Category Archives: Foreign policy

The Old American Century

The American Century is over.  As the 20th century turned into the 21st century there was an effort to turn the new century into one completely dominated by the United States corporations. This attempt was spearheaded by a right wing organization called The Project for the New American Century.

This “project” was started in the 1990s  by conservative “intellectual” William Kristol and other hardliners. Mostly “chickenhawks” who love the idea of using military force on other parts of the world while eschewing any participation in any wars themselves. Other key figures in the Project for a New American Century (PNAC) were the members of the Bush family, Dick Cheney, Donald Rumsfeld and others.

When the Supreme Court ended the vote count in Florida in 2000 and gave GW Bush the presidency it allowed this group to come to power. Recall the when GW Bush was searching for a running mate in 2000 his family chose Dick Cheney to lead the search for the “best man” for the job. Cheney ended up choosing himself. Rumsfeld, another member of the PNAC then was appointed Secretary of Defense.

In this context the attack on 9/11 occurred. In power was a group of people who firmly believed that the US should lead the world , not by example or as a haven for democracy, but as a belligerent military force. So, although Iraq had nothing to do with 9/11, the PNAC goal was to capture the oil fields and control that major resource.

So, in direct violation of international law and the Security Council of the UN, the US invaded Iraq. The catastrophe that followed lead to the destabilization of the Middle East, emergence of ISIS and a continued crisis that we see even playing out today.

The “New American Century” had turned out to be short lived. And a bust.

The second half of the 20th century was certainly dominated by the US. Not just by US military power, but by the exporting of American values. Democracy replaced colonialism as an organizing force in much of the world. JFK’s Peace Corps was probably the most effective propaganda tool for democracy. Americans were seen as decent, good people. Rich, spoiled, but with a conscience and eager to help. Those days are gone.

Any moral or ethical superiority that may have existed  (even if only illusory) has long gone. We now live in a new world.

The USA has lost not only it’s moral ascendancy, but has become largely irrelevant to much of the world. We are no longer a place to look to for leadership. We are a place to sell stuff. And Americans, no matter how much they complain, are flush with wealth compared to most of the rest of the world.

Donald Trump did not cause this. But he has accelerated the trend. It is a good development, in my mind, the the US no longer dominates the world economy. But the desire to “go it alone” as Trump has done, has eliminated much of the influence for good the US has had in the past. Isolationism and excessive nationalism lead to WW1 . And WW2.

Rejection of international agreements and institutions did not begin with Trump. I recall Mr Reagan attacking the UN and suggesting it could sail away into the sunset across the Atlantic. Geography aside, that sentiment became the mantra of the GOP and the right wing in the 1980s. And continues even today. It is based on an ignorance of history and an arrogance of power.

But in the 21st century the ideas of the 20th no longer hold. At least not in the rest of the world. Russia has re-emerged as a czarist regime after a brief fling with democracy. China is aggressively spreading its influence into every continent. The sleeping giant Napoleon had warned us about has awoken. The European Union, abandoned by the US and attacked by Putin, is strengthening itself in response. India is on the move. Saudi Arabia and Israel are both arming at alarming rates,poised for the inevitable conflict.

The US is no longer the awesome force it once was. That was an inevitable process. But the US has become a side show. An observer of global problems, no longer a participant in solving them. The 21st century was never going to be an American Century. Trump had nothing to do with those global realities.

But, by removing the US from international agreements and international solutions, the Trump folks are contributing to the inevitable catastrophe of extreme nationalism. Any student of history knows where extreme nationalism leads. The US has become the world’s gun dealer. Leadership without a national conscience. Without a plan for a positive world.

Without US positive engagement in global organizations the 21st century could very well become the Century of Chaos and Totalitarianism. While the US may sit on the sidelines, it will not be able to avoid the effects. The tsunami will not be stopped by a wall.

https://www.sourcewatch.org/index.php/Project_for_the_New_American_Century

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/United_Nations_Security_Council_Resolution_1441

 

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Filed under Conservatives, Environment, Foreign policy, GOP, government, Israel, Neoconservative, neoconservatives, Politics, Trump, United Nations, United States

I’ll Trade You Greenland

Recently Mr Donald Trump,( who some of you may know is the President of these United States), had an incredibly great idea. I mean a stupendous idea. One that no one before him ever thought of.

He wants to buy Greenland.

Now the casual observer might think that Greenland is green. Well, it isn’t . It is almost all ice and snow and cold stuff. So, why is is called “Greenland”?

Seems like there was this conman (not ANOTHER one!). Yep. This guy’s name was Eric the Red. (Not to be confused with Vlad the Red). Eric sailed from Norway and ran into this icy coastline. He wanted to start a colony, so he invited some of his more gullible associates. Even though the land was cold and icy he realized that “Iceland”had already been taken. So, what to call it?

Perhaps frozen land? Really cold place? Pile of snow where nothing grows? None of those sounded very inviting. So, Eric the Con chose the name “Greenland”. Who wouldn’t want to live in a place so lush and fruitful? So, it was settled.

