Category Archives: POTUS

полезные дураки, (polezniye duraki)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

End of tape…..

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

 

 

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Filed under Congress, Elections, Foreign policy, GOP, government, Politics, POTUS, Trump, twitter, United States

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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Filed under Conservatives, Constitution, Cruz, Democrat, GOP, government, healthcare, liberals, obama, Politics, POTUS, president, Society, Trump, Trump University, United States

Civil War Mystery

I thoroughly enjoy listening to Don Trump, the President of the United States.  He brings into the light extremely important issues which have been ignored for too long. In his latest interview he once again challenged the American people to expand their intellectual horizons. This time in regard to one of the greatest mysteries in American history.

WHY was there a Civil War in America? What could have caused it? What happened? Until today this dark  period of American history has been shrouded in secrecy. But before I go on,  here are the actual words of our president in an interview on April 30 on Sirius Radio  (not be confused with Serious Radio).

Trump: ‘People don’t realize, you know, the Civil War, if you think about it, why? People don’t ask that question, but why was there the Civil War? Why could that one not have been worked out?

So, let’s all think about the causes of the Civil War. For the first time. What could have been the issues? Why have these causes been ignored by historians and educators for over 150 years? Why has no one come forward to solve this mystery? Sad. Very sad.

So, I decided to do some digging. Although I taught history for over 30 years I must confess that the coverage of the Civil War is just not part of any curriculum.  There is just not enough written about the Civil War to draw any inkling of an idea as to why this conflict occurred. So, Donald got me thinking. Maybe I , and I ALONE, could solve the riddle!

After my third morning beer I set to work on the interweb. I googled “Civil War Causes”. The search offered only 28,600,000 hits. Well, that is no help. Only 28,600,000 references to the causes of the Civil War. Donald was right. Nobody knows !

So I wondered . Has anyone written any book about the Civil War? So I googled Civil War books. I found a New York Times (FAKE NEWS) which claims to have a list of the best books about the war. From the website:

“Far more books have been written about the Civil War than about any other event in American history, and Lincoln’s stack of books towers over that of any other American figure…

OK. Well .  Books.  I mean, You have to READ them. The president of the US is much too busy to read a book. That is hard. I tried to read one and discovered that reading is hard. Very hard. So, I thought. What about movies? Maybe someone, somewhere has made a movie about the Civil War? A movie is easier to read than a book, plus you can eat popcorn and learn at the same time. Brilliant.

Checking Wikipedia I found a list of movies. Starting in 1908 and continuing to today. A lot of movies and documentaries. Over 100 years of movies and films. About the battle between the states. Perhaps one of them has a clue as to the causes of the war?

So if we all work together to Make  America Great Again perhaps we can solve this mystery. Somewhere there is the answer. Until Donald mentioned it no one even cared. Once again, the Educator-in-Chief has caused us to rethink the old ideas and focus on new ones. What could have caused the Civil War? Who knew? Why have we ignored this for so long? Sad.  Very sad.

Do your own research.  Solve the mystery. And send your results to Mar-a-Lago along with a $200,000 entry fee. Donald wants to know. He’ll be glad you did.

https://www.google.com/#q=civil+war+causes

http://www.nytimes.com/ref/opinion/civilwar-booklist.html

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

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Filed under civil war, confederate flag, Dred Scott, GOP, government, Politics, POTUS, Republicans, Secession, slavery, Trump, United States, US

The Trump Doctrine

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

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

So, I will help.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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Filed under ACA, Economy, Foreign policy, Hillary, Politics, POTUS, Republicans, Trump, Trump University, twitter, United States, workers

Something Deeper

Let me start by clarifying. I am not a conspiracy nut.

Lee Harvey Oswald acted alone. Bigfoot does not exist. The “government” did not take down the Twin Towers on 9/11 as an “inside job”. Millions of illegals do not vote in US elections. There is no  secret cabal of Jewish bankers running the world. The UN is not trying to destroy freedom in America. Etc. Etc. Etc.

I am a fact guy. A pragmatist. Show me the evidence and I will consider your case. But evidence is a must.

Which brings me to the latest, ongoing attacks by Mr Trump on the free press. Over and over he has been slamming any news organization that does not pay him proper homage as “the enemy of the people”. All news that is not completely positive is FAKE news.

