Category Archives: liberals

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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Filed under Conservatives, government, liberals, logic, neoconservatives, obama, Politics, Republicans, Trump, United States

Upcoming Assassinations

The bad news is that political violence is on the upswing. And there is a very good chance of a political assassination.

The good news is that I am wrong more often than I am right.

That said, an assassination seems inevitable.  Violence by white supremacists is becoming more and more common. According to the ADL anti-Semitic attacks doubled in 2018. Right wing nutjobs have used AR-15s to attack synagogues, churches, mosques.

We saw Nazis marching in Charlottesville chanting Nazi slogans: “The Jews Will Not Replace Us” and “Blood and Soil”. We saw the president of the US refuse to condemn Nazis. We heard him say that there were “good people” involved in those chants. I guess he meant “good Nazis”.  That laid out a clear signal to the far right. Violence was acceptable.

At his rallies Mr Trump called for people to be thrown out. He would pay for the defense of anyone who threw out hecklers . If they got violent he would pay their court costs.(Of course he would never pay a debt and wasn’t about to start now, ask Matt Heimbach. He was a Trumpster who was arrested for violence and tried to get Trump to foot the bill. Nice try, sucker).

Talking to New York police, Trump said they should rough up any suspects when they arrested them . Yep. Suspects. Just bang their head on the car when throwing them in the back seat. Rough em up. No trial needed. Violence against a citizen in custody is ok.

The rhetoric coming out of Mr Trump only encourages political violence.

More recently he called the investigation into his corruption an attempted “coup”. Of course, Mueller not only itemized 10 specific instances of obstruction of justice, he also provided information to other jurisdictions to investigate Trump’s financial shenanigans. That was too much for Donald. So, he called legitimate investigations a “coup”. For the record, a “coup” is a violent overthrow of a legitimate leader. By calling this a “coup” he sends a message to his followers that violence is being done to him. He must be defended with violence.

Just last week at a rally he told his supporters that the Democrats supported infanticide. They support killing little infants. Killing babies. He explained quite graphically how a baby is born, picked up and wrapped up nicely, and then a doctor and woman decide to murder it. Should we kill it? Yes, let’s kill it! His Wisconsin followers applauded in approval. Those fools actually believe him. Or pretend to. Which is worse. How can you stop baby killers? Only one way. Kill the killers. Justified. Noble, even.

Since his campaign, aided and abetted by Putin, began in late 2015, Mr Trump has appealed to the most vile and violent elements of society. As more and more of his own crimes are exposed he becomes more and more strident and more and more unhinged. His words call for violence. Sometimes indirectly. Sometimes directly.

This goes beyond the “dirty tricks ” the GOP excels at. As the recent attempt by two Trump dirty tricksters to frame Pete Buttigieg as a rapist. Which was exposed just this week. We know more dirty ticks will follow. That has been part of the GOP playbook since Ronald Reagan and his imaginary “welfare queen” . It’s stock and trade GOP lying.

But the Trump supporters, at least the most wacked out ones, go well beyond dirty tricks. They will do violence. The Coast Guard lieutenant, Christopher Hasson, had a stockpile of weapons and a hit list of politicians to kill. All Democrats. .Presidential candidates. He did web searches to hunt “liberals”. While even Fox News (yes, that Fox News) referred to him as a “domestic terrorist”, the Barr Department of Justice refused to charge him with potential acts of terror. As a result he was allowed to go free pending trial.  What message is this sending to other right wing nut jobs?

No condemnation of violence by the president. No appeals to work together or turn down the rhetoric. No calls for observance of the law. Only calling FBI agents “scum”. Purges of the Justice Department.

Democrats running for office WILL be shot. Maybe killed. It is inevitable.

Guns are easy to get. Nutjobs are easy to influence. Mr Trump has said over and over that the Dems are out to get him. They kill babies. They tried to overthrow him in a “coup”. They are “enemies of the people”, like the New York Times. They are out to destroy our leader. How can they be stopped?

It is a very small step for a radicalized supporter to figure out the message. Kill them before they kill our leader. Kill them before they kill more babies. Kill. Protect the fuhrer. His enemies must die.

I do hope I am wrong but it seems inevitable. Democrats running for office will be shot. And Trump will remain silent. The silence of approval.

 

White Nationalist Sues Trump For Legal Fees Incurred After Assaulting Protesters

https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/post-nation/wp/2017/07/28/trump-tells-police-not-to-worry-about-injuring-suspects-during-arrests/?utm_term=.fdcdcb81c71b

https://slate.com/news-and-politics/2019/04/trump-abortion-baby-wrapped-blanket-execute-baby.html

Pro-Trump Activists Caught Recruiting Young Men To Falsely Claim Buttigieg Sexually Assaulted Them

https://www.capitalgazette.com/bs-md-christopher-hasson-terrorism-charges-20190425-story.html

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Filed under crime, Democrat, Elections, GOP, government, gun control, liberals, nazi, NYC, police, Politics, POTUS, racism, Republicans, swastika, Terror, Trump, United States, violence

Go Fund Me, Please

Some new Go Fund Me accounts that all of us should support.

Donald To Deutschland. Accepting all variety of coin (rubles preferred) to send Donald back to the homeland of his father. His father, Herr Frederich von Trumpenhausen, was born in a nice place somewhere in Germany. Help Donald return to der fadderland. Help him find a nice place. A place where the black folks don’t roam. A place where they had a wonderful wall that worked…well, maybe not so much. A beautiful place. The best place ever. A place he could love to call home…if it was 1936.  A long way from here. One way ticket only.

DeVos Year Abroad Fund. Betsy grew up in Holland , Michigan and after her private high school (in Holland, Michigan) went to a small private religious college called Calvin College. Also in Holland, Michigan. There she studied the philosophy of Thomas Hobbes, who encouraged the subjugation of all to absolute authority. So, her thought processes have been formed by those of Calvin and Hobbes. Once, in 1978, she left Holland, Michigan when she took a wrong turn on a side street. Never made that mistake again. We feel that sending her overseas may broaden her knowledge of the world, since she is the Secretary of “Education”. Then, again, maybe it won’t. Perhaps a trip to a foreign country, like Puerto Rico, might do the trick.

