Holy Mackerel, or Republicans are Evil

I don’t know what to tell you. I started this blog to write about policy and the failed logic of conservatives and some Democrats and now I am reduced to trying to explain insanity. Oh, and I would have titled this particular blog Holy Shit, but I am trying to clean up my language. I listen to the news now and must say holy shit at least 50 times a day. Oh what I would give for a slow news day.

I have spoken of the fire and fury and then the doubling down, the myriad of contradictory messages coming out of the government, but the one that got me the most was the Village Idiot’s comments about the 755 State Department employees told to go home, actually thanking Vald:

“I want to thank him because we’re trying to cut down our payroll, and as far as I’m concerned I’m very thankful that he let go a large number of people because now we have a smaller payroll,” Trump said. “There’s no real reason for them to go back. I greatly appreciate the fact that we’ve been able to cut our payroll of the United States. We’re going to save a lot of money.”

So people who have dedicated their lives to foreign service are just dead weight on a payroll? Now you know how he really feels just about all Americans, they are a means to an end and when they are no longer necessary, kiss your ass goodbye. If you did not think there was Russian collusion or some kind of a Russian hold on the Village Idiot, this should give you pause.

Republicans are living out a self-fulfilling prophesy. They claim government is incompetent and now, by cracky, they have instituted one that makes incompetent look absolutely first-rate. I have said many times, and been accused of hyperbole, that Republicans are evil. But step back for a moment and think about it. The Village Idiot is not an aberration, but the result of a long campaign to dumb down and lie to the American people. Then they are shocked, shocked I tell you at the monster they have created. Then when he got elected, they all fell in line.  How’s that for evil?

The critical evidence in their evilness was the failure to repeal and replace Obamacare. They only needed 50 votes in the Senate and lo and behold, some of them figured out they had no solutions for the replace part of the replace and the repeal, and at least for some, was too cruel (and maybe career ending which is the only thing most politicians respond to). In fact Republicans have no workable solutions for almost any of our critical challenges we face today. They never had to have any as they opposed Obama and became ever more ideological, and now their ideology is a dead-end with no space to turn around. The difficult problems like economic inequality, global warming, failing infrastructure, education costs going through the roof, and loss of high paying middle class jobs are not solved “by the miracle of the market place”.

But we are faced with an increasingly insane* approach to North Korea which could kill millions and destroy much of the world’s economy, and no approach on the “nonexistent” global warming, both will have dire consequences for it now turns out, us, and our children, and we have insanity and evilness at the helm. Had we elected the establishment Hillary and a few progressive Democrats, both situations would have been in good hands.

And all of this makes no mention of a federal budget or the debt ceiling crisis looming. Once again ideology is going to get in the way. The Republicans will scream deficit, deficit, deficit and they will not authorize any more debt, except we already incurred it when they voted for things so now what they are doing is welshing on paying their bills. An it has become an article of faith with many Americans that debt is just bad and we should balance the budget. There is an element of truth herein controling our debt, but in general both are wrong and I have written copiously about why they are wrong so I won’t go into it again.

So they are poised to destroy America as a leader in the world, maybe start WWIII, do nothing about global warming that will destroy much of the world as we know it, destroy our economic standing in the world, and have no workable solutions for any of our domestic challenges except less government and cutting taxes, and you wonder why I know they are evil? They enabled everything we see before us. The people who pride themselves in believing hard work and discipline is all that is required to succeed, have been selling us a free ride for the last 50 years and nothing is free. Government leveling the playing field and making investments in our future, not our rich is what it is going to take. That would be heresy in Republican land.

One final thought. I watched the Village Idiot claim that Manafort is a nice man, but basically who knows. He knows. He put him in charge of everything for two months. He now knows that the government has the goods on collusion and illegal financial dealing and he is trying to distance himself, with the defense, “I had no idea.” It won’t wash which is why we should be very afraid about North Korea. It is the ultimate subject changer. Have a lovely weekend. I am stocking up on survival rations. That would be wine and lamb. Oh, and some beer and wings when I play my DVD recordings of all ball games. I already have a generator.

*You know I do have one crazy thought. While North Korea is crazy and unpredictable, maybe if they see that Trump is the same way, they might actually fear him. Then again they might actually engage him in a war. We will see.

Surprise!

