Don’t Blame Trump

Polls show that most Americans blame Trump for the current shutdown. I don’t.

I taught Participation-in-Government classes for high school seniors for about 25 years. So, while I am not an expert I probably know more than most people about  the US Constitution. Which is why I do not blame Trump for the current shutdown.

The president does not make the laws. Maybe a lot of people think the president makes the laws, he doesn’t. He executes the laws passed by Congress. He may decide to prioritize some laws over others, which makes sense and is his right. But he cannot overturn a law or create a law.

That is the job of Congress. The powers of Congress are contained in Article 1 for a reason. The founding fathers put the representatives of the people first. Article 1. Only the Congress can make laws. And all laws requiring appropriation of tax dollars must originate in the House of Representatives. That is the constitution. Clear. Precise. Congress makes the laws.

Now, Mr Trump cannot sign a law unless Congress first passes it. For example, he recently signed a law which will give back pay to the 800,000 federal employees laid off through no fault of their own. Which is curious. That means when this debacle ends, all the workers will get paid. Even though they did no work. Both Congress and the POTUS agree that this is the thing to do.

The House of Representatives have passed a number of bills, 6 I think, to fund all of the government. None of those bills includes funding for a long, 2,000 mile wall. These bills were then sent to the Senate to act on.

So, the ball is in the Senate’s court. Even though the Senate passed the very same bills just last month, the Senate now refuses to even vote on these bills. But wait. Why are they refusing to vote on bills they just passed?

Because of one man. Mitch McConnell. Mitch McConnell is the virtual dictator of the Senate just as Nancy Pelosi is virtual dictator of the House. Whether you like that system or not, that is what it is.

If Mitch McConnell allowed a vote he knows that the bills passed by the House would easily pass. Then those bills would be sent to the president. The president can then decide to sign or veto any or all of them.  But, as of today, Trump is irrelevant.

Obviously the POTUS has some say in what the laws will be. He should. But ultimately it is not Mr Trump’s decision to pass any bill. He cannot sign something that has not been sent to him.

So, don’t blame Trump.

Blame Mitch McConnell. He has decided that he will not even allow a vote to open the government. He has said he will not allow any bill unless Trump gives him permission. Think about that for a moment. The leader of the Senate will only pass bills that the POTUS wants. Period.

That means that the president now controls not only the executive branch, but the legislative branch as well. Exactly the OPPOSITE of what the Constitution demands. A separation of powers.

The proper process is to pass the bills, send them to the POTUS and let the POTUS respond. Mitch McConnell has given all that power , which is supposed to be in the legislative branch, to the executive branch. One wonders why?

So don’t blame Trump for the shutdown. He has nothing on his desk to sign or veto. For some reason Mitch McConnell has decided it is not the job the the legislative branch to legislate.

Don’t blame Trump. Blame Mitch.

 

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Brexit and the Wall

Today the British Parliament will vote on the Brexit plan put forth by Prime Minister May. I don’t know how the vote will turn out.  The fact that they are even bothering with that nonsense shows how easy it is to manipulate voters using racism and BS.

Similar to Trump’s “Wall” idea,  Brexit is just that, an “idea”.

A word.

A concept.

A vague feeling in the gut.

“Life’s but a walking shadow, a poor player

That struts and frets his hour upon the stage

And then is heard no more. It is a tale
Told by an idiot, full of sound and fury,
Signifying nothing.”
(MacBeth, Act 5, Scene 5)
The wall and Brexit are tales told by an idiot, full of sound and fury, signifying nothing.

There never was a plan for Brexit. Just a Putin-backed, Trump supported PR campaign to spread the illusion.The illusion that Britain is being overrun by immigrants from the Middle East. Overrun because of its connections with the EU. The darkies are coming, the darkies are coming !

So, 52% of the British people (mainly in the rural areas) voted to leave the EU. Without any actual debate as to what that divorce would look like. No one knew what the vote actually meant. The Putin-backed campaign to rip the UK from the European Union was based on the simplest propaganda techniques. Say it over and over and over. Keep it vague. Play on fear. Fear of the “other”. The oldest trick in the book. And it stays in the book because it works. A good trick. Play on fear. It works.

So, now the UK is faced with an economic and political catastrophe of its own making. Putin set out the worm of xenophobia. The fearful bit. Took it in . Hook, line and sinker. As they reel in the big one they discover it is not a trout. It is not a pike. It is not a perch or blue gill. It’s an old musty, Russian shoe.

Trump’s wall is the same. First, recall that the “wall” was a mainstay of the Trump-Putin campaign. Go for the fear. Go for the hate. But in the case of the wall, the American people REJECTED the idea. They saw through the BS. Perhaps they understood the geography of the Mexican border. Perhaps they just saw through all the Trump BS.

But, because of our rural-oriented Electoral College, Trump was elected anyway. Even though the majority of the American people had the sense to reject his ideas. So, we have the idea of a “wall”.

No plans. No public hearings. No specifics. One day it is concrete, the next day it is steel slats. One day it costs $ 5.7 billion, but that is only for the start. Eventually it may cost over $30 billion. For what? No one can tell us what it will look like. How it will cross the Rio Grande River in the places where the Rio Grande winds into and out of Mexico. How it will be built across one of the highest mountain ranges in the American. How deep it will have to be built to anchor it in the deserts. How much land will have to be taken from ranchers and farmers, and, of course, from Native Americans.

In other words, it is an “idea” without a specific plan.

But that matters not. Like Brexit, the “wall” is a symbol more than anything else.

A symbol of isolationism. Fear. Hatred of the “other”. A symbol of “Trumpism”.  A solution to a problem that does not exist.

Brexit and the Wall. Two tales told by idiots. Full of sound and fury. Signifying nothing.

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Let’s Hear It For the Wall

What is wrong with a wall? A fence? A barrier? Nothing.

As Barack Obama, Nancy Pelosi, Chuck Schumer, Hillary Clinton and other Democrats have voted for in the past. All of them have voted for partial fences or barriers as part of an overall strategy to control illegal immigration. They cannot deny it. And so did the Republicans. They also voted for comprehensive border control. The Democratic House just passed a bill  that the GOP Senate passed last month. Mr Trump will not sign it. Keeping the government open and border security in place. So, why the controversy over a 2,000 mile wall all the way across the US -Mexico border?

I have a number of barriers on my property. To keep animals in. To keep animals out.

I have a chain link fence across part of my backyard to keep my dogs from running off. They can see through the fence and get chuffed when the squirrels run up the trees. And go absolutely bananas when a few deer lope through the woods. They want to run. They want chase. The fence keeps them in. It works. It performs as expected.

My wife has a field where, in the summer, she keeps her horse. We have an electrified fence around the field. It is just a few wires attached to a low voltage box. When you touch it it creates a small jolt. Enough to teach a horse not to break through. Of course, it doesn’t stop the deer from leaping over it. Or a cat or dog or fox from sneaking under it. It is designed to keep horses in and works quite well. It performs as expected.

Every other year we raise chickens. As meat birds. We have a chicken wire fence around the chicken area. So they can wander around and get some “free range” exercise in their short time on Earth. Initially I put up a fence that had wire squares, too small for chickens to get through. One year we had an extremely small chicken that would run THROUGH the fence and back in again. So, I had to adjust the fence and add chicken wire all around. Problem solved. The chicken fence works well. It performs as expected.

I built that chicken coop for our chickens. Because at night the raccoons come out. And fat juicy chickens are high on the raccoon and fox menu. One of my farmer neighbors lost about a dozen chickens to a weasel one year. Others have lost chickens to foxes. I have never lost a chicken. My coop, which keeps the furry foodstuffs in safely at night is impregnable. The Fort Knox of chicken coops. It performs the expected.

There is about an acre of my property where I don’t have a wall or fence. The part that is a lowland. A swamp. A wetland. It extends from the road to the woods. Even if my dogs escaped they could not run away through it.  The deer avoid it. I cannot walk through it without getting sucked into a squishy marsh. So, it remains an untouched little part of the ecosystem. Putting a fence or a wall around this would be a massive waste of money. I don’t have money to throw away on walls that don’t work. The wetland performs as expected.

Back to the border wall.

Nine members of the US House of Representatives represent districts that border  Mexico. Every one of them opposes a long wall. Not because they want “open borders” but because a long wall , in and of itself, is not the appropriate solution to the problem. All want walls where they work. Near towns and cites. In fact, there are already walls, (voted for by the Dems and GOP) , because they are appropriate. But not across the entire border.

These nine members, who know more than anyone else the problems of illegal immigration, do not want to waste money. They want drones. They want more border security personnel. They want rapid response teams. They want border control that works.

So, do we need a “Wall” across the entire border? Is it even possible to build? What would it cost? More important. Is it the best, smartest way to spend our tax dollars? And why do we shut down the the government over a dispute over a wall?

We need to open up the government. Then we need hearings. Yes, hearings. We have NEVER had any public hearings on the best way to control the border. Let us see the actual wall, where it will go and what it will cost. If a wall or steel barrier is the best way to secure the border, then let us have a public discussion. With experts to testify as to the cost and feasibility.

