The Faux News Roundup

This just in:  I’m getting tired of CNN and MSNBC so I think I’ll watch me some Fox News…

I’ve heard of this guy Glenn Beck.  He’s known for crying a lot.  Maybe I’ll tune into him.  Wait…he seems to have been forced off the air in disgrace.

No problem…I’ve heard a lot about this Bill O’Reilly guy.  He says he is “fair and balanced” so that sounds like just the ticket.  What!  He’s been force off the air in disgrace as well?  He was their top guy; the Face of Faux News and now he’s gone.

I’m going to send an email to Roger Ailes and let him know how pissed off I am.  What!!?  My email bounced back.  It seems the CEO of Fox has been forced out in disgrace.

Not a problem…I’ll send and email the his number 2 guy, Bill Shine, the co-president of Fox News.  Oops…his email bounced as well.  Looks like he’s been forced out in disgrace as well.

Maybe, with these top guys out of the way…Fox finally learned their lesson and is now doing real news.

Let’s see….how about Laura Ingram.  What!!??  She’s on the brink of being forced out in disgrace after having cyber bullied a 17-year old boy that was at a school when a mass shooting occurred.

Still, not a problem.  I’ll go with the current Face of Fox…Sean Hannity.  What!!?  He’s radioactive as well?!  Turns out he claimed he wasn’t a client of Trump’s lawyer, Cohen and then in court, it was said that he was.  This means Hannity has been biased in favor of Cohen all along.  So when you heard him defending Cohen on live television, he was really trying to defend himself because he doesn’t want his meetings with this lawyer to get out.

In Hannity’s defence, he said there was never a “third party” involved with his dealings with Cohen.  I’m not sure how that works.  Maybe he was doing a will for Hannity.  Outside of that, I can’t think of why anyone would want a lawyer when there was no other party involved.

Or….Hannity was lying.  He was biased.  His advertisers are about to flee and he will be sent to the dung heap that is Faux News

Just sayin…

Time to save the world.

Up, up and away…

Jim

 

Choices

This just in:  I was in Miami Beach last weekend.  As I walked along a harbor, I was able to marvel at the super yachts lining the piers.  These are boats that can easily cost tens of millions of dollars.

The thought crossed my mind, “I wonder how many of these yacht owners took their multi-million dollar tax cut and turned it into jobs?”

The answer is zero, of course.

People and companies don’t hire people unless they need to.  They also don’t give pay raises unless they need to.

In other words, the tax break for the rich did nothing to increase wages or create jobs.  This is Economics 101.  If you don’t agree with this, then you lack education.  This is not “a matter of opinion.”  It’s a simple fact.

So, where did that tax break money go to?  Well, individuals bought yachts or nicer houses or new dresses.  Corporations bought back stock which served to enrich shareholders.  If you don’t own stock, then you missed out on this as well.

The latest Congressional Budget Office analysis of the Republican Tax Bill is that it is going to bankrupt our country.  It is increasing our national debt by $1-$2 trillion a year…forever going forward.

Meanwhile…90% of American see no benefit.  None….

Eventually we will have to make some choices.  Let me list a few here…

  1. We can spend money on education. We can pay teachers living wages.  We can buy textbooks and computers. OR…we can let the very rich continue to buy yachts.
  2. We can maintain our roads and bridges.  We can invest in high speed transportation that brings labor into cities that are too crowded and too expensive to live in.  OR…we can continue to elect Republicans which are funded by groups like the Koch Brothers who are now making an additional $1 billion a year thanks to the tax break.
  3. We can create a healthcare system that is the envy of the world.  Or…we can allow income inequality to continue to grow so that for every $1 our country earns, $.99 go to the top 50 richest Americans…so they can buy more yachts.
  4. We can provide for Social Security so that our elderly don’t spend the last few years of their lives in poverty or as burdens to their children OR we can continue to believe the line that “Big Government is Bad” and thus continue to elect people that will govern to the needs of the rich.

These are the kinds of choices we face.  They are not new choices. They have always been there.