Today Greenland belongs to Denmark. Now, why Denmark actually wants to keep Greenland is another story.  After all Greenland is melting. The icecaps are melting. The island is shrinking.

All this leads me to think that maybe it is not such a bad idea to get a hold of Greenland. If the price is right. Before it shrinks away into oblivion.

Why Donald Trump WANTS Greenland is another story. Perhaps because it is the BIGGEST island on Earth? Maybe with global warming it will soon be an ideal place for a golf course? Perhaps he learned that one of the main animals on the island are the “collared lemmings”. I mean, this guy knows how to collar lemmings. Or maybe, he saw a picture of it in a book. No one knows why he wants it, but he does.

Let’s kill two collared lemmings with one Danish muffin. I suggest a trade. We offer Texas and Florida to Denmark. They let us have Greenland. Donald Trump gets his big island  (the BIGGEST island on Earth, at least temporarily). And we get rid of the two most corrupt states in the union. All in one fell swoop.

Except I don’t think the Danes are that stupid. They want to keep Greenland.

So, my second suggestion. Denmark keeps Greenland and we give them Texas and Florida for free. But I doubt the Danes want that either. They aren’t gullible. Unlike collared lemmings.

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Filed under Foreign policy, Politics, POTUS, Trump, United States

The Chinese Finger Trap

Remember the Chinese finger traps? Those bamboo tubes that you would stick your finger in one end, then the other end. And when you tried to pull out the “trap” closed on your fingers. The harder you pulled, the tighter the trap. You can still get those things at Amazon. Made in China, of course.

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

Seems to me as though Mr Trump, in his dealings with China, has fallen prey to this old Chinese trick. Like the 4 year old pulling frantically to get loose, Mr Trump has stuck his tiny fingers of “tariffs” into the Chinese trap of “retaliation”.

There is an old saying : “When your only tool is a hammer, everything looks like a nail”. It seems as though Mr Trump has only one tool in his arsenal. Tariffs. And when tariffs don’t work, pull harder. More tariffs. Harder. More tariffs.

As in his dealings with China, Mr Trump just announced more tariffs with our second most important trading partner, Mexico. Unless they somehow stop immigration he will ratchet up tariffs. Keep in mind that about 40% of Mexico imports are actually dependent on US parts sent to Mexico for final assembly.  Tariffs will impact negatively on US industries .

Back to China. China has a long history of hardship and conflict with the West. The communists took over precisely because of the failure of the nationalist government to deal with foreigners. China is the “Middle Kingdom”. The two characters in the written Chinese language stand for those two words. China has always seen itself as the center of the universe.  Americans are tribal , but compared to Chinese ethnocentrism, Americans are downright globalists. The Chinese will not submit to humiliation. Never.

So, China can and will survive any hardships. After all, the leadership of China does not need to worry about elections. They can dictate  and absorb any economic downturn.

US trade with China accounts for about 13% of China’s trade with the rest of the world. A big chunk. But over the last 20 years China has been expanding markets to the rest of the world. Today, China has a higher percentage of trade with Australia than it does with the US. More trade with the EU. More trade, by far, with the rest of Asia. More trade with Africa and Latin America. In fact, China has focused on Africa and Latin America and has rapidly expanded into those markets. China can withstand a 13% trade hit. Can the US withstand a 16% hit on the other side?

So, Trump’s tariffs will not work. He is caught in the Chinese finger trap with no way out. He just pulls harder and harder.

Trump will not take advice. But on this one, he should. He should find a 5 year old. Because, as any 5 year old can tell you, getting out of the Chinese finger trap is easy. Just give in a little bit. Loosen the grip. Stop pulling so hard. Relax.

You would think the world’s greatest “deal maker” would know by now. Or maybe Trump never played with a Chinese finger trap. Or maybe he got stuck and could not extricate himself.  Perhaps he had to be cut out of the trap by his daddy? At any rate, he is stuck now with no way out.

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Filed under Chinese, economics, Economy, Foreign policy, Free Trade, NAFTA, Politics, Trump, United States

20,000 Guatemalans

 

The first time I traveled to Guatemala was after the civil war in the 1990s. I lived with a family in Antigua for a week and then traveled around the country. Including a white knuckle flight over hundreds of miles of jungle to the Mayan site of Tikal.

The second time, my spouse and I spent a few weeks , living in a wonderful resort on Lake Atitlan and exploring various parts of the country by bus and van. Visiting villages only accessible by boat, experiencing the colorful market at Chichicastengo, enjoying coffee in the colonial city of Antigua. Interacting with friendly people. Great memories.

Guatemala is about 50% or so Mayan. So the Spanish and Mayan peoples live side by side, but in different worlds. A colorful mixture of cultures and religions and languages. After being immersed in the colorful culture where women still wear bold colored huilpiles, denoting their village, coming back to the US was like trading in an HD color TV for an old black and white with rabbit ears.

Now, it seems, Guatemala has once again descended into violence and division. The government or gangs are once again creating a hostile environment. I really don’t pretend to know what is going on, but it is too bad.

The valleys of fertile farmland we drove through are probably the greenest I have ever seen.

