Category Archives: government

It’s Not the Economy, Stupid

When Bill Clinton was running for president against George Bush 1 the economy was not in great shape. Now Clinton and Bush had divergent ideas about the role of government, voting rights, social issues, etc. But Clinton’s key adviser told him to minimize those issues.

He had one phrase that he reminded Clinton of every day.

“It’s the Economy, Stupid”.

Talk about the economy. The failure of the Reagan-Bush supply side economics. Emphasize the economy. The economy. The economy.

It was good advice. Clinton won and by the end of his second term the US was actually paying DOWN the national debt. That ended, of course, when the Supreme Court told Florida to stop counting votes and installed Bush 2 as POTUS. He went right back to supply side and, well, you know the rest.

Now, we are engaged in a real crisis, not just an economic downturn. In fact, The MIPOTUS (Mentally Ill President of the United States) inherited the best economy since the end of World War 2. The crisis we face is a pandemic, not an economic crash.

Our current person in charge (I cannot force myself to call him a “leader”) has spent the last 3 months concerned about one thing and one thing only. The economy. No, I take that back. He has been concerned with the Stock Market. Period. Which is part of the economy, but hardly the entire economy. He has identified himself as the man behind the Obama boom he inherited. As the man who created a great economy from nothing. A legend in his own mind.

To such an extent that he and his sycophants have all but ignored the pandemic. We can easily go back to his various statements about how it was a hoax or a plot or was being overblown by the “fake news”. As long as the stock market looked good, he was unconcerned.

February . We have it under control. It will disappear. It will be like a miracle.

Now, due to the inaction and hubris of those in charge, we see the economy on the verge of a major shutdown. It is temporary, of course, because it is caused by a medical emergency, not an economic one.

But still, every chance he gets, the man in the bubble talks about how we had the greatest economy on Earth, until this pandemic hit.  There will be plenty of time to dissect all the incompetency and corruption that has led us to this point. And there is plenty.

But what needs to be done now (actually 2 months ago) is an honest, open explanation of what the government is actually doing to help the states and cities fight this war. Instead of vague comments about how he is doing a great job, perhaps listing specific, reliable actions he is taking at the national level would help ease some of the fear. Of course, the problem is that the federal government is doing very little. The anti-big government mentality still holds sway. Let the states worry about it, not our problem.

To Mr. Trump and his cadre of ass kissers: It’s not the economy, stupid.

It’s a pandemic. It’s a national emergency. If you cannot handle it perhaps now is the time to announce you will not seek re-election. Then, perhaps, you can sit quietly in Mar-a-Lago and let the experts take over. The “best of your ability” is not good enough. It’s killing people.

 

 

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Filed under Clinton, economics, Economy, government, healthcare, Neoconservative, Politics, POTUS, president, SCOTUS, Society, Supreme Court, Trump, United States

Crisis Control

In my over 30 years of teaching I worked under a number of superintendents. Some were hands on, others were aloof and undemanding. Some were pretty smart. Some were not so bright. All were political animals.

The superintendents remained superintendents by pleasing the school board. The school board, unfortunately, was elected from the community. Which means many of them had one issue. The plumbing contractor who wanted to keep and expand sports programs. The parent who had her kid in Special Education was determined to see that those programs were expanded. The used car salesman who thought teachers’ salaries were way too high.  The nurse who was determined to see better health education in the schools. The stay at home mom who bemoaned the fact that organized prayer had been banished by the courts. And once in awhile an educator someone manged his or her way onto the board.

This conglomeration of non-professionals made it fairly easy for a conman to make his way into a position of power. When an opening occurred he would swoop down with his overblown resume and slick his way into a job. School boards are pretty easy to con.

I am thinking of a conman superintendent I worked under who I shall call Georgy.  Georgy had the gift of gab. A master of the bull. An artist with an ability to speak for half an hour and say nothing. He had slimed his way into the job and proceeded to remake the school district into his personal monarchy.

He started by convincing the school board to build him a brand new headquarters overlooking the nearby lake, away from all the school buildings. At great expense. Keep in mind that this school district would fight tooth and nail every year to keep salaries down and cut corners. With about a 30% of students on free or reduced lunch programs. Not exactly a suburban school awash with funds. But you get the picture. Like I said, school boards often are not made up of the brightest bulbs in the pack. They are elected.

At any rate, what Georgy wanted (or needed to justify his existence on the Earth) were low failure rates. No child should fail. No student should fail If a student failed, that meant the teacher had failed. Sounded good to the school board.

So, how do we get students to do better Not to fail?

Lower class sizes so there will be more personal attention? More staff? More support staff? After school remediation programs? Outreach to homes with at risk students? More stringent policies for extracurricular participation? Innovative programs to meet the needs of a diverse population?

Well, those sound good, but they have one problem. They all cost money. And a school district strapped for funds, which just built an administrative castle on the lake, is not one flush with excessive dollars to spend on…well…kids..

So, Georgy’s solution was simple. Q. How do we keep kids from failing? A. Don’t give them failing grades. What could be simpler.

Georgy wanted to put into place a grading system that would not allow a teacher to give a high school student (we aren’t talking about the grade school, tykes here) no report card grade lower than a 60. No matter what the student did, or did not do.

Georgy’s philosophy was that no student should ever be in a position at the end of the school year where their grades were so bad that they could not pass. How does this work? Well, if Johnny did most of his work, tried hard and wasn’t too bright and managed a 65, he could pass. If Billy did half his work, failed most of his tests and missed one day a week he might earn a grade of say, 40. Automatically that grade should be raised to a 60 on the report card. If Maryanne skipped half the days, handed in no work and failed every test she should be awarded a 60 for those 9 weeks of work.

So, in the end, the final evaluation did not look that bad. Any student could “succeed”. On the report card.

Of course, the problem with this, to those trying to teach kids, was apparent. Foremost, without being fairly evaluated, a whole lot of kids would do nothing. And pretty soon they would catch on that doing nothing was really not so bad when it came to evaluations. Of course, the teachers’ prime goals are to help kids actually learn things. Valuable things. To do homework so they can be helped to do better. To have an accurate evaluation so we can help them truly succeed.  So, this system reinforced the opposite.

Then, when the report card went home the parent might be confused. It seems like my Maryanne is doing not too bad. I mean, for someone who skips half of her classes. Who never seems to do homework. Who never studies. I have been warning her she will do poorly. Evidently, as a parent I was wrong. She isn’t passing, but she is pretty close. A report card is assumed by the parents to accurately reflect a student’s achievement. So the parents know how their child is doing. With this policy, parents do not really know how their youngster is performing.

As an aside let me talk about Ron Page. Ron Page was the Secretary of Education from 2001-2005 under George W Bush. He got that job mainly based on his success in the Houston school district. When Page took over as superintendent of schools the Houston district was in disarray. Test scores were well below average. Even for Texas. So, just imagine. He privatized some schools, brought in charter schools, instituted a “contract” system modeled on business, gave bonuses to teachers for good test scores. The result was staggering.

The “Houston Miracle ” ensued. Test scores soared. Everyone was happy. The “No Child Left Behind” theories of the Bush administration were based on Page’s success. Everyone was happy. Almost.

There was on assistant principal in one of the Houston schools that could not figure out what was going on. Why were test scores suddenly high? The schools were not doing anything different. The student body had not changed. Attendance rates had not changed. Why the sudden magnificent test scores?

A little investigation resulted in the answer. Under the “leadership” of Superintendent Page vast numbers of students were simply prohibited from taking the tests. Teachers identified those who had little or no chance of doing well and they were opted out of testing. The students who would be failing were simply not counted. The superintendent was happy. The school board was happy. Many teachers were happy (they got bonuses based on test scores). The kids were happy. The only loser in the system was honesty. And in the long run the kids who were being deprived of an education.

Back to my Georgy. Georgy was the master at managing the educational crisis. Not the REAL crisis, but the public relation crisis. Not what was actually happening, but rather how to “message” what was happening. Managing the mess

Of course, under Georgy student achievement did not improve. Under Mr Page in Houston student achievement did not improve. They did not identify the problem as one of education, but one of messaging. The message improved.

Georgy would fit well in today’s White House. We have a real crisis. A health care crisis. It needs to be managed . It is not being managed.  The current “leadership” is attempting to manage the message, not the crisis. Manage the talk, don’t walk the walk. No bad news. I am doing a great job. It’s all there in the message. But a virus, like a good education, does not respond to a message. It responds to action.

To manage a crisis you have to recognize the crisis. To the current superintendent of the United States the crisis is not how to manage the virus. The crisis is how to manage the message. I say, just give it a 60.

 

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Filed under Education, government, Politics, Society, Trump, United States

Virus Cures a la Trump

I don’t know why I watch. But I do. It is the same reason, I suppose, folks gawk at accidents. A bit morbid. Curiosity. How bad is it?

I am referring to the “news” conferences of Mr Trump regarding the coronavirus. You know, the big Democratic hoax! My wife won’t watch him any longer but I find him fascinating.

We must face the fact that the GOP has given us the first mentally ill president. A total narcissist. The man with the biggest brain.

Well, yesterday he talked about the “immediate” cures that are available. Specifically about a drug used to control malaria. A drug used to control malaria. Malaria.

OK. Well, malaria is not caused by a virus. Or a bacteria. It is a parasite. It is a parasite that a person may get if they are bitten by a mosquito carrying the parasite. It is not transmitted by sneezing or coughing or screwing. So, it has no relationship in any way to a virus. Especially an unknown virus.

