Friday, February 24, 2017

SCOTUS VS THE PEOPLE

I'm really having trouble sorting thru my thoughts on this: Why do courts get to decide on social issues like abortion, DOMA, gender identity, right-to-die. I mean -- if one is a conservative who believes in privacy & individual rights -- why would one care about another person's choices? 

We had a couple of kids (ages 21, 18, 15 -- one of whom is gay) over to the house for dinner a few weeks ago. I love discussing current events / issues with them. I broached the bathroom issue. In a nano second, the response was "everyone goes to the bathroom". Indeed, in some European countries there are bathrooms, period. Why shouldn't it be that simple for the rest of us?

Tuesday, February 07, 2017

MORE FOR THE 1%, LESS FOR YOU-KNOW-WHO

[...] conservative economics professor Peter Navarro, whom Trump has tapped to head his National Trade Council [...] recommend(s) the government allocate $137 billion in tax credits for private investors who underwrite infrastructure projects.

[...] the administration's preference for addressing the problem with private dollars is clear. [...]

[...] Infrastructure projects like roads and bridges are attractive to investors only if they have tolls or some other way of generating revenue. [...] but economists and transportation experts warn 

the government could end up rewarding investors in projects that would have been built even without credits.

ANOTHER WINDFALL FOR THE 1% Oh, yes, there would be construction jobs  ALONG WITH more permanent taxes for the middle class in the form of TOLLS.

Tuesday, January 31, 2017

LESSON #1: THE FEDERAL GOVERNMENT IS NOT A FAMILY BUSINESS.

GENERALLY SPEAKING

Generals (most often) have three main characteristics which make them ideal cabinet members for an authoritarian POTUS.

1. They accept civilian authority
2. They take orders
3. They are not idealogs

WORD PLAY w a serious subject

Retweeted Michele Smith (@mdfsmith1):
@RichardHaass Clearly the Trump admin has no experience with ethical operations. Swamping the drain.

1984 - BACK TO THE FUTURE


Tuesday, December 27, 2016

RE-POSTED FROM A THOUGHTFUL FACEBOOK GROUP

QUESTION: Does anyone else find that they're having a hard time handling Trump's election on an emotional level?

JAN RIFKINSON: Yes. I'm disturbed & concerned on a national & personal level. 

On a national level, I'm very disturbed by all the anger. On a personal level, I detest braggadocio & un-truths.

I'm conflicted because I want to respect my POTUS and, at the moment, I am finding that to be a very difficult proposition. 

I hope this changes.

Saturday, December 03, 2016

FACTS OR NOT, A PROBLEM FOR THE AMERICAN PEOPLE?

Honestly, folks, here's a problem I have & I ask for your thoughts on the matter. 

DJT has made & continues to make statements that are FACTUALLY untrue when taken literally. 

The PETUS & his spokespeople have stated in multiple settings, multiple times, during the campaign and after the election, that what the PETUS states is not necessarily what he means. It may be a symbolic statement, not a factual statement. And the MSM takes his statements literally but "the people" understand what he really means. 

Does this mean that every time he makes a statement, I should interpret it instead of listening to it? Should I believe the PETUS's statements or not? So, for example, when he says "Stop It" looking into the camera on "60 Minutes", does he really mean STOP IT! or is it really a wink & a nod to proceed? 

What I'm trying to noodle out is how to weigh what the PETUS and soon-to-be POTUS says going forward. It strikes me is that if I'm constantly "interpreting" what he really means instead of listening to what he states, I could get into a lot of trouble intellectually. 

What's your take?

Thursday, November 24, 2016

THANKSGIVING, THINKING ABOUT GOBBLE....DYGOOK

gob·ble·dy·gook

ˈɡäbəldēˌɡo͞ok/
noun
informal
  1. language that is meaningless or is made unintelligible by excessive use of abstruse technical terms; nonsense.

Good morning & happy Thanksgiving.

While the  president of the teacher's union is upset by Betsy DeVos,  DJT's Secy of Ed -- a billionaire who has fought endlessly for school choice (charter schools & vouchers to compete with public ed), some are celebrating the selection. 

While I think our current public education system (K-12) is basically bankrupt, I want to see it improved not decimated. OTOH, our HS grads are REALLY under-educated by comparison to the rest of the world. I would rather pay a good teacher $150k+ than hire another edu-crat.