According to the latest US Aid report the US has invested tax dollars in Guatemala in an attempt to make life better for the people. The legal system has been streamlined and modernized in an attempt to give the “accused” some basic rights.

Another section of the report outlines the economic aid we have given the Guatemalans. Evidently US aid has increased the exporting of crops by about 50%. More income for the farming sector.

Also, according to the US Aid information sheet, our assistance has led to the creation of 20,000 more agricultural jobs for Guatemalans. So, let’s see what that means.

The average size of a family is about 4 people. Probably 5 people or more  in the rural areas. So, 20,000 jobs probably supports 100,000 people.

That is 100,000 people who have no reason to emigrate to the US for a better life. 100,000 people who now can stay in their native land and make a living. 100,000 fewer people to process at the US border.

Now, Mr Trump has said he will end all aid to Guatemala, Honduras and El Salvador. The total aid to these three countries is $ 500,000,000. Total. For some perspective, this is the cost of about 4 Lockheed Martin F-35B fighter jets.

Of course, economic aid to Latin American countries, delivered mainly through NGOs, only helps to lessen the potential immigration to the USA. This is the idea behind trade agreements and aid programs. To assist people living in their own homelands so they do not need to emigrate.

Eliminating this aid is just not smart policy. Unless your objective is to increase the pressure at the border to create a humanitarian crisis.

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Filed under border control, Foreign policy, Immigration, Politics, Trump, United States

What’s Not To Like?

Donald Trump was on the Hannity TV Show the other night. They talked about Kim Jong Un. Here is part of the exchange:

“He was optimistic about the future: “Again, the relationship is very good,” Trump said. “He likes me. I like him.”

“Some people say, ‘Oh, you shouldn’t like him,’ ” he continued. “I said, ‘Why shouldn’t I like him? I like him. We get along great. We’ll see what happens.’ ”

Kim Jong-Un. What’s not to like?

He did allow the torture and murder of Otto Warmbier. But to be fair, Ottto broke the law. He stole a poster from a wall. He stole a poster . He stole a poster. Did you get that? And for stealing a poster he was brutalized. He was put on TV in North Korea where he tearfully begged for forgiveness for the high crime of stealing a poster. He seems ok on TV.  A little shaken.

By the time he was flown out of North Korea his teeth had been mangled. He needed IV tubes. He went into a coma. He stole a poster in Kim’s North Korea.

“He likes me. I like him.” What’s not to like?

According to a Newseek report: “Amidst political tensions, an estimated 18 million people across DPRK [North Korea] continue to suffer from food insecurity and undernutrition, as well as a lack of access to basic services,” the U.N. report said. “Furthermore, 10.5 million people, or 41 percent of the total population are undernourished.”

Kim is a little fat guy. He gets plenty of food. He spends almost 25% of the GDP of his nation on the military. 25%. And he allows 4 out of every 10 North Koreans to be underfed. Stalinesque. He gets plenty of food. Dines well. The average spending on the military around the world is 2% of GDP. Kim, while people he controls starve, spends 25%.

“He likes me. I like him.” What’s not to like?

From the British paper, the Mirror:

“It is hard to imagine a grimmer existence than that of an inmate in a North Korean prison camp.

Deprived of food, they are forced to eat rats and frogs to survive housed in cramped cells infested with lice. Regular beatings and potentially fatal torture are the norm. Then there is the hard labour, which includes pulling ploughs across fields for 12 hours a day….

An estimated 200,000 victims of Kim Jong-un’s despotic rule are thought to be living lives of utter wretchedness in his internment camps at any one time.

The camps are patrolled by guards equipped with automatic rifles, hand grenades and trained dogs.

Prisoners are routinely deprived of water and food torture includes ‘sleep deprivation, beatings with iron rods or sticks, kicking and slapping, and enforced sitting or standing for hours’, is routine,

Inmates are allowed just one set of clothes they live and die in rags without soap, socks, underclothes or sanitary napkins.”

Prison camps. Hard labor. For crimes such as ripping up a photo of Kim’s father. Or stealing a poster. Or being friendly with a Chinese man. Or , well, whatever Kim decides today is a crime.  The Korean Gulag.

“He likes me. I like him.” What’s not to like?

So, Mr President. You LIKE Kim.You admire him just like you admire all “strong” leaders. What’s not to like? If you are Donald Trump, evidently nothing.

ttps://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/2019/03/01/trump-kim-jong-un-why-shouldnt-i-like-him/?utm_term=.aab4fe062177

https://www.newsweek.com/north-koreas-kim-jong-un-starving-his-people-pay-nuclear-weapons-573015

https://www.mirror.co.uk/news/real-life-stories/north-korea-prisons-otto-warmier-10653494

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Brexit and the Wall

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

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

A word.

A concept.

A vague feeling in the gut.

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

That struts and frets his hour upon the stage

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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The Guy At the End Of the Bar

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

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

No one responds.

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

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

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

Bartender: Almost closing time, buddy.

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

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

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

Bartender: OK, bud, you got 5 minutes.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

And we will pick up the tab.

