Trump Wins Popular Vote !!!

It is now official.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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Trump Bait and Switch Part 4

“Lock her up! Lock her up”.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

(I welcome likes, positive and negative comments)

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Trump Bait and Switch Part 3

Previous Trump Bait and Switches.

(https://josephurban.wordpress.com/2016/11/12/trump-bait-and-switch-part-1/)

(https://josephurban.wordpress.com/2016/11/15/trump-bait-and-switch-part-2/)

Donald Trump was clear. He was precise. His Trump University was fantastic. People LOVED it. It was legal. It was a real university, not a scam. Those people who were suing him were losers.  He has NEVER settled out of court with folks who try to sue him.

He assured his true believers that he was a successful, honest businessman. And as a billionaire successful honest businessman he would uphold the reputation of Trump University in court. He would win the case in court and be vindicated.

“It would be easy for me to settle the case, it’s a simple civil case,” he continued. “Probably I should, but I don’t want to because I give them a great soundbite, but I don’t settle cases. I don’t get sued because I don’t settle cases, I win in court.”

http://www.newsmax.com/Headline/Trump-University-Lawsuit-Settle/2016/03/03/id/717221/

That was the BAIT. Honesty. Integrity. Never settle a “phony” lawsuit.

After the election…comes the SWITCH.

For $25,000,000 Mr Trump agrees that his university was a scam. He settles out of court. Rather go through a high profile trial where all of his “university’s” practices would be exposed, he decided to settle. His “university” cannot stand the public scrutiny.

Rather than stand up for “integrity” and demonstrate to the American people that his university was a great and glorious and HONEST success, he has capitulated and decided that the facts and evidence were better left unheard and unseen.

Was there anything to the case to begin with? From one of his own employees:

“Schnackenberg, who worked in Trump’s office at 40 Wall Street, testified that “while Trump University claimed it wanted to help consumers make money in real estate, in fact Trump University was only interested in selling every person the most expensive seminars they possibly could.” The affidavit concludes, “Based upon my personal experience and employment, I believe that Trump University was a fraudulent scheme, and that it preyed upon the elderly and uneducated to separate them from their money.”

http://www.newyorker.com/news/john-cassidy/trump-university-its-worse-than-you-think

Of course, Trump will  continue to deny any wrongdoing, but the settlement speaks for itself. 6,000 plaintiffs. All of them are wrong. Only the Donald is right. Yet this man of great integrity refuses to clear his name in court.

Lest any of Trump’s minions suggest that this lawsuit was all about “getting” Trump because he was the GOP nominee, let me remind you. The lawsuit goes back 6 years, long before Trump was given the nomination by the GOP. So that dog won’t hunt. He was already being charged in NY State for running a fraudulent university.  (The case was dropped in Florida after he contributed $25,000 to the Florida Attorney General, now on Trump’s transition team . An amazing coincidence)

“Today’s $25 million settlement agreement is a stunning reversal by Donald Trump and a major victory for the over 6,000 victims of his fraudulent university,” Schneiderman said in a statement. “I am pleased that under the terms of this settlement, every victim will receive restitution and that Donald Trump will pay up to $1 million in penalties to the State of New York for violating state education laws. The victims of Trump University have waited years for today’s result and I am pleased that their patience — and persistence — will be rewarded by this $25 million settlement.”

So we have Mr Trump setting out the BAIT… great businessman …integrity …honesty … and the SWITCH…

Oops, I guess I’ll pay the $25,000,000 rather than go to trial.

Do you mean he lied to us?

(I welcome likes, positive and negative comments. No vulgarity please)

 

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Trump Bait and Switch Part 2

When he was running for office Mr Trump promised to “drain the swamp” in Washington, DC. Now, he may have meant that he was going to borrow a sump pump and literally try to drain the Potomac. Perhaps. But most folks thought he meant that he was going to get rid of all the old, “in crowd”. The folks who had been part of the problem.

That would be the Washington insiders. The guys and gals who had been around a long time and fed off the system. Members of Congress, for example. The elites. The Wall Street Gang.. Anyone who had connections with the “establishment”.

And his supporters took the bait.

So, let’s see how that  has played out. As of November 15, 2016, Trump has named 23 people to his transition team. The transition team advises him on who to hire for all the cabinet posts and other jobs in the new administration. I imagine the vast majority will be folks we never heard of. Folks from outside the DC beltway and Wall Street. Common folks. Or at least not political  hacks.

We see he has named the Three Stooges… Donald,Jr, Eric and Ivanka Trump. Definitely outsiders. Together they know virtually nothing about government and have no experience (unless you include inheriting wealth). In fact, the Trump triad knows so little about government that Eric and Ivanka  did not even vote for their pappy in the NY primary. Why not? They FORGOT to register to vote. That is about as outside as you can get.  Might as well throw in Ivankas’s hubbie, Jared Kushnar. Let’s keep it in the family.  Outies 4, Innies 0.

http://www.cnn.com/2016/04/11/politics/donald-trump-ivanka-vice-president/

Then there is Steve Bannon. Named top adviser. He has a long history of ..well… publishing lies. On the famous Breitbart website. Lies about ACORN. Lies about voter intimidation. Birther lies. Benghazi lies. Lies about the Iran agreement. As an arrested wife beater,he does fit in well with the Trump mentality, but is definitely an outsider. In just about every way. Outies 5, Innies 0.

Then there is Ben Carson. A gifted surgeon. No  doubt. The man can wield a scalpel. But he can’t wield a coherent sentence.A perfect example of someone who  can be very great in one area and a complete loser in other areas. Like most of us.He is on team Trump and is as “outside” as it gets. He denies the reality of evolution. He has said that the pyramids (those nearly completely solid magnificent structures in Egypt) were used for grain storage. He may be outside of not only politics, but sanity. Definitely an outie. Outies 6, Innies 0.

https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/morning-mix/wp/2015/11/05/ben-carson-believes-joseph-built-egypts-pyramids-to-store-grain-and-it-just-may-get-him-some-votes/

So far Mr Trump seems true to his word…. except…

Mike Pence, former member of Congress, longtime politician…Innie

Chris Christie, long time political hack, major fundraiser for GW Bush (which is why he was appointed to be a federal attorney)… Innie

Newt Gingrich (yes, he is still alive). Longtime Congressman and Speaker of the House,  instrumental in the failed attempt to remove President Clinton from office….Innie

Rudy (Just call me 9/11) Giuliani. Longtime political operative, former mayor of NYC who refused to provide firefighters with modern communications equipment. (Which led to  the unnecessary deaths of many trapped in the Twin Towers. ) Made his living off this tragedy…Innie

http://prospect.org/article/real-911-heroes-speak-out-against-rudy

Jeff Sessions, Senator from Selma, Alabama. A Washington insider since 1997…almost 20 years….Innie

And a list of Congressional insiders,  including the following Congressmen…

Lou Barletta, Marsha Blackburn, Chris Collins, Tom Marino and Devine Nunes. 5 Innies.

Add Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi, another innie. In case you have forgotten, she was the AG who dropped the investigation for fraud by Trump U. in Florida. Just AFTER receiving a political  donation from Donald, laundered through the Trump foundation. Trump had to pay a penalty for the illegal  contribution. But at least he didn’t have to face an investigation of his scam university in Florida. Thanks, Pam.

http://www.politifact.com/florida/article/2016/sep/21/donald-trump-pam-bondi-and-25k-was-it-pay-play/

Then there is Rance Preibus, the Republican National Committee Chairman. Can’t get much more innie than that.

Then there is Anthony Scaramucci, formerly with Goldman Sachs and Lehman Brothers. Remember them? The folks who brought us the 2007-2009 recession. A Wall Street insider.

Steve Mnuchin, who like his father, was a Goldman Sachs insider. Until he left to run a movie company, which went bankrupt. Like the Donald, inherited wealth, family connections  and filed bankruptcy leaving others holding the bag. Another innie.

Another success story. Rebekah Mercer, whose father was a Wall Street hedge fund operator. Remember those unregulated hedge funds? They are coming back soon! She also worked on Wall Street as an insider.

So, what is the final score. Donald PROMISED to “drain the swamp”. Bring in new people. the BEST people. No more Washington insiders. No more Wall  Street insiders. Yet, his transition team is filled with politicians and Wall Street insiders. His transition team has not a single educator, scientist, entrepreneur, police chief, environmentalist, etc. Four of the “outsiders” are his own family.

Final score? Insiders 17, Outsiders 6.

You don’t mean he lied to his supporters? They took  the bait… they got the switch.

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

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Trump Bait and Switch, Part 1

During his campaign of disrespect and negativity Mr Trump was clear.  On the first day of office he would abolish Obamacare. All of it. Total abolition. No holds barred. No individual mandate. No longer would people over 22 be allowed on their parents’ insurance. Have a pre-existing condition? The insurers can now kick you off and refuse to insure you. The insurance marketplace…done and dusted.

No longer would there be those confusing insurance markets. No more Obamacare. Those 20,000,000 Americans who now had insurance under the ACA would have to look elsewhere.  Period. Non-negotiable. The end. It is over. And his supporters agreed.

Don’t believe me? Here is the section from the Trump website before the election:

“But none of these positive reforms can be accomplished without Obamacare repeal. On day one of the Trump Administration, we will ask Congress to immediately deliver a full repeal of Obamacare.”

