Category Archives: US

The Absence of Evidence

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

Honoring the Veterans

I am basically a pacifist. Well, a conditional pacifist. I think the best way to keep the peace in this day and age is to have a strong military. To act as a deterrent to dictators like Putin and Kim . But not to use the military for political stunts. Like border patrol.

So, I do not glorify the military. I see it as a necessary arm of government, much like the EPA or Social Security. Also, keep this in mind. Although some claim that the US military is underfunded, the fact is that the US spends quite a bit on national defense.

For example, in 2017 the US spent $610,000,000,000 (That’s billion). The next 6 countries, in order, spent:  China ($228 billion), Saudi Arabia ($70 billion), Russia ($66 billion) , India ($64 billion), France ($58 billion). In other words, the US spends MORE than the next 7 or 8 nations combined.  Just some perspective.

Once a year (actually more often than that) we take time out to honor the dead veterans from past wars and honor the current veterans. Speeches are made. Wreaths are laid. Songs are sung. Flags are waved.

On Veteran’s Day in particular. The most important day for remembering. A day that even the most avowed pacifists recognize as a day to say “Thank you” to veterans. Thank you , Dan, my reluctant veteran friend. Thank you, Bob and Rich, the two gay married veterans who live down the street. Thank you Sean and would be veteran Connor, both stationed overseas. Thank you to my deceased father in law, Bill. And on and on and on.

But President Trump did not honor the veterans this weekend. While all the leaders of Europe marched in Paris, France to honor the millions who died in the “War to End All Wars”, Mr Trump and Mr Putin decided not to show up.  While other members of the administration drove to the American cemetery outside of Paris, Mr Trump decided not attend, the excuse being it was raining.

Every president places a wreath at Arlington on Veteran’s Day to honor the Americans who have died in wars. It is a 10 minute drive from the White House. For two years in succession Mr Trump has failed to do so.

Mr Trump, who had a doctor’s excuse to get him out of the Vietnam War, has not been present to honor veterans. They are not high on his list of priorities.  The man who used a bogus doctor’s excuse of “heel spurs” to avoid service. The man who castigated John McCain for being captured and held captive and tortured. The man who said he knows more about military strategy than the generals.

Not showing up.

Perhaps that is the best way for him to honor the veterans. Not showing up.

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Filed under government, Politics, president, Trump, United States, US

Extreme Ithaca Liberals

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Filed under Democrat, Elections, GOP, government, healthcare, liberals, Politics, Republicans, Social Security, Society, Tom Reed, Trump, United States, US

Brett Kavanaugh, An Effort to Conceal

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

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

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

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

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

And then Dr Ford happened.

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

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

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

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

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

“He has lied to his aides.”

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

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

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

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

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

 

 

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

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

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Filed under abortion, Clinton, Conservatives, Constitution, Democrat, GOP, liberals, Neoconservative, neoconservatives, Politics, Republicans, SCOTUS, Society, Supreme Court, Trump, United States, US

I Did Not Say Not Didn’t I?

Mr Trump has faced a lot of criticism for saying that there was no Russian interference in our election when the facts say otherwise. So, according to a news article today:

“…Speaking from the White HouseTrump said that after reviewing a transcript of the press conference he realized that “in a key sentence I said the word ‘would’ instead of ‘wouldn’t.’”

“Just to repeat it, I said the word would instead of wouldn’t,” Trump said, referring to his answer at the press conference, in response to a question about whether Russia had tried to influence the American election: “All I can do is ask the question — my people came to me, Dan Coats came to me and some others, they said they think it’s Russia. I have President Putin he just said it’s not Russia. I will say this, I don’t see any reason why it would be,” Trump had said, in a remark that stunned listeners and provoked outrage, even from many Republicans….”

https://www.yahoo.com/news/fire-trump-says-misspoke-russian-interference-u-s-election-192113980.html

Whew. Glad he cleared that up. But just to keep the record straight his spokesman who was thrown out of a restaurant on “All You Can Eat” night had an impromptu news conference to further clarify.

Yes, Sarah Huckster Sanders brought in select members of the press to explain some of Mr Trump’s past remarks. Luckily, being a favorite of the White House, I was called in to observe. It went like this.

Huckster: OK. Sit down and shut up.Thank you. We need to clarify a few comments made by the best president ever. Some of the fake news outlets have misreported his remarks in the past and I am here to set the record straight.

Let’s see. OK. When the best president met with Kim Jong -un he made a slight slip of the tongue. Mr Trump stated that Kim had promised to give up all his nuclear weapons and that Americans can now sleep easily. On reviewing the transcript what the best president meant to say was that Kim had NOT agreed to give up his nukes and that citizens should NOT sleep easily. This was a minor correction in the official statement.

I am sure the  FAILING New York Times will make a big deal out of that little word.

Also, immediately after the best inauguration ever Mr Trump stated that the crowds paying homage to him were the biggest ever. The FAKE NEWS jumped all over that one. They showed pictures of the Negro’s inauguration and tried to make the best president ever look like a liar. What he meant to say was that the crowds were NOT the biggest ever. A simple vocal error, but the FAKE NEWS tried to make him seem like a liar. Awful.

Talking about Obama. Mr Trump is quoted as saying that the Negro was born in Africa, even though his birth certificate shows he was born in Hawaii. Mr Trump MEANT to say the Obama was NOT born in Africa. But, the failing Washington Post made a BIG DEAL out of a little word. Anything to oppose the best president ever.

Ok. Well. One more. There was a phony tape called the Access Hollywood tape. Mr Trump allegedly says he can just grab a woman by the pussy and he kisses women whenever he wants. I can tell you from personal experience that the president has never tried to grab me or kiss me. At least not when Hope Hicks was living with him in the White House. At any rate, what Mr Trump MEANT to say in that tape was that he would NOT grab a woman by the pussy and he would NOT kiss a woman even if she looked like Ivanka. Of course, the FAKE NEWS made a big deal out of this simple misunderstanding.

Ok. OK. One more slight misunderstanding. During the campaign the best candidate ever encouraged his supporters to make a chant. “Lock Her Up. Lock Her Up”. On reviewing a number of tapes, the best president ever realizes that this was not what he meant to say. He left out a word . A small word which I am sure the FAILING MSNBC will not report on that correction. He was thinking “Don’t Lock Her Up, Don’t Lock Her Up”. A slip of the tongue. So, we have cleared that up.

Just to clarify further. In his wedding vows Mr Trump ALLEGEDLY said he would “love, honor and obey” his Russian wife..oh, what is she? Slovakian? Slovenian? Croatian? anyway, his foreign wife, Melanie. What he mean to say (and this is ONLY for Melanie’s lawyers ears) what he meant to say is that he would NOT “love, honor and obey”. Just to clarify.