 

 

 

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Filed under Foreign policy, Free Trade, Politics, POTUS, president, Social Security, Trump, United States

Sore Winners, Sore Whiners

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Filed under abortion, ACA, Congress, Constitution, Democrat, Foreign policy, Free Trade, GOP, government, healthcare, NAFTA, Obamacare, Politics, president, Republicans, right to life, SCOTUS, Social Security, Society, Supreme Court, Trump, United States

Performance Review

Donald Trump is visiting Vladimir Putin this week. One on one. No one taking notes (except the KGB who will be recording every word). Some folks are critical of Trump for visiting one of the world’s worst dictators. A man who kills journalists and jails political opponents. Uses poisons to kill enemies. But, to be fair. It has been over a year now since Putin elected Trump. Time for a performance review.

I may be wrong, but I expect the interview will go something like this.

Putin: Welcome my brother. Have a seat.

Trump: Thank you, Mr Putin. So kind of you to see me in person.

Putin: Well.  Time for your performance review. Let me take out my KGB checklist.

Trump: KGB? What does that stand for? Is it like the GOP?

Putin. Yes. It is almost exactly like the GOP.  Except more honest. Now. item #1: Does the subject understand what his role is ? Answer: Yes. He is aware of who he works for.

Trump: Yes, sir. My role is president . I am the most powerful man on earth.I have many hotels and golf courses. I also have….

Putin (interrupting) Yes. Yes. Item #2: Has the subject sought to undermine western alliances? I would give you a big Y-E-S on that one, Donald. You have done a fine job of trying to destroy the European Union and NATO. Hate NATO. NATO has to go.

Trump: NATO has to go. NATO is bad. What is NATO? Is it a kind of soft drink, like Diet Cola? If it is Diet Cola then I say we keep it. If not, don’t keep it. That’s what people say. Also, did you know….

Putin (interrupting). Yes. Yes. Whatever. Onward to Item #3: Has the subject tried to destabilize international trade agreements? I give you an A- on that one. You have done a good job of destroying US exports by your trade war. Keep it up. Job well done.

Trump: Thank you, sir. I did my best. Did you like the way I claimed Canada had a trade surplus. WOW. That punk Trudeau did not know what to say. And how about those European tariffs. HA. Those smarty pants gay lovers really got burned . And another thing, I….

Putin (interrupting, and very testy). YES.. Yes already. (in Russian to his KGB comrades: Will this useful idiot ever shut up about himself?). One last item. #4: Has the subject perfected the BIG LIE technique?  I would give you an A plus plus for that one. I used to think Stalin was the master of the BIG LIE, but you, my little Donald, have outdone them all. So many to choose from. Each one bigger than the previous.

Trump: I do my best. I think I am the best with words, don’t you. I use those words you gave me. I use them over and over. Words like: “Lock Her Up” and “Muslim” and “M13” and “communist Democrats” and “Sleep easy, North Korea has no more nukes” and….

Putin: (interrupting again): Yes. Well, comrade. You have used all the words I gave you. You did a good job. Just keep repeating all those words. I have a new list for you for this year. Better words. Just keep tweeting the words I give you.

Trump: Can I use my own words, sometimes? Maybe just once or twice? I know the best words.

Putin: Well….no…not a good idea. Just stick to words we give you. They are working with your base. Simple words. Meaningless words. Easy to remember words. Our new words will be: Mueller is fired. Mueller is a crook. Repeat Donald.

Trump: Mueller is…uh….what was it again?

Putin: Mueller is fired. Mueller is a crook. Repeat.

Trump: Mueller is on fire. Mueller wrote a book. Repeat Donald.

Putin: Oh god. Here. It is on paper. Can you read? Oh. Sorry. I forgot. We will send you a recording. Try to memorize.

Trump: Thank you sir. Did I pass? Did I get a good grade? I got a real good grade at Trump University.

Putin: Yes, Donald. You passed this year’s review. You may go now. Please. JUST GO.

Donald waddles out of the room.

Trump turns to the KGB agents behind the two way mirror. “I told you we should have picked Sarah Palin. At least she can remember her lines.”

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Filed under Foreign policy, Free Trade, GOP, government, Politics, president, Republicans, Trump, Trump University, United States, US

The Strange Case of Oleg Bullshitsikov

I was called last week by one of my Russian friends who lives in Siberia. His name is Oleg Bullshitsikov and he resides in the village of Nunsensitova located deep in the taiga.

For those of you who slept through your 9th grade Social Studies class the “taiga” is the vast forestland of eastern Russia. It stretches for 5,800 kilometers across Russia. It is the largest forest in the world, the single largest biome on the face of the Earth. It’s really, really big.

Now, I haven’t heard from Oleg since his failed attempt in 2013 to host the Russian version of Miss Wild Forest in Siberia. He was out bid by 13 rubles by Donald Trump who now holds the rights in Russia to Miss Taiga, Miss Tundra and Little Miss Putin beauty contests. But that is a different story.

