Tag Archives: Trump

USS Trumptanic

In April , 1912, an iceberg collided with the RMS Titanic . In a few hours the “unsinkable” gigantic ship sank. While most of the first class passengers managed to escape, most of the third class passengers perished. The captain went down with the ship.

Yesterday, Robert Mueller released the first indictment in a series. Thirteen Russians, working for Putin and his oligarchs, have been charged with helping destroy the candidacy of Hillary Clinton. The evidence is clear. The grand jury indicted. It is no hoax.

The captain of the RMS Titanic was informed that an iceberg was sighted. He tried to steer the ship away. But the iceberg was moving too fast and ship could not be saved. So, about 2 and a half hours later, the Titanic sunk. Some of the wealthiest people in the world were on board. Most made it to safety, some perished. For the third class passengers…well, not so good.

The captain of USS Trumptanic has known about the iceberg for sometime. We now have early warning systems for icebergs. Now the iceberg has been sighted. And it’s name is Mueller.

The thing about icebergs. For some, over 90% of the ice is below the surface. When you spot the 50 foot high tower of ice in the distance, you can be fearful that there is a massive block of ice you can’t see. Moving toward you. Slowly. Inexorably. On the way to tearing your ship apart.

The captain of the USS Trumptanic has seen the tip of the iceberg. He has watched as more and more of his crew have already fled to the lifeboats. Flynn. Manafort. Gates. Bannon. Already thrown overboard.  He sees the small block of ice and is convinced that there is nothing under the water.

What has happened? First, Mueller indicts Flynn, Manafort, Gates, Papadapolous. The crew. Now, the tip of the iceberg is moving along the horizon. The 13 Russian agents who worked with some Americans to distrupt the 2016 election. To get their man elected.

What’s next? What is below the surface? It’s not difficult to figure out.

Drill into the iceberg core. What do you find? Money laundering. The Russian money laundering business which has used Trump properties for years to hide the money from their illegal activities. Trump properties are rented and bought by Russian oligarchs for well above real value. Classic moneylaundering.

Drill deeper. Coordination with Russian agents. Jared Kushner was in charge of the internet activities of the Trump campaign. Jared Kushner has a massive debt on 666 Fifth Avenue, which he cannot pay. Jared Kushner has tried time and again to get loans from Russian government bankers, because long ago US banks refused to deal with him or Trump. Indictments coming.

Drill deeper. Donnie Junior and his “adoption” meetings with Russian agents. At Trump Tower. A secret meeting, in Trump Tower,  that the captain claimed was all about adoptions. Later found not to be true. The captain himself had lied about the reasons for the meeting. Indictments coming.

Drill deeper. The Mueller Iceberg has indictments and evidence that we can only guess at. But be certain. The iceberg is slowly and methodically heading for the USS Trumptanic. Collision course.

Edward Smith, the captain of the Titanic, saw the iceberg. He knew it was going to hit. He knew he was responsible. He did not run for the lifeboats. He went down with the ship.

The captain of the Trumptanic is NOT the captain of the Titanic. The captain of the Trumptanic will not go down with his ship. He is standing on deck blaming his crew for the iceberg. He is blaming the ice for the iceberg.

The captain of the Trumptanic is not going to jump into one of the lifeboats. He is waiting patiently for Mitch McConnell and Paul Ryan. They hold his fate in their hands. And they are on the way. Not with a lifeboat. Mitch and Paul are sailing to save the captain with a luxury yacht.

And together they will sail back home while the Trumptanic and the crew sink. The iceberg cometh.

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

https://www.npr.org/2018/02/17/586698361/the-russia-investigations-mueller-indicts-the-internet-research-agency

 

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Filed under government, Politics, POTUS, Trump

Everyone Loves A Parade

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

 

 

 

 

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Filed under Foreign policy, government, nazi, Politics, POTUS, Society, Trump

The Memo That Changed the World

I was watching Hannity the other night talking about the Nunes Memo. It is the most SHOCKING memo in US history. It will turn this nation upside down. it exposes the biggest scandal ever. Bigger than Watergate! Bigger than Teapot Dome! (he didn’t say that one. I doubt he knows what Teapot Dome is). It will end the Mueller investigation.

Hannity: Mueller Probe Was Based on a House of Cards That’s Now Crashing Down

http://insider.foxnews.com/2018/02/02/sean-hannity-monologue-fisa-surveillance-memo-release-ending-mueller-russia-probe

WOW

So, I couldn’t wait to see this memo. As a liberal I was sure it would knock my sox off. I would have to turn in my Communist Party membership card and join the KKK. It would turn me into a Tea Party fanatic overnight. Mueller is heading straight for the slammer!

So, I read the memo. Here it is:

https://www.theatlantic.com/politics/archive/2018/02/read-the-full-text-of-the-nunes-memo/552191/

What I learned….

First and most shocking. The Federal Bureau of Investigation, charged with investigating crimes and breaking up spy rings, was investigating a potential spy ring. OUTRAGEOUS. What is the Federal Bureau of Investigation doing “investigating” anything? Not only that, the FBI actually went ot the trouble of getting a LEGAL warrant, based on probable cause, at a FISA court, to do this investigating! That, my friends, is an outrage.