But the good news about the anti-malarial drugs is that they are safe. If you have malaria they will fight the parasite and not kill you. A plus. So, Mr Trump  considers malarial drugs a good fit to fight SARS-like virus. Hey, it could work! You never know? What have you got to lose.

As usual, the man with the biggest brain is thinking “outside” the box. In the “box” is science, technology, common sense, data, intelligent thought and “book learning”. The man outside the box rejects all that. So, I thought I would join our commander-in-chief in this time of crisis and also think outside the box. After all, you never know. So,here goes some possible coronavirus cures. Hey. You never know.

Tom’s of Maine Toothpaste Cure. Take some toothpaste (Tom’s of Maine has been found by the FDA to be safe) and stick it on the end of a pencil. Shove it up your nose until blood oozes out of a nostril. Repeat on other nostril. It’s possible that this may force the virus out of your body. Hey, you never know.

Norland Potato Cure. Buy some Norland potatoes. They are the red ones. Russets will NOT WORK for this cure. Cook 7 potatoes with 4 quarts of olive oil and dishwater. Rinse and drain. Mash the potatoes with chopstick. DO NOT USE A FORK. That is very important. Smear the potatoes between your toes and under your armpits. Let sit for 3 hours. This cure may kill any coronavirus through osmosis. You MAY be cured. Hey, you never know.

The Singing Cure. Find a copy of the words to “Jeepers, Creepers”. Standing on one foot and holding a banana in your left hand, sing the words backwards through three verses. Immediately afterwards peel the banana, eat the peel and place the fruit of the banana in a cup of boiling Ooolog Tea. That should destroy the virus. Hey, you never know.

The Smashing Cure. Put on the tightest running shorts you can find. Also, the heaviest snowboots you have in your closet . (If you have no snowboots you can substitute high heel shoes). Put 3 ice cubes in your mouth. Run as fast as you can into the nearest tree. Walk backwards 30 feet. Run as fast as you can into the same tree. Walk backwards 30 feet. Repeat until..A. the ice cubes in your mouth have melted….B. Your teeth have fallen out ..or C. You go unconscious. This cure should dislodge and expel any coronavirus in your body. Hey, you never know.

I could go on, but I won’t. The point is, cures for the coronavirus are ALL AROUND US. Just think outside the box. Use your biggest brain. Be a real leader.

 

 

 

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Filed under government, healthcare, logic, Politics, POTUS, Trump, United States

Oh Captain, My Captain

Captain Don was steadfast and strong. He was the man in charge. He was the man in control. He was given control of the Titanic and he was doing it his way. The best way.

He inherited a crew of tried and true sailors. He fired them. Then he  hired the best crew and the best mates. Well. A whole bunch of them left so he hired some more. They left. So he hired more of the best men.

And off he sailed.

One day his first mate came to him and said. “Captain, my, captain, the best captain in the world. One of our crew has spotted an iceberg. On a collision course with the Titanic”

Captain Don replied. “Fake news. A hoax. There is no iceberg. Stay the course.”

A few hours later, the same mate came to Captain Don. ” Captain, my captain. The captain with the biggest brain in the world. The iceberg is closer now and we still have time to steer the ship to a different course. See, look to the north, you can see it in the distance.”

Captain Don peers to the north. His gaze is steady. His jaw juts out in defiance.

Captain Don speaks. ” That is no iceberg. It is an ice cube. See how tiny it is? How foolish you are. A hoax. Fake news. Such a tiny ice cube can do us no harm. Stay the course.”

A few hours later, the iceberg looms closer and closer.

The first mate. “Captain, my captain. The smartest, bravest captain  with the biggest brain. And best brain. The iceberg is going to hit us. We can not get out of the way. What should we do?”

Captain Don. ” Well, why didn’t we see the iceberg sooner? Where was the man in the crow’s nest. He must have been one of Barry’s men. A member of the Deep state. Out to get me.”

First mate. ” Oh captain, my captain. The sexiest, smartest most brilliant captain in the world. Actually it was your budget cuts that eliminated the man in the crow’s nest. The early warning system we used to have. What should we do?”

Captain Don. ” Put everyone in lifeboats. Time to evacuate.”

First mate. “We only have 20 lifeboats for 20,000 people. What shall we do?”

Captain Don. “What? Why so few boats. The former captain Barry refused to buy more boats? It is Barry’s fault. Damn him. Well, put me in a boat and find my friends. Get them in boats.”

First mate. “Captain my captain. The truth is that Captain Barry left you with plenty of boats. Actually  it was you who sold the lifeboats, cheap, to your friends in the boating industry. We had enough lifeboats. No longer.”

Captain Don. ” Lies. All lies. Fake news. Fake iceberg. I take no responsibility. Not my fault. Not my fault. Where is my lifeboat? I’m out of here. You’re in charge”

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Filed under government, gun control, Politics, POTUS, Society, Trump, United States

The Roller Coaster

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

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

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

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

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

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

So, now we have three choices.

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

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

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

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

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

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

The Not So Great Debate

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

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

No moderators. That was a debate.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

So, my suggestions.

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

2.Ask the exact same question to every candidate.

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

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

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

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

But then, that would be bad TV.

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Filed under debates, government, Politics, Society

Playing By The Rules

I coached baseball, basketball , softball and soccer for many years. Mostly at the high school level.  Every sport has a rule book. Very precise rules. Except soccer, which has more flexible “laws”. At any rate, the rules are written and you play by the rules.

That is what I tried to impress on my players. Know the rules. Play by the rules. If you break the rules, take the penalty. That is just sports.

But I also emphasized to them that there are actually two sets of rules. There are the rule book rules and then there are the actual rules. The second set of rules is more important. That set of rules changes for every contest. That second set of rules depends on the umpire or referee. The men and women who are interpreting the rules. Making decisions. Making the calls.

A good player will try to figure out how the ref is calling the game. If the umpire is calling low pitches “strikes” and high pitches “balls”, then your pitcher should keep it low. If the soccer ref is allowing a few elbows to fly now and then and some pushing, well, loosen up those elbows. If the basketball ref is calling every ticky-tack foul, stop ticky-tacking. In other words, play the rules, but also play the ref.

I recall umpiring a middle school baseball game between two competing schools. Now, middle school pitchers  can often not be too accurate. And middle school age coaches want their players to hit the ball and play the game, not sit around and wait for walks. So, before the game I told both coaches that today was going to be a big strike zone. If the ball was near the plate its going to be a strike. Better be swinging the bat. They both concurred. Both were happy. As long as the rules were evenly enforced.

Which brings me to Mike Bloomberg.

Many Democrats are angry and frustrated that this billionaire has been spending like a drunken sailor on leave . (No offense, Dan). He is a real self-made billionaire  (unlike the IMPOTUS) and has plenty to spend. Some say he is worth $60 billion. The 14th richest man in the world.

Some candidates are suggesting he is trying to buy the Democratic nomination . (DUH). They say he has an unfair advantage (DUH. DUH). They say they don’t want a billionaire stealing the nomination. Can’t say that I blame them. After all, they have been working for years to get this job and he just plunks down a pile of cash and he is in the race.

Well, we will know more about Bloomberg once he gets on stage and has to answer some questions. Another rich guy, Tom Steyer, got on the stage and, in my opinion, stunk it up. He showed that having money does not translate into being astute or knowledgeable. We will see how Bloomberg does.

But no matter how he does, the Dems had better understand the rules of the game. Not as they WANT the rules to be, but what the real rules are. And in the US elections money talks. And big money talks big. Money is part of the rules.

No matter what “laws” exist concerning campaign funding, the bottom line is that the Federal Election commission has virtually no enforcement ability. Imagine a football ref who could call a foul but could not enforce a penalty. That is the system under which we live.

Also, Citizens United has made the case that money equals speech. Logically, the more money you have, the more speech you have. So Bloomberg has the biggest mouth in America. Trump is the biggest gasbag, for sure. But Trump’s “wealth” is dwarfed by Mike’s. Minor league.

Back to the rules. The GOP has made it clear that they want no rules. Russian interference? No problem. Ukraine extortion? OK with them. Unregulated cash from (fill in the blanks) is okey-dokey. Those are the REAL rules.

The Trump campaign will flood the TV and internet and Facebook and Twitter with misinformation. Lies. Vulgarity. Coded messages (or not coded) supporting racism, misogyny and xenophobia. The Trump hate machine will be in full force. The gloves are off.

So, the Dems better bring some brass knuckles to the fight. Bloomberg can flood the media, as he has been doing. He has the money and personality to play by the real rules. Nothing to be scared of. He’s a wealthy billionaire plutocrat, but he’s OUR plutocrat. Embrace him. Welcome him. We need him.

We may not like these rules. We may not want these rules. But we better play by these rules. The real rules. Otherwise it will be four or MORE years of attacks on the separation of powers. If we don’t win this election it may very well be the LAST election.  If that’s the case we may see the end of democracy. No matter what the written rules say.

So, don’t be afraid of Bloomberg. For too long the Dems have been playing it by the book. Time to throw the book out the window and play to win. Play by the rules.

 

 

 

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Filed under candidate, Democrats, Elections, GOP, government, Politics, Society, Trump

The Death of a Whistle Blower

The whistle blower is dead.

