I’m Confused

This just in: Every now and then, I’m having a conversation with someone and my conscious mind leaves the room. Then I hear something like “Don’t you agree,” to which I nearly always answer with “North Dakota.”

There are other things that I either don’t understand or can’t quite get my head around.

For example, I see the U.K. and the E.U. as members of “my team.” I want them to succeed just like I want the United States to succeed. Their success is our success. This is why the Brexit thing has bothered me. This is like a lose-lose-lose situation.

Why would anyone in the U.K. want out of the E.U.?

I saw an interview that may shed some light on this.

Reporter: “Why did you vote in favor of the U.K. leaving the E.U.?”

Girl: “Well, I heard that they were trying to tell us what chicken eggs we have to buy.”

That’s it! I actually saw this interview.

Meanwhile, people in the U.K. are asking people in the U.S. why they support a president that ignores intelligence briefings in favor of notes passed to him from Putin or Fox and Friends.

Reporter: “Why do you support Trump?”

American: “He says what’s on his mind.”

It should be noted that the homeless man sleeping on the front porch of Macy’s in San Francisco has the exact same qualifications.

And here is one I came across while learning Chinese. There are about 50 ways to say “chi” in Chinese and they all mean something different.

For example: “Chi chi chi chi….chi, chi” Means “I went to the market today and the fish was old but they had Caramel Ice cream.”

The response to this statement is: “Chi….chi-chi!!!” which translates, as far as I can tell, into “North Dakota.”

Time to save the world.

Up, up and away…

Jim

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The Hidden Reason for the Trump/McConnell shutdown

This just in: If you believe that Trickle-Down Economics is a sound theory that actually works, stop reading now since this simply written blog is about to fly right over your 3rd grade level of economics.

Let’s set the stage…

When the Republican Party took over the House and the Senate, they changed the way their economic policies are graded.

Under Democrats, a policy would have its outcome predicted in advance. If the results came out different, there would be some “splaining” to do. Congress would have to admit that their actions were wrong and promise to do better in the future.

Under Republicans, this was changed to “Dynamic Scoring.” This means they could make a prediction about an outcome (as before) but now, they could readjust their prediction about the outcome once it actually happened. It allowed them to rewrite history so they would always be right.

Step 2 was to pass a massive tax cut for the rich.

The predictions in advance said everyone would get huge tax breaks and the economy would grow upwards of 5% per year. This is a huge rate of growth. Republicans also said that the increased economic activity would easily pay off the predicted multi-trillion dollar debt that would build up if things didn’t work out.

The result of the tax break is clear. Almost no one got a raise unless they were already rich. The debt is soaring out of control at a record pace. And as every educated economist predicted, our economy is heading into a recession now that the short term benefit of the tax break have passed.

These results are like a billboard on every highway in America that says, “Republicans have no idea what they are doing!!”

Now…let’s get back to that Dynamic Scoring…

I just read a headline that says “Even Republicans are fearing that the economy will have ZERO growth this year…”

But wait! There’s more.

According to Republicans, the reason growth will drop to ZERO is not because of the Tax Scam. No…they are saying, “We were right about the tax break causing huge growth. That is going just as expected…except the Government Shutdown is countering that growth so it will be ZERO. Thank goodness we passed that tax scam/bill.”

See what they are doing? They are acting as if the tax cut worked so the Republicans will bear no blame for the coming recession. Also, by blaming the shutdown, they hope to smear a least of bit of the blame on Democrats.

This also explains why Mitch McConnell is as interested in keeping this shutdown going as Trump. Trump is having a tantrum. Mitch is trying to hide his role in the coming recession.

So there you have it – Why the government is shutdown.

Yes, there are other reasons: (1) Russia told Trump to shut it down, (2) Trump needs a distraction from the Mueller probe.

I was going to add that Trump needed a distraction from the Cohen testimony but witness tampering by the President of the United States put an end to that threat.

Time to save the world.

Up, up and away…

Jim

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And the Wall…came tumbling down

This just in: I know it’s been talked to death but I have a few words on the government shutdown and Trump’s wall.

Let’s start with this…”Tell them we will build a wall.” This is how Trump’s handlers got him to remember to talk about immigration during the campaign. It’s like saying, “Remember, a lot of our base is racist so you need to give them something racist to cheer about.”

Trump first said “We are going to build a wall” and then marvelled at how the crowd reacted. He then ad-libbed “And Mexico is going to pay for it” and the crowd went wild.