I also learned that  they were investigating Carter Page,  and had obtained LEGAL FISA warrants to do so! And, that in order to get a warrant at a FISA court they had to have evidence, which they evidently had, otherwise the FISA judge would not approve the warrant. They went back , as required by law, and obtained new warrants every 90 days! With new evidence . So the FBI followed the law to the letter. OUTRAGEOUS.

Now, you might ask, what does Carter Page have to do with the Mueller probe into Russian interference in our election and possible Trump campaign cooperation with the Russians? After all, Sean Hannity insists that the FBI’s investigation of Carter Page impacts on the Mueller investigation. But what does Page have to do with Trump?

According to the Trump campaign and Trump himself…NOTHING. Who is this guy, anyway? When asked about Page’s connection with the Trump campaign, their response was firm:

Mr. Page is not an advisor and has made no contribution to the campaign,” the campaign’s communications director Jason Miller said in an email to The Hill. “I’ve never spoken to him, and wouldn’t recognize him if he were sitting next to me.”

Presented with a statement from a campaign spokesperson in August that characterized Page as an “informal adviser” albeit one who “does not speak for Mr. Trump or the campaign,” Miller doubled down.

He’s never been a part of our campaign. Period,” he said.

Another spokesman, Steven Cheung, said Page “has no role” in the campaign.

“We are not aware of any of his activities, past or present,” Cheung added.”

http://thehill.com/homenews/campaign/297599-trump-campaign-backs-away-from-adviser-suspected-of-ties-to-kremlin

Except , in March of 2016, during the campaign, Mr Trump did an interview with the Washington Post, which started as follows:

“FREDERICK RYAN JR., WASHINGTON POST PUBLISHER: Mr. Trump, welcome to the Washington Post. Thank you for making time to meet with our editorial board.

DONALD TRUMP: New building. Yes this is very nice. Good luck with it.

RYAN: Thank you… We’ve heard you’re going to be announcing your foreign policy team shortly… Any you can share with us?

TRUMP: Well, I hadn’t thought of doing it, but if you want I can give you some of the names… Walid Phares, who you probably know, PhD, adviser to the House of Representatives caucus, and counter-terrorism expert; Carter Page, PhD; George Papadopoulos, he’s an energy and oil consultant, excellent guy…”

https://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/post-partisan/wp/2016/03/21/a-transcript-of-donald-trumps-meeting-with-the-washington-post-editorial-board/?utm_term=.1b8917464c4f

But, when it is discovered that Page’s Russia connections have been exposed, Mr Trump has another famous “lapse” of memory:

“In a news conference in February, Trump put distance between himself and Page.
I don’t think I’ve ever spoken to him,” Trump said at the time. “I don’t think I’ve ever met him. And he actually said he was a very low-level member of I think a committee for a short period of time. I don’t think I ever met him. Now, it’s possible that I walked into a room and he was sitting there, but I don’t think I ever met him.”

So, Carter Page was both a key advisor to Mr Trump on the campaign yet had nothing to do with the campaign. One of the top five foreign policy advisers to Trump, but Trump never met him! Was never part of the campaign. Makes sense. Perfectly clear. Do I need to repeat myself?

Then there is the Steele”dossier”, whose research was initially funded by the Republican  megadonor Paul Singer, who runs the ultra right wing Washington Free Beacon website. Later, this research was picked up and continued by the Clinton campaign. The Nunes memo claims that this dossier was the basis for the FISA warrant. But that is false. The Steele information, passed to the FBI, simply reinforced what the FBI already knew.

“In his testimony before the Senate Judiciary Committee, released on Jan. 9 by Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.), Simpson said Steele’s memo was received favorably by the FBI because it tracked with their own intelligence. “My understanding was that they believed Chris at this point — that they believed Chris might be credible because they had other intelligence that indicated the same thing and one of those pieces of intelligence was a human source from inside the Trump organization,” Simpson said, apparently also a reference to Papadopoulos.]”

https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/fact-checker/wp/2018/01/09/what-you-need-to-know-about-christopher-steele-the-fbi-and-the-dossier/?utm_term=.8f87d99b79a4

So…uh…what we have is a memo written by Nunes that affirms that Carter Page (who may or may not be a Trump campaign adviser) was being investigated by the FBI. True. The evidence to investigate him was there. And federal judges agreed on 4 separate hearings.

So, despite what Hannity has said, this memo not only PROVES that the Trump campaign was involved in contacts with Russians, but never even mentions Mueller.

So much for the memo that changed the world.

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Filed under Clinton, Conservatives, GOP, government, neoconservatives, Politics, Republicans, tea party, Trump, United States

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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Filed under Clinton, crime, government, neoconservatives, news, Politics, POTUS, Religion, Trump, US

My Shithole Surgeon

President Trump recently was reported as having referred to people who have immigrated from Haiti and African nations as “having aids” and being from a “shithole ” countries.  They are not welcome here. There were at least 2 independent sources for the statement.

Trump is quoted as saying: Why do we need more Haitians? Take them out.

Reached for comment about the article, White House spokesperson Raj Shah did not deny the “shithole” remark, but instead said in a statement that Trump “is fighting for permanent solutions that make our country stronger by welcoming those who can contribute to our society, grow our economy and assimilate into our great nation.”

http://www.cnn.com/2018/01/11/politics/immigrants-shithole-countries-trump/index.html

Then, this morning, Trump denied he said he used those words.

