Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Dear Senator McCain:

I write to you because I truly believe you are one of the most important senators we have in the country right now, and one of the few “grown-ups” in the United States Senate.

I have always been a supporter. I read your book Faith of My Fathers in 2008. Here is my review. I was ready to vote for you, until the day came when you selected Governor Palin as your running mate. That day you lost my vote. If you had chosen pretty much anyone else, you might have very well won that election, and we would have a very different country now. You might have handled the Iraq pullout differently, and there might not be an ISIS now. You might have had to run against this upstart named Barack Obama in 2012, and you might even have won reelection. Then Obama, still a young man at 55 would probably have taken the election of 2016 and we’d have the start of an Obama presidency now.

But my version of alternate history didn’t happen, I voted for Obama, and I enjoyed eight stable years of class and dignity in the White House, no scandals, and an impressive record of things getting done despite rampant obstructionism by the House and Senate, sometimes supported by yourself.

I have respected your actions and decisions over the years. You can find my comments on this blog by searching for your name.

I am writing to you now because I need to call on you to continue to be the voice of reason in the Senate. We have a president who is, in my opinion, off the rails. I am deeply worried about the damage he is doing not only to our country and our people directly, but also to our standing in the world and the general world order. We need a voice of reason, we need common sense, and we need reality in our government. If this administration is indeed tied to Russian influences, we need our elected representatives to hold Donald Trump accountable.

I know about your role in the Sergei Magnitsky case at the State Department as chronicled in Bill Browder’s book Red Notice:

After another fifteen minutes his secretary reappeared. Again, McCain politely waved her off. We repeated this sequence once more, and by the time I was finished, I’d been sitting in McCain’s office for nearly an hour. “Bill, Sergei’s story is shocking, truly terrible. I am so sorry for what happened to him, for you and for everybody else involved.”

“Thank you, Senator.”

“Tell me— what can I do to help?”

I told him about Cardin and McGovern and the early drafts of the Magnitsky Act. Then I said, “Since Senator Cardin is a Democrat, it would be hugely helpful to have an important Republican cosponsor on this bill. I was hoping that this could be you, sir.”

McCain leaned back in his chair, his face thoughtful and serene. “Of course I will do that. It’s the least I can do.” He turned to his aide Chris Brose, who’d been sitting there throughout.

“Chris, please coordinate with Senator Cardin right away to make sure you get me on that bill.”

McCain then turned back to me. “You’ve been a real friend to Sergei. Not many people would do what you’re doing, and I deeply respect that. I will do everything in my power to help you get justice for Sergei. God bless you.”

— Browder, Bill. Red Notice: A True Story of High Finance, Murder, and One Man’s Fight for Justice (p. 308 – 309)

This story illustrated to me that, of all the politicians in Washington, you are one that understands the political reality of Russia and its objectives. You are also the one, perhaps the only one, who understands what it means to be tortured.

Today I heard you voice your concerns in Munich about President Trump and his continued populist campaign of suppression of the media and general free speech of individuals, and obfuscation of the truth.

We need your voice in Washington and in the United States Senate to keep this administration in check, and to remind your Republican colleagues that it is their responsibility too not to bow to the powers that be and stand up for the integrity of our democracy, the health of our country’s political system and the continued celebration of free speech in defense of science, religion, education and economic health or our people.

You, Senator McCain, are now more important in our government today than you ever were, even in 2008. And I am here to support you.

Sincerely,

Norbert Haupt.

mattis-and-tillerson

James Mattis and Rex Tillerson

Secretary of Defense James Mattis and Secretary of State Rex Tillerson are the adults in the room of Trump.

I don’t necessarily agree with the political orientation of the two men, and their agendas, but I sense that they are men of principle and character. They are the adults in the current administration and it gives me some degree of comfort to know these two men are in the positions they are in, Defense and State.

They will not do anything stupid just because “the boss said so.” They will stand up to Trump when necessary. They will not be the lackeys of Trump or anyone else.

They are now working for a petulant, puerile, self-obsessed and basically ignorant president.

The only question I have is: How long will they last?

Better to remain silent and be thought a fool than to speak and to remove all doubt.

— attributed to Mark Twain, Abraham Lincoln, and many others.

 

Oh my God, he doesn’t know what he is doing!

— Norbert Haupt

Trump’s performance during the press conference on Feb 16, 2017, was truly cringeworthy. The journalists in the room were shaking their heads in disbelief.

After watching Netanyahu at their joint appearance a few days ago, looking at Trump in disbelief, I suspect that most of the people around the world are also shaking their heads.