Pills For Pence. Obamacare just doesn’t cover everything. Mike Pence cannot control his sexual urges. He refuses to have lunch or dinner or be in a room with a woman alone. The temptation to attack her and sexually assault her is too great . (Not a problem for the commander-in-chief, however).  He cannot trust himself. Of course, so far in his lifetime there has never been a woman who would eat lunch with him or be in a room with him by herself. But that is another Go Fund Me. This account will fund an adequate supply of Rohypnol for the veep. It is hoped that by ingesting this drug his personality will be elevated above the current comatose state.

Bears For Biden. This crazed hugger cannot control his emotions. Maybe it is that he misses his first wife and young  son who were killed in a car accident in 1972. Or maybe he misses his other son who died in 2013 of brain cancer. Or maybe he just likes people. Who knows? But, in 2019, it is inappropriate to show any affection to anyone at anytime. Period. So, Joe needs a big , fat Teddy Bear to hug. One of those gigantic bears that can take having the stuffing hugged out of him,or, preferably, her. Hug away Joe. Just look out for the MeBearToo movement.

Bribes For Bibi. Bibi needs cash. Cold hard cash. Under the table cash. Untraceable cash. It’s just not fair. Everyone else is doing it, why can’t Bibi? OK, so he got caught taking a few little payments. Big deal. His mother told him he should have been a doctor. Anyway, Bibi’s cash flow is drying up. In Israel, they CAN indict the leader for crimes. What a crazy Idea. Who knew? So, keep Bibi above water. Send your shekels ASAP. What else can you do? (Shrug).

Mensches For Miller. You have to feel for Stephen Miller.  He raises ugly to new heights. I don’t mean his physical appearance, I mean his entire persona. (OK, also his physical appearance).This guy couldn’t get a date from a palm tree. He is wrapped tighter than Oprah’s butt in a string bikini (Now that you read it, try to get THAT IMAGE out of your head). Let’s face it . Miller needs a MAN. A real MAN. Someone he can look up to for guidance. Someone with whom he can “redirect” his outflow of hostility, his expulsion of anger, his eruption of animosity, his explosion of malevolence. In short , he needs a man. Not just any man. He needs to buy himself a night with a mensch. He needs to blow off some steam. Mensches  for Miller … send real US money… no Jews need contribute.

Gonads for GOPS. This is an emergency. Like, a MAJOR emergency. Someone has stolen the gonads from the entire GOP. Every last one. Since McCain died, there has not been a gonad in sight. Lindsey Graham donated his to Donald. McConnell had his surgically removed . Romney left his in Utah. Rubio’s were too small to locate in the first place. Barr’s are in a bottle. The only GOPer with any left is Ann Coulter, and she ain’t about to share hers with anyone. So, send your bucks to buy some artificial gonads. We can get them in bulk from Russia. Putin has an entire room full of em. He might even send out at a discount.

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Filed under Democrat, Education, GOP, Judaism, liberals, Obamacare, Politics, Republicans, Rubio, Society, Trump, United States

Understanding Trump

If you are a logical person or a reasonable person Mr Trump may be hard to understand. His decisions, the way he treats people, his lies, his tweets may all seem the rantings of a loon.

After 3 years of campaigning and watching him on the stage I have come to some understanding of why he makes the kinds of decisions he makes. While on the surface they make no sense, if you can put yourself in his mind (and there is plenty of room) you may be able to make sense of him.

I was trained as an anthropologist, which is important. What an anthropologist tries to do is understand people who think in ways that are quite different from what we might consider “normal” in our society.

For example, the Yanomami (or Yanamamo) have a ritual they perform when someone dies. They cremate the body and mix the ashes of the deceased into a “stew”. The family then passes around the stew and everyone takes a drink. On the surface this is pretty disgusting and makes no sense.

However, to the Yanomami this action shows the highest regard for the dead. The dead become part of the living.The dead person becomes one with those who are still alive. It is the ultimate spiritual and physical connection. Odd behavior to us, but completely “normal” under their belief system.

So, when we look at Trump’s decisions we should not assume he holds the same values, beliefs, life experiences, etc. as a normal American. We should instead, an an anthropologist, try to understand his motives and beliefs by his actions. We should assume nothing, but rather look for a pattern of behavior to better understand the motives of that behavior.

For example, Trump is obsessed with destroying the ACA, also called Obamacare. Now, this program provides health insurance to millions of Americans. When the GOP tried to destroy it the outrage was so great that they could not do so. People like it. It guarantees health insurance for the working poor and supports the private insurance industry. Yet, Mr Trump insists he wants it ended, with no plan to help the 20-40,000,000 Americans who would lose insurance if he succeeds.

A logical person might ask: Why? Why try to destroy a popular program that is working? Now, if a better alternative was offered there might be a reasonable discussion. But there is no alternative offered, just the end of Obamacare.

Combine this with his other illogical actions concerning the border wall. His call for an investigation of Smollett, the black guy in Chicago, his history of discrimination against African-Americans in housing, etc. and a clear picture emerges.

He is a racist. Anything Obama did, no matter how helpful to the citizens, he is intent on undoing. While he criticizes black Americans and calls for all kinds of “investigations”, he never criticizes white supremacists or calls for investigations of police who kill blacks.

If you look at Mr Trump’s decisions and take the view that he is a racist, they all make perfect sense. His attacks on the people of Puerto Rico , Mexicans, ripping brown children from their parents, saying he wants more folks from Norway, etc. The overall , inevitable controlling factor, from the point of view of an anthropologist, is that this man makes policy decisions based on skin color.

Another area where Mr Trump’s decisions seem incomprehensible is his relationships with various foreign leaders. While he “loves” Kim Jung Un and respects Putin, he criticizes the leaders of democracies.

Why would an American president humiliate himself before Putin. Why kowtow to the dictator of Saudi Arabia? Why talk about his love relationship with Kim Jung Un? All three of these men are vile dictators who murder their political opponents. They kill newsmen. They destroy all critics. All three have raided the wealth of their own people and live like kings while so many in their countries have nothing.

What is the underlying attraction these men have as far as Trump is concerned? What is it about his value system that makes them attractive to him?

The conclusion I have reached is not that they “have anything on him”, like “compromat”. Rather, he admires brutality and physical strength. He sees the way these men “control” their populations with terror and he admires that. He sees that as a positive value. Leaders who are feared and bowed down to. Above questioning.

Why has he gone through so many cabinet members and advisers? He needs “yes men” around him. People who will tell him he is the greatest thing on Earth. Sycophants. Anyone who would disagree with him is put in his place or fired. No opinions other than that the the supreme leader can be allowed.

