Wednesday, June 13, 2018

Off To SLC...

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Leaving for the great state of Utah Thursday June 14th to visit our son, daughter-in-law, and our two beautiful grandchildren. Blogging will be next to non-existent as we focus on Family and Fun.

Enjoy the archives and feel free to leave comments. Comment moderation will be on, but I will release them (and maybe even reply) when I find time. :-)

Tuesday, June 12, 2018

What Is The PROPER Role Of the ACLU?...

We are not at all comfortable the ACLU is actively moving in the direction of supporting partisan political agenda's and becoming involved in the election process with the obvious goal of influencing outcomes. For the organizations 98 year history it has devoted itself to fighting for the protection of the civil liberties of all Americans. To become just another partisan political advocacy group is a disservice to the original reason for its existence.

Recent moves by the ACLU may very well be in response to the Bush and Trump era(s) and their apparent desires to concentrate power in the hands of a conservative government (agenda), the plutocrats, the military, and the religious right. However, the last thing we need is another special interest advocacy group. Especially when the ACLU often argues in court for everyone's civil liberties, presumably based on our Constitution and Bill of Rights. Taking partisan political positions and morphing into an advocacy group will compromise the ACLU's integrity. Something which is already suspect in the minds of more than just a few. Besides, both the right and the left has more than an ample amount of these.

Because the right is more focused, better at propaganda, and hugely more effective at marketing their propaganda is the fault of moderates and the liberal left which has done a poor job of marketing their alternative. Either that or the nation is, as this individual has often said, a center right nation.

Now on to some commentary by those more familiar than I with the ACLU.


The Hill - The director of the American Civil Liberties Union has now acknowledged what should have been obvious to everybody over the past several years: The ACLU is no longer a neutral defender of everyone’s civil liberties. It has morphed into a hyper-partisan, hard-left political advocacy group. The final nail in its coffin was the announcement that, for the first time in its history, the ACLU would become involved in partisan electoral politics, supporting candidates, referenda and other agenda-driven political goals.

The headline in the June 8 edition of the New Yorker tells it all: “The ACLU is getting involved in elections — and reinventing itself for the Trump era.” The article continues: “In this midterm year, however, as progressive groups have mushroomed and grown more active, and as liberal billionaires such as Howard Schultz and Tom Steyer have begun to imagine themselves as political heroes and eye presidential runs, the ACLU, itself newly flush, has begun to move in step with the times. For the first time in its history, the ACLU is taking an active role in elections. The group has plans to spend more than 25 million dollars on races and ballot initiatives by Election Day, in November.”

Since its establishment nearly 100 years ago, the ACLU has been, in the words of the New Yorker, “fastidiously nonpartisan, so prudish about any alliance with any political power that its leadership, in the 1980s and 90s, declined even to give awards to likeminded legislators for fear that it might give the wrong impression.” I know, because I served on its national board in the early days of my own career.

In those days, the board consisted of individuals who were deeply committed to core civil liberties, especially freedom of speech, opposition to prosecutorial overreach and political equality. Its board members included Republicans and Democrats, conservatives and liberals, right wingers and left wingers, all of whom supported neutral civil liberties. The key test in those days was what I have come to call “the shoe on the other foot” test: Would you vote the same way if the shoe were on the other foot, that is, if the party labels were switched?

Today, the ACLU wears only one shoe, and it is on its left foot. Its color is blue. The only dispute is whether it supports the progressive wing of the Democratic Party or its more centrist wing. There is little doubt that most board members today support the progressive wing, though some think that even that wing is not sufficiently left. There is no longer any room in the ACLU for true conservatives who are deeply committed to neutral civil liberties. The litmus test is support for hard-left policies.

To be sure, the ACLU will still occasionally take a high profile case involving a Nazi or Klan member who has been denied freedom of speech, though there are now some on the board who would oppose supporting such right-wing extremists. But the core mission of the ACLU — and its financial priority — is to promote its left-wing agenda in litigation, in public commentary and, now, in elections. ...

Continues HERE


THE NEW YORKER - Earlier this year, radio advertisements began airing in and around Charlotte, North Carolina, criticizing the elected sheriff of Mecklenburg County, a Democrat and retired firefighter named Irwin Carmichael. Normally, only the most politically extreme or publicity-hungry sheriffs attract much public notice, and Carmichael was not one of those. “People weren’t even aware of who the sheriff was,” Mark Mellman, a prominent Washington pollster who worked on the race, told me. Carmichael’s office had maintained an agreement with Immigration and Customs Enforcement that deputized his officers to identify undocumented prisoners and turn them over to federal agents, and the radio ads focussed on this issue. “Sheriff Carmichael works with Trump’s deportation force—detaining people for deportation, tearing families apart,” an announcer intoned. “Carmichael’s challengers? They’ve pledged to stop working with Trump’s deportation force.” The anti-Carmichael ads also carried an interesting concluding line—they had been paid for, an announcer said, by the American Civil Liberties Union. Carmichael had gone into his reëlection year looking like a good bet to win. Before the Democratic primary, he had raised more than twice as much money as had his two challengers—a retired homicide detective, Garry McFadden, and a former suburban police chief, Antoine Ensley—combined. But the A.C.L.U. was spending money on the race, too: the radio ads alone matched half of Carmichael’s budget. On primary day, McFadden won, Ensley came in second, and Carmichael finished third. When he spoke to the press after the results came in, the defeated sheriff criticized the “outside forces” that he believed had contributed to his defeat.

