hurl feces at each other? Is that why it takes them so long to “freshen up” and get back to the dinner table? Do they take off the gloves and engage in non-holds-barred kick boxing brawls? Is that why they powder their noses? To hide the bruising?

To find exactly what DOES go on behind those sacred  doors of womenhood I called upon an expert, Mrs. Abigal Charlotte Beauregard von Holstein. She, like her mother and grandmother before her, is the current chairwoman of the DAP (Daughters of the American Porcelain.)

Me: Hello Mrs. von Holstein. May I call you Abby.

Mrs. vH: Most certainly NOT.

Me: Donald Trump has charged that many “disgusting ” things are happening in the so-called “Ladies Room”. What is your response?

Mrs. vH: Ladies simply use the facilities to take care of normal bodily functions.

Me: Normal bodily functions? The Donald insists these functions are “disgusting” . How do you respond?

Mrs. vH: I respond by asking you what goes on in the Men’s Lavoratories.

Me: All kinds of disgusting things. I mean, when I was a little boy I recall going to Comiskey Park to see the White Sox and having to use the men’s room to pee. It was amazing. There was a long trough along one wall and men, who had had a lot of beer, stood shoulder to shoulder spraying the walls, floors and sometimes even the urinal. The place had an odor of old urine. The toilets were clogged. Even for a nine year old it was disgusting.

Mrs vH: I can assure you that nothing so unpleasant occurs in the Ladies room. Only normal bodily functions. In a sanitary setting. End of interview. You may go now.

Me: You mean that women just…uh..use the toilets? These paragons beauty and grace  do a  number 1 and number 2? Those gorgeous  Playboy bunnies I see in the mags just need to flatulate?

I can now more fully appreciate The Donald’s disgust for women and their nasty habits . Poor Donald has had his world shattered! How would you like it if you had purchased a trio of trophy wives and they expressed normal bodily needs? Every time your current woman (and Donald loves women)  went to “powder” her nose all you could think about was that your model of femininity and grace was simply taking a dump.

 

 

 

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Boozing with the Prez

Somewhere around the turn of the century (the latest turn) pollsters and “news” reporters started asking people which presidential candidate they would “prefer to have a beer with”.

I confess that I come from a generation in which the drinking qualification for the highest office in the land was not considered a factor. I thought maybe life experience should matter. Empathy. How about intellect or intelligence? Maybe previous service in the military or as a community organizer? Someone who had “gravitas”.  But that seems to have changed.

What would the “Founding Fathers ” say about this? What did they think  were the necessary qualifications for a chief executive? The Constitution is clear. A certain age, a citizen, not much else. But, as with so many things in life, I was mistaken. It seems the Founding Fathers had more to say on the issue.

There is the old  Tavern in NY city where the patriots used to meet. Recently, one of the Guatemalan illegal immigrants sweeping up at night found weathered, dogeared piece of paper stuck to the bottom of a bar stool with chewing tobacco. It has been authenticated by top Fox Entertainment experts as the real thing.  It dates from the days of the Founding Fathers.

Evidently this old document was SUPPOSED to be part of the original Constitution. Sadly it was lost or misplaced, perhaps during one of the many drinking parties and barroom brawls of the old Whigs. It clarified exactly what the qualifications should be for the President of the United States. Take a gander.

This is how Article 2, Clause 5 looks today:

“No Person except a natural born Citizen, or a Citizen of the United States, at the time of the Adoption of this Constitution, shall be eligible to the Office of President; neither shall any person be eligible to that Office who shall not have attained to the Age of thirty five Years, and been fourteen Years a Resident within the United States.”

However, the following “lost clauses” were supposed to be added:

“No person shall be elected to the Office of the President who has not the ability to consume one half a hogshead of hard cider within the time of 3 hours and who, within such time, shall not be required to visit the latrine more than thrice. In addition;

“Such person shall have be of high moral  character and as such shall not have on his or her plantation more than 5 slave children who bear a remarkable resemblance to such a person, nor shall such a person whip his slaves more than twice in any fortnight. In addition;

“Such person shall have the ability to load and fire a muzzle loading weapon at least thrice within a time frame of 5 minutes  and shall be able, at a range of 50 paces or more ,  to use such weaponry to hit the broad side of a barn. In addition;

“Such person shall have had no physical contact with or been alone with any livestock , including but not limited to hogs, sheep, poultry of all kinds and horses, unless such a person find himself alone and at least 6 miles from the nearest brothel. In addition,  finally;

“No person shall be qualified for the high office of President until such person shall be declared having the mental age greater than that of  the Hamadryas Baboon  and be so certified by 2 astrologers and one bloodletting physician.”

I think we need to go back to the original intent of the Founding Fathers and eliminate a number …well,  perhaps ALL, the current crop of candidates for the most important job on Earth.

(Source of the story about the lost document: I overheard  a guy say his cousin talked to a guy who was watching TV and thought someone mentioned something about it. Good enough for me).

 

 

 

 

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A Modern Christmas Story

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 pay for the airline tickets?”

Yusef: “We had a little gold, but that is now gone.”

Agent:”How do you intend to support yourself? Do you have any skills?”

Yusef: “I  worked in construction. I can build  things. I work with tools.”

Agent: “I see you wife is wearing a hijab. Are you Muslims?”

Yusef: ” Oh, no. She is just wearing the traditional veil. It means nothing.”

Agent: “Are you Christians? Do you  follow Christ?”

Yusef, looking  confused: ” No. We are simply refugees fleeing for our lives. Please help us.”

Agent, writing down something and looking concerned. “What is in those two boxes?”

Yusef: “Just some perfume and some medicines. It is all we have.”

The agent calls over some security who take the boxes and disappear into another room. “Sorry, those boxes will have to be destroyed. They had some odd looking substances in them.”

The agent looks at the young refugee family , down at his forms, and back up again. “You have no papers. You have no means of support. You CLAIM not to be Muslims, but you sure LOOK  like Muslims to me. You brought in some strange packages. And you claim your life is in danger but offer no  proof. ” He then takes out a big red stamp and loudly stamps the documents, hands them back to the young man and points him to the exit door.

“We will be putting you and your wife and child on the next plane back to the Middle East. Good luck. And Merry Christmas.”

The young man looks down at the document. The big red letters of the stamp are bold: ENTRY DENIED.

They cover the names of the applicants.

Yusef the Carpenter, wife Mary and baby Jesus.