So, any decisions he makes must be unquestioned. He values complete loyalty to him and a disregard for any legal or normative structures. He losses the battle for the wall, so he simply says he will violate the law and build it anyway. If his political opponents disagree they should be destroyed. The free press must be destroyed, as well. There can be no exchange of ideas, only capitulation. In his world view that is the way a “great leader” acts.

Now, I am not justifying Mr Trump’s actions. Only trying to make sense of them. He does have guiding principles, even though he is probably not even cognizant of them himself.

He believes in strong man rule and the inherent superiority of light skinned people. If you keep in mind those 2 principles all of his actions, tweets, speeches, violations of the law and norms make sense.

It also helps one understand that so many Americans share that world view. After all, Mr Trump has plenty of support. You will never understand Mr Trump unless you understand that fact as well. He is not alone in his core beliefs. Admiration for authoritarian rule and racism. A lethal combination.

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Filed under ACA, african-american, blacks, Immigration, liberals, logic, obama, Obamacare, Politics, POTUS, president, racism, Society, Trump, United States

Lies Liberals Tell, Part 7

Lie#7: It Can’t Happen Here

Copyright 2017,2018,2019 Joseph Urban

I am not much for conspiracy theories. Most have no basis in evidence. So as a liberal I have always told myself that fascism cannot happen here. We have a long history of the rule of law and democratic traditions. There is no way the US could fall into a dictatorship. I firmly believed that.

Until now.

Students of history tell us that democracies have fallen in the past. Taken over by “strong men”. Men who demanded allegiance to themselves above allegiance to the law. Who demand loyalty oaths. Who tell the “Big Lie”. Rome , in ancient times, lost the Republic to a dictatorship.  It was not that long ago that the democracies of Germany and Italy fell to demagogues. Under Gorbachev, Russia was on its way to becoming a democracy, then Putin and the oligarchs took over. We are not immune.

What has been the great strength of the US has been the separation of powers. Checks and balances. The executive, legislative and judicial branches each checking the power of the others. The delicate balance of power.

So, when Richard Nixon violated the law the Supreme Court and Congress stepped in and said “No”. You cannot do that. You will not do that. We are loyal to the Constitution and the nation, not to you personally. We do not confuse the Presidency with the person currently holding that role. So Nixon was forced to resign or be impeached.

We have fewer checks and balances today. The Republican Party has , over the last 40 years, slowly morphed into a cult. It is now lead by Mr Trump. It is a personality cult whose loyalty is to him personally, not to the rule of law.  The Republican Congress sits by while Mr Trump obstructs an investigation into his financial dealings and connections with Russia.

Mr Trump acts like a mobster. Mr Trump attacks citizens who are Muslims. Mr Trump attacks the FBI. Mr Trump attacks the Department of Justice. Mr Trump makes wild and unsubstantiated claims on a daily basis. He attacks the free press. He attacks individual members of Congress . And the Republicans in Congress acquiesce. Worse than that, the leadership of the GOP colludes and enables this man.

There is only a check and balance system if the legislative branch decides to honor and follow the law. This Republican Congress refused to do so. They had become lapdogs content in the lap of the “Great leader”. Now that the Democrats control the House we are finally seeing some accountability. But only some.

The Republican Senate has decided that supporting this person who is undermining the basic institutions of democracy is the thing to do. The man is above the law.

Mr Trump knows he will not face any consequences from this Senate. He can fire the special prosecutor and this Senate will do nothing. Or worse. They will follow and encourage him. He has signed their tax bill for the wealthy. He has given them 2 Supreme Court members who will, in the future, support corporate interests over individual rights. They will now return the favor.

The president wanted a wall between the US and Mexico. When the Congress refused to fund that wall, he simply said he would ignore Congress and do it anyway. The Republican majority leader in the Senate has supported the president. He has said, in effect, that the president does not have any check on him from Congress.

Any student of history that understands the rise of Mussolini, Hitler or Putin can see what happens when power gets concentrated in the hands of the executive branch. With no checks . Germany was a democracy in 1932. By 1936 it was a dictatorship. One man did not “take over”. He had plenty of help when he attacked the press (lugenpresse) and the elected assembly.

So, it can happen here. Don’t doubt it.

Conclusion

Liberals need to stop lying to themselves about the far right that has taken over the Republican Party.  They do not hold to the same core beliefs as the founding fathers.

Liberals have been far too passive in dealing with the right wing in this country. We have been victims of our own belief in the American values and basic honesty and decency. Liberals understand that the conservatives, especially since 1980, simply do not believe in the US Constitution. They do not believe in the Bill of Rights. They do not believe in democracy.  Liberals must understand that and act accordingly.

The Republican party has ceased being the party of small business and fiscal responsibility. It has become a tool of corporations and a radical right wing. Worse, it has morphed into a personality cult devoted to the “fearless leader”.  Dangerous. Only the utter destruction of that party will open the door for real change.

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Filed under Congress, Constitution, GOP, government, liberals, neoconservatives, Politics, POTUS, Republicans, SCOTUS, Senate, Society, Supreme Court, Trump, United States

The Virgin Mary, Me, Too

 

(For Virgin Mary one follow this link):  https://josephurban.wordpress.com/2019/02/02/the-virgin-mary-test/

The lieutenant governor of Virginia has been accused of forcible sexual contact. He is a Democrat. The woman accusing him is a college professor who is also a Democrat.

A few days ago I posted a blog about the new purity of soul in the Democratic Party and how it may come back to bite some people. Well, let’s see.

All Franken, a senator better known as a comedian, was exposed as a comedian. A picture of him on a USO Tour supporting the troops had him pretending. (PRETENDING) to grope a fully clad, jumpsuited, sleeping  young lady. He was looking at the camera and posing. Grinning for the camera. Stupid. Infantile.

After that, some other women came forward and told stories of Franken kissing or groping them during various photo ops. He denied them. However, lead, by Kristen Gillibrand (D-NY) calling for his resignation, he finally did so. He wanted a hearing. None was given. He simply resigned.

Brett Kavanaugh was accused of attempted rape by a woman. A college professor. The attempted rape evidently occurred in high school or college. Kavanaugh denied it. Maybe he did, maybe he didn’t. But Senator Gillibrand (D-NY) once again lead the charge against his confirmation to the Supreme Court. (Now, I oppose him being on the court for his other corruptions). He said, she said.

