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Archive for the ‘Political’ Category

Vons Supermarket: “Would you like to donate five dollars for people in need?”

Panda Express Chinese Diner: “Would you like to donate your change to Children’s Hospital?”

Carl’s Junior Fast Food Restaurant: “Would you like to donate a dollar to help veterans?”

My answer to each of them: “No.”

Not “No, Thank You.” Not “I have already donated.” Just “No.”

I have no problem with charity for people in need, for sick children, and for veterans. But I have a problem with retail organizations hustling money from their customers, who, in the majority of cases, cannot afford those donation and probably need help themselves. I have always said simply “No” not because I don’t have the money to give, but because I do not believe in the principles applied.

In the case of Vons, who are “people in need?” How do I know my five dollars go there? Who are they accountable to? Where do they determine who is in need, and how?

In each of those cases, they prey on the person in line being embarrassed about saying “No.” Others standing behind or next to them in line can hear the conversation. People will say “Yes” just to get past the embarrassing moment. The young man in front of me at Vons was with his girlfriend. They bought just a few things. He donated more money to “people in need” than his total purchase value, just because he didn’t want to look like a miser in front of his girlfriend.

Why does our healthcare system need to beg for money for the Children’s Hospital in restaurants? Can’t we have a system that pays adequately for healthcare for children?

And what about or veterans? I believe the government that sends our young men and women overseas to get maimed and emotionally crippled owes those people adequate and quality healthcare. We should not need to beg for money in fast food lines for our veterans. Our politicians talk about how fine our military is, and we honor our service men and women by thanking them when we see them at the airport. But when they come back with limbs missing or drug addicted, we discard them. And we can’t figure out how to pay for their healthcare. That is – to me – repulsive.

I resent that we resort to collecting money for their care from those that can least afford it – people eating in fast food places. Our president has spent over $100 million of taxpayer money on golf vacations in just two years, and we beg customers in Carl’s Junior for money for veterans!

Screwed up, we are.

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First we institute a massive tax cut for the rich and corporations. This balloons the deficit. Our deficit is higher than it ever was in history. The Republicans, who are supposedly the fiscally conservative party that blasted Obama for his deficits, have been awkwardly quiet about this.

The “Trump Economy” as we call it is artificially pumped up by the massive debt we’re accumulating to pay for the tax cuts. Our grandchildren will be paying for this.

We’re borrowing money, largely from China, to make up for the deficit.

Now we’re placing tariffs on Chinese goods, which American consumers pay for in the end. Our farmers are hurt in the process.

Let me get this straight:

We are borrowing money from China to pay our farmers not to sell their crops to China.

We have dilettantes running our country.

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Ladies and Gentlemen, the King of Thailand:

The King of Thailand – [click to enlarge]

Thailand’s King Maha Vajiralongkorn was officially crowned last week. The coronation represents the renewal of the monarchy’s power after the death of the king’s father in October 2016. The new king placed the crown on his own head. In Thailand, kings are regarded as almost divine. Like kings before him, Vajiralongkorn is protected by one the world’s strictest lese majeste laws, which make criticism of the king and other royals punishable by up to 15 years in prison.

It turns out, I published a post about the king in October 2016 in this blog. You want to check this out, as it contains some pictures and videos of the king and his consorts that are not very flattering. I just have to make sure that I don’t travel to Thailand now, lest I get arrested at the port of entry and thrown in a Thai prison for 15 years for being critical.

I am fortunate that I am protected as a citizen in a country that cherishes free speech and allows the people to criticize their leaders – at least that’s what it’s been up to this day and age.

 

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Completely Exonerated?

I just don’t get this part:

If the Mueller report completely exonerates Trump, if it proves there was no collusion, if it shows that we treated the president unfairly, if it allows the “country to move forward again,” then why isn’t Trump making sure that every one of us gets a copy of it as soon as possible?

Hand out the reports, so we can read it for ourselves!

Trump is free and clear, and we can all be sure that the country is safe and protected by our beloved leader.

But it seems like everyone, including the GOP enablers in congress, are fighting to keep it secret.

Why?

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You can judge the character of a person by what the person spends his or her money on.

You can judge the character of a nation the same way.

Our military budget is larger than that of the next 10 nations COMBINED.

The U.S. military is planning on buying a total 2,443 F-35 jets. Since the pricing of each jet is not clear, because they are sold in “batches” where the costs of development are sometimes wrapped into the planes, I find it difficult to figure out how much individual planes actually cost. I have come up with up to $200 million each, but on the low end around $100 million each (source).

