Posts tagged ‘DACA’

Where From Here?

Some things just amaze me. I spent the formative years of my life (right out of college) being trained as a navigator, RF-4C back seater, and then a nuclear weapons trained Radar Navigator (Bombardier) in a B-52. In that time period I participated in almost 100 combat missions. Okay, what was the essential lesson of all that training. Plan, plan, plan. Think it through. What could happen and what was the exit strategy? Being safe meant reducing the risks by careful planning, learning from the past, and then executing the plan in the air. Seat of your pants did not exist.

So with that in mind, how do you crash the first high-speed run of a train in Washington?

The engineer of an Amtrak train that derailed outside of Seattle last month may have lost track of where he was and thought he had already passed a curve that would have required him to slow the train to 30 mph, according to new details released by federal safety officials Thursday.

Say what? This befuddles me. First you would have a time-table/schedule of actions, not look for a sign and then pull back the throttles. Let’s see, what time is it, I should be coming up on a curve…Second, and really a WTF moment, there are apps you can use on your smart phone to plot your location and track your trip. Third, I can think of some really cheap ways to put something on the tracks that gives you an audible warning as you approach a curve. WTF. We are pretending we are still driving trains in the 1940s? This is what America has become? Of course it is.  We can’t afford to live in the 21st century according to the Republicans.

Steve Bannon has been invited to speak at the University of Chicago and let the protests begin:

Outside the Booth School of Business protesters chanted phrases “Disinvite! Disinvite!” and “Say it loud and say it clear, stop inviting fascists here,” according to the Chicago Maroon. Local news outlets estimated the number of protesters ranged from 100 to 300 people.

Like Berkley, what part of free speech did these morons not get.  You need to fight free speech with free speech, not Gestopo tactics to suppress speech you do not like.  Do we still have thinking Americans in America?  I really wonder if they understand free speech at all or that the fact we have the 1st Amendment is because what is distasteful to you is someone else’s truth.

Okay, next up, is that President DFF tried to fire Mueller. The press is all over this along with the fact that the White House is terrified the DFF will actually testify to Mueller. Of course he did nothing wrong (except lies continuously), but they are terrified anyway. This all goes to obstruction of justice, which the press is all over like fudge sauce on ice cream, can’t have too much. But we are missing the big picture, which is what our press does as they get caught in a “SQUIRREL” moment (personally my SQUIRREL moments have to do with “BACON”).

So what are the missing? Why the obstruction of justice. What are they obstructing justice for. And that is the real issue here because once you have that, all the denial in the world about an FBI witch hunt falls apart. Was there collusion? Of course there was. Too many meetings. But why and what did the Russians have. Ah, now we are talking. Did they have video of Trump with strippers peeing on a bed in Moscow? The stripper thing gets a little more believability after “Stormy”. But I think it is obvious what the connection is, money laundering through loans. Once you make that connection, the obstruction and the why is easy. Mueller is a smart man. He must have come to that conclusion also, but the press is rabid over the effects of the coverup, not the coverup itself. I think we are getting close to when the other shoe will drop.

Finally, least we forget, we are on another continuing resolution (CR) and it expires on 8 February, my birthday month by the way. If you don’t consume a whole month (especially when you get to my age) celebrating your birthday and making everyone around you miserable, you have not lived. But I get distracted. Norm Ornstein wrote an interesting piece in the Atlantic about the whole situation with DACA and the CR and got to three possible scenarios. You can read it yourself, but back to my plan, plan, plan. Have the Demos considered the three possible outcomes and planned accordingly?

Now once again our press is so focused on asking foolish questions, that they miss the big picture. My favorite is what are you Democrats going to do? And the real question is what can they do? THEY ARE IN THE MINORITY! So why keep asking them stupid questions like what are they going to do when they really have few to no options. The Democrats should push back, but of course they won’t. The push back is here is what we can do, but the Republicans are in charge and the real question is not what we can do, but what can voters do to change this in 2018. They are the ones responsible for this mess.