The governor of Virginia, Ralph Northam,  has used “blackface” in the past. 35 years ago, it seems. The entire Democratic establishment (with the exception of the silent Barack Obama) have called for his immediate resignation. Must go. Now. Impure.

OK. So the die is cast. Just as the GOP has become the party of racial hatred and overt misogyny, the Democratic  Party has become the party of racial and sexual purity. Ever been bad? Too bad. Bill Clinton must be turning over in his grave. He is dead, isn’t he?

Now, I don’t support racism or sexism or any ism.  But it seems like there is a too eager rush to condemnation in the new Democratic Party. So, how will this play out?

We have the black man, the second in command in Virginia. On the verge of taking power as the current governor will resign, sooner or later. But this man has been accused of sexual misconduct.

Will the morally superior keepers of the gate , especially NY Senator Gillibrand, now rise up? Will they demand, as they have done in the past, that we believe the “woman”. Will they demand that the LT Governor resign for his sexual transgression, unproven? He said , she said.

So far, a deadly silence on the matter. Is it because the accused is an African-American and the stalwarts of the Democratic Party need the African-American vote to have any chance of winning an election? Is it because it is simply a “he said-she said” controversy. But wasn’t that the same controversy with Kavanaugh? And to some extent with Franken? (Except Franken was never accused of oral rape).

The screw turns. Jumping on the band wagon is fine, until the band wagon runs over someone who you don’t want it to run over.

I can only refer to the Senator from my own great state, Gillibrand.

She called for Mr Trump to resign amid allegations of sexual misconduct. She called for Al Franken to resign over allegations of groping and kissing. She called on Governor Northam to resign over his blackface photo in college over 30 years ago. She called on Kavanaugh not be confirmed due to an allegation of attempted rape when he was in college or high school. There was no hesitation. No waiting until we get all the facts. Believe the accuser. Every time. All the time. No context. Just resign. Period.

The allegation, true or not , against Justin Fairfax is much more serious than any of the others. Forcible oral rape. A woman says so. She must be believed. So, when will the Democratic leadership speak out? In the new Democratic Party we need not stop to find out if an accusation is true. Hurry, the bandwagon is passing you by.

We are waiting.

https://www.richmond.com/news/virginia/government-politics/updated-lt-gov-justin-fairfax-denies-sexual-assault-allegation-in/article_40dbcfef-5af6-5f91-9b4f-fa73050594d8.html

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Filed under Democrat, GOP, government, liberals, obama, Politics, slippery slope, Society, United States

Why Mueller Must Go

Before the New Year Mueller must be fired.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Expect a 2 AM tweet sometime soon:

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

 

 

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

Extreme Ithaca Liberals

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Brett Kavanaugh, An Effort to Conceal

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

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

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

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

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

And then Dr Ford happened.

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

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

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

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

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

“He has lied to his aides.”

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

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

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

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

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

 

 

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

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

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High School Calendar

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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New Year Predictions 2018

This is the time of year when we think about the new year and what it will bring.  My new year predictions for 2018. While a couple might be a little off, I remain confident that my overall predictions will hold true.

The Cleveland Browns football team will be allowed to leave the NFL and play against selected college teams. While they do not fair well against Southeastern Virginia Disability Institute and the Outer Waco Texas Girls Ballet School the season is not a total loss. They will end up with a 1-11 record, having eked out a 3-0 victory over the Northern Idaho School for the Blind.

Robert Mueller’s third cousin on his mother’s side, 12 year old Cynthia Woggles,  will be investigated by a Congressional Committee headed by Trent Gowdy. The investigation, which will cost $ 7,000,000 and the calling of 98 witnesses, all of whom are commentators on Fox and Friends, will discover that Woggles  voted for Hillary Clinton in her 6th grade mock election in 2016.  (Not to be confused with the national mock election held the same year) Mr Trump will use this evidence of bias to fire the Republican Mueller. In  his place Mr Trump will appoint Roy Moore to take over the investigation. Moore immediatley calls Woggles for a play date.

Major League baseball will announce that after a study of fan injuries at 6 ballparks they have discovers 14 fans who had died during the game. At first the cause of the deaths was a mystery, since none of these fans were hit by foul balls or bats. Medical examiners confirm that these deaths can be attributed to a cerebral shutdown of the inner brain, caused by intense boredom.

The US will recognize the following new capitals. Scotland. Former capital: Edinburgh. New capital: Trump International Golf Links.  China. Former capital: Beijing, Forbidden City. New capital: Shanghai, Ivanka Shoe Factory.  Iran. Former capital: Tehran. New capital: Jersusalem.  USA. Former capital: Washington, DC. New capital: Mar-A-Lago, Florida. Congress passes a law concuring.

FEMA will announce, sometime in June, that they have devised a plan to bring power back to Puerto Rico. Puerto Rico has not had full electric power resumed since Hurricane Maria in September, 2017. Despite the fact that the FEMA response was the “best response ever” to a catastrophe (a close second being the FEMA response to Hurricane Katrina in New Orleans) . The new plan calls for running an extension cord from Merida, Mexico to the island to bring power back on line to the millions of foreigners living in Puerto Rico.  As long as Mexico agrees to pay for the cord.

The 1st Annual Scott Pruitt “Global Warming is a Hoax” seminar takes place in a yacht named “The Golden Dollar” off the coast of Charleston, South Carolina in July. Guest speakers include climate experts Sean Hannity, Clint Eastwood’s empty chair and the entire Duck Dynasty family. The conference is cut short when a family of polar bears swims past searching for ice.

In the Vatican, Pope Francis is caught on mike saying that he thinks “this god stuff is a bunch of BS”. Nevertheless,  he speaks out against war, violence, disease, global warming and hatred. He calls on all government leaders of the world to join in peace and harmony. No one calls back.When asked what common people should do to solve these problems he answers: “I tell you, I’m all outta ideas. Reality sucks so you might as well pray to a fantasy. Gets ME through the day.”

The New England Patriots win the Super Bowl, 17-14, on February 4 in a thriller over the Philadelphia Eagles. The Eagles have 7 TDs called back by the replay officials in NY, who are nowhere near the actual location of the game in Minneapolis, Minnesota. Days later it is discovered that the league officials in NY had mistakenly been watching the replays of the Bournemouth vs. Stoke City English Premier League soccer match of February 3, in which no one scored. As usual.