Oleg was fuming. He was pissed off . He was as confused as a Trump supporter in a third grade science class. . He was insulted. I recorded his call to me. Here it is, word for word.

Me: Oleg, what the weather like , comrade?

Oleg:  Gloomy. Gloomy. Gloomy. This is Russia. Always gloomy. But especially gloomy for me.

Me: What is the problem, Oleg? Why so sad?

Oleg: Sad , yes. And mad, yes. Both sad and mad.

Me: So, talk to me , my friend. What is wrong?

Oleg: Let me give you some names. Then I will tell you. Here some some names. Sergey Kislyak. Russians “diplomat”. Big ties to Trump and the GOP. Gazprom. Energy company with ties to Tillerson. Igor Sechkin, president of Russian owned energy company, Rosneft. All have direct ties to Donald Trump. Direct ties. No middle man.

Me: So, what is the problem with that?

Oleg: Wait, I am not done. There is more. RIT, Russian propaganda station. GRU, Russian intelligence agency. Both connected to Mike Flynn. Also connected to Carter Page. Also connected to Julian Assange and Wikileaks. Leaked anti-Clinton emails.  Another connection to Trump.

Me: So, what is your point, Oleg?

Oleg: Wait. Wait. I am not done. Dmitry Firtash, Ukrainian oligarch. Victor Yanukovych, former Ukrainian president. Oleg Deripaska, Ukrainian oligarch. Konsatntin Kilimnik, Ukrainian associated with the Russian GRU. All connected to Manafort. Manafort was Trump’s campaign chairman. Another connection to Trump.

Me: Yes, well, seems to be a few connections with oligarchs and Russians and Trump. But, what is your point?

Oleg: Wait. Wait. I am not done. Consider this. Aras Agalarov, builds lots of building in Russia for Putin. Sergei Millian, head of Russian chamber of commerce. Alfa Bank, biggest private  bank in Russia. Fedor Emelianenko, a big star in Russia. All of these guys are friends of Putin and have done business with Trump. Lots of Russian connections to Trump for many years.

Me: OK, so, I still don’t see why you are so upset, Oleg. What is the problem?

Oleg: Wait. Wait, my friend. I am not done. Fabian Baussart and Randa Kassis, who wanted to give Putin the Nobel Peace Prize for his peaceful work in Syria. Roman and Dasha Abramovich, oligarchs and friends of Vladimir Putin. All have ties to Donald Trump Junior or Ivanka Trump. So many Russian connections to the Trump family businesses. So many.

Me: Still don’t see where you are going with this, Oleg.

Oleg: Wait. There is more. Yevgeniy Prigozhin, Mikhail Bystrov, Mikhail Burchik, Aleksandra, Kirylova, Anna Bogecheva, Sergey Polozov, Maria Bovda, Robert Bovda, Jay Aslanov, Vadim Podkopaev, Gleb Vasilchencko, Irina Kaverzina, Vladimir Venkov. All these Russians indicted by the US government. Why? For helping Donald Trump win the election.  You think they did this for free? For nothing. We are Russians. We do nothing for nothing.

Me: OK. So, Oleg, why so angry?

Oleg: Why so angry? Where is my cut? Why was I not allowed in on this scheme? What did I do to deserve this? Am I the only man in Russia who is not on the payroll of Trump? Outrageous. Despicable! Un-Russian. I am just a poor Russian who could use a few more rubles. Donald. Do you hear me? I have some tundra near the North Pole I can sell you you real cheap? Donald, help me. I am for sale!

Me: OK , Oleg. Sorry you are out of the Trump loop. Hang in there. 2020 is not that far away and I am sure there will be plenty of new opportunities coming your way.

Oleg: Farewell my friend. Gloomy. So gloomy. Always gloomy in Mother Russia. Next time you see Michael Cohen please mention my name. OK , comrade?

 

https://www.politico.com/magazine/story/2017/03/connections-trump-putin-russia-ties-chart-flynn-page-manafort-sessions-214868

 

https://www.scpr.org/news/2018/02/16/80839/13-russian-nationals-charged-in-mueller-investigat/

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The Rocket Man Versus The Dotard

Yesterday the South Koreans announced that the leaders of North Korea, Kim Jong-Un and the United States, Donald Trump, will meet sometime this Spring.

This is a truly amazing event in modern history. Two nations that have technically been at war for almost 70 years finally getting it together. A step in the right drection. Talking is always better than a nuclear holocaust. On most days.

Both Kim and Trump shoud be congratulated for agreeing to meet. Even though nothing substantive will probably emerge, the meeting itself is a giant step toward lowering tensions and should be welcomed by all.

In any meeting each side wants something and must give up something. What does Kim want? Well, for over 30 years the leaders of North Korea have tried to engage the US in one -on-one meetings of this sort. All previous presidents have declined. Kim gets to stand next to the most powerful man on Earth (other than Putin). He gets the prestige of dealing with the US as an equal.

From Kim’s point of view, his nuclear gambt has worked. By rapidly developing long range missiles tipped with nuclear warheads he has forced the US to recognize North Korea as a world power. It matters not that his missiles may not work. Or may not reach the US. Or that his warheads might be defective. The propaganda is all good.

