Posts tagged ‘Trump’

Hope and Redemption

I think I mentioned in my last blog that I was on a plane to Hawaii. Five plus hours to kill and with a guy with advanced prostate cancer, and eye on the seat belt light and the line at the latrine, distraction is a good thing. I was going to read a couple of mystery novels, but I thought maybe after listening to the Ezra Klein conversation with Paul Krugman, I should download some other Podcasts and listen if my eyes got tired. So what you are going to get here is kind of an eclectic mishmash of Buddhism and hope for our politics going forward. As one of my categories for these blogs go, they connect the dots.

I got an text from a good friend worrying about how things are falling apart. My last blog written a couple of hours ago reflected that malaise. What happened to us? Well I will get to that in a minute, but the real question is what can we do about living in this atmosphere of continuous stress? So the first conversation I listened to was an Ezra Klein interview with Robert Wright, about What Buddhism got right about the human brain. Now this discussion was a trip through mindfulness, trying to transcend self, and to find contentment.

Wright made an interesting observation, and that is that the human brain did not evolve to live in the world we live in. The brain evolved to never be satisfied. Had we achieved satisfaction we would stop the search. We evolved to spread our seed, so sex, food, all the the things that keep us going were designed not to satisfy us so we would sustain and keep eating and spreading our seed. Might spread some light on why monogamy is maybe an adaption we still struggle with. In many ways we were built to be anxious. Buddhism through meditating and mindfulness tries to control all those thoughts that are careening off our brain and just be in the moment, to become more fully aware of our oneness with the world.

Okay so much for the theory. The interview was about an honest attempt to get there, can any of us really get there, and what may be the benefits. But one of the experiences that I have found in my old age is instead of being controlled by my reactions to things, to really see and examine the experience, which then de-arms the emotion and lets us chose our own feelings/reactions about it. Here is an example. You are driving on the freeway and some dumb shit asshole with a death wish cuts you off. See the loaded language here. You are angry. But I have been lately finding myself saying, wow, that was interesting. Okay, not all the time, but most of the time. It is a state where you become much less judgmental and more accepting of what is going on around you. Yeah, he is probably a total jerk, but I don’t have to be and oh my, I did a really good job of dodging that fool.

Of course there is a lot more to this interview and if you are interested in Buddhism as an approach at peace and more tranquility in your life, it is worth a listen. But they ended the interview by talking about the world of Trump and how we deal in a world that could be falling apart. I will not try to summarize, but you still can be active, you don’t float away on another plane, but you deal with what you can change and like the driver careening into your lane, wow, how interesting, maybe I can make a difference by writing this stupid blog instead of sulking or throwing stuff.

One last thought before I leave this topic. I am a Vietnam War Veteran. So the day came when I packed up my stuff and left my family for a year. I learned some really important things, actually all the same thing, in that year, one from Earnest Gann (author of The High and the Mighty), one from Victor Frankl (The author of the Meaning of Life), and one from mindfulness without the meditating.

First Earnest Gann, and being cool under high stress. He tells the story in one of his novels about a pilot who is ferrying a bomber over to Europe for WWII. They are below the weather flying up a fjord with shear rock walls on either side, unable to climb up because if they do, they can’t get back down through the weather to land, and hoping the airport is at the end of the fjord. The copilot is going nuts while the pilot is calm as a rock. Finally the panicking copilot can’t stand it and asks the pilot how he is so sure the airport and their only hope of landing is up ahead. And the pilot replies, because we don’t have any other options. When you don’t have any options, enjoy the ride.

The second is a little shorter but in the same vein and that is from Victor Frankl who studied survival in the death camps in WWII. What he learned was that when you can no longer control anything, and they have taken everything away, there is one thing that you still control and they can’t take away. You have the freedom to choose your attitude. The last thing was what I learned in my year of wishing I was home and being lonely, missing a year out of my kid’s lives. And it is that if you can’t do anything about it, be in the moment. Look around you. This may be all there is. Take it in. I kind of think Buddhism is really intuitive. So if Donald Trump and the Republicans really are the Apocalypse, well that’s interesting. Got wine?