No, not the whistle blower who saw the illegal actions of Trump and reported them to the proper authorities. Not yet, anyway. This whistle blower was  Chinese doctor from Wuhan province. He is dead from the highly contagious deadly virus we call coronavirus.

Dr. Li Wenliang was only 34 years old. When he discovered the fact that his patient had an unknown virus and was spreading it, he took action. He thought it might be SARS.  It was too late for him, since he had no way of knowing how virulent the virus was before he treated his patients.

As soon as he understood the possible repercussions of the virus he immediately informed his colleagues on a web site. On December 31 he put out the warning. This was bad. This was transmitted human to human. This was highly contagious and deadly.  Take precautions . Get on top of this. He blew the whistle on the virus.

The Chinese government did not like it. Bad PR. Might lead to panic. So, Dr . Li Wenlaing was arrested. YES. Arrested for blowing the whistle. Then he was silenced.

Then he was forced to plead guilty. To spreading rumors. From an interview he did a few days before his death.

How did you feel when the police accused you of spreading rumors?

The police believed this virus was not confirmed to be SARS. They believed I was spreading rumors. They asked me to acknowledge that I was at fault.

I felt I was being wronged, but I had to accept it. Obviously I had been acting out of good will. I felt very sad seeing so many people losing their loved ones.

How long will it take you to recover? What do you plan to do afterward?

I started coughing on Jan. 10. It will take me another 15 days or so to recover. I will join medical workers in fighting the epidemic. That’s where my responsibilities lie.

But the good doctor did not survive. At 34, he is dead, leaving behind a wife, a 4 year old and an unborn child. According to Dr Li Wenliang if the government had disclosed the possible problems with the virus earlier, it may have limited the spread.

So, the whistle blower is dead. He was guilty, under Chinese law, of spreading rumors. He was silenced.

We don’t silence whistle blowers in the US. They are protected. We want them to come forth with information the public needs. Or information about government wrongdoing.

Senator Lindsey Graham of South Carolina has a different idea, however. He follows the Chinese model. He plans to call the whistle blower and make him pay for blowing the whistle on Trump’s illegal activities.

“During an interview with Fox Business anchor Maria Bartiromo over the weekend, Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Lindsey Graham vowed to compel testimony from the whistleblower in order to get to the bottom of what led to impeachment against President Trump. He also reiterated his plans to investigate the Bidens for their involvement with Burisma, the most corrupt company in Ukraine. ….

“”The day of reckoning is coming for congressional and Senate oversight of Joe Biden and the FISA warrant process,” Graham said.

A day of reckoning. For all whistle blowers. President Trump agrees. And president Xi of China concurs.

 

 

https://townhall.com/tipsheet/katiepavlich/2020/02/03/lindsey-graham-ill-be-calling-the-whistleblower-for-testimony-a-day-of-reckoning-is-coming-n2560619

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Filed under Chinese, Congress, Elections, government, healthcare, impeachment, neoconservatives, Politics, Society, Trump, United States

The Ten New Things

As the three people who read my blog know, I am pretty good at predicting things. I predicted that Jeb Bush would win the presidency in 2016, that Medicare for all would be enacted and that all Republican gun owners would turn in their weapons as a show of support for children murdered every day in America. OK, so maybe no so good. HOWEVER, here is part of my end of the year prediction from December , 2017, when the GOP controlled both houses…

“Finally. Congress votes itself a 50% pay raise for a “job well done”. The legislative branch passed a total of three bills. They were: 1. “The Amazing Trump is the Best President Ever” bill awarding the Trump Medal of MAGA to the best person in America. This year’s recipient? Donald Trump. 2. “The FBI Traitor” law. Which labels all members of the FBI, former and current, official “enemies of the people” and subject to immediate permanent detention and prosecution for doing “bad stuff”. Mueller is the first to be perp walked. 3. “Congressional Vacation Act” which allows Congress to take a vacation for a period including January 2 through December 30, with pay and expenses for fact finding travel.  Mr Trump signed all three bills and praised Congress for their services… which will no longer be necessary.”

I was watching the pundits on Morning Joe this morning talking about the demise of the Democratic Party because of the APP problems in counting the Iowa Democratic caucus votes. Their main theme was the incompetency of the Democratic Party. And by extension any Democratic administration. Okey Dokey.

This was similar to another Democratic government run debacle with the roll out of the Affordable Care Act. We all remember how Obama and the Dems screwed that up. Big government at its worse. Except.

Except both the ACA roll out and the Iowa caucus problems were not caused by “big government” at all. Both were major technical  problems made by private contractors, not the government. In a nation where the prevailing narrative remains that business is more efficient than government, we see the opposite. It is the private contractors that screw things up. Regularly.

Now, let’s look at really BIG government, the Social Security administration and Veterans administration. These are the government folks who send out your Social Security and Veterans benefit checks. And have been doing so for decades. Ever miss a payment? Ever have a check bounce. Ever have a failure to deliver? I rest my case.

But, back to the pundits who are already predicting the end of the Democratic Party. It is February 4, 2020. Between now and Election day there will be at least 10 new things that will once again give the pundits something new to predict. And they will be just as certain of themselves and just as wrong as they always are. As a self-made pundit, here are my 10 new things.

1. One of the Democratic candidates will be physically assaulted, by weapon or by fist. And she will punch back.

2. A major US corporation will file for bankruptcy. And be given tax dollars as compensation.

3. Kim Jung Un will announce that he has a nuclear weapon and the ability to reach the US with it. Also announces a contract for new Trump Tower in Pyongyang.

4. Donald Trump, Jr will announce the best trade deal ever with China, and the details will be forthcoming. The details never come forth.

5. A number of global warming catastrophes around the globe will prompt the UN to hold a global warming summit, which the US will refuse to support.

6. The GNP will continue to hover around 2.3% but no one knows what that means. Although 76% of the population is certain it has something to do with the Super Bowl.

7. Photos will emerge of Mike Pence leaving a room with a woman. She looks scared. So does he.

8. Israel will announce that they accept the Kushner peace plan which allows Palestinians to look at their former homes on the West Bank during Ramadan. For 2 minutes.

9. Mike Bloomberg will buy North Dakota, Mississippi and Arkansas, giving him enough votes to win the election. He complains that he has used up all his pocket change for the week.

10. Vlad Putin will make a surprise appearance at the Republican convention and will graciously accept the nomination for president by acclimation of the party. Why not eliminate the middle man? Vlad  will then appoint Ivanka Trump as his running mate.

So, those are my predictions. And after each event the pundits will all-knowingly tell us what it means. Again.

I know what you are thinking. Most of these are WAY OUT THERE and probably not going to happen. But  number 10 is just obvious.

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

https://www.forbes.com/sites/techonomy/2013/11/10/the-unhealthy-truth-about-obamacares-contractors/#1a8f06bf644f

 

 

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Filed under ACA, candidate, Congress, Conservatives, Democrat, Economy, Elections, GOP, government, liberals, neoconservatives, Politics, Senate, Society, Trump, United States

The Retrial of Benjamin Forsythe

Benjamin Forsythe wants a new trial.

In 2017 he was accused, and later convicted, of shoplifting. The prosecution claims he had hidden some dog toys … yes, DOG TOYS … in his girlfriend’s purse. Then they left the store without paying.

Well, they did have SOME evidence against him, to be sure. They never actually found the toys in his girlfriend’s purse. BUT. They had a video of him going to the car and bringing his girlfriend’s purse into the store. They had some empty dog toy shelves. Stuff like that.

To be clear, they didn’t catch him in the act. It was only a day later when some store employers noticed some empty packaging in the dog toy department that they investigated. Sure enough, the Sherlock-type sleuths discovered that his girlfriend had absconded with $ 186 worth of dog toys!

Some of you who do not own pets may wonder how anyone could stuff $186 worth of dog toys into a purse unnoticed. I mean, that sounds like a lot of Fido fun. Loads of doggy diversions. Now, those of you WITH pets might have a different view. I mean, where can you get a purse load of dog toys for ONLY $186? Must have been in the discount bin. Give me the address of that store. But I digress.

So, despite his pleas of innocence (his girlfriend took complete responsibility, the sweet thing) he was convicted and sentenced. To 2 to 23 months in jail. For pilfering dog toys. Well, I said he was convicted of shoplifting, but not exactly. Since he, himself, never stole any dog toys he was actually convicted of  “conspiracy to commit retail theft”. YIKES. That’s sounds a lot worse than shoplifting. A conspiracy.

So poor Benjamin was convicted. But that was then. This is now.

After watching hours and hours of the impeachment trial of Donald Trump from his prison cell, Benjamin had second thoughts. The first thought was this. Being  forced to watch hours and hours of the impeachment trial may be grounds for release on a  “cruel and unusual punishment” claim.

Second, he wanted a new trial with Lamar Alexander as foreman of the jury.

You see, Lamar Alexander has stated, in writing,  publicly that  “yes”, the House managers did present a convincing case. In fact, according to Lamar, he is convinced that president Trump DID solicit (extort)  the Ukrainian government to try to force them to present an announcement of an investigation into the Bidens. He had seen enough, but it was not enough to convict.

So Senator Alexander does not need any more proof. Trump is a criminal. The facts are clear. Undisputed.  But, since Trump is a criminal Lamar has decided NOT to vote to remove him from office. Or to seek any more evidence which might even further prove the case already proven by the House managers. Because, after all, if we convicted criminals what would be next? Slippery slope.