So, in the future let us hope the FAKE NEWS stops reporting EXACTLY what President Trump actually says. Instead, show some class and report what he should have said or could have said.

I couldn’t have been more clear to you about what the best president ever says. When he says he didn’t mean to say what he said he said it should be clear that he didn’t say what you think he said even though he said it.

So, stop reporting on his WORDS. That is just not fair. Report on what he thinks he maybe should have said if he had not said what he said.

That is all. Get the hell out of here.

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Filed under Politics, POTUS, president, Republicans, Society, Trump, United States, US

Performance Review

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

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

Putin: Welcome my brother. Have a seat.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Donald waddles out of the room.

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

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

Happy 4th of July, Comrades

The 4th of July.  The celebration of everything good that is America.

Freedom. Democracy (limited, but still trying). Bill of Rights. Fighting against fascism.

The holiday all Americans. Leftists. Rightists. Liberals. Conservatives. Christians. Muslims. Jews. Men. Women. Whites. Blacks. Hispanics. Straights. Gays. The holiday all Americans can celebrate.

Charge up the grill. Throw on some hot dogs. Have a beer.

The most SYMBOLIC holiday. The one holiday that says: We oppose dictators. We oppose fascism. We oppose tyrants. What the Revolutionary War was all about.

So, most US Congressmen are pressing the flesh. Getting photo ops with veterans or kids or old ladies. Listening to voters. Attending parades and picnics and fireworks. Celebrating.

But not all Congressmen (and Congresswomen).

Eight members of the highest lawmaking body in the land chose to skip this 4th of July. They ignored their own citizens and went on a junket. Left the country. Not to some Caribbean beach or exotic Pacific Island. Not to inspect the devastation in Puerto Rico or see for themselves the problems at the border. Not even to use the taxpayers dollars to slip away to Paris or Amsterdam or Rome for a “fact-finding” mission/ vacation.

These lawmakers left the land of the free and the home of the brave to rub shoulders with a dictator and his handpicked representatives. They celebrated freedom by engaging with the rulers of a land run by a dictator. A dictator who , according ot the CIA, FBI and the Senate Intelligence Committee, plotted ( and largely succeeded) to overthrow the US electoral system in 2016. And they are plotting to do the same in 2018, 2020, etc.

These lawmakers left the USA to do homage to Vladimir Putin. Your tax dollars at work.

“…Eight top lawmakers of the American political party now in sole control of Congress running off to Moscow to meet with Russian officials on Independence Day for no urgent reason other than to seek “a better relationship.” In essence, it’s a political gift to Russian President Vladimir Putin and a black eye for America delivered by Republican lawmakers (no Democrats were invited). Let’s remember these GOP names:

  • Sen. Richard Shelby (R-AL)
  • Sen. John Kennedy (R-LA)
  • Sen. John Hoeven (R-ND)
  • Sen. Jerry Moran (R-KS)
  • Sen. Steve Daines (R-MT)
  • Sen. John Thune (R-SD)
  • Sen. Ron Johnson (R-WI)
  • Rep. Kay Granger (R-TX)…”

https://www.dailykos.com/stories/2018/7/5/1778318/-What-does-Putin-have-on-eight-GOP-lawmakers-who-fled-America-for-Moscow-on-July-4

Happy 4th of July, Comrades.

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Filed under Congress, Conservatives, Constitution, Elections, flag, GOP, government, Neoconservative, neoconservatives, Politics, Republicans, tea party, United States, US

Trump Dictionary…J is for…K is for

Jared. Top adviser . Fantastic . Doing a great job. He solved the Middle East problem with his peace plan. They said it couldn’t be done. He did it. Peace in the Middle East. More details later. Owns a great building in NY. Made over $80,000,000 last year part-time while working for me. How does he do it? Gets to sleep with Ivanka. Fantastic guy. Lucky guy.

Jerusalem. Wonderful city. In Israel. I made Jerusalem the capital of Israel. Before me people said, where is the capital? Who knew? I said. Jerusalem. . No one else could do it. I did it. All the Jews love me for it. Built an embassy in Jerusalem. Came in on time and under budget. They said it couldn’t be done. No one could build an embassy. I did it.

Jews. Sometimes referred to as the Chosen People. That’s what people say. Many live in Israel. Great nation of Israel. Love the people. Love the Jews. Good with money. I always say, let a Jew handle your money, not a Negro. Shrewd race of people. Very shrewd.

Justice. Department of Justice. Sometimes called the DOJ. In the cabinet. Sessions not doing a good job. Should fire Mueller. I could if I wanted to. Justice Department has so many Democrats. Out to get me. Disband the FBI. Awful what they are doing. Investigate Hillary and Russia collusion.

Justin Kennedy. Great guy. His father is on the supremist court. His father just resigned so I can appoint another justice. Fantastic. Met Justin many, many years ago at Deutsche Bank where he loaned me over $1,000,000,000. US banks wouldn’t do it. Would not lend me any money. Justin did it. Now, they fined Deutsche Bank for money laundering. HOAX. Made up story. I love Justin. Love his father. Two great guys. (see reference below)

KKK. Patriotic group. Want to make America great again. Many fine people in the KKK. Want to stop inter breeding with other kinds of people. Given a bad rap. Fine citizens. States rights.

Kanada. Northern border. They are ripping us off in trade. Have been for 300 years. Terrible trade deal. Obama signed it. AWFUL. Kanada will have to pay. No health care in Kanada. Awful place.  May build a second wall along the Kanada border. Make Mexico pay for it.

Kim Jong Un.  Fox interview.

When Baier pointed out Kim’s regime imprisons, tortures and kills his own people, Trump replied, “Yeah, but so have other people done some really bad things. I could go through a lot of nations where a lot of bad things were done.”

And Friday, the president told Fox & Friends, “He’s the head of a country — and I mean he’s the strong head. He speaks and his people sit up in attention. I want my people to do the same.”

Konstantin Kilimnik. Great guy. Manafort’s handler. Very smart cookie. Good friend. Some say he is a Russian spy. Not true. Fake news. No Russia ties . Never heard of him. Also never heard of Manafort. (see reference below).

Korea, North. Tweet: “There is no longer a Nuclear Threat from North Korea.”