Washington (CNN)President Donald Trump on Friday denied describing certain nations as “shithole countries” during a meeting in which he rejected a bipartisan deal on the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program.

So, take your pick.

Which brings me to my cancer surgery. A few years ago I had an unusally high score on my PSA test (A test for prostate cancer). So, I had a biopsy. A biopsy which found that I did have cancer and it was near one of the walls of my prostate gland.

After careful consideration I decided to have a radical prostatectomy. It would be done with the robotic da Vinci method. The surgeon makes to small incisions and using the robotics is able to perform very delicate surgery. With minimal post operative issues.

Because of where I live, I was able to have a surgeon who is recognized as an expert in this field. He went to Boston University and the University of Rochester School of Medicine. He studied laproscopic surgery at the University College in London (England) and Paris (France). He also holds an MBA.

He is well known as an expert in his field. In 2010, he was one of the only 2 surgeons selected to perform a live demonstration as a teaching video. He has published articles in professional journals and books on the technique and outcomes. He has done thousands of surgeries.

Physically he is imposing. He is tall and has huge hands. (Which becomes apparent when he gives the digital exam we all love) When he shakes hands you can feel the gentleness you would expect of a surgeon. Yet, he is so soft spoken that sometimes you need him to repeat himself. And he has a subtle sense of humor.

So, I am happy with my surgery and my surgeon.

Which leads me back to Mr Trump and his remarks: Why do we need more Haitians? Take them out.

My surgeon, you see, is an immigrant. He is one of those immigrants who has come to the USA for a better life for himself and his family. At the same time making life better for other Americans, like me. He is black.  He speaks not only English but also French and probably some Creole.

Too bad Mr Trump has never met my surgeon. My doctor is a “Shithole Surgeon”  from the “Shithole” nation of Haiti. Why do we need more Haitians? To save American lives.

 

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Filed under healthcare, immigrants, Politics, POTUS, Trump, United States, US

Mr Reed on the Backs of our Children

My Congressman is Tom Reed of NY-29. 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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Filed under Conservatives, Debt, economics, Economy, GOP, government, Neoconservative, Politics, POTUS, Republicans, Senate, Society, Taxes, Trump, United States, US

I’m Rubber, You’re Glue

Many times when I was in 2nd grade there were often various verbal conflicts among the students. Some examples might be : You’re a big dummy. Another good one: You stink. And the classic: You’re ugly and stupid.

It may seem that these rhetorical barbs are impossible to contradict. How can one defend oneself against such succinct and astute accusations? How does one fend off these clever verbal retorts?

Well, other 2nd graders were up to the task. When confronted with verbal abuse (by other students; verbal abuse by Sister Clamidia dare not be challenged) we were armed with the nuclear weapon of rhetorical excellence: I’m rubber and you’re glue. Whatever you say bounces off me and sticks to you. 

OUCH. The attacker slinks off defeated. There is no response to this statement. Anything the attacker says now just ends up applying to the aggressor. The nuclear option.

Which brings me to modern politics.   Politicians sometimes make a claim about an opponent. The opponent is a crook. A sexual abuser. A criminal. You know the drill. And sometimes politicians just make statements which attribute certain other behaviors to their political foes.

Sometimes these accusations and statements end up being true or partially true. Other times the accusations end up being the 2nd grade equivalent of  “I’m rubber and you’re glue…” 

Some examples: Michael Flynn leading the chant at the GOP national convention: Lock Her Up. Lock Her Up. All the while Flynn himself had been secretly breaking the law and taking money from the Turkish dictator, possibly money funneled to him and his son from Putin. Now, Flynn has pleaded guilty and his heading for “Lock Up”.

I’m Rubber, You’re Glue

Donald Trump:  “How low has President Obama gone to tap my phones during the very sacred election process. This is Nixon/Watergate. Bad (or sick) guy!” March 4, 2017. Now the Mueller investigation closes in, Watergate -style, on Mr Trump. More and more evidence of the conspiracy between at least 9 members of the Trump campaign and Putin’s Russians. The firing of Comey to try to cover up the crimes.  Sounds an awful lot like Nixon/Watergate.

I’m Rubber, You’re Glue

“Why isn’t the House Intelligence Committee looking into the Bill & Hillary deal that allowed big Uranium to go to Russia[?]” he ( Trump) asked in a message posted to Twitter. Well, the Congress and special prosecutor are looking into deals with Russia. Trump deals. Even though Trump has denied ANY deals with Russia.

I have no deals that could happen in Russia, because we’ve stayed away,” Trump said in early January 2017 as President-elect. “We could make deals in Russia very easily if we wanted to, I just don’t want to because I think that would be a conflict. I have no loans, no dealings, and no current pending deals.”  

Except:  “Around the time presidential candidate Donald Trump was touting his real estate dealings at a Republican primary debate, a proposal was in the works to build a Trump Tower in Russia that would have given his company a $4 million upfront fee, no upfront costs, a percentage of the sales, and control over marketing and design. And that’s not all: the deal included the opportunity to name the hotel spa after his daughter Ivanka….”