North Korea is not a surprise, yet it captured the news yesterday, whether true or not. Sooner or later they were going to get there and like Trump the President, who they are is no surprise from who they have been. China and the United States, the two parties that could have solved this together, have failed to, looking to their own selfish needs and kicking the can down the road. The can has now arrived. No more road to kick down. And North Korea is no Soviet Union of old. Mutually Assured Destruction (MAD) may not force people to be rational. I have argued for years that North Korea is a living hell on earth and that China and the United States could not or would not force regime change was a political and moral failure. Now we have saber rattling with a moron for President.

Make no mistake, the United States could not solve this without China. And China in its own self-serving needs for trade and a firm border to keep immigrants out and buffer to US backed South Korea, could not bring itself to deal with a painful problem. And too many times we have thrown our hands up and just said well, maybe the government will fall. In North Korea, falling means taking everyone with you. That is the critical understanding we have failed to understand. So now we have entered very dangerous times because we refused to do the hard things when we needed to. Now the hard thing is unimaginable. And we have a moron for President.

Oh, and global warming is happening faster and may be more drastic than anticipated. Surprise! Not. We have known about global warming since the 1980’s. We have seen our impact on the planet, not just its weather, but its species for hundreds of years and we do nothing. Oh there are little movements around the edges, but business must come first. Now we are faced with the reality of once again kicking the can down the road, and the road is coming to an end. No more kicking. But like the North Korea problem, we have a moron for a President (not to mention a whole Party in charge of the country whose litmus test is not believing in science).

There has been some debate about whether the latest government report on the rapid increase in the impacts of global warming might force the moron President to change his stance. Sometimes I wonder what planet these people are on. Donald Trump got here illegally by laundering money for the Russians and he certainly colluded with them in the election. The investigation is tightening and he needs his base to terrify Republicans into not impeaching him when the other shoe drops, as it most certainly will. So he is not going to change on global warming, and we are going to see it it full force, and like the Korean thing, the outcome will be disastrous.

Meanwhile in the world of economic inequality, the inequality grows. And sooner or later the markets will come crashing down because the part of the pie that goes to the majority of consumers will be too small to sustain it. The markets are at record highs this week, believing that our moron President will cut regulations and taxes so they can further increase their profits with no concern for the damage they are doing. We have legitimized economic inequality by believing a high tide lifts all boats, except it hasn’t, and we have also kicked this can down the road, and sooner, rather than later, the market is going to crash.

Are you sensing a trend here? We Americans, who can do anything, have done nothing. When things got hard, we went looking for easy simple answers that ignore reality. Enter the Republican Party, facilitated by the Democrats, who know how to pander to Americans looking for the easy answer. Ronald Reagan, the prince of government is the problem, told us to be selfish and seek out gains for ourselves and everyone would prosper. Kiss “ask not what your country can do for you, but what you can do for your country” goodbye. We got tax cuts pay for themselves and the private sector will solve all problems. Driven our roads lately? We are starting to look third world. But don’t forget their main message, investing in government through taxes is a waste of money. Now look at us.

We are reaching a point where ignorance is considered a virtue (remember the rural wisdom of Sarah Palin?),where the ignorance of the base chose a leader that could finally push us over a cliff. We are approaching a critical turning point in the history of our world, conservatism has run its course and almost destroyed us, and we have a moron for President. I don’t think we can wait four years. If Trump continues his “fire and fury” (remember how well shock and awe worked out?) rhetoric, we may not have to worry about global warming as the aftermath of a nuclear war could be much worse. But if we somehow get through this, will we have learned our lesson? Or will we go looking for the next easy answer and not doing the hard things that make life and our country great? I am not optimistic after watching the last 50 years.

America really does have some amazingly hard working and smart individuals and we could solve these problems if we had a leader that made Americans aware of their failures and showed us a path forward.  Even the mindless base of Donald Trump might be led out of the wilderness of ignorance if they understood the challenges before us and a leader who inspires sacrifice.  But where is he/she?  Right now the one we got thinks the solution to jobs is to bring back coal which is never coming back and backed up by a pack or sience and reality deniers.  Hey! Bring on the fire and fury! All we need is a leader who can one again inspire us with, “Ask not what your country can do for you, but what you can do for your country,” and get on with it.  So far we got the moron President and his scared shitless Party.

