Category Archives: debates

Facebook Follies

I live in the country in western New York about 5 miles from a small town. There has been some controversy over the Facebook pages for this town. It got so bad that the mayor and others set up a new Facebook page.

What seems to happen on Facebook is that people get progressively ruder and ruder. Folks who would give you the shirt off their backs turn into folks who would shoot you in the back. People who would gladly buy you a drink turn into folks who would poison your coffee. Now why is that?

As in all things, I have my theories. Not original by any means.

One idea is the fact that Facebook is largely anonymous. But that’s not really the case here. Most folks use their real names (I think). I use mine. So, anonymity cannot be the reason.

Another idea is that communication is much more than words. But Facebook, except for the lame emojis, is all words. Words. And not spoken words, but written words. Now, psychologists will tell us that 70-93% of all communication is “non-verbal”. That is, body language. Voice inflection. What a person looks like. Tone of voice. Etc. (Although that number has been challenged as too high by some researchers).

So, if that is true it would mean that the written word is only 30% of what is being communicated. The rest you have to figure out. This may be where the problem rests.

My friends know that I tend to be sarcastic (Tend?) So, when I SPEAK my tone will tell them that. Even when I write my blog or posts people who know me know that I may be ironic or intentionally dramatic. Hyperbolic. Not totally serious. But, someone who only reads the words I write may come away with an entirely different perception. They don’t get the humor. No subtlety.

I mean, just today someone responded to one of my rather feeble attempts at sarcastic humor by calling me (or I should say, “writing to me”) a “fu…ing idiot.”

To be clear. I am not now, nor ever have, claimed I am NOT a “fu…ing idiot.” I could very well be a “fu…ing idiot.” God knows, if you took a poll of the people who know me best, the results may be conclusive in a way that I would not prefer. But whether I am or am not a “fu….ing idiot” is not the point.

The point is that IN PERSON I doubt that anyone would call me a “fu…ing idiot” right to my face. At least not until they got to know me. On Facebook and other discussion sites people often make assumptions beyond the words. And base their responses on preconceived notions, based on , well, “baseless” assumptions.

I will be the first to admit that I am not immune. As a liberal who believes in the necessity of social programs I have a particular point of view. I start from a place based on my own life experiences and analysis of the systems within which we live. I try to use research and information from good sources.

For example, when I worked as a poll watcher I worked with Republicans. We have very different ideas about government, society and the role of government in that society. Yet, we were able to be pleasant, even joking, with each other for a day at the polls. As human beings, face to face, we did not devolve into name-calling “fu…ing idiots”.

Yet, when I get on some of these posts I morph . Dr Jeckel and Mr Hyde. Or is it Heckel and Jeckel? I confuse the two. Reading someone else’s post can immediately put me into antagonistic mode. Arguments ensue. When that happens I notice that each side tries to cherry-pick a point or two that they see as the weakness in the other’s position. A little information is a dangerous thing. Taking a word or brief quote or statistic out of context can be a sword, but not a very useful one. Unless the only goal is to stab.

And that sometimes devolves into insults, open or veiled. Now, I don’t mind if someone IMPLIES that I am stupid. Or uninformed. As long as they can demonstrate they have evidence from a legitimate source to educate me. And as long as they are open to my evidence to the contrary.

This is where a breakdown occurs. A matter of sources. When people are getting their “information” from biased or questionable sources it means communication of other viewpoints becomes near impossible. I admit my main sources of information are the old stand bys. The New York Times. The Washington Post. The New Yorker. The Atlantic. Why these? Because all these sources have strong reputations for properly vetting information before they print it. That doesn’t mean they don’t make mistakes. But it means that as sources go you can be assured that there was no rush to print. And you can assume multiple sources for stories.

I had an online argument with a lady who simply said that she would not read the New York Times since they were not trustworthy. OK. Then we really can’t talk, because there is no common ground of evidence to discuss. (I want to make a distinction between the NY Times news and the NY Times EDITORIAL board. The editorial board tends to be liberal, no doubt. But the editorial board has no influence on the news sections).