Okay, the other interview was with three really smart people on Trump’s America, how we got here, what failed, and is this the end. These would be Ezra doing the interview, E.J. Dione, Norm Ornstein, and Thomas Mann, all savvy observers of Congress and our political system. This Podcast was called, How the Republican party created Donald Trump. Now I don’t want to take you through this trip, especially if you are a reader of this blog. But they started with an interesting question. The framers had designed our system so that a Donald Trump would never be president. What happened?

I will give you the short version, The Republican Party became the problem when the party was taken over by people who hate government. The system in the electoral college no longer stops an unfit candidate, the unfair representation of conservatives who hate government from state by state gerrymandering, and the power of Senators from small population urban areas skewing representation. Urban areas, where most Americans live, are underrepresented. The impact of social media, fake news, Fox News, and right wing talk all played a role, not to mention Democrats losing touch with the problems of America. Finally, Republicans, instead of drawing a line, saw advantage in feeding the base racism, nativism, misogyny, and ignorance, were riding the tiger to election wins, when the tiger ate them. When they tried to stop Trump in the primaries the establishment was slaughtered. Good and tasty.

So where does that leave us? Well here is the plus side. Changing the Constitution to change some of these problems, which I have weighed in before, is very hard. But Thomas Mann and others think that maybe Donald Trump just gave the whole system a jolt. Maybe it was just what we needed. From the chaos and disaster of a Donald Trump, the nation may just have gotten their wakeup call. I have argued that Republicans with their failed ideas have had traction because people could be duped as long as those ideas were not put into play. Well now they are and the failures will be in some ways catastrophic, people will die and that is not hyperbole.

But maybe that is the cost. We have lost so much in the eyes of the world, in our own integrity, and yet, maybe this is just the jolt to get us back on track. Remember, you always have the freedom to choose your attitude. RESIST! TO THE BEACH! WHERE THE HELL IS MY LONGBOARD? That is the moment I am in.

Impeachment and the Failure of Our Constitution

Ezra Klein wrote a piece yesterday that everyone should read on impeaching the President.  At this point most sane people have arrived at the conclusion that having a racist, misogynistic, pathological liar, who is unstable and may be losing his grip on reality for President is a very dangerous situation.  Ezra argues that impeachment should be used more frequently to protect America from temporary moments of insanity. Then he chronicles why it hasn’t.  I will just summarize here.

First the Founders put high crimes and misdemeanors as the justification, and then rejected defining those terms.  To make a long story short, it is up Congress.  We seem to be locked into the idea that it must be an actual crime or mental incapacity (25th Amendment) when in fact, it can be anything they want.  Ezra makes a good case that utilizing the 25th Amendment could cause a civil war as the deplorables who have their own reality, would see this as usurping power by the Republican elites.  It is a good point.

He also points out that the Founders put into place many checks and balances to ensure we would not be found in the situation we re in today, starting with the electoral college where the political elites were suppose to assert their better judgement when the rabble got it dangerously wrong.  Today we have a rubber stamp electoral college that overrides the popular vote.

He also points out that the Founders did not foresee the two Party system we have today that basically protects their own no matter how bad.  He noted that the impeachment process only happens when the opposing party to the President occupies Congress.  Today we see that in operation as a man who even many Republicans are calling unstable, protect him to protect an agenda.  But as Ezra pointed out, the Presidency is not what the Founders envisioned and the amount of power it has today is unparalleled.  In a moment he can destroy the modern world.

Yes, we should use impeachment more often, but as Ezra pointed out, not likely.  I think we are reaching a point where our Constitution does not work anymore.  On the tax cut debate, I listened to Bruce Bartlett, economist, historian, a domestic policy adviser to Ronald Reagan, and Treasury official under George H. W, Bush, ask if we had lost our brains.  He is a traditional Republican who believes in controlling our debt.  He points out that the Republican Congress is in an alternate reality,  tax cuts have never paid for themselves, we are almost at full employment, and business are awash in money. A tax cut is not even called for, but tax reform is.