Lamar’s statement: “…There is no need for more evidence to prove that the president asked Ukraine to investigate Joe Biden and his son, Hunter; he said this on television on October 3, 2019, and during his July 25, 2019, telephone call with the president of Ukraine. There is no need for more evidence to conclude that the president withheld United States aid, at least in part, to pressure Ukraine to investigate the Bidens; the House managers have proved this with what they call a ‘mountain of overwhelming evidence.’ There is no need to consider further the frivolous second article of impeachment that would remove the president for asserting his constitutional prerogative to protect confidential conversations with his close advisers. 

“It was inappropriate for the president to ask a foreign leader to investigate his political opponent and to withhold United States aid to encourage that investigation. When elected officials inappropriately interfere with such investigations, it undermines the principle of equal justice under the law. But the Constitution does not give the Senate the power to remove the president from office and ban him from this year’s ballot simply for actions that are inappropriate….”

When Benjamin saw this he leaped for joy. That is exactly the point he was trying to make. Just because he was found to have committed a crime does not mean he should be found GUILTY of committing a crime. Just because he was involved in a conspiracy, and that was proven by the prosecution, does not justify a GUILTY verdict. It was not really a crime, it was just “inappropriate” for him to conspire to shoplift. And, if we are to uphold what Senator Alexander calls “the principle of equal justice under the law” shouldn’t Benjamin go free?

Benjamin wants Senator Alexander on his jury. And Dershowitz as his lawyer. Mr Forsythe is hoping to call Donald Trump, Jr as his character witness. If he can afford the fee.

There is a new sheriff in town. His name is Lamar. His concept of the law:   Some crimes are just not punishable. It all depends on who commits them.

https://www.pennlive.com/news/2019/03/shoplifter-jailed-for-stealing-dog-toys-denied-break-by-pa-court.html

READ Lamar Alexander’s Statement: Trump Did It, He Said He Did It on TV, but Removing Him Would Be ‘Frivolous’

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Filed under Constitution, crime, Elections, Foreign policy, GOP, government, impeachment, Politics, president, Republicans, slippery slope, Supreme Court, Trump, United States

The “Obvious” Defense

The impeachment trial of Donald Trump started last week. The House managers presented a very thorough case. Now it is the time for the defenders of the president to speak. Fair enough.

So, what should they say? Well, let’s look at what the House has presented  and see how they can respond.

The House case focuses first on the withholding of aid to Ukraine and the withholding of a meeting in the Oval Office with the president of the Ukraine. Both are important to the Ukraine for what should be obvious reasons. Ukraine is partially occupied and is at war with Putin’s Russia. Not to belabor the point but again. Ukraine is partially occupied and at war with Putin’s Russia.

So, the Ukraine desperately needs military help. Which the Congress and the president have given them.They also just as desperately need Putin to understand that the US stands with Ukraine against his illegal occupation and aggression. So, both the military and political aid are essential.

It is a fact that the Department of Defense was ready to start to distribute the military aid to  Ukraine on June 18, 2019. From the DOD website:

The Department of Defense announced today plans to provide $250 million to Ukraine in security cooperation funds for additional training, equipment, and advisory efforts to build the capacity of Ukraine’s armed forces.” ……https://www.defense.gov/Newsroom/Releases/Release/Article/1879340/dod-announces-250m-to-ukraine/

The DOD does not release any military aid unless a thorough review has been done to make sure the country is meeting the requirements for fighting corruption, insuring human rights, etc.

So, for the president’s Defense Team. The first point they need to address is why the military aid was withheld. What information came to light between June 18 and the hold on the aid? There may be legitimate reasons for withholding aid, if so, what were they? And why was the very process for withholding aid taken out of the usual channels and handed over to a political appointee, rather than a career official?

Along the same lines, the defense may argue that the president can unilaterally withhold aid for any reason. In fact, the aid was held up 9 different times, with no explanation. However, the Government Accounting Office relayed a decision that what Trump did was break the  law. A law that requires him to notify Congress with reasons for any hold up in aid:

“In the summer of 2019, the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) withheld from
obligation funds appropriated to the Department of Defense (DOD) for security
assistance to Ukraine. In order to withhold the funds, OMB issued a series of nine
apportionment schedules with footnotes that made all unobligated balances
unavailable for obligation.
Faithful execution of the law does not permit the President to substitute his own
policy priorities for those that Congress has enacted into law. OMB withheld funds
for a policy reason, which is not permitted under the Impoundment Control Act (ICA).
The withholding was not a programmatic delay. Therefore, we conclude that OMB
violated the ICA….”

https://www.gao.gov/assets/710/703909.pdf

So, the president or his staff broke the law. Period. His defense team needs to explain that and justify the hold on military aid. Why did the president think it was essential to break the law? Perhaps he had good reason.Legal reasons. What were they? And why was Congress never notified?

Furthermore, since aid was eventually released they need to answer another question. What happened to make the president change his mind and lift the hold? What new evidence emerged? Did he discover it was illegal or was there a change in Ukraine? What specific reason was there for all of a sudden releasing most of the aid?

The second charge on impeachment brought by the House managers was the obstruction of Congress. Now, it is pretty obvious that Congress was obstructed since the president refused to provide and documents or witnesses to help in the investigation. The question is, was that obstruction legal?

On Saturday the president’s team argued that the entire impeachment proceeding was illegal. So, since the proceeding was illegal they had no requirement to cooperate. Of course, this argument does have a major hole.

The position presupposes that the executive branch alone can decide for the House of Representatives what it can and cannot investigate. In other words, although the Constitution gives the sole power of impeachment to the House, the executive branch can overrule that power. The position falls flat on two levels. First, it disregards the specific language of the Constitution.

Article 1, Section 2: The House of Representatives shall chuse their Speaker and other Officers; and shall have the sole Power of Impeachment.

Of course it makes no sense legally or logically for the object of an impeachment or investigation to have the power to end an impeachment or investigation.

Along the same lines the president’s defense claimed that the House violated their own rules, so therefore the very impeachment itself is illegal. Yet, here we are. The Senate, controlled by Mitch McConnell, recognized the legality of impeachment. The Supreme Court, along with Chief Justice Roberts, recognizes the legality of the impeachment. We are having a trial precisely because the House acted legally. So, once again we have the president, alone, making claims that no other branch of government agrees with.

Now, it is legal for the president to, in certain circumstances, invoke “executive privilege”. However, invoking that privilege means the president has to make a case, before a court, that the documents or testimony being withheld is being done for legitimate national security concerns. So far, Mr Trump has made no such claim.

His lawyers, however, have taken the position that he can claim executive privilege without making a formal claim of executive privilege. In their words, he can hide anything he wants for any reason he wants. In other words, the chief executive is supreme and cannot be investigated or impeached.  Trump has taken this position publicly:

“…Trump was giving a speech at a Turning Point USA conference, where he predictably veered off into a tirade about special counsel Robert Mueller’s Russia investigation and how, as president, Trump could’ve stopped it.

“I have an Article 2 where I have the right to do whatever I want as president,” Trump said. “But I don’t even talk about that because they did a report and there was no obstruction.”…” 

AND…

“…During a pre-taped one-on-one interview with ABC News reporter George Stephanopoulos, Trump argued that “a lot of great lawyers” agree that Article 2 of the Constitution means that the President can’t obstruct justice.

“So a president can’t obstruct justice?” Stephanopoulos asked.

“A president can run the country,” Trump responded. “And that’s what happened, George. I run the country and I run it well.”

“When the President does it, it’s not illegal?” Stephanopoulos asked….”

“I’m just saying a president under Article 2–it’s very strong, read it,” Trump said. “Do you have Article 2? Read it.”

(To be clear, executive privilege is not mentioned in the Constitution)

Trump Claims Article 2 Gives Him ‘The Right To Do Whatever I Want As President’

Trump When Asked If POTUS Can Obstruct Justice: POTUS Can ‘Run The Country’

So, the president’s defense team will have to find a justification that he has refused to cooperate with Congress. While they may rightly point to very specific instances where other president’s have attempted (successfully or unsuccessfully) to invoke “executive privilege”, they will have to justify an unbridled power of the president to hide all his actions and documents.

Now, will the defense team address these issues raised by the House managers? Will they respond to the facts and evidence in the charges? Will they talk about how the Democrats have hated Trump from day one? Will they talk about Adam Schiff?  Will they talk about the Mueller Report being a hoax? Will they claim the entire procedure is a  “witch hunt”? Or will they talk about how corrupt the Biden’s are? Benghazi Redux?

In other words, will they address the points the Hose manager have  made, or will they deflect ? Isn’t the answer obvious?

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Filed under Congress, Constitution, Democrat, Elections, foreign aid, GOP, government, impeachment, liberals, logic, Politics, POTUS, president, Senate, Society, Supreme Court, Trump, United States

The Murder Trial of Bobo the Clown

My good friend Bobo the Clown was indicted for murder.

The prosecutor had a video of Bobo walking into the bank. Shots were heard. Bobo left the bank with big bag.

The police were called. One bank teller was dead on the floor. Shot three times. In addition thousands of dollars were missing from the bank.

Bobo was arrested. He plead not guilty.

Bobo’s lawyer said it was a witch hunt. The police hated clowns. They were singling out Bobo because he was a clown.