In my town, when the Superintendent of Schools discusses education policy, I don't understand what she's talking about. It's all gobbledygook edu-speak which sounds good but means little.

Ike warned us about the military-industrial complex. No one warned us about the edu-industrial complex which is undoubtedly MORE important.

Tuesday, November 22, 2016

QUESTION OF THE DAY

Working from the sunshine-is-the-best-disinfectant POV, I'm wondering if it's actually better that all the discord in the country has bubbled to the surface. Unlike undocumented workers, it's out of the shadows. Doesn't that force us to deal with it?

Monday, November 21, 2016

JUST WONDERING

Why does DJT seem to embrace military figures, ie ex-generals, military academy graduates? Could part of his rationale be that they know how to take orders? .... Calm down. It's just a question. Clearly these individuals are also leaders.

Thursday, September 08, 2016

PUNCTUATION


THE NEXT RATING FIX

What I wouldn't do to sit down with Walter Cronkite, Bud Benjamin, Peter Jennings, Tom Brokaw, Fred Friendly, Roger Mudd, Huntley, Brinkley, Tim Russert, Bob Schieffer, and a few others to discuss how the media is covering this political season. 

I think it borders on irresponsibility especially since journos think of themselves as an indispensable column in the democratic coliseum. They are indispensable but there is much public sentiment that views them as very dispensable which is a shame but may be deserved. 

Day after day, there is uneven, lazy reporting on our crop of presidential candidates, currently the most important story in the world. I watch it day after day. And I'm sad about it. 

It's like watching an extremely accomplished, greatly respected individual now living as a drug addict, on the street, family-less, home-less, fund-less, scrounging around, wondering how to get their next (ratings) fix.

Monday, September 05, 2016

ANOTHER GRUBBY BODY POLITIC

"Federal law enforcement and local election officials say the decentralized nature of the voting process, which is run by states and counties, makes it impossible to ensure a high level of security in each district." 


So.... Why did the SCOTUS get involved in Bush v Gore? Just imagine how our current situations around the world might have been different. Let's start w Iraq.... 


Shame on the SCOTUS for intruding on states rights & forever reducing itself from a highly respected apolitical judicial body to another grubby body politic.

Thursday, September 01, 2016

THE GOP VS THE ALT-RIGHT

Ann Coulter thinks Donald Trump made the greatest speech of his campaign last night (08/31/16) in Phoenix, Arizona. The subject was immigration and border control. OK, maybe she'll sell more books.

But, personally, I feel badly for serious GOP players who blew a historic chance to have it all. 

Almost any other GOP primary candidate could have taken the former Secretary of State at the ballot box because of her historic proclivity for slipperiness.  It seems to be a Clinton chromosomal defect. 

Ms. Clinton, an intelligent student of government policies, probably one of the most prepared people to campaign for the White House, will now have to govern upstream, like her husband and her predecessor. However, unlike them, she will probably only get to serve one term.

Meantime, much of the people's business will take a back seat to continued ideological wrangling and truculence at the Federal level despite Madam  President's best efforts. 

So while the Democrats may cheer -- and rightfully so -- the rest of the country will get angrier and angrier while Mr. Trump, Mr. Ailes and Mr. Bannon make millions more running the Trump streaming network. 

And the poor GOP -- which has an important and legitimate role in balanced governance -- will try to re-build itself with minorities (soon to be majorities) in order to counterbalance the growing ALT-RIGHT contingent... assuming it's still possible in the foreseeable future.

Monday, August 29, 2016

TED ED - HOW DOGS SMELL

POLITICAL HISTORY

For those of you who -- like me -- wonder (quoting a candidate) "what the hell is going on" this political season should read a book called "The Loudest Voice in the Room" by Gabe Sherman.


This is a link to a review of the book by the Washington Post. Before you jump to conclusions, the book is heavily annotated & researched.


I think it puts in perspective some of what's going on this political season and provides some directly relatable history.


Lest you think I am one sided. I also read an 'authorized' bio on Donald Trump called "TrumpNation" & Carl Bernstein's exhaustive bio on Hillary Clinton titled "A Woman in Charge".


None of these books were complimentary.


Then there is an excellent book written just after the Nixon election called "The Selling of the President" by Joe McGinnis.


All of these books accurately reflect this election season & are worth your time if you are a serious voter although I'm sure some will argue that one could be a serious voter w/o reading them.