 

 

 

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Filed under Christianity, Christmas, government, immigrants, Immigration, Islam, Judaism, Politics, Religion, Society, Terror, United States, US

Trump Smokes Dope

OK. I finally figured it out. Trump smokes dope. Now it all makes sense.

I knew I had heard some of his ideas before. Just couldn’t remember where or when. The following is based on things that the Donald, I presume under the influence of some good ganga, has actually said.

Picture a smoke filled room, a bong and the Donald with his hair down to his shoulders , wearing a tie-dye shirt and love beads. Surrounded by a bevy of wide eyed 16 year old girls who he has hired as apprentices.

After a long toke….” You know, we could get oil prices much lower. All we have to do is tell those Saudis. Lower your f…cking prices, man. Just lower them.”

“Children.Think  of children getting all those shots. Those vaccinations. Children should get just one shot at a time. Not all at once. Children are not  horses, man. Be cool.”

Another toke….” I got a source. I got a great source. You know what? This is gonna blow your mind. My source says that Obama was born in Kenya. Really. Not even an American. For sure.”

” What about those Ayrabs? You know how to deal with Ayrabs? Well, I do. Like this  Khaddafi guy. I rented him some land. But I really screwed him on the deal, dude. That’s how you deal with these Ayrabs. Just rent em something and then screw them.Right on”

And another toke…” And those Muslims. Gotta get em out of the country, dude. Just ain’t right. Here’s what I’d do. Just ask em at the border. You a Muslim? They say YES, you kick em out. They say NO, you let em in. Easy. Just takes guts.”

“We gotta build a wall. A big wall, like 20 stories high. Keep out Mexicans. Mexican rapists. Want our women.  Then, here’s the best part, dude. We make the Mexicans pay for it. Easy.”

Final toke…”My IQ is like 200. I am so smart . And you guys are losers. Sorry, but it’s the truth man. I am smarter than, like, 21 Einsteins.”

” The media, man. F…ck the media. Their just, like jealous. As long as I have a young piece of ass with me the media can go screw themselves. ”

So next time The Donald opens his mouth remember what your mama said. Drugs kill brain cells. DON’T DO DRUGS.

Or if you MUST do drugs, don’t run for the presidency. It’s not a pretty sight.

( Some are actual quotes. Some are paraphrases of quotes. But it’s all Trump)

 

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Desperately Seeking Muslims

Donald Trump continues to be a real treasure trove of ignorance.  I know, I know. What am I talking about ? So much to choose from.

Well, I am referring to his latest..wait, what time is it…his latest comments about banning Muslims.  All Muslims. That will make America safe. Again. Or great again. Or whatever. You know.

So, the next obvious step in the Trump Plan is the HOW to do it? The Donald is always a little close-to-the-vest when it comes to details. (Remember Nixon’s “secret plan” to end the Vietnam War. Ooops) His latest escapade into the unknown is no exception.

So, let’s get practical. How do we identify a “Muslim”. Especially a “Muslim terrorist” which is, after all, the reason for the ban. To keep “Muslim terrorists” out of the US. Now that, in itself, is not a bad idea. After all, we have plenty of “Christian terrorists” already. Who needs the competition? The fewer terrorists the better , I always say.

The problem is simple: What does a “Muslim” look like? In order to ban them, we need to see them first. Seek them out. So, what do we look for?

Well, we know that he could look like a Pakistani or a Turk or a Nigerian or a Russian or an Egyptian or a Chinese (23,000,000 Chinese Muslims) or a Saudi or an Englishmen or an Uzbeki or an Indonesian or an American or a Brazilian…well, you get the idea. Muslims are from every ethnic group and live in every nation on earth. Every one! Nope. I lied. There is one nation that has no Muslim citizens. Vatican City. So, Pope Francis can glide through customs without a body cavity search.

So, I guess just looking won’t work too well. So, let’s ask!

Everyone who enters the US should be asked a simple question: Are you now or do you ever intend to be a Muslim terrorist. If they answer “Yes”. GOT EM. Another victory for The Donald. Unless, of course, a Muslim “terrorist” is smart enough to figure out that he should answer :”No, sir, I am not. And by the way. god bless America !”

So, Donald. We need a few more details. Keeping terrorists out of the US is a unique and fascinating idea. Something no one ever thought of before. But now we need to see the details.

How do you identify a Muslim? How do you identify a”Muslim terrorist”?

 

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

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

 

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Barry Destroys the GOP

The modern GOP has become a front for radicalism and the religious right. It  has been criticized  by the guy they refer to affectionately as “Barry”.  He destroys them. Here are some of the things he has said.

  • “When you say “radical right” today, I think of these moneymaking ventures by fellows like Pat Robertson and others who are trying to take the Republican Party away from the Republican Party, and make a religious organization out of it. If that ever happens, kiss politics goodbye.”
  • “The big thing is to make this country, along with every other country in the world with a few exceptions, quit discriminating against people just because they’re gay. You don’t have to agree with it, but they have a constitutional right to be gay.”
  • “… why the hell shouldn’t they (gays) serve? They’re American citizens. As long as they’re not doing things that are harmful to anyone else… So I came out for it. ” (Washington Post Interview)

 

“On religious issues there can be little or no compromise. There is no position on which people are so immovable as their religious beliefs. There is no more powerful ally one can claim in a debate than Jesus Christ, or God, or Allah, or whatever one calls this supreme being. But like any powerful weapon, the use of God’s name on one’s behalf should be used sparingly. The religious factions that are growing throughout our land are not using their religious clout with wisdom. They are trying to force government leaders into following their position 100 percent. If you disagree with these religious groups on a particular moral issue, they complain, they threaten you with a loss of money or votes or both.
I’m frankly sick and tired of the political preachers across this country telling me as a citizen that if I want to be a moral person, I must believe in “A,” “B,” “C” and “D.” Just who do they think they are? And from where do they presume to claim the right to dictate their moral beliefs to me?
And I am even more angry as a legislator who must endure the threats of every religious group who thinks it has some God-granted right to control my vote on every roll call in the Senate. I am warning them today: I will fight them every step of the way if they try to dictate their moral convictions to all Americans in the name of “conservatism.””(Senate Speech)

And, my personal favorite:

“Mark my word, if and when these preachers get control of the [Republican] party, and they’re sure trying to do so, it’s going to be a terrible damn problem. Frankly, these people frighten me. Politics and governing demand compromise. But these Christians believe they are acting in the name of God, so they can’t and won’t compromise. I know, I’ve tried to deal with them.” (Personal communication with John Dean).