Kremlin. Fantastic building. In Russia. Putin lives there. Better than the White House. No interference in our elections . Asked Putin, he said he never interfered. Fake news. Kremlin has a lot of bricks. Very tall. Like a wall. Can’t get inside.

https://newrepublic.com/minutes/149496/trumps-relationship-justice-kennedy-sounds-shady-new-report

Mueller Finally Unmasked the Trump Campaign’s Secret Russian Operative

Add any suggestions below.

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The Final Solution To Illegal Kids

 

I sent this email today to The Department of Homeland Security. It finally solves the problem of broken families seeking asylum! (Yes. I sent it)

To: Honorable Kirstjen Nielson

Re: Tracking of Lost children

FR: Joe Urban

Some liberals are complaining because the children of immigrants have been taken from their parents. One of the things they complain about is that once separated it may be difficult or impossible to reunite parents and children.

I have a practical, intelligent solution to this problem.

As the process works now: Once the child is taken from a parent the child is put in a tent city or housed in some other facility for children. The parent then has to prove he is a legitimate asylum seeker. This can take some time. In the long process the parent may be sent back to where they came from. But the child may be lost somewhere in the system.

As it should work: How do we unite the child with the parents? Easy.

Every time an immigrant and their kids come to the US seeking asylum we process them in this manner.

The parents and all the children are given identical identity numbers. These unique numbers will be based on where they come from.

For example, if they come from Honduras they would be given an ID number that begins with an H. From Guatemala give them one that begins with a G. Etc.

So: H3476YTT9X would be a family fleeing from Honduras. All members would have the same number.

But how could we be sure that someone might not lie about their number? Problem solved.

These numbers would be tattooed in some color ink that would show up good on brown skin. I suggest a tattoo on the arm or neck so it is easy to see. So, all members of a family, once they apply for asylum, would be given the same permanent  tattoo ID number.

Also, this would make it easy to figure out where the kids are from once you take them from their mothers. Especially the really little ones who might not know where they live. Now, you could put all the “G”s in one tent, the “H”s in another tent, etc. This would make them happy to be with their own kind.

Finally, once the parents are released. Sent back to where they came from or in some rare cases given asylum, it would be easy to find their kids. You could just have a website that had all the family ID numbers. When a parent is released or deported that number is listed for all to see.

These could be checked every day by the guys who are holding onto the kids. If a number matches. BINGO. Send the kid back to the parents.

This would also eliminate a lot of bureaucracy and unnecessary paperwork. You would not have to keep written files since the numbers are permanent. And if they tried to enter again illegally you can nail them at the border! Also, if the police inside the US suspect someone is an illegal they could take their number and check it with you !

I hope you will carefully consider this suggestion since it will make identifying these people much easier and take the guesswork out of sending kids back home to their parents.

 

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Trump-Kim Summit Success!

Donald Trump and Kim Jong Un will meet in two days for the big summit.  Usually we have to wait until after an event to get a reliable statement about what happened. However, in the days of “alternative facts” that is no longer necessary.

I will save you the agony of waiting to see how this meeting turned out. After all, what actually happens is secondary to what we are told happens. Knowing this saves a lot of time and anxiety. So here it is.

The official White House statement, followed by Mr Trump’s tweets.

From: The White House

Regarding: The Successful Summit with Kim Jong Un

The fantastic President Trump and the most honorable Kim Jong Un reached agreement on a number of issues. An historic agreement. An agreement for all time.

Kim has agreed to give up all his nuclear weapons. Every one. They will be destroyed. The international community will be provided with pictures of the destroyed weapons by the North Korean government as proof. Kim has also agreed to allow all political prisoners free, after a review by his court system. The North Korean government will provide an artist’s conception of an empty prison cell as proof. Kim also promised, on his brother’s grave, he will never try to invade South Korea.

President Trump gave up nothing. He looked Kim in the eye and the little guy folded. This is the greatest negotiation in the history of negotiations. Everyone agrees!

(End of statement)

Trump tweets on Air Force One coming home..

“Little Kim folded like an accordion. Gave up his nukes. Greatest negotiation in history.”

” Just took away all Kim’s nukes. Obama could not do it. BIG FAILURE. I did it. Forced Kim to give in. Greatest deal in history!  Many people say so. I don’t say it, but many people do!”

” Plan to build Trump Tower in Pongoyango, Korea’s capital. It will be fantastic. Biggest tower ever. Kim will finance it. Ivanka will run it. Beautiful girl. That’s what people say.”

“Little Kim is a liar . He PROMISED to give up his nukes. Now he says, maybe. Tower may be on hold. Beautiful tower planned. Now on hold. Kim doesn’t want to pay. Sad.”

“North Korea deal off the table. Obama’s fault. Obama should have bombed North Korea long ago. Soft on crime. Obama was very weak. Sad. Weak man. No deal with Kim. Except the tower. Still building Trump Tower Pongoyango. Mattress sale coming soon!”

 

 

 

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D-Day: No one Died For the Flag

Today is the 74th anniversary of the Normandy invasion.

On June 6, 1944 the Allied Forces landed on the beaches of Normandy.  Thousands died. None of them died for the flag. They died fighting totalitarianism. They died fighting Hitler. Eventually the Allied Forces overcame the Nazis and won the war.

My uncle died in that war. On his fourth mission bombing Germany. He was the only son of an immigrant. He was shot down on the way back to base after a bombing mission over Berlin. He died fighting against totalitarianism. He did not die for the flag.

Korea. Vietnam. Iraq. Afghanistan. Wars fought for various reasons. Some legitimate, some not. Thousands of Americans died. Some died because they believed were protecting America. Some died because they were drafted and had no choice.  Not a single one died for the flag.

When the Heel Spur Patriot tries to equate patriotism with the flag he is confusing symbols with reality.

Yes, the flag CAN represent the ideals of the USA. It CAN represent freedom, honor, fairness, justice and all those other positive values we try to aspire to.

It can also represent slavery, discrimination, lynching, voter suppression , police brutality and a number of other values we SHOULD reject.

It is in the eye of the beholder.

“Patriotism is the last refuge of a scoundrel” wrote Samuel Johnson in 1775.

Today we have a scoundrel in the White House. A scoundrel who clothes himself in the flag of a country that he would never defend himself. A Heel Spur Patriot.

So, no matter how many times the Heel Spur Patriot tries to sing the National Anthem or God Bless America. No matter how often he respectfully places his hand over his heart and nods solemnly while the anthem plays.  No matter how he tries to equate REAL military service with jingoistic flag waving.

The fact remains. Many Americans have died in wars. Many died to fight totalitarianism. Many died to protect the right to protest. To exercise your First Amendment rights. To preserve, protect and defend the Constitution.

But no one ever died for the flag.