And…

“Congress must act. Our elected representatives in the House and Senate must:

  1. Completely repeal Obamacare. Our elected representatives must eliminate the individual mandate. No person should be required to buy insurance unless he or she wants to.”

This was quite different than Hillary Clinton.  Clinton proposed keeping the ACA and improving it. Working with Congress to keep the better parts and altering or repealing those parts which did not function well.

For example…keeping the young people on health insurance until they are 26. Making sure those with pre-existing conditions continue to be able to get insurance. Lowering costs and providing financial assistance to those in need. In other words, not a repeal, but a revision.

Trump, of course, rejected a revision. Obamacare must be repealed in its entirety. Period. No discussion. It is gone!

That was the BAIT….

Now comes the SWITCH…

According to an upcoming 60 minutes interview, Mr Trump is now telling his troops  something a bit different.

In addition, from a NYT article, November 12, three days after the election, in an interview with the Wall Street Journal:

“…Mr. Trump even indicated that he would like to keep two of the most popular benefits of the Affordable Care Act, one that forces insurers to cover people with pre-existing health conditions and another that allows parents to cover children under their plan into their mid-20s. He told The Wall Street Journal that he was reconsidering his stance after meeting with Mr. Obama on Thursday….”

You mean he lied to us?

End of Bait and Switch , Part 1. You can be sure this is just the beginning…..

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To Trump Voters

A letter to the Trump voters.

To Whom It May Concern:

You have exposed yourself for what you are. You can no longer pretend.You cannot claim ignorance.  You can no longer support any empty fantasy that you are not a racist, or a xenophobe, or a misogynist, or a bigot at heart. You voted with your heart. You are exposed.

Some professional pundits claim that “economics” was at the core of your vote. Really? When the economy has been slowly improving after the GOP Second Great Depression of 2007-2009. When incomes are rising at the highest rate since 2008? When unemployment is at 4.9 % and the last GOP candidate for POTUS, Mitt Romney, said that HIS plans could get the rate down to  6% and that would be considered great news. When your candidate’s only “plan” for the economy is to give the wealthiest even more tax breaks. Sorry, that analysis does not hold water.

Millions of Republicans claim they are “moderates”. That myth has been destroyed by your vote. There is no moderation in the general, vague “plans” of your candidate. There is no moderation in the tone of his speeches. “Lock her up”. “Get him out of here”.  The birther comments. The daily insults directed at women, minorities, Muslim Americans and journalists. You cannot claim to be a “moderate” and vote for a man who tweets vulgarities and nonsense so often  that his own staff took away his Twitter account. The false narrative of the “moderate” Republican was put to rest on Election day. You are a radical.

Some pundits blame the press for not covering your candidate’s lies, falsehoods and crudeness. So you  may try to plead “ignorance”.  But the fact is that all of your candidate’s lies and nastiness and incompetence were were exposed over and over. By his own public speeches.  Covered by the press. By his inability to string together 3 sentences in any coherent fashion at the three debates. It was right there for all to see. A man who lied constantly and with no regard for facts or evidence. A man who called on Russia to try to destroy his political opponent . An analysis  by Politifact found that 70% of his public claims and statement were false. Only 4 % were completely true. The press did its job. You chose to ignore it. You cannot plead ignorance.

Most of you call yourselves “Christian” and condemn Islam as the religion of hate. Really? Does a good Christian vote for a man who prides himself on sexual assault and “grabbing pussy”. Is that supported by the words of Jesus? Maybe in Luke or John?  Would a good Christian support a man who calls for the torture of others and the murdering of families? Is that in Proverbs? Would a good Christian support a man who replaces wives as they age like the rest of us replace old tires? Is that in the “Christian” marriage vows?  Perhaps your Sermon on the Mount says: Blessed are the sexual abusers, the liars, those who cheat and steal, those who do violence to others…An interesting brand of “Christianity”.

You claim you want to “kick out the career politicians”. Really? And who does your candidate surround himself with ? Career politicians he intends to put in his cabinet. Rudy Giuliani whose incompetence lead to the death of the firefighters on 9/11. A man who openly admits he had access to confidential FBI information and the Comey “leak”?  Hardly a new face. Chris Christie, an old political  hack who used his office as governor to punish mayors who would not support him. A man who claims “I knew nothing” about the 3 day closing of the most highly traveled bridge in the world. (While your own candidate said” He knew”.) A new face? Newt Gingrich, the man behind the Clinton impeachment trial, which failed. A new face?  You don’t want new faces, you want a return to the past.  When smart women and hardworking blacks and the undeserving poor “knew their place”.

You have been exposed for what is really deep in your heart. It is not pretty. It is not attractive. It is hate. No matter how you try to rationalize it  and explain it. Hate for immigrants, even though so many of you are 1 or 2 or 3 generations from being immigrants yourself.

Your candidate had no positive message for the nation. And you support him. Hate for people with brown skin. Hate for “liberals” . Hate for foreigners. Hate for objective journalism.   Hate for some imaginary “welfare state” that has never existed. Hate for Obama.Hate for Clinton.  Hate for the 20,000,000 working poor who were able to get health insurance for the first time ever. Hate for successful women. Hate for those “Negroes” that get all the breaks.

So, stop pretending. Own it. The Trump voters, like yourself can no longer pretend you are about “economic policy” or the “Constitution” or “Making America Great” or about “fairness” of “opportunity”.  Rationalize all you want. Prevaricate all you want. The man you voted for speaks for your values and beliefs. You have been exposed. Own it.

The  good news is that the majority of Americans do not share your negative, hateful  vision. The majority of American citizens support a positive vision of America. A majority rejects the politics of hate and division. The majority of Americans have,  in 7 of the last 8 elections, voted for the candidate who has a positive vision of America and is not a hater. Yes, the GOP has won the popular vote only one time in the last 24 years. Only once  in the last 8 elections. ONCE.

Why are we in this place? The gerrymandering and voter suppression has worked. The outmoded, undemocratic Electoral College system has allowed the haters to win this election. That is true. Your candidate was right about one thing: The electoral system IS rigged.   But the fact remains that most Americans do not share your ideas or values. Most Americans are decent human beings.

So, don’t fool yourself. You do not represent America. We are better than that.

Yours sincerely,

A retired, always paying my share of taxes, liberal.

 

 

 

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Filed under Politics, POTUS, Radicals, United States

Trump IS the GOP

There seems to be widespread denial in the GOP. Many Republican leaders and former leaders have distanced themselves from Donald Trump. People like Colin Powell, Condi Rice, and the Bushes. Folks like Mitch McConnell and Paul  Ryan. John Mc Cain. (Of course others, like Ted Cruz, Marco Rubio,  Chris Christie and Rudy Giuliani have fully supported Trump’s campaign)

Some have silently distanced themselves. Just not  actively supporting him. Others have been vocal in refusing to support his candidacy.

They don’t like his “tone” . They don’t like his racism. They oppose his misogynistic statements. They cannot support his claims that our elections are somehow “rigged” against him. He does not, according to them, represent the values of  the Republican Party.

They are hypocrites.

Donald Trump IS the natural and predictable result of the tactics and rhetoric of the last 30 years emanating from the GOP. He did not “steal” the nomination of the GOP;  he was selected. He is not an outlier, he is at the very core of the new GOP. All the forces that were drawn together to win the nomination of the party have been trending for years in his direction.

First. Denial of the legitimacy of Barack Obama. This has been the key focus of the GOP for the last 8 years. So what that the majority of Americans voted for him and his policies? Before he took office the GOP , under Mitch McConnell, made it clear that the goal of the party was to “make him fail”. If the people did not want GOP policies, then the GOP would  simply stand in the way of the people. And they did. Trump’s assertion that elections are “rigged” is simply an extension of that mindset. If a Dem wins the Oval Office, we will refuse to recognize the will of the people.

Second. The Hate Clinton Machine. Since Bill Clinton took office  (elected by the people) the GOP has used millions of tax payer dollars to try to destroy both Clintons. We saw the Whitewater investigations which led nowhere.  We saw the joke of an impeachment trial which led nowhere. We saw 8 investigations of the tragic  killings in Benghazi which led nowhere. Now we see email revelations and FBI investigations which are leading nowhere. The GOP  has used the mechanisms of government to assault the Clintons, ignoring evidence when it does fit their hopes. And Trump simply is an extension of that process. Calling his political opponent a “criminal”, “Crooked Hillary”  and encouraging “lock her up” chants at his rallies. The natural extension of the GOP tactics.

Third. The stereotyping of blacks and Hispanics as criminals and on welfare. Who can forget the great (false) stories told by Saint Ronald Reagan about “welfare queens”? Or the overtly racist “Willie Horton” ads of GHW Bush?  The overturning of sections of the Voting Rights Act followed immediately by the passing of voter suppression laws. All part of the GOP mantra of “them” versus”us”. The defection on the late 1960s and early 1970s of racist southern Democrats, first to George Wallace and then to the southern GOP.  And the GOP welcomed these voters and welcomed their votes. They brought racism into the core of the new GOP. They brought in the people who passed and supported Jim Crow laws.  Donald Trump did not create this movement, although he has long contributed to it. He simply is the end product of  party that has welcomed racists and is now housing them. People that Barry Goldwater or Dwight Eisenhower would have rejected out of hand. Refused to allow into the GOP.. Now they are the core. Donald Trump is their natural leader.