So, the evidence was clear. But wait. just before the trial began 3 witnesses came forward. They all knew Bobo. They all said they saw Bobo with a gun and a bag of money. One of them even drove Bobo’s getaway car. A clown car.

Now, Bobo’s lawyer claims that these witnesses should not be allowed to testify. They are too late. They should have come forward earlier.

As it happens, the chairman of the jury, Moscow Mitch, agrees. Moscow Mitch , in addition to being chairman of the jury is a long time clown friend of Bobo. In addition Moscow Mitch decides what evidence can be presented at the trial. They go back a long way. He doesn’t want to hear anything else.

So, the fair trial begins.

Any bets on the outcome?

 

 

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Filed under Constitution, Elections, GOP, government, impeachment, Politics, POTUS, Republicans, Trump, United States

The Cruci”fiction” of Donald Trump

A Republican congressman made this statement during the debate on the impeachment of Donald Trump.

“Before you take this historic vote today, one week before Christmas, keep this in mind,” Loudermilk exclaimed. “When Jesus was falsely accused of treason, Pontius Pilate gave Jesus the opportunity to face his accusers.”

“During that sham trial, Pontius Pilate afforded more rights to Jesus than Democrats afforded this president in this process,” he concluded…..

https://www.thedailybeast.com/gop-rep-barry-loudermilk-compares-trump-to-jesus-says-pontius-pilate-was-fairer-than-democrats?ref=scroll

And so it goes. The finest man ever to don the robes of the presidency of the US has been impeached. Unfairly. Crucified. Beaten. Handed a crown of thorns. Just like Jesus.

Some may claim that the comparisons between Jesus and Trump are unfair. After all, the Christ guy never won the popular vote in an election. Other than that, the parallels in the lives of these two men…er, gods…is pretty telling.

Until recently we knew little about Jesus outside of the gospels, but a recent discovery of scrolls in a cave in Israel has shed more light on the life of the Chosen One. (I mean Jesus). The actual trial transcript of the trial of Jesus has now emerged.

The title of the document: The Roman Empire versus Jesu bin Joseph, AD 31. It is a blockbuster.

The transcript outlines how Jesus sent his lawyer, Matthew the younger, to Sumeria to dig up dirt on John the Baptist. In return, Jesus implied he would send some magic loaves and fishes to help the King of Sumeria deal with the famine. He was explicit, however, that there was no “quid pro quo”. (Since people back then spoke Latin they actually knew what what meant.)

Lawyer Matthew also paid off Mary Magdelane to keep her mouth shut about her “contacts” with the Chosen One. Twenty five silver coins and a jar of holy water, turned into a mild chablis. That did the trick.

At the trial Jesus refused to let any of his disciples testify. He invoked the highest executive privilege. He claimed that God the Father himself refused to allow any testimony. In fact, he claimed that God the Father Himself wrote a legal opinion that Jesus could not be indicted. Even if he used his slingshot and killed a Samaritan on the road to Jerusalem. Above the law.

Now, the prosecutors claimed that Jesus had defiled the temple by throwing out the money changers, a clear case of assault and battery. And obvious socialism. He worked on the Sabbath, which was against union rules. He turned water into wine and served it to minors. He even gave end of life care to Lazarus, and never left an invoice.

Worst of all, he gave out free food and free health care to the poor. And some of the poor were illegal immigrants from Egypt. Not even Roman citizens. Blue Cross/Blue Shield of Jerusalem was not happy. They were losing plenty of denarii on their prescription rider charges.

Since the transcript is incomplete we will never know how the trial turned out. But, I suspect with a jury foreman like Mitch McConnell it was an easy acquittal.

Like Jesus before him, let us hope that Mr Trump, the new son of the GOP gods, has the same fate as the first Jesus. If so, it would be a miracle.

Amen.

 

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

Conan Outed

Conan is a hero. No, not Conan the Barbarian, the former governor of California. I am talking about a real life hero, not a pretend tough guy  movie creation. Conan the dog. The dog that was injured in the attack on al-Baghdadi. Evidently Conan has participated more than 50 missions. A real workhorse… er..  work dog.

Like many veterans who risk their lives to protect the USA and the president, Conan is an immigrant. Or at least comes from an immigrant heritage. He is , by ethnic group, Belgian. He comes from a lineage called “Belgian Malinois”. Looks like a German shepherd to me, but then a lot of these immigrants look alike. Especially the canine ones.

Things were going pretty good for old Conan before Trump opened his mouth. At the press gaggle Trump referred to Conan as “he”. A male dog. So, a reporter asked if he was a “good boy”. I guess any dog that would go into an ISIS enclave and sniff out terrorists would be considered a pretty good boy. So, that was that. Good boy. Good Conan.

But then, for some reason, not sure why,  the White House released a statement to reporters that Conan, was, in fact a “girl”. I think they meant that Conan was a female dog. OK. No big deal.Who cares? Really.  When I see a dog and ask the owner if I can pet it I usually refer to it as a “good boy” Sometimes the owner corrects me. OK.

Yesterday, taking our dogs, Teddy and Auggy,  for their annual shots I overheard a conversation between a couple of dog owners. This lady had a very small dog  (I thought it was a rat) . Another woman in the vets office asked the gender of the pooch. It was a male. Too bad, the questioner said. She had some leftover clothes from her own small female dog, but they were pink. So, of course, this male dog would not be interested. Really. I heard this conversation. Honest. What male dog would wear pink? (We all know “What kind”, don’t we?)

Back to Conan.  The White House issued a statement saying Conan was a girl. But this contradicted Mr Trump’s earlier  assertions that Conan was a male dog. Oops. So, the White House issued another statement saying Conan, was, indeed a MALE. A real MAN. Or man-dog. Just like Trump said.

Then the Department of Defense got into the act. Taking time out from the usual boring stuff like wars, they issued a statement that Conan was a “female”. I mean, Conan is their dog, so they should know. But that statement contradicted what Mr Trump had said.

So, using the most sophisticated technology available, the Department of Defense “triple checked”. Again, setting aside lesser issues like terror attacks, espionage, war crimes, military buildups, etc., the US Special Operations Command (USSOCOM) issued a definitive statement. Not about a terror attack or military operation. About something much more important.  They said: Conan is a male dog. End of story.

Or is it?

My secret sources tell me something different. Evidently Conan has been canned. Fired. Eliminated. Given his walking papers. His dog tags have been taken away.  Why? Because Conan’s sexuality has been discovered. Conan has been outed. Which gives one paws… er… pause.

Conan, you see, is actually a transgender canine. Hence the confusion. On his initial application for service he described himself as a male. And provided the appropriate birth certificate from Belgian (Or was it the Belgian Congo??).  As Conan matured he (and his trainers) realized that Conan was actually a female dog trapped in a male’s body. A doggette. So, a friendly vet hired by the vets… that would be a veterinarian hired by veterans… performed the needed operation. Conan is now happily female. A transcanine.

Hence the confusion. Boy or girl? Male or female? Dog or cat? Man or mouse?

Bottom line. Conan, the foreigner who happens to be transgender got the job done. He,  (or she or it) did his (or her or its) duty as a loyal American. To serve and protect. To get the bad guys. Which is true of a lot of members of the US military. Transgender or not. They get the job done.

Isn’t that enough?

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Filed under government, news, Politics, Society, Terror, Trump, United States

The Absence of Evidence

Chris Wallace, of Fox News, interviewed Senator Kennedy of Louisiana during his Sunday morning talk show. Wallace was very specific. He pointed out that the entire Intelligence apparatus of the US government concluded that Russia interfered in the 2016 election. And Ukraine did  not.

He pointed out that any Ukrainian interference claims had been debunked. He was clear.

Kennedy responded that he did not know. He said it COULD have been Ukrainians, but no one knows. Could have been.

When Wallace pointed out that there was NO EVIDENCE to support that claim, Kennedy responded (trying to be clever, I think), the the “absence of evidence is not the evidence of absence”. Just because there is no evidence a crime has been committed does  not mean a crime has NOT been committed. Just because there is no evidence that Ukraine interfered in the 2016 election does not mean Ukraine did NOT interfere in the 2016 election.

Now, it is hard. No, It take that back. It is IMPOSSIBLE to argue with that line of reasoning. What isn’t there isn’t there but that doesn’t mean it might not  be there.

Senator Kennedy got me thinking. Always a dangerous situation. So, let’s take a look back at other moments in history and revisit them.

The Holocaust. No one, well, there are a few, claims the Holocaust did not occur. But did it? Some people say it didn’t. And even  if it did occur, who was behind it? There is evidence that the Nazis and other Germans were responsible. But could it have been someone else?

In the 1930s there was a tribe in Kenya called the “Kikuyu”. Never did the Kikuyu issue a statement of support for Jews. NEVER. We know that in later years the Kikuyu rose up and fought the British who had colonized Kenya. It was called the “Mau Mau” uprising. Is it possible that the Kikuyu were anti-Semitic? There is no evidence contradicting that idea. So, it is POSSIBLE that the Kikuyu, not the Nazis, were actually responsible for the death camps. They hated whites. Jews are white. The Kikuyu were violent. The camps were violent. The “absence of evidence ” should not stop us from pointing out the obvious: The Kikuyu COULD have run the death camps.

The US Civil War. From 1861-1865 the US was engaged in a great civil war. No one denies that fact. But who was really responsible and why was it fought? There are a few ideas and some that have supporting evidence. Was it to protect the institution of slavery? Evidence for that. Was it to break up the union? Evidence of that. Was it to maintain states rights? Evidence of that.