Perhaps the GOP can make a solid case that the best way to spend tax dollars effectively to control the border is a wall. At this point there is NO SPECIFIC plan for what a wall would look like or cost. Perhaps the Democrats can make the case that the best way is a combination of a wall, where appropriate, and more modern techniques where those work better. At this point they have NO PLAN for border security.

So, let’s have hearings and see what is really going on. If this is so important to Mr Trump should he not welcome the chance to show how and why the 2,000 mile wall will work and what it will cost? With facts? With data? With evidence? With a cost analysis? Shouldn’t those who want other types of border security be allowed to make their case?

So. Open the government. Congressional hearings on border security. Let’s “hear it” for the wall.

From Robert Frost’s “Mending Wall”

Something there is that doesn’t love a wall,
That sends the frozen-ground-swell under it,
And spills the upper boulders in the sun;.....

.....Before I built a wall I’d ask to know
What I was walling in or walling out,
And to whom I was like to give offense....

https://www.poets.org/poetsorg/poem/mending-wall

 

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No Left Turn

At  President Trump’s long speech/ press conference regarding the negotiations over a border wall he made a number of points worth considering.

For example, he pointed out that he may no longer want a concrete wall, despite his recent claims that he wanted a concrete wall. Then he said he wanted a concrete wall. Then he said he wanted a steel wall if that is what the Dems want. Or maybe steel slats you can see through. A negligee wall. A flimsy, provocative steel wall.

He demonstrated his expert knowledge of building materials by explaining that steel is stronger than concrete. That is something we had not considered before. It may be a good idea for the rest of the nation to start using steel instead of concrete. For bridges, railroad tracks, even automobiles and trucks. It would last longer and be stronger. Score one for Mr. Trump.

Another thing he mentioned was that today many Mexicans just drive to the fence or wall and keep driving. Then , they turn left and BINGO!. They are in the USA! Yes, he did. He said that they “turn left” at the end of the wall and just drive into the US! This is outrageous! So, how can we stop them?

My idea. Put a guard at the end of the fence !!! Also, put up a “No Left Turn” sign, maybe even with a traffic light. That would be pretty cheap. Or one of those European socialist traffic circles. The poor fools would never figure out how to get out of one of those. Of course, you would need a big , beautiful sign  in English and in Spanish and (because we have THOUSANDS of Muslim terrorists entering every year) also in Arabic.  Now, when the illegals drive to the end of the fence and try to turn left. GOTCHA ! NAILED ! Sorry, amigo, no entry today.

Mr Trump also pointed out that the Democrats want OPEN BORDERS! Yikes ! They do not want a wall or a fence or even any border security. Yikes! He also pointed out that Chuck and Nancy and the guy from Kenya had, in the past, voted FOR fencing. To the tune of billions of dollars! Now, they don’t want to buy a wall just because Trump wants it. It is ALL ABOUT DONALD. He explained quite eloquently that they want open borders so in the past they have voted for border security…Let me try that again. The Dems want open borders so they have supported billions of dollars for border security.  Just shows how sneaky they are .

Now, the Dems want to open the government until September and appropriate money for Homeland Security and Border Control until February. So they can continue to negotiate on border security issues. But Donald will have none of it. It is too important. It is a national emergency ! Which is why he does not want a bill to fund border security. Because border security is an emergency…So, because it is an emergency he does not want it funded…So…I am lost…

Finally Mr Trump made it clear that while he will not budge on a “big, beautiful, concrete wall” it is ok to call it something else. Maybe a “steel slat”. Or a “fence”. Or, if you want, a “wall”.  But it must be a wall, because modern technology, like sensors and drones,  does not work. As he said, he knows more about technology than anyone. So, there!

And it is also clear that Mexico is paying for the wall, as he promised they would. But, even though Mexico is paying for the wall he still demands that US taxpayers… uh… pay… uh… for the wall. Mexico claims they are NOT paying for the wall. Why would we need US tax dollars to pay for a wall that Mexico is paying for? But Mexico is wrong. Mexico IS paying for the wall. Which is why we need US tax dollars to pay for the wall that Mexico is paying for. Simple. Get it?

So, it all makes sense. Shut down the government to protect the American people. Refuse to fund Homeland Security to keep America Secure. Steel is stronger than concrete. Spend billions of US tax dollars on a wall that Mexico is paying for. Lock Her Up.

And when you come to the end of the wall, turn left. I do.

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Humpty Trumpty

Humpty Trumpty demanded a wall

Made out of concrete

Thirty feet tall.

Humpty Trumpty shut government down

Stomping his feet

Punching the ground.

Humpty Trumpty called in the Dems

Chuckie just sat there

Nancy wouldn’t bend.

So Humpty Trumpty tweeted and moaned

The wall must go up

A no immigrant zone.

Humpty Trumpty begged and he pleaded

But Chuck and Nancy

Would not be defeated.

Humpty Trumpty then asked around

For a  ditch or a fence

Anything above ground.

Humpty Trumpty pretended to win

I got my wall

He tweeted with a grin.

But all Humpty got was some egg on his face

While Pelosi and Schumer

Put him in his place.

Humpty Trumpty sat on his wall to the sky

Then Humpty fell off, but he didn’t die

You see Humpty Trumpty’s wall was a lie

The Great Wall of Mexico…

Just 3 inches high.

 

 

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Prediction results

Last year at this time I made my New Year’s predictions for 2018. As is the current custom, I will grade myself on how well I did.

I predicted that the Philadelphia Eagles would score more points than the New England Patriots in the Super Bowl. (Keep in mind that 12 teams had a shot at the SB when the prediction was made). I thought the refs would give the game to NE anyway, and I was wrong on that. Nevertheless, I give myself 100 points for my prediction,

I predicted that the Cleveland Browns would be thrown out of the league. The Browns are still in the league and did quite well this year. So, since I predicted they would still be a football team I am giving myself 75 points for that one.

I predicted that Mueller would be accused on a crime as a way to try to derail the Trump crimes. Well, a site called “Newspunch” has reported that there is a SECRET indictment against Mueller. We can’t see it because it is secret, but it shows he is a criminal!!! So, I give myself 100 points on that one. I also predicted that Trump would fire Mueller. I give myself 50 points on that one because if he wanted to he could have.

I predicted people would die of boredom watching baseball. The World Series was a 4-1 yawner. My sources tell me that over 145 people dies of “unknown causes”during the series. I give myself 50 points .

I was wrong about FEMA and Puerto Rico. I thought by now the island would have electric power. Instead, we discovered that FEMA had actually shipped all emergency materials OUT of Puerto Rico two weeks before the hurricane hit. One way to keep resources safe!! I give myself 37 points for this one for underestimating the lack of preparedness by FEMA and the corruption.

Thought Scott Pruitt would make a fool of himself denying global warming. (OK, that was easy). I didn’t think he would be caught in a corruption scandal, like Price, etc. So, I ony get 6 points for the obvious.

I predicted the pope would be caught denying the existence of god. I missed on that one. But he did condemn sexual deviance by his priests and bishops. A step in the right direction. So , I give the pope 10 points .

I predicted that Zinke of the Interior Department, whose job it is to protect our national parks, would sell off national parks. He had suggested at least 27 national monuments be taken off the monument list. He also proposed a 13% budget cut in maintenance for our public parks. Is he still in office or has he also resigned due to corruption? I can’t keep up. 100 points for me.

I also predicted that Congress would be virtually useless in 2018 as Trump would simply ignore them. And they would acquiesce. I give myself 1000 points on that one.

So, it was a mixed bag. However, since I am grading myself I have to say I am the BEST prognosticator ever. Without doubt. And I will do even better next year. I know more than all the generals.

Last years predicts:

https://josephurban.wordpress.com/2017/12/

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The Guy At the End Of the Bar

Bartender: Ok, Mack, closing time in 15 minutes.

Guy at the end of the Bar ( GAEOB): (slightly slurring his speech) What a bunch of BS. I paid for my friken drinks. Dammit. One more thing. Didj all see the Bears game?

No one responds.

GAEOB : Stupid coach. He calls a running play on 2nd and one. How’s stupid is dat? He don’t know nuttin. I am smarter than all dem coaches. Pass da ball. Always pass da ball.

Tom (somewhat sober patron sitting at the bar): Yah, but they made the first down and won the game, didn’t they?

GAEOB: Bunch of baloney. I know more than dem coaches. Smarter than all of em. And anudder thing. Build the dam wall. Keep out the Mexicans and the terrorists. A nice big beautiful wall. Dat’s what I say. I got a fence in my yard. You don’t see no terrorists in my yard.

Bartender: Almost closing time, buddy.

GAEOB: Tell ya anudder thing. Those damn Chinese. Don’t talk to me about the Chinese. They cheat. I say, bomb em. Put up tariffs. That’ll teach em.

Tom: But that just makes the things we buy more expensive for us.

GAEOB: Bull- looney. I say don’t buy the Chinese stuff. I never buy Chinese food. Just don’t buy the stuff. I say, shop at Walmart and the Dollar Store. That’ll teach em. Watch em start crawling to us . On their knees. That’ll show the Chinese. And the Japs, too. I say only buy American food. Period. Stop buying chopsticks.