I’m Rubber, You’re Glue

There’s more. A Trump tweet about Al Franken: “The Al Frankenstien picture is really bad, speaks a thousand words. Where do his hands go in pictures 2, 3, 4, 5 & 6 while she sleeps? …”

Of course, Trump himself has bragged about sexually assaulting women. And at least 13, (the number seems to keep growing) different women over the years have charged that Donald has assaulted them. As far back as 1980. And he seems to really like the Moore-age girls. ” Tasha Dixon, who competed as Miss USA Arizona—not in the teen competition—in 2001 said: “He just came strolling right in. There was no second to put a robe on or any sort of clothing or anything. Some girls were topless. Other girls were naked.” Some of the contestants in Miss Teen USA were as young as 15. “Don’t worry, ladies, I’ve seen it all before,” Trump allegedly said.”

I’m Rubber, You’re Glue

So , next time you hear a member of Congress say that Bob Mueller is a “crook” or we should “lock her up” or that “everybody does it”, remember the second graders at St. Mary School.

I’m rubber and you’re glue. Perhaps that should be engraved on the Capitol Building and White House.

http://www.cnn.com/2017/09/08/politics/document-trump-tower-moscow/index.html

https://www.aol.com/article/news/2017/03/27/trump-calls-for-investigation-into-hillary-clinton-russia-connection/22014433/

https://www.thedailybeast.com/all-of-donald-trumps-accusers-a-timeline-of-every-alleged-grope-and-assault

 

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Turkey Tax Theory

For over 30 years I have insisted on cooking the Thanksgiving turkey. I say “insisted”. It is my right as the head of the family. As a man. I decide these things. I know better than anyone else how to cook a turkey, so I take control. End of discussion. (Right, dear?)

I have a very sound theory of turkey cooking. First, you buy a turkey.  Then you cook it. Simple. Common sense.

Of course some folks might look to socalled “experts” when it comes to cooking turkey, but not me. They look in cook books and on line videos and some even ask grandma. But not me. I have a theory and I am sticking to it.

Now, the cookbook “experts” will tell you to cook a turkey at 325 degrees for a certain length of time, depending on the size of the bird. So much for experts. I have been using my own theory for 30 years. Ignoring the experts.

Here’s my theory.  I get a 15 pound turkey. Now, the “experts” say that you should cook a 15 pound turkey at 325 degrees for 3-3 1/2 hours. Balderdash. My common sense theory says  this is a waste of time. I don’t want to wait 3 1/2 hours for a turkey.  So, using common sense and math (Well, a calculator) my theory says this.

Cooking a turkey at 650 degrees will shorten the cooking time by exactly one-half. So, my turkey will be ready at 1 1/2 hours or so. No reason to wait for 3 hours. Simple. To the point. Common sense. A theory any idiot can understand.

I have been cooking Thanksgiving birds like this for 30 years and EVERY year, I mean EVERY year, the turkey ends up charred on the outside, partially cooked on the inside and a smoking mess. There is always a problem with the smoke filling the kitchen and the smoke alarm going off. I solve that easily by opening windows and disabling the smoke alarm ahead of time. Clever. The volunteer fire department is on retainer.

Why does the turkey always burn? For the first 20 years I figured it was a bad batch of turkeys. Not my fault. So I tried every turkey under the sun. I cooked each of the following , in order:

Honeysuckle, Butterball, Jennie-O, Norbest, Shay Brook, Riverside, Foster Farms, Boar’s Head, Plainville Farms, Trader Joe’s , Nature’s Promise, Perdue, Smithfield, Organic Prairie, Carolina, Pilgrim’s Pride, Applegate, Private Selection, O Organics, Cooper Farms.

As fate would have it, every one of these turkeys ended up being defective. They all burned.  They all filled my kitchen with smoke. Sad. Very sad. I thought maybe you just can’t get a decent turkey nowadays.

But then I thought. Wait. Maybe it’s the oven. So, I bought a new oven. Nope. Same problem. No matter what turkey I tried or oven I tried the end product was the same. I know that if only I had the right turkey and right oven my theory would be proven. It is just a matter of time. No amount of evidence can dissuade me from my theory.

Which brings us to the latest Tax Plan.

In 1980 Ronald Reagan had a great theory. A SPLENDID theory. Increase spending on the military. Give money to the rich by lowering taxes and they will create jobs. The economy will BOOM and unemployment will disapper. So, he put the theory into practice.  George H W Bush called it “voodoo economics” and said it would not work. By 1982 the US economy had experienced a recession and unemployment had RISEN to 10.8%. The GDP declined 2.7%. Opposite of the growth expected. Still, despite the evidence, it was a good theory.

In 1990 there was another smaller recession. This time George HW Bush was president. He had run on the slogan of “No New Taxes”. A great theory. Unfortunately circumstances beyond his control led him to abandon that theory and call for “revenue increases” to stabilize spending.  But he still had a good theory.

In 2001 George Bush had a theory. If we cut taxes on the wealthy they will invest in US jobs. GREAT! Wonderful theory. So, Congress cut corporate and individual taxes to stimulate the economy.  And he theorized that we needed to de-regulate big business. Too many restrictions were just strangling these major corporate and financial institutions. So, de-regulate we did. Excellent theory. Of course, it would take a few years for the effects to be felt. But the theory was sound.