Further he makes a really insightful observation, the majority of the country is against this tax cut, and Republicans don’t care.  He points out that it is possible under our Constitution for 40% of the population to elect a super majority.  In other words we have a system where our representatives are not responsive to the electorate, but only to their donors with no fear of retribution.  In other words, our system doesn’t work any more, from the electoral college and gerrymandering, to unfair representation by rural states.

I really wonder as Ezra did if we have the wrong system for today’s world and we need a system similar to a parliamentary system where a vote of no confidence would force an election where the people can speak again and not wait 4 years.  We have a lot to fix and it is becoming clear that under our system, we can’t fix it.

There is one bright side, assuming with the latest with Flynn going for a plea bargain doesn’t send the President over the edge and start launching missiles, the Republicans may get their way on tax cuts and other policies, but the result will be a slow crash and burn because these policies don’t work.  See Republican Bruce Bartlett above.  As the nation is wrecked, Americans just might come out to the polls in 2018 and 2020 and turn this around.

I will add this caution. It is clear looking at the contacts with Russians, that there was collusion, they had a hold on Trump, probably through money laundering.  It is no coincidence that Mueller interviewed Kushner just before we find out Flynn pleaded guilty.  He was going to catch him in a lie and probably did.  Our unstable President will get more unstable and hopefully the generals in the White House will have a 24/7 watch on him.  The noose is around the neck and tightening and he could do anything.  We live in very dangerous times. If we get through this, we have a lot to fix.

 

Why Trump Won

Fareed Zakaria, who I think is one of the best journalist out there, and there are a lot of good ones, reporting on CNN in a special, Why Trump Won, I think nailed it. This is not a new show and I think it aired back in August, but I finally saw it last night. So I will cut to the chase on this one. As Fareed pointed out Donald Trump was the perfect storm when the circumstances were perfect for the perfect storm.

And for you Hillary fans, an interview with Nate Silvers basically pointed out that Comey cost her the election. Her lead was 6 points and then a week before the election he comes out with his letter, and her lead was cut to 3 points, then in the margin of allowing the electoral college to elected the one with a smaller vote count. So it certainly cost her the election. But, and here is the thing, it should have never been that close. As we entered the 2016 election, Hillary was not a good choice and Fareed makes that point by showing how Democrats had lost the working middle class as they had become the party that represented the professional class. Hillary was also the perfect storm in that she epitomized the Democrats aloof view of the working class.

The head of the Democratic Party in Ohio was sending memos to the Hillary campaign about the pain and anger out there in Ohio and they were being ignored. Meanwhile Trump was filling that vacuum with vague promises of bringing their jobs back and representing them as an outsider and it was selling like hotcakes. All lies of course, but that seem to have made little difference. In middle America’s state of anger and frustration. Race and blaming was working well and Trump was the master salesman as Hillary made his point of the out of touch aloof politician. Fareed even made the point that Hillary actually had policies that would help them, but they were throwing over establishment Washington, clearly a Washington they no longer trusted.

That should have been the message loud and clear when Bernie came so close. Many said it was not rigged (this is me not Fareed), but of course it was. They had already anointed Hillary and the Democratic Party was lined up against that upstart Bernie when he was actually the only one with a message that resonated. It was noted that many discouraged Democrats turned to Trump after Bernie was finally beaten. There is another statistic that Fareed pointed out that should have told Democrats they were in big trouble. In a usual election the undecided voters are around 6%. In 2016 it was double that. Again, looking at who Donald Trump was, it should not have been close and that tells you that Democrats had lost their message and their messenger was the wrong person.

Now no one (who is rational) will argue that Hillary would not have made an excellent President, but in a way her defeat, while devastating to the short-term interests of the country, was probably inevitable as the Democrats had lost touch with the people it most needs to help. Even with good intentions, we would have seen more gridlock and both sides do it instead of a clear distinction between the two parties we are getting now (although establishment Democrats still seem to have not got the message). Sooner or later Democrats were going to have this “come to Jesus” moment and maybe sooner is better. It would appear at the grass-roots at least they are regrouping and refocusing.