Fourth. The frustration of some white men over the increasingly public  and powerful role of women in society. The GOP, at least in part, yearns for the” good old days”. What were these good old days? When a woman would not dare report abuse because the man was head of the household? When a woman could not file for divorce? When a woman could  not take out a loan without her husband’s permission? When a woman was expected to stay home except to pickup the kids and shop? When girls were encouraged to be cheerleaders but not athletes? A fantasy of male dominance. To be sure, this is not the majority of the GOP. But the GOP has intentionally sought those men who feel  their “rights” over women have been stripped from them. Those nasty women. Who do they think they are? Ironically, it is even some GOP women who support this fantasy. The anti-Planned Parenthood, anti-equal pay, anti-right to choose GOP was not created by Trump. He is simply the natural conclusion of the philosophy. So strong women are “nasty”. And while it is fine for him to have 5 kids with 3 different women, if Hillary Clinton had 5 kids with 3 different men it would be considered a crime without redemption.

So, don’t cry for the GOP. They invited in the racists. They actively sought out the sexists. They have spent years trying to delegitimize the very idea of government, especially any Democrat elected to high office.And they have used the machine of government to focus 25 years of attacks on both Bill and Hilary Clinton.

Is it any wonder that the Fox viewers and others have become so hostile and angry? They have been fed and nurtured by the lies and distortions and negativity of the GOP. And few, if any, in the GOP have ever stood up and said: “Wait. That is going too far”.

Trump did not create the current GOP. He didn’t lay the track for the locomotive. He didn’t fill the passenger cars with the angry, howling masses. The GOP did that.He simply climbed on board the train of hate, racism and ignorance and took over the conductor’s seat.

Trump is not an out of touch interloper. He IS the GOP.

 

 

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When Is the First Debate?

Tonight is supposed to be the third debate between Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump. A debate between 2 people who want to take on the job of most powerful and influential human being on the face of the Earth for the next 4 years.

I am still waiting for the first debate.

So far, all we have heard about is sex , lies and emails. Insults.  Smirking. Sniffling. Name calling. Promises of prison. Just a bad reality TV show. Not a debate. A spectacle encouraged by an unprepared press. Seeking ratings, not truth.

When is the first debate? Where is the moderator who will ignore sex. Ignore emails. Ignore polls. And just ask substantive questions. And then DEMAND substantive answers.

There was some of that in the first two shows, but hardly enough to learn anything about what the candidates actually would do. This is especially true for Donald Trump. A man who specializes  in used-car-salesman assurances and generalities rather than hard facts.

So, let’s have a moderator who asks , then demands straight answers. And one who factchecks and calls out the candidates when they are simply wrong about the facts.

Try these on for size:

What would you do to  try to bring jobs back to the US? What kinds of jobs would you try to help create? What is the proper role of the federal government is helping create those jobs?

What is your overall  tax policy. What should the rates be for various income levels? Do those rates generate the needed revenues to pay for the increases in spending you are calling for?

What are some areas in which you would hope to increase spending and decrease spending? By how much? Why are you focusing on those areas?

In terms of foreign affairs, what should the US role be in the Middle East? In regards to Russia? In regards to nuclear proliferation? In regards to the Palestinian – Israeli problem? In regards to the refugee situation in Syria?

What is your approach to illegal immigration? What, specifically do you see as the problem and what, specifically do you see as a solution?

As you know the President can do nothing without a Congress that is willing to compromise. What makes you think you can get Congress to work with you? To what extent are you willing to compromise to reach agreements?

What is the proper role of the Supreme Court? What kind of justices would you appoint? To what extent would you depend on the American Bar Association and other legal groups for vetting? Is there a litmus test for your judges? What is it?

So, will the moderator ask questions and hold the candidates to answers? Will he push them for specifics on policy?

Chris Wallace of Fox News. Fair and Balanced? Will he direct the candidates to policy and substance or focus on trivialities?

I am still waiting for the first debate.

 

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Get Some Sleep, You Old Fool

For years scientists have known that sleep deprivation can lead to mental and physical disabilities. It is even used as a torture…er…enhanced interrogation technique. More efficient than waterboarding .

Sports teams have,  in recent years, jumped on the sleep  bandwagon. Teams like the Seattle Seahawks even monitor players’ sleeping  habits  and adjust practice schedules accordingly. One of the best quarterbacks of all time, Tom Brady, once said he goes to bed at  8:30 PM.

So sleep is important for young and old. Important for mental awareness and physical  health. Which brings me to this juncture.

Imagine a doddering  70 year old man. Scruffy beard. Balding head covered by a badly dyed comb over. Bleary -eyed. Maybe wearing partial  unbuttoned silk pajamas. Maybe totally nude.Wandering up  and down the hallways. It is 3:20 AM.

He stumbles aimlessly around his luxury apartment. Can’t sleep. Picks up his iphone. Decides to do some late night tweeting. Starts tweeting about some woman. Some young woman he knew years ago. Some woman he decides must be a porn queen.

A doddering old fool wandering around in the middle of the night tweeting about porn queens.

Finally somebody. Maybe his current wife. Maybe a servant. Maybe his 10 year old son. Somebody finds him wandering around,  takes him by the hand and gently leads him back to bed.

“It’s ok , daddy. Time to get some sleep”.

Two hours later he is up again. 5 AM. Stumbling along, iphone in hand, tweeting away about porn queens. Porn queen this, porn queen that. Again someone finds him.

Leads him back to bed. Perhaps this time they decide they better tie him down for his own good. Straightjacket, maybe. Keep grandpa under control.

Now, imagine this doddering old fool  sleeps in the White House and has access to all nuclear codes.  Access to the most top secret information. Access to power.

Please don’t wake up  this doddering old fool. Let him sleep.

To the American people:  wake up.

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Boy Am I Stupid

Of course, anyone reading this blog knew that a long time ago. Nevertheless, I just discovered how stupid I really am during the Trump-Clinton Debate on Monday night.

You see. I pay taxes.  I have been paying taxes for 50 years. I don’t like it. But I consider it part of my civic duty. An essential part of being a citizen. The price I pay for living in a free, wealthy society.

I know we need to pay for the military. For roads. For infrastructure. For food for kids who otherwise would not eat. For housing for poor people who have not had the good fortune I have had. For national parks. For the privilege of living in the “Greatest Country on Earth”.

Paying taxes , I thought , was a civic responsibility. I pay mine. You pay yours. We are in this together.

I was wrong.

From the debate:

“CLINTON: Third, we don’t know all of his business dealings, but we have been told through investigative reporting that he owes about $650 million to Wall Street and foreign banks. Or maybe he doesn’t want the American people, all of you watching tonight, to know that he’s paid nothing in federal taxes, because the only years that anybody’s ever seen were a couple of years when he had to turn them over to state authorities when he was trying to get a casino license, and they showed he didn’t pay any federal income tax.

“TRUMP: That makes me smart.

“CLINTON: So if he’s paid zero, that means zero for troops, zero for vets, zero for schools or health. And I think probably he’s not all that enthusiastic about having the rest of our country see what the real reasons are, because it must be something really important, even terrible, that he’s trying to hide.”

(To contrast, Clinton had an income of $10.6 million in 2015 and paid 34% in federal income taxes…$ 3,624,445)

Not paying your fair share is “smart”. Yes it is. If you have no concept of society, ethics and fairness. It is “smart” to let the counter worker at Wendy’s shoulder your load. To let the cleaning lady who scrubs out the toilet in Donald’s  penthouse pay your share. To let the cop and teacher and sewer worker and bus driver and airline pilot pay, but not you…well, you get the point.

Somebody has to pay taxes. And every penny that the “smart” guys like Donald Trump refuses to pay must be made up by people like me and you.

The Stupid Ones.

 

 

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Filed under debates, Elections, government, Politics, POTUS, Republicans, Society, Taxes, Trump, United States, workers

Good News is No News

It seems as though the news emphasizes almost nothing but catastrophe and encourages negativity. This is not new, but it seems to be overwhelming sometimes. And it leaves the impression that we live in a constant state of terror, unhappiness, fear and anger. Things are getting worse and worse. Danger around every corner. The end is near! That is the narrative.

Good news does not sell papers or drive “clicks”. Good news is boring.

Some good news.

In 2015, a total of 322,761,000 Americans were NOT killed by the police.

.https://www.rt.com/usa/326724-police-killings-usa-report/

The murder rate in Chicago is 1/2 of what it was in 1990. The murder rate in Washington DC is 1/4 of what it was in 1990.

https://www.brennancenter.org/sites/default/files/analysis/Crime_in_2015_A_Final_Analysis.pdf

Since the ACA (Obamacare) was enacted uninsured rates fell in every state in the union.Now only about 10%-12%  of the population remains uninsured.

http://www.commonwealthfund.org/publications/blog/2015/sept/us-census-data-shows-uninsured-americans-drop

At long last all US citizens, including homosexuals, can  marry and serve openly in the military.

Gays in the U.S. Military Are Now Protected Against ‘Witch Hunts’

http://www.npr.org/sections/thetwo-way/2015/06/26/417717613/supreme-court-rules-all-states-must-allow-same-sex-marriages

The US is less dependent on foreign oil than at any time since the 1990s.

http://www.eia.gov/petroleum/weekly/archive/2011/110525/twipprint.html

Americans demonstrated their generosity by giving more money to charity than ever before. , over $358 billion dollars in 2014.