Secretary of the Interior Ryan Zinke announces the closing of all National Parks, except for Mount Rushmore. All parks will be sold to the Koch Brothers at a deep discount and the proceeds, which are tax deductible, will be spent renovating Mount Rushmore. The faces of Teddy Roosevelt, George Washington , Thomas Jefferson and Abe Lincoln will be sandblasted away to make room for giant head of Donald Trump, surrounded by his three wives. The monument will be renamed: Best Monument Ever. Congress concurs.

On a strict liberal vs. conservative vote the Supreme Court approves Executive Order 5,678 on the topic of voting rights. Since the court had previously ruled , under Citizens United, that money equals speech, they extend that ruling to include voting. Under the new ruling “money equals voting”, as well. Based on the principle of “one dollar equals one vote” the 2018 election will be determined by a new voting method. Every citizen must bring in their tax returns to show their gross income from wages and investments. Each dollar will count as one vote.

North Korean leader, professional golfer and all around bozo Kim Jung Un  announces a new building plan. He has signed an agreement with Trump University to open up a “Kim-Donald School For Learning Stuff” in Pyongyang. The school will focus on business related seminars including: How to Get Stuff  For Free; 12 Ways to Evict “Those People”; Tax Evasion 101: Avoiding Those Nasty Import Fees; and, Bankruptcy, The Real Estate Developers Best Friend. Eric Trump attends the ribbon cutting ceremony which is a disaster as none of the Korean made scissors are sharp enough to cut the paper ribbon. Eric calls the “Kim-Donald “school  the “best university ever” and announces at the same time that the US will begin selling nuclear technology to Kim as a gesture of good will.

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.

 

 

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Gillibrand Redux

Yesterday morning I called my senator, Kirsten Gillibrand’s office and questioned why she has not called on Mr Trump to resign, since she has called on Franken to resign for much less. I also called on her to name the other Congressmen who had harrassed her in 2014.  I explained that it seemed “opportunistic” to call for one to resign and not the others.

Her office simply said that she had already commented on the issue. As a result I wrote a blog critical of her.

https://josephurban.wordpress.com/2017/12/11/senator-gillibrand-and-the-death-of-due-process/

Yesterday afternoon Senator Gillibrand finally DID call on Trump to resign.

“President Trump has committed assault, according to these women, and those are very credible allegations of misconduct and criminal activity, and he should be fully investigated and he should resign,” Gillibrand told CNN’s Christiane Amanpour in an exclusive interview.

http://www.cnn.com/2017/12/11/politics/trump-resign-gillibrand-sexual-assault/index.html

Trump responded as expected.

“Lightweight Senator Kirsten Gillibrand, a total flunky for Chuck Schumer and someone who would come to my office “begging” for campaign contributions not so long ago (and would do anything for them), is now in the ring fighting against Trump. Very disloyal to Bill & Crooked-USED!”

I am not saying that my phone call had any influence on the Senator, but I am happy that she has been consistent.

(Your welcome).

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Booze and Women

Regarding the new GOP tax plan which shuffles billions of dollars from working Americans to the top one-half of one per cent.

“I think not having the estate tax recognizes the people that are investing,” Grassley told the Register. “As opposed to those that are just spending every darn penny they have, whether it’s on booze or women or movies.”

I am not sure if this is true so I interviewed 2 people. One is a billionaire heiress to a real estate fortune who shall remain anonymous. I shall call her Ivania. The other is a shmuck who worked in factories, sweat shops and as a teacher for over 30 years. I will call him Joe the Shmuck.

Me: Hello, Ivania. Congratulations on receiving a massive inheritance allowance and other tax breaks in the new tax bill.

Ivania: Thank you. No one deserves it more than me.

Me: So, how many jobs do you intend to create with this new found wealth ? Do you feel that you that have earned this windfall?

Ivania: Oh, yes. I have had to work very hard being born into just the right family. It is not easy being wealthy. For example, do we cater in Lobster Newberg or Filet Mignon tonight? Do we open the bottle of “Moet and Chandon Dom Perignon” or the “Boerl and Kroff Brut Rose” ? Would you have any idea which to serve? Commoners just don’t understand the intense pressure I am under.

Me: I see. Back to my question. What do you intend to do with this multi-million dollar windfall? Will you invest it in new jobs in America?

Ivania: Of course. My investment advisor has already begun adding to my investments. I have created thousands of jobs already in my tote bag and high heel shoe factories.

Me: But aren’t those factories in China? And Vietnam?

Ivania: Well, yes. But there is a trickle down effect. Eventually, as we create jobs in China and depress wages in the US, we will be able to bring back jobs to this nation I love so dearly. American commoners must be able to compete with the wages we pay in China. We hope to someday get those wages on par with each other. Right now it is those unions that prevent us from creating more good jobs in the nation I love.

Me: OK. So, you won’t be investing in the USA, is that the bottom line.

Ivania: (chuckling)  I got mine. That is the bottom line. Did I mention how much I love America?

So, after this rather unsatisfying interview I found Joe the Shmuck, retired factory worker and teacher.

Me: Hello, Joe the Shmuck. Can I call you Joe?

Joe the Shmuck: I have spent my entire adult life working for a living and paying my taxes. You can call me Shmuck.

Me: OK, Shmuck. Senator Grassley has made the comment that people like you will just take any tax break and spend it on women and booze. What is your response?

Shmuck: DUH. Of course we will. He is correct.

Me: WOW! So you admit that you will spend any tax breaks on women and booze? Really?

Shmuck: I have in the past, why change now? What choice do I have?

Me: Explain to me then why you should get a tax break if you will just spend it on women and booze?

Shmuck: Look, I worked two jobs most of my life. At least 8 hours a day. Some days 12 hours or more. I have worked in factories, day labor, teaching and coaching and advising students. All for pretty meager wages. So, what do you think? I am not going to come home and have a beer? Of course I spend my money on booze. Wouldn’t you?

Me: Well, ok. but what about spending all your money on women?

Shmuck: I have a wonderful wife and a wonderful daughter. Unfortunately they are money pits. I mean, who needs more than 2 pair of underwear? Women, that’s who. Who needs to get their hair done? Women, that’s who. Not to mention quality food, clothes and  thousands of other items the uses of which completely escape me.

Let’s talk about dental bills and braces, shall we? And schools class trips? And second cars? And dogs and all those expenses? And Xmas gifts? And tuition and fees?

Me: I am not sure that was what Grassley was referring to…

Shmuck: Well, anyone who has a wife and daughter (or husband and son for that mattter) knows what I am talking about. So Grassley is right. All I will do with any tax break is invest in goods and services right here in the US…wait…does that make me an investor?