A Couple of Headlines and Anger

From the NYT:

Government Report Finds Drastic Impact of Climate Change on the U.S, – The average temperature in the United States has risen rapidly and drastically since 1980, and recent decades have been the warmest of the past 1,500 years, according to a sweeping federal climate change report awaiting approval by the Trump administration.The draft report by scientists from 13 federal agencies, which has not yet been made public, concludes that Americans are feeling the effects of climate change right now. It directly contradicts claims by President Trump and members of his cabinet who say that the human contribution to climate change is uncertain, and that the ability to predict the effects is limited…Scientists say they fear that the Trump administration could change or suppress the report. But those who challenge scientific data on human-caused climate change say they are equally worried that the draft report, as well as the larger National Climate Assessment, will be publicly released. Public Works

Funding Falls as Infrastructure Deteriorates – Government spending on transportation and other public works is in decline as federal funding stagnates and state and local governments tighten their belts.Such spending equaled 1.4 percent of the nation’s economic output in the second quarter of 2017, the lowest level on record, according to Census Bureau data.

Now think about this. Scientists are finding the predicted climate change impacts even more severe than anticipated and we do nothing because of Republican climate deniers, ignorance and stupidity, and scientists have to leak the report for fear it will be suppressed. Meanwhile at home driving the roads is like going to a third world country. Our infrastructure is crumbling and we do nothing.

Thank you Republicans, and make no mistake, they are responsible beginning really in the Reagan era when they convinced everyone including clueless Democrats that government is the problem. Then they went on an ideological binge that could not be supported by reality, so they created their own fantasy reality and we get climate deniers and the trashing of science. And worst yet, we then put them in complete control of our government.

Make no mistake, I am very angry and I blame all Republicans some of whom may not hold all these stupid ideas, but facilitate those who do. I saw an interview the other day where a Trump supporter was demanding to know where Barack Obama was on 9/11. Was he on vacation? No you blubbering idiot, he was a college professor and state senator in Ohio. George Bush was President. That is what we forgive as angry about their economic situation. Well I don't. Our country is being destroyed from within by ignorance and stupidity and Republicans are the leaders of the pack. I don't want to understand or feel their pain. I want to ridicule and demean them so this kind of tolerance of stupid blatant ignorance is no longer acceptable.

We are losing our country and Republicans, all of them, are to blame. Now off to play golf. I should get at least an extra 10 yards on my drives with all the anger I am bottling up.

Monday Morning

I drove my son to the airport at o’dark thirty this morning. It is about a 65 mile drive each way and we left my place at 4:20 am for a 6:30 flight to San Diego. Nothing is ever simple. It turns out that they are doing major work on the bridge that crosses the Sacramento River so we were warned of massive traffic backups. So we were seeing how close you can get to our normal turnoff (I-5) before you get caught in traffic and running alternate routes through our heads. It actually wasn’t that bad and we were able to stay the normal route with little delay, sort of. Then about 2 miles from the Airport, stop and go traffic on a real straight stretch of I-5 and sure enough some kind of spin out and major crash. All I could think of is how do they do it? It is straight, there are no on or off ramps, and they run into each other. Made it to the airport on time so no problem there, but on the return trip I noticed that we got through the construction just in time as there were major backups. Do we drive anywhere anymore that does not have some kind of delay/construction?

Okay on to news of the day. All the talk is about sanctions on North Korea that were worked out in a conference in the Philippines with all the South East Asia nations and us of course. I hope it works because the alternative is very frightening. It really is the only way to go at this time, but I have little optimism. The big assumption here is that North Korea wants more than anything else to stay in power and they will see that to do this they will be willing to give up their nuke program. The thinking is that China wants to maintain North Korea as a southern buffer to USA aligned South Korea, and China has no interest in seeing North Korea fail because there would be a massive refugee problem as North Koreans have a chance to flee their living hell.

I don’t think this logic holds because North Korea is first and foremost an abomination as a country. There is no way for the North Koreans to continue to hold power without the extreme dictatorship and threat from the wicked United States. The assumption that this mentality is rational, I believe, is flawed. Or maybe it is rational. The only way they can stay in power is to hold on to their nukes and continue to stoke the fears of invasion. If things got materially better there, would not the improved economic situation drive change that would be antithetical to the North Koreans holding power? The calculation has to be what can prevent a war until the North Korean regime collapses under its own weight hoping they don’t decide to take Southeast Asia with them. Then there is the dubious calculation that we will empower this brutal dictatorship to remain as long as there is no nuclear threat. I think North Korea sees through this one.