For most of its ninety-eight years of existence, the A.C.L.U. has spent its resources largely on litigation, arguing for civil liberties, and against government excess, in the courts. Part of the organization’s DNA is a Bill of Rights purism—the group, always liberal, has famously defended the rights of neo-Nazis and Klansmen to protest—and it has been fastidiously nonpartisan, so prudish about any alliance with political power that its leadership, in the nineteen-eighties and nineties, declined even to give awards to like-minded legislators for fear that it might give the wrong impression. In this midterm year, however, as progressive groups have mushroomed and grown more active, and as liberal billionaires such as Howard Schultz and Tom Steyer have begun to imagine themselves as political heroes and eye Presidential runs, the A.C.L.U., itself newly flush, has begun to move in step with the times. For the first time in its history, the A.C.L.U. is taking an active role in elections. The group has plans to spend more than twenty-five million dollars on races and ballot initiatives by Election Day, in November. Anthony Romero, the group’s executive director, told me, “It used to be that, when I had a referendum I really cared about, I could spend fifty thousand dollars.”

Last year, as a kind of experiment, the A.C.L.U. made a small investment in the district attorney’s race in Philadelphia. The group had become interested in the race because one of the candidates, a former civil-rights lawyer named Larry Krasner, was campaigning on the promise to help end mass incarceration. The A.C.L.U. helped send ex-felons door to door, talking about the brutalities and injustices of prison, and Krasner won. The sheriff’s race in Mecklenburg County was the experiment’s second phase—an investment big enough to help tip a race, spent in an increasingly progressive city in a traditionally conservative state where, the hope was, people could be persuaded to see the mundane brutalities of the local jail anew. The day after the vote in Mecklenburg County, McFadden, who had just won the Democratic nomination, called the A.C.L.U.’s national political director, Faiz Shakir, to thank him. Shakir told me that he encouraged McFadden to make Mecklenburg into a national model for how a progressive sheriff might run his department.

Anthony Romero became the executive director of the A.C.L.U. in 2001, just before the September 11th attacks. The excesses of the Bush Administration’s war on terror, which followed, raised the group’s profile and improved fund-raising. But even that unusual period, Romero told me recently, was not so unusual as this one, because, during the Bush Administration, the civil-liberties cause was mostly a series of lawsuits and editorial arguments, not a movement. After 9/11, when the Bush Administration instituted a program that required visitors from two dozen Muslim-majority countries to register with the government, Romero said, “I don’t remember anyone waving signs that said ‘We are all Muslims.’ ” But last year, when President Trump’s first travel ban targeting Muslims was issued, protests spread at airports around the country, A.C.L.U. lawyers arrived on the scene, and that slogan—“We are all Muslims”—was seen everywhere. Romero had played a small role in helping to organize the Women’s March of 1996, when thirty thousand women and men marched in San Francisco in defense of reproductive rights. That event had required years of centralized planning. After Trump’s election, much larger women’s marches took place in cities around the country, organized in a matter of weeks. The defense of and concern for civil liberties has been central to the resistance to Trump, and the A.C.L.U.’s membership has quadrupled since the President was inaugurated. Romero said that the average age of his membership had dropped by twenty years as a result, and has become somewhat more diverse—“sixteen per cent people of color,” he said. “It’s no longer just college-educated liberals on the coasts.”

Even before this influx of new members, Romero had already begun to think about how the A.C.L.U. might adapt to its current-day political context. In 2013, during the comparative quiet of the late Obama years, Romero had commissioned a study of how the National Rifle Association—another organization built around a specific view of a section of the Bill of Rights—has managed to operate so effectively as a public-advocacy organization. “The big takeaway for me from that study was that they were able to talk about their work not in legalistic policy terms,” Romero said. “On their Web site you won’t find anything about the Second Amendment. It’s all about gun culture.” Romero thought that the A.C.L.U. might do something similar—moving out from the courtrooms and into the work of grassroots mobilization, of policy issues and campaigns. What he wanted, he said, was “to give people a real opportunity to be protagonists.” ...

Continues HERE

Sunday, June 10, 2018

Giving Trump Kudos When Kudos Are Due... Will He Stand By His Prediction?