Me: Sorry. Investors only invest in China. You worked . You supported your family. You drink beer. You are what we call…uh… shmuck.

https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/morning-mix/wp/2017/12/04/grassley-explains-why-people-dont-invest-booze-or-women-or-

https://financesonline.com/top-10-most-expensive-champagne-bottles-in-the-world/

https://www.forbes.com/sites/stuartanderson/2015/08/17/trump-the-hypocrite-investing-overseas-fine-for-him/#4d5a62aa1dc8

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The Strange Case of Baby M

I met Baby M a couple weeks ago. She was approximately 2 and a half months old, but she was actually born 6 weeks prematurely.  So, she was still pretty tiny and just starting to grasp with her little fingers.

Baby M was born to two immigrant parents. Legal immigrants. One is working full time.

In the United States approximately 10% of newborns are born  prematurely. The costs associated with a preemie are pretty high. On average about $ 49,000 – $65,000, sometimes much higher depending on the services needed.

https://www.romper.com/p/heres-how-the-new-trumpcare-would-affect-premature-babies-kids-with-pre-existing-conditions-2414543

Under the ACA (Obamacare) insurers are required to cover births and babies. They cannot disregard “pre-existing conditions”. Before the ACA a pregnancy could be considered a pre-existing condition. For example, if a man changed jobs while his wife was pregnant and had to buy a new health insurance policy, his wife’s pregnancy could be considered a “pre-existing” condition. The insurer could legally avoid paying for the pregancy and birth.

In the United States, before Obamacare, it was even possible  for folks with good insurance to be stuck with big hospital bills. For example, in some hospitals the care for preemies is handled by a contracting service, not the hospital itself. So, while the health insurance company may cover the birth, it would not cover the special services needed by preemies. In some cases parents were on the hook for hundreds of thouslands of dollars. That was before the ACA.

The GP wants to repeal the ACA. Mr Trump wants to repeal Obamacare. If we repeal Obamacare we will repeal all the benefits.

The Cost of Premature Birth: For One Family, More than $2 Million

Back to Baby M. Baby M was not born in the United States. She was born in Ireland. To two immigrant parents.

All of the expenses associated with Baby M’s birth and the special care in the hospital under the care of professionals were paid for by the Irish health care system. All of them. (Remember that $49,000- $65,000 estimate).

Baby M needed a medical professional to come to her home once a week for a few weeks.  Typical for preeemies. All expenses were paid for by the Irish health care system.

Baby M will have all of her  health care expenses paid for, by the Irish health care system, up to the age of 6, except for dental. (Did I mention that neither of Baby M’s parents, nor Baby M herself, is an Irish citizen?).

Until she is 18, Baby M’s parents will receive a monthly stipend from the Irish government to help pay expenses for this new human being. This will amount to about 120 euros each month ($142.00 US). I am not sure if everyone qualifies for this or it applies only to couples where one person stays home to raise the child.

Of course, this must be paid for. The Irish do pay high taxes, by US standards. Workers who are married pay 20% of the first 42,000 euros ($ 50,000) and higher income workers pay 40% of whatever they earn above that amount.

http://irishlinks.co.uk/income-tax-ireland.htm

But, there is no income tax filing. The government just takes it all out of your pay each pay period. And there is no health insurance sign up for . No need to wade through dozens of different “plans” to try to figure out what you need.  Or go online to find a deal. When you change jobs your insurance is not impacted. So, no paperwork or research.

The case of Baby M is strange in the US. The automatic benefits she receives would be strange in the US. The idea that she gets free health care without filling out insurance forms is strange. The fact that Baby M will get a stipend to help her parents care for her is strange.

The good news for Baby M? She was born in Ireland where they seem to put their money where their mouth is. Where they put into practice a thing called “family values”. You know, that thing the GOP is always referring to. While they vote to end the ACA.

 

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No Surprises Here

Over the last month I have watched various talking heads discuss the travesty that is the Trump presidency. They feign shock and horror at his false tweets. They are shocked by his lack of respect for the separation of powers. They are amazed that the GOP sits by while he fires a man investigating him and admits to obstruction of justice on a TV interview.

Hello.

What did you expect? What is new?

President Obama  said: “I have to tell you, this office, it’s about who you are and what you are and it doesn’t change after you occupy the office – it just magnifies it.”

https://www.thesun.co.uk/news/2104523/barack-obama-says-donald-trump-is-not-fit-to-become-the-next-us-president/

We all knew who and what Donald Trump is before he was elected. Did anyone expect that a 70 year old man, who has spent his entire life surrounded by sycophants, was going to become “presidential”? Really?

This is a man who has the following history:

Refuses to rent to black folks and is sued for discrimination (and loses) by the federal government. Had to pay a multi-million dollar settlement.

Inherited a multi-million dollar real estate empire and inside political connections with mob bosses in NYC, without lifting a finger.

Somehow managed to mismanage a casino and actually go bankrupt.

Multiple times failed to pay contractors for work done, driving some of them to the brink of bankruptcy.

Bragged about sexually abusing women.

Forced to pay over $20,000,000 damages to students he fleeced at “Trump University”.

Refused to divulge any Russia dealings in his tax returns.

Had a number of campaign advisers with strong ties to Putin. Flynn, Tillerson, Manafort, Stone, Page, Sessions, etc.

Then, of course, there are his multiple, regular false statements. A serial liar:

Obama was born in Kenya.

Clinton broke the law.

Insisted that Ted Cruz’s father was involved in the JFK assassination.

He knew Putin. Then he did not know Putin. Then he met Putin. Then he did not meet Putin.

Obama illegally wiretapped his phones.

Supported a health bill that did the opposite of what he promised in the campaign.

Fired Comey because Comey was mean to Clinton. Because he was asked to do so by the assistant to Sessions. Because he was tired of the “fake” Russia investigation. Take your pick.

So, what’s the big deal. The talking heads KNEW this. Why are they surprised? The GOP rank and file KNEW this when they went into those voting booths and voted for this person. He did not get 60,000,000 votes without overwhelming support from the GOP. We all knew what he was and is. The GOP voters did not care.

And , as President Obama opined in North Carolina as the election was drawing to a close:

“This guy is temperamentally unfair to be commander in chief, and he is not equipped to be president.”