Paul Krugman has an interesting discussion about where Democrats should go on healthcare and I think he is dead on. If you followed my discussions before, to reduce the cost of healthcare for all of us, we have to share the costs with the widest possible pool (universal coverage) and ensure that the plans we have cover most of our needs (regulated market). Now how you get there is the issue (and not counter to what Republicans are pushing which is “choice and deregulated markets” which the CBO scores again and again as a failure). So is single payer the answer? The answer is maybe, but he points out that other countries get there by everything from Obamacare expanded to Government healthcare:

Look at the latest report by the nonpartisan Commonwealth Fund, comparing health care performance among advanced nations. America is at the bottom; the top three performers are Britain, Australia, and the Netherlands. And the thing is, these three leaders have very different systems.

 

Britain has true socialized medicine: The government provides health care directly through the National Health Service. Australia has a single-payer system, basically Medicare for All — it’s even called Medicare. But the Dutch have what we might call Obamacare done right: individuals are required to buy coverage from regulated private insurers, with subsidies to help them afford the premiums.

 

And the Dutch system works, which suggests that a lot could be accomplished via incremental improvements in the A.C.A., rather than radical change. Further evidence for this view is how relatively well Obamacare, imperfect as it is, already works in states that try to make it work — did you know that only 5.4 percent of New Yorkers are now uninsured?

So he then argues that give the systems in place, instead of focusing on single payer, we improve Obamacare with maybe a single payer option as politically and functionally the best way forward. I have to agree. I have argued for single payer forever, but I am not ideologically wedded to it and neither are most Democrats although that is how they are painted. What we want is universal coverage and the best way forward to do that. That is the real debate and I think Krugman nailed it.

Finally, I think what is worth noting this morning is how the Trump administration is trying to open up public lands in the West to coal mining. Now aside from the argument that coal used in anything destroys the planet with its CO2 emissions and the damage done to the environment itself in the mining, the question has to be, who wants the coal when there are cheaper cleaner fuels? Also one might ask, what jobs when coal mining in general is going to more and more mechanization. But the real point here is that there is not a shortage of coal based up demand and so this is an attempt to say, if we supply it they will buy it. I think we have already seen this fail over and over again. There has to be pentup demand. So this, besides destroying the environment and contributing to the overheating of the planet will be another experiment like Kansas (tax cuts will pay for themselves) where we will see the failure of Republican ideas. As Thomas Wolfe famously wrote, You Can’t Go Home Again. Time to move on.

Democratic Strategic Vision – Lack Thereof and the Big Tent

I would write this morning about the Village Idiot in Chief and his trashing of the office of the Presidency, his disregard and lack of respect for the rule of law, his nationalistic racism, his trashing of the media and the free press, calling again for the imprisonment of a political rival (lock her up), his blatant obstruction of justice, his destruction of State, EPA, FDA, Education, and his continuous lying from the podium. His last communication director ought to be a wakeup call for how he is making the United States a mockery. But to tell you the truth, most of the above is being well covered by the media.

Those horrible leaks are what are keeping us informed voters. Of course the Republican Party is still in denial. I heard one respected Republican tell us he could not imagine Trump firing Sessions now. I can. Oh and the same one argued that this bunch is not his Republican Party. Sadly it is everyone else's and if you call yourself a Republican and vote that way, you enabled what we are living through. But I digress.

This morning Fareed Zachary on CNN Global GPS show opined that the Democrats were making the same mistake they made many years ago by not listening to pro-life voices and not being a big enough tent:

In 1992, the Democratic Party faced a challenge on the issue of abortion. Pennsylvania’s governor, Robert Casey, a Democrat dedicated to the working class, asked to speak at the national convention in New York City. He wanted to propose a pro-life plank for the party platform, mostly as a way of affirming his Catholic beliefs.

He fully understood that the motion would be voted down, but the Democratic Party refused to permit him even to air his views, so great was his heresy. “That sent a strong signal to working-class Catholic and evangelical voters that if they did not fall into line on this one issue they were no longer welcome in the party,” writes Mark Lilla in “The Once and Future Liberal,” his brief but brilliant book that comes out later this month.

I wonder if today the Democrats are making the same mistake on immigration. To be clear, I think the bill that the Republicans rolled out this week is bad public policy and mean-spirited symbolism. But that’s beside the point. Lilla acknowledges that he is a pro-choice absolutist on abortion, but he argues that a national party must build a big tent that accommodates people who dissent from the main party line on a few issues.

I would make two observations here. First the two issues are nowhere near the same, abortion and immigration. Secondly, exactly what is the Democratic position on immigration other than being against Trump, his wall, and the latest abomination Fareed cites above? Let's take them one at a time.