Bartender: OK, bud, you got 5 minutes.

GAEOB: Then there is ISIS. We defeated ISIS. ALL over. All dead. Just like we defeated Iran.

Tom: ISIS is still around. Tens of thousands of them. All over the Middle East and Africa.

GAEOB: Fake news. ISIS is gone. Done. I wiped them out. Another thing. No global warming. No icecaps melting. All fake news. I know more than the scientists. You wanna win a war. Call on me. I know more than the generals.

Tom: Uh… the scientists, highly educated,  have studied these problems for years. And the generals have years of training, education and experience. You know more than them.

GAEOB: Bet your hooters I do. Smarter than all of them. They don’t know nuttin. And all dem darkies on welfare. I say make em work. Nobody gets somethin for nuttin. I know. Tired of all the freeloaders. I get my disability check every month. And my Social Security check. You don’t see me freeloading.

Bartender: OK. Time’s up, old timer. Time to go. the bar is closed.

GAEOB: And anudder thing. The women love me. Love it when I grab em. I am the best, I tell you, the best. I never even met Cohen. Who is Manafort? No Trump Tower. No Trump Tower. Fake. All fake. No collusion! Lock Her Up. Mexico will pay….Lock Her Up!!!

Bartender (on the phone): Yep…uh huh…he got out again…PLEASE send the Secret Service over and tell them to keep a closer tab on this guy. While we are talking tabs…he owes me for 2 years…what…sue me? He’s bankrupt again? I should just charge it to the Treasury?

And so goes the Guy At the  End OF the Bar.

And we will pick up the tab.

 

 

 

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Trump Jeopardy

Alec Trebeck: Welcome back to Jeopardy. We have two categories still open. Our contestants are locked in a 3 way tie, with no one having answered a question correctly yet. So, ladies will go first. Sarah Huckabee Sanders you can pick.

Chuck Grassley: Is it my turn?

Alec: No, Senator, it is Sarah’s turn.

Trent Gowdy: I think we need to investigate that further.

Alec: No, Trent. OK. Sarah, we have 2 categories left. They are: The Answer Is Trump and The Trump Organizations. So, Sarah?

Sarah: I will take The Answer is Trump for 200.

Alec: He said he could grab pussy anytime he wanted because he was famous. Buzzz. Sarah?

Sarah: Who was Hillary Clinton?

Alec: No…no. Who is Donald Trump? Sarah, you still have the choice.

Sarah: The Answer Is Trump for 400.

Alec: He instructed Cohen to spend hundreds of thousands of dollars to pay off women he had sex with while his wife was pregnant. Buzzz. Trent Gowdy.

Trent: What is Benghazi?

Alec: No…no..The answer is: Who is Donald Trump? Please pay attention to the category. Ok, Sarah?

Sarah: I’ll take Trump Organizations for 200.

Alec: This organization took millions of dollars from donors but never spent any of it on charities. Buzzz. Trent.

Trent: What is Benghazi?

Alec: No..no…Buzzz. Senator Grassley.

Grassley: Yes.

Alec: no…no…The answer was : What was the Trump Foundation? Ok. Sarah?

Sarah: Trump Organizations for 400 Alec,

Alec: This real estate business actually was started by Trump’s grandfather, who made his money literally on the backs of women. He ran a whore house. Buzzz. Sarah.

Sarah: Who was the National Football League?

Alec: No…Buzzz. Grassley?

Grassley: Who refused to kneel for the National Anthem?

Alec: No..The answer is : What was The Trump Foundation? Sarah?

Sarah: The Answer Is Trump for 600.

Alec: OK. PLEASE remember the category. Buzzzz. Grassley?

Grassley: World War 2?

Alec: no…please wait for the question. This president and his associates are currently being investigated for criminal activities 15 times…no..16 times..no..17 times and counting. Buzzzz. Trent.

Trent: What is Benghazi?

Alec:.No…no…The question is: Who is Donald Trump? Please keep in mind the category. Sarah, your turn still.

Sarah: I’ll try Trump Organizations for 600 Alec.

Alec: This organization ran casinos that went bankrupt even though it is nearly impossible to lose money running a casino. Buzzz. Grassley?

Grassley: When do we eat? They said we would eat. Somebody told me we would be eating here.

Alec: No..sorry..Buzzz. Sarah?

Sarah: Where is Las Vegas?,Alec.

Alec: No. The answer is: What is the Trump Organization. Sarah?

Sarah: Trump Is The Answer for 800.

(DING DING DING)

Alec: The Daily Double. So, Sarah, how much do you want to risk. You now have no money so you can risk up to 1600.

Sarah: I will risk 7 dollars Alec.

Alec: OK. This Florida university was sued and had to pay its students $25,000,000 for damages due to fraud. For defrauding students. Sarah?

Sarah: uhhh…What ..is…..Harvard University?

Alec: No…no..Buzzzz. Grassley, you can’t answer this one.

Grassley: Well, I know this one. What is the University of Alabama?

Alec: No..no.. The answer: What is Trump University? Sarah, you are still up.

Sarah: I’ll take Trump Organizations for 1000 Alec.

Alec: Ok. PLEASE, PLEASE remember the category is TRUMP organizations. This man ran a real estate business that US banks refused to lend money to, so he went to Russia to get financing. Buzzz. Trent.

Trent: What is Benghazi? …no…no… Who was Hillary Clinton?

Alec: No..no…The answer is: Who is Donald Trump. Sarah?

Sarah: I’ll take The Answer Is Trump for 1000.

Alec: OK. This 2016 presidential candidate was trying to make a deal with Putin to build a tower in Moscow while he was running for president. In 2016. Buzzz. Grassley.

Grassley: Who was Abe Lincoln? He ran for president, didn’t he?

Alec: No..no..The answer is: Who is Donald Trump? Sarah, thankfully we have the last question. PLEASE remember the category. Trump Is the Answer for 800. This man was given given over $ 400,000,000 by his father and still managed to go bankrupt 4 times. Buzzz. Sarah?

Sarah: What is Fake news?

Trent (yelling): BENGHAZI! BENGHAZI !!!

Grassley: Who is Senator Grassley?

Alec: OK OK. So, we will now go to final jeopardy. Since no one has any money we will alter the rules. If anyone gets the final answer correct you will win $100.

The final jeopardy category is: President Trump. The final Jeopardy answer is: This man’s daughter, Ivanka,  son,  Donald and son-in-law Jared will soon be indicted by Robert Mueller. Please write your answer in the form of a question.

(one minute later)

Alec: Ok, Sarah, show us your answer…. ” Who is Donald Duck?”..no…Senator Grassley?…”When do we eat?”…uh..no…Trent Gowdy?…” When will we investigate Benghazi?”..sorry…OK since we have no winners we will determine today’s champion by playing paper , rock and scissors.

(After 7 rounds of paper, rock and scissors produce no winner, Alec goes home)

 

 

 

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Open Border Outrage

News item: In an outrageous decision the Trump administration has opened the border between Mexico and the US to a flood of illegal immigrants.

US soldiers, sent to the border to halt the onslaught of illegal 4 year olds, has instead been ripping out miles and miles of barbed wire fencing! Troops sent down to protect law abiding Americans have instead been used to tear down the only defense we have against Guatemalan and Honduran terrorists!

“…U.S. Army soldiers have removed barbed wire along the US-Mexico border in areas where the Trump administration has said more border security measures are needed after local community leaders raised concerns.

About 2 miles of military-grade wire was removed from city land in Laredo, Texas, according to Customs and Border Patrol (CBP) officials…”

https://www.yahoo.com/gma/trump-argues-wall-border-security-measure-gets-pulled-200004316.html

While president Obama and Secretary Clinton actually voted for increased border security when they were in Congress, this administration is now ripping down the very wall of barbed wire we need to protect us!! Outrageous!! And what reason do they give?

“…As the situation along the border continues to evolve, we will continue to assess our operational needs, including removal of the c-wire,” a CBP official said in a statement to ABC News….”

https://www.yahoo.com/gma/trump-argues-wall-border-security-measure-gets-pulled-200004316.html

What kind of double talk is that? These same folks that are demanding a wall (at the very reasonable cost of only $25,000,000 per mile), are destroying a perfectly good barbed wire barrier and leaving our borders unsecured. UNSECURED !!! And what about the cost?

Now, you can get barbed wire for about $8,000 per mile. And the US military will install it for FREE!. Does it not make more sense to keep the razor wire and save about $24,992,000 per mile? I mean, 40 miles of barbed wire saves the hardworking taxpayers a BILLION bucks! And consider, if you were a 7 year old fleeing for your life and  trying to cross the border wouldn’t you prefer climbing a ladder over a wall  (which might be fun) to crawling through razor wire and cutting your little hands and feet to a bloody pulp?

https://www.homeadvisor.com/cost/fencing/install-a-barbed-wire-fence/

I long for the days when President Obama, called the “Deporter-in-Chief” by illegal Mexicans, was back running the show. Under Obama the illegal immigration rates reached an all time low. He stopped them at the border and sent them back. Illegal immigration  surged again under Trump but are now back to even lower levels than under Obama. So, the barbed wire is working!