However, is there something else at play? Perhaps. Keep in mind, I have NO EVIDENCE that the following happened. Nevertheless. Follow me.

Baseball was just becoming popular in the 1860s. A few teams were starting up, playing teams from other towns. But how could baseball grow into a national past time? The baseball team owners needed a war. This would divide the nation and make people more loyal to their own towns, hence their own teams. (Even today, some misguided fools support the Detroit Tigers!)

So, the team owners got together and hired some southerners to attack Fort Sumter.  They hired Jeff Davis, Robert E Lee, Jeb Stuart and others to go to war with the north. It is POSSIBLE that even A. Lincoln was in on the plot. I have NO EVIDENCE but it is said by some that he owned the rights to the Chicago White Sox. WHITE !!! Racism!!!

So, was Abe Lincoln the person who started the Civil War for his own personal profit? I have NO EVIDENCE of this. But Like Senator Kennedy said: Absence of evidence is not evidence of absence.

The DNC Ukraine Connection in 2016. Now we get to the juicy one. What was the connection between the Ukrainian government and the DNC server hack. The US intelligence services have investigated and found NO EVIDENCE. So what?

According to GOP sources, here is what happened. The DNC paid Cloudstrike to hack the DNC computers. So , they paid to have themselves hacked. Now , a reasonable person may ask why they would do that? Easy.

The DNC had their own computers hacked and damaging emails released by Wikileaks because they wanted to undermine the Trump campaign. The DNC wanted Trump to be elected so they could then IMPEACH him ! A clever ploy.

To hide their plot the DNC shipped their server to the Ukraine. And kept it hidden. You may ask why they just didn’t dump it into the Atlantic Ocean. Silly people. If they dumped it there would be NO EVIDENCE that they hacked themselves. By hacking themselves and blaming it on Putin they could then undermine the Trump administration. Simple.  Of course, there is no evidence of this, but recall.

The absence of evidence is not the evidence of absence. Which leads me to my final example. Or fact. Or whatever.

Is Senator Kennedy a child molester? I want to be very clear about this. I am not accusing Senator Kennedy of being a child molester. There is NO EVIDENCE that he is a child molester. No one, to my knowledge has ever accused him of being a child molester.

Kennedy is a male. An old white male. We know that some old white males are child molesters. That is indisputable. Also, Kennedy would undoubtedly DENY he is a child molester. But isn’t that EXACTLY what a child molester would do? Do I have EVIDENCE? No, but then has the FBI ever investigated him for child molestation? I don’t know. Perhaps the entire Fox interview given by Kennedy was designed to throw the FBI off the trail. To hide his crimes. Who knows? Could be.

Remember that Kennedy himself has said: “Absence of evidence is not the evidence of absence“. Right?

 

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Filed under civil war, Congress, GOP, government, impeachment, logic, nazi, Politics, president, Republicans, slavery, Society, swastika, Trump, United States, US

Worth a Thousand Words

An old saying, a picture is worth a thousand words.  And so it goes. We FINALLY get down to the truth about why Mr Trump called back his ambassador to the Ukraine.

If you recall, Ambassador Yovanovitch was a long time diplomat. She had been appointed by GW Bush to various posts, some rather dangerous. She had been appointed by Obama to the Ukraine post, an area of her singular expertise. She was appointed by Trump and scheduled to remain until the middle of 2020 at the request of Secretary of State Pompeo.

Then, abruptly, she was called home by Trump. No reason. No explanation. No admonishment for misbehavior. Just called home. The one person in the Ukraine who knew more about the corrupt players and how to help the new president deal with them. Called home.

The reason for her  recall has been a well guarded secret. What did the president know about her? What devious behavior had she been involved in? How was she undermining US anti-corruption efforts? Always a gentleman, Mr Trump refuse to tell us what she had done wrong.

Until now.

DonaldTrump1

In an interview on Fox and Friends, Mr trump finally explained why he fired her and brought her back to Washington. He had heard that Ambassador Yovanovitch had REFUSED to put up a portrait of Mr Trump in the Ukraine Embassy!!! According to Mr Trump she refused to put his photo on her wall!! Next to her Hulk Hogan poster.

(Fox and Friends interview: A trove of psychological data. If you have time, read it:  https://www.rev.com/blog/donald-trump-fox-and-friends-interview-transcript-trump-interviewed-after-impeachment-hearings )

Now, the fact is that the Ukraine Embassy DID put up Mr Trump’s official portrait as soon as they received it. Problem was that the White House, not one for details, neglected to have an official portrait taken and sent out until almost a full year after his election. Details.

Now to some it may seem like a far fetched reason to fire an ambassador. Kind of petty? Firing an ambassador to a major ally because of a rumor about a photo? Well, Rudy said that Lev told him that Igor heard from Vlad that Marie never even put your picture on the wall!! And she never lit a candle in front of it! That’s what people say. What people say. What people say.

Was that the REAL reason for a massive change in leadership in a country being invaded by Putin? An ally we need badly? A place where US presence and stability is essential?

I say: Yes. If nothing else, Mr Trump has shown the ability to redefine pettiness and childishness to a new level. And just the rumor of anyone not kowtowing to his fantasies and ego would certainly be enough cause for firing.

And in the case of a woman… who can doubt it?

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Filed under foreign aid, Foreign policy, government, Politics, president, Psychology, Society, Trump, United States

My God, They’re Human

This year, for the first time, I became an Election Inspector.

Now, in NY in order to be an Election Inspector you have to take a 4 hour class .  This class covers the proper way to sign in voters. How to ask for additional information if the voter is not in the book. How to offer affidavit ballots (used to be called provisional ballots). And a myriad of other things.

The training includes using the voting machine and helping folks, if they need help, in placing the ballots in the machine.

Then, you must take and pass a test on all this stuff.

I worked from 5 AM to 1:30 PM, only half a day. Most inspectors work the entire day , which lasts 17 hours.

In NY inspectors are appointed by the political parties, with the two top parties working the polls. That would be the Democrats and Republicans. I am a Democrat. At all times you must have both parties present, hopefully in equal numbers.

Now I live in deep Republican country. If fact, in these local elections most offices do not even have a Democrat running. And the 2 or 3 that were running for county offices lost. Badly. One bright spot was the coroner.

The county coroner position was won by a Democrat! How did that happen?. Well, the GOP candidate forgot to file his petitions. His party was not happy with him. I doubt that the cadavers are too concerned.

Since the district I was working in had very few voters trickling in, we all had a lot of time to socialize. The GOP chairman in charge of this precinct happened to go to the same college, Michigan State University, as I did… but a few years later. We all chatted together, Dems and Repubs, telling jokes, swapping stories and helping each other figure our how to solve problems with ballots, etc.

You see, one of the rules in NY is that as an inspector you are not allowed to talk politics.

I have to say that I liked most of the people I met. Well, I liked ALL of the Republicans but there was one Democrat that rubbed me the wrong way. They were all so…HUMAN.

Did they really vote for Trump? Did they really support his racist policies? Do they think that Dems are communist and hate America?

I don’t know. But these folks seemed normal enough. Why on Earth would they vote for the GOP? I suppose they had the same thoughts about me. How could this guy, who seems decent enough, vote for the Dems?

It used to be like this in Congress. The Dems and GOP had different philosophies but did not go after each other personally. They treated each other like human beings, not caricatures. They fought the battle of ideas, not character assassination. What happened?

I will never agree with or accept the philosophy of the Republican party, no doubt. However. It will be hard. But the next time I see Jim Jordan or Mitch McConnell or even Donald Trump I will try to remind myself: My God, They’re Human.

 

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Filed under Democrat, Elections, GOP, government, Politics, Trump, United States

Connecting the Dots

The cat is out of the bag. The conspiracy has been exposed. The real TRUTH is finally being told.

I don’t mean the Mueller Report. That report made it clear that the Trump campaign worked with the Russian government to disrupt the 2016 election. Mueller concluded that Russia (which means Putin) worked very hard with fake news to make Donald Trump president. And it worked. It is all laid out in detail.

The Mueller Report also gave us a detailed account of how Donald Trump tried to end the investigation and obstructed justice. Point by point. Very clear and obvious.

That’s not the cat that is out of the bag.

I am referring to the NEW evidence that ties Joe Biden and the Clinton campaign and the dirty tricks of the Ukrainians in attempting to get Trump impeached.

The story is now clear. Rudy Giuliani, one of our true American heroes, has pretty much exposed the “Deep State” and the attempt to initiate a “coup d’etat” against the best president ever.

So, here is is. Now, some of this may seem a bit “far fetched” but any intelligent person can certainly connect the dots.

It starts with the FBI. Now, there are approximately 35,000 FBI employees. Out of these 35,000 employers, 2 were able to completely control the direction of the organization. Peter Strok and Lisa Page did not like Donald Trump. Which is an outrage. So they wrote a few emails about Trump and how dangerous he is to democracy. And how he should be opposed. Connect the dots.

These emails set into motion the most secret conspiracy in the history of the world. Because two FBI agents did not like Trump, the entire organization tried (unsuccessfully) to destroy him.

The FBI is an intelligence agency. But so is the CIA. Notice the connection? BOTH are INTELLIGENCE agencies!!! Connect the dots.