In the pro-life question, note that in the language of the two sides is the real truth of what is really going on. Pro-life is not pro-life. They are anti-abortion. If they were pro-life and just wanted to argue for you to keep an unwanted child however begot, they already have that right. But that is not what they want. They want to use government to outlaw abortions and force government into private discussions with your doctor, your husband, your control of your own body. They want to take away the right to choose.

Pro-choice is pro choice. They are not as the Pro-life side depicts them, pro-abortion. They are not even suggesting that abortion is a good thing. They simply don't want government to decide for you, and force you to have an abortion. In fact all they want is that you can have that choice and that you can control your own body (within already well defined limits).

So what Fareed thinks is a great mistake, not allowing the gentleman to propose a pro-life plank and thus sending "working-class Catholic and evangelical voters" on their way, was really a decision about the very basic beliefs of Democrats, that people should have free choice to decide for themselves that most basic and personal decision. Would you allow a communist to argue for a communistic platform for a bigger tent? This is not some policy that may or may not work, this is about a basic value of who we are as Democrats.

Using government to force people to make decisions because others have religious convictions is not only against the Constitution, but everything Democrats stand for. And Fareed thinks we should open our arms to them? If we do, I don't know who we are anymore, and I strongly believe that people are voting against us just for that reason. Instead of pandering to those who believe things that are antithetical to basic Democratic beliefs, maybe we should focus on getting those who did not vote last time back out to the polls.

Now on immigration, I have no idea what the Democratic position is. That is the major problem with Democrats right now whether it is healthcare, tax reform, or in this case immigration, what is the party platform? So I am waiting to understand what our Immigration absolutism is.  What is the basis from which Democrats could negotiate with Republicans? I have no idea and what we are left with is either "Republican ideas suck", or a piecemeal approach by individuals within the party (herding cats). That is why Republicans win with the weak-minded. They are firm in what they want whether it is good policy or not.

For immigration policy, unlike the abortion issue which is driven by religious belief*, it needs to be driven by science and data. What works best for our country. This is not some he said/she said argument. We have the facts. Republicans are running on emotion. They think we need less because they are blaming everything on immigrants. It is not based on fact, but anecdotes. There is no question that there are strong feelings about this, but the policy has to based not on fear, but on what works.

Economists are telling us that broad immigration really helps our economy. Do we need to be more selective? Maybe, but it needs to be thought out. Some would argue that allowing in more educated and trained immigrants actually allows corporations to drive down wages. Keeping out the lower economic classes and uneducated immigrants could hurt other sectors of our economy like agriculture and cuts off a path to the American dream for those who want to come here and work hard. The Republican's stand on amnesty is cruel and inhuman, based on racism and fear. We should negotiate that? Should we have a big tent for bigots?

My point is simply that Democrats can be a big tent on immigration within limits. Clearly we can argue within the party about how to control immigration to protect jobs, while at the same time providing for a growing economy. That is way different that an argument about using the government to take away a basic human right, the right to chose and I wonder why Fareed used this example.

He is really arguing the FDR liberalism of fairness for everyone against the special interest politics that we see (a black agenda, a white middle class agenda, a well-educated innovator agenda) from Democrats today (identity liberalism). And he is right here and suggests that we as Democrats see the fear that those who went right on immigration feel and welcome them into the tent. And here is where I have a really big problem. What does that mean? That we play Republican fear tactics or does it mean we recognize the problem but use data and science to craft effective policy?

Fareed tells us:

Democrats should find a middle path on immigration. They can battle President Trump’s drastic solutions but still speak in the language of national unity and identity. The country’s motto, after all, is “out of many, one” — not the other way around.

I don't think so. Middle ground can only be found where there is a real and rational difference of opinion. Policy should be based on facts, history, science, and data. If the facts, history, science, and data tell us the other side wants to do something bad for the country based upon ideology and fear, why should we as Democrats find a middle ground to have a bigger tent? We should fight for what we know is right, again not based on ideology, but by that fact and data thing. We should only make compromises when the facts are not clear and we are really arguing ideology instead of efficacy.  Otherwise just who the hell are we?

*Actually our policy on abortion is based upon science, when is life considered viable, does the fetus feel pain, etc. The fact that that has been contested does not mean their are differing opinions based on fact. It means that one side will make up science to agree with their ideological beliefs, but the overwhelming data still supports the laws we have. If and when that changes, we would be happy to discuss.