So, why is Trump opening the borders to more illegals? Why are our troops sent out to destroy the very barriers that protect us from the women and children of Central America?

Let’s hope that the Democrats in the Congress can restore some sanity and demand that we protect our borders instead of ripping out our protection.

To paraphrase the late, great actor Ronald Reagan: “Mr Trump, do not tear down that wall !”

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Filed under border control, Clinton, Democrat, GOP, immigrants, Immigration, Politics, Trump, United States

Why Mueller Must Go

Before the New Year Mueller must be fired.

Here is why. So far, even with all the “redacted” sections of the plea deals with Cohen , Manafort and Flynn, we see a lot of evidence. Also, various dependable news sources, the New York Times, Washington Post, McClatchy, Mother Jones and the Rolling Stone have all run plenty of stories with evidence of wrongdoing by the Trump associates.

So, the noose is tightening around Mr Trump and his family. Here are some of the strands in the noose.

1. Firing the head of the FBI who refused to drop the investigation of Flynn for criminal activities. Flynn subsequently pleaded guilty to crimes. He is now cooperating with the investigation. He knows a lot.

2. The Trump Tower NYC meeting between Putin agents and the highest levels of the Trump campaign. First, according to Trump, it never happened. Then it happened but it was about “adoptions”. Now, we know it happened and was about coordination with Russia and “dirt” on Clinton. (The “dirt” never existed).

3. Michael Cohen pleading guilty to a variety of illegal activities, including campaign finance fraud. He did this, according to his under oath plea, at the direction of Mr Trump. Mr Trump first denied any knowledge. Then said he may have known, but it was not his money. Then said it was his money but nothing was wrong with it. So, why did Cohen plead guilty to a crime that, according to Mr Trump, does not exist?

4.The connections between Jared Kushner and Saudi Arabia. Saudi Arabia bailed out Kushner on his debt ridden building in NYC, while Kushner was working in the White House. Now, the US has a massive arms deal with the Saudis and is refusing to condemn the murder of Kashoggi, the Saudi journalist who was living in the US. Even though the CIA maintains that the Saudis killed him.

5. The hundreds of thousands of dollars spent at Trump properties by foreign governments while he is in the White House. A violation of the emoluments clause of the Constitution.

6. The connections between the NRA and the Russian government, via Maria Butina, in the moving of millions of dollars in campaign funds to support the Trump campaign. The NRA spent a record $30,000,000 supporting the Trump election effort, much of it untraceable until now. Did the typical, honest member of the NRA know it was working in cahoots with the Russians? Nope.

7. The Trump organization money laundering of Russian money through their hotels , not only in the US, but in Scotland and possibly other countries. Trumps’ kid bragged about getting Russian money when US banks refused to lend money to the Trump family . (Why not? Too many bad deals where the lenders were screwed). Trump’s tax returns, which he refused to release not only before the election but even today, hold the key.

8. And, last but not least, all the other stuff Mueller has on the Trump kids and Trump organization. Information we will learn about when Mueller makes his final report.

So, Mueller must be fired. The partial, fragmentary evidence is already overwhelming. Mueller must be fired while the GOP still controls the government. Once the Democrats take over in the House of Representatives it will be too late for Trump. The truth will all come out. In detail.

Expect a 2 AM tweet sometime soon:

“Fake Mueller WICH HUNT must END. For guud of the cuntry. Mueeller must go. NO COLLISION! President found NOT GUILTY !!!! Muller…Your FIRED ! (@ real Donald Trump).”

 

 

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Filed under Constitution, Democrat, Elections, GOP, government, liberals, Politics, POTUS, Republicans, Taxes, Trump, Trump University, United States

The Blue Wave?

In 2018 the American people had a choice. Stick with President Trump and the GOP or return the Dems to power. The results are in. Almost.

In some districts in NY and California they are still counting ballots. Many were submitted by mail and have yet to be tallied. It is taking  a while. And the Republic still stands.

Which is an aside. Why not just have all paper ballots? It takes a little longer to count, but so what. We have an election in early November and the new Congress takes office in early January. That is almost 60 days. Plenty of time .

Paper ballots are not subject to computer fraud or machine error. They cannot be hacked by the Russians or the Chinese. Large numbers of votes can’t be “accidentally” or intentionally switched. The safest, most reliable form of voting. But I digress.

The results of the 2018 elections:

Governors: 20 Republicans won; 16 Dems won. The GOP holds 27 states, mostly in the south and plains. The Dems hold 23, mostly in the far west, the upper Midwest and the east. More significant is that Alaska switched from the Independent to the GOP, while Nevada, New Mexico, Kansas, Wisconsin, Illinois, Michigan and Maine switched from the GOP to Dems. 45 million voted for Dem governors while 42 million voted for GOP governors.

Senate: Dems won 21 seats plus 2 (Vermont and Maine) that caucus with the Dems. GOP won 11 seats. A final total of 23-11. On the Senate elections 55.6 million Americans voted Democratic, while 34.4 million voted GOP. Pretty decisive.

The House of Representatives: Dems won 234 seats, the GOP won 198 with three seats yet to be decided. The GOP leads in 2 (NY 27 and NC-9) while the Dems lead in 1 (CA-21). Total votes for GOP candidates was 49.6 million and for Dems was 56.1 million). Pretty decisive.

Two things are obvious. It was a major Democratic wave election  and the country is still rigidly divided as far as political party voting is concerned.

The people voted fairly decisively for Democratic candidates and Democratic  policies. Again. Mr Trump went around to a few states and did a good job of rallying his base (except in Montana). But the Democrats, without a true national leader, did a better job of speaking to the issues and getting out the vote. A lesson for future elections.

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Filed under Congress, Democrat, Elections, GOP, government, governor, Politics, Republicans, Senate, Society, Trump, United States

General Admission Seating

Depending on which story you want to believe, there are somewhere between 4,000 and 7,000 men, women and kids from Central America moving northward to seek asylum in the USA. Rather than get into the facts of how this administration has fomented this “crisis”, just look at some numbers.

The US has a population of about 325,000,000. That is 325 million people.

For the sake of argument I will accept the higher number. 7,000 versus 325,000,000.

Pretty scary!

Now, about half or more of these 7,000 are women and children. And, under US law everyone has a right to apply for asylum. That does not mean they will get it, but they can apply. So, we have 7,000 folks fleeing violence and death. Did I mention we have a nation of 325,000,000?

Let us suppose that every single asylum seeker get admitted. That would have the effect of adding 14 people to the city of Detroit, Michigan. About 12 new people to Raleigh, North Carolina. 3 more folks in San Bernadino, California.  Maybe 4 people to Topeka, Kansas.

Another example may better illustrate. We are crazy about football in the US. So what if we offered every member of the caravan a free football ticket. General admission seating, of course.

So, we offer these 7,000 folks tickets to a football game. How would that look?

For example, in the Rose Bowl, these folks would take up 2 of the 28 sections. Well, not exactly. Less than 2 sections, but close enough. In most other stadiums they would take up maybe 3 sections.

Unless you are talking high school, of course. For example, at the Texas Alamo High school stadium these men, women and children would take up just about 33%! Imagine, a high school football game where every third person is an immigrant seeking asylum. One game, one stadium, that’s the entire caravan.

This is why the US sent the most highly trained military in the world to the border? (Admittedly it was the WRONG border. They were sent to Texas; the caravan is heading to California…but I digress). To stop a “caravan” composed mainly of women and children that would not even fill up half of a Texas high school football stadium? SCARY!!!

Next time you see the massive numbers of scary asylum seekers as shown by the news, just imagine how much space they actually take up at a college football game. But don’t buy the asylum seekers expensive  box seats.

Just give them general admission tickets.

 

 

 

 

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Filed under economics, immigrants, Immigration, logic, Politics, United States, violence

Massive Voter Fraud

We finally have proof of the massive Democrat voter fraud in this year’s election.

As President Donald Trump stated in an interview on November 14, 2018:

“The Republicans don’t win and that’s because of potentially illegal votes,” Trump said. “When people get in line that have absolutely no right to vote and they go around in circles. Sometimes they go to their car, put on a different hat, put on a different shirt, come in and vote again. Nobody takes anything. It’s really a disgrace what’s going on.”

 

https://www.vox.com/2018/11/14/18095592/trump-voter-fraud-disguises-cars-daily-caller-interview

I live here in Trump country where Donald had massive support and the GOP still does have massive support. So I know what Donald is talking about.

When I went to vote on Tuesday I carefully observed the 6 people in line. One that stood out was 98 year old Thelma Bumbleknickers.

I watched Thelma drive up to the parking lot at the rate of 16 MPH and park across 3 spaces. Then, she took out her walker and stumbled out of the car. She looked to the right and to the left, then she walked around in a circle three or four times  trying to locate the polling place.

Finally, she meandered up to the polling place and went in. I followed her. She had no ID because she had left her purse at home but that is not a problem in NY. She was on the voter rolls and everyone knew who she was, so they gave her a ballot which she held upside down and took into the booth.