Now one thing we know is that the shut down is no viable because the Demos don’t have the guts to keep it up to the Republicans blink. And that may be smart because Republicans hate government and have been wanting to dismantle it anyway, so why not let the Democrats do it for them. So what is in play is the promise for a clean DACA bill. But here is the thing. What is their plan when the Republicans put a poison pill in it as we know they will. No, it won’t just be the wall. They have to have a plan for what I think is the most likely outcome. Seen one yet? Me neither. Plan, plan, plan.

What Happened to Ethics?

Of course we have all seen Republicans, and sadly it is most of them, either lying or keeping silent in order to support their President after he made racial comments. Note that the profanity is not really the point, it was how it was used to express a racist point of view that is so damning. But what of other government officials and career civil servants that go along to keep their jobs?

I am talking specifically about A new Justice Department report issued Tuesday quoted by President DFF that suggests that, since 9/11, 73 percent of terrorism convictions in the United States have involved individuals who were born in other countries. If this were true, it would be a damning report against our immigration policies and support President DFF’s move to curb immigration. Except it is not true. It so selectively used the numbers that you could have made it say anything you want. As the Washington Post reported after showing how badly the numbers are skewed:

Senior Democrats on two House committees accused the Trump administration of misrepresenting terrorist crimes to fit anti-immigration policy goals.

Reps. Jerrold Nadler (D-N.Y.) and Bennie Thompson (D-Miss.) called the report an attempt “to vilify the immigrant community and justify an exclusionary immigration policy,” adding in their statement, “The American people will not be fooled by such naked bigotry, and we should not allow this administration to get away with its abuse of the facts to further its extremist, xenophobic agenda.”

The top Republican on the House Judiciary Committee, Rep. Bob Goodlatte (R-Va.), said in a statement that the report “confirms what we already know: our current immigration system is broken, and it fails to protect the American people.’’

Now when was the last time we jiggered with the data to make what we wanted to believe true? Oh, you remember, when we invaded Iraq. My that turned out well. If you did not think we had entered George Orwell’s 1984, think again. We have now turned our government into agencies that produce reports that ignore science and data and just report what supports President DFF’s policy. That ought to work out just as well as the Iraq invasion. What’s next, global warming doesn’t exist and we can take out North Korea with few casualties?

Now you know how Republicans believe what they believe, they live in a fantasy bubble that creates the reality they need. Except the rest of us don’t and their policies could destroy us all. But what is really bothering me here is where are the civil servants who will either expose or say no to this nonsense. We know that the professionals are leaving in record numbers at EPA, State Department, and CDC, but where are the brave souls who will stand up and probably get fired or shuttled off into a closet office?

I only faced this dilemma once in my life and if you think it is easy, you are crazy. I knew Vietnam was wrong but I convinced myself that as a military officer my sworn duty was to follow the Constitution and its duly constituted government. I was wrong and it was really the easy way out. Most of my fellow civil servants now face that same problem. When do we risk our families, jobs, and future to stand up for our ethics and morality? When it rises to the level of fighting for the very existence of our country and its fundamental values do we draw a line?

UPDATE:  9 of the 12 members of the National Parks Advisory Board quit in protest because the Trump administration is making them irrelevant.  Maybe it is starting, but note, these are not civil service employees.

I just saw The Post and one very brave man (Daniel Ellsberg) and one very brave woman (Katherine Graham) did just that and printed the truth. Right now our real news is under attack by this President as “fake news” and The Post not only tells the story of that struggle in our history, but that struggle today, not to mention a world controlled by white men who delegated women to bangles.  The really interesting dialogue came from Nixon which was his actual voice recordings from the Nixon Tapes.  The part where he banned the Washington Post from the White House because they were printing things unfavorable to him resonates with Trump today.

One last thing before I go.  I listened to two Yale Professor talk about the characteristics of a tyrannical leader and how only two in our history have shown these traits, Richard Nixon and Donald Trump.  So what is it again about the Republican Party that we get these tyrants?