Why keep harping on FAKE news? Why continue to try to undermine faith in such news organizations as the New York Times, Washington Post, Politico, The LA Times and others? News organizations that once in awhile make mistakes  but have spent years cultivating processes that lead to accurate reporting. News organizations that vet sources and double check  facts before putting ink to paper.

Mr. Trump is a stupid man. Yes. He is. He knows virtually nothing except how to put together real estate deals. How to manipulate  (or rather HIRE accountants to  manipulate) the tax code. He is singularly UNCURIOUS about the world. He has demonstrated no understanding of basic science, literature, history, sociology or any other field. Since he was given $13,000,000 by his father as a young man his existence has been one of self-promotion. Period.

But, Mr Trump is also a clever man. A con man. A manipulator of his supporters. A cult figure. He sees himself as larger than life. And so do the Trumpsters and Trumpettes who follow him. He knows how to use the media for free publicity, as he showed us in his  campaign for president. He hates any media that does not adore him. And he encourages his followers to do  the same.

But he WON the election in the electoral college. He is the president of the United States. So, why continue to attack the press? He won. He beat them, at least in his way of thinking.

As I said, I am not a conspiracy nut. But there is something deeper going on here.

The “leaks”, which every president hates, have gotten to Trump. He even had Sean Spicer take away the phones of his (Spicer’s) staff and had them checked for possible news leaks. Trump calls the leaks FAKE news, yet he seems to be giving credence to the validity of the information. Otherwise, why try to find the source?  If these negative reports are really “made up”, as he says, then why suspect his own inner circle?

I suspect something deeper is going on.  There are skeletons, probably Russian ones, in Mr Trump’s closet. There are connections, financial  and political, with Russian oligarchs. Perhaps with Putin himself. Connections that may be illegal or at least very damaging .

By trying to destroy the public confidence in the press, Mr Trump is staging a Pearl Harbor attack. Destroy the credibility of the press. then, when the stories come out about his corruption people may say it is simply the press out to “get him”. Mr Trump likes to control the agenda and he seeks to marginalize legitimate investigative journalism by preemptive strike. The press LIES. All the time. Don’t believe them.

Something is deeper here. Not just the rantings of our first  (and god help us, our LAST) twitter president. He is the master of distraction. He has called the New York  Times and Washington Post losers and his enemy.They did not  crumble.  When distraction  does not work he goes for destruction. Exactly the same way he did business in his real estate shenanigans.

There is something deeper here. And the press will discover it. Sooner or later. After all, Pearl Harbor was not a total defeat, it was a setback. Eventually the US won the war. The free press will not  be governed or destroyed by Mr Trump, no matter how hard he tries. But he is trying to set the stage for the inevitable investigations into his financial and political  chicanery. He hope to destroy the confidence of the citizenry in the free press. In the end, they will find him out. And publish.

The is something deeper here. Wait for it.  It will happen.

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Filed under Constitution, GOP, government, Neoconservative, news, Politics, POTUS, president, Republicans, Trump, twitter, United Nations, United States

Trump’s Moonies

When  I was in college from 1968-72 there was a guy I knew who was incredibly smart. Probably the most intelligent person I ever met, aside, of course, from yours truly. I forgot his name so let’s call  him Rex.

Rex had a scientific, analytical mind. A good sense of humor. An all around swell fellow.  He liked to talk and debate and discuss. Issues. Not the latest American idol.  (Thank god we had no  American idols back then). No,  he liked to discuss politics and history and philosophy.And he was always open to see things in a new way. If you could show him some evidence.

Then, something changed. One day he showed up with his head shaven.  And in robes. He has joined the Unification Church of Sun Myung Moon. He was a “Moonie”. He walked around and collected money from people. Like most churches. And like most churches,  the bulk of the money collected found a route to the top. No trickle down economics in this group.

But Rex was no longer Rex. He could not articulate any views other than the approved teachings of the Great Reverend, the second coming of Christ.He could spout the exact dogmas and doctrines of his church, but could not defend any of them using logic or evidence.  He never even tried. It was not necessary. He had found a coherent system of beliefs and no external evidence that challenged that system was going to be heard. He never argued.  He never explained. He simply told us the truth. And asked for money.