Twenty  minutes later Thelma wandered out of the voting booth and handed her ballot to me. I turned it over to the poll worker who put in the machine. The electronic ballot counting device lit up like the winning numbers on a Vegas slot machine. Evidently Thelma had filled in every bubble for every name on the ballot. She then asked the poll worker if her card was the winning number and if she had won the “bingo” combination.

I followed Thelma to her Edsel, watching her walk in circles. She finally managed to get in, sat there for a few minutes and got out again. She put on her MAGA hat and a sweater. After all, it gets a bit chilly in NY in November.

Thelma then pulled out her walker, walked in circles and headed back to the polling place. The poll workers immediately recognized her and gave her a Sudoku puzzle. Thelma wandered into the voting booth and sure enough, 20 minutes later she emerged with all the squares checked of. She handed the puzzle to me. I handed it to the poll worker who smiled and set it aside.

Thelma then walked out and headed toward her car.

While I watched she proceeded to come in to “vote” three more times. Finally a poll worker walked her to her car and pointed to the road. Thelma drove off and proceeded to drive away at 18 MPH with a line of cars honking behind her.

I asked the poll worker about her attempts to vote so many times.

“Oh, that’s just Thelma”, he said, “she does this every election. Poor thing doesn’t have a clue”

So, Donald Trump is right. There are voters who walk around in circles, change their clothes  and hats and attempt to vote multiple times. They mean well. They don’t know any better. Folks without a clue.

We call them Republicans

 

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Filed under Elections, GOP, government, Politics, Republicans, Society, Trump, United States

Honoring the Veterans

I am basically a pacifist. Well, a conditional pacifist. I think the best way to keep the peace in this day and age is to have a strong military. To act as a deterrent to dictators like Putin and Kim . But not to use the military for political stunts. Like border patrol.

So, I do not glorify the military. I see it as a necessary arm of government, much like the EPA or Social Security. Also, keep this in mind. Although some claim that the US military is underfunded, the fact is that the US spends quite a bit on national defense.

For example, in 2017 the US spent $610,000,000,000 (That’s billion). The next 6 countries, in order, spent:  China ($228 billion), Saudi Arabia ($70 billion), Russia ($66 billion) , India ($64 billion), France ($58 billion). In other words, the US spends MORE than the next 7 or 8 nations combined.  Just some perspective.

Once a year (actually more often than that) we take time out to honor the dead veterans from past wars and honor the current veterans. Speeches are made. Wreaths are laid. Songs are sung. Flags are waved.

On Veteran’s Day in particular. The most important day for remembering. A day that even the most avowed pacifists recognize as a day to say “Thank you” to veterans. Thank you , Dan, my reluctant veteran friend. Thank you, Bob and Rich, the two gay married veterans who live down the street. Thank you Sean and would be veteran Connor, both stationed overseas. Thank you to my deceased father in law, Bill. And on and on and on.

But President Trump did not honor the veterans this weekend. While all the leaders of Europe marched in Paris, France to honor the millions who died in the “War to End All Wars”, Mr Trump and Mr Putin decided not to show up.  While other members of the administration drove to the American cemetery outside of Paris, Mr Trump decided not attend, the excuse being it was raining.

Every president places a wreath at Arlington on Veteran’s Day to honor the Americans who have died in wars. It is a 10 minute drive from the White House. For two years in succession Mr Trump has failed to do so.

Mr Trump, who had a doctor’s excuse to get him out of the Vietnam War, has not been present to honor veterans. They are not high on his list of priorities.  The man who used a bogus doctor’s excuse of “heel spurs” to avoid service. The man who castigated John McCain for being captured and held captive and tortured. The man who said he knows more about military strategy than the generals.

Not showing up.

Perhaps that is the best way for him to honor the veterans. Not showing up.

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Filed under government, Politics, president, Trump, United States, US

Have We Ever Met?

As soon as the Democrats whupped Donald Trump in the midterms he immediately fired Jeff Sessions, his Attorney General.

Jeff Sessions was lockstep in implementing all of Trump’s policies. He refused to act on any voter suppression cases. He refused to enforce the Voting Rights Act. He refused to enforce environmental laws. A Trumpster all the way.

Jeff Sessions was the first US Senator to endorse Trump. He was the first Senator to wear that goofy hat. Like Trump, he has a long history of racial discrimination. Birds of a feather.

BUT, following the required law, Sessions had to recuse himself from overseeing the Mueller probe. Because he, himself, had met with Russians and later lied about it. This made Trump mad. Not the meeting part. Not the lying part. The recusal part.

So, another in a long line of Trump sycophants is thrown under the bus. Or out the window of Trump Tower. Into the Trump fecal pond. So be it.

Now, Trump has appointed a new acting Attorney General (emphasis on “acting”). A Fox news guy who has long held that the Supreme Court is not allowed to interfere with the president. That the president is above the law.

OK. So he is a Trump stooge. What else is new?

Well, according to Trump this guy is a great man. People in the White House say he is a man who Trump has met with a number of times. A man highly respected. They get along real good. Or, do they ? Uh…wait a minute.

Well, Trump, who just appointed this totally unqualified weight lifter to become the HIGHEST attorney in the land  NOW claims he doesn’t even know the guy.

“Who are you? Do I know you? Wanna be Attorney General? Okey dokey, you got the job. Gotta run. ”

He just appointed this complete stranger to the leadership of the Department of Justice.

According to the NY Times ..the “FAILING” NY Times….

“Mr. Whitaker, who now oversees the investigation, has visited the Oval Office several times and is said to have an easy chemistry with the president, according to people familiar with the relationship.

“I don’t know Matt Whitaker,” Mr. Trump told reporters as he left Washington for a weekend trip to Paris. “Matt Whitaker is a very highly respected man.””

Appointing someone he does not even know. Hmmm. If it were true it just might be a step in the right direction.

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Filed under Constitution, GOP, Politics, Republicans, Society, Supreme Court, Trump, United States

Voting Should Easy For All

I went to vote this morning at my very rural polling place. It was very easy.

At the polls were only 2 people other than my wife and I. Which is typical. Here in the rural areas it is very easy to vote. We actually chatted about our dogs with the poll worker, who also happens to be a vet. Also chatted with the other poll workers. No rush. No lines. No problem.

I have been voting since 1972. Usually in small towns and rural areas. I have never had to wait more than 15 minutes or so. And even that wait time has been rare. The polls are open from 6 AM to 9 PM. Plenty of time to vote.

So, it is somewhat disturbing to see areas of the country where lines are long. Where citizens have to wait for hours to take part in democracy. Where polls are sometimes intentionally place in difficult to reach areas , as in the Dodge City, Kansas case this year. Voting should be easy.

In some of these cases the Republican party, which runs the state elections, intentionally seeks to keep urban dwellers from voting. Why? Because urban dwellers are statistically more likely to vote for liberals. As are young people. Which is why some states try to prevent college students from voting. It makes sense if you don’t believe in democracy

In Kentucky the polls close at 6 PM. 6PM !! Doesn’t that prevent many working people from getting to the polls, especially single mothers and single fathers. If you don’t want working people to vote, that makes sense.

In North Dakota the Republican state leadership has intentionally tried to prevent Native Americans from voting. They passed a voter ID law that requires a specific address. Even though the Native Americans on reservations do not have specific addresses and use PO Boxes instead. Why? They tend to vote liberal. I mean, how can anyone claim that NATIVE AMERICANS , of all people, are ILLEGAL immigrants who don’t live in the USA? LOL

It makes sense if you do not believe in democracy.

It makes sense if you don’t want the people to decide who leads them.

We should have a voting holiday. Like so many other holidays, voting day should be a national holiday. A tribute to democracy. We should have a national voter ID that gets sent to every citizen when they reach the age of 18. A specific, unique number, like your social security number. Free of charge.

You don’t have to register to go to church. You don’t have to register to write a letter to a newspaper or write a blog. Or to assemble to ask for a change in a law. There is no national (or in some states any) registration to own a gun. Why not? Because these are your rights.  But the powers that control the various states demand a special, sometimes complicated processes to allow you to exercise another right. The right to vote.

Until the roadblocks to voting are pulled down we will continue to have a government elected by a minority. Which tells me that those who power do not really believe in democracy.

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Sore Winners, Sore Whiners

In 2016 the folks who voted for Donald Trump got what they wanted. Donald Trump. The Republican party took control of the Senate, the House of Representatives, the White House and the Supreme Court.

Since the election Mr Trump and the Republican party have been able to name 2 new justices to the Supreme Court. These justices will help determine the laws for the next 30 years. They will likely overturn a woman’s right to choose. They will likely continue to support voter suppression laws. As promised.

Since the election Mr Trump and the Republican Party have passed a $1,500,000,000,000 tax cut, with $1,200,000,000,000 of that going to the top 1%. As promised.

Since the election Mr Trump and the Republican Party have done much to gut the Affordable Care Act and cut spending on social programs. They have gutted environmental protections. Sold public land to gas and oil and timber leases for corporate profit. Built the pipeline. Added billions to the military. As promised.

Since the election Mr Trump and the Republican Party have dropped out of the Global Warming agreements, dropped out of the US-Asian trade agreements, imposed tariffs on China and Europe and in general done everything possible to destroy international treaties and cooperation. As promised.