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L’etat, c’est moi

The Sun King, Louis XIV of France is credited with saying: “I am the state.” But he said it in French, of course. Now, he probably didn’t say it. Just an example of FAKE NEWS. But he acted like someone who would say something like that ,so….

I am the state. I am above the law. I am the law. Richard Nixon said something similar in his interview with David Frost. “If the president does it that means it is not illegal”. Nixon was referring to any action a POTUS might take in the national interest.

Now we have Donald Trump making the same claims of absolute power.  This week Trump followed up the letter his legal team sent to Mueller in January.

Trump and his attorneys claim that he cannot be indicted. Even if he kills someone. That claim is supported by Rudy Giuliani. He is above the law. He cannot be held accountable by any justice system. Taken to its (il)logical conclusion that means he can do anything he wants with impunity.

L’Etat, c’est moi.

Trump and his lawyers claim that Mr Trump can end any investigation for any reason. He can stop the FBI from investigating any possible terror attack. He can stop the FBI from investigating organized crime. He can stop the FBI from investigating his own family business practices. He can shut down the FBI permanently and allow them to investigate NOTHING. According to this legal theory.

L’Etat, c’est moi.

Trump and his lawyers claim he can pardon anyone for any reason. That he can even pardon himself.  While the Justice Department handed down a decision that a president cannot pardon himself Trump ignores it. That decision, of course, was requested by Richard Nixon. The DOJ said: No. Your pardon power does not extend to your own crimes. Three days later Nixon resigned. Trump will not. He is above the law. He is the law.

L’etat, c’est moi.

Louis the XIV fired his advisers. He said he alone would run the government. He didn’t need advice. Only he, under the will of god, could rule and make decisions.

He moved the French capital from Paris to Mar-a-Largo…er, I mean to a different location. He set himself up in the opulent Palace at Versailles. A massive wonderful building. Truly awesome. I have seen it. He brought the nobles under his power. He brought them to Versailles to play (golf?). And pay for the privilege. He catered to the elites, while intimidating them to kowtow to him. And accepting their tribute.

He revoked the Edict of Nantes, which gave Protestants religious freedom. He oppressed those of another faith. He didn’t like those foreigners. He didn’t like their religion. He changed the law. He was above the law.

L’Etat, c’est moi.

Donald Trump does not know history. Or science. Or math. Or…fill in the blanks. But he knows one thing. He has a subservient Republican Party that will allow him to do anything he wants.

L’Etat, c’est moi.

 

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

http://landmarkcases.org/en/Page/722/Nixons_Views_on_Presidential_Power_Excerpts_from_a_1977_Interview_with_David_Frost

 

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Trump Dictionary…H is for

 

Handjob. See Hope Hicks.

Haspell. Great woman. Did she torture? What’s torture. Waterboarding is not torture. She didn’t go far enough. Should have tortured the children of the terrorists. Then they would have talked, believe me.

Hate groups. So many hate groups. Democrats. All haters. FBI. Haters. Europeans. All haters. ACLU. Hate group. Me too movement filled with haters. Women love me. Black Lives Matter. Haters. Why don’t they say White Lives Matter? KKK, some are haters but many, and I mean MANY, are fine citizens. Believe me. Many fine people in the KKK. Many.

Healthcare. Wow. Fantastic health care plan. I solved the health care plan. Everyone now has more healthcare. Best healthcare. Much cheaper than Obamacare. They said I couldn’t do it. Obamacare is done. Over. My healthcare plan is the best.

Heel Spurs. Ouch. Boy they hurt. My doctor discovered my heel spurs during the Viet Nam war. I wanted to go to Nam. Had to take 5 deferments. Too bad. We would have won, believe me. If I had been there the Viet Cong would have run away. I would not have been captured like that loser McCain. McCain, what a loser. Couldn’t go. Heel spurs. All better now!

Hillary. Lock her up. Benghazi. Collusion . Sold nukes to Russia. Awful. Nasty woman. Does nasty woman things. Kicked her ass. Lock her up. Why is the FBI not locking her up. Disgraceful.

History.  I know history. Believe me. History is incredible. Just incredible. I am the best president in history. I don’t say this. But many people say it. Many people, many historians, say that Trump is the greatest president in history. Nobel Prize. Amazing president. I know lots of history, believe me.

Hope Hicks. Beautiful girl. Fantastic. Reminds me of Ivanka. Fantastic. Smart cookie. Melania didn’t like her.

Hurricane. Very bad. Lots of wind. Big wind. Trees go down. Puerto Rico had a big hurricane. I solved it. I threw towels. People loved it. Used the towels to soak up the water. They thanked me. Said I was the best president ever. Make America Great Again. No more hurricanes!

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Trump dictionary…G is for

Gangster. Awful people. Mostly black. No respect for the law or FBI. Terrible. MAGA.

Genius. Very smart person. A lot of people, believe me, a lot of people say I am a genius. I know more than the generals. I defeated ISIS. I built a wall. I know more than anyone. I am not saying that. That is what many people say. Believe me.

Giuliani. Rudy is a very smart lawyer. Great American. Fought terrorists on 9/11. By the way, so many Muslims in New Jersey cheered when the towers fell. Awful. Terrible. Where is the investigation? Rudy is very smart. Mexico gave him a $ 1,000,000.

Give Me A Break. Great phrase. I invented that phrase. It means to give me a break. Many people now use it. I didn’t copyright it so now all Americans can use it.

God. Fantastic guy. Wonderful person. Some people compare me to god. I don’t know. Maybe. But god is a very smart guy. Created everything. No global warming.

Goons. Hillary Clinton hired goons. Goons are bad people. The Clintons had many goons. So does Pelosi. Terrible women.

Gotcha. Fake Mueller investigation wants to ask gotcha questions. They are out to get me. I will not answer gotcha questions. No collusion. No Russia thing. Very fake.

Greatest. Many people say I am the greatest president ever. Believe me, that’s just what people are saying. Greater than FDR. Greater than Lincoln. Greater than Washington. I have done more in one year than any president ever. That’s what people are saying. That’s not what I say, but many people are saying  it. So, time will tell. I may be the greatest or maybe just the 2nd greatest. Who knows. time will tell. People are saying it, though.

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Trump Dictionary…F is for

Fake News.  Wow. So much fake news. No collusion. None . Zero. No Russian contacts. Never met Russians. Never heard of Putin. Comey is a crook. Fake Comey book. Fake Pruitt spending. Why not travel first class? Wow. All fake news. Flynn? Who is Flynn? Never met him. All fake. Manafort? Never heard of him. Everything is fake. Fake. Lock her up. Lock her up. Horrible Hillary. Cohen. Who is Michael Cohen? I don’t know him. All fake.

