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Trump, and now Nikki Haley, are telling us that “the world” respects the United States and Trump. America is “respected again.”

That’s baloney.

Here is a chart that shows confidence that the U.S. president will do the “right thing” regarding world affairs. The countries shown are Spain, France, Germany and the U.K.

Clearly, Obama was respected, and Trump is lower than Bush. It says nothing about how Americans feel, or what’s good for America. It says something about how other countries “respect” the American president. This must irk Trump, to whom it matters so much what others think. This is probably why he denigrates Obama so much. He is obsessed with Obama and does not understand why he cannot garner the same respect and admiration.

Respect must be earned. It can’t be gained by making outrageous – and false – claims.

Trump lives is a world of his own wishful thinking.

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[click to enlarge – you must]

The picture above shows Alex Honnold, the world’s most awesome rock climber, with El Capitan in the background, the world’s most awesome big wall.

All my life I was an avid hiker and mountaineer, but rock climbing has always scared me. I could never understand what possessed people to climb vertical walls. I was paralyzed by fear just thinking about it.

Then, at the age of 36, I bought shoes, a harness, a few carabiners, a chalk bag, and signed up for a class in technical rock climbing. I learned how to build anchors, to rappel, to belay and to climb.

Once you get off the ground just six feet on a vertical wall, and you look down, it looks far, and it is potentially deadly. You don’t need to go very high to forget all petty thoughts, all worldly problems or issues. You leave the entire “gross national product world” behind, and you focus on what really matters – the next foot or handhold.

Before making that reach, letting go with one hand to reach up to the next handhold, switching from four-point contact with the wall to a temporary three-point contact, you think about your harness and whether you remembered to double-back the buckle properly, you can’t remember if you locked the carabiner that ties into the rope. Could it have a hairline crack? You look down and check your figure-eight knot and make sure it’s done right. How old is that rope anyway? How about the anchor? Is it really going to hold if I fall?

Panic sets in. Hands start slipping. Time to make the reach. Go! Reach!

Whew. It worked. Next step.

Your mind is singly focused on nothing but you, your equipment and the wall.

I probably haven’t been on a rock wall 20 years now, but I still have a passion for the sport, and I have followed the career of Alex Honnold over the years. I have written about him a few times. Here is an example: Look, Ma, no Rope!

In June of 2017, Honnold finally completed his lifelong dream of doing something nobody has ever done before in the history of climbing: free soloing El Capitan, the hardest, most bad-ass big wall in the world. This put Alex on the pinnacle of the climbing world. This feat is celebrated as one of the greatest athletic achievements of any kind, and it sets an impossible standard: Perform perfectly, without a single mistake, for a 3,000 foot climb, or die. It stretches our understanding and appreciation of the human spirit and the power of mental concentration.

The movie is masterfully done. It chronicles Honnold’s life, and it builds the tension, so when we finally watch the climb itself, we are prepared for the various tight spots and challenges, and we sit at the edge of our seat. It is, in the truest sense of the word, a cliffhanger.

My palms started to sweat at the beginning of the movie, and my hands did not dry up until the closing credits played.

Free solo is a documentary you really, really should watch!

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If I was a guest at your house for a backyard BBQ party and

  • I mocked your father or grandfather who was a prisoner of war?
  • I mocked your disabled child by making spastic movements?
  • I mocked your neighbor’s family who lost a son in Afghanistan?
  • I mocked your daughter who had been sexually assaulted?

You would throw me out and I would likely no longer be your friend – at best.

And yet, here is our president doing exactly those things on national TV, and the people standing behind him laugh and applaud and act like this is funny.

It would be horrendous if I did it as a private citizen. You would throw me out and beat me up.

But here is the man who holds the office that we teach our schoolchildren they should look up to as a role model, and we accept it.

It destroys the dignity of the presidency, and it may take generations before the image and decorum recovers.

I don’t know exactly what the people standing behind Trump laughing and applauding really think deep inside. But I know that I think that Trump is a despicable human being, one that I will try to forget about quickly once he is voted out of office.

I also don’t know exactly what the Republican leadership, all those men and women that ran against Trump in the campaign, are thinking. I remember Rubio and Cruz saying that it was our duty to make sure that Trump never got anywhere near the Oval Office.

Really – damn their careers – one or more of these cowards need to stand up, man up, and do what they know is right, and do what they are really thinking inside, and end this national disgrace of a reality show of a country.

We need to take our country back.

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Rich old white men, and apparently corrupt men, are in the process of destroying our country, and we’re letting it happen, like the proverbial frogs in the boiling water.

Thousands of years ago Socrates stated that democracy cannot be maintained without a well-educated citizenry. Today, we’re not a well-educated citizenry. Just watch the people cheering Trump at rallies and tell me what you think. Somebody cheering Trump when he is making the alleged rapist and his family the victim, and the victim coming forward the perpetrator, I equate that to Orwellianism in the highest degree. Make America great again, long live the stupid.

We have a president who is obviously and blatantly corrupt, who is systematically consolidating his power as a dictator.

We have a president who is obviously working on inserting corrupt justices into the judiciary. The way I see it, Kavanaugh lies under oath like Trump lies in press conferences.

We have a Congress that is supposed to oversee our government and provide checks and balances. Congress is not doing that job.

The way I see it, rich old white men are working on destroying our country, and we’re sitting there watching.

It’s one big con job, conducted like a reality show on TV, just like Trump has run his private and business life all along.

The well-educated citizenry must stand up on November 6th and vote the thugs out of office, all of them, before it’s too late.

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When the Soviet Union collapsed almost 30 years ago, the assets of the country, its industrial base that had been neglected so long, was grabbed up by a few young, enterprising, creative and possibly criminal individuals. Some say there were less than twenty of them. They, and their successors, are now called the Russian oligarchs. The majority of the economic power of the Russian nation is consolidated by very few people, all under control of the central government, which is headed by an apparently corrupt and possibly murderous leader: Putin. Russia, in my opinion, is a nation state run by organized crime.

In the United States we were better than that. However, in the recent couple of years I see very similar developments. Radical deregulation is fueling the stock market, which is not a surprise. The Obama regulatory environment had throttled the economy. One can argue one way or the other. I personally believe that while we’re riding high on the economy right now, and while the super rich are getting richer, the middle class is doing “just ok.” A tax saving of a few hundred dollars funds one more trip to Costco, which is not a huge improvement for the middle class. But eventually our children and their children will regard the Trump era as a time when their fathers enriched themselves forcing them to pay the bills. The reckoning for today’s boom time will come.

We’re also massively adding to the national debt now. The debt payments are about to exceed our military expenses. While the conservative world was furious when Obama added to the debt, now it does not even get mention. All of a sudden, the debt is not important. After all, the economy is so great, it’s going to pay for it all. I do not believe this is going to work, but only time will tell.

Meanwhile, the buffoon in the White House is overloading us with so many scandals, we can’t even focus on them anymore. When Obama wore a tan suit, the media went crazy for a few days. When Michelle Obama wore a sleeveless dress, she was castigated. There are nude pictures of our current First Lady on the Internet and nobody seems to take note. We were not numb to scandals, and the media needed something to write about.

Trump does outrageous things every day that my moral compass that does accept. However, there is so much, the list is so long, it’s drowned out. While we’re not able to pay attention, the billionaire class, some of them in the White House and Cabinet, are openly lining their own pockets with corrupt activities, every day. The country is being looted and polluted. The American tax payer is being raped. And we are numb.

An oligarchy is quickly forming, where a very small number of very rich people control the entire economy and the political system.

Is that making America great?

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Here is a tweet by Donald Trump in 2014:

Then, against all odds, our next president would be Donald Trump. When he spoke to the United Nations for the second year, he claimed in the opening paragraphs of his address:

In less than two years my administration has accomplished more than almost any administration in the history of our country.

The room erupted in giggles and laughter. Trump later claimed that they were not laughing at him, but with him:

What Trump does not seem to understand is that the way people respond in a Trump rally is not representative of what the country thinks of him, and certainly not the world.

A Trump rally is filled with ardent supporters. We recently found out that the people standing behind him are actually carefully selected and if anyone ever does not react the way Trump would expect they actually remove and replace him.

The United States encompasses only about 5% of the world’s population. Trump’s base that voted for him was 62 million people. Today, his base is generally measured at about 30% of the U.S. electorate. The average IQ of the U.S. electorate is, by definition, average or about 100. I am not suggesting that the average IQ of Trump supporters is any lower, but I am saying it is not likely any higher than 100, either.

At his rallies, Trump is used to people cheering to his every utterance, no matter how false, stupid, purposely misleading, or incendiary. It’s the people that want to hear that stuff that go to his rallies, so of course, his worldview of what people think about him is distorted.

I have traveled out of the country since Trump took office, and I can say with certainty that I have not yet met a SINGLE foreign person who supports Trump or is impressed with him. Most laugh at him and ask me whether I am embarrassed by the buffoon. The vast majority of 95% of the world’s population think he is an embarrassment to our nation.

And make no mistake about this: it was the opposite with Obama, no matter what Trump thinks or thought. The world loved and respected Obama.

Now enter the hall of the United Nations. The people in the audience are highly trained diplomats or even heads of state, and their aides and assistants. They are the best and brightest who rose to the pinnacle of power and influence in their own countries to eventually be ambassadors at the United Nations. I would carefully guess that the average IQ in a United Nations assembly is well over 150, or genius level, which is far beyond Trump, no matter how big he says his brain is.

Unfortunately for Trump, at the United Nations he is definitely not the smartest person in the room, as he thinks he is when he is surrounded by his followers. Whether some of these people he is talking to are from shithole countries (his words) or not, they will far outclass him, both in intellect, in morality, and definitely in education.

So when they hear ‘In less than two years my administration has accomplished more than almost any administration in the history of our country,’ they will crack up.

I would.

 

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Is Brett Kavanaugh guilty of sexual assault? I don’t know. I just watched an entire day of Senate Testimony on that very topic and I still don’t know one way or the other. Should Brett Kavanaugh be on the U.S. Supreme Court? No. If ever I had any doubts as to that judgement, today’s testimony […]

via Just Say ‘No’ to Kavanaugh! — northierthanthou

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This “boys will be boys” excuse that is now all over the media is insulting to me. You can take your boys will be boys, Mr. Kavanaugh and Mr. Trump. I don’t know about you. But I myself can unequivocally state that I have never:

  • Assaulted a girl, whether in high school or later in life verbally or physically
  • Pinned down a girl on a bed intending a sexual encounter
  • Turned up the music in the room to mask out screams
  • Put my hand over her mouth to keep her from screaming

In my opinion, whether the person that does this is a 14 or 17-year-old boy, or a 60-year-old man, this person is committing attempted rape.

Boys who hold down girls so they can obtain sexual gratification are called rapists, and rape is a crime.

The boys may forget about the instance, but the girl won’t, for the rest of her life.

I am the father of a daughter. If a boy, or a man, had raped my daughter, and I had found out about it, I would have spent the rest of my life hunting down the rapist.

So don’t give me this boys will be boys or locker room talk bullshit. We’re not buying it, and no man or woman with self-respect should vote for any politician who thinks this kind of behavior is ok and normal, and should be acceptable.

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I was working today at the offices of the State of Ohio on the south side of the Columbus airport. One of the state workers asked me at 2:00pm when my plane was leaving. Around 5:30, I said. The office is literally about a 7-minute drive from the terminal, so I usually leave around 4:30 with plenty of time to make it through security before boarding.

She said I’d better leave quickly, since they’d close the roads out front. Trump was due to arrive at the airport at 3:30 for a fundraiser and dinner at 5:00 downtown Columbus.

One I arrived at the terminal, I got my first ever live view of Air Force One on the tarmac of the Columbus airport.

Off to the side was this other huge Air Force transport.

Sorry about the plane in the foreground. I could not get a better vantage point. When the president travels, an advance plane – sometimes two of them – brings his limousine or an entire motorcade. He has to have his own car.

We have the money to fly Trump from Washington to Columbus for dinner on Friday night for a few hours with two giant 4-engine planes.

But we don’t have the money to take care of homeless veterans.

When Bush and Obama were traveling, I didn’t mind so much. They too traveled with two or three planes everywhere they went. That’s nothing new.

But with Trump, I mind a lot.

A lot!

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Trump’s supporters keep stating that he does what he says he was going to do. They think of that as a good thing, and for many of us, that would hold true. Then they forgive him for his flaws, foibles and – now possibly crimes. “Well, all I care about is what he does, not who he is, or whether I agree with him, or like his style or choices.”

I differ. Just because somebody promises the following things does not make me agree with him:

  • Cutting taxes for the rich and for corporations at the expense of the middle class.
  • Driving the deficit up by trillions and accumulating more debt than any administration before.
  • Separating innocent children from their parents.
  • Opening up restrictions against corporate pollution.
  • Allowing asbestos back into the country and into circulation.
  • Increasing the military budget by over $70 billion, or the entire military budget of Russia.

I could go on with this list all day.

Doing what you say you’re going to do is only good when those actions are positive, legal and responsible.

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April 1, 1976 was the day I reported to military boot camp in Leipheim, Germany. I was a 19-year-old boy and the service was my first real job. No man ever forgets the day he goes into the military. I remember it fondly.

On April 1, 1976, that very same day, on the other side of the world, in a garage in Palo Alto, California, another boy, this one 20 years old, by the name of Steve Jobs, along with this engineer friend Steve Wozniak, founded Apple Computer.

Four years later the military discharged me, and I got ready to go to college, for math and computer science.

Four years later, on December 12, 1980, Apple launched its IPO, selling 4.6 million shares at $22 per share. The shares sold out almost immediately and the IPO generated more capital than any IPO since Ford Motor Company in 1956. Apple was worth $1.2 billion.

Then in 1997, Apple was on the brink of bankruptcy. Microsoft and its many partners in the personal-computer market were eating Apple’s lunch. Then they called back Steve Jobs.

Today, 42 years and 4 months later, exactly 15,554 days after that auspicious day of April 1, 1976, Apple became the first company in history to reach a market cap of $1 trillion. Nobody had ever reached that before. Exxon, which for decades was the most valuable company on the planet, is at $338 billion today, almost exactly a third of Apple’s value.

Congratulations, Apple. You are an inspiration to all entrepreneurs, and I must admit there have been many crossroads in my career and the life of my own company when I found myself asking: What would Apple do now?

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80% of the French soccer players are Africans

50% of them are Muslim

liberté, égalité, fraternité et diversité

 

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I have spent more than twenty years of my career helping human services and early education agencies all around the country with administration of childcare programs and everything related to it.

My customers are child advocates who have dedicated their lives to breaking the cycle of poverty in our country, and helping young children get out from under the yoke of economic oppression and sometimes misfortune. They are dedicated to the welfare and safe-keeping of young children, and they are passionate about it. Their work means everything to them.

I cannot imagine what it must feel like for them to be forced to be complicit with state-organized and state-created child abuse and human trafficking, because that is exactly what I think is going on in our country now.

These child advocates are now finding themselves in a position to have to search for care and safety for thousands of children who should be with their parents, but have been kidnapped by our government. This is a crisis entirely of our own making.

We have lost our moral authority.

The United States used to be John Winthrop’s Shining City upon a Hill, and we came after countries for human rights violations. Then it started to get shaky when Bush and Cheney started openly torturing people. McCain, a torture victim himself, spoke out against the practice. Once we tortured our prisoners, every American soldier, upon capture anywhere, would then have to fear to be tortured him or herself.

Now, with open racism, and state-enacted kidnapping, child abuse and human trafficking, taking children, even babies, away for their parents with no hope of reunification, we have lost all moral authority for decades to come.

It will be a very long time before the United States can lecture a rogue dictator for human rights violations. It will be a very long time before we can justify invading a country because it abuses its own citizens. We have given up this bargaining chip. It will be generations before our representatives, our presidents, can walk into a room again and command moral authority, and stand on the principle that the United States does the right thing.

I am disgusted with my government that commits crimes against humanity. I am disappointed with my fellow citizens who support these practices by propping up the Little Man in the White House.

Make America Great Again?

Right now, I am ashamed for my country!

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“Hey, he is the head of a country and I mean he is the strong head,” Mr. Trump told Fox News’ Steve Doocy on the White House lawn Friday. “Don’t let anyone think anything different. He speaks and his people sit up at attention. I want my people to do the same.”

— President Donald Trump

It is obvious that our president is impressed with dictators. I wonder who he thinks “my people” are. I hope the doesn’t think I am “his people.”

It is simple, Mr. President: All you have to do is arrest and execute a few of “your people” when they don’t sit up at attention when you speak, and you’ll quickly see changes.

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Trump and Crimea

Trump Told World Leaders Crimea Is Russian Because Everyone There Speaks Russian.

Maybe that means that the United States and Canada, except for Quebec, should belong to England, since we all speak English!

Yeah! Go Trump!

 

 

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