"People disagree with me on this, and the reason they disagree is because they are
Elizabeth Warren: thanks but no thanks!
Senator, I am grateful to you for your work on many issues including consumer financial matters. Your work while serving the Obama administration lead to the creation in 2011 of our Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB). Well done.
The reason for my note today, however, is because I am not a fan of a number of your recent proposals. [link to details for those who aren't familiar with your plans] I realize you're trying to garner some enthusiasm for your presidential campaign, but I think many of your proposals would cost too much and also destroy some elements of personal initiative and personal responsibility. Specifically, your proposal to cancel existing student debt seems to reward people who made a host of bad decisions. (Estimated cost of the debt forgiveness plan: $1.25 TRILLION over 10-yrs.) Can't say I'm wild about your "free college plan" either. Some sort of assistance may well be desired at a local level for junior and community colleges but your broad plan is a bit too pricey for my tastes.
While we're at it, as much as I detest Donald Trump, and have previously endorsed the notion that he needs to be impeached - but I have come to realize it's a foolish path without support of your Republican colleagues in the Senate. Continue the investigations? Sure. But hasty moves to impeach the creep will just elevate the Donald to martyr status. I would prefer to see those who mindlessly support Trump to wake up and do some personal investigating ... read ... think for themselves ... and in so doing, I'm confident most reasonable folks will come to the same conclusion that the majority of Americans have always held: that Donald Trump is not good for America - never has been. The problems of the world are largely not caused by Donald Trump. But many of the world's problems can be attributed to our disengaged electorate - voters who ignore facts and information, and make some really, really bad decisions.
source material Americans should read, save, & share with others:
Trump Bashing; or, More Factual Reasons Why Trump Should Not Be President:
Other fairly interesting thoughts by Mike:
Read The Mueller Report?
Guaranteed, the Russians
Donald Trump's initial reaction to the release of the Mueller Report and his personal attorney Wm. Barr's 4-page summary was predictable: "no collusion, no obstruction, total vindication, total exoneration" ... and the media dutifully repeats the same claims including video sound bytes and reprints of numerous Twitter messages. Never mind the fact that Mueller's report did not say that; the PR battle was launched attempting to frame the conversation. First impressions matter when we're dealing with a base of supporters who will never bother to read the actual report. But facts have a way of coming out. Are enough voters paying attention?
So now, after a few days of news coverage devoted to the actual text of the redacted version of Mueller's Report, the Donald and his surrogates are scrambling to advance the argument that the same report they initially embraced, is now "fabricated" and untrue. Even though many of the investigators on Mueller's team, including Mueller himself, are registered Republicans, the Donald spews assorted falsehoods: "the product of 18 angry Democrat Trump haters" and question the validity of the "oranges" of the investigation - an obvious "illegal hoax". The investigation "never should have happened" says a parade of FOX News sycophants. Forget the fact that the 448-pg report identifies 140 contacts between team Trump & Russians & WikiLeaks. Forget the details about TEN instances of possible obstruction, or the 14 open investigation cases that are still pending (12 of which were redacted in the report). It's obvious that Trump supporters do not understand the distinction that a decision not to indict is not the same as being declared innocent. Even Attorney General Barr attempted to frame the discussion by mischaracterizing Mueller's findings in thinly veiled pre-buttal 30-minutes before the redacted report was released. Trump and Barr realize the facts in the report are not flattering - they know they are not winning the debate based on facts, so they try winning public opinion. "The investigation never should have happened," the Donald Tweets. He's right - voters never should have elected the creep.
Mitt Romney "Sickened" by Trump White House Dishonesty
The Associated Press reports that Sen. Mitt Romney (UT-R) has read the Mueller Report and is "sickened" by the evidence that Trump's campaign welcomed help from Russia and he's "appalled" by the dishonesty found in the Trump White House by Federal investigators in the 2-yr probe into Russian meddling of the nation's 2016 election. Trump responded as he often does with one of his infamous juvenile Twitter attacks suggesting that "Romney should have put the same energy into running for president in 2012 that the Utah Republican has tapped in criticizing him." [source]
According to the Donald, had Romney "spent the same energy fighting Barack Obama as he does fighting Donald Trump, he could have won the race (maybe)!" American voters should note that in 2012 the percentage of popular votes for Romney was slightly greater than the popular vote Trump received in 2016 ... when Trump got 3 million FEWER votes than Hillary Clinton. Romney is also one of the only Republican leaders to be critical of Trump. Will anyone else grow a spine? And if not, why would voters continue to support Donald Trump in the face of so much negative evidence? Likely that support comes from the MAGA fool who listens to Rush Limbaugh and/or FOX News and hasn't bothered to read the Mueller Report. Pathetic.