The right choice seems clear in every case.  The only roadblock is the Populist Agenda.  This is where someone with no educational background to support their assertion will tell you, “Vote for me and I’ll give you the best healthcare in the world and it will cost you nothing,” or “Vote for me and I’ll give you the biggest tax break in history and our economy will blossom with high paying jobs.”

Populism is basically promising people whatever they want to hear knowing that a large percentage will vote for you “just in case you really do know how to turn lead into gold.”

Populists are gullible and therein lies the problem.

Time for me to save the world.

Up, up and away…

Jim

The Great Republican Cash Grab

This just in:  We have two political parties.  What we don’t have is two “opposing” political parties.  One is in the business of governing while the other is playing the “long con.”

The term “con” comes from confidence.  A “con man” is one that gains your confidence and then gets you to give him anything he wants; usually power and money.

Let’s look at the evidence…

Fact #1: Citizens United is a Supreme Court ruling that allows nearly unlimited campaign contributions.  A huge part of these contributions can be made anonymously.  The result is record amounts of money being spent on campaigns.

Fact #2:  When individuals and companies make huge contributions to a party or specific candidates, they expect something in return.  This is a normal expectation and….if it can be proven….is illegal.  That is, if there is a Quid Pro Quo (you scratch my back and I’ll scratch yours).  If, as a Republican, I take NRA money and agree to support them because of this money, I am in big trouble.  To avoid this, I recommend the Marco Rubio gambit which is to say, “The NRA supports my agenda.  That is why they give me so much cash.”

Fact #3:  Mitch McConnell, as a representative of the Republican Party, supports the Citizens United ruling.  He calls unlimited money flowing into our political system “Free Speech.”

Fact #4:  The NRA is being investigated for funneling money into the Republican Party for Russia.  In other words, a foreign country is financially supporting the Republican Party.

Fact #5: There is a rapid increase in the number of investigations and accusations about foreign countries and money.  All have to do with the Republican Party.  There is an investigation about Saudi Arabia secretly contribution to the Republican Party.  There is Russia being investigated for laundering money with Trump.  There is Trump senior advisor, Kushner, being investigated for using his position to secure half a billion $$ in loans.

Fact #6:  The recent tax bill gives virtually nothing back to the American people for the 1-2 trillion dollar debt it is causing.  Unless, of course, you are in the top 1% or are in the business of real estate.  Those two, along with many companies and foreigners are the ones taking the lion’s share of this tax break.  By “lion’s share” I mean 90% of it.

Fact $7:  Recall that “con” means gaining confidence from those you will swindle.  The Republican Party said the tax bill would create jobs and raise wages.   It has done neither.  Since it now appears to be creating a huge debt, as predicted by nearly every economist, the Republicans are saying, “It is now necessary to cut Social Security and Medicare.”  In the face of the obvious fact that the tax break is causing this debt, they turn and blame the poor. There cannot be a more transparent example of stealing from the poor to give to the rich…ever.  I saw today where the Republican Party wants to make sure people getting federal aid are working as much as they can.  So, to get your $500 monthly check…you better be serving fries at McDonald’s as well.  This is part of the “con”.  It’s like saying, “See how we work hard to keep the lazy from taking money out of your pockets.”  Keep in mind, the Koch brothers, who paid the Republican Party to pass this tax bill are now making an extra $27 million a week profit.

Fact #8: The Democrats also have Dark Money.  They need it to compete.  After all, money wins elections.  However, the Democrats also routinely call for an amendment to our Constitution that will overturn Citizens United.  In other words, they take the money but would prefer a system where they didn’t have to in order to govern.

Yes, we have two political parties.  One that tries to govern and one that should be in jail.

Time to save the world.

Up, up and away…

Jim

 

I was wrong…imagine that!

This just in:  For basically forever, I have said that the president cannot be held responsible for the economy; at least in the short run (less than a year).

I remember Obama taking over in 2004 and a week later, the Republican Party blamed him for the millions of jobs lost during the Bush administration.  They blamed him if gas prices went up for a month.  They blamed him if the stock market took a 1-day dip.  They blamed him if unemployment went up.  All of this was blamed on him after about 20 minutes in office.