Which brings me to Trump’s Moonies.

They have a leader who can do no wrong. Even though factchecks show him to be wrong 65% of the time, it matters not.  The Trump Moonies have closed ears and closed minds. If he says there was a terror attack in Sweden, it must be true. If he says  his inauguration attendance was the greatest ever, any photographic evidence to the contrary is ignored. If he says that thousands of Muslims in New Jersey were cheering the downfall of the WTC on 9/11. Then it happened.   If he says the borders are porous, even though under President Obama the USA deported more people than ever before, then the borders are porous. The facts are not important. He is correct. That is all a Moonie needs to know.

The Trump Moonies are blind to any evidence or facts that contradict their leader. They do not argue. They do not demonstrate with evidence. They select a false reality. They create an alternate set of “facts”. They are beyond evidence. Facts are a fungible commodity. Facts do not exist as a thing apart. Facts, in fact, do not exist at all. All news is “fake news”.  Any story that does not fit the religion is a lie. Period. The earth IS flat.

That is why it is a fool’s errand to wait for Trump’s Moonies to “come around”. It is inconceivable that they will abandon their religious dogma in the face of facts or evidence. No matter how badly Trump performs or how he lies or makes a mess of the nation, the Moonies will be blind.

Like my friend Rex they simply will not look. They choose willful ignorance and blind obedience. They have a religion which provides for them a clear vision of the world. Blacks are thugs. Immigrants are rapists. Refugees are terrorists. Welfare is wrong. Abortion is murder. Liberals are evil. Taxes are bad. Climate change is an Al Gore plot. The list goes on. It cannot be debated. It cannot even be considered. There is only one true religion, and they have found it in Trumpism. There is only one savior.

So, don’t expect any changes or compromises. Don’t expect anything other than what you have seen. The magnificent delusion of Trumpism. Now, all join hands and repeat after me, five times a day, on your knees facing Trump Towers: There is no  god but Trump, and Bannon is the messenger of Trump.

 

(I have argued in the past that the Tea Party Republicans are not a political entity, but are in fact a fundamentalist religion. A post from 3 years ago: The Most Holy Church of the Republican Party  ).

 

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Filed under GOP, government, logic, neoconservatives, Politics, POTUS, Religion, Republicans, Society, tea party, Trump, United States, US

The Leopard’s Spots

“Can the Ethiopian change his skin, or the leopard his spots?…”  Jeremiah 13:23

Donald Trump received the votes of 46% of the American people.

Despite his crudeness, vulgarity, arrogance, xenophobic comments and outright lying. So, Donald Trump was approved by millions and millions of mainstream Republicans. The voter that does the lockstep, into the voter booth, pull the lever Republican. There are, undoubtedly, equal numbers of Democratic voters who do the same for any Democratic candidate.

But I have to  think that not all Trump voters are racists and haters . (Even though my essay of November 11 says otherwise.    https://josephurban.wordpress.com/2016/11/11/to-trump-voters/)

I have to think that many Republicans thought that the Donald Trump Show was just a show. A way to attract attention and get votes. A way to win using any tactic available. Like winning a real estate deal. Or cleverly avoiding paying taxes. Or deflating footballs.

And perhaps these folks thought that once Trump was sworn in as POTUS he would take on a different demeanor. He would naturally come to understand the importance of being president. Of acting presidential. Of bringing people together.

He would ignore the petty insults. Stop tweeting his every thought. Ask professionals to assist in the decision making. In short, once he was elected he would become an adult. Not go off the deep end. Not see every word of opposition as an attack to be repelled and all opponents to be smashed.

In short, perhaps they thought the office would impact the man.

But the leopard, we have seen over the first 3 weeks, does not change his spots. Trump is who he always has been and will continue to be. Abrasive. Ignorant. Crude. Combatative. Thin-skinned. A child.

An adolescent mind in a septuagenarian body. A CEO who is used to everyone kowtowing and telling him how wonderful he is. And if no one else does, Mr Trump will tell you himself. He is every bit as incompetent as we thought.

He writes executive orders without going through the process of determining their legality. He gives no thought to the ramifications of his actions.