I never thought I would be giving the orange haired individual now sitting the White House credit for rational thought and sensible decisions, but, I recently find myself re-thinking those thoughts. Of course that is predicated on the assumption that he actually means what he said regarding possible support for a legislative proposal to leave the decision to states about whether to legalize marijuana.

When asked about a legislative bill introduced by Senator Cory Gardner, Republican of Colorado, and Senator Elizabeth Warren, Democrat of Massachusetts his response was... “We’re looking at it. But I probably will end up supporting that, yes,”

The bill would leave the decision to states about whether to legalize marijuana, Something that any actual conservative/libertarian should support with enthusiasm and  all liberal/progressive ought to be solidly behind this.

As Trump is as unpredictable as the winds it is not certain that he will ultimately support and sign the legislation if it passes congress. We can only hope that he does. Bottom line, whether conservative/libertarian or liberal/progressive it is the right thing for Trump to do. Everyone with an understanding of the science that supports the benefits of marijuana ought to be giving the President Kudos on his apparent support for legislation that would essentially upend an archaic and foolish punitive federal law.

Marijuana does not belong on the federal controlled substance list. In fact it was not until 1970 that marijuana was federally banned for any purpose, including for medical purposes. The decision to outlaw marijuana use was a purely a political one without concern for science or the very real benefits associated with marijuana. And now, the other reason for the criminalization of cannabis.

Read the New York Times article HERE.

Friday, June 8, 2018

A Sincere and Respected Conservative Gives His Final Farewell... You Will Be Missed Charles Krauthammer

Lastly, I thank my colleagues, my readers, and my viewers, who have made my career possible and given consequence to my life’s work. I believe that the pursuit of truth and right ideas through honest debate and rigorous argument is a noble undertaking. I am grateful to have played a small role in the conversations that have helped guide this extraordinary nation’s destiny.

Charles Krauthammer as he bids farewell to his friends, associates, and this life that he gave his all. A truly interesting and sincere conservative whose voice will be missed. 

We hope Charles is spared pain and suffering in his final days and that the universe speeds him on his ultimate journey home.


Please find Charles final article HERE

ACA Now at Risk as the Trump Administration Fails to Defend the Law...

The Washington Post - The Trump administration said Thursday night that it will not defend the Affordable Care Act against the latest legal challenge to its constitutionality — a dramatic break from the executive branch’s tradition of arguing to uphold existing statutes and a land mine for health insurance changes the ACA brought about.

In a brief filed in a Texas federal court and an accompanying letter to the House and Senate leaders of both parties, the Justice Department agrees in large part with the 20 Republican-led states that brought the suit. They contend that the ACA provision requiring most Americans to carry health insurance soon will no longer be constitutional and that, as a result, consumer insurance protections under the law will not be valid, either.

The three-page letter from Attorney General Jeff Sessions begins by saying that Justice adopted its position “with the approval of the President of the United States.” The letter acknowledges that the decision not to defend an existing law deviates from history but contends that it is not unprecedented.

The bold swipe at the ACA, a Republican whipping post since its 2010 passage, does not immediately affect any of its provisions. But it puts the law on far more wobbly legal footing in the case, which is being heard by a GOP-appointed judge who has in other recent cases ruled against more minor aspects.

The administration does not go as far as the Texas attorney general and his counterparts. In their suit, lodged in February in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Texas, they argue that the entire law is now invalid.

By contrast, the Justice brief and letter say many other aspects of the law can survive because they can be considered legally distinct from the insurance mandate and such consumer protections as a ban on charging more or refusing coverage to people with preexisting medical conditions.

A group of 17 Democratic-led states that have won standing in the case also filed a brief on Thursday night arguing for the ACA’s preservation.

While the case has to play out from here, the administration’s striking position raises the possibility that major parts of the law could be struck down — a year after the Republican Congress failed at attempts to repeal core provisions.

The Red Tide moving against its core constituents (and America's) best interests. Trump forewarned us of his plans and even as the majority shifted to pro ACA the Red Tide continues to try and identify ways to sweep the law out to sea. The caring compassionate party of plutocrats and liars at work for you, the average hard working American family. Yeah, right.



Article continues Below The Fold.

Tuesday, June 5, 2018

I Love America, SO, Two Big Middles to Trump...

After cancelling the planned Super Bowl celebration with the Philadelphia Eagles pResident Trump hosted a "Patriotic Celebration". The pResident's remarks below.





Perhaps it's just this individualistic patriot of some 60+ years that believes Trump is full of it. However, our constitution guarantees the right to free political speech and expression. Which includes legitimate peaceful protest against inequities and injustice, perceived or real.

I love my country, even with its many flaws. I stand for the National Anthem out of choice, not compulsion. I do so in respect for, and in the spirit of,  what our Declaration of Independence and our Constitution stand for.

Unfortunately this nation of laws has not always lived up to the lofty words and values of our Declaration of Independence. Nor has it insured equal justice under the law to all it's citizens in all places and at al times. The institutionalized inequities and injustice in our legal system is well documented. Thus the justification for Taking a Knee.