UPDATE TO YESTERDAYS BLOG:  Yesterday I wrote that it was time to draw a line and shut down the government.  Today the Republicans have offered a deal, you get CHIP (Healthcare for kids) and we will discuss DACA later.  Why worry, it does not expire until March.  The deal is no deal.  Once you don’t have the budget to negotiate with, you have no leverage.  So give the Democrats something everyone wants, and then pull the rug out from under them in March while kids are being deported.  When do finally stand up and when do figure out they cannot be trusted?  Shut it Down.  Think of the damage Trump can’t do with the government shut down.

Words Mean Something and Hyprocrisy

This morning the TV cut away to President DFF’s comments after some meeting.  First he comment on DACA saying we just need a few Democrats?  Say What?  A clean DACA bill would get 100% of all Democrats.  Then he launches into problems at the border.  First thought is what problems at the border?  Crossing are way down, but then he brings us a drug epidemic in America, conflating it with the border,  Say what?

Our drug epidemic is opioids and guess who manufactures them and lobbies against enforcement of laws to curb their easy access and over prescribing?  Oh, and as an aside, as anyone knows, opioids cause constipation, so now who is making a fortune on drugs for that symptom?  The opioid crisis is a real money maker for drug companies.

Then you get it.  DACA, a few Democrats, be afraid of drug mules, it is about a compromise that includes a stupid and frivolous wall.  The Press ignored all of that and failed to fact check his bullshit and false conflating, because they wanted to see what he would say about Steve Bannon.  SQUIRREL!

Meanwhile in hypocrisy land (Republicans), the Attorney General, little Jeffey Sessions, wants to take our drug policies back to the dark ages as he is rescinding an Obama executive order putting a cabash on federal prosecution of marijuana violations.  Note the Feds have put marijuana on the Schedule 1 list of drugs like heroin and cocaine.  Its beyond stupid and science, but that is Republican these days.

But the hypocrisy comes in when the boys and girls of the stupid Party used to shoot states rights because they liked that states were restricting freedoms like voting, gay rights, civil rights, but now when 30 states have reach sanity, they want to drag us back to the drug wars.  Of course Congress could do something about this, but who are they controlled by again?  It is like free speech and love of democracy for Republicans.  Everyone should have it unless you disagree with them.

Yes words mean something and we ought to pay attention to them.  Do we really think the White House is getting rid of personal cellphones for national security or is it because the truth is damning?

WTF Friday


Most people in Florida right now are having a total WTF moment. Can’t stay, can’t go. We really have to do better than this. In the past these were once in a lifetime or maybe two or three lifetimes storms, but with global warming and warmer oceans to feed these storms these may get very common and change the way we think about open living and architecture. Here was a story in the Daily Beast:

The most powerful storm ever recorded in the Atlantic is headed straight for the beach houses of deniers Donald Trump, Rush Limbaugh, Ann Coulter, and the Koch brothers.

Maybe I was wrong and there is a god. Or maybe it is just karma. Meanwhile friends reported on a trip to Ashland Oregon to the Oregon Shakespeare Festival up there that the performances at the Elizabethan (outdoor replica of the Globe) were cancelled because of smoke and a friend of mine in Portland reported hot humid weather and ash falling out of the sky. But hey, there is no global warming, right? Those fires are just regular natural events. These are just normal variations, right? WTF are you people thinking?

Oh, and in the panic in Florida, price gouging has broken out. That would be unregulated capitalism at its best for those of you who think the market place should be left alone by government. It is supply and demand after all, right? Even Chevron got in the act (any surprise here?). WTF. Maybe those of you who vote Republican and like an unregulated market place should be the only ones who have to pay those prices.

I have a question. People are hunkered down at the airport trying to get out and can’t get a ticket. Why do our military have C-5s and we don’t use them? These are not normal times and we should do what we can to get people out of harms way. We evacuated Vietnam so is Florida chopped liver? WTF!