This meeting helps Kim promote himself at home as the great leader who forced the US to the negotiating table. A big win.

What does Trump get? He stands alone as the only US president with the determination to meet North Korea in the name of ending tensions. He can claim that his get tough policy has frightened Kim into meeting. He made Kim cry “uncle” (If Kim has any uncles left he has not murdered). It matters not that Kim refuses to give up his military force. The propaganda is all good.

This meeting helps Trump promote himself as the great dealmaker even if no deal is made at the end of the day. A big win.

Of course, a lot could still happen to derail the meeting before it takes place. There are political forces in each country that do not want to see a cessation of hostilities. Preparation for war is still the biggest business on Earth. Money to be made.

If Trump and Kim control their inner child it is possible for some good to come of this. But, just for fun, let’s say they don’t control their impulses. The following dialogue (based on actual statements each has made or each government has made about the other) could go like this. (Italicized words are things they have actually said about each other).

Kim: Greetings, Dotard. How is your senility today?

Trump: Shove it, Rocket Man. I may be old but I have the biggest nuclear button.

Kim: Listen, you old lunatic, no one believes a word you say.

Trump: Once a madman, always a madman, hey Little Kim?

Kim: Why do you constantly spout rubbish instead of thinking about what you say?

Trump: Watch your mouth or you will suffer fire and fury like the world has never seen before.

Kim: You are bereft of reason and a destroyer of world peace.

Trump: I am tall but you are short and fat. Go on a diet, already.

So, maybe they will put aside their insults for a good photo op, maybe not. When the meeting (if it ever does take place) is done, here is what Sarah Huckabee Sanders will say:

“The president and the dictator had a very productive meeting in which they agreed to plan another meeting  in which they can meet for the purposes of a closer dialogue and mutual understanding concerning the preliminary junction of three cans of tomatoes and I cannot answer that so I refer you to any lawyesr you can find…….

And the next morning President Trump tweets: I kicked little Kim’s ass all over the place ! MAGA!

http://time.com/4953283/kim-jong-un-donald-trump-insults/

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Everyone Loves A Parade

Who doesn’t love a parade? High school bands marching. Clowns in clown cars honking. Local politicians riding in convertibles throwing candy to the crowd. Handmade floats for the local Cow Queen or the King of the Potato. Lots of fun. And harmeless.

I have never been to the Rose Parade but that is certainly an extravaganza of corporate organization. An amazing display of creativity and capitalism. Beautiful floats, colorful flowers , top flight marching bands. What’s not to like? (As long as you turn off the insipid commentary of the host and hostess).

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

On the local level I have often been able to witness the classic Sauerkraut Parade in Phelps, New York. Floats pulled by tractors. local politicians, marching bands. It has all the ingrediants of a somewhat hokey, but fun event. Followed by the annual sauerkraut eating contest, usually won by one of the many Middlebrook boys.

http://phelpsny.com/sauerkraut-weekend/parade/

And, for the real oldtimers was another kind of parade, the TV Hit Parade.The Emmy winning Hit Parade.  (Not much competition for Emmys in the 1950s) The top songs of the day sung by the greats of the day. Who could forget Snooky Lanson? Just about everyone, I guess. Not really a parade in the traditional sense, but still, a fun time.

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0042172/

Of course, there are more serious parades. Like the parades of dictators and autocrats. Parades not designed for fun. Not designed to uplift or amuse. Parades designed only to give glory to the “fearless leader”. The Nazi torchlight parades, honoring Hilter, are well known to all. Stalin, Mao, Mussolini…all the great dictators honored themselves, usually by showing off their military might.  They all had one thing in common. A military machine totally devoted to the leader. Totalitarian regimes love the military parades.

In modern times both Mr Putin and Kim Jung Un have continued the fine tradition of brutal dictators showing the world their military machinery. So it goes on….

http://www.businessinsider.com/putin-just-threw-the-biggest-military-parade-since-the-soviet-union-collapsed-2015-5

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-4417914/Kim-Jong-North-Korea-special-forces-military-parade.html

Which brings us to the Trump Parade. Evidently Mr Trump has asked the Pentagon to organize a Putin-like military parade. He wants to have a show. A prop for his failing presidency.

https://www.npr.org/sections/thetwo-way/2018/02/07/583903933/trump-reportedly-wants-pentagon-to-stage-military-parade-down-pennsylvania-ave

Imagine the visuals. Mr Trump, flanked by Mr Kelly and Mr Mattis. Ivanka and Jared. Steve Miller. Hope Hicks and Sarah Huckabee Sanders.  Maybe Melania would show up, maybe not. Standing on the raised dias as the troops march by. As the tanks roll by. As the missiles roll by. While Mr Trump stands firm jawed in his Mussolini impression, feigning toughness.

All these men and women of the military who actually DO risk their lives. Marching past the “Heel Spur Hero” who took 5 draft deferments. It would be an exercise in supreme military discipline to keep these men and women from vomiting in disgust. Imagine the scene. A miitary homage to the “Great Leader”. We have seen it in many other nations.