So in a nutshell, Trump was the perfect lynch mob leader as establishment politics have failed middle America, but have worked fine for those of us in the professional class, and the banking class, the professional class represented by establishment Democrats, the banking class represented by establishment Republicans. Trump came along and lied through his teeth that he was an outsider who represented them when in fact, if they ever figure it out, he was all in with Wall Street. Hillary sadly, came across as just what the working middle class was mutinying against, establishment elitism, or “let me explain it to you Alice” (Jacky Gleason from the Honeymooners). The fact that she actually had policies to help them was irrelevant.

My own personal observation at Trump rallies was an America I found despicable. Hillary’s deplorables, which of course they were. They had thrown out their brains and the level of anger and hate was palpable. As Fareed pointed out they were the part of America most disenfranchised by the world economy and their reaction was anger, blame, racism, and hate. And Trump was the master at stoking that. It is no coincidence that this was dominate by those without a college education. They were the losers in the economy we have built. Sadly when the elected Trump, they doubled down on their losing. In case they haven’t noticed, there are no jobs, and Wall Street is back big time.

Having said that, we do have to pull them up, not by false lies Donald Trump pumped out there, but with a real plan to get them back into the economy and give them jobs and a future. Unless you haven’t figured that out, it is not by giving more tax cuts to the wealthy, or quite frankly to most of us. It will be by creating jobs by investing in infrastructure, alternate energy, helping middle America get off their addiction to opioids, making college affordable, and making fundamental changes to the economy that let’s them share in the bounty. Oh, and give them a safety net they can depend on until we can restore the middle class. FDR did it, and now we have to, because middle America really is in a depression that led to the rise of a moron like Donald Trump.

Fareed ended his program by saying we are waiting for a leader that can cross the divide between the two tribes. But Fareed is one of those too invested in the way the economy works today, instead of the reality that capitalism has to be brought to heel for all of us to share. To my ear, Bernie got closest to that ideal. Let’s not lose that momentum. Progressivism is the only way forward and only government working with industry is going to solve the problem of the declining middle class. It is time to bring back ideas again instead of blame and hate. It has not worked out well so far and maybe middle America is starting to figure that out. Now we need to get out there with a plan that gives them hope, not the same old, same old or from Stephen King’s Dreamcatcher, SSDD, Same Shit, Different Day. That is how middle America saw the establishment in 2016. The Democrats failed to head the message and ran an establishment candidate, and all the rest is history.

“I Really Believe That When He Tells Me That…”

President DFF is being, well, a DFF as he goes about once again tarnishing our intelligence agencies and showing how truly stupid the man is. Of course I am referring to his comments about Putin’s claim of not interfering in our elections when the intelligence agencies have tons of data to show just exactly what they did do. We have tons of supportable data in the media to show exactly what they did including all the ad buys for Facebook and Twitter. But none of that matters because he has looked him in the eyes and can tell he, Putin, is insulted. Oh, where have we heard that or something very similar before? Wasn’t that George Bush?

I was at a party last night and someone who despairs this whole nightmare of President DFF and the Republicans was just despondent about this latest episode. I was not. I spent my after military service life as a lower level bureaucratic lackey serving the American public building and cleaning up things for the government. I know those people who work in the government well. Most are hard working, dedicated, and proud of what they do. President DFF just pissed off a whole bunch of people who probably have the goods on him. Here is from the Washington Post (WaPo):

On Saturday, Trump described the former top U.S. intelligence officials who concluded in January that the tampering took place — including former director of national intelligence James R. Clapper Jr. and former CIA director John Brennan — as “political hacks.” He called former FBI director James B. Comey, who testified to Congress that Trump asked him to drop an investigation of his campaign’s connections to Russian officials, a “liar” and a “leaker.”

Clapper said in a statement that “the president was given clear and indisputable evidence that Russia interfered in the election. His own DNI and CIA director have confirmed the finding in the intelligence community assessment. The fact that he would take Putin at his word over the intelligence community is unconscionable.”