So, why are they so mad? Why are they so unhappy? Why are the Trump supporters still chanting “Lock Her Up”? Why are they frightened  all the time? Why do they fear 5 year old Honduran girls? Why so much hate? Why so much whining and complaining?

They wanted a conman, a xenophobe and a racist. They got it. They wanted a political party that suppressed the votes of minorities and that redefined American as “white”, not “diverse”. They got it. They wanted a political party that put profits ahead of people. They got it.

So why the whining? The Republican Party and Donald Trump have had complete control of the political process for 2 years and have accomplished almost everything they wanted. So, why the whining?

There is nothing they cannot make a law about. So, why the whining?

Never in US history have so many “winners” turned into so many “whiners”.

It would be interesting to find out why the folks who won the last election are so miserable.

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ISIS is Innocent

For a long time I thought people  like Osama bin Laden and the leaders of ISIS were evil. That they fomented violence against the US. They should be blamed for 9/11 and other bombings and murders committed by their supporters.

By was I wrong.

I just learned that propaganda and words have no value. No influence. Mere words cannot be the cause of violence. Or even influence violence. The supporters of Trump have taught me that I was wrong.

Donald Trump has made a living calling for violence against his opponents. Calling the jailing of Hillary Clinton, implying that she is a criminal . Claiming that Barack Obama created ISIS, implying that he is a terrorist. Calling Mexicans and Guatemalan immigrants rapists and murderers. Claiming that CNN is the enemy of the people. The list goes on.

But none of the president’s words or claims or lies has any effect on his supporters. According to Trump and his team. And Fox.

When Trump supporters murder Jews or blacks or immigrants or gays, they are acting only on their own. They are not part of any racist movement. They are not part of any white nationalist agenda. They are not influenced by the President of the United States. Mr Trump can say whatever he wants and it has no effect on them.

So the Trump administration would have us believe. His words have no influence. He cannot be blamed for setting a tone. He has killed no one. He simply says stuff.

Which why I can now proclaim that Osama bin Laden is an innocent. He never flew a plane into the World Trade Center. He could not help it if some of his followers took his rhetoric too seriously. Bin Laden just said stuff. It had no effect on his followers.

And ISIS is innocent. Yes, they say Americans are evil. But it is not their fault that some wack jobs in the Middle East kill Americans to root out evil. Their words do not matter. They have no effect on their followers.

So, let’s stop criticizing racist speech. Let us rehabilitate Pol Pot, Hitler, Stalin and the rest. They only said stuff. Like Mr Trump, they are innocent of any actions taken by their followers.

ISIS is innocent.

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Filed under candidate, Christianity, Clinton, gays, GOP, Hilllary, Islam, Judaism, nazi, Politics, POTUS, Religion, Republicans, Trump, United States

Extreme Ithaca Liberals

My congressman, Tom Reed of NY-23, has once again started his biennial smear campaign against any candidate who dares run against him. Those of you who follow Mr Reed may remember his previous campaigns in which he simply outright lied about the political positions of his opponents. Or maybe you are familiar his lockstep support of Mr Trump. With most of his financing coming from out of the district organizations and PACs , and corporate organizations like ALEC, he is very successful in flooding the mailboxes with lies and half-truths. (97% of Reed’s money comes from PACs and large donors, 2.5% from small donors). It works.

This year one of his managers  has started a website devoted to the “Extreme Ithaca Liberals”, which is supposed to be an insult to his mostly  moderate, mainstream and slightly liberal opponent, Tracy Mitrano. Some of his supporters even show up at rallies with “Extreme Ithaca Liberal” banners.

I guess when you can’t run on your accomplishments all you can do is try to smear the other guy. To his credit, Tom Reed does have a couple accomplishments. He has voted to end the ACA a number of times, taking away health care from his constituents. He voted for the billionaire tax giveaway, to the tune of $1.5 trillion which I suppose does benefit a couple of his constituents here in the economically depressed western NY. And he wants to pay for that tax giveaway by cutting Social Security and Medicare. Fair enough.

But enough about Tom. Let’s investigate the “Extreme Ithaca Liberals“. Those of you not familiar with this part of the country may wonder why he uses the word “Ithaca“. After all, his opponent, Tracy Mitrano lives in Penn Yan, not Ithaca.

Well, “Ithaca” is a dog whistle for “highly educated”. Home of Cornell University. On that account Mitrano stands guilty as charged. She does have a BA, MA and Ph.D. from different institutions. As well as a JD from Cornell, (hence the “Ithaca” connection.)  While many would consider being educated a plus, I suppose to Reed and his supporters that may be a disqualifying if not terrifying quality in a lawmaker. Who knows?

But, I digress. Back to the “Extreme Liberal” part of the equation. Let’s look back over the years and see what “extreme liberals” have done for America. Or, as Tom would say, how have they destroyed America?

I offer a partial list of “extreme liberal” programs, all of which were opposed at the time by conservatives as being either “socialist” or “communist” or an infringement on “states’ rights”. I would like to see Tom respond to these extreme liberal programs and tell his constituents which ones he wants to do away with. Which ones made America a worse place to live? Here they are:

Social Security. Before the Social Security program was out in place over 50% of elderly Americans lived below the poverty level. And many more were just on the cusp.  FDR and the extreme liberals passed the program. At the time the opponents called it “communist” and predicted it would quickly lead to the downfall of America. Today, that number of elderly below the poverty level is 8%. Is that a bad thing?

Medicare. Before Medicare many elderly could not afford to purchase health insurance of any kind. The emergency room was their only option. Now all older Americans get preventative and necessary health care through Medicare. The extreme liberals made it happen.  Is that a bad thing?

Medicaid. Before Medicaid millions of poor Americans could not afford health care. Including millions of children. Now, the poorest of the poor can at least get basic preventative care and treatments. The extreme liberals passed this law. Is that a bad thing?

The ACA, (Obamacare). Before the ACA was enacted over 40,000,000 still had no heath insurance. They would get their health care at emergency rooms.. People with pre-existing conditions could not get insurance. Basic preventative care was denied to millions. Now, Mr Reed WAS able to get health care. Because of his obesity problem he and his doctor agreed to an operation.  He and his doctor thought that was the best treatment for him. Extreme liberals support that. Extreme liberals are happy that Mr Reed and his doctor were able to make that decision. Extreme liberals believe that all Americans should have access to the same quality of care. Is that a bad thing?

Social Security Disability. Before this program the disabled and children who lost a parent simply had to fend for themselves. When Tom was a little boy his father died. Luckily the extreme liberals had provided that his mother could get extra money for baby Tommy to help with the bills through the Social Security survivors program. Is that bad? Oh…by the way.. In 2015 Tom Reed  proposed a rule to stop funding the Social Security Disability program when it gets low. This has always been done by reallocating funds from Social Security. A fix that had been done under both GOP and Democratic administrations.  This rule would mandate the disability program  to cut benefits instead.

The Voting Rights Act. Many states, especially in the south, had laws designed specifically to keep African-Americans from voting. Poll taxes. Literacy tests. Grandfather clauses. Simply refusing to register blacks. The voting Rights Act changed that, trying to make sure all citizens can vote. The extreme liberals made that happen. Was that bad?  (Evidently so, since many states have re-instituted voter suppression laws now that the Supreme Court has overturned parts of the Act.)

Equal Accommodation Laws. After World War 2 men who fought and were injured fighting totalitarian governments came home. Some of them were told they could not eat in restaurants. Could not use the bathroom. Could not drink from the water fountain. Could not sit at the lunch counter. Had to ride in the back of the bus. Could not buy a house in this neighborhood. Could not send their children to the good school. Could not enter the university. The extreme liberals thought that was wrong and changed the law to prevent discrimination based on skin color. Was that bad?

I could go on and on and on, Food Stamps, Environmental Protection laws, minimum wage laws, worker safety laws, etc.  The bottom line is that most of the progress we take for granted in our daily lives was due to the “Extreme Ithaca Liberals” types.

So when Mr Reed’s supporters show up with signs and post websites about those “Extreme Ithaca Liberals” we might take a moment to ponder what our society would look like today without Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, Minimum Wage Laws, the EPA, The ACA, Voting rights and a host of other programs we take for granted as normal.

Tom Reed would take those programs away if you give him the chance to do so. He is not an “Extreme Ithaca Liberal“.

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The Volunteers

(On October 9,2018 I visited Auschwitz and Birkenau.)

Part 1.

Walk Auschwitz.

Words cannot describe. I have seen photos and movies. Schindler’s List. Sophie’s Choice. I have read the accounts and read about the numbers.

Walk Auschwitz.

Jews. Poles. Hungarians. Children. Russians. Gypsies. Women. Englishmen. Priests. Elderly. Rabbis. Intellectuals. Homosexuals. Disabled. Mentally ill.

Walk Auschwitz.

Over 1,300,000 human beings. Gassed. Starved to death. Shot. Suicide by throwing themselves against the high voltage fence. Hanged. Loaned out. Experimented on. 1,300,000 human beings. A number so large it loses meaning.

Walk Birkenau.