If a judge disagrees with him he attacks the judge. Just as he attacked an American judge of Hispanic descent as a “Mexican” because he did not rule in Donald’s  favor. Another court says that, perhaps, the Immigration EO is not Constitutional.  He attacks a judge as a “so-called judge”, impugning the judiciary. Attacking the third, equal branch of the government.

He calls a US senator a liar for quoting  Judge Gorsuch and his concerns about Trump’s attacks on the judicial branch.  Despite the fact that the spokesman for Judge  Gorsuch verified  that the senator was correct. And another GOP senator, Sasser, reiterated the Judge’s concerns, further undermining the veracity of Trump.

Trump demeans the military service of Blumenthal and , just yesterday, of John McCain. Again. Mocking them out, one for serving in the military and not going to Vietnam, the other for being a pilot in a war that the US lost. Losers both. Of course, Trump himself COULD have gone to Vietnam but was given 5 deferments.

Trump makes a public statement that crime is at a 47 year high. Not even close. Does not matter. He simply repeats lies because he wants to. The data (from the FBI) shows that the violent crime rate since the time of Reagan has dropped 40% . To paraphrase Donald, that is a “very big deal, big number, lots of numbers”. Does not matter, Mr Trump says crime is at a 47 year high.

Trump makes a speech about the vilest incarceration and extermination of human beings in the 20th century. The Holocaust. He mentions gays and Gypsies and other who were caught up in the “Make Germany Great Again” hysteria of the Third Reich. But he fails to mention Jews. Is he a Holocaust “denier”, anti-Semitic or just stupid?

Of course, at this point, we have become immune. The man lies so regularly and so pointlessly that we can just assume that 1/3 of what he says is false. I expect that Mr Trump thinks that 65% of the time telling the truth is considered a  passing grade.

He uses the powers of the presidency to help his kids and wife hawk their clothes and jewelry. Openly threatening any company or group that “insults” his flock. He is right at home in this role. Huckster,  Bully. Conman.

What is fast becoming clear is what those of us in the majority have been saying all along. The man is unqualified to be president. He is not INTERESTED in doing the hard work of the presidency.

A president must have a grasp on reality. He must be a quick study or at least attempt to study. He must have more than a National Enquirer  (a rag that Trump has quoted as a source ) understanding of the world. He must be open to new ideas and open to science. It is HARD WORK. That is why presidents go grey.

Trump is not going to change. He wanted to WIN an election. He never has shown any inclination to serve the people. Never any curiosity, however minuscule, about the real world. He is a conman who is not going to change now. He doesn’t want to put in the effort. He shies away from anything close to hard work or intellectual activity.

Perhaps that is why Steve Bannon seems to be the one really in charge.

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Lugenpresse…Testing the Waters

At a Trump campaign rally in Ohio two of the Trump supporters called out to the journalist filming that rally that he was “lugenpresse”.  A term used by the Nazis to condemn any newspaper or journalist that did not toe the party line . Especially newspapers owned by Jews. The epithet aimed at any newspaper that criticized the Nazi Party. Or failed to bow down to the Fuhrer. “Lying press”.

On Sunday Kellyanne Conway did her weekly news “alternative fact” show, this time in an interview with Chris Wallace.  While not using the term, she echoed the sentiments of the “lugenpresse” when she wondered aloud why many members of the press had not been fired.  Why? For their coverage of Donald Trump.

She wondered why these members of the press were not dismissed by their bosses. Why they continued to appear on talk shows and give their opinions. Why are they not being silenced?

One of the first things the Nazis did when they gained control of Germany was to intimidate and suppress the free press. I say “gained control” because the Nazis never won the popular vote in a free election. They were always a minority party. Hitler was able to get only 32% of the vote for president in the last free election in Germany, with massive support from the rural  areas.

Once the Nazis did gain power they were quick to use it to suppress any opposition. Key to that was the free press. Communist newspapers. Jewish-owned newspapers. Independent newspapers were quickly brought under the control of the new regime. By intimidation.

The “lugenpresse” were any newspapers or journalists who dared contradict the Nazi facts. The Nazi “alternative facts”. Control of the media was seen as crucial to ultimate control of the nation.The opposition, no  matter how slight, must be silenced. Real news must not be reported. Facts must not be reported. An “alternative ” reality must be established with Goebbels deciding what is acceptable. The idea that the press must be the mouthpiece of the government  was the goal. And , for the most part, it was.