Here is what I wonder. Once Florida gets leveled, the Caribbean is already flattened, and the costs of Harvey have yet to be computed, how are we going to afford all this? Should the money for infrastructure upgrades across the country all go to red states that will hate government and elect more Trump enablers? Okay, we have do what we have to do, but somewhere in there should be a realization that the government these Red States hate so much is what is trying and will save them.

Did I mention an 8.2 magnitude earthquake off the coast of Mexico. But then who cares about Mexico, right? They are trying to ruin our economy by supplying workers we badly need and are people who want just want a better life. Can you imagine that? Not anything we should be able to relate to, right? Oh wait, aren’t all of us (even the Indians) people who migrated here for a better life? Those damn DACA kids who have worked hard and are model citizens might take a job away from the slouchers. Can’t have that can we. Do see any hypocrisy here? WTF.

The Colin Kaepernick saga continues as the NFL has shunned him for taking a knee (and starting a trend) during the national anthem to protest systemic black prejudice in policing. Actually maybe it is a good thing since what we are learning about the costs of football to the body and brain may not be worth it anyway. But I have to wonder what happen to free speech and why we play the national anthem like a loyalty pledge at football games anyway? It really came about kind of like the pledge of allegiance as a loyalty test. Given the present President of the United States, and the Republican government, I take a knee at every opportunity.

Did you see where the Trump Justice Department took the side of the baker who refused to cook a wedding cake for a gay couple? WTF! Extend that logic to any business. You want to cause riots, distrust, hate, division, then believe this is the baker’s freedom of religion. I think I need to take another knee. I would imagine the “true” patriots would go berserk if we started flying the American flag upside down.

You noticed the Senate voted out the debt extension, funding for Irma, and a continuing resolution for the budget. Now think about this. Funding for Irma will require that we vote to extend the debt again. Why do we do this twice. I mean WTF. If Congress decided to appropriate the money, why does Congress have to agree to pay that bill later on. Wasn’t the first vote enough? I have written on this before as it is an old problem, but we really need to get rid of this provision which is everybody’s favorite hostage and political football. Amazingly the VIC has indicated he might consider it. Trusting the VIC is really risky business. Oh, and the Republicans are afraid the Demos will use the debt limit extension as a political ploy. Talk about hypocrisy.

Okay, last but not least, we have Donald Jr. being interrogated by the Senate Intelligence Committee staffers and we know for sure he change his story again, and can’t remember much about the meeting. WTF.

At the end of the session, the president’s son tweeted out a statement saying: “I answered every question posed by the Committee . . . until both sides had exhausted their lines of questioning. I trust this interview fully satisfied their inquiry.”

The fact that the interrogation lasted 5 hours shows the they thought he was lying through his teeth and in fact unless you are brain-dead, the amount of lying and not remembering would tell you that there is little smoke, and a giant hot fire. Note that no Republican sat through the interrogation, while three Democrats did. They don’t want to know. Still in denial and the chickens are coming home to roost. If you don’t think there was collusion, you still love the VIC and blinded by the light or you are a Republican in the House or Senate and can’t afford to know.

So that is just another WTF Friday, although this one may be on of the most WTF Fridays.  I wonder what Vald and Kim Jung-un are up to today?  Who cares about ISIS? Could it get more WTF?

Just Some General Thoughts/Not Making Sense

Sometimes because I spent some of my life focused on the meaning of words (interpreting and enforcing construction contracts), I like to focus on how we have become a nation that ignores their meaning or the logic of their thoughts. The first one that pops into my head is when the White House held a press conference after the Village Idiot announced rescinding DACA. Sarah Huckabee Sanders said the following:

It’s a known fact that there are over 4 million unemployed Americans in the same age group as those that are DACA recipients; that over 950,000 of those are African Americans in the same age group; over 870,000 unemployed Hispanics in the same age group. Those are large groups of people that are unemployed that could possibly have those jobs.”