So, there it is. Barry condemns today’s GOP. He condemns the anti-gay religious fanatics. Not surprising, you say? After all, Barry Obama is a socialist/communist/liberal.

Except all of the above quotes are not from “Barry” Obama. They are from the man who was once called “The Conscience” of the Conservatives.

Barry Goldwater, GOP candidate for president and Senator from Arizona.

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Filed under Christianity, Conservatives, GOP, homosexual, Islam, Judaism, neoconservatives, obama, Politics, Radicals, Religion, Republicans, tea party

Planned Parenthood Shooting Responses

News Item: 3 are dead in Planned Parenthood shooting in Colorado.

At this point I do not know HOW the GOP candidates will respond to this latest act of violence. Imagine if these were the responses of the GOP candidates for president.

Trump: We must go after these domestic terrorists with everything we have. I will not tolerate it. A Trump president would go in with guns blazing.  Take them out. Let  these old white guys know that as Americans we do not tolerate terrorism. I would  register all adult white Christians and keep very close tabs on them.

Carson: I am saddened by the loss of life. We should never allow violence to rule our lives. I reject violence in all its forms. Just as we welcome newborns into the world, so should we welcome refugees to our shore. All life is sacred.

Huckabee: God bless the police officer and civilians who were killed by this outrageous act. True Christians do not commit murder. This man was not a true Christian.  True Christians believe in love and brotherhood. Let us all condemn this violence against these women who are simply seeking health care. And condemn the use of violence as Jesus would.

Gowdy: We will investigate this. Congress needs to investigate where these domestic killers are getting their weapons . Then we need to stop the easy access to these weapons. I pledge to work across the aisle with the Democrats to  finally put an end to these senseless killings by introducing effective gun control.

Rubio: I condemn these murders. We must be a nation of laws,  not a nation of violence. We need to stop pandering to the worst in people and to hate. Let us work together to make sure all women have access to good health care so so day we will not need Planned Parenthood.  Until then, we must protect women who are exercising their Constitutional rights.

Christie: Perhaps we need to stop yelling at each other and discuss issues  like adults. Let us have an honest conversation and not try to bully each other over these issues. Let’s stop blaming Obama for every problem we have in this country. Most of all, let’s  respect each other as equals and fight domestic terrorism together. Let’s stop the blustering and try to solve problems.

Bush: Every American has the right to health care. The US Constitution must be respected. Let us join in a national day of mourning and support for a woman’s right to choose. Let us condemn violence against women and show our support for the Constitution. When you take the law into your own hands you destroy the idea of law itself.

Wouldn’t those responses be something?

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Filed under abortion, Ben Carson, Christianity, Christie, Conservatives, Constitution, Elections, GOP, gun control, healthcare, huckabee, jeb bush, Politics, POTUS, Republicans, right to life, Rubio, Terror, violence

Trump’s Loaves and Fishes

News (?) item: Donald Trump insists that “thousands ” of Muslims in New Jersey were celebrating the fall of the World Trade Center on 9/11. He insists and although there is no visual or written evidence of this…well…he insists.

A long time ago  a Jewish guy named Jesus Son of Joseph was making a big campaign speech on a hill. He had ’em in the palm of his hands. They were enthralled. He was beatituding the hell out of them. But then he realized that he forgot to call the caterer. The crowd was hungry.

One of his producers had some fish and loaves of bread. So, Jesus Son of Joseph took a couple fish and a couple loaves and did some magic. He blessed them and passed them out and told the crowd there was plenty to eat.

And they crowd ate it up. Jesus Son of Joseph, Jewish carpenter and magician, turned the tiny loaves and fish into enough food to feed the multitude. He transformed a few bits of food  into an enormous feast. His followers were satisfied.

Last week another Jewish magician, Donald Trump, did essentially the same thing.

A couple days after 9/11 it was reported that 5 people of “middle eastern” ancestry were taking pictures of the Twin Towers and shouting in a foreign language. In New Jersey.

The police investigated. They found 5 Israeli immigrants. (Jews look a lot like Arabs!) They had been taking pictures. No one really knows what they were saying. They were not dancing in the street. They were gaping at the site of the tallest buildings in the world come tumbling down. As we all did.

Donald Trump, the magician, has transformed these 5 Jewish loaves and fish into “thousands and thousands ” of Muslims. He transformed a handful of curious onlookers into a crowd of joyous haters. A mass conversion of Jews into Muslims. He multiplied  the 5 into thousands.

Trump  gave his crowd another serving of bigotry to eat. And his multitude was satisfied. They had seen a miracle.

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Obama Hardlines Refugees !

This is re-posted from an email sent to me by a family member. Wish I had written it myself.

“President Obama Takes Hard-Line Stance on Refugee Crisis”
AP – November 18, 2015

WASHINGTON, DC – At a White House press conference this afternoon, President Obama announced his administration’s new hard-line stance on the refugee crisis.

“For entirely too long, we have been witness to cowardly acts of terror. We have watched innocent people suffer for our inaction and seen families broken, communities shattered, children taken too soon from this Earth because we as a nation have been too slow to act. It’s time we faced these atrocities and these terrorists with due resolve and we are now committed, finally, to closing our borders to this increasing influx of young, white American male refugees.”

Obama cited steadily rising death tolls in the United States, particularly on high school grounds and college campuses – acts of terror carried out exclusively by young, white American males – as adequate motivation to close the United States borders, asserting that allowing even more such refugees into the country would only further expose innocent US citizens to violence.

“It’s unfortunate to paint an entire people with so broad a brush. I’m sure that somewhere out there are young, white American males who are peace-loving and productive members of society but on the whole, the young, white American male culture is one that tacitly promotes unjustified violence against the innocent and we as a nation have stood silent for far too long.”

Young, white American male groups reacted strongly to the news. In his statement to the press, young, white American male Benjamin Tilly of Cheboygan, MI said, “Sure, when a handful of religious fanatics from Saudi Arabia commit an atrocity they’re just ‘mentally ill’ but when young, white American males regularly kill anywhere from two to 28 people in escalating, multiple school shootings over the past twenty years in this country – basically like clockwork – suddenly it’s a ‘culture of violence.'”

In response to the public outcry from the young, white American male community, President Obama said, “Listen, not every young white American male is going to go shoot up a school but it is in our best interests to prevent all young white American males from entering the country because if just one of those young men is the one who would later go on a shooting rampage in a school cafeteria then wouldn’t our efforts have been worth it? And if we’re being honest, isn’t it a bit telling that the entire young, white American male community has failed – time and time again – to unilaterally condemn all of these acts?”