So, can we discuss important issues on Facebook in a civil manner? I don’t know. But I do know that Facebook has a handy feature called “blocking”. I have blocked a couple people recently. Not because I disagree with them. Not because I don’t like their ideas. Not because they are always wrong and I am always right. I blocked them because they personally attacked me and one called me a “fu…ing idiot”.

And calling me a “fu…ing idiot” is reserved for family and friends.

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Filed under debates, Democrat, GOP, government, liberals, logic, news, Politics, Republicans, Society, United States

Exploding Heads

I was watching an interview with Joe Biden on MSNBC  last night. Also, on the show was the Georgian Democrat, Stacy Abrams. There seems to be a push by some on the left to make her Biden’s vice presidential candidate. That, in my opinion, would be a massive mistake. She is a nice enough lady but lacks the experience  and recognition that Biden needs in a running mate.

So, I got to thinking. Always a unique and dangerous activity.

Want to watch Rush Limbaugh’s massive cranium blown apart like a giant pumpkin after a meeting with a shotgun blast?

How would you like to see Sean Hannity whining and crying (well, that’s nothing new) like a 3 year old as his noggin develops nodules and the bile spills out?

How about seeing the three Fox and Friends taking turns running in circles and jumping up and down like  Mexican jumping beans (ILLEGAL Mexican jumping beans) while their noodles wilt like ice cubes in the sun.

Picture Lindsey Graham pouting, shouting, pounding, sounding, kazooming and glooming while his cranium is crushed like an anvil dropping on Wiley Coyote . Like that picture?

How about sitting back in your easy chair watching the Tweeter-in-Chief’s “biggest brain in the world” implode, explode, overload and miggletoad like a rotting tomato in the claws and jaws of a hungry squirrel ? Totally obliterated. OUCH.

Want to see that? Want to see unbridled panic? Want to see a political party and news network brought to it’s knees slobbering and babbling about a series of non sequitor non sequitors?

Easy. Joe Biden should select Michelle Obama as his running mate.

In a poll in 2018, Michelle Obama placed second among voters as the person they would want to see as the Democratic nominee. Only Joe Biden did better. Yes, even though she was not running and had no intention of running she placed better than Sanders, Harris, Warren, Booker…you name them.

In poll after poll, national and international, Michelle Obama is rated as either near the top or the most popular woman. Most respected. Classiest.

Imagine a campaign in which Joe Biden, Michelle Obama and Barack Obama are all in the Democratic  limelight. Imagine the right wing misery to see one of the most popular former presidents and one of the most popular females in the US  joining forces with Biden to win the election. Imagine how much excitement would be generated by this combination.

Imagine Michelle Obama, an advocate of decency and women’s rights, going up against Pence, Trump’s wooden soldier.  Discussing voting rights, women’s rights, health care and general competency. She would have him for lunch. As a salad. Easy on the French dressing.

Obama -Biden won in 2012 and 2016. Biden-Obama can win, and I think win easily, in 2020.  The Trump team knows it. There is no one they fear more than the Obamas, Barack and Michelle. The models for what a president and first family SHOULD be. (The reason for the Obamagate fantasy is precisely because they fear Barack and Michelle so much)

What a contrast that would be. Biden-Obama vs. Trump-Pence. What a contrast in the area of decency. Competency. Empathy. Experience. But best of all….

Just imagine the fun of watching the exploding heads on the right wing. KABOOM!

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Filed under ACA, candidate, debates, Democrats, Elections, GOP, government, Joe Biden, liberals, obama, Obamacare, Politics, POTUS, Republicans, Society, Trump, United States

The Roller Coaster

It looks like the next election will be a choice among 3 old white guys. But 3 old white guys with significantly different views of the role of government in our lives. WHAT? You mean all old white guys are not the same? Who knew.

This race got me thinking. Always a problem. Thinking about roller coasters.

Roller coasters have always made me sick. Literally. I haven’t been riding on one in probably 30 years. They make me nauseous. Some people like them. Thrilling. Up and down. And up. And down. And up. Not for me. Give me Mr Toad’s wild ride in the teacup.