My response was to say, “Hey, Congress passes the laws.  Congress passes the budget.  Our economy is huge and cannot turn on a dime.  The president doesn’t have the power to change the economy very much and has zero ability to change anything economically in the short run.”

Turns out I was wrong…

Trump, all by himself (as the Republican Party acts as if they are busy elsewhere) has managed to tank our economy in about a year.  Yes, we are not in a recession…yet; however, the table has been set for us to begin a steep downward slide into insignificance.

He started with using his executive powers to drop us out the the Trans Pacific Partnership.  This effectively put billions of customers out of reach for our products.  He then started trying to renegotiate NAFTA; a partnership that involves our biggest trading partner, Canada.  Then he started exporting undocumented workers.  Yes, he broke up families but it also sent cheap labor out of the country.  This didn’t create high-paying jobs in the the tech industry.  What it did do was raise the price you pay for nearly everything you buy in a grocery store.

Now it’s tariffs.  It took about a week for a trade war with China to go nuclear.  A trade war with another country is like having a starvation diet competition with your neighbor.  You both suffer until one of you dies.  When that happens, the remaining person can say, “I won” as his body lays crippled on a hospital gurney.  Expect inflation; the inevitable result of a trade war.  Expect higher interest rates; the inevitable result of inflation.  Expect your home value to drop; the inevitable result of high interest rates.

The stock market is having its worst quarter since the Great Depression.  This is all the result of one man….Donald Trump.  A man fooling with our economy that was once called “the dumbest student I ever had” by his college economics professor.

Trump does not know what is in the tax bill he signed.  Trump does not know what is in the Trans Pacific Partnership.  Trump does not know what is in NAFTA. Trump does not understand tariffs or international trade in general.  Trump even famously asked Flynn, his then National Security Advisor, “What’s the difference between a strong dollar and a weak dollar?”

And yet…he is in charge.

So…I was wrong.  The president can have a major impact on the economy.

Score one for the big Cheeto in the White House.

Time to save the world.

Up, up and away…

Jim

Note: I drop out of Facebook on 1 May.  If you want to still read these posts (for some reason), make sure you subscribe in the right sidebar.  Also, I will no longer be able to post these blogs on Facebook so if you think others might like the content, from time to time, please repost.

j

The Self-Centered Half…

This just in:  In my humble opinion, there are two things that Trump, Republicans and Hard Core NRA members all have in common: (1) The are selfish and (2) They are afraid.

Here is the choice we all have:  We can legislate common sense gun regulations (see tab on bar above) or we can continue to let guns flood our streets, killing families and children by the tens of thousands every year.

When faced with this choice, the Hard Core NRA guy will tell you, “I need my guns to protect my family.”

What he is really saying is, “I will accept the 8-fold increase in chances that my family will be killed by a gun; specifically the gun I own.”  They are also saying, “I am willing to let the slaughter continue nation-wide so that I can have a gun just in case I am that one rare individual faced with a home invader that also has a gun; allowing us to shoot it out across the living room sofa.”

They could buy a lock for their door.  They could get a dog.  They could put motion lighting around their house.  They could support local taxes that would beef up police staffing.

Instead they are saying, “You get to die so that I can have a fantasy about being a cowboy at high noon.”

This is both selfish and fearful.

Interestingly, this is the same attitude that turns people away from science and facts to support Republican Policies that take from the rich to give to the poor or taking food stamps from the poor because someone once met a lazy poor guy.   They don’t want to pay taxes so they readily believe anything that says, “You can get free stuff and not pay taxes.”  That is the promise of Trump and the Republican Party.

They fear a God that doesn’t want them to masterbate.  They fear the homeless because their mere presence lowers the value of their home.  They fear home invaders that don’t exist.  They would even fear unicorns with body armor if Trump told them this was a thing.

Republicans are rightly called “conservative.”  They cling to a past that never existed like some old episode of Twilight Zone.  Bring back typewriters and horse-drawn wagons and watch our economy blossom.

Sounds ridiculous; I know.  But take conservative ideas back to their natural end and that is what you get…something ridiculous.

I consider myself a “progressive”.  I think the next big thing is in front of me; not in my rearview mirror.

I also consider myself fed up.  Regular readers may have noticed that I no longer try to sugar coat things.