…Former CIA director Michael V. Hayden said he was so concerned by Trump’s statement that he contacted the agency to confirm that it stood by the January assessment. He described Trump’s remarks as “egregious comments on the character of folks who have been public servants . . . [and] the public should know that these guys are thoroughgoing professionals, and what the president left unsaid is that the people he put into these jobs agree with the so-called hacks.”

Senior officials in the intelligence community will be dismayed by the disparagement of two respected intelligence veterans, Hayden said. “People have a right to ask at senior levels: ‘Does what I do make a difference anymore?’ ”

In other words, other than his comments being imbecilic, he just kicked a hornet’s nest. Stand by for the leaks and ever more cooperation with Mueller. I opined in this discussion that it would not be long until President DFF probably gets removed and she shuddered at the thought of Mike Pence as President. But here is the thing. Republicans got nothing, and I seriously mean that. We have problems, big problems, and we have solutions. None of those solutions are palatable to Republican ideology. So things are going to get worse. It doesn’t matter if it is pious Pence or Joe College Ryan, they got nothing.

Their plan for the economy is tax cuts that only help the wealthy. They have no plan for healthcare which should be obvious by now. If they are successful at their tax cuts, which they won’t, President DFF’s base will be hurt and there will be no jobs. If they build the wall it will drag down our economy, not to mention be an environmental nightmare. Global warming which they ignore, will just get worse, and do you really think these boys and girls are going to pony up for infrastructure improvements without it being some giant give away to corporations?

We are in a waiting game for America to wake up out of their focused ignorance and finally understand, Republicans are bad for their health, livelihood, and peace of mind. You can only watch things crumble for so long before you say, let’s do something. Ask yourself this about the effectiveness of Republicans, how many people in Puerto Rico are still without power, our fellow Americans? You could be next. When that dawns on us and it seems to already be doing, things will start to look up. 2018 could be a banner year.

The DFF In China

I happened to think China is brilliant.  They just welcomed President DFF with a standing ovation at the dinner last night.  They ought to.  He is leaving the playing field wide open for them to take over America’s interests in the Pacific Rim.  Additionally, well, they are brilliant because he is a fool for praise and pandering.  Praise him, send him home, and he feels like the great leader while you rob America blind or at least continue to make America small again.  These guys have a long-term plan for where they want to be, unlike the United States which is purely reactionary and has gutted our diplomatic corps.

Not sure how much more damage President DFF can do, but he always rises to the occasion.  Even Republicans should be getting nervous.

Today’s Reality

Do you feel like you are getting bombarded? I do. Let’s start with the Russian thing. At the heart of maybe all the scandals, whether we are talking about Facebook, Russian hacking and manipulation of the election, or Russian collusion with the Trump boys, it all has two things in common, technology and greed. First let’s start with Trump, the great business man. There is no evidence of that. My guess is that he is living on a giant credit card funded by the laundering of Russian money. That is what the DFF is really afraid of, that we will find that out. He is a walking Ponzi scheme. So the Russians have leverage and the DFF was trying to build a Trump Tower in Russia so he certainly was willing to deal. The deal the Russians wanted was a repeal of the Magnitsky act which bars certain Russians from this country and our banking system. See my last blog. After that it was sanctions removed to expand their oil business, their only real source of income.

Enter technology. It should have made us smart and more productive. If you can Google a fact and find stuff out you should be more informed, right? It did not work out that way. First, unless you are really a critical thinker, it allowed unfiltered and unchecked information from anyone on equal terms. The stupid could magnify their stupidity by connecting with more stupids, their junk facts reinforced in their incestual thinking. Then there is email and how easy it is to be hacked and you have the perfect storm. Oh wait, along comes Facebook and Twitter and those uncritical thinkers are bombarded with fake news they drink down like drunken sailors, all in the search of profits for stockholders.

Now we are in a period where we have investigations into all of this, but come on people, it is kind of obvious. The DFF’s love of Russia, the announcements about Hillary’s emails during the campaign, the many, many, connections of his campaign to the Russians, you have to be blind. Then we are bombarded with the crass and depraved lying by Republicans afraid their house of cards is finally going to collapse and trying to pretend all this isn’t just too obvious. What happens if the base finds out the DFF is a fraud, will we be next? And what is the underlying connection that ties all this together, money, the greed that comes with it, and the power it confers.