Fantastic. My administration has been the most fantastic ever. I did more in the first year than any other president. Ever. People love me. People say I am fantastic. Many people.

FBI.  Most corrupt organization in Earth. Believe me. Awful. They break down doors. False charges. Lock them up.

Fifth. Take the fifth. Only criminals take the fifth. The mob takes the fifth. …Cohen took the fifth? I may have to take the fifth? A wonderful part of the Constitution. Love the fifth. Best fifth ever.

Florida. Great state. Everyone says so. Mar-A-Lago is the best golf course. Magnificent golf. Love Florida. Many billionaires in Florida.

Flynn. Great man. Fantastic patriot. Not a criminal. He pleaded guilty? …oh…I hardly know him. Never met him. Flynn who?

Fox News.  Tremendous . Fantastic. Awesome. Believe me, Fox is true journalism. Always tell the truth. Unlike the failing New York Times. Great people at Fox. I know them. Super people. The best people. Only the truth. Fair and balanced!!

Franken. Al Frankenstein. Liberal. Communist. Sex abuser. Horrible. If I did half of what he did the liberals would be calling for impeachment. Awful man. Very disrespectful to women. I respect women. I love women. Some of my favorite people are women. Like Ivanka. Tremendous woman! Fantastic.

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Trump Dictionary…C is for

 

Cable TV. Love cable TV. Fox is best. Watch it all day. Fantastic TV. I was the best show on cable TV. I made cable TV what it is today. Before me there was no cable TV. Best ratings ever. I had the best ratings. Ever.

China. Cheating us for years. Other presidents did nothing. Nothing.Bush did nothing. Obama did  nothing. I am defeating China. Trade war. Easy to win. Easy. Winning over China. MAGA.

Christian. I am the best Christian ever. Believe me. You will never see a better Christian. Amazing Christian. All Christians love me.

Colin Kaepernick. Traitor. Black guy. Get that son of a bitch off the field. Fire him. Not a patriot like me.

Collusion. No collusion. The facts have proven there is no collusion with Russia. Never was . Never will be. Crooked Hillary colluded. Not me. No collusion.

Comey. Worst FBI director ever. Very dishonest. Part of the Deep State. Democrat just like Mueller. Most corrupt person ever.

Control. Out of control. The FBI is out of control. Mueller is out of control. The blacks are out of control. The cheating Democrats are out of control. America is out of control. MAGA.

Corrupt. Bob Mueller most corrupt person ever. Horrible. Must fire him. Fake investigation must end.  No one has more conflicts of interest.

Crooked Hillary. Most crooked person ever. Crook. Why was she never investigated? Benghazi! Benghazi! Worked with Russians. Collusion with Russians. Crooked .

(Feel free to add your own words).

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Ending the Witch Hunt

Now that Mr Trump’s lawyer, Cohen the Fixer,  has had his home, hotel room and office raided by the FBI it is clear that the Witch Hunt has continued. Trump was really pissed of about this!

Mr Trump has been clear that the witch hunt directed against him must end. And I agree. Throughout history there have been many techniques for ending a witch hunt. So, I say, let’s do it. A return to the good old days.

Now, the real issue may revolve around exactly how to prove the president’s innocence. In a legitimate witch hunt, which Mr Trump correctly claims this is, there are many methods. Any  of which can prove that Mr Trump is not a witch.

The question is: Which witch trial is which and which witch trial is the one which will tell us if Trump is a witch and which kind of witch? It’s all so confusing.

I suggest one of the following tried and true methods.

Method one: The old boiling water routine. In this one Mr Trump will place his hand into a pot of boiling water and pick up something in the bottom of the pot. Something he really wants, like a little statue of Donald Trump. Then, after 3 days, if his hand is completely healed we know he is not a witch. If not healed…burn him.

Method two: Trial by fire. Two possible trials. In one, Mr Trump would walk barefoot over 9 feet of red hot coals. Examine his feet three days later and if they are healed he is not a witch. But, since Mr Trump has heel spurs, this one may not be fair to him. And witch hunts must be fair.

So, a second possible trial by fire. Mr Trump will grasp a red hot poker in one of his hands. It will have to be a small poker since he has tiny hands. After three days if his tiny hand has healed, he is not a witch. If his hand has not healed… burn him.

Method three. The dunking. Mr Trump will be placed in a burlap sack. It will be the best burlap sack ever produced. He will then be brought to the Potomac River and dumped in. If Mr Trump floats, he is witch and will be executed. If Mr Trump sinks he is not a witch. If anyone wants to, they can search downriver for the body. Or not. Whatever.

So, time to end this witch hunt once and for all. But, how do we decide which witch trial to use? Let Sarah Sanders decide which method is the best for determining whether or not Mr Trump is a witch. After all, who could be a better authority?

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

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More Donuts, Please

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Which reminds me, where are those donuts?

 

 

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2nd Amendment and Guntrol, Part 2

The DC v Heller decision of 2008 established 3 things, according to the majority opinion written by Justice Scalia. (See https://josephurban.wordpress.com/2018/02/22/2nd-amendment-and-gun-control-part-1/ for details.)

First, individual citizens, not part of a militia, have the right to own weapons.

Second, the government has the right to regulate who can have weapons.

Third, the government has the right to determine the legality of specific weapons. 

So, any attempt by any member of Congress to suggest that any gun control violates the 2nd Amendment should be referrred to the Scalia opinion. Gun control is constitutional.

So, what kind of gun control , which does minimal damage to the desire (not right) of gun owners to certain weapons, are possible?  Here are some possible gun control measures which Congress could take.