Kellyanne Conway and Steve Bannon are testing the waters. Attacking the press. Calling for the removal of those who dare criticize. Calling for a ban on people of the Muslim faith based on an idea that Muslims are all terrorists and all alike. Mr Trump calling into question the actual photographic evidence of the crowd size at his inauguration.  An attempt to bully the leader of Mexico into paying for a wall that Trump wants to build.  The first “press conference” with Sean Spicer, Mr Trump’s spokesman, was an attack on the press. And the attack ended with Spicer walking off refusing to answer questions. The message was clear. We will control the press. We cannot allow any contradictions or criticisms.

An all out attack on the facts, evidence and common sense. An “alternative” reality compete with “alternative  facts”

They are testing the waters to see how far they can go. Can they bully the press into silence? Can they bully our neighbor into compliance? Can they bully the American people into subservience? Can they bully the GOP controlled Congress into silence?

I think not. (Well, maybe they CAN bully Congress). The USA in 2017 is not Germany in 1933. The US citizens in 2017 are not going to sit back while Muslims are treated harshly and Mexicans are stereotyped and the free press is under attack. And the press is not going to roll over to an alternative reality.

The Trump folks are testing the waters to see how far they can go. Those waters will get hot very quickly.

(Note: The most thorough set of books on the Nazi rise to power is the trilogy by Richard J Evans. The Coming of the Third Reich, The Third Reich in Power and The Third Reich at War)

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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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Filed under Congress, entertainment, foreign aid, Foreign policy, GOP, government, liberals, Politics, POTUS, president, Society, Trump, twitter, unions, United States

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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Trump’s Great Wall

Mr Trump was adamant. He was going to build a WALL. A concrete, brick solid WALL across the entire 1900 mile border with Mexico. His minions chanted : Build the Wall! Build the Wall!.

Of course, people with common sense said, “No”. The border crosses desert, mountain and river. Areas where building a wall would not only be prohibitively expensive, but impractical. And, we already have walls and fences covering much of the border where it is appropriate and feasible. Certainly extending some fencing and increasing border security was reasonable. But not a 1,900 mile solid wall.

Nevertheless, Mr Trump insisted that the border was porous. Rapists and criminals were streaming across the “open border”. Only his 20 or 40 or 90 foot high wall would stop the deluge of criminals pouring in from Mexico. Hillary Clinton, he said, wanted those borders “open” so all those rapists could easily force their way across the border. Of course, Clinton actually voted FOR the 700 mile border security fence in 2006, as did Obama. A sensible, bi-partisan approach to a real  problem. But we won’t let facts get in the way.

http://www.politico.com/blogs/2016-presidential-debate-fact-check/2016/10/did-clinton-once-want-to-build-a-wall-too-230026

And the $25,000,000,000 price tag for his wall? No problem. Mexico would simply pay for it. He would somehow force Mexico, one of the poorer nations in the world, to fund a massive wall that he wanted. And they would do it for free. According to his campaign website Mexico would be “forced” to pay at least $5-10,000,000,000 for the wall on day one of his administration. Trump assured us.

Then Mexican president Nieto said: “Nope. Not going to happen.” He met with Trump and told him point blank. Then, after Mr Trump was elected the Mexican foreign minister, Massieu, reiterated that Mexico would not give the US any money to build a wall.

One of Trump’s main supporters during the election, Brandon Judd is the head of the Border Patrol Union. He supported Trump and his wall. In an NPR interview on November 17, 2016 Mr Judd seemed to be hedging his “wall” bet. He claims he has been advising Mr. Trump about border issues.

Now, Mr Judd says, Trump did not really mean a “wall”, just a border security system. Like we have now, except expanded. (Kind of like Senators Obama and Clinton voted for when they were in the Senate.) Walls already exist, said Judd. But a wall all the way across the border …uh…nope..