Money confers power and the more they can accumulate and protect, the safer they feel. It is actually for all of us our security blanket. As we lose community, gated communities suffice as their replacement. Except they don’t and things like the floods in Houston, the fires in Sonoma, or the disaster in Puerto Rico wake us up to our fragility. There is another lesson here about corporations and the bullshit of self-regulation. See Facebook and Twitter and their need for profits that allows their product to be used to undermine democracy in the guise of free speech. See how we trick ourselves? Maybe all speech isn’t equal. Maybe all facts are not equal. Maybe all opinions are not equal.  Maybe the corporate model stifles our humanness.

To see our self-delusion in action just pay attention to General Kelly, an “honorable man”. We suffered through his lies and defamation of a Congresswoman, and by default a Gold Star widow .When pointed out with irrefutable video, silence. Then we got his what is sacred speech, followed by the White House telling us we can not question a 4-star general. But now we have the Civil War just should have been settled by negotiations, it was just a difference of opinion, showing a clear failure to understand history and a total lack of morals. The Civil War was the price we paid for our moral failure when we compromised with the South to make Blacks three-fifths a person. Oh, and General Lee was a traitor to the nation and an abominable slave holder. Oh those pesky facts.

Finally the news was hijacked once again, but this time by a nut job in a rented Home Depot truck. Not much to learn here except that radical religion is evil. Might want to make you think about Alabama’s Republican nomination for Senator, Joe Moore. One of his Republican cohorts in the Senate defending a question about how Judge Roy does not believe in religious freedom based upon his statements, said “Religious freedom comes from God”. Yeah that’s the problem. Whose God?

Well that is where we are these days. I think it will be a long cold winter even with global warming.

The New Normal

I have, as many others have, been warning against accepting the DFF and Republicans falling in line behind him as the new normal. I have argued this is not normal and we should not normalize him or them. But it is the new normal. I don’t know about you, but when you don’t think it could get any worse, then you peruse the morning paper, and it is much worse. What are you to do (vote)? Here was a smattering of what is in the news this morning:

Let’s take the last two. Remember the Tea Party and the Tea Party Caucus in Congress. They were going to make the government fiscally sound again, “Debt is the problem!” “Balanced budgets!” Those were the guys and gals who shut down, or threatened to shut down the government over increasing the debt limit (stupid in itself). Now those boys and girls just passed a tax cut (none of them have read) that will add $1.5 trillion to the deficit. Say what? Oh, don’t worry, when they are faced with increasing the debt limit to fund what they approved, as they have to do each year they will balk. Yeah, makes no sense whatsoever.

Meanwhile, what of Democrats? Who cares? And that is about it. From their loss of the House in 2010 on they have been clueless that they are clueless. And the biggest problem is that it is the same old people which is part of the reason that even though they are making sense, no one is listening. Here is from Eugene Robinson cited above:

Both major parties are in crisis, and I believe the reason is that the ground has shifted beneath them in ways they do not understand. Until the contours of the new political landscape become clear and the parties reshape themselves accordingly, I fear that chaos and turmoil will reign as the new normal.

Let me be clear: I am not postulating any sort of false equivalency. It was the Republican Party that nominated Trump for president, and it consequently must be blamed for this horror show of an administration. The party that loves to grandly invoke the name of Abraham Lincoln sent to the White House a crass egomaniac who cynically heightens racial animosities — a man who, by temperament and ability, is patently unfit for high office. You did that, Republicans.

…But the party (Democrats) managed to lose a presidential election to a man who had never been elected to public office, who slandered Mexican immigrants as rapists, who used African Americans and Latinos as foils to help him stoke feelings of grievance among whites, and who bragged about sexually harassing and assaulting random women. You lost to that guy, Democrats.