Really? How does that follow and if they could have them, why don’t they already have those jobs? How does it follow that DACA people took them away? You know when a Republican starts out with, “It’s a known fact…”, that you are listening to ideological dogma. The WaPo noted the same thing:

Here’s the problem: immigrant and native-born workers are imperfect substitutes. There is no evidence that the unemployed Americans, be they black, white or Hispanic, have the skills necessary to hold the same jobs occupied by the young beneficiaries of the five-year-old Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program.

But what this gives you is a perfect example of how if you want to believe something (to justify blaming immigrants for all things), how you can make false analogies or use anecdotal examples to fool yourself. And note how Sarah Huckabee Sanders says it with such arrogant conviction, “It is a known fact…”. No actually it isn’t and if you examine most of the things Republicans believe as bedrock fact, you find out the bedrock is made out of sand. That is why much of what they want to do to “Make America great again” is bullshit.

Here is something that puzzles me. Republicans call themselves conservatives, and in that definition is economically conservative. I would bet that most people are not dogmatic conservatives, but see themselves as socially progressive and economically conservative. So one has to ask, what does that mean? Well if it is a balanced federal budget, you don’t get Econ 101 and macroeconomics. If you want to explore that argument go to The Economy. I will just say here it is the false analogy of comparing government spending to a home budget. But really, Republicans claim they are about being fiscally conservative and yet we know that the things they want are counter productive to that.

Start with Obamacare. It did bend the curve on healthcare spending and besides the claims that it is collapsing, it is not. They may be doing their best to sabotage it, but it is working if they would let it. Republicans want to go back to no regulations and in that no program to limit costs like incentivizing outcomes instead of treatment. But here is what you really have to ask yourself if you are really fiscally conservative, universal care in other industrial countries cost half as much as our system does with better outcomes. Republicans want a system that is fiscally stupid. Note that my link above is from a conservative website.

Okay, let’s look at immigration. Study after study shows that immigration is part of the life blood of our economy. The very Mexicans the Village Idiot in Charge (VIC) had demonized are in fact critical to our economy, even those undocumented ones. So instead of a reasoned immigration policy we get a Wall and rescinding of DACA and if you are fiscally conservative and want to do what is best for our economy why in the hell would you follow this policy, unless of course you are using fear and false scapegoats to capture the weak-minded? The Wall is a gross waste of money, environmentally damaging, and will never work. Again you economically conservative people, why, oh why, do you elect people who support this nonsense.

How about those tax cuts? All you economically conservatives think we should pay our bills, so how about we pay for them instead of giving money away to the wealthy? Oh, wait, those are the job creators, except they aren’t and no they don’t pay for themselves by stimulating the economy. If we really did tax reform, the wealthy would pay more, but so would some of us in the lower percentiles since some of those favored deductions like a second home or even the interest paid on your first home if it were large might go away. But it would be a smart thing to do and help our economy. You think Republicans are going to do any of that? Ha!

Then we have global warming and infrastructure improvements. Yes the Republicans mouth infrastructure improvements, but show me the money. With the Harvey damage and soon to be Irma damage it is readily apparent that we should be investing in infrastructure hardening and planning for the impacts of global warming. If will save us tons of money in the future and create tons of jobs. But who is denying global warming and thinks privatizing infrastructure improvements is a good idea? Republicans. So how is this economically conservative.

Oh, I know, we are not going to elect any of those tax and spend, big government Democrats. Really?  Both the economy and our deficit has always done better under Democrats. First we need to spend on some stuff and there is no free ride. You actually have to collect taxes if you want to fix our roads and bridges, not to mention hardening our infrastructure for climate change and more intense storms and tornadoes. Oh, and who is going to do that?

The Republicans/conservatives believe the market place is going to fix healthcare, secure social security, invest to make higher education affordable to all, build our roads and bridges (yes if they are all toll roads), or plan for global warming (if they believed in it). If the markets could they would have. Oh sure, the Republicans shout at the top of their lungs that the market place will solve it, don’t worry, but it is the free ride promises of the huckster. It is our government that builds the basis for all of us to prosper and grow. Meanwhile you keep voting for Republicans who throw money away to the wealthy, nothing gets done, and you call yourself conservatives. Ha! How much longer can you delude yourself? Fiscally conservative you are not.