Let’s say we’re on the low end at $100 million for each plane.

Trump and DeVos just suggested we cut the entire budget of the Special Olympics – about $17 million a year. We know Trump caved after the public outrage that announcement created. Two billionaires, two kleptocrats, trying to take the Special Olympics out of the government’s budget – in our name!

Let me suggest the following:

I don’t think we need 2,443 F-35 jets. I think 2,442 will do just fine. And we’ll take the $100 million we saved and fund the Special Olympics for about six years straight.

We can live with one less F-35, right?

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When you elect a clown, expect a circus.

The Ukraine is suffering from massive corruption at the top of the government. After Paul Manafort’s protector in the Ukraine was ousted, near-billionaire Petro Poroshenko took over. Most of the candidates for the upcoming election are oligarchs. The voters don’t like it.

41-year-old television comic Volodymyr Zelenskiy is the host of a show called Servant of the People. He makes fun of the political elite. Ukraine is a large country with a lot of resources, great agricultural potential and a highly educated population of 42 million. They are not happy, and the comedian is the front-runner in the election.

Sounds familiar?

Steven Colbert for President!

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Friday night we went to our first political rally. Yes, I made it through 62 years without ever attending one.

We went to see Bernie Sanders in San Diego.We found a spot very close to the podium.

Bernie Sanders at Podium in San Diego, March 22, 2019 [photocredit: Trisha]

The crowd was large, but being in the middle of it, it was impossible to count or estimate. Here is a happy selfie.

Selfie [photocredit: Trisha]

Sanders has a huge momentum built up this early in the campaign. Obviously, in 2016, he was just short of the nomination, mostly due to coming in a bit late after Clinton and of course Clinton’s notoriety. This time around, there is no Clinton, and Sanders appears to be the front runner. He already has a million volunteers signed up all around the country for his campaign. It will be difficult for anyone else to catch up to that. Having done this last time around, unlike the wide field of other candidates, he has a huge (huuge) advantage.

Old Guys Rule

I enjoyed listening to a stump speech that is not about a personality cult. Trump’s self-admiration and egotistical world view was far, far away. Here is a humble man, from very modest beginnings, who has been a public servant for most of his life. He has also been a maverick, agitator and activist. Most of all, he has the welfare of the people, the country, and the world as his objective.

I predict that Sanders will win this election.

If he is elected in November 2020, he will be 79 years old and by far the oldest president ever. So far the oldest is Trump, who was 70 when he was elected. Remember when the country thought that Reagan was too old when he took office at age 69?

Be that as it may, I can see the possibility of a very young electorate voting a very old man into the presidency. This means that his selection of a running mate (presumably younger than himself and probably a woman) will be crucial, and the likelihood of that vice president ascending to the presidency is high, especially if he succeeded for two terms.

So far, the outcome of this rally for me is that Sanders has my vote. He had it in 2016 in the primary, and he will have it this time around (as long as he does not pull a McCain and find a Palin – but that was another story I wrote about here in 2008).

Old Guys Rule!

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I was around in 1988, when Senator Gart Hart (Hugh Jackman) was considered the front runner for the Democratic presidential nomination. We know how it all ended. Hart exited the race not too long after a story broke about an extramarital relationship with a woman named Donna Rice.

In 1988, tabloid journalism surfaced for the first time in a presidential election. It is now 30 years later, and it seems like tabloid journalism is all we get anymore in high profile elections. Gary Hart was an Eagle Scout compared to Donald Trump. Our senses are now dull, and our sensitivity numbed. The office of the presidency will not be the same again.

But in the days of Gary Hart, different rules applied.

This documentary drama tells the story of the rise and fall of Gary Hart, the man who almost might have been president, until some “Monkey Business” got in the way. The Front Runner is an entertaining and informative film into the way we run our presidential elections and I enjoyed the window into the past.

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Both Nixon and Trump called the investigations witch hunts.

Some witch hunts!

I think I’ll side with the blues on this chart.

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Vice is a biopic about Dick Cheney’s life. Cheney is played by Christian Bale, and his wife by Amy Adams.

How did a quiet man from Wyoming of humble beginnings become arguably the most powerful man in the world during the George W. Bush presidency?

Cheney reshaped our world. First, he made sure that he and Bush won the election in 2000. Bush won against Gore by less than 600 votes in Florida, as far as the world knows. What would have happened if Gore had won just his own home state and therefore the presidency? We will never know. Because Cheney was in charge.