That is not to say we should not honor the military with parades. Or that other presidents have not had military components to their inaugural parades. Both Eisenhower and Kennedy , in their inaugual parades, had some military components.

Eisenhower, of course, was a general. A commander-in-chief of the European theatre in WW2 before he was commander-in-chief of the entire military. He was certainly deserving of his military accomplishments being recognized. Although 8 years later, in hi farewll address, he did warn of the military-industrial-political complex. (He took out the reference to Congressional collusion at the last minute so as not to offend too many politicians). So, he had a right.

John F Kennedy was also a war hero. On the ground in real combat. A PT boat captain. So, he also had a legitimate claim to some military reference to his very real military service. After all, he ignored his heel spurs and put his life on the line. As a member of the Kennedy clan he could have easily opted for non-combat duty in the safety of the USA. (See GW Bush for details). But he didn’t.

But neither JFK nor Ike nor US Grant nor Teddy Roosevelt have ever held military parades for the sake of personal glory. Or displaying hardware. All military parades of the past have honored the men and women who risked their lives, not the “Fearless Leader” who stayed home.

We already have parades. We have local parades for Veteran’s Day and Memorial Day. We honor the military. regualrly. But we have never produced massive displays of military hardware. During the depths of the Cold War when Stalin and Krushchev were boasting with parades of military might (or the cardboard fascimiles thereof) the US declined to respond in kind. We didn’t need to honor our fearless leaders with parades. We didn’t need to get involved in a “whose is bigger” contest, like some high school boys. We knew what we had. No need to boast.

Let us hope that the Pentagon is able to sidetrack our “Fearless Leader” and not get involved in the politics of the “Great One”. Mr Trump had nothing to do with the military, in any sense. He never served. He bragged about avoiding paying taxes to pay for our arsenal and to pay for our troops. He wants a made for TV special. An extravaganza with “big ” ratings. He needs to deflect from the Russia investigation.

The Apprentice president is drowning in corruption and needs a military parade to deflect. Let’s honor the military by keeping them out of it.

 

 

 

 

 

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Time to Do Nothing

In 1949 Mao Zedong and the communists took over China. They instituted communist policies . In response the US cut off all relations with the People’s Republic of China for many years. Mao was a dictator. Harsh. Ruthless. The US would have nothing to do with him. He was an enemy.

Then, in 1972 , Richard Nixon did what was necessary. Mao did what his subordinates did not want him to do. Nixon visited China, met with Mao and started the opening up of trade and cultural relationships. The rightwing in China and the US were outraged by this betrayal of ideals. They wanted conflict, not reproachment.

The world did not end. The US was not defeated. In fact, over time, China has become a major world player and dominant economic force. A major trading partner with the US.

In 1986 the Russian leader, Gorbachev, met with the US leader, Ronald Reagan. Gorbachev had opened up Russia and the Russian people to the possibilities of democracy. Perestroika and glasnost . Reagan, a fervent anti-communists, saw an opportunity to cooperate on arms control. Both men signed the arms reduction deal which helped defuse the 40 years of hostility and tension between the two superpowers. Both men were criticized as “weak” by hardliners at home.

While Russia has fallen back into a dictatorship, the arms deals have held. Billions that could have been wasted by both nations on military spending has been saved. Not to say that both countries still spend way too much on the military. More than either needs for its defense. It was a bold, unpopular move for Reagan and Gorbachev to make.

But Reagan took a step toward an enemy and helped change the world.

Vietnam was a communist nation. The US fought a long war before ultimately admitting defeat. The hatred of many toward the North Vietnamese (and to some extent the South Vietnamese) was overwhelming. They were ruthless. They were despicable. The hatred of Americans by the millions of Vietnamese who had family killed by the “invaders” was also overwhelming.

In 1994, almost 20 years after the US left Vietnam, Bill Clinton lifted the trade embargo. Once again US companies could do business in Vietnam. Vietnam could be brought fully into the world trading system. Trade between the two nations now has reached billions of dollars a year. Former enemies have become trading partners.

Which brings us to Kim Jung -Un. The dictator of North Korea. Yesterday Mr Kim called for talks with his neighbor, South Korea. And South Korea responded positively. Both sides see no reason for increased hostility and increased fear. The president of South Korea, Moon Jae-in, has asked the US to postpone joint military operations as a gesture of good will. He wants to open up talks with his enemy to the north.

Would it not be nice if North and South Korea opened up more and more trade relations? Would it not be nice if these two nations could tone down the rhetoric and begin more cultural and economic interactions? Hasn’t history taught us that even the most hated  enemies can, over time, become trading partners? And once nations forge strong trade partnerships they both have a stake in keeping the peace and developing economically.

Nixon taught us that. Reagan taught us that. Clinton taught us that. Have we learned?

Let us hope that the US encourages this new interaction between the 2 Koreas. Or at least does not do anything to undermine the possibility of peace. Then, 20 years from now the people of North and South Korea may be able to freely visit each other and take advantage of increased trade and wealth.