Upon learning that he would be disallowed entrance into the United States, teenager Kyle Mattheson, a young, white male American refugee from Bensalem, PA, responded, “Will I have easy legal access to firearms, wherever they send me?”

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The Economy or The People?

Watching parts (I have a weak stomach) of the GOP debate on the “economy” I think I finally figured out the problem. I am slow, I admit.

The first question by the Fox Business/ Wall Street Journal panel exposed the issue pretty clearly. Should the minimum wage be raised to $15 an hour? Which is about $31,000 per year according to the panelist.

The answer, across the board, was NO. It would hurt “the economy” to raise the wages of people now making maybe 7 or  10 or 12 bucks an hour. It would devastate the economy to have poor working people making a little more to spend.

Trump, by is own admission a billionaire, sees nothing but ruin if a fast food worker were to get a few more bucks. And Carson agrees.  The end of the US “economy” as we know it. Catastrophe.

Another question asked by the panelists was about the great disparity between a CEO average pay and that of one of his workers. It used to be 20 to 1. Now it is 300 to 1. I don’t think any candidate ever actually responded to that one. The non answers were clear. No problem.

So, what seems clear to me now (as I said, I am slow) is that the GOP candidates have a completely distorted world view of what an “economy” is and what an “economy” does. Or is supposed to do.

Simply put, an economy is how goods and services are organized and distributed in a given society. The purpose of an economy should be what? To be organized so all members of a society have a chance to benefit from the wealth of that society. If not, then we must assume the “economy” has, as it’s central purpose, the organization of goods and services to benefit only a portion of the society.

The GOP concept of an “economy” seems to accept the second concept, that the economy should be organized to help only portions of society.. The economy to them seems to mean only one thing. How much profit is generated for the investor class. While they talk about “job creation” they are really talking about cheap labor so that investor profits will be higher. Not job creation so workers can have a decent life. Or participate in the overall economy in the broadest sense.

Now there is nothing wrong with investors making a profit. That is how the capitalist system (flawed though it is)  works. Since investors are allowing others to use their money  they deserve a reasonable return. But what is not reasonable is defining the “economy” ONLY in terms of investor profits. It skews the argument and is not a realist view of what an economy is all about.

When the GOP candidates say that a higher wage for workers hurts the “economy’, what they mean is a higher wage for workers cuts into investor profits. Which is true. Of course, taken to it’s logical conclusion one could argue that slavery is the best system for the “economy” because it reduces all labor costs for the investor. Hence, a slave economy, by definition, would be the “strongest” economy under the GOP world view. Tried that once, if I recall.

The GOP candidates, with real concern for the plight of poor Americans, pointed out that 1 in 5 kids now live in poverty. But their solution to this is NOT to raise the minimum wage so these children and their parents can escape poverty. Somehow, this system of keeping poor people underpaid is “good” for the economy. And it is, if you define the economy as the GOP does. A system designed to promote investor profits.

For the Democrats the challenge is simple. Help folks understand that the GOP definition of the economy is narrow and incomplete. Not evil. Not anti- poor.  Not racist. But simplistic and wrong. An economy is more than profits for investors. It is a system that is supposed to work for ALL members, not just a few.

A productive economy is one that is balanced so that workers who provide the labor to create profits benefit from that labor. And they benefit to such an extent that they can take advantage of the wealth they create. Investors also benefit by making a reasonable rate of return on their investments. A balanced system that recognize both halves of the equation.

Back in the days when the CEOs made only 20 times as much as the average worker the economy was better than it is today.  Investors made good profits and paid their fair share of taxes. Guess what? The economy worked for most people. Yes, some were poor. But the investor class did ok.  Not a single member needed food stamps.

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Jeb (not his real name) Bush’s Achilles Heels

No matter what the polls say today I think that Jeb (not his real name) Bush will end up on the GOP ticket.

But there are two very important decisions he made while governor of Florida that should give anyone who is thinking of voting for him pause. For thoughtful voters they should be his Achilles Heels.

1.  In the run up to the 2000 presidential election the governor hired a private company to purge the Florida voter rolls. That, in and of itself, is no problem. Many voter rolls have people that have moved, etc. People who no  longer have the right to vote.

But in this case the focus was on purging felons, who are not allowed to vote under Florida law. Of course, the “criminal justice” system puts a higher percentage of non whites in prison than whites. And a higher percentage of poor folks, to be sure. So, this purging would effectively eliminate more  black (mostly Democratic voters)  than GOP supporters. Still no problem. If you are a convicted felon you can’t vote.

But Jeb (not his real name) went one step beyond. Even though the private  company doing the purge (Data Base Technologies) told the Bush administration that using the parameters given to them many LEGAL voters would be purged, Jeb (not his real name) told them to do it anyway. Since they were given $4,000,000 of Florida tax dollars to do so, they didn’t complain. Yes, tax dollars paid by Florida residents  were used to purge Florida taxpayers from the voting rolls.

So, for example, a felon with the name of John Jackson would be purged. But so would all other John Jackson, Johnny Jacksons and even J Jacksons. The result was that thousands of innocent people were suddenly no longer legal voters.  The end result. A disproportionate number of African-American voters (who vote 90% Democratic) were purged from the voter rolls. And Jeb’s (not his real name) brother was given the Florida electoral votes by the US Supreme Court. . What effect did that purging have on the US? Would we have invaded Iraq had Gore won? Or nearly gone into a 2nd great depression? Or ignored climate change?

http://www.theguardian.com/world/2001/jun/06/uselections2000.usa

http://www.gregpalast.com/the-great-florida-ex-con-gamernhow-the-felon-voter-purge-was-itself-felonious/

2. Terri Schiavo. A 26 year old woman who was found by her husband of 6 years face down in the hallway. Rushed to the hospital, she had lost too much oxygen to the brain. She was vegetative. After months on a feeding tube her husband decided to let her die in peace.

Then her parents stepped in and tried to prevent this. Then the governor of Florida stepped in and took every legal (and some say illegal) action he could to prevent Terri Schiavo for being allowed to die.

In the end, thanks to Jeb (not his real name) intervention, and despite numerous court findings  for the husband, this young woman was forced to sit in a bed in a vegetative state for 15 years. Yes. 15 years of sitting with a feeding tube. Having no brain function. Having no awareness. Having all her bodily functions artificially kept intact.   (In the autopsy the doctor said most of her brain had been replaced by spinal fluid).