This reaction imprinted the idea of a wall on Trump’s infant mind.

Some facts:

  1. There is no crisis at the southern border. I won’t go into details. There is plenty of data about this. So, if you don’t believe me, then you are just listening to Trump or Fox News and there is no help for you.
  2. Trump sent Congress a budget, they came back and gave him what he asked for. But, in the meantime, Trump watched some TV and found that a couple of conservative talk show hosts scolded him for not getting a wall. When Congress came to Trump and said, “Here is what you asked for” Trump said…I have decided I also want a wall.
  3. If you want our country to be safe, pay the Coast Guard who is currently not being paid.
  4. If you want our country to be safe, pay TSA agents who are currently not being paid.
  5. The shutdown directly affects 800,000 paychecks from people that work for the government. However, millions are feeling the impact indirectly or as government services stop.

Now, It’s okay for the president to veto a budget submitted to him by Congress. If Congress really wants something but the president vetoes them, then Congress can override his veto with a 67% vote.

Mitch McConnell will not even allow this vote to take place. This, even though they had a nearly 100% approval of the budget sent to Trump.

McConnell won’t hold this vote because it will force some senators to either publicly vote for the government shutdown (in support of Trump) or it will make senators publicly vote against Trump, thus earning them nicknames.

It’s clear to me that the public wants the shutdown to end.

It’s clear to me that the public does not want a wall.

It’s clear to me that Trump is stuck in some alternative reality where he thinks he is actually a great negotiator.

It’s clear to me that if Congress actually represented the public, they would allow an override vote of Trump’s veto.

It’s clear to me that the Republican Party is afraid of Trump.

And sadly, its clear to me that about 38% of Americans are okay with all of this and thus….we are being governed by the minority.

Conclusion: The Republican Party is far more interested in power and keeping their jobs than they are in actually doing their jobs and promoting a true Democratic government.

Just sayin…

Time to save the world.

Up, up and away…

Jim

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Where are the Republicans?

This just in: Yesterday, the Republican Party peeked out from under its rock and condemned the racist remarks of Steve King, one of their own. Following that…they slipped back into the darkness with a smug sense of “Mission Accomplished.”

I’m left wondering, “Is that it? Is that all they think their job is…naming post offices and occasionally pretending to condemn racism?”

They are supposed to make our laws. They are supposed to spend our taxes. They are supposed to represent a Checks-And-Balances on the other branches of the government. In fact, each of the 3 branches is supposed to keep the other branches from things like….treason, for example.

Checks and Balances….I guess that is what I’m missing most right now. Let’s look at a few ways the Republican Party is failing in this endeavour…

Word has just leaked out that Trump has been asking aides for the last year if he can pull the United States out of NATO. Where are the Republicans?

Is has recently been released that Trump has kept all notes from his Putin meetings so that no record exists of what has transpired between these two over the last 2 years. Where are the Republicans?

The New York Times reports that the FBI initiated an investigation into Trump as a possible agent for Russia following his firing of Comey. Where are the Republicans?

Trump has allowed the crown prince of Saudi Arabia to get away with murdering a reporter that lives in the United States. Where are the Republicans.

Trump is holding the government hostage for a wall. Congress has the votes to override his veto and reopen the government. This is up to Mitch McConnell to do. He won’t. Where are the Republicans?

Trump has numerous violations of the emolument clause of the Constitution. He is using his position as president to make money from foreign countries. This is blatantly illegal. Where are the Republicans?

Trump has pulled out of nearly every international trade agreement. Where are the Republicans?

Trump has put tariffs in place starting a global trade war. He is only allowed to do this in the interest of national security. There is no emergency and the tariffs are hurting our economy. Where are the Republicans?

Trump uses racist language all the time. Where are the Republicans?

Trump is separating families at the border; putting children in prison-like camps. Where are the Republicans?

Trump announces, after ZERO consultation, that he is pulling all of our troops out of Syria. Where are the Republicans.

Trump is lying openly about the danger posed by our southern border. Where are the Republicans?

Oh wait!!! I found them!!

While all of this Trump stuff was going on…the Republicans…

  1. Passed a tax cut for the very, very rich which is driving our national debt up at a record pace.
  2. They conducted an investigation on Russian meddling in the 2016 election and quickly decided that nothing happened. This, as Mueller, investigating the same thing, is cranking out one indictment after another.

Aside from that…the Republican Party has been conspicuously absent. There is a reason for this – They fear Trump’s maniac base. If they cross Trump, he will give them a nickname and they will then lose their next election.