The CIA reported that the Russians were trying to influence the 2016 election. Now we know that was false. Vlad Putin is ON THE RECORD as saying that Russia was not involved in the 2016 election. So Mueller was WRONG. Russia had nothing to do with the election. But no one in the Ukraine has ever made the claim that THEY were not involved. Connect the dots.

It was actually the Ukraine that was interfering with the election. Notice that Russia and the Ukraine have a COMMON BORDER. You can actually cross the border from Russia into Ukraine!!! And, we know that both nations have highways and cars! Connect the dots.

So, why did the Ukraine help Clinton? Because of Joe Biden. Biden has a son. Biden’s son did business in the UKRAINE. Biden=Ukraine!!! Why would the SON of a Democrat be doing business in a foreign country? The reason is obvious. CORRUPTION!! Connect the dots.

So, Biden, who PRETENDED to be Hillary Clinton’s opponent in the 2016 primary campaign was actually working behind the scenes to help Clinton get elected with the help of the Ukraine. At the same time Joe Biden’s son was laying the foundation for the Trump impeachment ! It is obvious ! Connect the dots.

So, how did the Ukraine pull this off? Well, by using COMPUTERS! A lot of people do not know this, but there are COMPUTERS in the Ukraine. And COMPUTERS were used to interfere with the 2016 election. Not just any computers. But computers that are actually connected to the INTERNET!!! Connect the dots.

But, Hillary Clinton’s server was also connected to the internet. So, Joe Biden and Hillary Clinton were working together with the Ukrainians. It is obvious. All three , Biden, Clinton and the Ukraine, all had computers. And all were CONNECTED TO THE INTERNET!! A coincidence? Connect the dots.

Which brings us to Barack Obama. Obama was president of the USA during the last election. We now know that Obama was also CONNECTED to the INTERNET with computers in the White House. And who else is connected to the White House? The CIA !!! Connect the dots.

Joe Biden, Hillary Clinton, the Ukrainians AND Barack Obama all had internet connections. At the same time!! During the 2016 election. And all of them wanted Hillary Clinton to be elected president. Need I say more? Connect the dots.

Which brings us to Rick Perry. Rick Perry is in the Trump cabinet. But it was Rick Perry that FORCED Donald Trump to call the president of the Ukraine and hold up military aid. Trump did not want to do this. But Perry forced him to do it!! Perry is from Texas. Texas is a state that has gone Republican in the last few elections. But Joe Biden wants to be president and so he wants to win Texas. And Perry is the FORMER GOVERNOR of Texas. The plot thickens. Rick Perry also has a computer which (we now know) is CONNECTED TO THE INTERNET!!! Connect the dots.

Only a fool cannot see the awful conspiracy by the FBI, CIA, the Ukrainians,  Joe Biden, Barack Obama, Hillary Clinton and Rick Perry to destroy the duly elected president of the USA. The best president ever. Connect the dots.

This is just the tip of the iceberg. As Rudy Giuliani reports more and more facts, this conspiracy will get bigger and bigger. I have heard that before this is over a number of folks will be implicated. Remember these names: Oprah Winfrey, Ronald McDonald, Mahatma Gandhi, Tom Brady and Tom Cruise! Don’t be a fool. It’s obvious. Connect the dots.

 

 

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Filed under Elections, GOP, government, Hilllary, impeachment, logic, obama, Politics, POTUS, Republicans, Society, Trump, United States

Time For the 25th

Section 4 of the 25th Amendment is clear:

…Section 4. Whenever the Vice President and a majority of either the principal officers of the executive departments or of such other body as Congress may by law provide, transmit to the President pro tempore of the Senate and the Speaker of the House of Representatives their written declaration that the President is unable to discharge the powers and duties of his office, the Vice President shall immediately assume the powers and duties of the office as Acting President.

Thereafter, when the President transmits to the President pro tempore of the Senate and the Speaker of the House of Representatives his written declaration that no inability exists, he shall resume the powers and duties of his office unless the Vice President and a majority of either the principal officers of the executive department or of such other body as Congress may by law provide, transmit within four days to the President pro tempore of the Senate and the Speaker of the House of Representatives their written declaration that the President is unable to discharge the powers and duties of his office. Thereupon Congress shall decide the issue, assembling within forty-eight hours for that purpose if not in session. If the Congress within twenty-one days after receipt of the latter written declaration, or, if Congress is not in session within twenty-one days after Congress is required to assemble, determines by two-thirds vote of both Houses that the President is unable to discharge the powers and duties of his office, the Vice President shall continue to discharge the same as Acting President; otherwise, the President shall resume the powers and duties of his office….

The key phrase, of course, is that the president is no longer able to discharge his duties.

This allows the president’s cabinet to relieve him of his duties, temporarily, until such time as they agree he is once again able to function.

I have read arguments on both sides of the issue. Some experts claim that the 25th Amendment would not apply to Trump, others say it would.

Initially the Amendment (which also includes the method of selecting a vice president) was designed as a short term solution to a temporarily disabled POTUS. For example, he has an operation . Or he is very sick and cannot function for awhile. It allowed a legal way for the Vice President to take over, temporarily.  It was not intended to be a method for permanently removing a POTUS from office.

But, on the other hand, the WORDs are clear. If a POTUS is unable to be a POTUS. It does not give any guidelines for making that decision. It is left solely with the Vice President and the majority of the cabinet. It does not stipulate mental or physical disorder. It does ask “why”? It allows the cabinet to define what the word “unable” means.

So, the 25th Amendment, no matter what the intent, is a viable solution to the Trump problem.  It allows the GOP to remove him from office without going through an impeachment process. It is a more painless way to take power from an obviously unfit human being. Of course, since his cabinet is composed of a cadre of sycophants any attempt to use the 25th would probably fail. Their lips are firmly attached to Donald’s hindquarters, like zebra mussels on an intake valve. (Ironically zebra mussels originated from Russia and the Ukraine)

Unless. Unless Trump continues to act nuttier and nuttier every day. If he were to call for a whistleblower to be treated as a spy. Or if he were to call for a member of Congress to be tried for treason . Or if he were to publicly ask another nation to investigate his domestic opponents. Or if he were to start using vulgarities in public. Or if he tweeted that a Civil War might erupt unless his crimes are allowed to stand. Unless. Unless. Unless.

Of course the 25th will not be used. But it should be. If ever there was a POTUS who is  “unable to discharge the powers and duties” of the presidency it is Donald Trump. He has demonstrated that on a regular basis. From day one.

 

https://www.lawfareblog.com/what-25th-amendment-really

https://www.politico.com/magazine/story/2018/01/10/25th-amendment-trump-216267

https://www.huffpost.com/entry/joe-walsh-trump-25th-amendment_n_5d62990fe4b0b59d25763b59

https://www.washingtonexaminer.com/news/joe-lockhart-america-is-in-25th-amendment-territory

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Filed under government, impeachment, Politics, POTUS, Trump, United States

The Hopeless Sixty Per Cent

A new poll came out from Monmouth University this week.  It reported that 40% of Republicans believe that Mr Trump , in his call to the President of the Ukraine, asked for help in finding dirt on Biden. That means that 60% of Republicans do not believe that Trump asked about Biden. 60%

OK.

This is from the WHITE HOUSE release of the transcript of the call:

“There’s a lot of talk about Biden’s son, that Biden stopped the prosecution and a lot of people want to find out about that so whatever you can do with the Attorney General would be great,” Trump said. “Biden went around bragging that he stopped the prosecution so if you can look into it … It sounds horrible to me.”

So, the White House says that Trump referred to Biden in the call. And asked for an investigation.

The Whistleblower, supported by the Inspector General, was concerned that Trump was making a deal to help himself in 2020 by pressuring the Ukraine to “investigate” the Bidens.

From the Whistleblower complaint:

“…Multiple White House officials with direct knowledge of the call informed me that, after an initial exchange of pleasantries, the President used the remainder of the call to advance his personal interests. Namely, he sought to pressure the Ukrainian leader to take actions to help the President’s 2020 reelection bid. According to the White House officials who had direct knowledge of the call, the President pressured Mr. Zelenskyy to, inter alia:

  • initiate or continue an investigation2 into the activities of former Vice President Joseph Biden and his son, Hunter Biden;….”

 

A number of members of Trump’s staff evidently told this to the whistleblower, which cause d him to  blow the whistle in the first place.

Various news outlets have been reporting on the story, including the exact words of the transcript.

So, everyone right up through the White House says that, yes, Trump asked the president of the Ukraine to investigate the Bidens. I mean, it is there in black and white.

Yet, despite this, 60% of Republicans do not believe that Trump said what he said. Hopeless. Hopeless. Hopeless.

 

 

 

https://www.insider.com/only-40-percent-republicans-believe-trump-asked-ukraine-investigate-biden-2019-10

https://www.businessinsider.com/read-the-transcript-of-trumps-call-with-the-ukrainian-president-2019-9?_ga=2.30507197.340565475.1570044622-1474934704.1563128398

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Filed under crime, GOP, government, impeachment, Politics, POTUS, Republicans, Trump, United States

Fake Bias

It’s the next thing. The next attempt to confuse, confound and discombobulate the American voter. It is what I call “Fake Bias”.

It goes like this.

All news is biased. Everyone is biased. Everything is biased. So, you cannot believe anything. Anywhere. Ever. It’s all just someone’s opinion. One source is just as good as another source.