If Trump understood our Constitution and the stated values enshrined in our Declaration of Independence he would know what it means to be a true Patriot who loves America. It does not mean parades, pomp and circumstance, standing with hand over heart, agreeing with "your" president at every turn, or accepting all that you are told to accept. It means fighting for the principles and vales that you believe are right. And that Mr. pResident means peaceful protest in solidarity against very real injustices that exist in our justice system.

The below should incense every true patriotic American, WHY? Because it is true.

“There is today one state in which at least weak beginnings toward a better conception [of immigration] are noticeable. Of course, it is not our model German Republic, but [the US], in which an effort is made to consult reason at least partially. By refusing immigrants on principle to elements in poor health, by simply excluding certain races from naturalisation, it professes in slow beginnings a view that is peculiar to the People’s State.”

Hitler connected this American “success” story to his ultimate goal, as he told a fellow Nazi:

“Now that we know the laws of heredity, it is possible to a large extent to prevent unhealthy and severely handicapped beings from coming into the world. I have studied with interest the laws of several American states concerning prevention of reproduction by people whose progeny would, in all probability, be of no value or be injurious to the racial stock.”

So if you want to know why NFL players feel the need to follow Colin Kaepernick’s lead, and protest during the national anthem, the fact that Hitler took inspiration from popular American policies like the Jim Crow South or the Immigration Act of 1924 should be instructive. Racially tinged fascism is as American as apple pie, and it’s on the rise yet again. And before we can understand the NFL protests, and the abysmal reaction from Roger Gooddell and the owners, we have to understand a little bit of American fascist history.

Trump is far from the first demagogue to successfully court this thick slice of Americans who identify more with the heritage-based vision of Nazi Germany than the idea-centric aim of our constitution. According to Gallup, Richard Nixon received 32% of votes from nonwhite Americans in his failed 1960 presidential bid. When he won in 1968, he only got 12% of the votes from this group. What happened in between was basically the Big Bang for the modern GOP.



SOURCE

Thursday, May 31, 2018

White Americans Largest Recipient Group of Medicare and Food-Stamps...

Wonkblog - White America’s racial resentment is the real impetus for welfare cuts, study says.

The study, conducted by researchers at two California universities and published Wednesday in the journal Social Forces, finds that opposition to welfare programs has grown among white Americans since 2008, even when controlling for political views and socioeconomic status.

White Americans are more likely to favor welfare cuts when they believe that their status is threatened and that minorities are the main beneficiaries of safety net programs, the study says.

The findings suggest that political efforts to cut welfare programs are driven less by conservative principles than by racial anxiety, the authors conclude. T hat also hurts white Americans who make up the largest share of Medicaid and food-stamp recipients.

President Donald Trump and Congressional Republicans have proposed deep cuts to both programs (emphasis mine)

Skip


The demographics of welfare recipients in three federal programs. (Sources: Department of Agriculture, Department of Health and Human Services, Kaiser Family Foundation)


White Americans called for deeper cuts to welfare programs after viewing charts that showed they would become a racial minority within 50 years. They also opposed welfare programs more when they were told that people of color benefit most from them.

“We find evidence that these shifts [in sentiment against welfare programs] are specifically directed at programs people see as benefiting minorities instead of whites,” she added.

Wetts isn’t ruling out the possibility that alternate factors could also be at play, of course. Some researchers have found that people embrace more conservative politics during periods of rapid social change -- not necessarily because they fear their racial status is threatened, but because they fear change is happening too fast. Others have argued the connection between white Americans’ racial resentment and their politics has been exaggerated.

But there's a growing body of evidence to suggest that white Americans who fear a loss of racial status are driving major shifts in policy and politics. A major study in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences in April concluded that President Donald Trump was voted into office by people anxious about rising racial diversity and globalization.




Sometimes it is admidtedly difficult to understand the mentality of White Americans. This study points out the reality that fear is a strong social motivator . Ignorance can be as well.

More below the fold.

America's Narcissist In Cheif...

Thomas McClure is an American illustrator and designer whose most recent work is in the production and conceptual illustration for feature films.


Ain't that the truth America?!!? Those who don't vote get what they deserve.

And now? America suffers the indignity.



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Wednesday, May 30, 2018

Need We Say Anything Else?...

Image result for trump caricatures


Current home of the worlds greatest jester.




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Wednesday, May 23, 2018

Is Power Shifting Away From the Democratic Establisment?...

I ran across an intresting article discussing the shifting power currents within the democratic party. The author highlights the power shift away from the Democratic  party establisment to its grassroots to that which occurred in the Republican party following the election of President Obama.

The article is insightful as well as well written. It certainly will give more progressive minded democrats (and even liberal independents) a reason to smile, AND, hopefully work that much harder to effect the needed changes in the democratic party that will ultimately result in flipping Congress in 2018 and defeating Trump in 2020.