So, the Republican Party has elected to let Trump go unchecked; even as he tries to pull us out of NATO, just to protect their jobs.

We are governed by cowards.

Time to save the world.

Up, up and away…

Jim

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Danger Will Robinson, Danger!

This just in:  Today, I’d like to piggy-back on my post from yesterday where I wrote about the abrupt decision to take our troops out of Syria.

A lot has happened since then.

First, I learned a lot about the value of those troops in Syria.  I now understand why many are calling this move the biggest foreign policy blunder in decades.

I also learned that Trump took a call from Erdogan, Turkey’s dictator.  It seems that Erdogan has wanted to go into Syria and kill all of our allies, the Kurds.  Only our troops presence has stopped him.  So, Erdogan calls Trump and the next thing you know, out come our troops.

I also leaned that later yesterday, Putin praised Trump’s move to take the troops out of Syria.  In the press conference, Putin said we should take troops out of Afghanistan as well.  Three hours later, Trump announces we are pulling troops out of Afghanistan.

Also yesterday, Trump signaled to the GOP that he would sign a stop-gag bill to fund the government into February even if it had no money for his wall or moat or whatever primeval device he wants.  Then  Fox News, Conservative pundits like Laura Ingram, Anne Coulter and Rush Limbaugh got on the airwaves and said, “Trump’s base will leave him if he gives in on this wall issue.”  A couple of hours later, Trump did a 180 and decided that he will let the government shut down even though his own party strongly disagrees with him.

As for the Secretary of Defense, he quit citing that he (Matis) thinks we should support our allies and not give in to our enemies.  Matis went on to say that these beliefs were not in keeping with Trump’s beliefs.  Think about that.

Note that Trump has lost 13 cabinet level members in 2 years.  That is more than the 3 previous administrations lost in 24 years combined!

All of this is just my observations.  Go online and find all the sources that you want.

Reach your own conclusion.

My conclusion is this: (1) Trump works for Putin, (2) Trump is a coward and is backing out of Syria to avoid a conflict with Turkey (3) Rupert Murdoch, owner of Fox, is as much our president as Trump or Putin and here is the biggie…(4) Losing Matis as Secretary of Defense will allow Trump to put in a lapdog that will agree with any insane idea that pops into Trump’s tiny little mind.

The world has suddenly become a very dangerous place.

Time to save it.

Up, up and away…

Jim

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I’m probably wrong but…

This just in:  I have an opinion about the Middle East and our military involvement there.  Having said that, I admit my understanding of a very complex situation is exceptionally limited.  Smitty, my editor, knows a lot more that me and disagrees with my opinion on this issue.

But….here is what I think anyway.

Once upon a time, we needed the Middle East because they supplied us and the rest of the world with oil.  A small hiccup there would send economies crashing around the world.

We helped to overthrow regimes to put in our puppets.  We established military bases and flexed our muscles.  The unspoken word to those in the area was “We are here and we are strong…so don’t fuck with us.”

Yes, there are other issues aside from oil.  NATO likes our bases close to them.  Israel wants a big brother to hide behind etc.

But it really was about the oil.

Now we are energy independent.  We get very little oil from the Middle East.

And yet…we are still there.

It’s as if our politicians forgot why we were there in the first place and at this point, are afraid to ask “Why?”  So we stay.  We stay and send kids from lower to middle class families over there to fight for something that no one can define.

We let our soldiers board first on airplanes but when they come home, they are not heroes.   There is no parade for them as a banner is unfolded saying, “We killed some guys in the desert who were shooting at us from the back of a 1973 Toyota pickup.”

I’m sure Smitty is cringing as he reads this

So, when Trump says, “We are leaving Syria” why am I not happy?

Let’s go back to what this blog started with: I don’t know what I’m talking about.

Obama said he would get us out of the Middle East and yet…we stayed.

Did he learn something that changed his mind?

Trump makes this grand announcement and I think “Finally!”

Then…silence.

Congress knew nothing about this plan.

The Pentagon knew nothing about this plan.

Puting loves this plan.

Erdogan (Turkey dictator) loves this plan.

ISIS loves this plan.

All of this together makes me think, “What the fuck is going on?”

I think Trump is getting his ideas/orders from places we’d rather he didn’t.

On a completely unrelated note…

Trump has just announced that he plans on lifting some Russian sanctions.

Hmmmmmm

Now for a quick gratitude list.