I was hoping, that once elected, Trump would cool down, become a CEO and start acting like the leader he wanted to be during the campaign. I have now lost all hope.

This man has serious issues.

We now have put Scott Pruitt, who has made a career of suing the EPA as Oklahoma’s attorney general, who is a climate change denier – contrary to his own recent statements – in charge of the EPA.

We recently saw an executive order to allow dumping of coal mining waste into streams, reversing an Obama order to the contrary. Supporters argue that this is not a new order, but simply a return to standards that were in place since 1983.

Ok, so we’re rolling that clock back to 1983, and we’re not so bad, because Reagan allowed it too?

This is all done for a few thousand coal mining jobs in the United States.

Great. We’re bringing jobs in coal mining and fracking back to the United States. China, Europe and even India are rapidly implementing renewable energy technologies. For instance, in Holland, all trains now run on wind energy. China just canceled 103 coal plants. China leads the world in implementation of solar energy.

Chinese children go to school 260 days a year. Americans 180. American children will be able to learn more about Noah’s ark when Betsy DeVos gets to implement her pet projects and bring “God to our schools.”

America puts its people to work in coal mines. China trains its people in renewable energies, software engineering, and manufacturing engineering.

That’s how we’re making America great again, folks.

Believe me.

Welcome to Ameristan

ameristan1

Trevor Irwin, irwinproductions.com

When I watched the president’s news conference on February 16, 2017, I was overwhelmed by a vast emptiness. This man has nothing original to say. He is rehashing his electoral numbers as if that mattered anymore. He insults the people around him and his audience. When have you ever heard a speaker, no matter what forum, to tell the audience: “QUIET” and then go right on rambling incoherent fractional sentences for minutes on end? The man sounds like he has no clue about who he is, what his position is, what he is doing and what he is holding a news conference for.

Convince me otherwise please. Where was there any substance?

He started out stating that he was there to inform the American people.

I can tell you this: Inform he did not. Scare the shit out of me, he did.

 

I thought, I really thought, we all agreed that it makes no sense for mentally ill people to have easy access to guns.

Today, the Senate voted 57-43 to kill an Obama regulation that restricted access to guns for the mentally ill. The gun restriction rule was a policy to support federal efforts to improve detection of risky people who should not have legal access to guns.

Republicans claim that while the policy had good intentions, it actually took away the gun rights of a large category of individuals without any evidence that they pose a risk of harm to self or others, and without legal due process protections commensurate with abridging a constitutional right.

I do not understand that 57 out of a hundred intelligent successful millionaires in the United States Senate can think this is a good idea.

And of all the problems our country has, and all the hunger, and misery, and hurt, and division, and death, this is what Congress and our government decides is really important right now so they take action!

This, to me, is insane.

All this is done in the name of “rights” and the Constitution. We’re obsessed about our Second Amendment rights, when our entire government, our Congress and our executive Branch, lead by our intrepid Führer, Donald Trump, has done nothing but trample on our First Amendment rights in a massive onslaught from all direction against a hundred million dissenting Americans.

Forget our First Amendment, it’s for the “security” of the people.

But give them guns, and keep them stupid.

Bought by the NRA, they all are!

Back in June of 2011 I predicted that the once popular Todai Sushi Restaurant in Mission Valley would go out of business. Here is the blog entry I wrote then.

This is what it looks like today:

todai-graffiti todai-graffiti

It has obviously been out of business for a few years. I read that someone recently bought the property, is cleaning it up now in order to launch a new restaurant venture.

It was Lehr’s Greenhouse Restaurant and Florist between 1980 and 1987, and I remember going there once for a Sunday brunch sometime in 1986 for some memorable event, like a birthday or Mother’s Day.

Ruins now but memories remain.

A friend (JD) during a personal meeting recently commented about my post on the book Red Notice and how I had given it four stars. He observed that I don’t give four stars very often. This prompted me to search for all books I have given four stars in the last two years. I found these twelve listed below. The definition of four stars for a book is contained in my Ratings Key:

Must read. Inspiring. Classic. Want to read again. I learned profound lessons. Just beautiful. I cried.

So here is Norbert Haupt’s reading list of the last two years of four star books:

Red Notice – by Bill Browder – a true story about corruption in Russia at the highest level of government, that stops at nothing, even killing people that get in the way.

Hungerwinter – by Alexander Häusser and Gordian Maugg – a documentary about what happened to the people of Germany after World War II and the collapse of the Nazi regime, and the incredible hardships they had to endure for years. This book is written in German.