Redacted Version of Mueller Report
Released; Time to Read, Absorb
After another attempt to spin the facts by Donald's Trump's attorney William Barr the redacted version of the "Mueller Report" has finally been released. It should have been out weeks ago; Barr has proven that he's working almost exclusively for Trump and not for the American people. I hope citizens do themselves a huge favor and read it rather than letting FOX News, Sean Hannity, Barr, or even the Donald himself attempt to water-down the preliminary findings...they already are trying to do that. Congress should indeed file subpoenas today to obtain the rest of the report and supporting materials.
The first step should be some analysis on the Attorney General's redactions - likely he's concealing material that is damaging to the President or his supporters. The material should be revealed and legal action should begin immediately to bring to justice those who knowingly participated in this attempt to cover-up truth.
In my humble opinion the Congressional "gang of eight" should receive a copy of the totally unredacted report, with all supporting background material. The public version should have redactions only on material the intelligence community considers to be their "sources and methods" as well as the info that would interfere other ongoing prosecutions. The other 2 categories that Barr redacted should be challenged: grand jury testimony, & third party material involving "peripheral players" who were not charged with crimes (yet). The matters are too critical to limit the information available to the American people, and releasing the FULL REPORT is consistent with the handling and release of previous reports of this type. Some legal action should be taken against the White House and Attorney General for the 3-week delay that fostered Trump to inaccurately claim exoneration (see article below).
(save file and read off-line)
Conflicts With Trump & Barr Assessment
collusion, no obstruction, complete and total exoneration," President Trump said following the release of the
Mueller report - but the trouble is, like many of the things this President
says, that is not accurate. The Mueller Report actually says just the
opposite: "...if we had confidence after a
thorough investigation of the facts that the President clearly did not commit obstruction of justice,
we would so state. Based on the facts and the applicable legal standards, we are unable to reach
that judgment. Accordingly, while this report does not conclude that the President committed a
crime, it also does not exonerate him." Volume 2, page 8
(also referred to as page 220 in the full report under the subsection
"conclusion". [bold emphasis and underlined text added by Mike to make sure the
wing-nuts don't just gloss over the material and ignore the facts.]
Mueller Report Confirms Much of
What Trump Says, Are Lies
"I have nothing to do with Russia. To the best of my knowledge no person that I deal with does," says Trump in February 2017. He repeated that tale hundreds of times since the investigation began, and usually added phrases like "hoax" and "witch hunt" and "fake news". Trouble is, the Donald's quote is on video so it's hardly fake...and it has been documented that 17 Trump campaign officials and advisers had contacts with Russian nationals...over 100 meetings and/or calls took place. [read more at the LA Times]
CNN Business reports today "Sarah Sanders Huckabee admitted she lied to the White House press. Does she have any credibility left?" Quick answer: no. "Robert Mueller's report confirms that Sanders simply made it up when she said that "countless" FBI agents had told her that they were thankful Trump had fired FBI Director James Comey," reports CNN. Sarah's remarkable admission is hardly the 1st time she's been questioned about her efforts to communicate accurately - she's been accused of repeated deceptive practices during her nearly 2-yr gig on Trump's "communication team". But now the truth is revealed in Mueller's report — striking largely because Sanders Huckabee has actually fessed-up to her lies. Hopefully if she holds another press briefing in the future the media will ignore her & not attend.
posted 04.18.19 - updated 04.19.19 and as Mike reads more of the Mueller Report, additional notes will be added.
Mike's Hunch: Income Disparity Will Become A Bigger Issue
One topic that is top-of-mind for me these days is the issue of income equality. More to the point, income disparity. I am confident many of the problems in our world today are a result of the massive gap that separates those surviving on average or below average incomes vs. the mega rich. Keep in mind that I am a devoted capitalist, and have profited from some really good paying jobs over time through periods of stellar growth as well as some of the most challenging economies in modern history. Louise & I survived outrageous mortgage interest rates of the 1980's which were as high as 18% ... and we flourished through the fabulous 1990's growth years that many called the “dot.com boom” which was followed by the “dot.com bust” in the early 2000's. No, I didn't own the highly speculative dot.com stocks (mostly tech-based firms). We did survive the '08 recession and economic meltdown by keeping our heads on straight & staying fully invested in solid, conservative holdings: mutual funds with low fees, municipal bonds, and government agency bonds. (Mike's a particular fan of Treasury Bonds and detests paying interest ... hasn't had a car loan since the 80's and today drives a trusty sorta' rusty 14-yr old pick-up truck.)