  1. Free online language courses
  2. Thai food
  3. 2-day delivery with Amazon Prime
  4. Christmas Music
  5. New tires
  6. Espresso with a shot of caramel
  7. Pandora online music
  8. Bundling up before walking the dogs on a cold morning

Time to save the world.

Up, up and away…

Jim

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The Hungarian Template

This just in:  In 2003, Victor Orban took over power in Hungary.  He ran on a populist platform, much like Trump.

He basically promised people what they wanted to hear.  He lowered taxes and was an instant hit.  Then things started happening.  For example, he replaced people in the courts so that he could do whatever he wanted with regards to the Constitution.  While income taxes dropped, he started taxing just about everything else in the country.  He confiscated retirement plans. People that once had government and private retirement plans saw Orban take one of the two away…you got to choose which one you lost. He nationalized companies.  He put his cronies in charge everywhere.  

Just last week, he started a program where companies could force you to work up to 400 hours of overtime a year and then not pay you for a period ranging from 1 to 3 years.  He claims this is needed to fill a labor shortage.

There is plenty of labor…it’s just outside the barbed-wire fences keeping refugees out of the country.  He has stated that he keeps them out because he is trying to preserve the white, Christian culture of Hungary.

The E.U. has been on the verge of kicking Hungary out for several years.  I think this will happen soon.

Orban is not worried because he has partnered with Putin and Russia who will step in and save the day.

Does any of this sound familiar?  

It does to me.  A few years ago, the Koch brothers noted that the changing demographics in the United States would mean that before too long, the Republican Party would not be able to maintain it’s power.  The solution was to fill up the courts with conservative justices at every opportunity.  The Koch lapdog Mitch McConnell did just that by stealing a SCOTUS position from Obama.

These court appointments in the United States feel suspiciously like what happened in Hungary.

The Republican racism feels suspiciously like what is happening in Hungary.

The appointment of cronies to high positions in the United States seems just like Hungary.

The squashing of workers’ rights in the United States seems a lot like Hungary.

Now…I could be way wrong on this.  It could be that a justice is a justice and they are unbiased and thus it doesn’t matter which party appoints them.  It could be that the fear mongering over a border wall or muslim immigrants is not really racist but based on a set of facts kept completely secret by the Republican Party.

All of these similarities to Hungary might just be a figment of my imagination.

On a completely unrelated note…Trump is now under investigation on 17 seperate fronts for issues ranging from using his charity as a private piggy bank to laundering Russian money and tax evasion.

Just sayin.

Time to save the world.

Up, up and away…

Jim

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The Turkey is Done

This just in:  For Thanksgiving, I always buy a turkey that has one of those little pop-out indicators; the thing that pops out when the internal temperature indicates that the turkey is done.

I think that if you look closely at Trump these days, you might see one of these sticking out of his ass.

Trump…the turkey…is done.

Here is why.

I don’t want to go into the myriad of news articles that detail every little bit of information that indicates that Trump colluded AND conspired with the Russians to win his election.

But there are a couple of big bites to look at.

Trump tweeted his appreciation for one of his swamp monsters that took the 5th AND he tweeted a request for a harsh sentence for a swamp monster that flipped.  This is witness tampering and it’s being done to obstruct the investigation.

Mueller recommended no jail time for General Flynn; Trump’s one-time National Security Advisor. Flynn held this role for 24 days (2.4 Scaramuccis).  He did this because Flynn gave significant information about the Russia investigation.  If there was a quid-pro-quo, not only would Flynn know about it but he would be in the middle of negotiating it.

Trump’s fixer, Cohen, flipped so hard Circ-de-Sole is thinking of naming a trapeze act after him.  This is a guy that knows where the bodies of Trump’s past are buried.  Since a lot of the investigation is looking into Russian ties to Trump, Cohen will be able to lead them to every Russian mob deal made over the last decade.

And finally, there is the Republican tell.

The Republicans, in a rare display of anti-Trump, have come out and said that the prince of Saudi Arabia was directly responsible for killing that journalist a couple of months ago.

This is a virtual first.  Yes, there have been instances and individuals that have stood against Trump over his tenure but basically, they have supported him.  He has been their (and Russia’s) Useful Idiot.

His time is coming to an end so the GOP has made a calculated decision to begin distancing themselves from Trump.  This will work.  It will work because as soon as Fox news joins the “abandon ship” movement, they will begin reprogramming their viewers to believe that Republicans always stood against Trump.

As I write this, I know it’s true.  More interesting is that the book 1984 got so much right.  If you’ve never read that book, read it now.