And the effects were the biggest recession since 1945. Growth tanked to a negative 5.1%. Unemployment rose to 10%. Big money investors with all that extra capital did not create jobs in the US. Deregulated financial institutions simply made bad loans with investors money and went bust. (Well, they didn’t go bust, they got bailed out. Another theory. Too big to fail… even when they do).

When President  Obama left office unemployment was about 4%. A relatively stable rate. And there were no Obama-era recessions.So, the economy is back on track and continues to chug along. No reason to tamper with it.

BUT, we need to follow theories, not evidence. So, Congress is proposing the biggest tax breaks ever while proposing a massive increase in military spending . In 2015 the USA spent more on the military ($ 597,000,000,000 that’s billion) than the next 10 nations combined. The US spent more than the total spent by China, Saudi Arabia, Russia, UK, India, France, Germany, Japan, S Korea and Brazil…COMBINED). This is not to suggest the US does not need a strong military, but this seems a bit excessive. Spend more, take in less. Voodoo economics, anyone?

So, once again we are following a theory that has been shown to have no evidence supporting it, IF the goal is a stable , fair economic system. But the theory sounds pretty good.

For my part, I continued to use my theory to cook my Thanksgiving turkey. Despite the naysayers. OK, so it got burned again this year. No turkey for Thanksgiving. On the positive side, my wife has made a standing reservation for Thanksgiving at Hop Sing’s Chinese Restaurant.  She is  no theoretician. And I am developing a taste for Mu Shu Pork.

http://www.butterball.com/how-tos/roast-a-turkey

https://www.ranker.com/list/best-turkey-brands/ranker-shopping

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

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Read_my_lips:_no_new_taxes

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

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Filed under Budget, Congress, Debt, Democrat, economics, Economy, Free Trade, GOP, jobs, Politics, Republicans, Society, United States

Gillibrand Redux

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

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

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

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

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

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

Trump responded as expected.

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

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

(Your welcome).

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Booze and Women

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Filed under Congress, Debt, economics, Economy, GOP, government, liberals, minimum wage, pensions, Politics, Republicans, Taxes, United States

Bone Spurs Explained

Anyone who has ever read any of my posts knows by now that I usually don’t know what I am talking about. That is why I LOVE the interweb! Any idiot can post anything.

That said. One thing I do know about is bone spurs.  Just yesterday Senator John McCain made a veiled insult to Mr Trump about his avoidance of military service in Vietnam. He implied that folks with “bone spurs” were using that malady to avoid duty.

I confess that I refused to join the military during the Vietnam War. I opposed that particular war for moral reasons and attempted, unsuccessfully, to obtain a conscientious objector status.  I actively opposed that war and also the 2nd Iraq War. I stand by that opposition. I don’t think we should put our military at risk without a thorough assessment and public debate.

In my opinion there are some military actions that are/were necessary. North Korea cannot be allowed to expand it’s influence and South Korea and Japan must be protected. The support for Granada was necessary during the Reagan years. The US was right to form a coalition to eject Saddam Hussein from Kuwait  . The coalition to attempt to destroy the Taliban and al-Qaeda in Afghanistan was a proper response to 9/11. The entire world joined us in that effort. The US support for NATO has limited the influence of Russia in Europe, which is a good thing.

But, back to “bone spurs”. As it so happens I have bone spurs. On both heels . They hurt. They can be very, very painful. Some athletes get them. And women who wear high heels. I developed them later in life. They can be caused by age or overuse of your feet.  After all, I have been walking on these feet for over 60 years. They are bound to take offense eventually. So I can empathize with the president and the millions of other Americans who suffer from this malady. But bone spurs are treatable with a wide range of techniques.

However, bone spurs are not cancer . (Which I have also survived) .They are not terribly debilitating when given a little treatment. In my case, my podiatrist took a cast of my feet and made orthotics. These inserts simply create a small “donut hole” around the heel so the bone spur does not rest on anything but cushion. No pain.

When I golf I walk between 6 and 7 miles a day. Often in the woods. No pain.When I walk the three mile loop in my rural neighborhood it is on paved roads. No pain. When I chop wood or saunter behind the snowthrower in the  the driveway or mow the lawn I walk a lot. No pain. I went to work for over 30 years and never missed a day because of “bone spurs”.  ( I did miss a lot of work, but that is another story). There is no job you cannot do with a “bone spur” in you heel, except, perhaps Heel Dancing. (Yes, there is such a thing). A simple orthotic takes care of it.

Unless the US Army incorporates heel dancing as part of basic training there is nothing that prevents someone with heel spurs from serving except for one exception. You would be disqualified from joining the elite  “Dancing 54th”. Their motto :  Stompus Enemus Ouchus. (We Stomp on the Enemy. OUCH).

So, I cannot criticize Mr. Trump for avoiding the Vietnam War, but he and his doctor should have come up with a better excuse. Looking at the current “disqualifying ” factors for joining the US Army I notice that “bone spurs” is not mentioned. However, there is a section that Mr Trump could have used.

Under Personality, Conduct and Behavior Disorders

“b. Personality, conduct, or behavior disorders where it is evident by history, interview, or psychological testing that the degree of immaturity, instability, personality inadequacy, impulsiveness, or dependency will seriously interfere with adjustment in the Army as demonstrated by repeated inability to maintain reasonable adjustment in school, with employers and fellow workers, and with other social groups

Mr. Trump, you just earned your 1-Y. I would like to see Senator McCain try to challenge that one.