Some economists say that a low-level of income or wealth disparity helps fuel growth and investment activity which benefits all of society – low and high earners alike. I'm not convinced; I worry more about social unrest, crime, and political instability. There has to be some connection as well to the overall health of citizens, educational opportunities, and may even lead to cases of political corruption. Wealthy groups of people often spend money to gain political favor among political figures and to appeal to voters of like socioeconomic status.
My interest in conservative economics does not mean I am politically conservative; increasingly I see income disparity growing and becoming a larger issue for all of society. And it's not just me – the media has been filled with stories about the Haves and the Have Nots … heck, even Oprah had a TV show by that same name on her network in 2013. Think of cries for $15/hr minimum wage 'burger flipping jobs and all the talk about the top 1% of wage earners in recent years. The disparity did decline slightly during the '07-'08 recession but today CEO compensation is rapidly increasing while pay to the average worker is not. Michigan's minimum wage is currently $9.45/hr. compared to our pathetic Federal rate of $7.25.
Meanwhile, the rich get richer: CNBC reports the typical CEO at 350 of the largest companies in the USA was paid over $15 million/year … more than 270 times greater than the average worker income at these same companies. Forty-yrs ago that figure (CEO vs. average worker pay) was 30:1.
Among the many things I've gleaned from my readings about vintage participants of the Golden Age of Sport, 1920-40, gives me a better appreciation for the evolution of pay and income in pro sports over the past hundred years. Early professional football players often were paid a set amount per game … typically $100 (which would be worth about $1,437 in today's dollars). At his peak for earnings power Babe Ruth earned $80,000 as a ball player … which is a bundle in that era ('14-'19 Boston & '20-'32 NY) and translates to about $1.25 million today - a far cry from what lesser talented players make these days. I recall reading as a kid that Al Kaline, Hall of Fame outfielder for the Detroit Tigers, refused a salary offer of $100,000 reflecting a nominal increase from his 1970 $95K earnings because Kaline said his performance the previous year did not warranted it.
Contrast those earnings with sports stars today: LeBron James, NBA basketball player, rakes in $85.5 million/yr. Several baseball players recently signed lucrative free agent deals: Mike Trout has a record-breaking $32 million annual contract with the California Angles for the next 12-yrs. (That's $384 million over the life of contract.) And Bryce Harper's new deal from the Philadelphia Phillies will pay him $330 million over 12-years. USA Today recently listed major league baseball salaries team-by-team … currently the Chicago Cubs have the highest average salaries in the major leagues: over $7 million per player. Keep in mind, that's AVERAGE. No wonder it costs north of $100 to see most major sporting events (seat, parking, snack) ... ten times that for a Super Duper Bowl ticket ... same goes for those attending music concerts and Broadway productions. How can the average dude or dudette afford to attend these events?
While salaries earned by athletes and entertainers can dominate the spotlight, their careers are often shorter than many business people. One good example of an over-paid business exec is Gary Cohn, former director of the National Economic Council advising President Trump. Prior to coming to the White House Cohn made much of his fortune on Wall Street ... the final 3-yrs working for Goldman Sachs were particularly profitable. Cohn was paid $21 million in 2014, $22 million in 2015, and $40 million in 2016 for salary, bonuses, stock options and dividends. But wait, there's more! Goldman Sachs also paid Cohn a tidy severance package worth $285 million upon his departure. Final tally, three years: $368 million. While Gary likely took some vacation time during those 3-yrs I don't have the details, so for illustrative purposes, let's just assume he worked really, really, really hard for that much cash and was on-the-job 365 days a year. That translates to $336,073.06 per day. And when we say Gary worked really hard, let's assume he put in 12-grueling hours each day for 3-straight years...or $28,006.09 per hour. He made more in just one hour than it cost 14-yrs ago for my trusty rusty pick-up truck [source]. Pause here for effect and ponder what it might be like to "earn" $28K an hour and then think about Cohn's primary task in the Trump administration: getting the Trump tax cut for corporations and wealthy individuals passed by Congress which had GOP majorities in both houses. A massive tax cut was promoted during Trump's 2016 campaign & advertised as a benefit for the average citizen ... so much for honesty among the GOP who previously claimed to oppose any increase to our national debt. Even the Treasury Dept estimates over 10-years that Trump's "tax cuts" are adding $2.3 trillion to our debt that your grandkids get to pay for [source].
Parade Magazine, the famously shallow Sunday newspaper magazine supplement, recently published their annual “what people earn” feature. It compared the income figures for dozens of average Americans like an aircraft mechanic who makes $80,050 or a travel agent who earns $45,000. The US Bureau of Labor stats says the average worker in America earns just about what the travel agent mentioned above in the Parade article: $46,889 /yr.
This really is a story about greed ... and hypocrisy. Its easy for me to get sidetracked on this topic because there are so many elements which expose the evil side of individuals & groups of people, particularly on the right. Think about how crazy it is for a guy like Gary Cohn who, just a year ago, had pocketed $28,006/hour but now has the gall to stand before the American people and brag, with a straight face, about a plan that cut taxes by an average of $4,000 per household. Tell me again why people keep voting for Republicans.
update 04.23.19 - Disney heiress: CEO Bob Iger’s $65 million salary is ‘insane'
DHS Sec't Nielsen Quits Amid "Security Crisis"
News that Kirstjen Nielsen, Secretary for the Department of Homeland Security has resigned follows a string of failures and disappointments in her job performance ... from both conservatives & progressives. Just this past week Federal officials indicated it could take DHS 2-yrs to reconnect thousands of immigrant children who were separated from their parents & families along the US Southern border [news source]. Two freaking years! Tell me again why former Attorney General Sessions, and Nielsen, and Donald J. Trump are not all in jail over this despicable act of cruelty.
It's understandable if Trump's supporters are often confused or misinformed given the volcano of incompetence exhibited by the Executive Branch on a daily basis. Republicans and FOX News seem to have forgotten about the Donald's Executive Order to hire 5,000 agents "to seal off the Southern border" as they continue to manufacture one crisis after another. I realize it's hard to keep up with all the craziness. But consider this: if it truly is a crisis why has the Commissioner of U.S. Customs and Border Protection added only 118 Border Agents since Trump authorized hiring 5,000 on January 25, 2017? [link to Trump's Exec Order so you can read it for yourself]
That little fun-fact bears repeating once more: Trump approves adding 5,000 Border Agents but his team hired only 118 agents over two years. How does that Executive Order align with other Trump statements like: “Nobody’s ever been more successful than me”?
Trump Economy - Is It Really Better
Than The Path We Were Already On?
No. But I am always amazed when I hear voters say they support their President because of what he's done for the nation's economy. When pressed to offer details, very few can accurately provide any specifics...so I did a little research and have some facts to support my opinions.
So, with these verifiable facts listed above, how are Trump supporters feeling now? Clearly our strong economy has little to do with anything Trump has done ... his tax cuts for the wealthy have only added to our national debt. Oh, you never saw the $4,000 individual tax cut Trump was promising you? When that fact is pointed out many Trump fans pivot and point to his judicial picks as their basis for supporting him. "He's done more for America than any President in history," one wing-nut booster said in Grand Rapids, MI last week while waiting to attend a Trump Rally. Most Democratic & Independent voters agree - yes, Mr. Trump has implemented a great deal of change ... but not in a good way.
They used to be considered "fringe" but somehow have become "mainstream"
It literally makes me ill sometimes when we consider who it is who has
influence on the President or his administration or the base of conservative
voters ... factually these folks tend to get it wrong more often than they
get it right. Just a few years ago, these people rarely were considered
to be influential. Not any more. Guys like Sean Hannity have
become part of the Donald's unofficial cabinet. Consider the following
observations (with links to some really great articles about these people):
Special Prosecutors Report Just The
The way conservative news venues are reporting the completion of Robert Mueller's investigation and report delivered to Attorney General William Barr is both maddening and laughable. Fox News has plastered the ever-present "news alert" banner to their broadcast screen and have aired teaser promos, like: "what is in the Mueller Report? (Tune in to learn...) everything you need to know about the Russia investigation." Right. The fact that the report has been submitted to AG Barr in the Justice Department is about all we know at this point - very little content has been released but that doesn't stop radical right-wing extremists to claim: "see?? No collusion ... it's all been a hoax & waste of time and money."
I agree with the majority of folks who are calling for virtually the entire report to be made public with only a few minimal redactions. Since the scope of the Mueller investigation was quite narrow, any questionable issue that has been uncovered that did not involve Russian interference with the 2016 election has been referred to others in the Justice Department, such as the raid on Trump attorney Michael Cohen's office and residences. Other investigations into WikiLeaks, the Trump Foundation and assorted dirty deals by the President's business empire (falsifying property values, for example) will be further investigated by Congress & other Justice Department entities.
Meanwhile, the Republicans and conservatives have bombarded the public with nonsensical "analysis" that the "witch hunt" is over. Republican/conservative wing nuts have been dwelling on the cost of the investigation ($25 million) while ignoring that the fines already levied against former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort included over $22 million in real estate forfeitures and another $20 million in assorted assets & cash. Mueller’s team indicted or secured guilty pleas from 34 people including six former Trump advisers, 26 Russian nationals, three Russian companies, and a UK-based lawyer. Seven of these people (including five of the six former Trump advisers) have pleaded guilty. Advisor Roger Stone goes to trial in November. And likely there with be a host of additional indictments from other branches of DOJ and the NY state attorney general. This is far from being "over".
New Feature - Mike's version of "point vs. counterpoint"
Back in the 70's there used to be a popular feature on the Sunday evening 60 Minutes program called Point-Counterpoint (writer Shana Alexander & conservative James Kilpatrick) - they'd go toe-to-toe and beat some issue to death but generally with a bit of humor. My version of it will attempt to address some of the whacky things said by people in the news and apply a factual response ... for example: just minutes after announcing his national emergency over border security issues, the Donald hopped on a plane - destination? Florida for some "well deserved" golf!
posted 03.01.19 (While digging up a few of these fun-factoids I'm reminded that Saturday Night Live loved to poke fun at the Point-Counterpoint segment ... viewer discretion advised for those who opt to click the link.)
Iconic WW2 Kissing Sailor Dies at
95 - Inspires Parody
With former Trump attorney & fixer Michael Cohen testifying this week in Washington our master deal maker President has trotted off to Vietnam to solve a decades old North Korean problem that only he alone is able to solve. He's desperate for a "win." Meetings between Trump and N. Korean leader Kim Jong-un broke off when they were unable to reach an agreement much to the relief of virtually the entire world.
To Mr. Trump & all the radical right wing extremists who are delighted that our President has engaged in dialogue ... there's a reason his predecessors did not meet face-to-face with Kim (or his father before him) ... the simple act of such a meeting gives Kim a partial victory & lends legitimize his regime.
The famous pose to the right was captured as the world celebrated the end of WW2. Sadly, the 95-yr old former sailor George Mendonsa passed away a few weeks ago.
Republicans Appeal to Dirty
Tricksters While Progressives & Liberals Advance Real Policy Debate & Serious
While I may not agree with 100% of the details behind some ideas proposed by Democrats & liberals - like the New Green Deal, or Medicare For All, or free college tuition for all ... I do respect the notion that at least these are serious ideas meant for discussion. On the flip side it seems the radical right-wing extremists only care to mix things up with falsehoods, lies, and mischaracterization of facts. A feature story in this morning's USA Today proves this to be true in their introduction to 21-yr old right wing flame-thrower Jacob Wohl of California. Wohl is the brainchild of the debunked rumor that Robert Mueller was having an inappropriate sexual encounter. He was also the guy behind the flawed Kamala Harris birther charge that she was raised in Canada.
The fact that these stories were quickly debunked doesn't seem to bother Wohl - because he knows a certain amount of the fake tales tossed against the social media walls do happen to stick. “The believability stuck at about 15 to 18 percent by my measurement,” Wohl said in an interview shortly afterward, declaring it “not a bad campaign.”
So Wohl's projects have nothing to do with solving problems or advancing serious ideas ... no, it's all about spreading mischief and creating doubt among a group of voters who are known to turn out in future elections and get people like Louie Gohmert, Jim Jordan, Steve King, and Donald Trump into office. Heck, Republicans just re-elected two Congressmen currently under Federal indictment for fraud (Collins (R-NY) & Hunter (R-CA) ... but that's a factual matter of a different sort.