Cancer, Michael, and Heroes

Once in a while at an odd moment, thoughts of my cancer come flooding in. This time it was probably brought on by the fact that I go in for another PSA test and my PSA has been showing a slight rise.  Is this a new chapter? Now as far as cancer patients go, I have no complaints. While I have an incurable prostate cancer with a really high (9) Gleason score (highly aggressive), right now the treatment has put it in slow motion. So other than the side effects of androgen deprivation therapy (ADT) and antiantrogen therapy to wipe out testosterone in the body (fatigue, loss of libido, some weight gain, hot flashes that never end, sore breasts), I am mostly fine. No pain, no chemo, no radiation or their horrible side effects. So it is easy to ignore it, forget your now on a fast-moving time clock, and just cruise like most of us did through our younger days. Sure, weight lifting is more of a challenge, and golf wipes me out for two days, losing weight is a bitch, but I can still do all of them. My tolerance of heat is non-existent, but I am not suffering the ravages from the treatment that most cancer patients suffer so bravely and fight so valiantly (My sister-in-law comes to mind as a close example).

But still, I know that when things start to go down hill, things are going to get tough, unless some new treatment comes along to prolong my life until I die of something else. When those thoughts come flooding in as they do sometimes, I think of the movie Michael, the archangel played by John Travolta, who was on his last trip to earth to pull off one more miracle. But he knows this is it, this is his last hurrah, he is not coming back. Michael lived life large and enjoyed the sensory pleasures of this world taking in everything life had to offer. But in a great scene, Michael has that same sense that I am sure most terminal patients all have at one time or another, about how much they love life.*

The scene is with Michael who sees a bull in the field and decides to take it on. The noble fight. Imagine the battle scene between the two when they charge at each other, full of the passion of the moment and the fight, and then Michael and the bull are both knocked out by a high-speed head butt (there might be something here being said about fighting itself and its utility). When Michael gets back to his feet with help from William Hurt, he reveals to Hurt that this is his last big blast on Earth, his last hoorah. Michael looks to the skies, eyes closed, arms up, wind in his hair, and says, “I’m gonna miss everything so much.”

That is exactly how I feel. It just could not almost be over. There is so much around me that is to rejoice in. Yeah, young love is gone no matter what, I am an old man after all, but I have a wonderful enduring love that few will ever experience. And then there is that sunset, the amazing beauty of the sun, the feeling of a breeze blowing by you, just the pure joy of living, of being, all of that is still there and the thing that comes flooding in, that soon this is going to be over. Take it in, drink it up. Stay in the moment. And then… I’m gonna miss everything so much.

But the moment I am trying to stay in will pass and I will be in another moment, one that could be brutally hard, not just on me, but for everyone around me. And that is when I think of heroes. People who just carry on when things get really tough. That is the real definition of a hero. I think of the Medal of Honor winner who was honored the other day at the White House, who was a medic who just carried on with his job risking everything for his comrades. Who does not have a hero fantasy about themselves? You know, some fantasy about you saving the world. We have a whole genre of movies these days about heroes.

I think they all miss the point. Heroes don’t have to be super. Heroes are all around us. People, who in the face of adversity, carry on. And many of them do it with such grace. Whether it is the last throes of cancer, a disability that puts them at a disadvantage in this life, a tragic loss, or simply being poor and disadvantaged. If you want to find heroes, stand in a crowd and look around. The fact that you don’t know their stories makes what they are going through and how they manage it so much more heroic. And whether they win or lose the battle is not the point, but how they nobly fought the fight.

And that is my next great challenge. Who knows, I may luck out, but then again I may not. And the challenge is to do this thing with grace and dignity, to leave those you love so very much ready to carry on without you, remembering you for your grace and dignity. This last chapter is really more about them than me. Am I up to it? I really don’t have a choice. I have to be up to it. And if I need a role model to inspire me to get me through, it is not the combat soldier, the Navy Seal, the fireman, the police officer, the usual suspects, it is a little old lady who spent her last days in pain, but carried on. It is the bravery of those around you who will have to shoulder the pain of your loss when you are gone. It is all around us and yet most of us are oblivious to it. Well, I see it, maybe because I now am forced to profoundly understand it. I just hope I am up to it.

*This is not to say that at the end, some could and should choose death when the reality of life and their disease overcomes them. I cannot help thinking of the bravery of Brittany Maynard, her husband, and her family on her journey with cancer, and giving the rest of us some modicum of control over our lives in the end. That is one amazing role model.