 

https://www.salon.com/2017/10/23/john-mccain-calls-out-trumps-bone-spurs-excuse-to-avoid-draft/

https://www.webmd.com/a-to-z-guides/tc/bone-spur-topic-overview#2

http://www.military.com/join-armed-forces/disqualifiers-medical-conditions.html

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Can Donnie Come Out and Play?

When I was a boy many, many years ago…How long ago, you ask? Before Twitter. Before Facebook. Before the internet. Before Blu Ray. Before DVDs. Before CDs. Before VHS. Before cable TV. Before Fox . Before video games. Before…well…just about everything.

We had a black and white TV and 3 channels. And if you missed the big game or your show, well, you missed it.  If you were lucky you could wait for the re-runs in 6 months.

Where was I? Oh, yes. When I was a boy many, many years ago we did active things for fun. Every weekend and summer we would play softball or touch football. For hours on end. After taking care of a few chores the rest of the day was unsupervised fun.

I learned many lessons from those days. At the time I did not know it. I thought we were just playing ball. But in retrospect the unsupervised hours and days with my friends were filled with life lessons that , unknown to me, stuck. I wonder if Donald ever learned those lessons? I think not.

There was Jack and the Sullivan boys and Joe and an assortment of others. Sometimes Erich. Sometimes Pawlawski. And a few others.

In the summer we would spend all day playing softball at the church parking lot. We knew it was time to go home when the bells rang, I think it was 5 o’clock. Usually 8 of us, sometimes only 6. With that small number of players we devised rules for a pretty decent softball game.

Playing with 3 on a team meant you had a slow pitch pitcher, a shortstop and a left fielder. With only 3 batters you always had to have someone score to take the next slot at the plate. Pitcher’s hands are out. Any ball hit to the right side of 2nd base was an automatic out. No ghost runners. The bases were sometimes pieces of wood, sometimes shirts, sometimes big stones. Never those canvas things used by real teams.

Playing touch football was the same. No first downs. Four downs to score a touchdown. One center, one end and one quarterback. One touch and you are down. No tackling.

No adults to be seen. We played by the rules and had fun. Was Dan safe at the plate or not? Well, Dan knows. If he says he was safe, he was safe. Did the ball get to the pitcher before Joe reached first? Some said yes, some said no. OK. Well, I guess he was out. No arguing. No fights. No instant replays. Someone would just say, OK, I guess you are right.

Did Jack cross the goal line or was he touched at the “one”? Jack said he scored. OK. He must have  scored.  He’s not a cheater. When Doug was touched he  always stuck the ball 6 inches ahead, just like the pro running backs on TV. I always waited until he turned around and pushed the ball 12 inches back.  It worked for both of us.

I can’t recall any serious arguments and certainly no fights. we just figured it all out.

So, what lessons was I learning that I never knew I learned by this unsupervised play?

Sometimes you win, sometimes you lose. Doesn’t really matter because we are playing again tomorrow.

If you don’t own a ball, someone else will. If you don’t own a bat, someone else will. That’s why we let everybody play.

If you have a fielder’s glove, toss it to your opponent as he goes to left field. He doesn’t own one and your not using yours when you are batting.

The guys on the other team today will be on my team tomorrow. It is all fluid. 

Uniforms are not needed. You are still a team even if you aren’t dressed alike.

Some people are better than others. Some are better at some things than I am. I am better at some things than they are. That’s the way it is.

Don’t complain about wrong calls. You know if you were safe or out. That’s enough.

Win “fair and square” or lose. Don’t cheat your friends. There is no future in it.

We need all the players we can get. Everyone is important.

It  doesn’t matter what you look like as long as you can catch the ball.

Donald is only 4 years older than me. I don’t know if he was allowed to play unsupervised with other kids. . To figure out how to negotiate human relationships. To learn to respect others and their abilities. To share his baseball glove. It does not appear to be the case.

It’s too late now, but I wonder if he would have been different had he lived on the East Side with the working class mopes like us. I wonder what would have happened had we been able to ride our bikes to his house, knock on the door and ask:

“Can Donnie come out and play?”

 

 

 

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Filed under Education, entertainment, Politics, POTUS, Psychology, Society, Sports, Trump, twitter, US

Trump is NOT a Moron

It was recently reported that Secretary of State Rex Tillerson has privately referred to Mr Trump as a “moron”. I OBJECT! It will not stand.

The term “moron” comes from the Greek moros meaning dull. According to the old Binet scale of intelligence a moron has the mental age of an 8-12 year old. Using the more modern terminology a moron would have an IQ of between 51-70. What we used to call mentally retarded and now refer to as mentally challenged or disabled.

Below a moron is an imbecile. Now, an imbecile is someone with an IQ of 26-50. Not very sharp. An imbecile is a term no longer used in the psychiatric profession. So, it would be difficult to scientifically determine whether or not Mr Trump is an imbecile. I am willing to give him the benefit if the doubt and say: NO, Trump is not an imbecile.

Many people refer to Trump as an “idiot”. An idiot traditionally is described as someone with an IQ of between 0-25. The lowest intellect possible. So an idiot would be really low intellectually. A really dull person. Unable to do anything at all. But , let’s look at the word origin.