“It’s strange how over time what is crazy gets normalised, and we just kinda assume, ‘Well, he’s said a hundred crazy things, so the hundred-and-first thing we don’t even notice.”

So, let’s stop pretending that this is somehow a surprise. The question is: What does the GOP do about it? You brought us to this point. Surprise us.

 

 

 

 

 

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Trump’s Alternative Reality Explained

I saw Kelly Conway, Trump’s spokesperson ,  explain that she has a right to “alternative facts” if the actual facts are not suited to her story. Hey, this is America. When the facts are liberal what other choice does she have?

But as I examine the myriad of demonstrably false claims of her boss I am left wondering if he is, in fact (or, more precisely, in “alternative fact”) correct and honest in his  statements . Can one man deliver so much misinformation? Does he really have the IQ to make up all the stuff he makes up? Or does he really believe it?

Which brings me to Star Trek.

Anyone who has ever watched Star Trek or the many spin offs of Star Trek understands that we are not alone.  Spock (Mr, not Dr), would be the first to tell us that in addition to our own universe there are millions of parallel universes which also exist.  In space. And in time.

For those of you who  are ignorant of the realities of the hard science of fictional characters and preposterous ideas on TV shows, let me try to explain. Perhaps your puny human brains will be able to comprehend.

In the space-time continuum there are many points of overlap. As time and space bend (according to Einstein) there are points at which space and time meet and fold . Kind of like a bean burrito on a hot day in east LA.  It can get messy.

Where these folds occur there are sometimes breaks and openings or fissures in the space-time continuum. Again, according to Einstein (not Albert, but Juan Einstein who runs the taco stand on 112th Street), this is similar to what happens when the soft taco shell leaks. While the entire taco holds together, certain breaks in the tortilla allow beans, salsa, cheese and some other goo to leak through. This is nearly identical to  a fissure in the time-space continuum.

When that happens, in the universe or at a Mexican eatery, things get sloppy. Leakage occurs. Things spill over from one reality to another. It ain’t a pretty sight.

This explains Donald Trump. Every one of Donald Trump’s statements is factually correct and accurate. It is just that he (and many of the folks who followed him through the wormhole) are living in a parallel universe. They have seeped into our reality like the sloppy drippings of a three day old soft shell burrito.

In Universe Trump  the size of a crowd on a photo is inversely proportional to the actual number of people there. For example, in Universe Trump I have over 6 billion followers of my blog, rather than being limited to my wife and the neighbor’s cat. (Well, the cat skips a lot of them).

In Universe Trump millions of people vote illegally whereas in our universe, let’s call it the Real Universe, there is no voter fraud of any consequence. None. Zippo.

In Universe Trump Mexican people are lined up at the 2,000 mile border 8 deep while Obama border agents hand them $1000 bills and pull them over to our side. In the Real Universe, of course, deportations and border security are at an all-time high.

In Universe Trump there is chaos everywhere. Carnage in the streets.  Well, any streets that have not been destroyed by liberal policies.Carnage in our schools where kids learn nothing. Absolutely nothing.  (I guess in Trump’s Universe knowing nothing is a sign of an educated person). Carnage, carnage everywhere. What a mess.In the Real  Universe there are problems, but no bodies piled up by the thousands (except at anti-Trump rallies).

In Universe Trump our military is a bunch of worthless wimps, our factories have all closed and the planet is getting colder by the minute. Of course, in the Real Universe none of this is true.

So, to understand Trump you have to realize that somewhere in the space-time continuum he fell through a hole. (Or maybe pushed by someone on the other side. Barron? Ivanka? Melania?)There is a place in space where our universes meet, the Real one and the Trump one. Somewhere there is that fissure in the burrito.

How do we find it ? It would have be a place devoid of integrity. A place where conmen and the mob feel at home. A place where all hope, dignity and honesty  goes to die. Kind of like New Jersey but not quite as despicable.

So, what do we do? The Trump Universe has taken power in the Real Universe.Can we go  back in time and seal the fissure? Can the Real Universe overcome the Trump Universe and bring back Real Universe sanity. Can we build a time machine, maybe with illegal labor? Or will the Donald return to his own universe voluntarily, perhaps seeking a younger eastern European bride?

The solution is obvious. We need a transporter. (Do I have to explain? You know , it dissolves you and then sets you down someplace else). A transporter beam that we can use to beam back Trump to the universe from which he came. Transport him right through the fissure in the burrito.

Unless it is already too late.  By now those who he left behind may be worried that he will return. I expect they are already building  a wall.

 

 

 

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Trump’s Inaugural Address

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

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

For example. From Trump’s speech:

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

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

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

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

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

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

More from Donald:

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

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

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

One more section of the speech:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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From the Sublime to the Ridiculous

“From the sublime to the ridiculous is but a step”…Ulysses (James Joyce), 1922

It is a saying that has roots in the 18th century.

What does it mean?

Sublime: of such excellence, grandeur, or beauty as to inspire great admiration or awe.

Ridiculous: deserving or inviting derision or mockery; absurd.

We are at a point where one of the brightest, most thoughtful and classiest presidents is leaving office. He considers decisions. He looks at all sides of an issue. He compromises. He puts the needs of the less fortunate above his own financial state. He will have a longstanding legacy  and will go down in US history as one of the great ones. Washington, Lincoln, FDR, Obama.

We are at a point where one of the least informed, thoughtless presidents is about to take power.  He tweets like a schoolgirl. He is thin skinned and sees every disagreement as a challenge to his manhood. He mocks the disabled. He puts his own wealth and family business interests ahead of anything else. He will go down in US history as one of the great catastrophes of democracy. Buchanan, Harding, Andrew Johnson, Trump.

It is not the end of the world. As President Obama has said recently:

“The only thing that is the end of the world…is the end of the world.”

But this ridiculous man. This boy-clown. This tweeter will dominate the news for the next 4 years. He will be a source of entertainment. A source of sadness. A major step backward.

But eventually the “ridiculous” will end. Hang in there. The tide of history moves forward.

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Donnie’s Thank You Notes

(Special guest article by Consuela von Hauftmann, Donald Trump’s longtime nanny)

My little Donnie has always had trouble thanking people for their help. He simply believes he gets what he deserves by right. Divine Right.  I have TRIED to get him to write thank  you notes, but it is impossible to get him off Twitter. So, as usual, I will send the thank you notes for him. He is just too busy ! So, here goes. This year’s thank you notes to those who made him president of the USA.