  1. A mandatory background check for any gun purchaser. Using a nationwide data base that identifies felons out on parole, individuals convicted of spousal abuse, individuals convicted of any violent crime, individuals currently charged with a violent offense pending trial.
  2. A ban on the ownership and sale of military-style assault weapons and any devices that can be used to enhance the firing capacity of weapons, including bumpstocks. (Except in licensed shooting ranges).
  3. A ban on the sale and/or transportation of weapons across state lines.
  4. Mandatory written and field and safety tests for anyone purchasing a weapon, including a screening for emotional and mental stability.
  5. A ban on any sale of guns other than that of a registered gun seller. This includes the ban on trading, swap meets or other gun sales not taking place in an established,  permanent location.
  6. The registration of all weapons with the local authorities. Including the free transfer of weapons to immediate famiy members, which would be legal.
  7. Establishment of shooting ranges for those who wish to fire military style weapons. These establishments would be able to legally rent military style weapons to shooters to be used only at the shooting ranges.
  8. The ban on any bullet or projectile designed to explode on entering the body or designed to pierce armor.
  9. The licensing of any gun owner, renewable every five years, to determine that the person keeps up with the skill, visual acuity, mental capacity to handle a weapon safely  and understands the law relating to weapons.
  10. Establishment of free clinics and classes to teach and train gun owners as to the proper and safe use of firearms.
  11. A Right To Know Law which gives parents the right to know which households have guns in them. A parent could then decide for themselves if they want to expose their child to a household which has a weapon. (Many children die playing with guns each year).
  12. A yearly weapons licensing tax to help defray the costs of gun safety programs.
  13. A health care premium Gun Violence Tax for gun owners. This would help defray the massive costs to hospitals,police, courts, jails and the insurance industry for costs related to the care of victims and perpetrators of gun violence nationwide. Hang on to your six-shooter. The annual estimated cost of gun violence in the USA is $8,600,000,000 (billion) in direct medical care. And the overall cost of gun violence to the economy is $229,000,000,000. See references at the end of this blog for details.

I am confident that many or all of these solutions, taken as a whole, would significantly reduce both intentional and accidental gun mortality.  All of these ideas are constitutional and easily implemented. I am also sure that people more astute and informed than I have even more and better solutions.

We license people to drive cars. We renew auto license plates every year or two. We tax vehicles and gas  used in those vehicles. We let people know if there is a sex offender living in the neighborhood so parents can protect their children. We heavily tax tobacco to reduce usage and pay for the costs of medical care caused by tobacco. So, none of the ideas above, if applied to weapons , is radical or unusual.

Would these solutions stop ALL gun violence? Of course not. Even places with strict gun control laws have some gun violence. But the likelyhood of desth by gun in these nations is minimal compared to the USA.

In Austria you are as likely to drown in a swimming pool as be killed by a gun.  In New Zealand, your chances of death by gun are the same as falling from a ladder. In Poland, the chance is the same as being killed on your bicycle. And in Japan you are just as likely to be hit by lightening as killed by a gun.

Think about that last statistic the next time you watch a thunderstorm brewing.

 

https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/get-there/wp/2018/02/22/the-enormous-economic-cost-of-gun-violence/?utm_term=.e68d8c3d5463

http://www.businessinsider.com/gun-violence-costs-america-more-than-229-billion-every-year-2015-4

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Words, Part 1

“In the beginning was the word…” so begins the Bible followed by both Christians and Jews.  In Hindu mythology, the word “Om or Aum” is the first sound of creation. The Qu’ran is thought to be the word of Allah by Muslims. Members of the Church of Later Day Saints believe that Joseph Smith of upstate New York was given the words of god on golden tablets.

Words are important. Of all the species still on Earth, it is homo sapiens alone that uses speech to communicate sophisticated ideas. Other animals use sounds to express fear and danger and affection and contentment. Chimps use signs and sounds. Bonobos have been taught to use symbolic language to express complete ideas. Some other primates even use sign language to communicate when hunting in groups. There is something in the DNA of primates that demands communication. We are all social animals.

Words are important.

Primates use body language and words to communicate. The key word is “communicate”. Communication does not necessarily mean that a human or other primate is interested in communicating the truth.

For example, we have evidence that when some Rhesus monkeys see food they call out to others and share it. Once in awhile, however, a monkey will keep quiet or even give a false predator warning cry to distract from the food source. They lie. They communicate something which is false. Then they sneak the food for themselves.

We depend on words. When someone lies to us it becomes very difficult to trust them again. When someone misuses words (that is lies) under oath, we consider them criminals. Even presidents. Bill Clinton was impeached by the Republican Congress for lying.

He was not impeached for having an affair. He was not impeached for any illegal financial dealings. The 4 year long investigation of Bill Clinton and his wife’s finances (Whitewater) found nothing illegal. The Starr investigation after spending mllions of dollars  found no criminal behavior based on the original mandate, which was to look at the Clinton land deals.

Both articles of impeachment against Clinton dealt not with any financial wrongdoing, but the fact that he lied about his sex life when under oath.  You may wonder why the Starr investigation was expanded into his sex life, but that is another matter. A corruption charge was never supported, but his lies about his sex life were considered important enough to expel him from the presidency. So, he was impeached for words he said.

Our current president has , according to the factchecker at the Washington Post, told over 2,000 lies and misstatements in less than his first year in office. Over 2,000 documented examples of intentional miscommunication. Since he is not under oath, none of those lies are actionable under the law. But that degree of miscommunication may be one reason why he has an approval rating below 40% in most polls.

When words are used for miscommunication then the very idea of language becomes damaged. Language is supposed to be a positive force through which we convey ideas and beliefs and emotions in an honest way. When language is exploited regularly to miscommunicate it leads to a general distrust of any communication. When words are used as weapons, rather than tools of honest communication, all language becomes suspect.

We see attacks on the press, attempting to delegitimize the one institution which is based on words. Honest words. ( I deal with this in another post a year ago: https://josephurban.wordpress.com/2017/01/30/lugenpresse-testing-the-waters/)

Politicians, of course, depend completely on words. When they lie by misstatements or omission to intentionally deceive people it is especially disturbing. We see them lie most often when the facts and evidence do not support their assertions. A good example is the reemergence of the supply side economics which failed miserably under Mr Bush. Tax breaks for the wealthy to boost jobs. It just does not happen, but that does not stop the lying.

My own Congressman, Tom Reed, NY 29 is especially adept at the half truth and miscommunication. He miscommunicated not only his own views (as seen by his actions) but impugns his political opponents by lying about their views as well. And he is very good at it. So he gets re-elected.

So, while “sticks and stones may break my bones but words will never hurt me” is true on the playground, it is not true in politics. Words are the core of politics because they are used to convince others to act.

We currently live in an era where those with the most political power are determined to stay in power through miscommunication. Not by the power of their ideas.  Not by the benefits to the people derived by their actions. But by miscommunicating to such an extent that even 2,000 lies a year does not bother them.

Next time I will look at the variety and scope of the miscommunication, the misuse of words, by those currently in power.

 

https://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/2009/06/090615-monkeys-lie-food.html

https://books.google.com/books?id=pEuVe5zT-4cC&pg=PA74&lpg=PA74&dq=rhesus+monkeys+food+lies&source=bl&ots=-A5bfEwk2c&sig=O1nv-XXYhQ78i5HQpx2hrNFXrzc&hl=en&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwimo8G74tzYAhWDUd8KHYalBlgQ6AEIUDAL#v=onepage&q=rhesus%20monkeys%20food%20lies&f=false

https://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-srv/politics/special/clinton/stories/articles122098.htm

https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/fact-checker/wp/2018/01/10/president-trump-has-made-more-than-2000-false-or-misleading-claims-over-355-days/?utm_term=.dc90a42256a8

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Ask the Homecoming Queen

The US is currently involved in deciding to what extent Putin interfered with the last US election. And how to protect the integrity of the voting procedures in the next election.