Saturday, August 20, 2016

WEALTH CAN BE BAD FOR YOUR SOUL. [EXCERPTS]

Privilege, Pathology and Power
www.nytimes.com

By PAUL KRUGMAN 
January 1, 2016

Wealth can be bad for your soul. That’s not just a hoary piece of folk wisdom; it’s a conclusion from serious social science, confirmed by statistical analysis and experiment. The affluent are, on average, less likely to exhibit empathy, less likely to respect norms and even laws, more likely to cheat, than those occupying lower rungs on the economic ladder. [...]

Just to be clear, the biggest reason to oppose the power of money in politics is the way it lets the wealthy rig the system and distort policy priorities. [...]

[...] it’s not trivial. Oligarchy, rule by the few, also tends to become rule by the monstrously self-centered. Narcisstocracy? Jerkigarchy? Anyway, it’s an ugly spectacle [...]

ENTIRE ARTICLE HERE

Friday, August 19, 2016

ORWELL's 1984? NOPE. REAGAN'S 1986 [A Politico.com Magazine article]

[...] The INS’ multi-pronged proposals left little to the imagination, offering two options: a “general registry” and “limited targeting.” In its general registry scenario, the State Department would “invalidate the visas of all nonimmigrants” of the targeted nationalities, “using that as the first step to initiate a wholesale registry and processing procedure.” In its limited targeting scenario, the Investigations Division imagined a series of eight steps to expedite the deportation of the targeted nationalities. One was an executive order, requiring the FBI and CIA to share data with INS to locate alien undesirables and suspected terrorists. Another expanded the legal definition of international terrorism as a deportable offense; to speed the process, the measure would circumvent “proposed rule-making procedures, as a matter of national security.” The INS recommended holding aliens without bond, excluding the public from the deportation proceedings and convincing immigration judges to agree to those terms by referencing classified evidence. [...]

READ MORE HERE

Tuesday, August 16, 2016

SERIOUSLY, FOLKS......

Seriously, folks:

Can you imagine Mr. Trump sitting through meeting after meeting in the oval office or situation room, listening to all the principals offer their opinions on some issue?

Do you really think he wants to work 12-14 hours a day, 7 days a week except for a few days of golf while under constant scrutiny?

Do you think he's going to read reams of position papers on various issues around the world day after day; even after his 14 hour day in the Oval ends?

How do you think he's going to react when the SS says, sorry Mr. President, it'll take a week to organize your security for your trip to Atlantic City to speak to the Chamber of Commerce about jobs.

Whether you agree with his random thoughts on governing or not -- just as a personality -- do you think this is a guy who is emotionally / constitutionally suited for the constant meetings & discussions as the chief executive of the united States?

What happens the day he gets bored and just wants to have fun? Will Donald be able to be Donald? I don't think he will be able to be true to himself in the Oval Office. It's a gilded cage.

Not being in total control will frustrate him. Although he might enjoy the perceived power, he will not enjoy the job.

Even if Hillary was the only un-trustworthy alternative, one could at least imagine her wonkishness fitting in better.

And there are alternatives.

Tuesday, August 09, 2016

THE MANCHURIAN CANDIDATE

For all the people who chant USA! USA! USA! (a sentiment I share), I wish they would put the USA! before political affiliation. That doesn't mean voting for Hillary. There are other choices.

When the SCOTUS took on the state's rights case and decided the election in Bush v Gore, that exalted institution became a political football with feet of clay. Sadly, we see how well that has worked out. 

When a presidential candidate suggests that the elections are rigged, it could set in motion a national loss of confidence in another pillar of our democracy. This is not good for the USA! 

Win or lose, this guy -- Trump -- will do just fine.

If he loses, he has managed to further his brand, build a bigger customer base for his products and has set in motion a multi-million dollar opportunity in communications, i.e. television and cable. Think Trump TV. Good for him. Could that have been the backup plan all along? Who knows.

If he wins, well.....I don't believe it will be good for the USA!

Maybe it's time to rethink "The Manchurian Candidate".

Thursday, July 14, 2016

In Response to Ruth Bader Ginsberg's Comments on Donald Trump's Candidacy

I think SCOTUS let the cat out of the bag when they took on the state's right issue of Bush v Gore. I don't say this as a Gore or Bush supporter. I do say it as a citizen who was once relieved that ONE government institution never got into politics publically. Now it's NOTHING BUT politics from judicial hearings to this situation. It's a shame & IMO a danger to a country that prides itself on believing in the RULE OF LAW.