I can no longer sit around and say, “Well, isn’t that sweet that you think we should give more money to the rich who will then hire people to mow their lawns.”

It’s time to say, “The Right is Wrong!”

Time to save the world.

Up, up and away…

Jim

Note: On May 1st, I will cancel my Facebook account.

 

The Hunger Diet

This just in:  Left to my own devices, I make stuff up and then if it sounds reasonable….I believe it.

My latest invention in the Hunger Diet.

The idea is that I try to spend 2 consecutive hours each day being hungry.  This does not mean starving or even being uncomfortable.  It just means that when I first notice I’m hungry, I wait for two hours; once a day.

Here is why I think this will work.  First of all, I don’t even need to be hungry to eat.  I walk by the kitchen and see a cookie.  A moment later…the world has one less cookie.  This has nothing to do with hunger.  Having a “wait 2 hours” rule will keep me from impulse eating; at least for that 2 hours.

Another thing is that when I travel, I tend to go to fast food places to eat.  I always end up walking out with a jumbo bag of food; usually something titled “Feeds a family of 12.”  I think I do this because I don’t want to get settled in at the hotel and think, “You know, I sure could use an extra chalupa.”  To avoid this, I always make sure there are chalupas everywhere in my hotel room.  I think this behavior comes from some sort of “Fear of Hunger.”

So, I’m practicing being hungry.  Let’s see how that works out.

Elsewhere…

Trump seems to have gone insane.  However, I don’t think this is front page news any more so I’ll move along.

Still Elsewhere…

Some of you may have noticed that I am planning on leaving Facebook.  This is not just me not going to Facebook.  My intention is to cancel my account completely.  All my data and all my friends will be lost to me.  Sort of weird feeling.

After 2 months, I may sign back up with a completely new account but that is too far out for me to consider at the moment.

My guess is that I will find this a bit uncomfortable and liberating at the same time.  Every time I come across an article that MUST BE SHARED WITH EVERYONE, I will have no mechanism for doing so.

Why am I doing this?  Call it “taking a stand.”  Selling off my data to the highest bidder so that data can be used to influence me at the source…Facebook pissed me off.  Yes, I know other sites do this but for some reason, this one crossed a line. I can either shake an “accusing finger” at Facebook or I can just turn my back on them by leaving.

I don’t want to be the guy that complains and does nothing.  I don’t want to be the guy that says, “We should fire everyone in Congress” and then turns around and votes for the incumbent because what I really meant to say was “Fire everyone except mine because that might be inconvenient.”

So, Facebook will be in my rearview mirror as of 1 May of this year.

I will still have this blog and hopefully, someone will read it and share it on Facebook.  I will also beef up the comment section on this blog so those that want to comment and see the comments of others can do so.  It will be my own micro-Facebook.  If you want to make sure you keep getting this blog, if only to stay in touch, sign up on the right sidebar.

Right now…gotta world to save.

Up, up and away…

Jim

An absence of Shame

This just in:  I used to think the problem was “money in politics”.  Next, I blamed everything on Trump.  Now, I think it comes down to this…people no longer have shame.

Laura Ingram, a Fox News Host has taken to attacking one of the students in the Parkland shooting.  She’s actually cyberbullying this kid because he hasn’t been accepted at his first choice of colleges.  Why is she doing this?  Well, there is the money.  She has high ratings because she does stuff like this and her viewers eat it up.  Also…she has no apparent shame.  She sees nothing morally wrong with her position and actions.

Nunes is the Republican leading the way in protecting Trump.  If there is a wall, its the one Nunes is building around the president.  Now he is after the FBI to produce millions of documents that he says will prove….who knows what.  I think he is trying to paint the FBI as anti-Trump under Comey.  This seems to ignore the fact that Comey may have made the biggest contribution to Trump’s victory when he came out about “more Hillary emails” days before the election.  Nunes is the one responsible for putting out a misleading “memo” that was designed to paint a completely false picture about a FISA warrant.  He also brought the Senate investigation into Trump to an abrupt end saying, “nothing to see here.”  His blatant lying and other actions should be embarrassing to him.  Instead…he seems okay with all of this.  Shameless.