Giving USA: Americans Donated an Estimated $358.38 Billion to Charity in 2014; Highest Total in Report’s 60-year History

US teen pregnancy rates are 50% LESS than they were in 1991, and have been falling.

http://www.cnn.com/2016/06/02/health/teen-birth-rates/

In July of 2009 the rate of inflation was 5.6%. In July of 2016 the rate of inflation was 0.8%. The trend has been steady.

Historical Inflation Rates: 1914-2016

The unemployment rate in January, 2016, is down to 4.9% from a high of 9.8 % in January of 2010.

http://www.multpl.com/unemployment/table

Since 9/11 you are 15 times more likely to be killed by a deer, than by a foreign terrorist. And your chance of being killed by a deer are less than 1 in 15,000,000.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Deer%E2%80%93vehicle_collisions

http://www.vox.com/2015/11/23/9765718/domestic-terrorism-threat

And, the biggest good news surprise of all time. The Chicago Cubs, currently in 1st place, were predicted to win the World Series by the gambling establishment. (I wouldn’t bet on that one)

http://www.csnchicago.com/chicago-cubs/big-surprise-cubs-favorite-win-2016-world-series

So. Good news will not make headlines. Not as exciting as disasters. But cheer up. Things are not nearly as bad as some would like us to believe.

 

 

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Filed under ACA, crime, economics, Economy, Environment, gay marriage, gay rights, gays, government, healthcare, homosexual, Immigration, jobs, liberals, Obamacare, police, Politics, POTUS, Society, Terror, United States, US, violence

All Mouth, No Ears

I had someone who called himself “Joe Citizen” respond to my post about Hillary Clinton and why I am voting for her. Despite the fact that his post had some factual errors I found the most interesting part his final 3 sentences. They read:

“Reply or don’t reply. I don’t care. I’m not going to read it anyway.”

https://josephurban.wordpress.com/2016/07/27/i-wont-vote-for-a-woman-potus/

This got me to thinking about the very nature of political discourse over the last 8 years. Not limited to the extreme right wing, but certainly manifesting itself there with alarming regularity. The attitude is one succinctly noted by “Joe Citizen”. It boils down to this.

I will talk. But I will not listen. I will state untruths and errors, but I will not accept facts , evidence or data. Mouth open. Ears closed.

We see this in the multiple investigations of Hillary Clinton. Every one has come up empty. All 9 Benghazi committees (8 run solely by the GOP) found no evidence of wrongdoing. No matter. Ears Closed. Regarding Clinton’s use of emails, the FBI found no wrongdoing (carelessness, yes) and stated so on page 57 of the latest released report. Ears closed.

There are just some people who will not open their minds to evidence or facts. They will not let evidence interfere with their preconceived notions or stereotypes. Like the little boy in the back seat of the car cupping his hands over his ears and whining “I can’t hear you. I can’t hear you” to Mom and Dad.

Donald Trump implies that most or almost all Mexican immigrants are rapists and criminals.The fact is that there are approximately 74,000 inmates in prison who are not US citizens.(And not all of these would be Mexican illegals) There are an estimated 11,000,000 illegal Mexican immigrants. Do the math. There is no evidence  to back up Donald’s claims. No matter. Ears closed.

Donald Trump claims that most blacks live in dire poverty when the actual statistics show that 75% of African-Americans are above the poverty level  in income. Not a great statistic. But a major improvement since the 1970s, when the numbers were hovering around 50%. No matter. Ears closed.

The “Hate Hillary” advocates have been crying over and over and over that Clinton or Obama or both issued a “stand down” order and prevented the US military from saving lives in Benghazi. 9 committees have said that is blatantly false. 8 GOP run committees found no evidence of any “stand down” order. No matter. Ears closed.

And the examples could go on and on and on. Obama born in Kenya. Global warming a plot by Al Gore. Bill Clinton responsible for 9/11. Saddam had WMDs. Hillary Clinton on Death’s Door. Obama created ISIS. Blacks hate cops. Etc.

It is one thing to have honest differences of opinion. And to have differing interpretations of events and actions. It is quite another to refuse to consider evidence and facts. Too much of the rhetoric from what used to be the radical fringe and is now personified in the Trump campaign is just plain false. But those who hold those views refuse to consider any evidence to the contrary.Ears closed.

I imagine these same folks were among the those who shook their heads in disbelief as Columbus sailed westward to find the route to the Indies. They were sure he was going to sail off the edge of the Earth. Of course, the educated “elites”  knew  (as did the ancient Greeks) the the world was round and not flat. But that knowledge would not interfere with the preconceived notions of the uneducated. Ears closed.

There are two methods for analyzing data and coming to conclusions. You can have your preset notions and stereotypes in place. And search and search only for the bits and pieces that support your preconceived ideas. Take quotes out of context. Take a line here and a line there from a report. Or in some cases, like Trump’s claim that hundreds of Muslims in New Jersey were rejoicing at 9/11, just make stuff up. You can ignore any and all evidence that forces you to reconsider your world view. Ears closed.

Or. You can have a point of view and seek to find all relevant data. To see if it fits. And then change your point of view as new evidence dictates . In other words, you can use evidence to develop a point of view. That is the scientific approach. Analyze new information and see how it fits. Adjust. Ears open. Mind open.

So, “Joe Citizen” and folks with his point of view don’t need facts. They don’t need evidence. They don’t accept anything that might contradict their stereotypes and prejudices.  ” I am not going to read it anyway”. And there are a lot of them. Which is why Donald Trump is the nominee for the GOP.

He is the perfect example:All Mouth. No Ears.

 

 

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Filed under Benghazi, candidate, Clinton, Congress, Democrat, Elections, Foreign policy, Hillary, immigrants, logic, obama, Politics, president, Republicans, Society, Trump

The Trump Scream

Edvard Munch created  a painting in 1893. A strange painting. A powerful painting. Titled “The Scream”.

 

http://www.nasjonalmuseet.no/en/collections_and_research/our_collections/edvard_munch_in_the_national_museum/The+Scream,+1893.b7C_wljU1a.ips

This painting depicts how I feel whenever I think of the possibility. The remote possibility that Donald Trump could actually be President of the United States.

I would not suggest that his opponent, Hillary Clinton, is perfect. Far from it.She is flawed. Anyone who has been in public life for over 30 years is going to make a lot of mistakes. Unless the person sits on their butt, does nothing, and gets re-elected. But those who want to change things will create enemies. And make mistakes.

But no matter how flawed Clinton might be, she has actually done the work. As First Lady.  As Senator. As Secretary of State. To paraphrase from the musical “Hamilton”…”She has been in the room where it happens. Where decisions are taken. Where the sausage is made.”

Then I look at the “career” of Donald Trump. Given a few million. Blew it. Bankruptcy. Bankruptcy. Bankruptcy. Bankruptcy. Loans from Russian oligarchs.Tax dodger. TV personality. Blatant liar. Racist. Nativist. Anti-Muslim. Misogynistic. Crude. Vulgar. Shallow. As Bloomberg, the former millionaire mayor of NY said at the convention: “I  am from New York and I know a conman when I see one”. So am I and so do I.

I feel like the non-gender specific person in the painting. Horror and wonder. Disbelief. Astonishment.

Horror at Trump, to be sure. But also horror at the 39-42% of the American people who plan to vote for him. The wonder that so many of my fellow citizens are either racist, or nativist, easily conned or just not paying attention.

Over 14,000,000 Republicans voted for a man who regularly and gleefully insulted other Republican candidates. “Little Marco”Rubio, . “Lyin’ Ted” Cruz,  Jeb Bush “the loser”, Kasich’s eating habits  are “disgusting”, Carly Fiorina “look at that face”, Carson cannot be “cured”, Rand Paul as a genetically defective son of Ron, Lindsey Graham is “one of the dumbest human beings” and so on and so on.

And that was just his fellow Republicans. The list is too long to for this essay.

14,000,000 Republicans said, with their votes, that this crude, vulgar conman should be President of the United States.

And in November, millions more will go into voting booths from Maine to Iowa to California to Hawaii and cast a ballot for Donald Trump. Millions. They would put the nuclear capacity of the US in his hands. They would put diplomacy in his hands.  They would put the power of the executive branch is the hands of a pathological liar and practiced conman.

When I look at the Munch painting I feel as though I am in it. Win or lose. It is not Donald Trump that causes me to scream. Win or lose.  It is not really the idea of a Trump president that causes me to scream. After all, we have seen his type of conman before.

It is the millions of Americans who will vote for this guy.Millions of Americans who will consciously choose to select this man as their leader. Someone  for their kids to “look up to”. The millionaire conman  who they think will help them.

Millions will vote for him.Let that sink in.

Now that is a reason to scream. AAAAAAGGGHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!

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I Won’t Vote for a Woman POTUS

Watching the first two days of the Democratic Convention has been inspiring and interesting. So many women and girls. People of different colors. Different ages. Different economic statuses. Kind of like the USA.

And the estrogen. WOW. As a human male I have to admit that I am a bit taken aback by so many women having power. All those female delegates. And female leaders. All very proud to be nominating and (hopefully) electing the first woman president.

Which leaves me on the outside looking in. You see. I won’t vote for a woman. I REFUSE to vote for a woman. Especially for president.

In 2008 and 2012 I refused to vote for a black man for president. For pretty much the same reason. I have known black men and boys. Some have been awful. Most have been nice. Some have been criminals. Most have been decent. And competent.