“…In June, the medical examiner released Terri Schiavo’s autopsy, which confirmed what the judges had ruled for years based on the testimony from doctors concerning her prognosis. Her limbs had atrophied, and her hands had clenched into claws, and her brain had started to disappear. It weighed barely more than a pound and a third, less than half the size it would have been under normal circumstances. “No remaining discernible neurons,” the autopsy said. She couldn’t see. She couldn’t feel, not even pain. Forty-one years after her birth, 15 years after her collapse, Terri Schiavo was literally a shell of who she had been…”

Read more: http://www.politico.com/magazine/story/2015/01/jeb-bush-terri-schiavo-114730#ixzz3qjGuAF7f

Governor Bush used every legal tool he had to impose his will on that of the woman’s lawful guardian. And kept her “alive” , in a bed, unresponsive, for 15 years. She finally was allowed pass at the age of 41. Only because the governor had run out of legal challenges.

I would think that when  Jeb (not his real name) Bush does get the nomination he will be faced with trying to explain away these two situations. He will have to explain his aggressiveness in keeping blacks from voting (a tactic now employed across a number of GOP-controlled states) and his interference in the life (or was it torture) and death of Teri Schiavo. In both cases he stretched the powers of the executive branch to bypass the law. It won’t matter to the rank and file GOP but it may matter to moderate independent voters.

A question they should ask. What kind of chief executive would he make? How would he use executive power?

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Questions for Debate

The GOP is mad because the moderators of the last debate asked “gotcha” questions. Of course, the Fox moderators did the same thing but they were not criticized (except for The Donald, but then he criticizes everything so it doesn’t count). Of course, similar questions, devoid of substance, were asked at the Dem debate. The difference? The Dems, for the most part, refused to be drawn into squabbles .

Bu what if they WERE asked real questions. Not political questions, but questions that any high school grad should be able to answer or at least have an opinion about? Wouldn’t that be a joy to behold.

Here are some questions I would like to see them ask ALL the candidates from both parties.

Each candidate has 5 minutes to give a fairly thorough, though limited, response.

  1. Explain the theory of evolution and whether you think it explains the diversity of life on Earth.
  2.  Should the Bible, Quran, Mahabharata or any religious text be used as a governing tool?
  3. Is it more important to spend money on the military or on social programs?
  4. What is your position on the Affordable Care Act? If you oppose it what would you replace it with or how would you improve it?
  5. Is climate change real or a hoax? Can you cite any data to back up your position?
  6. Under what circumstances should the US send troops into a war? Be specific. The vague statement “our interests are threatened” is not acceptable. Give some concrete examples.
  7. Will you support a law that makes it mandatory for all federal elected officials to move all their investments from the private sector into government bonds  while they are in office?
  8. Since the primary purpose of government is to keep its citizens safe, what would you do to make sure that every child in America can play in their own front yard without fear of being killed by gang warfare?
  9. Discuss why we have so many illegal immigrants and explain your short and long term solution to the problem.
  10. The US incarcerates more people than any western nation. By far. Are Americans inherently a lawless people or is there something wrong with the legal and criminal justice systems?

No questions like: You are now 7th in the polls, why don’t you drop out of the race? Or: Some people say that your uncle on your mother’s side was a drug addict. Do you love illegal drugs? Or: Please use one word to describe all the personality characteristics of all your opponents. Etc.

Wouldn’t it be nice to know what these people are actually thinking? If they are capable of thinking? And perhaps give honest answers that are not memorized 20 second soundbites?

It might be fun to watch. It might be enlightening. It might be painful. But wouldn’t we learn something very important about each of them?

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President Trump

Hello. I’m Donald Trump.

Here’s the deal. Vote for me. Lots of complicated problems. Lots of simple solutions. I will make America strong again. Put us on the right track. Get us back to what made us great in the old days. You want specifics? Here are specifics.

Illegal  immigration. Build a wall. Big wall. Keep out the Mexicans. Now I like the Mexican people. Some are rapists, sure. But that’s in the blood. Can’t blame em. I know some good Mexicans , too. My housekeeper Manuela. Good person. Never steals. Love Mexicans. Build a wall.

Whose gonna pay? The Mexicans will  pay. We’ll build a wall using American labor and make Mexico pay. That is what I’ll do. Simple. Build it. Make em pay.

Putin. Tough guy. I’m tougher. Russia is a wonderful country. Love the Russian people. A lot of my friends are Russian billionaires. They wear fur coats. Real fur. Not the pretend stuff. Real minks and foxes. I love foxes but to be honest they make one helluva coat. But you gotta get a lot of em. Two or three foxes, all you get is a stole.

So I say to Putin. Valerie, here’s the deal. You don’t fly your planes over the US. You don’t bomb our cities or BANG. It’s over. World War 3 . I don’t like war but you have to be tough. Can’t back down. Putin respects that. Russian problem solved.

The Jewish thing with the Arabs . What a mess. Jews want the land. Palestinians want the land. And it’s crappy land. No casinos. How do you solve it. You need a tough negotiator. I’m the man. I bring in the Arabs. I bring in the Jews. I sit em down at table. One of those long oak tables with the carvings on the legs. I’ll have it custom made by my Mexican carpenter. Great guy. I say “We’re gonna do this deal”. That’s  it. We’re gonna do it.

Now, I like the Jews. Tough negotiators. Good business sense. My uncle was a Jew. Wore that cap thingy. Me. Not a religious man but I tolerate Jews, Christians, Muslims, you name it. No prejudice. But you gotta be tough with the Jews. Give and take. I know how to do that. Crisis solved. Bingo. Treaty signed. It’s over. Next problem.

Gay marriage. Who cares.  Let the gays be gays. Love the gays. My hairdresser is gay. I think. I don’t know.  Never asked him. None of my business. That Kim Davis broad says she won’t marry gays. I say. You got a job.  You were hired to do a job. Kim Davis. You’re fired.

Don’t get me wrong. I like Obama. Great guy. White mother. Black father. But he is not tough enough. Let’s people walk over him. Shoulda fired that broad a long time ago. I meant woman. No disrespect. I love women. My wife is a woman. Always respect the ladies. That’s who I am. But if my wife doesn’t do her job. Bingo.  She’s still fired.

Health care. Everybody gets it. End of story. If you can afford it you pay. Hey.  I can afford it. I pay. If you can’t afford it you get it for free. This is America. Nobody should get sick. Like cancer. You want to cure cancer. Let’s do it. I say to my Secretary of Health or whatever. Let’s get on this cancer thing. Today. No more stalling around. Find the cause. Find the solution. Bang. Problem solved. That’s how I operate. Results. You want to get rid of cancer. Let’s do it.