The party of Franklin Roosevelt allowed the GOP to pretend to champion the interests of the working class. Failure to connect with white voters in the Rust Belt is only part of the story of last year’s defeat, and maybe not the most important part. Democrats failed to sufficiently energize their core constituencies — urbanites, African Americans, Latinos, women, young people.

But what we got was the same old party pushing away the new blood and resurrecting the old establishment. As I noted yesterday, even Donna Brazile is back. So no one cares what they have to say because, let’s face it, they are losers. So that is where we are today. Republicans out of control trying to pass anything without the slightest scintilla of analysis, but a win on the coat strings of a narcissistic pig, and Democrats feckless to understand that the ground is moving under their feet. Just another Friday where it would seem the only news worth watching is sports news. Go Houston/Dodgers. I haven’t decided yet. This is just great baseball. Maybe that is all we have left of America.

Each Day the Name Changes to Reflect the New Reality

Those that read this blog know I have kind of morphed through acronyms for Trump. I started out with Cheeto-head, and I kind of settled on Dotard-in-Charge (DIC) after the North Korean leader anointed him dotard. But as you watch his actions, he is not senile, he is ignorant and mean. So I changed it to Fat F*ck (FF). Kind of described his me, me, me  personality, sucking up all the air in the room and becoming obese on his self image. But after the latest exchanges with the  Myeshia Johnson, the fallen service man’s widow this morning, I believe I am going to go with Dumb Fat F*ck (DFF). To refresh. the DFF against advice, decided to call the widow, Myeshia Johnson, and according to both the widow and the Congresswoman in the car and close personal friend, he could not remember Sgt. La David Johnson’s name (Johnson is one of those catchy hard names to Remember, right?) and then of course was the callous, “he knew what he signed up for”.

Now both things have now been verified by the widow herself. so the DFF tweeted out,  “I had a very respectful conversation with the widow of Sgt. La David Johnson, and spoke his name from beginning, without hesitation!”  Can the DFF just shut up.  Answer no, and that is why we are now at DFF. But there is more here.  Forgetting the name is because he doesn’t care.  But more importantly, listen to how Kelly (who later disgraced himself in a lie) told the DFF what to say.  Explaining how a military official told him that his son “was doing exactly what he wanted to do when he was killed,” Mr. Kelly recalled. “He knew what he was getting into by joining that 1 percent. He knew what the possibilities were because we were at war.”

Now think about that.  First he was speaking to a military officer, and second he prefaced it with “was doing exactly what he wanted to do when he was killed.” That is an entirely different context that the DFF’s just “he knew what he was getting into” (like it was his fault).  He was making it easier on himself, not Mrs. Johnson.  And that is all you need to understand the DFF.  It is alway about him, and he does not understand the context of anything.  Not only is he ignorant, but he is dumb making his ignorance permanent and uncorrectable.

One last word to leave you with.  When you hear a Republican or a pundit say they wish he would just shut up and get on with his agenda, you know they just missed the biggest lesson of their lives about this man.  He can’t and he is a disaster waiting to happen.  There is no PR paper overing of him.  Try to remember Cindy Sheehan, whose son was killed in Afghanistan and she would demonstrate outside the White House calling George Bush a murder.  George never ever responded in kind.  Even George, as inept as he was, was not a dumb fat fuck.  Now we have one as president. Thank you again Wisconsin, Pennsylvania, and Michigan.  May you secede from the Union.  Oh, and take the South with you.

General Kelly and Seeing the Real Problem

After the FF (Fat F*ck, aka President Trump) turned the killed servicemen into a political issue, and then totally botched  the call after the Press had asked if he had made any calls (where he lied about other presidents), Generally Kelly came out and made an impassioned plea to depoliticize the whole issue, explaining what happened.  Now this should have both been pointed at his boss and ended the issue, but then he turned around and made a partisan political attack on the Congresswoman in the car where call was made (at the request of the grieving parents).  Trump of course lied about all this instead of saying, I botched and I am truly sorry, to which Kelly did not deny the conversation, but attack the Congresswoman for making a “private” call public.