To: Rupert Murdoch, Fox Entertainment

Rupey. Thank you so much. For starting an entertainment network devoted 24/7 to shouting out that government is bad. The constant “liberals are evil”, “government is bad”, “facts are silly” message has taken root. Because of you millions of Americans no longer think for themselves and no longer even try to evaluate information. Thank you so much for helping make facts and evidence irrelevant in the political  process. Without you my little Donnie would never have had any shot at the nomination.

To: Fred “Daddy”  Trump

Although you are no longer with us and Donnie never thanked you I know that you are the one who made him what he is. Thank you for the $15,000,000 “loan” that Donnie never paid back. With that tiny bit of seed money Donnie built a great brand.  He showed others what they could do with just a small bit of help! And your insider contacts with NY Mayors Carey and Koch allowed Donnie to get special treatment from the city that allowed him fantastic tax breaks and not too much “oversight” when he used your money to develop “his” properties. Your financial support also helped the local government “ignore” Donnie’s connections with the mob “fixer” Roy Cohn. It takes a village to build a real estate development. Although Donnie would never thank you, I do.

To: The 5 activist members of the Supreme Court

It only took 5 of you, but you got the job done. Thanks so much for 2 decisions. Even though you are highly principled and believe strongly that the SCOTUS should not “make the law” by overturning Congress, at least in two cases you put aside that principle to”make the law”. Kudos and thanks.

In the Citizens United case you overturned the law and allowed all kinds of money to influence US elections by coming in through the back door. Now we have PACs and 501(c)4 organizations which can raise money anonymously and spend it in nasty attack ads which need have no basis in fact. And the best part? No one needs to take responsibility. As a result at least $17,000,000 was spent by foreign held companies to elect the POTUS in 2016. (Well,  that was the REPORTED amount…who really knows). And millions more were raised anonymously right here in the US by either citizens or foreigners. All legal.  You have made US elections a truly international contest where companies and various  leaders from all  over the world can now help elect a US president.

In the Shelby County v Holder case you generously overturned the Voting Rights Act, another law passed by Congress. This law for years has made sure that voters in selected states were protected from Jim Crow style voter suppression. Because of  your judicial  activism you have allowed many states to immediately reimpose Jim Crow style voter restrictions, aimed specifically at voters likely to vote for Democrats.Within hours of announcing your decision some states imposed new voting restrictions. Thanks for your judicial activism! You helped suppress the Democratic vote.

To: The Republican “moderates”

Republican rank and file voters gave my Donnie less than 45% of the vote in the primaries. Why? Because they thought he was crude, vulgar, crass, ignorant, unqualified, a bully, a pussy grabber and an overall idiot. They thought he was uniquely unqualified to be the leader of the USA. But when push came to shove, you came through.

Millions of Republicans who call themselves “conservative” or “moderate” hobbled off to the polls and cast their voted for my Donnie. They did not let their judgement interfere with “party loyalty”. Even though the saner members of the GOP refused to accept Donnie, you came through and put him in the White House. You helped us make the White House WHITE again! Thank you.

To: Vladimir, Julian and the 9 Benghazi committees

Thank you all. By simply keeping the idea that “emails” are somehow “criminal” you accomplished what Donnie could never do. You were able to make a public servant who has devoted her life to children and good government seem like some evil, corrupt politician. By “leaking” innocuous emails and pretending the very idea of “leaking” implies criminal acts you were able to  destroy the reputation of a  woman who has been the most transparent candidate in history. You were able to convince many voters that there “must be something” wrong, even though no evidence supported that conclusion. Innuendo and gossip worked. Donnie could not have done it without you!

To: Jill Stein and the Green Party

In the end it was your help that put my Donnie in the White House.  While he will never admit it, he could not have done it without you! Thanks so much. Just as Ralph Nader and his 97,000 votes in Florida kept Al Gore out of the White House and put GW Bush in, so your votes did the same for Donnie.

By refusing to throw your support to the “lesser of two evils”, Hillary Clinton, you managed to give the election to my Donnie! Thank you for sticking to your guns and not supporting the liberal candidate. You certainly showed her who was boss! You demanded “purity” and you got it. My pure Donnie!

In Pennsylvania my Donnie won by 44,292 votes.  Thank you Jill for your vote total of 49, 941. If those liberals had voted for Hillary my Donnie would  have lost the state.  And in Wisconsin my Donnie won by only 22,871 votes. Thank you for siphoning off 30, 934 possible liberal votes and help give Donnie the state! Of course, I also thank you for your work in Michigan. Out of over 4,000,000 votes cast my Donnie won by just 10,704! Thank  you Jill for your  51,463 votes, more than enough to have turned the state to Hillary.

So, thanks to  the Green Party votes in Pennsylvania, Wisconsin and Michigan my Donnie will be president. Thank you for standing on your principles and refusing to vote for the liberal who was not “pure” enough.

To: Rudy and Chris

A special thank you. You stood by my Donnie. You supported him through it all. Rudy even got the help of the FBI involved at the last minute. Sorry that Donnie can’t come through on the jobs he promised you. You lose. No cabinet posts for you. That is just the way he is !

 

 

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When Is the First Debate?

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

I am still waiting for the first debate.

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

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

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

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

Try these on for size:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

I am still waiting for the first debate.

 

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Good News is No News

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

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

Some good news.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Historical Inflation Rates: 1914-2016

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

 

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I Won’t Vote for a Woman POTUS

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

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

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

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

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

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

That day is here.

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

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

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

 

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The Pursuit of Happiness

Happy Fourth of July.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Hiding Under the Bed

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

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

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

Until recently.

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

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

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

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

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

Well. Not so.

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

What are they afraid of?

Gays.

Transgender people using bathrooms.

Gays getting married.

People who want to take away their guns.

People without guns.

Women who want to control their own bodies.

Blacks.

Blacks voting.

Old people voting.

Anyone voting.

The government.

Muslims.

Foreigners.

Mexicans.

Atheists.

Teachers.

Gays in the military.

Black Lives Matter.

Communists .

Socialists.

Libtards.

Did I mention gays?

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

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

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

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

 

 

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Diversity: GOP Style

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

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

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

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

GOP. Grumpy Old Persons

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

GOP. Grab Onto the Past.

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

GOP. Get Out Perverts

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

GOP. Get Obama Psychotics.

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

GOP. Guys Obsessed with Penises

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

GOP. God’s Own People

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

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

The GOP. Generally Old Pricks.

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