And I have known many women and girls as well. Some have been awful.Most have been nice. Some have been criminals. Most have been decent. And competent.

But I won’t vote for a black man or a woman. I take to heart the words of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. when he said: I look to a day when people will not be judged by the color of their skin, but by the content of their character.

That day is here.

I will not vote for a black man. Or a woman. But I did vote for Barack Obama. Twice. And I will vote for Hillary Clinton. Not because of skin color or gender. But because he was and she is the best person for the job. Period.

In some ways, being singled out as the “first” black man or the “first” woman diminishes their accomplishments. They are competent, decent, hardworking, empathetic human beings. Excellent candidates. Skin color and gender should be irrelevant. Someday they will be.

So excuse me if I don’t vote for the first woman POTUS. I’ll just vote for the best person. Hillary.

 

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Filed under blacks, candidate, Clinton, Democrat, Elections, GOP, government, Hillary, liberals, neoconservatives, obama, Politics, POTUS, president, United States, US

Where There’s Smoke…..

There is an old saying: Where there is smoke, there is fire.

And over the years we have seen the Republican Party stir up a whole lot of smoke when it comes to Hillary Clinton. I am not quite sure why the GOP has gone after Clinton for over 25 years. What are the roots?

Could it be the fact that she was one of the assistants on the committee that investigated the Watergate break in? She was on the staff of the committee that discovered the complicity of Richard Nixon with the cover up of the burglary. Which led to his eventual disgrace and resignation.

Or was it her demand for justice for small children. The whole “it takes a village to raise a child” mentality. The GOP was somehow offended by the idea that all of us should be responsible for all children. That children are not ours to “own” and dispose of as we wish. That in civilized society we have  responsibility to ALL kids, not just children of the elites.

Or was it her support for equal rights for women? Maybe the concept that all Americans should have rights was threatening to the GOP philosophy of patriarchy. After all, it was not until the post WW2 era that women in some states could even sign contracts without hubby’s approval. And her support for the radical idea that a woman should control her own body! Perhaps the GOP was upset with her for that?

At any rate, over the years the Republicans have been constantly investigating Hillary. With tax dollars. Your dollars. My dollars. The attempt to find some law she has broken has become an obsession. And with so many investigations many people are convinced that she must have done SOMETHING illegal. Not sure what. But, where there is smoke, there is fire..

There is plenty of SMOKE. To recap.

The Whitewater investigation by Ken Starr.  Determined to find illegal activity by the Clintons, both Bill and Hillary, in the land purchases in Arkansas. So they investigated. And investigated. Starr found nothing. And investigated. And investigated.Lots of smoke. No indictment for Hillary. No illegal activity. But lots of smoke.

Then, with the help of Linda Tripp, they finally got a young woman alone, without a lawyer present, in a Washington, DC apartment. And they got her, without a lawyer, to admit that she had oral sex with the president. That was it . That was the outcome of the Whitewater investigation. $80,000,000 in taxpayer money (That would be $ 115,000,000 in today’s dollars). Smoke. For their money..I mean, OUR money…  they got the most expensive blowjob in world history. Lots of smoke.

Then we have Vince Foster. A friend of the Clintons . Dead. Well, if he was a friend of Hillary and he dies there must be some connection ! Could not just be a suicide. Pretty suspicious that someone who knows Hillary Clinton happens to commit suicide. Smoke. She must have had him murdered. Smoke.  Why else would he be dead? Smoke. He had terrible secrets. We will never know them, because they are secrets. Smoke.  Although more than 40,000 Americans  commit suicide every year, he was the one who knew Hillary. Connection. Smoke.

Next stop on the smoke parade? The very high speaking fees. Why did she take so much money for speaking? Just because, when she left the White House, the Clintons had massive debts. Up to $12,000,000 in debt when they left the White House.  Debts from what? From legal fees defending those smoky accusations. Debts from defending themselves in the Whitewater affairs. The impeachment proceedings. Lot of debts. But for some reason, making a great deal of money is suspicious. Smoke. Did people want to hear her speak? Evidently. Otherwise why would they pay her to speak. Free enterprise? Nope. If someone else gets massive fees to speak, well, more power to him. But if Hillary commands massive speaking fees it must be related to some illegal activity.Smoke. Can’t put our finger on exactly it is, but it MUST BE something nefarious. Something fishy. More smoke.

Of course Benghazi is in a class by itself. Lots of smoke. Over many years. Mountains of smoke. Smoky Mountains of smoke. The first Benghazi investigation found no wrongdoing or criminal activity. But that can’t be right. So, the GOP have Benghazi 2. Smoke. Nothing. Benghazi 3. Smoke. Nothing illegal. Benghazi 4. Smoke. Benghazi 5. Nothing. Benghazi 6. Smoke. Benghazi 7. Nothing illegal. Benghazi 8. Smoke. But the GOP had to get to the bottom of this, so… Gowdy’s Benghazi 9. Smoke. Smoke. And nothing illegal. 800 pages of nothing illegal. BUT. With 9 investigations she MUST have done something. Otherwise why are they investigating? Smoke and more smoke. Benghazi 9 costs $30,000.000 in taxpayer funds. Money gone up  in smoke.

But, we got her now, boys ! Those emails. Those 30,000 emails the FBI scoured through. And the millions of email fragments they scoured through. Smoke. Or so the GOP FBI Director concluded. Hillary and her staff let about 20 POSSIBLE highly classified emails slip through. Smoke. Nothing illegal. Careless? Yes, a little bit. Illegal. No. Lots of smoke. Lots of tax dollars. Nothing but smoke.

So, now, the GOP want to investigate their own  GOP FBI Director. There MUST BE SOMETHING illegal. All  that smoke.

25 years of smoke. 25 years of innuendo. Investigation after investigation. All paid for by the taxpayer. Accusations. Never supported by the facts.  But all that SMOKE. So the average citizen says: Look,  where there is smoke, there is fire. She MUST have done something illegal. Right?

Where there is smoke there is fire. Sometimes. Or. Where there is smoke there is a smoke machine. Simulated smoke. They use them at concerts and movie sets. Looks like smoke. Seems like smoke. Simulates smoke. Acts like smoke. Cloudy like smoke. Must be smoke.

NOPE. Sometimes , where there is smoke…there is just a smoke machine. Manufactured to look like the real thing. An illusion. Set up and plugged in to fool people. Welcome to the Republican Party Smoke Machine. The 25 year old smoke machine. Spewing phony smoke. Spending millions of dollars on the illusion.

You can buy one for yourself. For less than 50 bucks. I think the GOP overpaid, don’t you?

 

 

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The Pursuit of Happiness

Happy Fourth of July.

We all know the words….”life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness”. From the Declaration of Independence. 240 years ago.

According to Tom Jefferson these are three of the inalienable rights all human beings possess. (He made a few exceptions in regards to “human beings” which we need not go into at time). In the Lincoln-Douglas debates Old Abe often referred to this phrase and included ALL men, even 0nes not recognized by Tom. A different time.

And anyone who listens to politicians today, especially those on the right side of the political spectrum, certainly recognize the call for “liberty”. Freedom ! Freedom ! Freedom from tyranny. Freedom from Obamacare. Freedom from big government. Ad nauseum.

So, we agree that all men should have life and liberty. Those rights are explicitly mentioned in the Declaration of Independence.

But that third one? The pursuit of happiness? Seems like our modern right wing scholar/politicians are ignoring that third  “inalienable right”. Nothing new there. After all, they ignore half of the 2nd Amendment…the part about “a well-regulated militia”.

The idea that people should be able to be “happy” seems foreign to them. People should be free. People should be rich. People should be able to raise their kids as they see fit. People should not have to pay taxes. People should fight terrorism. But happy?

Happiness is just not part of the right wing equation when it comes to rights. Jefferson and the other men who voted to leave the British empire did so , primarily, because they just weren’t happy. And, gol darn it, they thought every man had the right to pursue happiness. That may have been a more radical idea than the right to life or liberty, which most people readily accepted. Happiness was one of the big three. Important enough to mention in the seminal document in US history.

Watching the “Make Him Fail” haters and the “Make America White…er..Great” chanters you would think that happiness is the last thing on their minds. I would guess that if all the terrible “liberals” like myself disappeared tomorrow it would not make a bit of difference. If all the soft, commie-loving “libtards” suddenly became invisible, it would not change a thing.

These sour politicians with their sour view of life would find something else to be angry about. The very idea of people pursuing happiness seems to bother them. They want laws about everything , from conception to birth to the grave. While they claim to want freedom, they really want to make sure others do not pursue too much happiness. Wipe that smile off your face and salute the flag.

They want to punish women who have sex. They want to punish people who smoke dope. They want to punish hardworking (illegal) Mexicans who are trying to make a living. They want to punish gays for..well.. being gay. Happiness is not in their Declaration of Independence.

I wonder what Jefferson would make of these folks. After all, he did write that we have inalienable rights, and AMONG THEM are the rights to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. So, he did acknowledge that those three were not the ONLY rights. He understood that we have many rights, some unwritten.

I suppose if he lived today he might consider the feelings  of the right wing politicians and add a fourth right. The right to be miserable. And I accept that people  have a right to be miserable. They have to right to emphasize the negative. To be nasty and insulting.

I just wish they would not exercise that right  on the rest of us.