Article intro below.

In 2010, enraged grassroots conservatives launched an insurgency against the Republican establishment. The Tea Party movement ran a series of primary challengers accusing Republicans of being insufficiently oppositional to President Obama. 

Their insurgency was wildly successful. Within four years, they had picked off a sitting senator and the Majority Leader of the House, making it impossible for Republican politicians to break with their base for fear of losing a primary. The establishment lost control, and an ideological movement now controlled the direction of the party. This grassroots outrage, underwritten by big donors, unchecked by any moderating party apparatus, set the stage for Trump’s unvarnished racism and his assault on the rule of law.

In 2018, as Democrats are confronting the stupefying threats of the Trump administration, the Democratic Party establishment is bracing for a similar reckoning from its own grassroots. The resistance has pushed Democrats towards much sterner opposition to Trump, and the organized left is larger than at any point since the Great Depression. The voters of the Democratic Party are more dissatisfied with the corporate lawyers and former prosecutors who make up the party’s leadership than at any point in the past two decades.

But a Tea Party of the Left has been much slower to materialize than the conservative uprising of the right. As primary election season ramps up, the left’s record has been decidedly mixed.

Two weeks ago, pundits were quick to declare the establishment firmly in control of the Democratic Party. Progressive challenger Paula Jean Swearington was crushed by conservative Democrat Senator Joe Manchin in West Virginia. Former Rep. Dennis Kucinich, whose longshot 2004 presidential campaign prefigured, in certain ways, the agenda of today’s Democratic insurgents, lost badly to former Consumer Financial Protection Bureau chief Richard Cordray in the race for the Democratic nomination for governor of Ohio. According to the Washington Post, the Democratic establishment is “alive and well, thriving after big wins,” and the party’s left “fell short as better-funded candidates easily won their primaries.

Last Tuesday, the media narrative turned again. The Washington Post now declared: “The far left is winning the Democratic civil war.” Kara Eastman, a liberal social worker who built her campaign around “Medicare for All,” scored a shocking upset in a Nebraska House primary against a former Congressman backed by the party establishment. Socialist candidates won four primaries for the state legislature in Pennsylvania, taking down two conservative incumbents in the process. Progressives also scored victories in two congressional primaries and the Lt. Governor’s race in Pennsylvania, and the Idaho governor’s race.

So is the establishment in control? Or is the left winning the civil war?

The truth is the establishment is still in control of the party, but their grip on power is weaker than it’s ever been. They’re still in power, but they do not convince. There is an ideological movement afoot in the Democratic Party that’s winning converts in the base, but it doesn’t yet have the political power to consistently win primaries and take control of the party.

Democratic voters, especially the millennials who are an increasingly important part of the base, are overwhelmingly looking for a new direction. The market-based, means-tested, Wall Street-funded neoliberal approach that Democrats have proffered from the Reagan era through Obama is no longer enough for the base of the Democratic Party. Democratic voters across the country overwhelmingly support an agenda calling for government guarantees of basic economic rights: a job, housing, healthcare, education, and a decent income for all.

Despite a wave of candidates entering into competitive primaries to build on the successes of Bernie Sanders’ 2016 presidential campaign, and the rise of new groups like Justice Democrats and Our Revolution to support them, it remains true that left candidates have had limited success in primaries. (Disclaimer: I previously worked at Justice Democrats, and currently do some work with Our Revolution.) If Democratic voters truly want more a progressive and confrontational party, why haven’t left populist candidates won that many competitive races?

Ultimately, the left is underrepresented in politics for the same reason women, people of color, and working class people are under-represented: We have a 18th century political system that was designed to protect the power of the (overwhelmingly white and male) wealthy, owning class, and mostly still does. It’s not a question of what people want—it’s about what money can buy.

Continue reading article at SPLINTER.


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Monday, May 21, 2018

There Was a Time When Republicans Had Something To Offer...


Then


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And Now



See the source image



Can the Republican party regain the respect it once had?

If so, how? If not, why not?


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Wisdom is Often Ignored...

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What Say You? And Why...

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Former Trump SOS Speaking the Truth...

Former Secretary of State Rex Tillerson had the following words for the graduating class of cadets at the Virginia Military Institute. While not naming Trump or his administration specifically by name there can be little doubt but what his thinly veiled words where aimed in Trump's direction.

Free from being responsible to and having to support the boss he likely held little real respect for, he can now do the most good for America and her people by speaking openly and honestly about issues that go to the heart of who we are as a nation. We hope Mr. Tillerson and others intimately familiar with Trump and his administration will began to speak more openly and honestly to the American people about the very real internal threat America is facing from its current POTUS.

"When we as people, a free people, go wobbly on the truth even on what may seem the most trivial of matters, we go wobbly on America."

If our leaders seek to conceal the truth and we as people become accepting of alternative realities that are no longer grounded in facts, then as an American people we are on a pathway to relinquishing our freedom.