Running mate? Sarah Palin. Beautiful person. Former governor. Great experience. Intelligent gal. Knows how to handle a rifle. Great family. I’m a family values person. I had a lot of families and I still value every one of them. Paid child support. Paid alimony. That’s life. Sarah Palin. What a role model for young girls. Beauty and brains all rolled into one package. From Alaska. Cold there. They ride those snowmobiles and wear orange parkas.  I prefer fur, but that’s life. Each to his own..

Benghazi. A lot of nonsense. People died. Terror attack. If I’m president you won’t see any terror attacks. Terrorists know I won’t tolerate it. Can’t happen. I don’t blame Hillary. She did her best. Love Hillary. Great lady. Would have made a great Secretary of State or something but not tough enough to be president. Came to my wedding. She had to. I donated to her foundation. Bingo. That’s how to get things done. You wash my back, I wash yours.

I go to the terrorist and tell em. What do you need. OK. A new mosque. Some new camels. Couscous. Whatever it is, you got it. Just no more terror attacks. That’s it. Message sent. Message received. You attack. No more camels. No more couscous. You decide. You got to know how to deal with these people.

Congress. Dysfunctional. Shut down the government. Can’t pass a law. When I am president Congress will work. No more vacations. I want a law. They pass it. They don’t pass it. They’re gone. Done. I lock the doors. I say “You’re Fired”. I hire a new Congress. Maybe some Mexicans (the good ones) and a few Jews. We get the job done.

So that’s it. There’s more but you get the idea. I’m tough. I get it done. It is simple.

I will make America great again. You gotta problem. We solve the problem. Problem solved. Vote for me.

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Imagine If Hillary

Watching the GOP try to blame Secretary Clinton for the terror attacks in Benghazi, I started to think about other events.

One wonders if the GOP response to these events would have been different if Hillary Clinton had been president.

1. Imagine if Hillary had been POTUS on September 11, 2001. Would the GOP have joined together in unity to condemn the terrorists? Or would their response have  been to blame the Hillary for not keeping us safe?

2. Imagine if Hillary had been POTUS on August 6, 2001 when the daily presidential briefing given to Mr Bush read, in part:

“…bin Ladin implied in his television interviews in 1997 and 1998 that his followers would follow  the example of World Trade Center bomber Ramzi Yousef and bring the fighting to America….bin Ladin told his followers he wanted to retaliate in Washington…

…we have not been able to corroborate some of the more sensational threat reporting , such as that from a (NAME BLANKED OUT) service saying that bin Ladin wanted to hijack a US aircraft….

…FBI information …indicates  patterns of suspicious activity in this country (USA) consistent with preparations for hijackings or other types of attacks, including recent surveillance of federal  buildings in New York…”

http://news.findlaw.com/hdocs/docs/terrorism/80601pdb.html

And one month later hijacked planes were used to take down the World trade Center and the Pentagon.

Imagine the GOP response. World Trade Center. Hijackings. New York. Washington. FBI information!

3. Imagine if Hillary had been POTUS when Karl Rove, one of Mr Bush’s closest advisors  “outted” a CIA agent because her husband dared to tell  the truth about the faulty “Yellowcake” reports. The ultraconservative columnist Robert Novak revealed the identity of the secret agent and identified Rove as the source. All because her husband, Joe Wilson, exposed the “yellowcake” story as a fabrication.

http://www.sourcewatch.org/index.php/Karl_Rove:_Outing_Valerie_Plame

Now, imagine if one of Hillary’s closest advisor had leaked the name of a CIA operative , putting not only the agent’s  life in danger but the lives of all agents in foreign countries who may have had contact with that agent. Imagine the GOP response. Imagine if the reporter who leaked the name had been Rachel Maddow instead of Robert Novak. Imagine.

4. Imagine Hillary was POTUS  when the US military installations were attacked on two separate occasions in Lebanon (when Reagan was POTUS). When  the marines guarding the barracks were not allowed to  have live ammo in their weapons ! Imagine if Hillary  had been in charge instead of Ronnie. What would the GOP do with that one? Marines guarding a barrack with no ammo in their weapons! Imagine.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/1983_Beirut_barracks_bombing

5. And imagine Hillary had been POTUS during the GW Bush years. The fact is that there were 60 deaths and 13 embassy attacks while GW Bush was commander-in-chief. 60 deaths. 60. Imagine what the GOP would do with that.

http://www.politifact.com/truth-o-meter/statements/2014/may/12/john-garamendi/prior-benghazi-were-there-13-attacks-embassies-and/

This is not to blame Bush or Reagan for terror attacks. Or not having omniscient powers. .After all, the world is a dangerous place, especially the Middle East.  And the GOP seems to accept that when a GOP administration is in office. But for Hillary it is a different standard.

Another attack will come. Imagine that  Hillary Clinton is POTUS when that happens.  She most probably will be. Just wait for the GOP response to THAT one. You won’t have to imagine it.

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Filed under Benghazi, Clinton, Hillary, POTUS

Secede, Please

Every time the Supreme Court rules against bigotry  (as in gay marriage) some members of the right wing go banana shit. Every  time Mr Obama talks peace instead of war they go bat crazy. Every day we hear how their “state’s rights” to be bigots or fools or worse are being trampled by “big government”. They want out of the union.  OK.

They have even collected petitions in many states  (at least 20) to support seceding from the USA.

I , for one, welcome the idea. Lincoln’s big mistake, in my opinion, was in not letting the losers leave. After all, most of the secessionist states are those that are now on the welfare roles. States in which the federal government pays more than it takes in in federal taxes. The states most dependent on the federal government tend to be the biggest complainers about the federal government.

For example? Mississippi, Kentucky, Alabama, Louisiana, Montana, West Virginia, Arizona, South Carolina, and Tennessee, are all heavily dependent on the feds. See a trend here?

https://wallethub.com/edu/states-most-least-dependent-on-the-federal-government/2700/

Let them go. Please, secede. We are certainly not going to fight a Civil War to keep Alabama in the union. In fact, although I tend to be a pacifist, I would support  fighting one to get South Carolina OUT of the union.

Here’s my plan. Give each state a 5 year moratorium. If you want to leave, let us know.

As soon as you decide to leave you lose all representation in Congress. People in your state have 5 years to decide to stay or move into another state. All federally-owned land must be purchased at fair market value. In US currency.