Trump himself is the King of Shameless Land.  He will hold up an apple and tell you its a stick of butter knowing that both you and him know that he is lying.  Shameless.

The woman in charge of the Department of Education seems bent on destroying education.  I’m not sure if this is due to a lack of shame or just incompetence.

The man in charge of the Department of Energy seems bent on stopping the pursuit of clean energy and actively stomps on any suggestion that there is a thing called Global warming.  Shameless or incompetence?

The man in charge of Finance believes in Trickle Down Economics.  He can’t be so stupid as to believe this so my guess is he is lying to enrich others.  Shameless.

Paul Ryan,  the Speaker of the House, pushed through a tax bill that gives billions to the richest Americans at the cost of a $1.4 trillion addition to our national debt over the next 10 years.  Then, he says, we need to cut Social Security and Medicare because we are out of money. Shameless.

Mitch McConnell has a huge list of lies.  For example: Obama came to him and said, “Hey, Russia is interfering in our elections.  We should put out a joint statement so the country knows this is a non-partisan issue and it is really happening.”  McConnell says “Nope”.  Then later he blames Obama for not telling us about the Russian interference. Mitch also prevented Obama from appointing a Supreme Court Justice even though he had about 8 months left in his term.  No Shame.

I am astounded by this lack of shame.  Not because “We should feel shame”.  But rather because, when we do the right thing (like tell the truth) we avoid shame.  If you have no sense of shame, there is nothing to avoid.  You can do whatever you want and your moral compass stays locked away in the closet.

We can fix this.

We can vote in 2018.

Time to save the world.

Up, up and away…

Jim

Don’t “resist” but “replace”

This just in:  I read an article in the NY Times the other day about “replacing” instead of “resisting”.  I strongly agree with this and have been practicing it for some time.

The idea is that, for example, if you are on a diet, don’t sit on the couch trying not to eat a donut.  Instead, get up and eat a cucumber.

I was talking with a friend the other day that is withdrawing from heroin.  When I asked how she was doing she said, “I’m just sitting around the house trying to not think about using.”

Bad idea.

What we resist…persists.

My advice to her was to roll three pair of socks into three balls.  Then, turn on a YouTube channel and learn how to juggle.

My idea was based on “distraction” but from another perspective, it was actually about replacing a craving with an unrelated action.  Same idea.

Basically, it comes down to “action”.  There are things we can actually do that promote behavior we want.  There are things we can do that replace behavior we want to leave behind.  Action is stronger than words or thoughts.  Yes, things begin as thoughts then migrate to words and finally into action.  My recommendation is that we maintain this train of progress all the way through the “actions.”

A couple of weeks ago, I woke up in a hotel in the middle of the night and couldn’t go back to sleep.  This rarely happens.  If sleeping was an Olympic event…I’d be on the podium.  However, on this one night, I couldn’t sleep.  My mind went to the thought, “What am I doing with my life.”

I don’t typically ask myself this question.  I have a gifted life with very little to complain about.  Still, the question is valid.  Just because I can afford my car payment doesn’t mean I’m accomplishing what I want to accomplish.

So, I got out of bed and made a list.  This list contained things I wanted to do every day.  It includes things that would benefit me physically, mentally, intellectually and spiritually.  For example, one item is to contact a friend or family member.  Another is to play my didgeridoo for 5 minutes. 15 minutes for reading.  View a 30-minute educational video.  Eat a salad. Go for a walk.  Don’t eat desert. Meditate.

So far, I have 18 items on this list.  I track my progress every day.  On one day I did all of them.  After 2 weeks, I found that I usually do about 12.  Writing this blog post is one of those items.

This list helps me commit to action that puts me on a path that suits me.  Interestingly, I find that I’m waking up every day looking forward to putting a check next to as many of these as I can.

Maybe this will work for you…maybe not.

What’s important is that I found something that works for me.

I’m replacing “nothing” with “action”.

Time to save the world.