“…JUDD: The wall is going to be absolutely effective in certain locations. We do not need a wall along the entire 2,000 miles of border. And what I really appreciate about President-elect Trump is he understands that he doesn’t know everything. And every single time that I’ve sat down and spoken with him, we’ve talked about a wall. We’ve talked about whether it needs to be the full 2,000 miles of the Southwest border or if we just need it in strategic locations. And he’s been willing to listen and that’s very refreshing….”

http://www.npr.org/2016/11/17/502402360/border-patrol-agents-union-confers-with-trump-on-securing-the-border

So, we don’t really need a wall after all.  Just enhanced security. Like Clinton voted for in 2006 in the Border Security Fence Act? That 700 mile fence in strategic locations that has helped reduce illegal immigration?

But Trump wants a brick and concrete and mortar wall, right?

Again, the Judd interview:

“…JUDD: Well, we do want walls in certain locations. We do want a very effective wall. We’re not talking about a brick-and-mortar wall. If you build just a brick-and-mortar wall, they’re going to come up and they’re going to break that wall down. And then it’s going to be very, very hard to patch that type wall. You have to build something that is going to be very difficult to defeat….”

So, we shall see. Will Trump really try to build a massive wall,  as his supporters wanted. Remember the “Build the Wall” chant ? Second only to the “Lock Her Up” chants at the Trump rallies?

Of course, Trump HAS built wall before. In Scotland. When he took revenge on the Scots who lived on the land of their ancestors next to his newly built “golf resort”. When these Scots publicly opposed this boondoggle Trump responded by building a wall across their land,  effectively blocking their view of the ocean they had enjoyed for years. And he sent them the bill for the wall.  They never paid. But he did successfully destroy their ocean view. He taught them a lesson.

And in the past Trump has headed many building projects. And failed to pay his contractors.

So, maybe that is his plan. He will hire contractors to build a wall and simply NOT PAY FOR IT !  Or not build a wall as he promised? Or do nothing but simply TWEET that he has accomplished something?   Meanwhile, we haven’t heard much lately about the Great Wall of Trump. Time will tell.

 

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To Trump Voters

A letter to the Trump voters.

To Whom It May Concern:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Yours sincerely,

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

 

 

 

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When Is the First Debate?

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

I am still waiting for the first debate.

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

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

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

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

Try these on for size:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

I am still waiting for the first debate.

 

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Get Some Sleep, You Old Fool

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

To the American people:  wake up.

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

Boy Am I Stupid

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

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

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

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

I was wrong.

From the debate:

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

“TRUMP: That makes me smart.

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

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

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

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

The Stupid Ones.

 

 

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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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Throw Down: The Donald vs. Bill

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

 

(Moderator)

How does a millionaire billionaire abomination

Win the Republican Party nomination?

He does it with a nasty attitude

He does it with rude, he does it with crude

He does it with bigotry, does it with fear

He tells the Tea Party what they want to hear

He’s Donald Trump the celebrity

The candidate for the G O P

 

Now the former first lady is his opposition

How did a woman put herself in this position?

She worked for the government along with her mate

New York Senator, Secretary of State

She took a lot of crap from multiple sources

In the end she proved she had the resources

To come out on top, she did not stop

She won the nomination, she rode the right horses

She’s the Hillary, the female hope

She’s Hillary, ain’t no dope, nope

 

(Enter Donald Trump)

My name is the Donald so just step away

When I start talking I got something to say

I whipped Little Rubio, took him right down

Stepped on Jeb, made him look like a clown

I’ll say anything, so I can’t lose

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

They are all losers and I am a winner

I ate those chumps for Sunday dinner

Yo…Is that you Bill?

 

(Enter Bill Clinton)

 

My wife is Hillary and she’s on top

She gets inspiration and she just won’t stop

She works all night, she labors all day

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

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

Why do you think I turned to Monica?

Whoa…sorry about that…

 

(Back to Trump)

If Hill wants to know what I am thinking

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

Talking bout Bill, how she found him whores

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

Hillary’s a maniac, Hillary’s a liar

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

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

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

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

 

(Back to Bill Clinton)

OK Donald you continue talking trash

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

It’s true that my life is far from perfection

Many ladies have benefitted from my affection

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

With talking that trash. I got something to say

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

But I never fantasized about my own daughter.

I may have bragged that Chelsea was a cutie

But you talked about banging your own kid’s booty

You is sick man…Really sick…..