After the terrible events of September 11, 2001, Cheney took the reins and shaped the world to his liking. What he did affected all of us, all over the world.

This movie guides us through Cheney’s life, and gives us a glimpse of his reasoning and motives. The likeness Christian Bale achieves at times is eerie. There is also a very powerful performance by Steve Carell playing Donald Rumsfeld and a hilarious one by Sam Rockwell, playing George W. Bush. Rockwell does not quite look enough like Bush to be convincing, but when you close your eyes and listen to him talk, he really comes to life.

I enjoyed the film, and I didn’t like Cheney any better when it was over than I did when I walked in. I just had more insight.

We live in a frightening world, where men with immense power can do horrific things to thousands, no, millions of others.

 

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Oscar (Anthony Gonzalez) is a 12-year-old boy from Honduras. Forced to flee his home to escape gang brutality, he goes on the long trek in hopes of meeting up with this uncle, who lives and works in the United States. Eventually he reaches the border and tries to seek asylum. But the journey is not simple, and he ends up in a cage in an ice-cold warehouse (the Icebox) with nothing but little space blankets and a thin mattress. Rather than reaching the promised land after a long and arduous journey, he is lost in the American immigration system, and that’s where his journey only starts.

The timing for this movie could not be more appropriate. In an age where our leadership vilifies immigrants, and demonizes those that come from the south as criminals, rapists and drug dealers, it is enlightening to witness the human story of the immigrants themselves.

Frightened in an alien world, separated from their families, terrified by the crime and gang violence at home, these people are abused, beaten and subjugated — all for the “crime” of trying to make a living for themselves and their families.

Now more important than ever, go watch Icebox and then tell me you are afraid of those monsters and criminals who threaten us from the southern border.

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Making Russia Great Again!

I am embarrassed for my Senate and Country.

Our government put sanctions on this Russian because he conducted criminal activity in our country, and now our own American Senate confirmed that those criminal activities are acceptable, and that the sanctions should be lifted.

This is not how you make America great. This is how you sell out America. The same people who were upset when Obama freed up Iran’s frozen assets and gave them back their own money, and who made it out like America was paying Iran, these same people are now handing the Russians the key to business in America.

Shameful!

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Hillary Clinton, when you go to prison for defrauding American and perjury, your room and board will be free!

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I picked up this coffee table book recently:

The book is filled with pictures of Obama interacting with people, some famous, like the picture below, others just babies, children, etc.

With every picture, there is a quote from a speech. Here is an example:

I am president, I am not king. I can’t do these things just by myself.

— Interview with Univision, October 25, 2010

Obama is graceful, he has integrity, and there isn’t a single scandal or any type that I can think of that arose in his eight years in office. During the Obama years, it was never about Obama. It was about the country he served.

I do miss him.

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Trump really must think we’re all stupid.

If you took a commercial airliner from Dallas, TX to Guatemala, it would take over three hours.

The distance is about the same as that from San Diego to Canada, and the majority of the “hike” is in desert terrain.

The Pacific Crest Trail (PCT) is a world-famous hike that a few thousand people hike every year. It starts at the Mexian border outside of San Diego and goes to the Canadian border in Washington State. Seasoned through-hikers walk 20 to 30 miles a day, every day. They start in April and end in September. The hike is brutal, requires frequent resupply packages, and only the most persistent and hardy hikers finish it. It also costs a hiker a few thousand dollars for resupplies, several pairs of hiking boots that they wear out, and broken gear. You can find out more by reading one of the many books about hiking the PCT. Here is one of them I reviewed: Book Review: Bliss(ters): How I Walked from Mexico to Canada One Summer – by Gail M. Francis.

So now Trump is sending over 5,000 American soldiers to the border to wait for 5 months for the first of these migrant families with children in their arms, in flip-flops, with water bottles in their hands, to reach the American border?

There is so much wrong with this. If the president really believes this caravan is a danger to the safety of the United States, he can definitely wait 5 or 6 months until the caravan gets close and then send troops.

In the interim, the military could use its satellite surveillance to keep track of the caravan.

Of course, not a single one of those migrants in the current caravan will ever make it near the United States border due to the immense hardship of the incredibly long trip. It makes the Mormon hand-cart trips in the 1800s look like a walk in the park in comparison.

Obviously, the president and his supporters are using this to scare us. They are using fear-tactics and xenophobia to whip up the ignorant and uneducated, the people that don’t have the insight to look at a simple map and assess what’s really going on.

Fortunately, most Americans can see through this nonsense.

I can only say: MAGA stands for Make America Stupid Again.

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