If we do not as Americans confront the crisis of ethics and integrity in our society and among our leaders in both private and public sector, and regrettably at times even the nonprofit sector, then American democracy as we know it is entering its twilight years.

Never lose sight of your most valuable asset, the most valuable asset you possess: your personal integrity. This can be a very mean-spirited town. But you don't have to choose to participate in that."

SOURCE

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Tuesday, May 15, 2018

Intelligence, Decency, Honesty, and Integrity Followed By A Dishonest and Ignorant Moron

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As the white supremacists cheer. Their only problem is their kind is a dying breed. Hopefully soon to be as extinct as the dinasaurs they represent in human form.

Thursday, May 10, 2018

tRump Proving HIS america Can Not Be Trusted...


Trump is a Republican and we're happy to let Republicans own him.

Cartoon by Actor and Comedian, Jim Carrey

h/t: Progressive Eruptions , be sure to click on Progressive Eruptions to read the article.

Tuesday, May 8, 2018

The False Meme and Ignorance of the GOP and Trumpians...

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Yes, black votes do matter. And, contrary to GOP beliefs black folks have their own minds. It's the people running conservative think tanks these days and the GOP SHEEPLE that apparently do not.

Friday, May 4, 2018

Fairness is a Subjective Determination...

President Trump, claiming he would love to talk to Mueller has sais the questioning must b "fair" far him to do so. Stating his attorneys have advised him to not speak with Mueller he also said he would override their advise if he could find a way to insure the questioning was "fair".

REUTERS - .S. President Donald Trump said on Friday shifted his position over possible talks with U.S. Special Counsel Robert Mueller, saying his lawyers have advised him against any talks but that he would submit to questioning if it was "fair."

Trump has repeatedly said he wanted to talk to Mueller, a fellow Republican investigating alleged Russian meddling in the U.S. 2016 election and possible collusion by the Trump campaign.

"I would love to speak. I would love to. Nobody wants to speak more than me ... because we've done nothing wrong," Trump told reporters outside the White House on his way to the NRA Convention in Dallas. "But I have to find a way to be treated fairly."
"If I thought it was fair, I would override my lawyer," he added.

Of course Trump's statement is really saying that he is willing to talk with Mueller if the questions are softball tosses and lead to the conclusion of the investigation with judgment exactly as Trump desires. In other words Trump is not so much concerned with "fairness" as he is with coming out as clean as a whistle. regardless whether it is the truth or not.

Trump also defended Rudy Giuliani, who he recently hired to represent him in the matter. The former federal prosecutor, however, raised a number of questions about Trump's actions and motivations in a series of media interviews this week.

On Thursday, Giuliani said he wanted limits for any Trump interview with Mueller.

"He started yesterday. He'll get his facts straight. He's a great guy," Trump told reporters. One of Trump's lawyers announced Giuliani's addition to the team on April 19.

Ghouliani is a perfect addition to the Trump team. Obviously inept these days with the tendency to shoot from the hip. But he is a loyal Trumpian who will work hard at being Trump's chump.

The president also repeated his assertion that there was no collusion by his team and that the federal probe led by Mueller was a "witch hunt." Russia has also denied any interference, despite the conclusions of U.S. intelligence agencies.

Giuliani's "learning the subject matter. ... He knows this is a witch hunt. That's what he knows," Trump added.

Trump continuing to obsessively repeat no collusion and witch-hunt does not make either so. It is the job of Mueller to get to the bottom of all the allegations. As a man of integrity this is what he will do. All Americans, regardless of political affiliation or economic status ought to hope he does. The continuation f our democratic republic depends on it.

Sunday, April 29, 2018

A Flashback In Time...

Closing out the decade of the 1960’s was one of the top billboard hit of 1969,  In The Year 2525 by Zager and Evens. As we observe events 49 years later this tune’s message reverberates  as much today as it did at the close of the sixties.




Read Hit song of 1969 recorded in Odessa

Tuesday, April 24, 2018

Will Trump and Congress Act Rationally?

We are hopeful Trump will soon experience an unusual  wave of sanity gripping him to do the right thing. If he doesn't, perhaps the republican controlled Congress will. We can hope, can't we?


500 French, British and German MPs write to their US counterparts to support the JCPOA


On May 12, president Donald Trump might decide to finally abandon the JCPOA, the deal between France, the UK, Germany, the United States, China, Russia and Iran regarding Teheran‘s nuclear program. Several hundred members of parliament of the three European signatory states, from all parts of the political spectrum, have decided to plead to the US congress to help keep this major diplomatic breakthrough alive. It is a pledge for transatlantic strength and a promise for further collaboration on the Iran issue and many other pressing challenges of international politics.