Walking the same walk as the victims. Walking the same walk as the guards. Piles of suitcases with names and addresses written in bold. The pots and the pans. Brought by women to their new home. To cook for their families. The prayer shawls, clean and fringed.The hill of shoes. The room full of human hair. The hair. Long and brown. Flowing hair of a young women. Braids. The tight braided hair of a young girl. The hair. So much hair.

Walk Auschwitz.

If you can walk through Auschwitz and Birkenau and not be sickened, there is something wrong with you.

If you can step into the gas chambers and gaze at the ovens and not be disgusted, there is something wrong with you.

If you can view the small starvation cell, the asphyxiation cell, the gallows, the rows and rows and rows of wooden buildings holding the living dead and not be nauseated, there is something missing in you. You are less than human.

Part 2. On another level

Walk Auschwitz and Birkenau.

Auschwitz and Birkenau were the natural endpoint of the Nazi philosophy. The logical conclusion to the concept of the “master race”

Wedded with the philosophy of corporate profit . the marriage of the coercive power of the state and the financial power of corporations. A philosophy unfettered by normal human emotion or empathy.

The human beings housed at Auschwitz and Birkenau contributed to the profits of the German war industry. The chemical industry. The medical establishment. Science.

German corporations paid the NAZI regime for the laborers. Worked to death because more were always on the way. Cheap. Efficient. Labor.

Companies like Bayer (of Bayer aspirin) paid for research subjects. Try new medicines. Cheap subjects for drug trials. Human beings as test subjects for new procedures. Use and dispose. Next, please. Plentiful and cheap.

The Buna-Werke synthetic rubber factory. Labor needed for the war industry. Priority labor from the camps. Eleven hour days. Minimum required by law.

The perfect, logical union of government power, racist philosophy and corporate profits. Auschwitz and Birkenau were death camps, but they were also very efficient money making machines.

Auschwitz and Birkenau were inevitable. The only possible result of the “logic” of the master race. All “others” were less than human. As such they could be used and abused. They SHOULD be used and abused. Tortured. Killed. Terrorized into submission. Worked to death. Experimented on. All for the good of the master race. Logical. Precise. Cold, calculated logic. For the homeland. Vaterland. The Reich.

What about the doctors who experimented? The guards who tortured? The business owners who profited? The Nazi commanders whose wives and little children lived with them just outside the electrified fences? The German soldiers who brutalized and mocked and punished? The men who  dropped the canisters of Zyklon B into the gas chambers? Who watched and waited patiently for the women and children to choke to death?

No one was forced.

All were volunteers.

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Filed under government, homosexual, Judaism, logic, nazi, Politics, Society, swastika, workers

Brett Kavanaugh, An Effort to Conceal

Brett Kavanaugh is a man of many faces. Many lives. Many lies. Many reincarnations.

There was the Brett Kavanaugh who demanded the Starr inquiry go after Bill Clinton’s sex life. He wanted every lurid detail made public. Nothing should be out of bounds. The people had the right to know.

There was the Brett Kavanaugh who worked in the Republican Party in the hard fought, controversial 2000 presidential election. He was a state’s rights conservative. He believed in the power and laws of the state governments. Then helped Mr Bush in his court case that ended the election without a recount of the Florida votes. Even though, BY FLORIDA LAW, a recount was mandated. Disregarding the laws of the state of Florida. So much for “state’s rights”.

There was the Brett Kavanaugh who was subsequently rewarded, by placing him on the White House staff. He vetted and advised the president on all judicial appointments. He was Mr Bush’s conservative aide. He was central to the decision making process. Did he advise on the Iraq invasion? On torture? On the stolen Democratic documents? He won’t say. We don’t know. The Senate is not allowed to know. Why?  Because 90% of his written work has been withheld from the public and from the Senate.

There was the Brett Kavanaugh who testified before the Senate Judiciary Committee. Calm. Intelligent. Respectful. Politely evading answers to even even the most basic questions. Cool Hand Brett. A man who, by his calm temperament, demonstrated the fair mindedness expected of a jurist. A serious student of the law. No time for foolishness. A man for the ages.

And then Dr Ford happened.

She described how a young Brett Kavanaugh and a buddy tried to rape her when she was a 15 year old girl. And laughed at her. Others came forward to talk about his drunkenness and how he behaved when he had too many beers. How he became belligerent when drunk. Mean, Aggressive.

Then another Brett Kavanaugh showed up. Angry. Emotionally unbalanced. Distraught. Accusatory. Sarcastic. Snarky. Belligerent. Mean. Aggressive.

The mask was off. The real Brett Kavanaugh emerged. A man who believed, in all his heart, that it was his birthright to be appointed to the Supreme Court. A man who answered simple, direct questions with angry, hostile sarcasm. A man whose temperament demonstrated not the calmness of a judge, but the arrogance and nastiness of a political hack. A man of character whose character showed through loud and clear, but especially loud.

So, now we are left with a further investigation by the FBI . Maybe something new will be discovered, maybe not. In either case, we have seen the real  Brett Kavanaugh beneath the mask. And it ain’t a pretty sight.

But perhaps we should all take a deep breath, stop, and remember these words written in a memo at a different time and place concerning a different political/sexual scandal.

“He has lied to his aides.”

“He has lied to the American people. He has tried to disgrace you” — meaning Mr. Starr — “and this office with a sustained propaganda campaign that would make Nixon blush.”

“It may not be our job to impose sanctions on him, but it is our job to make his pattern of revolting behavior clear — piece by painful piece,” 

“Aren’t we failing to fulfill our duty to the American people if we willingly ‘conspire’ with the president in an effort to conceal the true nature of his acts?”

Perhaps we should heed the words of the author while we contemplate the fate of Brett Kavanaugh. After all, those are the words of Brett Kavanaugh in one of his previous lives, as a member of Ken Starr’s prosecution team.

As Mr Kavanaugh said to the Democrats on the Judiciary Committee. “What goes around comes around”.

 

 

http://time.com/5386461/brett-kavanaugh-confirmation-hearings-bush/

https://www.mypalmbeachpost.com/news/brett-kavanaugh-florida-ties-elian-2000-vote-recount-terri-schiavo/KW4h9QMoAZd7mogcLv7AdP/

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Filed under abortion, Clinton, Conservatives, Constitution, Democrat, GOP, liberals, Neoconservative, neoconservatives, Politics, Republicans, SCOTUS, Society, Supreme Court, Trump, United States, US

High School Calendar

Two events coincided this weekend for me. One was the accusations and explanations regarding Judge Brett Kavanaugh and his possible sexual predatory behavior when he was a young man. The other was my 50th high school reunion.

First, Mr Kavanaugh. He has been accused of attempted rape when he was drunk and in high school. The accuser will be heard next week in the Senate committee hearing. He has denied any untoward behavior. In his defense a former Republican Congressional candidate named Gina Sosa came to his defense. I guess.

“I mean, we’re talking about a 15-year-old girl, which I respect. You know, I’m a woman. I respect,” Sosa told CNN. “But we’re talking about a 17-year-old boy in high school with testosterone running high. Tell me, what boy hasn’t done this in high school? Please, I would like to know.”   

http://time.com/5404108/brett-kavanaugh-sexual-assault-high-school-gina-sosa/

That got me thinking about my old high school buddies. As I said, the 50 year reunion just took place and I had not seen most of these guys in, well, 50 years. Like Brett Kavanaugh, I went to an all male Catholic High School. My class size was about 100, so we got to know each other fairly well. Now, my memory is not the greatest but I do not recall attempting to rape anyone.

As I looked around the hall at my 50th reunion I saw men who had traversed a wide variety of life paths. Ph.Ds. Scientists. Entrepreneurs. Teachers. Musicians. A whole lot of successful, fulfilled lives. Of course, I remember us all as teenagers. Goofy. Smart. Athletic. Funny. Serious. Mentally undeveloped. Full of potential.

As I looked around the room I could not imagine any of us at the age of 17. Or 27. Or 57. Any of us at any age attempting to rape a girl. Jim? Ed? Jack? Tim? Tom? Dan? Dave? Nope. Not a rapist in the group. Were we the “oddballs” of America? Unsuited to the title of “typical teenage boy”?  Should we be embarrassed by our lack of real manhood? According to Gina Sosa we were far out of the norm. I hope not. I think not.

Which leads me to another point. In the attempt to “prove” that Brett Kavanaugh did not attempt to rape this girl, he has produced a calendar. A calendar he kept as a 17 year old boy. This piece of evidence demonstrates beyond a doubt that this young man never attempted to rape anyone.  While I personally think keeping a calendar of your activities at 17 is a bit odd. So be it. What is even odder is keeping that calendar for 30 years. So be it. But, to his credit, Brett nowhere mentions that he raped anyone. A careful check of all entries and no “Attempted rape tonight” showed up anywhere. Case closed.

This line of thought lead me to investigate myself. Sure enough, in the barn in an old cardboard box covered with bat guano I found my own old high school calendar. After all, what boy would be without such a record. Just as Mr Kavanaugh is able to prove his innocence by his words, I have included some of my own entries below. Like the good judge, I am allowed to pick and choose what the people will see.

October 12. Went to party. Stood around for 3 hours. Ate cake. Went home. Read Playboy. Going to confession tomorrow.