 

(Back to Trump)

People like hearing all the things I say

Like rounding up Mooslims – sending them away

Keeping out the immigrant Mexican slime

By building a wall nobody can climb

I’ll be doing what the people say I oughta

Like shooting to kill at the Mexican border

One more issue, blown out of proportion

Put women in the bin if they want an abortion

The Roe v Wade don’t mean nothing to me

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

The people want a leader who preaches hate

Isn’t that what made America Great?

Black Lives Matter…but not to me….

 

(Back to Clinton)

Donald you are dreaming if you think you can

Undo all the good things we have in this land

Women have rights to control their own body

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

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

So you ain’t gonna drive no Muslims away.

You can fool the fools and the Fox News sheeple

But you ain’t gonna fool the American people

Your message of bigotry is losing fast

Your words of hate are from a long dead past

People aren’t buying your denial of diversity

Go home. Build yourself another phony university.

Hillary’s got the moxey, Hill has the brains

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

You claim to be a financial wiz

Even though your businesses tend to fiz

I’m not trying to be a mean-oh

But who goes bankrupt running a casino?

Bottom line Donald, you are nothing but a brand

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

So…now…you know what you know….

 

(Moderator)

So now we’re back to the moderator

We won’t know, the results come later

You best take a moment of deep reflection

Cuz this is a monumental election

Either Donald or Hillary will be the next president

Either Donald or Hillary — a White House resident.

In November you’re gonna have to choose

One’s gonna win, one’s gonna lose

The world wants to know, who is going to be

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

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

A lot…then .. think some more

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Diversity: GOP Style

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

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

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

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

GOP. Grumpy Old Persons

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

GOP. Grab Onto the Past.

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

GOP. Get Out Perverts

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

GOP. Get Obama Psychotics.

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

GOP. Guys Obsessed with Penises

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

GOP. God’s Own People

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

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

The GOP. Generally Old Pricks.

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Feel the Bern… Vote the Hill

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

https://berniesanders.com/issues/

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

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Keep America(ns) Safe

Keep America Safe.

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

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

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

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

Keep America Safe.

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

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

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

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

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

Not worth mentioning.

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

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

———————————–

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

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

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

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

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

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Speaking Ill of the Dead

De mortuis nil nisi bonum.

Evidently the ancient Romans did not know Antonin Scalia.

I have no problem writing ill of Scalia. He’s dead. He won’t read this. And if he did I could care less.

Scalia was not, as his supporters like to claim, the voice of “conservatism” on the court. More likely, he qualifies as the voice of the “reactionaries”. Those who want to return to an imaginary past. He was not, as his supporters claim, a “strict constructionist” devoted to the Constitution. He was, in essence, a “reactionary” devoted to the Articles of Confederation.

You may recall that the Articles of Confederation were the first plan of government after the revolution. It gave massive power to individual states and little power to the central government. It guaranteed no rights nationwide. It was an abysmal failure. It was because the “states rights” concept  failed so miserably that the Constitution was formed.

Scalia was more devoted to the Articles than to the Constitution.  Some examples.

In 2000, in Bush v Gore. Scalia sided with the 5-4 majority is overturning the Florida Supreme Court.That  Florida court had ruled that it was necessary to recount the Florida voted because under Florida Constitution and law a vote so close had to be recounted. The Florida Supreme Court wanted to get it right.

Scalia, siding with the majority, supported the very odd decision that counting all the votes fairly would impact negatively on the Bush campaign. The vote count was stopped. The right of the state of Florida to follow its own election laws was overturned by the SCOTUS.  Justice Scalia had a son who was in the lawfirm directly involved in the Bush appeal to the SCOTUS, which should have been a reason for his recusal.

Scalia opposed the right of citizens to health care under the ACA. He used a rather foolish broccoli analogy to suggest that the federal government had no right to implement any law requiring people to..well..do anything.  (Actually, Scalia was the prime target of a 2012 blog post on this matter….    https://josephurban.wordpress.com/2012/04/11/scalia-and-the-broccoli-conundrum/)

Scalia opposed the rights of gays to marry. He took the position that only the individual states can decide on whether or not an adult can marry. State’s rights, ignoring the amendments guaranteeing equal protection under the laws.