Like the wife who is caught in “flagrante delicto ” with the neighbor in bed. Her husband walks  in. The evidence (so to speak)is staring him in the face. He accuses her of infidelity. The neighbor is right there beside her. “There is no one here,” she says. “Who are you going to believe? Me or your lying eyes?”

When I taught school I noticed that in the last 15 years or so a new attitude had developed about “experts”. During discussions some students often fell back on the attitude that all opinions are equal. All hold equal weight. “It’s just an opinion”.

According to the Oxford dictionary definition: a view or judgment formed about something, not necessarily based on fact or knowledge.

So, to some extent the kids were correct. Everyone’s opinion may be based on , well, just nothing at all.

But some opinions are based on more than thin air or preconceived notions. Some opinions are based on evidence, data and experience. The danger occurs when ALL opinions are lumped together as equally valid. They are not.

Over the last 30 years, intensifying recently, is the attitude that there is something negative about “expertise”. Experts are know-it-alls. They think they are smarter than other people. Obama thought he was the smartest guy in the room. (He usually was). Experts are smartypants and should be put in their place. Aha! The so-called experts were wrong.

This is a sea change from when I was growing up. Back in the 1950s and 1960s we were encouraged to go to school. To become educated. To become an expert in some field.That was the road to respect. The idea that you SHOULD be an educated person with a degree of expertise was encouraged. And respected.

When my students would take the position that “all opinions” are equally valid I would give them some examples to think about.

You feel a pain in your side. You ask your grandmother’s opinion. You ask the opinion of the bagboy at the grocery store. You pay for your gas and ask the gas station attendant what he thinks is wrong. You ask your family doctor  They all have opinions.Do you think all those opinions are equally valid? Do you follow the advice of grandma and eat some chicken soup or do you follow the advice of your doctor and get an X-ray?

Some people have opinions based on evidence and facts. Shall we take a survey of passengers on JetBlue and ask the best way to land the plane? Or should we defer to the pilot in this area? And while this pilot may be a genius in how to fly a plane, he may know nothing about growing corn. Expertise is limited. And specific.

Which brings me back to “Fake Bias”.

There is an attempt by the far right wing to destroy the very idea that news can be “unbiased”. That facts exist. It goes beyond claiming that certain networks have editorial policies that are biased. They do. MSNBC has been anti-Trump and Fox News has been pro-Trump. The bias is clear.

But that does not mean that both sides don’t use facts, even if selectively. And it does not change the fact that news can be factual. The idea that all news is biased is the argument of those who do not want honest, evidence based reporting. Because they cannot justify gun violence, for example, they call reporting of gun violence “biased”. They cannot justify putting children in cages, so they claim that other presidents put children in cages. Bias. Fake.

The end game of the attacks on “lugenpresse” (covered in another post linked below) is to deny the existence of objective reality. If everything is biased then nothing can be believed. A most dangerous attitude. Putin must be as happy a pig in doo-doo. He is getting exactly what he paid for. Fake bias.

https://josephurban.wordpress.com/2017/01/30/lugenpresse-testing-the-waters/

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The Three Drug Dealers

Yesterday a major drug company was held responsible for the opioid epidemic in Oklahoma. The Prosecutors estimated that the pushing of these drugs by the company cost the state of Oklahoma billions of dollars in treatment, lost productivity and future health care costs. The White House last year estimated that the opioid crisis has cost the economy over half a TRILLION dollars.

The Oklahoma court ruled that Johnson and Johnson, the drug company, had to pay Oklahoma $572 million bucks. For a multi-billion dollar problem. J and J is appealing the judgment. No one went to jail.

The payment, of course, will come out of the investor’s profits. So, in effect, J and J made billions of dollars, paid a relatively small fine charged to their investors and walks away with no jail time. For a major drug dealer.

Today, in my local area there are other drug dealers being dealt with.

Warren Greenough, age 47,  was stopped for a traffic violation. They found drugs in his car. To be exact. 2.5 grams of crack cocaine….from the article…..

…”Greenough was charged with third-degree criminal possession of a controlled substance with intent to sell, a Class B felony; fifth-degree criminal possession of a controlled substance due to weight, a Class D felony; and third-degree aggravated unlicensed operation of a motor vehicle.

Greenough was later arraigned at Livingston County Centralized Arraignment Part at Livingston County Jail before Village of Dansville Justice Scott Kenney, who remanded Greenough to the custody of the Sheriff on $1,500 cash bail or $3,000 bond. The Livingston County District Attorney’s Office had requested $3,000 bail or $6,000 bond….”

Same day, another drug dealer…..

The Ontario County Sheriff’s Office says 29-year-old James J. Murray of Clifton Springs was arrested for criminal possession of a controlled substance on Tuesday by the county’s Special Investigations Unit. The arrest came after a search was executed by investigators and the OCSO SWAT Team on Murray’s current residence in Manchester. 

During the search, officers found heroin, marijuana, drug paraphernalia, and an unloaded handgun.

Murray was arraigned at Ontario County CAP and bail was set at $2,500 cash or $5,000 bond. Additional charges are pending and will be presented to the grand jury….”

This guy had a full SWAT team!

I suspect that nether Greenough or Murray will be able to pass on the costs of their criminal activity on to their shareholders. But then again, they aren’t incorporated.

 

https://www.washingtonpost.com/business/the-latest-oklahoma-judge-finds-jandj-fueled-opioid-crisis/2019/08/26/dd65d970-c86e-11e9-9615-8f1a32962e04_story.html

https://thelcn.com/lcn01/dansville-man-facing-felony-drug-charges-20190827

https://www.whec.com/news/ontario-county-man-arrested-after-months-long-drug-investigation/5472166/

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Filed under crime, government, Politics, Society

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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Here on Pedophile Isle

The locals called it Pedophile Island. Yet for over 30 years no one associated with Epstein had any clue that he was engaged in pedophilia. All these highly successful, intelligent icons of law, politics and industry and they all were fooled !It was a BIG SURPRISE !!!

With apologies to the Skipper, Gilligan, the professor and Mary Ann….

 

This is a tale of pedophiles

On an island so remote

The locals called it Pedophile Isle

A kindergarten Love Boat.

 

Here’s the Skipper, call him Epstein

With Trump and Clinton on board

And  Dershowitz, of OJ fame

As part of the pedophile hoard.

 

They fly in  together now and then

On the sweet Lolita Express

Prince Andrew, too, but then who knew?

He was looking for a little princess.

 

Ahoy, but when the Skipper was caught

And Florida cops wanted to put him away

A few charges were dropped and Acosta was bought

So he managed to slither away.

 

Now all of a sudden all the guys he knew

Deny they ever saw his face

“Epstein? Who? Never heard of him?”

“Never heard of his Pedophile Place.”

 

So this is the tale of Pedophile Isle

And the well connected pervs

Who raped little girls and walked away

They will never get what they deserve.

 

There’s Clinton here…and Trump is too

Old Dershowitz had him some nook

Wexler  was part of the very fine crew

And who else is in Epstein’s black book?

Who else is in Epstein’s black book?

 

 

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Thoughts and Prayers Template

OK. So, in El Paso, Texas a white supremacist used a military style weapon to kill 20 people and send more to the hospital. In Dayton, Ohio only 9 were killed by a gunman. So, what day is? Another day in America.

At this point we don’t know much about the Dayton shooter. But odds are that the El Paso guy drove for about 8 hours for the express purpose of protecting the fatherland from the Hispanic invasion. Have no clue as to where he got the idea that there was some invasion. Who could have inspired such blind hatred? Where did he get this from?

And, as usual, members of the Democratic (aka Socialist) Party called for stricter controls on guns. In fact, they passed a background check bill in the House which now sits on Moscow Mitch’s In box…also called the “waste basket”. The Dems have this odd idea that if nutcases could not get their hands on weapons of mass destruction there would be fewer mass shootings. Fewer children murdered in cold blood. What kind of logic is that?

And, as usual the members of Trump’s GOP have offered their thoughts and prayers to the families of the victims. Ted Cruz. Moscow Mitch. Donald himself. The entire crew is really broken up over this one. They are very sad. Sad. Very sad.

But the GOP has a problem. Over 100 mass killings already this year. How do you keep your sadness fresh? How do you keep track of the devastation of human life while maintaining your support for domestic terrorists? How do you maintain the facade of concern? Not an easy task.

Which is why I am here. To help. Like usual.

I am offering the GOP members of Congress a simple template for grief. Even they should be able to  fill in the blanks. Or have a staff member do it. Just fill in the blanks, print and you are ready for the camera. Roll em.

My fellow Americans. I recoil in horror at the senseless murders of (fill in a number) our fellow Americans. The sacred place (fill in name of school church, synagogue, mosque or mall) has been forever blackened by this evil deed. My thoughts and prayers are with the people of Texas (fill in a different state if appropriate, although you can figure it is probably Texas). My wife (add name of wife, not girlfriend, be careful here)and I both kneel and pray to God for the victims and first responders. Today (fill in date) will forever be a black day in US history. We must combat this evil by prosecuting the offender to full extent of the law. That will make the families of the dead (fill in men, women and or children) feel much better about their loss. Let us hope we never have to go through such a traumatic event again. May God bless you and God bless the NRA.”

Fill in the blanks. Read. Repeat next week.

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Filed under border control, Conservatives, crime, Cruz, GOP, government, gun control, immigrants, Immigration, NRA, Politics, prayer, racism, Republicans, Trump, United States, violence