We have been on a roller coaster for 4  years. Many people wanted the roller coaster. They wanted to shake us up. Make some of us sick. Excite us. So we have seen what 4 years of riding a roller coaster brings.

Now, some folks still like the roller coaster. Four years are not enough. They want four more years of the up and down. They want to ride it forever. The swirls and twirls and thrills as the scenery screams by. And the folks on the roller coaster are also screaming. Some with joy. Others in horror.It’s a blast!

Why did I get on this thing? What was I thinking? Let me off!

So, now we have three choices.

We can stay on the roller coaster for 4 more years. Up and down. Vomiting. Thrilled to death. Wheeeee!

There are some folks want to get off one ride and jump right on another one. We can get off the roller coaster  and look around. Hey , look at that. It’s a Tilt-a-Whirl. Not as bad as the roller coaster. Tilting up and down and round and round. Tilting. Looks like fun. OK, maybe it’s still a bit unsettling, but at least it’s not the roller coaster. I will probably be okay.

Then there are folks like me. Still staggering from the roller coaster. Waiting for my stomach to settle down. Looking for a bench. A nice bench by the pond. Stop and sit. Have a hamburger. Sip a Coca-Cola. Relax.

We have a choice. Ride the roller coaster for 4 more years? Try out the Tilt-a-Whirl for 4 years and see how that settles the stomach? Or take a long rest? Take a break. Take  a breath.

As for me, I don’t need any more amusement park  rides. I am not amused.

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Filed under Bernie Sanders, debates, Elections, government, Joe Biden, Politics, Society, Trump, United States

The Not So Great Debate

Again I watched and listened to the Democratic debate. Well, hardly a debate. A few years ago I read the transcripts of the Lincoln-Douglass debates. The format was this.

Lincoln spoke for an hour. Douglass spoke for an hour and a half. Lincoln spoke for half an hour. Each side was given 90 minutes to talk. Explain. Extrapolate.

No moderators. That was a debate.

Last night I watched something that was called a debate, but was actually one of a series of  made for TV soundbite shows. OK. OK. With 6 candidates you can’t have a real debate, but that does not necessitate the ridiculous system now controlled by networks and moderators.

The discussion , which should elicit in depth, comprehensive explanations of views and policies, instead only encouraged “gotcha ” questions and hostile statements. I ask: What did anyone LEARN about the positions of the candidates? Not much, if anything.

Before I honor you with my solutions, let us re-enact the discussion.

Start Moderator # 1 (because, to be honest, the discussion is more about the “cleverness” of the moderators than the substance of the candidates): Mayor Bloomberg. You run a 60 billion dollar empire and have been around since Jesus walked the Earth. We now have 3 anonymous women who say you told a dirty joke in 1986. Since we now know you are a misogynistic, racist pig who rapes little girls, why are you even on the stage, and not in prison? You have 75 seconds to respond.

Star Moderator # 2: Senator Sanders. You are a communist through and through. You want to give everyone a communist health care plan that will destroy the very fabric of American society. You also had at least one heart attack. So, do you really think America is ready to elect a sickly, disgusting Mao-loving communist who will take away all their rights? You have 75 seconds to discuss all your plans and explain why you love Stalin.

Star Moderator # 3: Vice President Biden. You suck. We all know you are too old and you suck. And what about your son? You are trying to ride Obama’s coattails. Because you are old, a crook and suck, why should people vote for you? Hell, why am I even talking to you, you loser. You have 75 seconds to explain all of your work as vice president.

Star Moderator # 4: Senator Klobuchar. When you were a prosecutor in Minnesota you put black people in prison for crimes. Also, you cannot name the youngest daughter of the Vice President of Guatemala. In view of this history of racism and anti-Latino sentiment, please answer the following. Why are you a racist and why do you hate Latinos and why should any person of color even consider voting for such an obvious hater? Please limit your response to 75 seconds, you racist bitch.

Star Moderator # 5: Senator Warren. You are behind in the polls. You want to do better. You have these very hard to understand plans that no one cares about because they aren’t going to happen. You have been very unladylike today . Do you think being a strident , screeching female who thinks she is so smart will make men turn off to your campaign. I mean, what man wants to hear you talk like you know more than they do? Have you always turned off men or is this a new phenomenon? You have only 60 seconds because you talk too much.