The same is true of all military bases and federal buildings. We will move out the military and you can pay for the buildings. They now belong to you.

The US will no longer spend a cent in your state. No money for roads, bridges, education, border patrol, welfare, Medicaid, Medicare, Social Security, unemployment compensation, etc. You have the freedom to do what you want. But the US will not pay for it.

Of course, you will have to set up your own border control. And you will need a passport to enter the US . With background checks required.

As for the USA? Well, we will save BILLIONS of dollars every year. In addition, the more obnoxious members of Congress will now be gone, so maybe we can make progress. No more Ted Cruz’s whining and trying to shut down the government. No more “You Lie” cries from little men in South Carolina. No more millions wasted on Benghazi committees. Best of all for the US taxpayer, we will no longer be carrying all that dead weight.

Of course, this will not happen. The representatives of the “complainer” states would rather complain than make it on their own. They have a good deal going so why kill the Golden Goose of federal aid?

But just imagine a nation WITHOUT Mississippi,  South Carolina, Louisiana, Alabama, etc.  We can dream, can’t we?

Please…SECEDE!

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Filed under GOP, Radicals, Secede, Secession, tea party

RINOS and CINOS

As an atheist I don’t really put much stock in the pope. Even Pope Francis. This one seems reasonable and actually seems intent on following the spirit of Christianity. An oddity. And as such he opens himself  up to the hate groups and fundamentalists. Did I say “and” ? Which lead me to think about the difference between the “real” Christians and  false Christians.  Which lead me to think about the RINOS.

A RINO, according to the rightwing of the GOP, is a person who is a Republican In Name Only. That would  be someone who supports moderation and compromise as opposed to all  out warfare.

Some examples of RINOS would  be Teddy Roosevelt, Dwight Eisenhower, Richard Nixon, Bush 1 and 2, both Romneys and any other politician who is unwilling to shut down the government in a hissy fit.  RINOS are considered traitors to the imaginary GOP inhabited by fundamentalist ministers, Tea Party radicals, birthers and the uber-rich.

RINOS are seen as worst than liberals in some way, They are traitors.

Of course,  in reality it is the RINOS  that are true to the GOP principles.  Conservative. Moderate. Willing to compromise. Empathetic to the powerless and poor. Pro small business.

Which brings us to the CINOS.

The CINOS are those who, in my opinion, are Christians in Name Only. Those who  claim the label  of “Christian” but avoid , at all costs, any actions which are Christ-like.

Who are the CINOS?  Well,  Mike Huckabee is one.  And  homophobe Kim Davis. They want to  be considered “Christians” for all purposes EXCEPT living their lives as  Christians. All the wealthy,  Jesus-Will-Make-You-Rich fundamentalist preachers. All are CINOS.

Those who oppose birth control and abortion while demanding an end to welfare for poor children. Those who seek to criminalize children because their parents are illegal immigrants.  Those who want the benefits of society without paying taxes. CINOS all.

Whether you like  the pope or not,  this particular pope seems to embody the spirit of Christianity. Tolerance. Forgiveness. Responsibility. Responsibility for someone other than your own bank  account. No nastiness. No hostility toward anyone. And that is contrary to  modern American fundamentalist “Christians”.

So,  I propose a new term when labeling these phony “Christians”. Let’s call them CINOS. Christians In Name Only. Those who want the label and privileges of religion while ignoring the social  message. Wanting to be called “Christians” but  refusing to act like Christians.

So, this pope has been an inspiration, There are still Christians who accept the message of Christ. Christians who can follow their faith without being nasty and repulsive. The pope seems to be one of them.

As for the others? Let’s call them what  they are. “Christians in Name Only”.  CINOS.

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Kim Davis Employment Agency

Kim: Welcome to the Kim Davis Employment Agency.  May we,  with the help of the Good Lord, find you a job?

Joe: Yes. I see you have an opening for a Social Studies teaching position. I would like to apply.

Kim: Good. Do you agree with all the terms of employment?

Joe: Well. Not really.I am supposed to teach about Buddhism and Islam but I don’ want to do that.

Kim: No problem. It is your right not to teach about heathens.

Joe: Also. I find it against my beliefs to show up for work on Mondays or Thursdays. Is that okay?

Kim: No problem. You should not have to  compromise your beliefs.

Joe: But I still get full pay, right?

Kim: Of course, no one should be denied pay because of their beliefs.

Joe: A minor problem, perhaps. I am not a certified teacher. I never went to college because all colleges are full of atheists and communists. It was against my firmly held beliefs to associate with intellectuals.

Kim: No problem. We cannot punish you for your desire to remain ignorant and narrow. It is your constitutional right under the 2nd Amendment. So, do you want the job?

Joe: Let me consider. Full pay. No work  on Mondays or Thursdays. No degree needed and teach whatever I want . Praise Jesus.  By the way, it is also against my religion to pay employment placement fees.

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Filed under Churches, clerk, huckabee, Kentucky, Kim Davis, Religion, Rowan County, Supreme Court

Happy Labor Day. Now Get back to Work.

Wages in the US are at a 40 year low when compared to investor profits.  And average workers today make less than workers 40 years ago adjusted for inflation. The capitalist revolution has largely succeeded. Convincing workers that they are indeed undeserving of a decent wage.

So, let’s celebrate Labor Day.

The labor of the slaves was responsible for the southern economy. Free labor, of people stolen from their homes in Africa,  was the driving force behind the plantation system that south fought so hard to maintain. It is hard to fail when you have free labor at your disposal. Easy to build a “good life” for the master and his household. So, the economy of the south was built on free labor. Happy labor Day

The labor of the “white slaves”, the indentured servants, was hardly different. Indentured labor was slavery of a different sort. English and Irish “peasants” or “criminals” stolen from their homeland. Some by force, others by the force of the English law. Taken to America where they labored for 7 or 11 or more years to pay off debts. And to pay for their own passage to slavery. Many died before their indenture was over. No recourse to the law. Happy Labor Day.

The labor of the Chinese came next. Railroad builders of the great transcontinental rail system. Stolen from their homes in China or “shanghaied” from the ports of China. Sold by their families into indenture. They built the railroads and for many the rail sidings were their graves. Mass graves when the work was done and they were no longer welcome. Happy Labor Day.

The labor movement of the early 20th century saw a massive number of workers seeking to unite. The US government called it treason. Any strikes for better wages were met with government and company violence. Workers were required to live and pay rent to their employer. To buy everything at the “company store” Were paid in scrip rather than dollars. Any organizer was labeled a “communist” or a “traitor”. Eugene Debs,when he became too powerful, found himself behind bars. Happy Labor Day.