Background. After the farcical 2000 election there was a flurry of activity to make voting systems easier to use and tabulate. A number of electronic and computer companies lobbied congress and the individual states to sell their “tamper proof” voting systems. I mean, what could go wrong with a computer? Or what could go wrong with an optical scanner?

For example, in Cayuhoga County, with a population of 1.2 million including the heavily Democratic city of Cleveland a problem was reported in 2010. The Cleveland Plain Dealer newspaper reported that 10 % of the voting machines had FAILED pre-election tests. Upon retesting the machines that had passed originally, even more failed on a second test. These failures included not counting votes and the machines simply freezing. Despite these problems, the state of Ohio recertified this system for use in 2013. (Clinton got 66% of those who had their votes counted).

Here are a few nuggets from the 2016 election. More problems in cities.

“City Clerk Janice Winfrey says some voting machines in Detroit stopped working Tuesday morning and had to be replaced.The delay caused long lines and waits of an hour or more to vote.”

Also in Detroit, a heavily Democratic city:

“The project also reported the only voting machine in Precinct 16 is repeatedly breaking, and that some voters have been waiting outside in the rain before getting into the building, where they are facing a 45-minute wait.

The Detroit Free Press reported that nearly two hours after the polls opened, no one at the Marcus Garvey Academy Precinct 134 in Detroit’s West Village had been able to cast a ballot due to a problem with voting machines. A technician was on the way, the Free Press said, but some voters had to get to work and put their ballots in a box.

Across the city, a voting machine malfunctioned at Detroit’s Precinct 32, located at East English Village Prep. Some voters who registered on the last day it was allowed didn’t show up on voting lists.”

Note: Of the votes that counted in Detroit, Clinton got 95%, Trump 3%. Trump won Michigan by only 11,000 votes. A few more votes from Detroit and Clinton wins the state.

In a heavily Democratic area of Virginia:

“Cortes says several precincts in northern Virginia’s Fairfax County didn’t properly load their electronic poll book data, so some people who likely were registered weren’t showing up. He says those people were given provisional ballots and the elections office will work quickly to process them.” (63% voted for Clinton)

In North Carolina, in heavily Democratic Durham, more voting problems.

“Meanwhile, the Durham County Board of Elections has asked state board to extend voting hours at one precinct, the Bethesda Ruritan Club. It also is gathering information for the state board about whether hours at other locations should be extended. The county board will then determine whether to request extended hours at any other polling location.

The computer problem resulted in at least one precinct running out of authorization-to-vote forms for about 90 minutes. ” 

Note: Clinton won 79% of the vote in Durham, of those that were able to vote.

In Texas, again in the cities.

“Anthony Gutierrez, executive director of the Texas chapter of Common Cause, says some people had to go to three different locations before they could vote.

Other complaints among about 1,400 calls received from Texas on an Election Day hotline set up by nonprofits included scattered reports of voting technology malfunctions and lines longer than an hour in parts of Houston and Dallas.

Gutierrez says many people complained of poll workers being misinformed about changes the state made after a federal court ruled Texas’ voter ID law unconstitutional.”

And on..and on… and on….

  • In Maricopa County, Ariz., Democratic officials asked a judge to keep polls open for two more hours following problems with voting machines and provisional ballots that caused long lines. The request, like that in Colorado, was denied.
  • In Philadelphia, would-be voter Chris Calvert tweeted that both voting machines were broken at his polling place. “No one can vote in our district today. Hundreds of angry voters,” he wrote. Federal law requires election officials to give voters provisional paper ballots in such cases. (Trump won Pennsylvania by 44,000 votes; Philadelphia went 85% for Clinton…of those who could vote)
  • Broken ballot-scanning machines and other problems slowed voting at some polling places amid heavy turnout in New York City. Only one of two scanners was functioning at a polling place in Manhattan’s Gramercy Park neighborhood Tuesday morning, leading to a line of hundreds of people by 8:30 a.m. The same thing happened at Public School 154 in Manhattan’s Harlem neighborhood, where Megan Arend tweeted the situation was causing “complete chaos and discouraging voters.”

Of course, you can’t do much about voter suppression and changing polling places at the last minute. Those are typical tactics for which there may be no remdy. But you can solve the problem of voting machine errors, voting machine malfunctions, etc.

I am not suggesting any plan to deprive Democrats of voting. However, since urban areas are highly Democratic, when voting machines or long lines prevent or discourage voting, the impact is felt much more acutely in areas of high population density. Democratic strongholds. How do we take back a fair and honest voting system?

STOP using voting machines. Period. Just use paper ballots for national elections. It was good enough for the founding fathers. And for high school kids. Every year high schools across the country use paper ballots for their elections. Homecoming queen. Class president. Just make an X next to the name of the candidate. No computers. No ability of Russian hackers or anyone to manipulate the results. No machine malfunctions. Just honest elections.

Then, at the end of the day, you sit down with the poll workers and representatives of all the political parties and count the ballots. Easy. Why don’t we do that?  It would be accurate and fair. Totally transparent. Why don’t we do that? It would be accurate and fair. Totally transparent. I think I just answered my own question, didn’t I?

It works. It is honest. It is easy. Want to have fair elections?

Ask any homecoming queen.

 

http://blog.cleveland.com/metro/2010/04/some_cuyahoga_countys_voting_m.html

https://www.cbsnews.com/news/live-updates-voting-issues-reported-at-polling-places-on-election-day/

https://patch.com/michigan/detroit/live-2016-election-results-trump-clinton-swing-state-michigan

https://www.politico.com/2016-election/results/map/president/north-carolina/

http://edition.cnn.com/election/results/states/pennsylvania

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Time to Do Nothing

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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New Year Predictions 2018

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

 

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Mr Reed on the Backs of our Children

My Congressman is Tom Reed of NY-23. A staunch Trump supporter and one of the key members of the Ways and Means Committee responsible for the GOP tax bill. I called his office at 10:30 this morning and spoke with one of his staff members for 15 minutes. Here are the questions I asked and the answers I received.