Star Moderator # 6: Mayor Pete. You little cutie pie. Are you insane? You are gay. You are young. You are a smarty pants. You were in the military but no one cares about that. What the hell makes you think you have any right to run for president? I don’t care what your views are. Bottom line. Other than your “husband” and others in “that community” do you really think anyone else is ever going to vote for you? Please answer in 75 seconds and don’t play the lame “military” and “gay” cards.

As the discussion comes to a close the 6 moderators all congratulate each other on their insightful questioning.

Questions not asked by the insightful moderators. Questions which might have elicited intelligent , thoughtful responses.

Explain your health care plan, what it would cost and how you would pay for it.

Mr Trump has turned the Constitution upside down. Explain two ways you would bring us back to be a nation with respect for the law.

Immigration reform has been talked about for years. What is your plan for protecting the border, dealing with the Dreamers and developing a comprehensive plan for legal immigration?

To what extent should we be involved, with troops on the ground, in the Middle East? Explain.

Of course, questions like this cannot be answered in 75 seconds.

So, my suggestions.

1.Give each candidate 4-5 minutes to answer any question, uninterrupted.

2.Ask the exact same question to every candidate.

3. Do not allow candidates to ask each other questions except in the context of their own allotted time.

4. Make sure each candidate gets the same amount of time as the others.

Now these rules would mean that the moderators would no longer be the stars of the show. They would have to bury their egos. Actually, you would need only one moderator who could just ask the questions and keep time.

This would change the entire feel of the discussion. It would have depth. It would be BORING. Nothing but facts, ideas, plans and explanations. So people who wanted more information about these candidates could get that information.

But then, that would be bad TV.

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Filed under debates, government, Politics, Society

“Is it?”… “Dirty”

Being married to the same person for over 40 years one sometimes run out of meaningful conversations.  We rant at the same political nonsense. Repeat the same old jokes. Finish each others sentences. Communication, which used to include paragraphs or complete sentences, is now reduced , at times to a few simple words. Yet, these simple words convey deep understanding of complex topics.

For example. Just yesterday we had the following conversation. It went like this.

Me: “Is it?”

Betsy: “Dirty

Now, you can probably imagine any number of scenarios in which this in depth recitation of ideas may have taken place. Let your imagination run wild. Just remember we are in our 60s. Well, late 60s. That should severely limit the possible scenarios.

These three words conveyed not only a simple question and answer. Below the surface they included an unspoken reiteration of a multitude of previous conversations. These three words are , in reality, an end point. A conclusion of a rich, complex series of  questions, answers, criticisms, apologies and discussions.

Background. When I finish eating I have the habit (which some would suggest is a “bad” habit, as if habits could be bad) of leaving my dishes in the sink. There is a dish washing machine next to the sink. So, I could just put my dirty dishes into the dish washing machine. And I try to remember.

However, sometimes when I do remember to put my dirty dishes in the machine, there are dishes in the machine which are clean. Hence, putting dirty dishes into the machine would be a major faux pas. So one must be careful.

I try to be the one who empties the clean dishes out of the machine. I do this because my reach exceeds that of my bride so it is easier for me to reach the top shelves. But sometimes I don’t.

Needless to say, Betsy and I have had this discussion (is it called a “discussion” when one person talks and another listens quietly saying “yes, dear”?) many times. I am usually considered to be at fault for either (A) not putting the dirty dishes in the machine, or (B) putting the dirty dishes in a machine with clean dishes in it waiting to be put away. On either score, I lose.

Back to the 3 word discussion. In all it’s richness, this is what we really said:

Me: Is it? (Is the dishwasher filled with clean dishes or dirty ones, since I don’t recall if we ran it today and I know I didn’t empty it? If there are dirty dishes in there I will put my dish in with them. If there are clean dishes I will empty the dishwasher now so we can put our dirty dishes in there.)