There is some light at the end of this long, tired tunnel of failure.  I have heard whispers of a Republican movement called the New Republicans.  This appears to be a group dedicated to restoring the Republican Party of 20 or 30 years ago.  Let’s hope so.

A quick gratitude list…

  1. Airplanes with A/C outlets
  2. My lab that keeps gophers out of the yard
  3. Early boarding on a crowded plane
  4. Allowing myself to be wrong
  5. Off road jeeping
  6. Catch and release fly fishing
  7. My San Diego golf brothers
  8. Daily texts shared with Smitty and Hebes
  9. The Army-Navy game this weekend

Go Navy!

Time to save the world.

Up, up and away…

Jim

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Trump – Season 2

This just in:  The midterm elections were just 3 days ago.  Let’s take a look at Episode 1 of Trump Season 2.

Within hours of the close of elections, Trump fired his Attorney General, Jeff Sessions.  He made it clear that he fired Sessions because Sessions recused himself from the Mueller investigation.  You may recall Trump was stunned by this.  He was certain that he has a Trump Loyalist in Sessions that would protect him from Mueller.

Now, the Constitution says the President can’t install a Head of Department on his own.  This is one the the checks and balances of the Constitution and is designed to prevent the President from appointing a lacky.

Trump appointed a lacky.

Without authority, Trump put in an AG that has publicly, on several occasions, denounced the Mueller investigation.  This guy wasn’t one of the top guys in the Justice Department.  He was just a lower level guy that Trump specifically chose because he wants the protection.

So…on day 1 after the mid-terms….Trump violated the Constitution to protect himself from prosecution.

Meanwhile…Other Trump supporters (AKA Republicans) down in Florida are calling it conspiracy that people in charge of voting in Florida are actually insisting that all of the votes are counted.  Apparently, to keep it from being a scandal, vote counting should have stopped at any point where the Republican candidate had the lead.

Most haven’t noticed that Trump also failed to install the latest round of Russian punishments.  I don’t have a lot of detail on this one.  But…Trump is meeting with Putin soon and I expect him to walk out of that meeting with a gold star stuck to his forehead for being such a good boy.

Then…there was the press conference.

Here are the highlights:

  1. Trump claimed losing control of the House to be a great outcome from a “Deal Making” point of view.
  2. Trump called out Republicans that lost because they “Refused his embrace.”  He failed to list those Republicans that lost after being “embraced.”
  3. Trump got into an argument with CNN’s Acosta and then had his press credentials revoked.  As justification, he used a doctored video to imply that Acosta was physically aggressive with a female aide.

It’s been less than 3 full days since the election…

Time to save the world.

Up, up and away…

Jim

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Trump-Publicans and Death by Gun

This just in:  In the middle of last night, shots were fired at a bar in California.  A deputy sheriff ran towards the danger and was killed.  He was a hero.  It’s important that we realize that he, and men like him, run towards danger every day so that we can stay safe.

His name was Ron Helus.

We can pause appropriately and then send “thoughts and prayers” or, we can do something to stop this madness.

Last year, there was a mass shooting in Texas.  Senator Ted Cruz got some face time on television and said, “We will do everything humanly possible to make sure this never happens again.”

Then he forgot all about it.

Let’s get to the root cause…not the guns but rather….the enablers.

We don’t combat gun deaths because Trump-Publicans refuse to allow evan an investigation into how we might go about this.

Let me say that again.

Trump-Publicans (There are no longer any Republicans) refuse to fund research into ways to combat gun violence.

Every time there is a “Death by Gun” in the United States, the people that helped pull that trigger are Trump-Publicans and those that voted for them.

Trump-publicans will race to mourn the death of the brave officer and ignore that the fact that they put the gun in the killer’s hand.

This is not new behavior.

Trump-Publicans claim to be the party of fiscal responsibility and yet they have overspent to the tune of $1 trillion dollars a year.

Trump-Publicans claim to be the party of the Constitution and yet they call the Free Press the enemy of the people.

Trump-Publicans claim to be the party of the Patriotism and yet flock to racist dog whistles, forgetting the lines “All men are created equal” from the Declaration of Independence.

Trump-Publicans think its appropriate for the President to change the Constitution by himself (see 14th amendment).

His name was Ron Helus and he died because half of the people in our country enable the hypocrisy of Trump and the Republican Party.

I’m not mad at Congress and Trump.

I’m disappointed in us; in who we are and in what we allow to happen.

Up, up and away…

Jim

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