Prophet’s Prey – by Sam Brower – the story of one man’s quest to bring down the polygamist leader of the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, or FLDS, as it is commonly referred to, Warren Jeffs.

Kiss Every Step – by Doris Martin with Ralph S. Martin – the personal account of Doris Martin, who survived a three-year-stay at the Nazi labor camp in Ludwigsdorf as a young girl. I met the author herself in my local bookstore.

Napoleon – by Andrew Roberts – and outstanding, captivating biography of one of history’s most iconic leaders, Napoleon Bonaparte.

The Richest Man Who Ever Lived – by Greg Steinmetz – the story of Jacob Fugger, who was born in 1459 in Augsburg, Germany and died 1525, at the age of 66. He single-handedly created a banking and trade empire that reached to all ends of the globe. He also financed most of Europe’s wars of his time.

All the Light we Cannot See – by Anthony Doerr – a novel about two children in World War II and how their entire lives were shaped by the events of that age.

Zero to One – by Peter Thiel – a book about entrepreneurship and starting a tech company by the maddeningly self-absorbed Peter Thiel, who recently attracted additional notoriety by being a strong and outspoken supporter of Donald Trump. Thiel’s book is a great guide for budding entrepreneurs.

Elon Musk – by Ashlee Vance – a biography of Elon Musk, one of the world’s most admired entrepreneurs. Musk is the Thomas Edison of our time.

King Rat – by James Clavell – the classic novel about life in a prison camp in Asia during World War II.

How to Win at the Sport of Business – by Mark Cuban – a marvelous auto-biography by entrepreneur Mark Cuban on how he started his business empire. Very inspiring.

The World Without Us – by Alan Weisman – a book about what would happen if all the humans in the world suddenly disappeared. How long would the lights stay on?

trump-rambling

— from Colin Taylor, Occupy Democrats

Obviously, our president cannot form a clear thought in answer to a question and communicate that thought. He an embarrassment to our nation every time he speaks.

On the good side, we’re going to see a lot of love. Okay?

In the wake of the Flynn resignation, it’s more important than ever for every concerned American to read Red Notice to fully understand Putin’s Russia and how it operates. Very frightening, particularly if the Trump people subscribe to this method of operation. I say you should RUN to the bookstore and pick up Red Notice.

Norbert Haupt

red-notice

Bill Browder started his career on Wall Street and was drawn first to Eastern Europe and then to Russia shortly after the Soviet Union broke apart. He started an investment fund and eventually became the largest foreign investor in Russia. In the process of privatizing, Russia ended up with twenty-two oligarchs owning 39 percent of the economy, while everyone else lives in poverty. In that environment, by investing in Russian businesses, Browder made a fortune for himself and his clients.

Then he noticed some anomalies within the companies he had invested in. Big chunks of the companies were stolen, leaving the investors diluted. As he drilled down into the complex schemes underway, he discovered massive fraud involving investors, regulatory agencies, law enforcement, the judicial system, and government in general, up to the highest level. He found that Russia was basically a criminal enterprise designed to suck the resources out of the country…

View original post 701 more words

Michael Flynn Resigns

The man who chanted “Lock Her Up” and ranted against Hillary Clinton during the GOP Convention just resigned the job of National Security Advisor. If I were to talk to a foreign, adversarial power about what the United States Government might or might not do in the future, subverting the action of the current government, I’d be sent to prison for treason.

Flynn chanted “Lock her Up” and then undermined our government with the Russians. I do not believe for a minute Flynn just dreamed up this brilliant plan. Somebody told him to do this. His resignation is not the end. It is just the beginning.

We used to rail about Benghazi. Now with Trump in office not even a month we get a Benghazi-sized scandal every day. Fortunately, this government won’t get much governing done with all the drama. And in this case, that’s probably a good thing.

Sean Spicer, as always, is one hundred percent correct.

The powers of the president to protect our country are very substantial and will not be questioned.

It is a fact, and you will not deny it, that there are massive numbers of noncitizens in this country who are registered to vote.

— Stephen Miller

This sounds like a henchman of Kim Jong-un or the late Saddam Hussein talking. Goebbels used to say that the Führer was infallible and could not be wrong, and if you questioned the Führer you committed treason and had to be arrested to protect the public good. But now we have this guy named Stephen Miller none of us ever heard of before parading on national television, making statements that sound like they come out of Orwell’s 1984. Is this Administration getting seriously unhinged?

Are you scared yet?

hull-zero-three

Hull Zero Three by Greg Bear is a generation ship story. What’s a generation ship, you might ask?