Betsy: Dirty. (It is filled with dirty dishes. So, take that dish in your hand and put it in the dishwasher where it belongs, not in the sink. I will run the dishwasher tonight and you can empty it in the morning. Although I doubt that you will remember).

Tomorrow morning, after breakfast, I expect we will commence the day with another in depth discussion of our plans for the day.

Betsy: “Are you?”

Me: “Yep.”

You figure it out.

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Filed under debates, logic, retire, Society

More Donuts, Please

There is an epidemic of gun violence in America. That is not even debatable. And there have been a multitude of solutions offered over time.

Most recently the President of the United States, the NRA and many members of Congress have offered the latest solution. Arm teachers. More armed guards. More guns. And more guns. And more guns.

A creative and exceptionally innovative solution to the problem of gun violence. More guns. So, I said to myself, why stop there. Maybe we can apply that same “reasoning” and “logic” to the many other problems we face. Let’s try.

Obesity is a major problem in the US. Anyone who has ever traveled to Italy or France or Spain immediately notices that there aren’t so many obese folks walking around. It could be limited to urban areas, perhaps. But, at least in my experience, folks in those countries  as a rule, seem not so chunky as Americans. I , myself, have done my patriotic duty by increasing my body mass significantly over the last 50 years or so. A proud American. A BIG proud American.

What is a reasonable solution to the health issues caused by obesity? Well, former First Lady Michelle Obama started a healthy eating program to encourage kids to develop good eating habits at a young age. She was vilified by the right wing extremists for that. Big government interfering with the proper parental role. Then Sarah Palin showed up at an elementary school with cookies for kids. She passed them out. She didn’t bother to ask parents if they wanted their kids to eat cookies or perhaps had allergy issues. The right wing applauded. More cookies. More cookies. More cookies.

So, a reasonable solution to the obesity problem is more donuts. More junk food. Less fruits and vegetables. The problem of obesity can be solved by increasing the availabilty of junk food. Yepper.

Drunk driving kills thousands of Americans each year. Currently we have DUI laws and put folks in prison for that. Take away licenses for driving drunk. But that has not solved the problem.

What we need is more and better access to booze while on the road. Every gas station should have a liquor license. Every driver should be given a free beer with a fill up. End DWI laws and impose DWS laws (Driving While Sober). Pull over anyone who is not weaving side to side at 50 MPH in a school zone. Fine em. Drink or don’t drive. The obvious solution to drunk driving is more access to alcohol by automobile operators. Yepper.

The opioid epidemic. Killing thousands every year. These opioids, many prescribed legally, have wreaked havoc on families and individuals. They have destroyed families. They are agents of death. So, what is the solution?

Easy. We need complete and total access to opioids . No prescription necessary. Over the counter. At the supermarket. The drug store. In our schools. Free opioids with every order of fries at Mc Donald’s. (Solving two problems at once)  The only way to stop the madness is total access to opioids. The more the better. Every teacher should be armed with opioids in case of an emergency. The emergency being that Billy forgot his opioids today. Yepper.

We could go on and on. But the message is clear.

The best way to solve a problem, according to our current leadership, is to make it even bigger.

Which reminds me, where are those donuts?

 

 

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Filed under Congress, crime, debates, gun control, healthcare, logic, obama, Politics, POTUS, Republicans, Society, Trump, United States, US, violence

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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Filed under Conservatives, debates, Democrat, Elections, GOP, government, Hillary, Immigration, liberals, Politics, POTUS, president, Republicans, Supreme Court, Taxes, Trump, United States, US

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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Filed under candidate, Clinton, debates, Elections, Foreign policy, GOP, government, NFL, Politics, POTUS, president, Republicans, Trump, United States

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

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?

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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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I’ve Seen Enough

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

 

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Lincoln-Douglas Debates Redux

I just finished reading the original Lincoln-Douglas Debates of 1858. Both were running for the Illinois Senate seat. Douglas was the incumbent.  The debates half the time centered on the key issues of the day and half the time were used to attack the opponent as corrupt or dishonest.