Q. How many expert Congressional hearings has Mr Reed attended?

A. Don’t know exactly. There have been a few. Also he is on Ways and Means which had some hearings.

Q. Has Mr Reed read the entire bill, all 1000 pages ?

A. Yes. He has read the entire bill.

Q. Does Mr Reed gain financially from this bill, in the sense of the “Corker Kickback”? Any specific provisions which help him?

A. Do not know. Thinks not, however.

Q. According to some analyses, over the next 10 years 83% of the tax benefits go to the top 5% of people and corporations. Why does Mr Reed think the top earners need a break more than the bottom 95%?

A. Not familair with that analysis so can’t speak to it. The idea is to be pro-growth which will create jobs.

My follow up: Isn’t that what George Bush tried and it did not create jobs, called supply side?

A. Would not characterize it. Not familiar enough with the Bush plan to respond.

Q. The tax law keeps in place giving tax credits for taxes paid abroad. Doesn’t this discourage companies from creating jobs in the US if they can continue to take an overseas tax credit?

A. Is not familar with this provision. Can’t answer.

My follow up: If you want job creation at home wouldn’t it be better to tie any tax breaks to spending on jobs in the USA? Make job creation in the US a requirement for getting the tax break?

A. Will pass on my idea to the Congressman.

Q. The Center on Budget and Policy Priorities calculated that 10,000,000 lower income  families would get an increase in the child tax care credit of $75 a year. That amounts to an increase of 50 cents a day. Is this a good increase for poor people raising children?

A. The child credit remains and has been increased so poor families get a $2,000 tax credit, which in an increase. And they can get $1,400 in taxes returned.  

Q. On April 15, 2011 when Mr Obama was president, Mr Reed released this statement: “We are borrowing $58,000 per second on the backs of our children and grandchildren… Reducing spending and getting the national debt under control in the single most important issue…. Trillions of private dollars sit on the sidelines waiting to see if we are serious about reducing the deficit and paying down our debt….” Has Mr Reed changed his mind abut the deficit?

A. We are concerned about the deficit and debt. We are pro-growth and Mr Reed is concerned about spending.

Follow up: What specific spending does he want to cut?

A. Can’t answer.

The staff member, who was very polite and patient with me said he would try to contact others who could answer my questions.

Mr Reed used to be concerned about expanding deficits. Evidently he has concluded that our children have strong backs. They are going to need them.

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Fitness for High Office

One of the most laughable statements  by politicians in modern times was made by Mitch McConnell recently. He was talking about Roy Moore, the GOP candidate for the Senate.

“He’s obviously not fit to be in the United States Senate,” Mr. McConnell told reporters on Tuesday.        https://www.nytimes.com/2017/11/14/us/politics/sex-scandals-mitch-mcconnell.html?src=twr&_r=0

Let me say this about Roy Moore. He is, in my opinion, a pedophile. He is a slug. He sees himself as an Old Testament patriarch whose gender and age allows him to do anything he wants to anyone he wants. At the same time, the people of Alabama have the right to send to the Senate anyone they want.

If the people of Alabama want an accused pedophile and a moron to represent them, so be it.  If he committed a crime in Alabama that is for Alabama to determine. Look at the man who he is trying to replace. Jeff Sessions. A man who actively prosecuted black citizens for registering other black citizens to vote. The “high standards” of the Senate dd not see a problem with that. The Senateand House have been seating bigots and racists for over a century and it seems not to violate any ethical standards.

How many of these giants of the Senate have voted over and over to take away heath care for the working poor? How many times have they voted to end the ACA? How many times have these morally superior men noto voted t raise the minimum wage for those “working Americans” they love to talk about. How many of these fine gentlemen have voted to give massive breaks to the wealthy and screw the poor? How many of these fine representatives have supported voter suppression laws?

I would suggest that there is NO ONE who is morally repugnant enough to be excluded from the Senate or the House . And the record supports me.

I could care less if a senator wants to bang a dog. In some states that may be a requirement. Who knows?

That said, let’s look at a number of these sexual accusations and how they played out over the years.

Dwight Eisenhower and John F Kennedy both had affairs . The press never reported them although they were gossiped about  and well-known. But affairs are consensual sexual relations. Which are in a different category than sex crimes. (Although when JFK and Ike were alive adultery was a crime in most states, and is still a crime in 21 states. Should they have been impeached?)  http://www.freep.com/story/life/family/2014/04/17/in-which-states-is-cheating-on-your-spouse-illegal/28936155/

Did Moore commit sex crimes? Seems so. He was in his thirties and went after very young girls. Pedophilia?  His supporters seem to use the Bible as some justification for his proclivities. I think the guy is just sick and needs treatment. He seems to have  along history of this kind of behavior.

Al Franken has just been “outed” as an abuser as well. He forced himself on a woman and kissed her against her will. He took a fraternity-style photo of himself pretending to grope her while she slept. Is this sexual assault? Was this a one time thing ? A jackass trying to be funny? Franken apologized and said he was ashamed. Will other women come forward? If the people of Minnesota want a former comedian who has apologized for his actions to represent them, so be it.

Bill Clinton had consensual sex with Monica Lewinsky in the White House. She was 22 years old. Is a 22-year-old woman an adult who can make those decisions about who to have sex with or not? Is it crass and icky for an old man to use his position of power and have sex with someone who technically works for him (although in a non paid position). Is it illegal or just smelly? Does it make him unworthy to hold the office of president?

Then we come to the Abuser-in-Chief himself. A man who has bragged repeatedly about sexually abusing women. He has said he forced himself on women. Kissed them when he wanted. Grabbed them by the pussy. He has been found guilty of discrimination in housing  against black renters. He has been found guilty of ripping off young people at his phony Trump University and forced to pay $ 25,000,000 in damages. And he has been accused by multiple women and girls of sexual misconduct, including forcible kissing and groping.

How can Mitch McConnell or anyone member of the government DARE claim that Judge Moore or Al Franken or Bojo the One-Eyed Pedophile is not fit for government “service”.The American people have spoken. Well, at least 60,000,000 have spoken.

They spoke in November of 2016 and said unequivocally that ANY PERSON, no matter how low their moral compass is suited to participate at the highest levels of government. No matter what kind of sluggish behavior a human being can engage in, it was evidently not sluggish enough to prevent 60,000,000 from voting for him.

The Congress is not the synod of bishops or the college of cardinals of the Catholic Church. It is not a moral or religious organization. It is a bunch of men and some women who want to tell the rest of us what to do. They want to make laws. They are fallible human beings who should not be held to any standard other than how they vote on issues.

I do not support sex abuse in any form, but let’s be real. The  “standards” of government behavior hardly eleimnate anyone from serving in Congress.

(Please excuse editing errors. For some reason I cannot control my editor today!)

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