In the Vein of I Told You So

Special Counselor Robert Mueller had impaneled a Grand Jury. Why would you be presenting evidence to a Grand Jury if you did not have evidence? This is not like St. Louis (Darrin Wilson shooting Michael Brown) where they impaneled a Grand Jury to get the heat off of the prosecutors and control the evidence so they cold drop the charges. This is a tipping point. Who is the target? That is the million dollar question. Could be Flynn, could be Manafort, but I doubt it. It could be Kushner or Donald Jr. Again, maybe, but I doubt it. They are players in a bigger game. No, if I had to place a big wager, it would be on the Village Idiot in Charge. That is where the focus is. Is it collusion? Is it obstruction of justice? Is it both. I think it is both. One begets the other. Is there underling money laundering and illegal financial transactions? That would be the reason for all of it.

Now we will see what the VIC does to change the subject and to fire the special prosecutor. We will also see if Republicans still are part of this country, its laws, and its Constitution. Some opined that Mitch McConnell was hurrying legislation because he knew this would happen. To me it is obvious. Too many lies, too many changing stories, too many Russians. I said September. My guess is we are still on track. No the investigation will not be over, but we are going to see a reaction as the noose tightens that will force action in September.

How Can They Get It So Wrong?

Ever noticed that when you are watching a Republican on TV rebut some obvious truth about the fallacy of their ideas they hog the microphone, and then when the other person tries to speak, they constantly interrupt? It is one of two things, they either think your ideas are so stupid and to not be worthy of listening to, or they know they are wrong and are trying to simply block the obvious facts from getting out. One of the things that I have maintained for years is that Republicans have just about everything wrong. It comes from the fact that they have this base ideology about the market place, government, and the basic nature of human beings that then results in trying to twist the world into knots to fit into that ideology, instead of questioning that ideology when it fails.

Oh, and there is another factor here, a basically fearful nature and lack of empathy that drives selfishness, and racism. Then they cloak all that in “common sense” which is code for unexamined beliefs. Look away from the actual data. It is no coincidence that this is the party that ignores science.

We saw that on display yesterday when Stephen Miller, an advisor to President Trump, aka the Village Idiot in Chief (VIC), presented the administration’s new plan for immigration which cuts immigration in half and puts into place a merit system to select “Foreign applicants who would receive a higher score if they “speak English,” can financially support themselves and have skills that “can contribute to our economy,” It is called the RAISE Act introduce by two sterling Republicans, Tom Cotton of Arkansas and David Perdue of Georgia (why is the South always implicated here?).

When Miller was pressed by reporters about where was the data that showed this would help, and not hurt us, “my god man, it is common sense”. Well actually not so much. The Washington Post had the real data this morning and the facts show that this will hurt us, and could hurt us very badly. Here are some excerpts:

A Washington Post survey of 18 economists in July found that 89 percent believe it’s a terrible idea for Trump to curb immigration to the United States. Experts overwhelmingly predict it would slow growth — the exact opposite of what Trump wants to do with “MAGAnomics.”

“Restricting immigration will only condemn us to chronically low rates of economic growth,” said Bernard Baumohl, chief global economist at the Economic Outlook Group. “It also increases the risk of a recession.”

…”This legislation demonstrates our compassion for struggling American families,” Trump said Wednesday. He believes immigrants — both legal and illegal — take jobs from Americans, even though the jobless rate in the country is incredibly low.

…In April, over 1,400 economists from across the political spectrum sent a letter to Trump urging him not to cut immigration. The letter said there was “near universal agreement” on the “the broad economic benefit that immigrants to this country bring.” Thomas Simons, senior economist at Jefferies investment firm, said a 50 percent reduction would be “absolutely harmful to an economy with a population undergoing the demographic transformation.”

You get the drift. While the basic idea of immigration reform is a good one, it is then applied in a way that hurts not helps the economy and notice that if you wipe out most immigration from low skilled workers, our agricultural economy would collapse. The point here is not to argue the RAISE act or the merits or problems of immigration reform, but to point out why the Republicans always get it wrong. They get it wrong because in reality this is all about White Nationalism born of fear and needing a scapegoat. This bill is going nowhere as there are already Republicans against it because the reductions hurt businesses in their states.

But the arguments are always interesting, eschewing data and facts in a complex issue and reverting to common sense. Note that that common sense is born in an alternate reality created to justify the continued efficacy of their ideology. In this case immigrants cause all our problems and they are mostly the wrong color. When the facts and data don’t support your ideas, create an alternate reality populated with alternate facts and bingo, the ideology is once again proven correct and everyone who disagrees is a biased elite moron. That is what was going on here and watching Stephen Miller attack the press and talk over them demonstrated for all to see (except the base who are blinded by the light) how conservatives, and in this case, White Nationalists, try to argue insanity and how they get most things wrong.