The stars are so far away, with the closest being four light years distant, that it’s nearly impossible to visit other stars with any technology we can imagine. If a ship could travel at a tenth of the speed of light it would take 40 years to travel to the nearest star. So to get anywhere, a ship has to be outfitted so the crew that leaves never arrives. They live their lives on the ship, they have children, and grandchildren, and grand-grandchildren who all live and die on the ship. The generation that finally eventually arrives never knew earth, never lived on a planet, and never experienced the outdoors. Just imagine you live on a ship that arrives on a new planet that you will populate now, and you know that the ship left 240 years ago – when we signed the Declaration of Independence.

There are a lot of things that can go wrong on a journey that lasts centuries.

Hull Zero Three is a story of such a generation ship. A man wakes up busting out of a pod, naked, freezing, wet, and in darkness. He does not know where he is and who he is. The environment is completely alien and very hostile. But he survives, and he slowly finds out who he might be and where he is.

Besides describing the Ship, this novel also deals with the ethical and psychological aspects of sending humans on such trips.

This is not an easy read. You have to be interested in the construction of a space ship. There is a lot of detail that would make no sense to anyone but a science fiction buff. And the generation ship aspect adds yet a different twist.

If you are interested in other generation ship stories, I have compiled a list below with my reviews.

Rating - Two Stars

Generation Ship Novels:

Aurora – by Kim Stanley Robinson

Ship of Fools – by Richard Paul Russo

Non-Stop – by Brian W. Aldiss

Orphans of the Sky – by Robert A. Heinlein

The Dark Beyond the Stars – by Frank M. Robinson

Lungfish – by John Brunner

Seed of Light – by Edmund Cooper

Tau Ceti – by Kevin J. Anderson

Ark – by Stephen Baxter

 

Sorry, Mr. President. I am not a hater, but if there were deals with Russia, it would have been highly illegal. We deserve to know the truth. You are on record for lying all the time. How can we ever trust you? How can we tell the truth from stuff you made up?

You say you don’t know Putin, but then there are statements from you that you’ve met Putin. Which is it?

And bringing in Obama here is petty. Obama’s deal with Iran had plenty of critics. Presidents get criticized, you need to get used to that. Iran is not #1 in terror. There have been no attacks on the United States from Iranians that I could name. However, compare that the Saudi Arabia, your friends that are not on your list of countries of terrorism.

The above tweet makes you look like a whiner.

 

Trump Lies

Here is a tweet by Trump on Feb 7th. This statement just states plain wrong facts. The “fake news” is provable.

  • Clinton’s cabinet was full by March 11,
  • G.H.W Bush’s by March 17,
  • Obama’s by April 28.

What is Trump saying here? He either doesn’t know, make stuff up, just to look like he knows what he is talking about, or he is deliberately misleading the people. All these possibilities are frightening, and not acceptable to me.

Up to this point in history I have been confident that our president does not overtly lie to the people.  There have been exceptions, famous ones. Reagan apparently lied during the Iran Contra affair. Nixon lied. Clinton’s “I did not have sex with that woman” is famous. But for the most part, we expected integrity and congruity when the president spoke, and we believed him.

Trump, in comparison, lies about the dumbest things, like the statement above. Why in the world would he do that? He is teaching us that nothing he says can be taken as truth, and therefore taken seriously. How are we supposed to believe him next time – when it’s something much more important?

He didn’t have to tweet this at all. If he had simply not issued that statement, nobody would have complained, and nobody would have missed it. It’s an irrelevant fact. But by making the statement, people like me start picking it up and blogging about it, creating negative attention, publicity, re-blogs, and the effect, overall is negative. Does he not understand it works that way? Or is he too petty to care?

Worse yet, how are foreign diplomats and leaders supposed to trust him when he “makes deals” with them? They know he pretty much always lies.

Of course, I didn’t know Trump. I had thumbed through his Art of the Deal decades ago. I never watched The Apprentice, but caught occasional vignettes flipping through channels. I never cared for the man, but I really didn’t know him.

Now, of course, I have been forced to “get to know him” as much as one can from a distance. And it’s all negative. I would not invite him to a backyard BBQ party in my house. If he wanted to come and visit my company I would tactfully decline. No thanks! If there were a business deal where Trump was involved, I would run the other way.

Trump is 180 degrees opposite to my entire value system. I can’t support him.

Trump lies, systematically, for political gain. He lies to make himself look better, or a victim, like in the above statement.

%d bloggers like this: