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Archive for the ‘Political’ Category

In the past couple of months, I have done book reviews and reminders on this book here and here.  The book largely tells the story of Sergei Magnitsky, a lawyer of the British investor Bill Browder, who was tortured and eventually killed by the Russian authorities in what looks like a case of political punishment and retribution instigated by Putin himself.

We have recently seen several stories of Russian dissidents and opponents of Putin getting killed, poisoned, and splashed with die – all to keep Putin in power.

Today I heard a remark in the Rachel Maddow show about the lawyer of the Magnitsky family. Supposedly he fell from the fourth floor of his apartment building one day before he was supposed to appear for a court hearing on the Magnitsky case.

Who falls from a building? The government says he was moving a Jacuzzi and fell. How convenient! He couldn’t appear in court the next day.

Does any of this make you want to start business ties with Russia?

 

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This is the cover of the Bloomberg Businessweek of March 6 – 12. There is a lead article about Stephen Miller, one of Trump’s advisors, and it speculates that it’s Miller who calls the shots, as you can see from the subtitle:

Is Stephen Miller speaking for Donald Trump? Or vice versa?

Miller has an impressive resume for a man that’s only 31 years old. My own daughter is only a few months younger than Miller, and I remember vividly the months when she was an infant, carrying her in a snugly for long walks in the evenings to tire her out before putting her into her crib. Right around the same time, Miller’s dad probably did that for him. That time seems like yesterday.

Now, this young man, half my age, appears to wield enormous power in the Oval Office. To find out how that happened, you have to read the Businessweek article.

But what gets me is his picture. I must admit, I don’t know Miller, but the few clips I have seen of him speaking gave me goosebumps, and his looks, his eyes and his demeanor appear outright sinister. He is one of those people I intuitively avoid when I cross paths with them in life.

They say you should not judge a book by its cover. But I am judging here, and I can’t help myself.

I do not have a good feeling about Stephen Miller.

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I for one do not agree with your military spending, and the need for increasing it. We spend way too much on the military, and from THAT program, we’re not getting the results we expect. Taking meals from seniors and school children to pay for another fighter jet is ludicrous, despicable, and immoral.

It was immoral under Reagan, under Bush, under Clinton, under Bush, and under Obama.

It is still immoral under Trump.

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For those of us who thought that Trump might “clean up his act” once he was president now know: What we saw is what we got. Trump is a boor. Always been one, always will be one.

When he was a businessman in New York, he could trample on others, throw tantrums, sue people, stiff contractors and insult employees.

Now, the whole world is listening to every word that comes out of his mouth. And it’s not pretty. Trump speaks like a fourth grader, and he rambles. Listen carefully and you will notice that he says everything two or three times to fill dead air. A point that could be made with five well-chosen words expands into ten paragraphs of drivel. Only when he reads off paper or a teleprompter does he utter sentences, but they are stiff and wooden. He is not even a good reader, or his speech writers are bad writers so his words don’t ring real.

Here is the problem, though. As a CEO, if you can’t speak, or can’t control what you say, you’re being punished by your business and your customers. When you’re the president of a nation, you have the smartest people in the country paying attention to what you do and say, and the very sharpest foreign leaders and diplomats are at your table or next to you at the lectern.

These people can tell immediately when you don’t know what you’re talking about. Trump’s statements about NATO funding today were utterly ridiculous and simply exposed him as a fool. Every world leader knows that now. And worse, everyone who works for Trump, either his direct reports in the White House or Cabinet, or the people in the EPA, in NASA, in the CIA, FBI and the NSA – all highly intelligent, expertly educated, highly credentialed professionals – all cringe every time our Embarrassment-in-Chief opens his mouth or posts on Twitter.

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.

I know what Angela Merkel is thinking now, and it’s not just because I speak German.

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During the presidential campaign, I used to ridicule Ben Carson and state that he gave brain surgery a bad name. I recently blasted him for his comments on slavery.

So I decided to read up on Ben Carson:

He was the Director of Pediatric Neurosurgery at Johns Hopkins Hospital in Maryland from 1984 until his retirement in 2013. As a pioneer in neurosurgery, Carson’s achievements include performing the only successful separation of conjoined twins joined at the back of the head, pioneering the first successful neurosurgical procedure on a fetus inside the womb, performing the first completely successful separation of type-2 vertical craniopagus twins, developing new methods to treat brain-stem tumors, and reviving hemispherectomy techniques for controlling seizures. He became the youngest chief of pediatric neurosurgery in the country at age 33. He has received more than 60 honorary doctorate degrees, dozens of national merit citations, and written over 100 neurosurgical publications. In 2008, he was bestowed the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the highest civilian award in the United States.

— Wikepedia

Now he is the Secretary of HUD.

Dude, what in the world happened to you? Get away from Trump and do some more brain surgery!

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Trump’s Management and Budget Director, Mick Mulvaney, said that reducing government spending on ineffective programs is “probably one of the most compassionate things we can do.”

Now how is that for a batshit crazy statement from an apparently deranged administration? I would definitely not call it “compassionate.” Maybe frugal, fiscally responsible, socially responsible, responsible — those would all be words that I could marginally accept, since valid arguments can be made. Taking something of significance away from people is not compassionate under any circumstances.

One of my readers (MB) has suggested that it’s not just the meal, but the fact that volunteers deliver the meals, and that this visit by a volunteer is often the only human contact the elderly recipient gets all day, is a huge contributing argument.

Finally, I challenge Mulvaney’s term “ineffective programs” in this context. Who decides whether it’s ineffective? Ask one of the recipients that’s eating. Not a single one of them will call it ineffective.

It has been estimated that an entire year of meals on wheels for a senior costs as much as ONE DAY in the hospital for that senior. The whole idea of the program is to provide nutritious meals for low-income seniors in their homes, so they don’t have to go out in the cold to shop and eat out, and risk hurting themselves by falling.

Supposedly 500,000 veterans are on meals on wheels. In 2016, 219 million meals were delivered to 2.4 million seniors.

The cost of the program is about $1.4 billion, $523 million come from the Federal Government. So we’re saving $523 million dollars.

Every single F-35 fighter plane costs over $100 million. We’re buying 2,443 of them, this was under Obama. Trump is increasing the military budget by $50 billion.

Are we really saying that we can’t live with five F-35 planes less to pay for meals on wheels in 2017?

Hell, in the Yemen raid they abandoned a single Osprey helicopter valued at $75 million due to a poorly planned and executed raid. That’s 15% of the entire annual meals on wheels budget for the Federal Government.

And more hell, Trump has already spent more than $10 million on vacations for himself since he’s been in office. That would have paid for the program for one week. But Trump getting to spend time in Florida is obviously more important.

A society shows where its values are by where it spends its money. Trump obviously has no values other than his own aggrandizement. But I am ashamed for everyone else in the government and Congress who go along with these despicable and senseless changes to a well-working system.

But then, lies are truth, war is peace, and taking meals away from 2.4 million seniors is compassionate.

Crooks, they are.

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Rex Tillerson used the fake email name Wayne Tracker (his middle name is Wayne) within the Exxon email system for dialogs about global warming and how it could affect Exxon’s business. Of course, we have seen smoking gun documents from within the fossil fuel industry for decades about global warming, just like we saw tobacco documents in that industry in prior decades, before we all got smart.

Now you can’t smoke in public buildings anywhere in the United States. We have come to accept the reality that has been there all along, even though the tobacco lobby obfuscated it for decades and fought against it.

My question is: Why would Tillerson use a fake name? Is it because the CEO of Exxon can’t be seen discussing climate change issues within Exxon?

We have elected a clown president. With every new day it looks like we have also elected a crook president. We are still waiting for the truth to come out. Regarding climate change, Trump’s election may actually be a good thing, in the long run, because there is no way this issue will remain obfuscated with the international flood lights now shining on this issue from all directions. Climate change will be settled once and for all, and if the president and his cabinet are a bunch of crooks, as it is starting to look, they’ll eventually all be thrown out and the country can heal again.

They railed about Clinton being corrupt, and as I learn more I tend to agree, but for Trump to call Clinton corrupt….

Well, we all have heard about the kettle, haven’t we?

 

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You can’t make this stuff up. Ryan is aghast because the healthy are paying for the sick. Congressman John Shimkus of Illinois doesn’t think men should pay for prenatal care. There is this odd sentiment that the healthy should not pay for the sick.

It’s called INSURANCE, gentle congressmen!

I have automobile insurance so I never, ever use it. I have it so I have coverage in the extremely remote event that I do some serious damage to some other person or vehicle, and I am not bankrupted by my mistake – or accident. Everyone that does not have accidents pays for those that do. That’s what we have insurance for.

I have fire insurance for my home so if I am unfortunate enough and my iron fails and burns down my house, I get it replaced. Everyone else’s money pays for my house. I have paid homeowners insurance for 40 years, and never once used it. I am sincerely hoping that I will never use it. Yet, I gladly pay. That’s what we have insurance for.

Health insurance is no different. It’s designed to cover me against catastrophic illness, accident, or other medical misfortune. It’s the job of the actuaries to find out how much it takes from the public to pay for the sick. Younger people pay less. They are less likely to need it. Older people pay more. Smokers should pay more. That’s what the Affordable Care Act was all about.

It’s called insurance.

 

 

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Amidst all the confusion and obfuscation by the president and his stooges, the real work is being done by Congress, and nobody seems to be watching.

1. HR 861 Terminate the Environmental Protection Agency
2. HR 610 Vouchers for Public Education
3. HR 899 Terminate the Department of Education
4. HJR 69 Repeal Rule Protecting Wildlife
5. HR 370 Repeal Affordable Care Act
6. HR 354 Defund Planned Parenthood
7. HR 785 National Right to Work (this one ends unions)
8. HR 83 Mobilizing Against Sanctuary Cities Bill
9. HR 147 Criminalizing Abortion (“Prenatal Nondiscrimination Act”)
10. HR 808 Sanctions against Iran

Congress is quietly dismantling our country as we know it. They are “making America great again” by throwing it back to the way things were in the 1940s. Seriously?

Pretty soon they’ll turn the Internet off because too many of us pesky citizens are watching and posting nasty fake news like this.

Pretty soon we’ll all be poor, since the billionaires are going to suck up more and more of our taxes and resources, and then they’ll take our iPhones away because we’ll need this money to buy health insurance on the open market.

What is DeVos going to do when the Department of Education no longer exists? What is Scott Pruitt going to do when he turns off the lights at the EPA?

I am seriously scratching my head. America is going to be “great again” when abortion is criminalized, when there is no EPA to keep a check on the rampant rape of our land by industry, when every state makes its own decisions about education, when millions of people who just managed to get health insurance will lose it again?

This is all going on while the presidential clown show is underway in Florida, keeping us distracted from the real changes happening that affect all of us every day.

Are they serious?

We really want this?

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Saw this on Facebook today:

No, I do not agree.

Contrary to what many people think, the Pledge has nothing to do with our founding fathers. It was written in August 1892 by the socialist minister Francis Bellamy (1855-1931). It was originally published in The Youth’s Companion on September 8, 1892. Bellamy had hoped that the pledge would be used by citizens in any country.

It didn’t have “the Flag of the United States of America” in it at the time. That was not added until 1923.

“Under God” was added during the Eisenhower administration in 1954 to counteract communism. Bellamy’s daughter objected to that change.

Making children recite memorized slogans in a public forum, under peer pressure, is a form of brainwashing and propaganda. Just like school prayer.

We should give our children the gift of critical thinking. When they know how to think for themselves, they can decide to what and who they should have allegiance for, based on merit, not on memorized slogans, especially if they don’t know the origins of those slogans.

Once they are adults, they should have been exposed to a number of political philosophies and different religions, and it should be an easy and obvious choice for them to decide which ones they want to subscribe to.

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The absurdity of the wall is demonstrated by Braulio Guerra, a Mexican congressman.

Have you ever built a garden and watched what the rabbits and gophers do to your carrots? We once grew a batch of heirloom tomatoes. They looked beautiful. Until they were almost ripe and rats took them all.

Have you then tried to enclose your garden with chicken wire? Even burying the underground barrier two feet down and three feet up somehow didn’t keep the critters out.

I am not comparing people to rats and gophers. People are way smarter. Throughout history, walls have not worked. People climb over them, find holes in them, cut through them and burrow tunnels underneath them. People fly over them.

Forty percent of our illegal immigrants came here by airplane.

The wall is an absurdity. It is a political spectacle designed by a show-man con-man to foment the fury of the public. The wall is propaganda. Now the public is apparently willing to spend $15 billion of tax money to build an absurdity of unmatched proportion to prove no point at all.

This is happening while funding for the arts and healthcare is cut, Social Security is attacked, and many other valuable government services are raided.

We are about to spend $15 billion on an absurd spectacle of propaganda. Read my lips: this wall will never be finished. We will point to the relics decades from now in disbelief. It will be a visible reminder of an absurd boondoggle of an even more absurd administration.

Eso es lo que tengo que decir del absurdo del muro.

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First they came for the Socialists, and I did not speak out– Because I was not a Socialist.

Then they came for the Trade Unionists, and I did not speak out– Because I was not a Trade Unionist.

Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out– Because I was not a Jew.

Then they came for me–and there was no one left to speak for me.

— Martin Niemöller, a Nazi dissident

Now they are coming for the immigrants, but I am speaking out, because I am an immigrant.

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duncan-hunter-1

Check out this article that describes Hunter accusing constituents protesting at his offices as trespassers.

Here is a post about Hunter misusing campaign funds for private consumption of his family.

Here is post I wrote in December 2013 about Hunter making moronic statements about Iran.

You might have guessed it by now, I am not much of a Hunter supporter, and I can’t believe this man actually got elected to Congress.

Maybe I need to run for Congress. There does not seem like much competition.

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Paul Ryan Knows

paul_ryan_official_speaker_portraitPaul Ryan can’t lose, and he knows it.

I don’t know Ryan personally, I have never met him, but I can see by the look in his eyes that he knows what’s going on in the White House right now is a travesty. But he’s holding tight, he’s walking with the party, because he has a plan.

If the Trump administration goes down in flames, for instance by impeachment due to a constitutional transgression the Congress can’t continue to cover for, we have a Pence administration, provided that Pence does not go down with Trump along the way.

If both Trump and Pence were to go down in flames, Ryan is next in line as the Speaker of the house, and we’d have a Ryan administration.

For 2020, Pence, by himself, is not electable. Since Trump would run again, he’d likely ask Pence to stay on. Pence is too uninspiring a personality to win the presidency on his own.

Ryan will run against Trump in 2020 and he will beat him in the primaries by a landslide. The country will have had three years of a Trump presidency, it will have dozens of scandals to point to, and incompetence to point out. Trump will be toast.

Ryan has already gained national campaign experience with Romney, so he knows the ropes. He also knows he can beat Trump easily. Ryan is only 47 years old now, approximately the age Obama was when he took office. That’s young.

Whether it’s 2020, or 2024, or 2028, we will see a president Ryan in the United States.

The only question I have is: Who are the Democrats going to put forward to oppose this formidable challenger?

 

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diabolical

[click for photo credit on Reddit]

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