November 7. Worked on homecoming float. Gina S . wore a tight skirt. She almost talked to me. Stayed up half the night. Going to confession tomorrow.

December 3.  Asked Gina S. for a date. She said yes. Going to see a movie tomorrow. Can’t wait. Stayed up half the night.

December 4. Got to first base with Gina S. Well, almost. Was in the batter’s box and got “hit by pitch”. Still. She said she would go out with me again. Yippeee. Going to confession tomorrow.

December 13. Out on a date with Gina S. Got to first base!!!! Then, big mistake. Tried to get to 2nd base and was picked off the bag. Thrown out of the game early. Told me she would call me if she wanted to see me again.

April 1. Gina S called!!!! I got excited. Then she said “April Fool”. Still, just having her call made me think of her. Going to confession tomorrow.

May 20. Got together with 8 of my buddies and gang raped a 12 year old virgin. Now we are real men!!! Gina S. called and said she now considers me “normal”. Wants to go steady!!

All I can say is: Boys will be boys. And the boys I went to school with became men. Perhaps Gina Sosa needs to hang out with a better quality of “boy”.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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My Job Interview

I have not blogged in awhile because I have been preparing for my job interview. I am seeking a permanent position, with a guaranteed life long appointment. This job should come with good benefits and be completely independent of any other authority. I don’t do well with bosses.

As fate would have it, just such a plumb job came open this year. It has something to do with the government. It is an opening on something called a “SCOTUS”. A SCOTUS, as I best understand it, is a bunch of people who decide what rights you and I have. They have this job for life. Can’t be fired.

So, I said to myself, “Sounds good. Short hours. And I have opinions. So, what the hell”.

Well, the interview with some guy named Grassley went like this.

Grassley: So, Mr Urban, you want to be on the Supreme Court.

Me: The Supre…oh, wow…so that is what SCOTUS stands for. Who would have guessed. ..Oh, yessir, I do.

Grassley: And your qualifications are ?

Me: Well, I have opinions. Good opinions. Thoughtful opinions.

Grassley: Do you have a resume? Or any written materials?

Me: Oh, of course. I have an extensive resume. 10 pages long. And I have been authoring a blog for years. Many years. Hundreds of blog posts.

Grassley: OK. So, can you give me this information?

ME; Well, I can give you one page of my 10 page resume. The other 9 pages you don’t need to see. I will give you the one page that I think is best for you to consider. Forget the other 9. Not important. Only 1 is important. I keep the other 9 under the title of “confidential”.

Grassley: Oh. I see. Well. If you say they are confidential then who am I to pry. After all, this job only lasts a lifetime. And it only entails you making decisions that will affect the lives of millions of people for the next…oh…maybe 50 years or so. So, I guess 1 page out of your 10 page resume will be fine. Now, what else do you have?

Me: Well, I have a blog. I have been writing it since 2011 or 2012. So, I have a whole lot of ideas. My philosophy of government is pretty much laid out over the course of these years.

Grassley: Great. That will be helpful. So, can you provide me with this blog?

Me: Certainly. Although, to be fair, some of it is not so good. So, I have labeled some of it “Top Secret”. Not that I am hiding anything, just a matter of privacy. What I will do is hand pick 10% of my blog posts and send them to you. That should give you a pretty good idea of where I stand. You don’t need to read everything I write, it might distort.

Grassley: Well, what if I look at all of them and decide what is important and what is not? Would that be ok? I mean, we do need to know your entire thoughtful philosophy, not just part of it.

Me: Nope. That does not work for me. I’ll decide what to share with you and what not to share. Then you can make your decision on this lifetime appointment. After all, it’s my blog. You are lucky I am sharing anything with you.

Grassley: Is see, Mr  Urban. So, you refuse to hand over 90% of your resume. And you refuse to hand over 90% of the documents outlining and describing your political philosophy. And you want a lifetime appointment to the SCOTUS, on  which will decide the fate of millions of people. Is that right?

Me: You got it, dude.

Grassley: OK. Thanks for coming in. We’ll be in touch

Oddly, they never called me back. Kind of pisses me off because they gave the same deal I wanted to this guy Kavanaugh.

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Filed under Constitution, government, Politics, SCOTUS, Society, Supreme Court, Trump, United States

And Nobody Came

Back in the days of the Vietnam War there was a poster that was famous.

It read: What if they gave a war and nobody came.

Yesterday’s massive march for the right wing made me think of that poster.

You see, yesterday was the one year anniversary of the Charlottesville Nazi and KKK march. It was during that march that a young woman was murdered by a coward driving his car into her. It was that march that prompted Mr Trump to say that there were fine people on both sides. A whole lot of fine Nazis. And Klan members.

For the Trump-Nazi-KKK coalition this was just the first step. The new movement was taking hold. A new wave of ultra right wing White Power bigotry was going to sweep America.

So, a year later, we have the right wing setting out to demonstrate at out nation’s capital. To demonstrate the strength of the “movement”. We all braced for the thousands of racists and white “nationalists” intent on the show of power. Intent on making America White again . (Of course, anyone with a 4th grade education knows America was never “white” to begin with).

The great “Unite the Right” (or more aptly “Unite the White”) rally was held yesterday. And in a nation of 330,000,000 or so people the rally attracted thousands. Well, the thousands were actually protesting the rally.

The “Unite the White’ rally ended up with not even two dozen men and one woman. Fewer than 25 people marching for racism and White Power. There were 3 times as many journalists covering the non-event. So much for the “mass movement” of hate they hoped to engender. Americans are better than that.

So, what if they gave a White Power rally and nobody showed up…except the press and protesters against the rally? Must have some very sad racists hanging their heads today. The balloon of racism they hoped to share with other , decent Americans, was POPPED. Some very, very sad racists. And at least one lives in the White House.

https://www.theatlantic.com/politics/archive/2018/08/unite-the-right-fizzles-amid-a-boisterous-counter-protes/567374/

 

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Understanding the Nazis

One of the great mysteries for normal people is how Nazism grew and eventually dominated Germany. 6,000,000 – 8,000,000 Jews, gays, intellectuals, journalists, gypsies, etc murdered. All due to one man, Adolph Hitler.

Yet, to the best of our knowledge, Hitler never murdered a Jew. Never sent a Jew to the gas chamber. Never extracted a tooth from a living Jew without anesthetics. Never separated children from their mothers and exterminated them.

All this was done by German citizens. Volunteers. You see, the Nazis did not force anyone to work at the camps. The death camps were staffed by volunteers. True believers.

Normal people wonder at this. Normal people cannot understand.

Yet, history is full of human behavior which is both cruel and vile. Savonarola and the bonfire of the vanities as he cleansed Florence of decadence. The Spanish Inquisition aimed initially at Muslims and Jews, then expanded to include all who may not be true believers. Pol Pot and his wholesale slaughter of millions of Cambodians. Wearing glasses was enough to get you executed. The Hutus murdering Tutsis and vice versa. The extermination of the Native Americans by the European invaders. The Bible tells us of the justified genocide by the Jews of the Canaanites. Not just victory, but complete extermination of a people. The Armenia massacres. Etc. etc.

Hitler was not alone. The history of the world is filled with stories of people executing each other based on ethnic origins. Or language. Or skin color. Or religion.

It seems as though this is a rather regular occurrence. It seems as though at least some people are easily influenced to murder, torture and degrade. It must be somewhere in the genes.

But what triggers it? In all cases it is the demagogue. The man or small group of men who lead others. They use fear of the “other”. The “other” is out to get you. The “other” is the fault of all of your problems. Fear is the strongest emotion.

And, if the “other” is a danger, what is the next step? Dehumanization. People don’t kill people except in self-defense. But the “other” is not a person. The other is less than a person. The other is sub-human. It (not he or she) can be dealt with. Confine the “other”. Deport the “other”. Exterminate the “other”. Spray the hornet’s nest. Set out the mouse traps. Shoot the varmints. The other is not worthy of life.

Understanding Hitler. Hitler understood the power of the “other”. The power of propaganda. The power of labeling. The power of prejudice. The power of hatred. He understood the very small step to dehumanization. He understood that people will do what is necessary if you can convince them to cross the line. The line of viewing other humans as less than human. As vermin.

So, watch the Trump rallies. Watch the snarls. Watch the hatred displayed toward the “liberals”. Listen to the “Lock Her Up” chants. Watch the leader foment hatred . Encourage hatred towards the other. And a candidate talks about roughing those who disagree with him.

And watch as “normal” people separate 3 year olds from their mothers . Watch as a judge passes judgment on  a 5 year old who doesn’t even speak English and sits alone in a courtroom. Watch as unarmed men are shot down in the street because their skin color tells you they are dangerous. Listen as the president’s spokesperson calls members of the FBI “crooked”. Wonder as the president of the United States call a free press the “Enemy of the People”.

Consider.

Are you really still confused about how the extermination of the Jews was carried out? Do you think that some of the citizens of the industrialized nation of Germany in the 1930s are somehow any different than some of the citizens of the United States today? Have people evolved to a higher plane in 70 years?

You want to understand the Nazis? Look around you.

 

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