An idiot comes from the Greek idiotes which means “private citizen” , “individual” or “person without professional skill”. And in Latin idiota means an “uneducated or ignorant person.”

From Wikipedia:

“…An idiot in Athenian democracy was someone who was characterized by self-centeredness and concerned almost exclusively with private—as opposed to public—affairs.[7] Idiocy was the natural state of ignorance into which all persons were born and its opposite, citizenship, was effected through formalized education.[7] In Athenian democracy, idiots were born and citizens were made through education (although citizenship was also largely hereditary)….”

So, an idiot is someone who is completely self-centered. Concerned exclusively with himself. Someone who has no public concerns. The perfect narcissist. An idiot cares only about himself. Period.

So, Mr Tillerson, you are wrong. I will not accept your analysis. Mr Trump is NOT a moron. What is he? You figure it out.

 

 

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Moron_(psychology)

http://www.todayifoundout.com/index.php/2010/03/the-words-moron-imbecile-and-idiot-mean-different-things/

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

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Condolences to Ray and Elfreda

The election for GOP candidate for the next senator representing the good people of Alabama is this Tuesday. Mr Trump was in Bama campaigning, kind of, for Luther Strange. His opponent is Judge Roy Moore. Whomever wins this primary election is pretty much assured of beating anyone the Dems put up in the special election to fill Jess Sessions seat. I mean the last time Alabama elected a Democrat as senator (Richard Shelby) he immediately switched parties and became a Republican.

So this election is, in effect, the election for the Senate seat.

A little research shows us that Luther Strange is, well, strange. He supports Donald Trump all the way.  He wants to kill trade deals, cut off funding for family planning at Planned Parenthood and of course, “Drain the Swamp” (but that is a different essay).

Luther, as Alabama attorney general, fought to allow Hobby Lobby to keep women from accessing basic medical care, like family planning services. He also supported Exxon’s refusal to reveal the climate change research it had done. As the replacement Senator for Jeff Sessions he has voted to take away health care for 40,000,000 Americans and to gut Medicaid  (which is the primary health insurance for over 1,000,000 Alabamians, mostly children). And Luther is the SANE candidate!

Judge Roy Moore, former Australian cowboy and kickboxing champion, has his own set of abominations. He was the judge who insisted, contrary to the US Constitution, that the 10 Commandments be placed outside his courtroom. (On a side note, the good judge has a personal set of 10 Commandments he carved himself… maybe he thinks he carved the originals as well). When he lost the court case and was told to remove the 2 ton granite boulders , he refused. He put himself above the law and was removed from the bench. Then Alabamians immediately elected him to the state Supreme Court.

He wants to give public money to Christian schools. ( I guess the Alabama public school systems are glutted with cash). He has condemned homosexuals from the bench. He condemns the idea of universal health care. He condemns trade. He condemns immigration, especially from our “northern border”.  (We don’t need no Canucks!) He condemns…well… just fill in the blank with any concept designed to give folks equal rights or make their lives better. You get the picture.

So, what does this have to do with Ray and Elfreda? I went to college with Ray and Elfreda (not their real names) back in the early 1970s.  (OK, Ray and Elfreda ARE their real names. I mean, who could make up a name like Elfreda?). They both live in Alabama.

Now, you could take any rusted pickup truck with a tail light out, stars and bars decals and gun rack (in other words, ANY vehicle in Alabama) and run over 2,000,000 Alabamians. And you would not hit anyone nicer than Ray or Elfreda. I mean, these folks left the relative sanity of the north and gave their professional lives to educating the kids of the Yellowhammer State. They migrated south of the Mason-Dixon Line to help kids in a state whose leaders couldn’t choose between 2 official fish,  so named them both: the tarpon and large mouth bass.

So I send Ray and Elfreda my condolences. Luther Strange or Judge Roy Moore is going to be “representing ” them for the next 6 years. A choice between an idiot and a bigger idiot. Heads I lose, tails I lose.  Perhaps there will be a tie and BOTH candidates can go to Washington.

“Introducing the distinguished senators fro the great state of Alabama: Moore Strange.”

Ray and Elfreda, I feel your pain.

(Actually I DO feel your pain. My “representative in Congress is an avid Trump supporter and all around con artist named Tom Reed, NY -29.)

 

http://www.lutherstrange.com/on_the_issues

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

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

https://www.roymoore.org/Positions/

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Filed under ACA, candidate, Congress, Constitution, gay rights, GOP, Hobby Lobby, Obamacare, Politics, Religion, Senate, Trump, United States

The Rocket Man versus The Dotard

For starters. here is a partial exchange of messages sent between John F Kennedy and Nikita Krushchev during the height of the Cold War. When people of each nations saw the other as the most terrible enemy and the world seemed always on the verge of nuclear war.

“…In your speech of inauguration to the office of President, and likewise in the message to Congress of January 30 you, Mr. President, said that you would like for the Soviet Union and the United States of America to unite their efforts in such areas as the struggle against disease, mastering the cosmos, development of culture and trade. Such an approach to these problems impresses us and we welcome these utterances of yours.

We consider that favorable conditions for the most speedy solution of these noble tasks facing humanity would be created through the settlement of the problem of disarmament. And we would like every country to make every effort for the solution of this problem with the establishment of such a strict international control under which no one could arm secretly and commit aggression.