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Lesson of Brexit

Much to the dismay of the leadership of the UK, the citizens of the UK have voted to leave the European Union. Not by much. The vote was 51.8% in favor of leaving. A scant majority. But enough to overturn an established economic order.

Still, entire regions of the UK voted NOT to leave. Scotland was overwhelmingly in favor of staying joined (62%). London also overwhelmingly in favor (60%). Northern Ireland wanted to remain (56%). But the majority in the rest of Britain did not. And the majority ruled.

Link to map of voting:

No one knows the long term results of this separation. The pundits are having a field day. Mr Obama was sad. Fox News was joyous. As was Donald Trump. Doom and gloom and happiness and joy.

Some see this as a catastrophe for the economy of the UK. With repercussions throughout Europe and even the USA. Nothing investors fear more than instability. No one wants to put their money where it may be unsafe. Especially big investors. Will London cease to be the financial capital of Europe?

Others see this as a strike against globalization and free trade agreements. A strike for independence and freedom for the Brits. The end of the EU. A triumph of nativism and nationalism. Will the rest of the EU follow suit and secede, fragmenting Europe once again?

Of course, the Brits were never fully integrated into the EU anyway. They kept their own currency. They kept control of their borders, except for the flow of capital. And the Brits have always seen themselves as a nation apart (superior to? ) the rest of Europe.

So, what is the lesson learned?

For me the lesson is simple. Representative democracy is not a terribly effective system, but it is the best system human beings have been able to devise. Brexit is an example of what happens when elected leaders refuse to lead. They let emotions, rather than reason, prevail.

Brexit is a good  example of  “direct democracy” in action. A referendum. Letting the people decide. Absolutely idiotic. Referendums are emotional snapshots. They are not the way to make major decisions about longstanding relationships. Run a few more commercials and some people change their vote. Take the same vote next week and have a different result. Appeal to the anti-immigrant sentiment and the complexity of the issue becomes lost.

People are easily swayed by emotional and nationalistic slogans. Make the UK Great Again! Freedom from Tyranny! The EU is taxing us and we get nothing in return!

I can guarantee that most of the people who voted in this referendum know as much about the EU-UK relationship as you or I. Whether they voted for or against, how many actually understood the ties that bind the UK to the EU? How many actually understood the London financial markets and the effect on the pound and euro? How many knew the long  term effects on trading partners like the USA and China?  How many anticipated the slowing of growth over the next 10 years and how that will effect their jobs and income?

Put 10 economists in a tree and shake it. Each one that hits the ground will have a different theory of the effects of Brexit, with all kinds of “data” and predictions. And only one, perhaps none, will be correct.

So, how is the average citizen supposed to understand the complexity of this UK-EU relationship? He simply cannot.  So, he votes based on emotion.

This direct democracy is a failure. Because no matter which side of the issue you were on, the economists and politicians in Parliament and 10 Downing Street understood the issues much better. That is why they were elected. To lead. To make decisions. Not to pass the buck.

So, my lesson learned? We should never have a referendum on the law. Or other important issues. While representatives may not always represent us as we want them to, at least a good portion of them understand issues. And while they USUALLY act slowly, it is better than giving into the whims of emotion. (Think of the Patriot Act as the exception that proves the rule).

The lesson of Brexit? Stick to the awful system of “representative” government. It is still better than the alternatives.

 

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Filed under economics, Elections, Free Trade, Politics, Secede

Things I Don’t Care About

Some Americans seem to care about a lot of things that are really none of their business. And they often want to dictate and make LAWS about the behavior of others. Busybodies.

There are many things I care about. And some things I don’t care about. Here are some things I don’t care about.

  1. Your sexual orientation. I don’t care if you are straight, gay, bi, trans, multiple or none of the above or all of the above. Why should I ?
  2. Your surname. Is it Martinez? Warschowski? O’Flanigan? al-Muamar? von Sternum? Papadopolis? Jones? Takanami? Swennson? Dilorenzo?  Achebe? Sitting Horse? Chou? What does it matter?
  3. Where you were born. New York City, New York . Bumblefuck, Iowa. Oslo, Norway. Campeche, Mexico. Nairobi, Kenya. Xian, China. Mumbai, India. Who cares? Did you CHOOSE to be born in that particular spot on the Earth?
  4. Your marital status. Married. Divorced. Single. Common law married. Annulled. Multiple married. Group married. Why should I care?
  5. How much money you make. Are you a millionaire? A billionaire? On welfare? A day laborer? A silver spoon baby? ? Minimum wage earner? Retired and living off the government (like me) ?  Does your income impact me?
  6. Your skin color. Look at your arm. Is it White? Off-White? Pink? Black? Brown? Brownish? Reddish? Yellowish? Freckled? Does the color of your skin tell me anything useful about your personality?  Whether you are nice or mean? Smart or dumb?
  7. Your religious beliefs. Do you worship Allah? Or Yahweh? Or Jesus? Or the Buddha? Or nothing? Or Vishnu? Or the “Almighty Dollar”? As long as you don’t try to make others  worship what you worship, why should I  care?
  8. What bathroom you use. Do you use the men’s room? The women’s room? The handicapped room? What does it matter to me? As long as you use SOME bathroom,  please.  Just flush.
  9. What you do with your own adult body. Pierce it? Paint it? Tatoo it?  Fatten it up? Run it down? Starve it? Share it with the community? Keep it to yourself? Make babies with it? Don’t make babies with it? End it? It’s your body. It is the only one you are likely to ever have. It should belong to you and you alone. Treat it well. But it’s up to you.

So, I don’t bother caring about things that belong to you and you alone. I have plenty of my own things to care about.  Will my next batch of beer turn out ok? Can I finally get my golf score down to bogey golf?  Will I have to cut the lawn this week? Will Betsy find out where I hid the Hershey kisses? I have enough on my plate. Don’t need to care about everyone else’s personal issues.

And I certainly don’t want to make LAWS about them.

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Throw Down: The Donald vs. Bill

A Throw Down Between The Donald and Bill. With apologies to the cast of “Hamilton” and, well, everyone else with rapping talent. (You have to rap this out loud for full effect)

 

(Moderator)

How does a millionaire billionaire abomination

Win the Republican Party nomination?

He does it with a nasty attitude

He does it with rude, he does it with crude

He does it with bigotry, does it with fear

He tells the Tea Party what they want to hear

He’s Donald Trump the celebrity

The candidate for the G O P

 

Now the former first lady is his opposition

How did a woman put herself in this position?

She worked for the government along with her mate

New York Senator, Secretary of State

She took a lot of crap from multiple sources

In the end she proved she had the resources

To come out on top, she did not stop

She won the nomination, she rode the right horses

She’s the Hillary, the female hope

She’s Hillary, ain’t no dope, nope

 

(Enter Donald Trump)

My name is the Donald so just step away

When I start talking I got something to say

I whipped Little Rubio, took him right down

Stepped on Jeb, made him look like a clown

I’ll say anything, so I can’t lose

If you don’t believe me you can ask Ted Cruz

They are all losers and I am a winner

I ate those chumps for Sunday dinner

Yo…Is that you Bill?

 

(Enter Bill Clinton)

 

My wife is Hillary and she’s on top

She gets inspiration and she just won’t stop

She works all night, she labors all day

She’s always in the office, no time to play

She’s devoted, promoted and working is her tonic-ah

Why do you think I turned to Monica?

Whoa…sorry about that…

 

(Back to Trump)

If Hill wants to know what I am thinking

Here’s how her ship of state I’ll be sinking

Talking bout Bill, how she found him whores

And she must be a lesbo, that’s for sure

Hillary’s a maniac, Hillary’s a liar

By the time I’m done she’ll want to retire

She’s a pimp for Bill, a shill for the Street

She does nasty women stuff. She’ll be easy to beat

Nasty women stuff…she’s got cooties…..

 

(Back to Bill Clinton)

OK Donald you continue talking trash

But Hill’s gonna whip you, gonna kick your ass

It’s true that my life is far from perfection

Many ladies have benefitted from my affection

But Trump, you’re a chump if you think you get away

With talking that trash. I got something to say

I know I’ve done many things that I shouldn’t oughta,

But I never fantasized about my own daughter.

I may have bragged that Chelsea was a cutie

But you talked about banging your own kid’s booty

You is sick man…Really sick…..

 

(Back to Trump)

People like hearing all the things I say

Like rounding up Mooslims – sending them away

Keeping out the immigrant Mexican slime

By building a wall nobody can climb

I’ll be doing what the people say I oughta

Like shooting to kill at the Mexican border

One more issue, blown out of proportion

Put women in the bin if they want an abortion

The Roe v Wade don’t mean nothing to me

I’m the king who decides who‘s in jail and who’s free.

The people want a leader who preaches hate

Isn’t that what made America Great?

Black Lives Matter…but not to me….

 

(Back to Clinton)

Donald you are dreaming if you think you can

Undo all the good things we have in this land

Women have rights to control their own body

Even though you don’t know what they do in the potty.

Freedom of Religion – it’s the Bill of Rights , say,

So you ain’t gonna drive no Muslims away.

You can fool the fools and the Fox News sheeple

But you ain’t gonna fool the American people

Your message of bigotry is losing fast

Your words of hate are from a long dead past

People aren’t buying your denial of diversity

Go home. Build yourself another phony university.