Still, they discussed their different philosophies about slavery, the Dred Scott decision, the Missouri Compromise, the Wilmot Proviso, the Mexican War, the Fugitive Slave Act and the Nebraska question. As well as the original intention of the “founding fathers” regarding the spread of slavery. Heady issues of the times.

What was most fascinating, though, was the format. No “moderators”. No “gotcha” questions”. Just a timekeeper. Over the course of the seven debates the format was the same. One candidate was given a full hour to speak. His opponent was given one and a half hours for rebuttal. Then the first candidate was given half an hour to respond. Three hours total. Over the course of the debates Lincoln and Douglas each had ten and a half  hours to explain their philosophies and positions on the great issues of the day.

I wonder what a Lincoln-Douglas debate, using today’s typical format and analysis, would look like. Here goes.

Moderator: Welcome to the first and only debate between “Honest Abe” Lincoln and the “Judge”, Stephen A Douglas. This debate is sponsored by the FauxNews/ABC/CBS/MSNBC/ESPN/Hollywood/Shopping Channel consortium.  The format is as follows. Each candidate will get 30 seconds to answer a question, then his opponent will get a 30 second rebuttal. We hope to delve into the important Constitutional, social, economic, social and political issues of the day.

Moderator: First question to “Honest Abe”. Mr Lincoln, isn’t it true that you slept with a man for many years . Doesn’t this imply that you support gay marriage.

Lincoln: Well, while it may be true that I did sleep in the same bed as a fellow for a while, let me put that in context. At the time many young men without means rented cheap rooms at boardinghouses and shared accommodations as a matter of economic necessity.  This in no way….(BUZZER)

Moderator: Your time is up. Now, to the “Judge”. Senator Douglas. What do you think of Mr Lincoln’s support for homosexuality and gay marriage.

Douglas: First, let me thank the press and the fine audience here. I see many supporters and some detractors. I hope you will give both Mr Lincoln and I the courtesy of listening carefully to our arguments and positions. Now, regarding Mr Lincoln and…(BUZZER).

Moderator: Your time is up. Next question for the “Judge”. Senator Douglas, Kim Kardashian has recently called both you and Mr Lincoln racists. What is your response?

Douglas: Well, I don’t know who this particular person is (LOUD GASPS from the audience) but I have always said that the United States was formed by white men and for white men. If that makes me a racist, so be it. Any white man today would hold the same opinion.Furthermore…(BUZZER)

Moderator: Abe. Your response?

Lincoln: I am afraid that you have me at a disadvantage, sir. Like my friend the Judge, I have no idea what news organization this Mr Kardashian works for (more LOUD GASPS from the audience, and chuckles of disbelief from the moderator). I have always held that the Negro is a human being, but is , of course, inferior to the white man in every way. However, let me add…(BUZZER).

Moderator: Well, there you have it, the only debate between Lincoln and Douglas . Fascinating stuff. Now , to our analysts, Huck and Sarah. Tell us who won?

Sarah: You betcha I will. First, old Abe. A catastrophe. I don’t know who did his makeup but those ugly lines and big nose? Give me a break. His suit was way too small. His looks like a big ape . Gangly and awkward. Definitely not going anywhere in politics.  Judge Douglas. Well. Here cums da judge. Here comes da judge. Hahahaha. Dressed to a “T”. Great suit. Great tie. I would only suggest he wear lifts to make himself a little taller. A clear win for Senator Douglas in my book.

Moderator: And Huck, what is your analysis? Who won?

Huck: Well, I think the American people were the big losers today. Neither of these candidates is fit for high office. Lincoln sidestepped the gay rights issue. What is he hiding? And Douglas never did explain his ideas about white supremacy. What does he really believe? But the clincher was this. Neither candidate seemed to know who Kim Kardashian is? Really? You expect us to believe that? The most important political analyst-dancer-TV personality of modern times and neither of these candidates had a clue? Both are UNFIT for public office. Case closed.

Moderator: So you have it. An in depth look at the issues and candidates. Stick around for the next two hours as we air our special ” When  Sasquatch Goes to the Mall”. And don’t forget to vote. It is your duty. I think voting this year is sometime in November…or is it October..? Google it.

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