All agree to the fact that the solution of the problem of disarmament depends to a great extent on agreement between the Soviet Union and the United States of America. If we reached such an agreement, it would be a great joy for all people on Earth and a great blessing for all mankind.

N. Khrushchev”
and Kennedy’s reply a week later….

“…I think we should recognize, in honesty to each other, that there are problems on which we may not be able to agree. However, I believe that while recognizing that we do not and, in all probability will not, share a common view on all of these problems, I do believe that the manner in which we approach them and, in particular, the manner in which our disagreements are handled, can be of great importance.

In addition, I believe we should make more use of diplomatic channels for quite informal discussion of these questions, not in the sense of negotiations (since I am sure that we both recognize the interests of other countries are deeply involved in these issues), but rather as a mechanism of communication which should, insofar as is possible, help to eliminate misunderstanding and unnecessary divergencies, however great the basic differences may be….”

John F Kennedy

 

Fast forward to 2017. Here is are the words used in the exchanges between Kim Jung-un and Donald Trump.

Trump: If you don’t do what I tell you I am going to “totally destroy” your country. Totally!

Kim: Ha . “A frightened dog barks the loudest”. I am not worried.

Trump: Oh yeah, “Rocket Man”

Kim: You are obviously “mentally deranged.”

Trump: Well, you are a “total nutjob”.

Kim: Well, I have the “biggest ever hydrogen bomb”. Biggest! Best !

Trump: You are “obviously a madman” I will destroy you.

Kim: I hear a “dog barking” just a “dog barking”.

Trump: “Maniac”

Kim: “Dotard”

Trump: Your mother wears combat boots!

Kim: So’s your old man.

Trump: Gonna make me?

Kim: You stink!

John F Kennedy and Nikita Krushchev must be swirling like tops in their graves.

(Words in quotes were actually used by Trump and Kim or Kim’s representatives.)

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Re-Fighting the Vietnam War

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Those Phone Calls…Very Presidential

Mr Trump has (once again) claimed that something has happened which did not happen.  Despite what he has said,  he did not receive congratulatory phone calls from the president of Mexico. Nor from the Boy Scouts. In fact, the Boy Scouts apologized for his remarks.

While some might suggest that the erroneous statements made by Trump are untrue, that is hardly the case.   As his current spokesperson. Ms Huckabee Sanders , has stated about these falsehoods: “I wouldn’t say it was a lie — that’s a pretty bold accusation.”

But, in the world of Trump, up is down, right is left, truth is lies and real news is fake. This incident did remind me of some phone calls I have received over the years from parents, public figures and various members of the animal kingdom. I shall share. While these might not be completely “true”, none of them are “lies”. According to Ms Huckabee Sanders.

The Pope called to beg me to return to the one, true apostolic church. Since I had left the church attendance at all Roman Catholic masses had declined. A lot. The Pope told me that I was the best Catholic ever, except for my sins. He said I was an amazing apostate. And he wants me back. Honest. He said that.

Tiger Woods called to congratulate me on my latest golf score, a scorching 89 (from the women’s tees). He told me I had the most amazing hook he had ever seen.  He wished he could play as well as I do. And my 3 putting was fantastic. Really. He did. He said that.

A former principal I worked for called and left a message. He told me I was the best employee that he had ever supervised. And he loved the many suggestions I made to him as to where to place his various suggestions for improvement. He said my creative responses were the best he had ever seen. Although he was finding it difficult to actually insert my suggestions into the appropriate orifice. But, according to him, I was the best! Amazing. Really. He said that.

Then there was the parent whose kid failed my class. As a result he was not admitted to Trump University’s School of Relativity and Prevarication. Even though I ruined the kid’s life , the mother insisted that I was the best teacher ever. She praised my firm stand on the issue of doing at least some homework once in awhile. She placed the complete blame on the situation on her son. I was blameless. I was fantastic. I was amazing. Honest. She said that.

The Donald himself called me just last week. He insisted that I was a political genius. He stated that he had never read any comments as clever or “on the spot” as mine. He talked about how he welcomed criticism as a way to improve his performance in the difficult task of president. He told me to keep up the great work. I was doing a fantastic job! Amazing! Really. He said that.

And the list goes on. But I am too modest to continue.

If you don’t believe me, please contact Ms. Huckabee Sanders. She can explain that it is not a lie to tell a story that isn’t true. It is presidential.

 

 

 

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полезные дураки, (polezniye duraki)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

End of tape…..

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

 

 

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No Surprises Here

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

Hello.

What did you expect? What is new?

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

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

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

This is a man who has the following history:

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

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

Somehow managed to mismanage a casino and actually go bankrupt.

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

Bragged about sexually abusing women.

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

Refused to divulge any Russia dealings in his tax returns.

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

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

Obama was born in Kenya.

Clinton broke the law.

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

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

Obama illegally wiretapped his phones.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

 

 

 

 

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Civil War Mystery

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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The Trump Doctrine

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

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

So, I will help.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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Something Deeper

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Trump’s Moonies

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

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

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

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

Which brings me to Trump’s Moonies.

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

 

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The Leopard’s Spots

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Trump’s Alternative Reality Explained

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

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

Which brings me to Star Trek.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

 

 

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