Up, up and away…

Jim

The gift that keeps on giving…

This just in:  In Putin’s eyes, Trump is the gift that keeps on giving.  It really doesn’t matter why Trump does what he does.  It doesn’t matter if Trump just has a boy-crush on Putin or if Putin is controlling Trump.  It doesn’t even matter if some shady Russian loan shark is controlling Trump. All that really matters is that Trump is behaving in a way that Putin must find very satisfying.

Let’s look at a few examples….

  • Russia depends on oil. They use oil, but their real income comes when others use oil.  Trump inexplicably stepping out of the Paris Climate Accord means he is free to promote all types of oil exploitation.  He has done this with great enthusiasm; allowing drilling in Alaska, national parks and off our pristine coast lines.  This makes Putting happy.
  • Russia is a small economy and no match for the United States and its allies. Putin knows this, so it would be in his interest if the United States was somehow made smaller.  For example, if our economy was less robust or our allies around the world began to stand a bit farther from us; as if we were at a global party and broke wind.

Has Trump given this to Putin?  Has Trump made us smaller?

I would argue that he has on several fronts.  Let’s look at a couple…

  1. Moving our Israeli embassy to Jerusalem has alienated us from every Arab country in the Middle East.
  2. Threatening war with Iran and stepping away from the Iranian agreement alienates us from our NATO allies who are part of that Iranian agreement.
  3. Tariffs that start a global trade war has spooked the entire global economy. This, all for a few steel worker jobs that will never be recreated.
  4. A Trump wall has alienated Mexico.
  5. Boasting about lying to the P.M. of Canada has alienated, not only Canada but the rest of the world that now has confirmation about that they have long suspected – Trump lies constantly.
  6. Bolton, Trump’s new National Security Advisor, has openly advocated for a preemptive strike against North Korea; a move that many believe will be almost instantly followed by 20 million deaths in South Korea. This move, even if it worked, would alienate China who sees NK as their illegitimate step child that they are someone responsible for taking care of.
  7. We have stepped out of the Trans Pacific Partnership, closing the door on a massive amount of potential trade.
  8. At home we have seen a rise in white supremacy and racism as well as religious intolerance. All of this serves to dis-unify our country.
  9. At home we have seen tax policies enacted and regulations tossed aside all directly responsible for increased income inequality; another divisive issue.

So yes, Trump has given Putin what he wants.  He has made American smaller.

There you have it.  My argument for “Trump is the gift that keeps on giving…to Putin.”

Time to save the world.

Up, up and away…

Jim

Besides Guns and Trump

This just in:  I don’t know about you but there are certain things I have come to accept as normal.   Mass shootings followed by “hopes and prayers” followed by increased gun sales is normal.  Trump doing the exact opposite of what is the right thing to do in EVERY situation is normal.  Republican’s hiding Trump’s Russian affiliations is normal.  Fox News blathering absolute nonsense that is gobbled up by a large portion of our population is normal.

It’s become normal to me because I watch a lot of news and this is all I see.

Today I found myself wondering, “What would I like to see on the news?”

This gives rise to the question, “Is news supposed to be informational, educational or merely entertaining?”

I suppose a little of all three.

Here would be my programming:

  • A segment on conflicts around the world.  Who is fighting who and why.
  • Something about entertainment
  • A segment on advances in medicine.
  • A segment on advances in technology.
  • A good news story with maybe a puppy
  • A segment that compares the current rating of the top 25 countries in the following categories:
  1. Math scores
  2. Science scores
  3. Cost of health care
  4. Quality of life
  5. Quality of the Democracy
  6. Work-Life balance
  7. Military spending
  8. Crime
  9. Economic growth
  • I would sprinkle in some sports.
  • There would be an international segment about places like Africa or Asia that covered things we don’t normally hear about.
  • There would be a segment where political actions and statements are evaluated based on effectiveness and truth by an neutral third party like IBM’s Wilson.
  • There would be section on national social issues like poverty, equality, racism, jobs, wages etc.

That all sounds like a good start.

I think its high time the people of the United States realize that we are quickly falling behind the rest of the world in nearly every category except military spending and gun deaths.

A good dose of reality television that showed the truth of our ongoing fall from the top of the heap may be what we need to make us take action to reverse this trend.

Time to save the world.

Up, up and away…

Jim