Well, bull shit.  First she was asked to be there and it was put on speakerphone.  Was the President alone when the call (No)?  Secondly he offended them with his lack of empathy, which is just another instance of why he should not be president.  But then Kelly made a partisan attack on the Congresswoman, racial in undertones, showing he is not the steady hand that some were hoping for.  Kelly even made references to “other” gold star families who have spoken out and he had no right to tell them they cannot use their First Amendment rights. Then there was what was sacred discussion that let you know this man is so far removed from reality that he too is dangerous. I think Lawrence O’Donnell took his attack apart better than anyone because he had the guts to.

I want you to note one other thing.  What General Kelly heard and told the FF to say is not the same thing he said.  It is a classic example of how little understand the FF has of the human condition.

Meanwhile the Republicans passed a budget bill on all Republican votes that most of them do not know what is in it.  It was to get a win.  So far the reasonable experts tell us a couple of things.  It busts the budget and like Kansas, may create a fiscal disaster. Tax cuts don’t necessarily equal growth.  Meanwhile Wall Street is doing great and the FF is taking credit when what is really driving the economy right now is low interest rates, set up in the Obama Administration.  If as most of us think, giant deficit spending that the budget bill and the follow on tax cut will create become a reality, the interest rate will go up, and kiss the economy goodbye.

The other part of this is that less than 52% of Americans own stocks, and the majority of the FF’s supporters do not.  How Wall Street does has little with working Americans, and let’s just review, Bank of America just downgraded Chipotle stocks because they think they pay their employees too much.  Bring back slavery!  That is the mentality we are dealing with.

Meanwhile, ex-Presidents Bush and Obam took on the FF finally.  Of course there is some real hypocrisy here, but at least major figures are starting to stand up.  I am off to Oakland for a Van Morrison concert and will try to ignore the madness that is our government these days.  Happy Friday.

And a Chicken in Every Pot!!!

I am listening to the DIC (Dotard in Charge) talk about his tax cut plan and lie through his teeth about he or his wealthy friends not getting big breaks.  I am thinking he must really think we are stupid, and then I look at Alabama’s nomination of a right wing nut (more religion in government (whose religion?), and outlaw gays) to run as their GOP candidate, and maybe he is right.  But let us just stick with the tax “reform” plan.

First question you might want to ask is how do we pay for all this cutting?  One, if he were rational, would start from the understanding of what we need to invest in future, add that to our current obligations and figure out how much money we want to have coming in.  Now this would include what is a reasonable debt (based upon % of GDP) and how to pay for programs in the future.  Then understanding our income needs, we could look are reforming the tax code to simplify, and decrease/increase where it makes sense.

Now we could argue about expanding Social Security by allowing the tax not to be capped at a certain income level.  We could argue about Medicare for all and how to pay for it with a trade-off of higher taxes versus no private insurance bills.  But we are not doing that, we are cutting, cutting, cutting, and what of the deficit.  Oh wait,  I forgot, tax cuts pay for themselves except of course, they don’t.  So the first question to be asked is how does this devastate the deficit.  I happen to be one who thinks a reasonable debt is okay and necessary, but make no mistake, they guys who want a balanced budget don’t give a shit about the debt when it comes to tax cuts, and will cut programs like healthcare (Medicare and Medicaid), education, R&D, infrastructure spending, and Social Security to keep their cuts.

Now, it is true that some pay way to much in taxes.  They are the ones who really need a tax cut, and they have no power.  Those that have power have already massaged the system.  You don’t really think that while we have the highest corporate tax rate, they actually pay that right?  Of course they don’t because they have gamed the system with their money and the gaming continues with the DIC out there lying through his teeth.  So let’s see the details and see what this really costs us, but unless they can pass this with 50 votes, it is probably dead meat.

In many ways one has to ask, what is the strategic plan of Republicans and how does this fit into a vision of  a great tomorrow.  It doesn’, and it is repeal and replace and cut taxes and the devil is in the details.  It assumes as always that government is bad, regulations are bad, and markets should be free to solve all problems.  It has never worked and this is more of their nonsense.  But hey! who does not want a free ride?  That is what America has become.