Hillary’s got the moxey, Hill has the brains

Hill’s gonna bury you – I feel your pain’

You claim to be a financial wiz

Even though your businesses tend to fiz

I’m not trying to be a mean-oh

But who goes bankrupt running a casino?

Bottom line Donald, you are nothing but a brand

You live in a castle but it’s built on sand.

So…now…you know what you know….

 

(Moderator)

So now we’re back to the moderator

We won’t know, the results come later

You best take a moment of deep reflection

Cuz this is a monumental election

Either Donald or Hillary will be the next president

Either Donald or Hillary — a White House resident.

In November you’re gonna have to choose

One’s gonna win, one’s gonna lose

The world wants to know, who is going to be

The commander-in-chief of the land of the free

So…don’t be a dope..when you vote..think about it

A lot…then .. think some more

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Hiding Under the Bed

I have been reading a lot of history lately. The biography of John Adams. The biography of Alexander Hamilton. The story of the b-17 bombing of the Nazis during WW2.

Americans of the distant and recent past put their lives on the line. Whether they were right or wrong can be debated. Was Vietnam worth it? Was Afghanistan necessary? Was Iraq a proper response to 9/11?

Whatever your political philosophy it seems as though Americans have always stood up and faced whatever “evil” they needed to face. Even if some of that “evil” may be imaginary.

Until recently.

Over the last few years we have seen a new American emerge. This is the American of the political right wing. Just as American as you or I.  But Americans who have redefined what it means to be a “patriot” or a “citizen”

These Americans, unlike their forefathers, live in a state of constant fear. They are constantly horrified. Perpetually frightened.

They reject  the liberal FDR who, when faced with the most devastating economic disaster the US had ever known, responded by telling Americans, in his first inaugural address. “The only thing we have to fear is  fear itself”. A statement FDR repeated in 1941 in response to the Nazi menace.

They reject the words of another liberal president, JFK, who pronounced, “Let us never negotiate out of fear, but let us never fear to negotiate”.

We might even try Ronald Reagan, the patron saint of the GOP, who said, ” Whatever else history may say about me when I’m gone, I hope it will record that I appealed to your best hopes, not your worst fears; to your confidence rather than your doubts.”

Well. Not so.

Today, the entire right wing seems to be hiding under their beds, teeth chattering. To hear some of these new Americans talk you would think we are a nation of cry babies and cowards.

What are they afraid of?

Gays.

Transgender people using bathrooms.

Gays getting married.

People who want to take away their guns.

People without guns.

Women who want to control their own bodies.

Blacks.

Blacks voting.

Old people voting.

Anyone voting.

The government.

Muslims.

Foreigners.

Mexicans.

Atheists.

Teachers.

Gays in the military.

Black Lives Matter.

Communists .

Socialists.

Libtards.

Did I mention gays?

Perhaps we need to get these grown men out from under the beds. Be gentle with them. Pat them on their heads. Hold their hands. Tell them it will all be okay. Nobody is going to hurt them. No gays are going to attack them. No one is taking away their guns. Heat up some cocoa and give them a cookie.

The poor darlings are frightened out of their (half)wits.

Perhaps Plato said it best over 2,000 years ago.

“We can easily forgive a child who is afraid of the dark; the real tragedy of life is when men are afraid of the light”.

 

 

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A Pot To Piss In

The United States of America  has, in its long history, faced a number of issues of  massive importance. The debate over the very founding of the nation and the separation of powers.  The issue of slavery, debated by Lincoln and Douglas and finally determined by war. The issue of Jim Crow. The woman’s suffrage movement. Civil Rights.Various conflicts between the federal and state governments.

I remember George Wallace standing on the steps of the University of Alabama, pledging to deny entrance to young Americans of color. The federal government nationalized the Alabama National Guard  troops to move the governor aside. Momentous.

Now, we add to the list, the battle over bathrooms.

The greatest nation on Earth. The nation of Washington, Jefferson, Adams, Lincoln, FDR, JFK and Reagan is facing another Constitutional Crisis.

To pee, or not to pee. That is the question. Shall the people of North Carolina be granted the freedom to pee in the toilet of their choice? Or should the iron hand of government compel them to pee in  approved lavatories? Shall freedom be taken away and driven into the night or shall all men, and women, and transgender men or women, be allowed to urinate and defecate in the restroom most fitting to them? Each to his or her own?

Can the great state of North Carolina demand a birth certificate as proof of one’s right to pee in a specific place?  Should the federal government join in and demand that all men, or women, or transgender men or women, have the right to eliminate in the facility of their choice? That, my friends, is the question facing America.

The intellectual titans of the USA, that beacon of freedom, are now engaged in a debate over the very hearts and souls of toilet bowls. To flush or not to flush? Put the seat down or leave it up?

Can you think of anything more humiliating or embarrassing than a government, whether local, state or federal, becoming enmeshed in where one goes to the bathroom? I can’t.

I know, sometimes major universal truths and rights are determined by small incidents. Does it matter where you sit on  the bus? Does it matter that a school closes it’s doors to you because of your skin color? Does it matter whether or not a baker has to bake a cake? I suppose it does.

At the same time, not everything needs to be a court case. Not every principle needs to be fought over . Sometimes we can let stuff slide. Even stuff that is wrong. Maybe a little perspective?

We are not talking about getting an education. Or a job. Or the right to vote. Or the right to dine in any public establishment. Someone just needs to use the toilet. Does the city of Charlotte and the state of North Carolina and the United States of America really need to get involved? Is this an issue worthy of a Constitutional crisis? Do we need a “law”?

Do we have more pressing problems?

I am reminded of the first time I traveled to Guatemala. Early in the morning  I was watching some man walking past a side street in Antigua. He must have already had his morning coffee. He stopped, glanced around (he didn’t see me), and proceeded to urinate against the side of a building. Zipped up. Walked on.

Problem solved.

 

 

 

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Diversity: GOP Style

I was watching Ted Cruz pick a running mate. Even though he is behind in the polls and is very unpopular with Republicans. Not to give in to reality he chose Carly Fiorina. Who is even MORE unpopular with Republicans. That ought to do it.  I was persusing the “crowd” behind Ted and noticed the vast diversity of the GOP.

There were white men in brown shirts. White men in blue shirts. White men in red shirts. One white guy in a flannel shirt. White women. Old white people. Young white people. Old white women. Young white women. White gays (Ok, I made that one up).

How unfair to call the Dems the party of diversity. Just because Dems attract white people. And people of color. African-Americans. Young people. Working people. Hispanics. Women. Lots of women. The poor. The rich. The middle class. Gays. Not-gays. And so on.

I am here to expose the “lamestream media” and their characterization of the GOP as non-diverse. So, here goes. The GOP diversity on parade. The GOP base. In all its diversity.

GOP. Grumpy Old Persons

These are people, usually retired and/or working as greeters at Wal Mart. They spend no fewer than 12 hours a day watching Fox “news”. They know that the blacks are getting all kinds  of free stuff. They know that the Mexicans are raping children and living off Social Security. They know that Hillary Clinton was behind the attacks at Benghazi. It must be true. It’s on Fox.

GOP. Grab Onto the Past.

These folks want to go back to the good old days when you could beat the crap out of your  wife and kids and the government would not interfere. It was called “respect”. The days when darkies knew their place. When the US was the greatest nation on earth. That would be right before the Civil Rights legislation and Women’s Lib. Women stayed in the kitchen cooking..after working 8 hours for half the pay of men. Police were respected. Or they would beat you into respect. Either way.

GOP. Get Out Perverts

These folks sniff out perversion everywhere. They live for perversion. They thrive on perversion. And they want the perverts OUT. Period. Gays are perverts. Intellectuals are perverts. Abortion providers are perverts. Teachers are perverts.Unionist are perverts. Muslims are perverts. All god’s children are perverts! You want to find a pervert? Who you gonna call? The GOP.

GOP. Get Obama Psychotics.

Mental illness. A group psychosis brought on by a black man living in their white house. This group has an obsession with all things Obama. And they want him impeached. He is the “illegal” president. Obamacare is illegal. Obama is a Muslim, which is illegal. Obama is a communist. Which is illegal. This disease lasts 8 years . It must be allowed to run its course. No medication diminishes it. No amount of reason alters it. Facts and evidence have no effect on the delusion. Unfortunately for those afflicted it is followed by 8 more years of “Hillary Hysteria”. Wait for it.

GOP. Guys Obsessed with Penises

Never have so many been obsessed with so little. These are the tough hombres. Real men. Real men with guns. Lots of guns. Big guns. Little guns. Toy guns. As Freud said “Sometimes a cigar is just a cigar, but guys obsessed with guns are looney toons” And  I quote. The real men need to let it be known that they have penises. BIG ones. They can whip anyone’s ass. Except for transgender people. LGBT-types scare the bejesus out of these macho men. Because  they are also afraid that some some transgender person might sneak a peek. SCARY ! Now, speaking for myself, if I had a big one….oh..never mind.

GOP. God’s Own People

The strongest of the diverse groups in the GOP. They have god on their side. They do the work of god. God speaks to them, regularly. God tells them gays are evil. Women have cooties. Health care for the poor is wrong. Democrats are sinful. God tells them to smite their enemies. Or at least keep them from registering to vote. Evolution is the work of Satan. The end is near. The liberal teachers are turning your kids into gays. God tells them that violence in her…oops..his name is required. Purify America. Burn the witch ! Their god evidently never asked them to  read the New Testament.