The post -WW2 labor union boom. Wages increased. Working conditions became safer. benefits were seen as an integral part of the labor contract. And as union wages increased, the wages of non-union workers went up as well due to the upward pressure of job mobility. And corporations thrived . Millions were made. And workers could buy homes and save for the future. Then came the Reagan years and  the worker became evil. A parasite on the “job creators”. Mr Reagan’s first act (after ripping the solar panels from the White House roof) was to bust the traffic controllers union. The trend was set. Government was once more the enemy of labor. Union busting was the goal of government. Happy Labor Day.

The Mexican and Guatemalan and Honduran immigrant labor. Doing jobs no US citizen will do. For low wages. No benefits. No protection from the boss if he decides not to pay. Picking grapes. Washing dishes. Busing tables. Doing construction. Weeding lettuce. Cheap labor. And in return they are blamed for wanting to work. For doing jobs that US citizens refuse to do. they keep food cheap and profits high. Happy Labor Day.

Happy Labor Day. Remember the slaves, the Chinese, the white slaves, the wobblies, the unionists, the immigrant. All of whom have made America what it is. No matter how much “capital” is invested, nothing happens without labor. Nothing gets built. No one gets arrested. No computers are programmed. No one is taught. No garbage gets picked up. No potholes get filled. No electric lines get repaired. No one is cured. No packages are delivered. No food is grown.

Happy Labor Day. Now get back to work.

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Filed under Chinese, Debs, immigrants, slavery, United States

Movie Review: The Three Faces of Reed

(Reblogged from Siskil and Egbert’s Movie Reviews.)

A review of “The Three Faces of Reed”, (a remake of “The Three Faces of Eve”) newly released in the NY 23rd Congressional District.

Starring Jason Alexander (George Costanza of the Seinfeld TV series) as the inimitable, playful and sometimes a little off-center Congressman of NY’s 23 Congressional District, Tom Reed.

This film is set almost entirely in the psychiatric offices of an anonymous shrink in the Southern Tier of New York state. The shrink takes the Congressman back in time through hypnosis (since he cannot otherwise remember what he said or to whom he said it). It is a fascinating study of multiple personality disorder, otherwise know as PAU complex (Politics As Usual).  Jason Alexander does a wonderful job  (an Academy Award nomination is in the works,  I do believe) of portraying a politician who is able to assume different personalities almost at will. A man, who is short, balding and stubby but sees himself as tall, rugged and tough.

There is the (in his mind) tall, rugged, no nonsense, strong-jawed Congressman who is wined and dined by ALEC, the Hydrofracking industry and the NRA. He makes it clear to these lobbyists that he is at their beck and call. For example, a scene in which a widow  sits outside his office waiting for an appointment to see him about his vote to destroy the ACA.

(Scene:) Widow sitting quietly as secretary gazes into a computer screen. Muffled noises from the inner office slowly become louder and more distinct.

“Yes sir. …..Yes , sir…..Yes , sir……. Whatever you say , sir……. Of course, sir……. Just leave the bill on my desk and I will sponsor it…Yes, sir….Yes,  sir….Yes, sir…Oh, no need for that….Well,  if you insist…Thank  you so much , sir….Yes, sir… ”

Three middle aged men,  wearing Armani suits, emerge from the office, glance and sneer at the widow and give each other high fives. “He belongs to us, no doubt about it”. (End of scene)

Then there is the Constitutional scholar whose career as a mortgage broker has made him an expert on the Constitution, foreign affairs and women’s physiology. Another scene from the movie illustrates this Tea Party personality.

(Scene): The Congressman is standing in front of a group of carefully selected “constituents” and delivering one of his most profound and thoughtful speeches. Reed sees himself as 6 foot 5 inches tall and wearing an American flag draped over his shoulder as he peers, steely-eyed, into the carefully selected crowd.

“Founding fathers. 2nd amendment. Safe Act unconstitutional, I don’t care what the courts say. (applause) Obamacare BAD, unconstitutional.(thunderous applause) I  don’t care what the courts say. Heroes. We need to do more for our heroes. Our Veterans. (applause and standing ovation) We need to give them better care. We need to stop spending tax dollars on health care.(applause) We need to give our heroes better health care. Stop spending tax dollars on pork. I brought millions of dollars of federal aid to NY. We need to eliminate pork.

I support health care for our females. Stop Planned Parenthood. (standing ovation, thunderous applause, Star Spangled Banner playing in background) No more funding for abortions.  Not on my watch. Stop funding services for women. We need better health care for our women. Stop Obamacare. Keep government out of our lives. Make abortion illegal.   No more welfare. (applause) Love the unborn. End welfare for children. End birth control. 2nd amendment. No deal with Iran. No nukes for Iran. Nuke Iran. (thunderous applause along with a few “Heehaws”)Founding fathers. OK. Gotta go now”. (End of scene)

Then there is the third personality. The moderate. The sensible Mr Reed who only wants to do what is best for all of us.

(Scene): The Congressman appears at a photo op at the opening of a new gas station.

” I support small business. I love small business. I love America. I support women’s rights. I support sensible government. I support the flag and America. I think we can do better. We need to do better. I support those who support doing better. We can do better if we can only strive to do better. Liberty for all.  Let’s do better together. Together we can do better. Is that better? Don’t be scared. I really mean it (wink)” (end of scene).

So, who emerges at the end of the movie when all the personalities are finally joined? Will it be the “you wash my back and I’ll  wash yours” politician in the pocket of the fossil  fuel industry and the NRA? Will it be the Tea Party crazy who can’t decide if he wants to destroy health care for the poor, scuttle the arms deal  with Iran  and take away a woman’s right to choose or all of the above? Or will it be the smooth talking, say nothing,  do nothing , just get re-elected politician who has no real values or ethics?

We won’t tell you the ending. In the original film it was said that Eve and her personalities were finally joined. But a few years later she again disintegrated back into the multiple state. (Now called DID “Dissociative Identity Disorder”).So, she was never “cured” of her affliction.

What will happen to the Congressman in the end? Will his true personality ever emerge? Stay tuned. This reviewer suspects that there is a very lucrative lobbying career on the horizon at the end of the Hyrdofracking Rainbow for one of those personalities….

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Filed under ACA, Foreign policy, GOP, government, healthcare, Iran, Iran agreement, Neoconservative, nuclear weapons, Obamacare, Politics, right to life, SCOTUS, Supreme Court, tea party