Just another day in Trump created America. Or maybe it was another bone thrown to rile up the base so when Mueller gets done, he is hoping Republicans will cower in the corner and do nothing. We will see.

Say What?

The Village Idiot in Charge never fails to deliver, day in and day out. Today he signed the Russian sanctions bill passed with a veto proof majority with this:

Trump signed the bill behind closed doors, with no press coverage. In one White House statement released after the signing, referred to as the "official signing statement," the president called some of the provisions "clearly unconstitutional."

So one could argue the merits of Congress doing foreign policy and limiting the President's tools (probably not successfully with this President), but "unconstitutional"? If you felt it was unconstitutional why would you ever sign it?

Then there is the new immigration reform bill, Reforming American Immigration for a Strong Economy (RAISE) Act, which would slash immigration by 50% and put in a merit system for immigrant applications:

White House staff have been working closely with Cotton and Perdue for weeks on the legislation, which would restrict how the U.S. admits immigrants and move to what Trump has described as a "merit-based" system similar to that used in Australia and Canada.

The proposal "ends chain migration," Trump said, referring to the preference for uniting family members in the current immigration system. It would implement a points-based system for awarding lawful permanent residency, or green cards.

Foreign applicants would receive a higher score if they "speak English," can financially support themselves and have skills that "can contribute to our economy," Trump said.

So don't “Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,” (From the Statue of Liberty). In fact based upon the State Department we don't five a flying fuck about democracy (yearning to breath free), Maybe we should rewrite the quote on the Statue of Liberty to "Give us your well to do, educated, will skills that will serve our corporate government. One might ask to show us the data that shows this the claims upon which this new policy is based, but all they could tell us was that it was obvious. I am sure that most guys who would work in my vineyard are educated, speak english, and have skills that would never get them near the back breaking work in field. Yeah, say what?

The Destruction of America

Well, I guess you saw where that little pipsqueak, Jeff Sessions, at the Village Idiot's (VIC) command, is going to investigate colleges and universities for discriminating against whites. White nationalists arise. One has to wonder if the VIC is that smart or whether this is the agenda of minions around him. Make no mistake, this is an attempt to put all those other off color people in their place. One thing we know for certain is that when we live, work, and learn as an integrated society, we become more empathetic and connect. We will have none of that in this nightmare that a minority white mob have brought us.

Of course, who could forget the Boy Scout speech where for the first time in history of the United States the President politicized the speech and attacked his enemies. Again white nationalism at work with no understanding of the norms or standards that keeps us united.

Then the VIC got caught (Fake News!) lying about knowing about the meeting last year with the Russians and the Village Idiot Jr. We now know he dictated a false and misleading statement and you have to ask why, unless you are part of the white mob who just thinks this is peachy. Add to that a White House that has become a laughing stock for its abuse of the truth and an expert at misdirection, and you wonder what ever happened to the shining city on the hill.

The VIC stands before police officers and encourages violence and then calls this humor. Humor that legitimizes violence toward suspected offenders is not the America we live in, and he as leader of the country should be setting standards, not tearing them down. Say your kid gets picked up at a party really doing nothing wrong and gets "roughed up", is that okay? Is our justice system just to become the Gestapo? In some parts of the country blacks already think so and he wants to make it worse?

Then there is their Director of "Communications" who gives an obscenity filled interview with lots of sexual allusions. Hate and venom pouring out of the White House against…wait for it…other White House staffers. Is this the standard of conduct for a democracy which demands respect to opposing points of view?

Now I hear that while the VIC and Tillerson are dismantling the State Department (who needs experts when you already have an opinion?) is taking the "promoting democracy" out of the State Department goals. Who are we again? Certainly not the shining city on the Hill.

Meanwhile, the VIC, whose wife, Melania, was going to represent the fight against cyberbullying, is cyberbullying his Attorney General and those who voted against the healthcare abortion the Republicans put forward. And let's not forget the cruel tweet to say transgenders could not serve in the military, backed up by no data and a lie about the costs. His trips to Florida cost more than transgender medical needs.

And this is all within one week. Yeah, thank you white mob. You have destroyed what used to make America Great. Oh, and you have to be a moron to think this is okay. You certainly are not an American who shares basic American values. How are those coal jobs coming along? A dull and fading city on the hill is what you and your Republican enablers have brought us. This is the new and great America the white mob brought us. Isn't it time to do something about it?