So. There you have it. The diversity of the GOP. Many kinds of people. A great coalition. Although there is one strain of philosophical thought that ties them all together into one unhappy family. Misery loves company.

The GOP. Generally Old Pricks.

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Feel the Bern… Vote the Hill

The New York Primary is this Tuesday .  As a registered Democrat I have the right to vote. Usually by now the NY Primary is an exercise in futility, one candidate is well on his way to the nomination. And in the general election NY tends to be deserted by presidential candidates. They all know that NY is securely in the Dem column.

But this time it counts. So, for whom shall I pull the lever. Well, no longer. We used to pull levers, now we bubble in sheets. Like taking a standardized test in high school.

My heart belongs to Bernie. My philosophy is firmly to the left of Karl Marx.  OK.  Not that far, but I certainly side with the socialist mentality. I remember voting for Jesse Jackson long ago in another NY Primary. And I have voted for Ralph Nader . (But only because I knew the vote would not impact the final outcome of a Gore victory in NY). So I naturally gravitate toward Mr Sanders. I feel the Bern.

Then I step back and the more pragmatic side of my political sense takes over. Clinton is not that far from Sanders in her views.  She has a long, and I mean LONG,  history of being involved in issues that are important to me. She has more administrative experience, to be sure. She did run the State Department for 4 years. She is singularly uninspiring, true. But inspiration isn’t everything.

So, I will bubble in the bubble for Hillary. Why?

Pragmatism. She will stand up to all the crap that Trump or Cruz or Kasich (yes, Kasich still has a shot)  throws at her. There has not been one lie, half-truth, insinuation, aggravation and derogation (is that even a word?) that she has not had to deal with and deflect. Remember the illegal Whitewater land deals? Remember how she murdered Vince Foster? Remember how she recruited women for Bill? Remember how she sent top secret emails to our enemies? Remember how she sat by during  the attack on our ambassador in Benghazi and did nothing to help him?

Secretary Clinton was an effective senator for NY. She was a competent Secretary of State who had to repair our international relations after the Iraq debacle. Most of all, she has stood up to the vilest and nastiest attacks on any politician since Andrew Jackson. And survived. More than survived. Came out on top.

I don’t know how Bernie will stand up to the GOP /Fox attack machine. The label “socialist” and “communist” will be pounded out over and over again. His lack of experience in foreign affairs will be seen as a sign of “weakness” by the pundits. Every verbal slip will be magnified, distorted and linked to Karl Marx somehow. And the attacks WILL get personal. I am not sure he has the thick skin and killer instinct necessary to fight back. Obama did. Which is why the GOP hates him. And Clinton does.

So, while my heart belongs to Bernie I don’t think he is electable in the general election. I don’t care what the polls say. I have seen the GOP attack machine in full mode. It isn’t pretty.

I saw Muskie sabotaged by counterfeit letters. I recall the “Willie Horton” commercials which appealed openly to racism and helped sink Dukakis. I recall a veteran who risked his life in the most dangerous missions in VietNam, the swift boats into Cambodia. I watched  the GOP simply lie about his service and mount a “Swift Boat” attack on his integrity. I saw  the label of “communist ” and “socialist” and “radical Muslim” placed on Barack Obama. All good men. All attacked in the vilest of terms. Keep in mind,  the GOP is shameless. In the campaign they will say and do anything.

So, I will vote for Clinton. She has shown that she has the guts and intelligence to stand up to the most vile lies. She has been there for 30 years. And remains standing. Maybe Sanders could stand up to the nastiness, too. I don’t know. But I am not willing to take that chance.

So, while I feel the Bern, I will vote the Hill.

https://berniesanders.com/issues/

https://www.hillaryclinton.com/issues/

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Keep America(ns) Safe

Keep America Safe.

Protect us from the  (fill in the blank)… Muslims…Mexicans…terrorists…refugees…Syrians…

But never fill in the blank with “Other Americans”.

We hear this from candidates all the time. America is a dangerous place…for some. But not from Muslim terrorists or jihadists. The biggest threat to human life comes from our  fellow citizens. With guns. All kinds of guns. Easily obtained.

Forget about the few “mass killings” At churches . Or schools. They are simply a spike in the graph. The every day, under reported killing of people in the USA is the biggest tragedy not covered by the media. Or candidates.

Keep America Safe.

For some reason keeping Americans safe from other Americans is a very low priority, especially for the two GOP candidates. I give you Matthew 7:3 ” Why do you see the speck that is in your brother’s eye but ignore the log in your own?”. It is easier to point the finger at “the other” than admit to our own societal  and governmental failures.

Fact: On 9/11 a small group of  Muslim extremists, mostly from Saudi Arabia, flew planes into building that killed almost 3,000 Americans. The US government retaliated with a massive attack on Afghanistan and later Iraq. Americans wanted revenge and wanted to make sure that we would be safe. Keep America Safe became the mantra. Ever since then our legal institutions and domestic priorities  have taken second place to our military desires. Keep America Safe. 3,000 innocents killed.

Fact: Since 2002 over 200,000 American citizens have been murdered. (Not including suicides or accidents, which almost doubles the figures) Not by Muslim terrorists. Not by ISIS. Not by hordes of Mexicans or Guatemalans.  By fellow citizens. By other Americans with guns. 200,000 citizens murdered. . And this is not seen as a crisis worth talking about. By any of the candidates.

Fact: Since 2002 over 17,000,000 Americans have been victims of violent crimes. Murders, assaults, rapes. 17,000,000 Americans . That is  MORE THAN the entire population of Wyoming, Vermont, Alaska, North Dakota, South Dakota, Delaware, Montana, Rhode Island, New Hampshire, Maine, Hawaii, Idaho, West Virginia and Nebraska COMBINED. 17,000,000. And not a peep from the candidates.

Source:  http://www.disastercenter.com/crime/uscrime.htm

Not worth mentioning.

These Keep America Safe politicians don’t seem to equate America with Americans. To them “America” is simply a land mass with a border, not millions of people. A geographic entity. Uninhabited? Children living in inner cities? Not Americans. The homeless? Not Americans. Battered spouses? Not Americans.

Perhaps someday a moderator in one of the debates will ask these candidates why they outline no plans to keep “Americans” safe. Wouldn’t that be a good question to ask?

———————————–

Related information from the websites of the 4 major candidates. The 2 Democrats do touch on the issue of gun violence. The GOP candidates simply ignore it.

The Ted Cruz website (https://www.tedcruz.org/issues/) talks about defending our borders. and securing the borders. He wants to install a missile system on the borders of Russia and wage war on..well, just about everybody. (http://www.ontheissues.org/2016/Ted_Cruz_War_+_Peace.htm )

The Donald Trump website (https://www.donaldjtrump.com/positions ) talks about building a wall to keep out Mexicans.  And he wants 30,000 US troops to defeat ISIS. (http://www.cnn.com/2016/03/11/politics/donald-trump-30000-troops-isis/ )

Hillary Clinton is a little more nuanced in her views of keeping America safe. She wants a combination of military, economic and political actions.  War as a resort. But not the first resort. (https://www.hillaryclinton.com/issues/national-security/). And she has some specifics regarding  domestic gun violence. (https://www.hillaryclinton.com/issues/gun-violence-prevention/)

Bernie Sanders seems to agree with President Obama’s current policies on ISIS and terror, in general. ( http://feelthebern.org/bernie-sanders-on-isis/ )       Sanders stand on gun control is a little more complicated. He is for it, but does not go as far as Clinton. (http://feelthebern.org/bernie-sanders-on-gun-policy/ )

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Carolina on My Mind…or in My Toilet

North Carolina just passed a law about using public bathrooms. I assume LGBT folks using bathrooms has become a statewide epidemic of sorts! While I usually don’t care what kind of genitalia anyone else in the bathroom is packing, I thought I better clarify some issues so I don’t break any laws. Or customs.

This is a copy of a letter I submitted to the Charlotte Observer.

 

Dear Folks. I am coming down to North Carolina this October to play some golf and am a bit concerned about the new bathroom law just passed. I guess I don’t understand it so maybe you can answer some questions so I don’t make a fool of myself. Or break any laws.
1. When I enter a restroom will I have to drop my pants so the attendant can see whether or not I have the proper equipment? If so, would you suggest boxers or briefs?
2. If I suspect the “guy” (or maybe not the “guy”) in the next stall is not really the “guy” in the next stall, should I dial 911 to handle the emergency?
3. Will I need to bring a birth certificate to verify that I was born with the right equipment and have not just added it later on a whim? Will a photocopy be acceptable? (I don’t want another Obama situation!)
4. Can I ask a fellow toilet user to produce his (or “her”) equipment if I suspect he (or she) may be hiding, or not hiding, something? Like a “citizen’s arrest”?
5. Are the public restrooms now clearly labeled: Men, Women and Other? And do you still have some labeled: Whites Only?
6. If my equipment is challenged by another “guy” will I have to appear in court and produce proper evidence?
Not being a lawmaker or a lawyer I am afraid that I might inadvertently make a “faux pas” by using an inappropriate facility.
I am really looking forward to heading into North Carolina. Up here in Yankee land we are dealing with unemployment, poverty, gun violence, high taxes, etc. It will be a real pleasure to relax in a place where the biggest problem is determining the sex organs of fellow facility users.

(signed) Joe Urban

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