Note that I linked almost everything.  Go read for yourself.  What I find is that if you want to believe nonsense that the Republicans or those who call themselves conservative are pushing, the first thing you need to do is be intellectually lazy.  The facts, yes, the real facts are out there and all you have to do is educate yourself and think critically.  There is no easy way forward and it has to be paid for.  But the solutions are all out there.  It amazes me to listen to the ignorance and stupidity of the Republicans and see how many people buy it because mostly they are intellectually lazy and looking for a free ride, blame someone else.  So sad that is what our country put in power.

A Predictable Disaster

No, not Harvey, Donald. Watching this man over the last 200 some odd days he has been President should tell you that he is a despicable human being. And I mean that with no partisan bias. His actions with Obamacare (now gutting money for promoting signups), his firing of honorable people (Comey, Yates), his Boy Scout speech, his continuing lies, Charolettsville, his treatment of transsexuals, the border wall politics, his me trip to Texas after Harvey and then turning to tax cuts for the wealthy with no plan to pay for Harvey, and now DACA, is just despicable. There is no other way to describe it.


He is a detestable man and there is just no way to paint it any other way. As a representative of America, do you remember that book/movie back in the 60s called the Ugly American? That about captures it. The most amazing fact is that he presented all these character traits prior to the election, and many of the people who voted for him are disappointed. Or braindead. Granted the Democrats ran the worst possible choice for defeating him, as Hillary haters are alive and well in the general public and this just got them frothing at the mouth, and ignoring how bad their other choice was.


But the media still tries to somehow legitimize him. Maybe his stance on DACA was just a smart ploy to force Republicans to do something? Ha! They are doing something because like Obamacare, they realize they will get creamed if they actually came through on many of their threats. No, Donald Trump is never going to change and now it appears the noose is tightening on his taxes and Moscow connections. And that my friends explains everything.


Yesterday, a pundit was discussing his attack on innocent kids covered under DACA and noted that 64% of Americans favor DACA and only 32% are against. She could not figure out his politics here since it was a no-brainer to support it. Does the 32% ring a bell? That is about the size of the base that loves all the things I listed above that most of us find abhorrent. His politics are as clear and rational as can be. That 32% is what will keep him from being impeached because Republicans in Congress and the Senate live and die on how they vote in their home states.


So the disasters will continue and they are very very predictable. All the Village Idiot cares about is the Village Idiot. He does not even have any there, there, in terms of policy positions. It was quite clear he had no idea what was in the Obamacare “replacement” and I doubt seriously if there is anything in his tax cut proposal with any real meat other than more tax cuts for the wealthy. He stands for whatever his 32% rabble demand, and he does whatever will sooth his ego and ensure his safety from Congress that refuses to have the moral courage to remove him.


And that totally explains the man. There is no cunning or cleverness. Just lies that the rabble in the 32% want to believe. And people who voted for them who wanted change, action, a businessman in charge, were fools to the nth degree. No I don’t care about their woes as an explanation for their vote. That is bullshit. My argument is being made every day by the Village Idiot as he just makes things worse and worse. And make no mistake, what drives him is survival and that should make us all very afraid. The shit will hit the fan and we will have a Constitutional Crisis. There is no if, but when. Then we will see who has political courage and who does not.


Notes: On the DACA repeal and the treatment of undocumented workers by both Trump and the Governor of Texas, the chickens are about to come home to roost. South Texas will require major cleanup and rebuilding and that workforce will be in hiding, afraid of the Gestapo (ICE). Maybe this will force Republicans to get serious about immigration reform and realize that a healthy input of immigrants is what drives our economy.


On the Wall DHS just released their contracts to build prototype walls down near San Diego. I was interested in what firms were finally selected because many of the big boys decided this was a political nightmare that could affect their access to markets and labor for years to come. It will be interesting to see if the sites become a magnet for protests and resistance.