If the US just lets it happen. Sometmes just doing nothing is enough.

 

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Re-Fighting the Vietnam War

The US lost the war in Vietnam. The USA bombed and napalmed and bombed  some more. And lost. In the end, the US forces left and the North Vietnamese united the country.

Ever since the US lost the Vietnam War many American politicians and military men of my generation have been trying to win it. In other parts of the world. In Grenada. In Lebanon. In Libya. In Panama. In Haiti. In Bosnia.  In Kuwait. In Iraq. In Afghanistan.

The idea that a superpower like the USA could be defeated by a small Asian country like Vietnam has stuck in the craw of some in my generation for many years. They simply could not understand it. Or accept it. Many still can’t.

And they have been fighting it over and over again in other parts of the world ever since. The military solution is, in their minds, the only solution.

So now we are on the brink of a war with North Korea. Make no mistake, this is a war of choice. Like Vietnam. Like Iraq. It is a war we are being pulled toward simply because those in power want it. They want to be “tough”. And they want simple solutions. Nothing is more simple than war.

Demonizing leaders of nations before attacking them has become par for the course. Ho Chi Minh, an ally in WW2, was suddenly a devil. Noriega, our man in Panama, became evil overnight. Saddam Hussein, who the US supplied with chemical and other weapons in his war with Iran,  was discovered to be a bad guy! And so it goes.

Which brings us to North Korea. Kim Jung -un is the new Ho. The reincarnation of Saddam. In preparation for war.

Don’t get me wrong. I don’t think Kim is a great guy. He has his political enemies jailed or executed. He has poured vast resources into the military at the expense of other forms of development. By most accounts the North Korean people have an extremely low standard of living compared to their southern neighbors.

Kim is a big mouth, a braggart, a complete narcissist and shows signs of instability. No president of the USA could ever be accused of that! He likes to rattle the sabers.  He is certainly no one I would want to invite to dinner.

And, like Saddam and Ho and Noriega he has never attacked the USA. The only reason to attack Kim, like the attack on Iraq, is some theory of a “pre-emptive” strike. Of course, you cannot have a “pre-emptive” strike without a propaganda campaign to convince folks that war is inevitable.  Major powers using “pre-emptive” strikes are not new. Hitler attack the Poles in 1939 before the Polish cavalry could sweep through Germany. And Tojo attacked Pearl Harbor before Americans could attack Tokyo. Bush attacked Iraq before Saddam could unleash all those WMDs, which were never discovered.

The Trump administration seems intent on going to war. The American media is right there with him. Wars sell air time. Sell newspapers. Sell books. Make careers, in both the military and in journalism. So we see various editorials and proclamations about the “inevitable” conflict.

Of course war is with North Korea is not inevitable. The only outcome would be the deaths of thousands, perhaps hundreds of thousands, of North and South Koreans, Japanese and Americans.

The only other “solution” to the North Korea-USA conflict, according to “conventional wisdom”, is to close off North Korea and further isolate Kim. That has not worked and will not work . Especially since China and Russia are not about to stop supporting his regime. Has isolating Cuba led to the downfall of the Castro regime?

Only by opening up trade and cultural exchanges, bringing North Korea into the web of international affairs, will catastrophe be avoided. We have done so with characters less savory even than Kim. Stalin and Mao Zedong come to mind. Vietnam is now a trading partner. The world needs to make sure Kim has “skin in the game”, not further isolate him.

It is sad. Very sad. That a man like Dennis Rodman has shown more diplomatic skill than our current president. Rodman has gone to North Korea and tried to open up the doors of understanding. Instead of anticipating (hoping for?) war, he has tried to bring people together.

From a Newsweek article published today, Rodman, just back from North Korea  says the following:

“I’m not defending him, I’m not defending the fact that what he does as far as his country and his leadership. I think he has been passed a throne from his grandfather and his father. A lot of people say that the grandfather was worse than the father and the father is worse than the marshal today. I’ve got to hope,” he said, adding “I don’t love him. I just want to try to straighten things out for everyone to get along together, that’s it.”

“Things can happen if Donald Trump, if they sit down, have some type of mutual conversation, they don’t have to be like a friendship conversation, just a mutual conversation, saying: ‘Hi, I would love to engage in some words and politics and over the history of your country and my country and just try to start some dialogue,” Rodman said, “I think that’ll open up maybe the door just a little bit.”

What a state of affairs when Dennis Rodman seems to be the sane one in the room! When a tatooed body pierced former athlete makes more substantial diplomatic efforts that the US State Department.

But then again, Dennis was not around when the USA lost the Vietnam War. He sees no need to fight it all over again.

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полезные дураки, (polezniye duraki)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

End of tape…..

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

 

 

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Who Was That Old Lady, Anyway?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Who was that old lady, anyway?

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

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The Trump Doctrine

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

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

So, I will help.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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Trump’s Inaugural Address

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

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

For example. From Trump’s speech:

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

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

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

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

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

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

More from Donald:

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

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

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

One more section of the speech:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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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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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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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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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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You Never Know

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

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

After all. There are still people who…..

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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