To the members of the United States Congress :


For more than a decade, we – Europeans, Americans, and the international community – have feared the imminent threat of a nuclear-armed Iran. To counter this threat and make the Middle-East a safer place, the international community came together, using the might of diplomatic negotiations and the force of sanctions, agreed upon by most of the major economic powers.


Then, after 13 years of joint diplomatic efforts, we reached a major breakthrough and signed the JCPOA . With that, we were able to impose unprecedented scrutiny on the Iranian nuclear program, dismantle most of their nuclear enrichment facilities, and drastically diminish the danger of a nuclear arms race. Not a drop of blood was spilt. Furthermore, these controls will not cease after the ten years of the JCPOA: Iran will continue to be subject to the strict controls prescribed by the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, which will continue to limit enrichment.
The only reason why we were able to achieve this breakthrough is that we stood together. Together, Europeans and Americans, we have proven that a strong and united transatlantic partnership can bring about a coalition extending to Russia and China, endorsed by the international community.
This coalition is now at risk, as the US government moves towards abandoning the JCPOA without any evidence of Iran not fulfilling its obligations. The short term effect of this abandonment would be the end of controls on Iran‘s nuclear program, resulting in another source of devastating conflict in the Middle East and beyond. The long-term risk is even more serious: lasting damage to our credibility as international partners in negotiation, and more generally, to diplomacy as a tool to achieve peace and ensure security. Abandoning the deal would diminish the value of any promises or threats made by our countries. It would also diminish our capability to keep Iran nuclear-free after the expiration of the special provisions of the JCPOA. If we maintain our alliance now, we will be in the position to keep Iran’s nuclear aspirations in check in the long run.
Our credibility is all the more urgently needed when we look at the instability in many parts of the world today. With regards to Iran it is an essential ingredient in our much-needed efforts to curb the country’s aggressive regional and domestic policy. As much as we share the concerns expressed by many vis-à-vis this Iranian behavior, we are deeply convinced that these issues must be treated separately (as we are doing already) – and not within the context of the JCPOA.
It is the US’s and Europe’s interest to prevent nuclear proliferation in a volatile region and to maintain the transatlantic partnership as a reliable and credible driving force of world politics. We are open to dialogue on the best ways to tackle these challenges together. But let us be clear: if the deal breaks down, it will well-nigh be impossible to assemble another grand coalition built around sanctions against Iran. We must preserve what took us a decade to achieve and has proven to be effective.
Building coalitions and winning consensus is one of our main tasks as members of our respective Parliaments. We therefore urge you to stand by the coalition we have formed to keep Iran‘s nuclear threat at bay. This would not only be a powerful sign of the durability of our transatlantic partnership, but also a message to the Iranian people.
Together, let’s keep the JCPOA alive and protect the fruits of successful diplomacy.





Friday, April 20, 2018

A Reminder for 2018 and Beyond...

Whether Trump is a racist and a xenophobe is left up to each individual to decide for themselves. For many, the number is probably in the many millions, his words as candidate and president are responsible for ushering in an overt and despicable acceptance of these evils among his base and followers.

The following excerpt is from an article in Reveal by Will Carless. It serves as a reminder, for me anyway, that Trump does NOTrepresent the values that Make America Great.

Editor’s note: To provide a full picture of what hate speech victims experienced, we have not edited out offensive language.

It was the day after the 2016 presidential election. Melissa Johnson was walking out of a Trader Joe’s in the heart of San Diego when a shiny BMW pulled up alongside her. The driver was a man in his late 30s. Dark hair. Green eyes. Her first thought: He’s kind of hot.

The car slowed down. Then the man shouted at her through the open window.

“Fuck you, nigger, go back to Africa. The slave ship is loading up,” he said. Then he added an exclamation point: “Trump!”

As the man drove away, Johnson, looked around at the shoppers who had witnessed the attack. She was the only African American in the parking lot. Not one person met her eye. Nobody said anything. So the 37-year-old walked, stunned, to her car, where she sat and wept.

Melissa Johnson was a victim of hate speech in this Trader Joe’s parking lot in San Diego the day after the 2016 presidential election.
Credit: Jamie Scott Lytle for Reveal

Nearly every metric of intolerance in the U.S. has surged over the past 18 months, from reported anti-Semitism and Islamophobia to violent hate crimes based on skin color, nationality or sexual orientation.

This renaissance of hate features something new: xenophobic, racist and homophobic attacks punctuated with President Donald Trump’s name. To understand the scope of the phenomenon, Reveal from The Center for Investigative Reporting identified more than 150 reports of Trump-themed taunts and attacks stretching across 39 states over the past year and a half.

Interviews with the targets of and witnesses to these incidents showed a striking pattern. The abusers had a clear message: Trump’s going to take care of a problem – and that problem is you.