Perhaps the strangest case ever for someone who claimed to be a “strict constructionist”  was the Citizens United fiasco. Overturning federal law to regulate money in politics. The decision basically created a new class of citizens, called “corporations”. According to Scalia, corporations had first amendment rights to spend money on candidates. No where in the Constitution is there any indication that the founding fathers sought to make corporations “persons” in the same sense as you and I are persons. this was a complete contortion of the reason for the Bill of Rights in the first place. To protect INDIVIDUALS from governmental power. Another example of Scalia claiming to be a “strict constructionist” and then ignoring the Constitution.

And, adding to this fantasy. A corporation called Hobby Lobby was granted “religious” reasons for not providing adequate health care to its employees. A total perversion of the meaning of the First Amendment. And Scalia was there. Leading the charge.

Scalia consistently refused to support individual rights. He opposed a woman’s right to abortion He supported overturning the Voting Rights Act. He supported the idea that individual states could deny classes of citizens certain rights. He was the most reactionary justice since WW2, perhaps since the Civil War. There is no doubt that he would have been very comfortable voting with the majority in the Dred Scott case. After all, slavery was a “state’s rights” issue.

So. I speak ill of the dead. But, in fairness to me, I spoke ill of him when he was alive. His death does not make his decisions any more palatable. The fact that he has passed from political power can only be seen as a positive step for individual rights. His loss is not one to mourn.

 

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You Never Know

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

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

After all. There are still people who…..

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Sideshow Sarah Screeches for Trump

It is just too easy to make fun of Sideshow Sarah. About as challenging as rolling a ball downhill. Just sit back and watch. It is inevitable. And predictable.

Still, it was enthralling  watching Sideshow make her endorsement of the other huckster in the political arena, the Donald. The used car salesman extraordinaire. The man who is the master of the vague generality and the specific vulgarity.

You can find the Palin “speech” on Youtube, along with Tina Fey and the SNL version, which is more coherent. I recommend sitting down and watching with a 4 year old who can interpret for you.

As I said, making fun of Sideshow is too easy. So  seriously. Some things to think about.

1. This woman has been pulling in money for her PAC (SarahPAC) to the tune of over 1 million bucks a year. Her PAC is a way for the faithful Tea Party conservatives to funnel their hard earned cash to conservative candidates.

In the last filing for her PAC it was discovered that about 4% of the money was actually given to candidates. 4%. The rest is spent on various fundraising activities for the PAC itself, consultants and some luxurious hotel and travel arrangements. (When was the last time YOU stayed in the Waldorf-Astoria in New York City?)

From my point of view I think this is great. After all, taking money from the gullible right wingers and NOT spending it to elect right wingers is ok in my book. OKEY-DOKEY. Hopey-changey. Not to mention the boost to the economy by the purchase of $700 blouses, somewhat successful facelifts and something called “speech writing”. Really. $48,000 for speech writing. Someone actually writes those words ahead of time. But, if it wastes right wing dollars, I am all for it.

http://www.slate.com/articles/news_and_politics/politics/2015/07/sarah_palin_s_pac_is_spending_more_on_hotels_and_travel_than_on_gop_candidates.html

2. This woman is stepping up to the plate and doing for Donald what she did for McCain. Ted Cruz must be jumping for joy. Well, maybe not jumping. Perhaps hopping. And not for “joy”. Let me try again: Ted Cruz must be standing on one leg and spewing less bile and invective than usual. After all, Sideshow Sarah has endorsed the last two POTUS candidates.  Ask President McCain. Ask President Romney.

3. And this one gets scarier all the time. WHAT IF? What if McCain had been elected by some fluke of the voting machines. And Sideshow Sarah had to take over the office of the presidency. What if she and her clan had become the “First Family” of the United States of America? Instead of two quiet young, well-mannered girls staying out of the limelight we would have Bristol and Track or whatever their names are? “Family values” on display.  Regular White House visits by the DC police department.

What if Sideshow Sarah was in charge of our nuclear arsenal? Or sat down with Putin to negotiate? What if? The more we see of her the scarier it gets.

So. She is back.  And not funny. An empty shell with a big PAC. The press will always cover her because that is what the press does. It covers “celebrities”. It covers disasters. It publicizes  the odd and crass rather than the normal and the classy. And the crasser, the better. An entertainer endorsing another entertainer. It looks like the Clown Car just got a new member. And if you think elections should be a serious event, it is not funny.

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