This pattern extended across races, religions and sexual orientation. Two days after the presidential election, a gay man in Michigan heard a taunt from a group of men: “Trump is going to get rid of people like you.” A week later, a Jewish woman in Austin, Texas, said she heard exactly the same threat from a middle-aged white man as she lined up to buy groceries. Two months later, a Latino man in California said he was told by a white ex-girlfriend that Trump was going “get rid of the Hispanics.” By March, a black woman in Houston reported that she was told by a white man that Trump was going to “get rid of all you niggers.”

Immediately after the election, there was a surge in Trump-related taunts. But all last year and into this year, the threats kept coming: An Asian American woman in Hollywood, California, had her hair pulled by an older white woman and was told that she had to “go back to China” now that Trump is president. In the Washington, D.C., area, the Trump-tainted threats got so frequent and so bad that Mohammad Qureshi, a Muslim American man who works at the Dulles Airport Marriott, changed his nametag to John.

These interviews reveal the trickle-down effect of a president who has called Mexicans rapists, proposed barring Muslims from entering the country and denigrated certain nations as “shithole countries.” Sometimes the perpetrators quoted the president’s words nearly verbatim. Other times, they signaled that as far as they’re concerned, the country has changed in their favor now that Trump is in charge.

For most of those targeted, it wasn’t the first time they have heard hateful speech. But dozens of people interviewed for this story said we’ve entered a new era of hate – one of open, blatant shouts, not whispers. And now that hate features a presidential seal of approval.

Racism in America used to be more subtle, Johnson said. As she shopped for dresses and handbags at Nordstrom, she said the security guards would follow her. The old lady in the elevator would clutch her Louis Vuitton bag a little tighter in the enclosed space – never mind that Johnson has five of those bags herself. Neighbors discouraged their son from dating her.

Now, things are different.

SKIP

Most of the victims of abuse by Trump supporters said they’re scared. But their fear isn’t just that they will be attacked again by people emboldened by Trump. They worry that America has taken a step backward after generations of civil rights gains.

Najwa Sebbahi, for example, witnessed a middle-aged white woman’s Islamophobic rant against several customers in a store in the New York borough of Brooklyn three weeks before the 2016 election.

“Trump is going to get rid of all of you terrorists,” the woman said. The attack culminated in the woman pushing a Pakistani American girl and the police being called. Sebbahi, who immigrated to the U.S. from Morocco in her teens, said police refused to charge the woman with a crime, citing her right to free speech.

There is more, much more HERE for those with the stomach.

A visit to rightwing weblogs will provide many examples of the attitudes and behaviors highlighted in the Reveal article. America is, and always has been at its best when united. Given Trump's divisive rhetoric it is no wonder why we see the increase in hate in America since his entry into politics. The kind of hate evidenced in Germany of the 1930's and 1940's. A kind of hate that will rip America apart unless stopped.

Monday, April 2, 2018

Politics, Fake News, and Noise...



Every so often it is necessary to turn off the noise, step back, take a long breather, and put all things in proper perspective.

If El Donaldo has done anything of value since his inauguration it is that he has shown the rest of the world, and some in America, what a red, white, and blue jackass looks like.

For this I thank him, tenfold times over.

The offshoot of this, at least for now anyway, is that this weblog is dropping out. Turning to things that will provide a positive healthful physical and mental environment, one that politics, the media, and the continual left-right struggle for total power only destroys.

Be well. Perhaps someday, after El Donaldo and company have disappeared from the scene, we'll return. Until then:

“What we call the beginning is often the end. And to make an end is to make a beginning. The end is where we start from.”   T.S. Eliot

Wednesday, March 28, 2018

A Local Matter... ?

The shooting deaths of African-Americans by police officers that have prompted nationwide racial tensions are local matters to be dealt with by local authorities, White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders told reporters at her Wednesday press briefing.

”Certainly a terrible incident. This is something that is a local matter and that’s something that we feel should be left up to the local authorities at this point in time,” Sanders said in response to a question about the acquittal of two Baton Rouge, Louisiana, police officers involved in the 2016 death of Alton Sterling. Sanders was also asked about the recent fatal shooting of Stephon Clark in California, and the 2014 death of Eric Garner.

The death of Sterling and similar shooting deaths of other African-Americans became a key issue in the summer of 2016 amid the presidential race between Donald Trump, who voiced strong support for police, and Democrat Hillary Clinton, who expressed support for police while also calling for reforms that she said would improve relations between law enforcement and the black community.

Sanders said Wednesday that the president remains committed to supporting police and did not see a role for himself in the multiple high-profile incidents of African-Americans being killed during interactions with police. {emphasis mine}

“Certainly we want to make sure that all law enforcement is carrying out the letter of the law. The president’s very supportive of law enforcement,” she said “But at the same time, in these specific cases and these specific instances, those would be left up to local authorities to make that determination and not something for the federal government to weigh in to". {emphasis mine}

White conservative code for, we really just don't care.?

In fairness it is best to wait until all the facts are known before the president makes a statement. We'll just have to wait and see how it plays out. Given Trump's track record we already have an indication.

SOURCE