To get back on track, consider USA Today's description of Wohl's research methods which he casually explained that he makes it up: “I’ll literally hear one thing and I’ll flip it 180 degrees.” He makes stuff up & admits it. Makes stuff up ... like other right-wing flamer-throwers Rush Limbaugh, Alex Jones, Sean Hannity and the vast majority of bimbos & news readers on Fox News ... and people don't even care because whatever the whack-a-doodle story is, it supports their personal beliefs. Remember the case of James O'Keefe and his debunked videos in 2009 about ACORN voter registration? It was proven to be false but I suspect there are more than a few radical right-wing extremists who do not know that. They'd be part of the same uninformed rabel who still believe to this day in the discredited Planned Parenthood videos.
Wohl reportedly has 186,000 followers on Twitter who may be the ideal folks to help spread his falsehoods & lies. USA Today says that Wohl stressed that the accuracy of the information he spreads is “not the important part.” All that matters is how far those claims travel, and how many people believe them. In the spread of information, he said, truth is an obsolete concept. “It’s something that can’t be thought about in a linear, binary true-false, facts-non-facts – you can’t do that anymore,” Wohl said.
Tell me again why it is that you're still supporting Republicans.
update 02.27.19 - USA Today reports that Twitter has permanently suspended Wohl's accounts. Good move ... now we need to work on removing thousands of similar flame-throwing accounts and stop allowing this sort of "fake news" from being posted in the 1st place!
The list of
keeps growing & growing
Those with challenged memories may need a bit of prompting to recall the immigration debacle of 2014. Republicans who controlled Congress refused to address immigration issues so President Obama took action to deal with the estimated 800,000 residents who were brought to America as children by their parents. DACA - Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals. This action on DACA stemmed from a multi-departmental policy memorandum issued by Homeland Security and the US Customs & Border Protection, US Citizenship & Immigration Service, and ICE - US Immigration & Customs Enforcement ... the very agencies that President Trump loves to cite when attempting to justify his personal biases.
If your memory needs further factual refreshing read this. Radical right-wing extremists cried foul and went to the courts to block it. The trouble is Congress couldn't defund DACA since the program is almost entirely funded by its own application fees rather than congressional appropriations.
So now your two-faced President Trump who said he was the world's best negotiator - but could not get Congress to agree to his threats ... which lead to the nation's longest "government shutdown" in history. And now he's the one who's guilty of subverting Congressional authority by funding his manufactured "national emergency" to build the border wall that Mexico was s'posed to pay for ... he will likely fail as several law suits have already been filed to block this ridiculous hypocrisy.
posted on Presidents Day 02.18.19
If the clown face fits, wear it,
Thursday I caught Rush Limbaugh's opening radio segment while walking on treadmill and was not the least bit surprised when he spent essentially the entire 1st hour conflating & twisting a news report he obviously did not read, titled: "You may be disappointed by the Mueller report," by Ken Dilanian, NBC national security reporter. Limbaugh took the headline, inserted his own harebrained "deep state" interpretation and twisted facts as usual to prove there has been "no collusion". Go ahead and read the transcript of his show if you question the accuracy of my comment. You'll find on that page his staff inserted a photoshopped picture of John Brennan, the nation's former CIA Director with a clown nose ... so I thought I'd turn the tables and see how Rush looked with the same disrespectful spin.
"It's been a conspiracy on the left to discredit Trump and remove him from office," El Rush Bo ranted. Well, yes, most Americans do wish to remove Trump from office - but there is no "conspiracy". Most Americans are disgusted over the many things Trump has said and done prior to the election and since he's been in office. Americans want Trump out of office for cause ... not just because we don't like the guy ... we don't like what he is doing!
Since you read the article linked above you know the point of Dilanian's NBC News piece was to explain the concern many of us have that the Trump administration will attempt to hide the findings of whatever report that the special prosecutor's investigation produces. There is no road map that defines how the report is to be released; there is no definition of what details will be shared with the public. Fortunately there is proposed bipartisan legislation from Senators Chuck Grassley (R-IA) and Richard Blumenthal (D-CT) that is designed to clarify these issues and ensure the findings of the investigation are fully communicated to the American people. It's a shame you didn't actually read the story you were reporting, Rush.
Several Movements Brewing - Several
Paths Toward Recovery
Whether it is the result of assorted investigations, or direct legal action I say it's time to take the "impeach Trump" movement seriously. Nearly 8 million Americans have signed the online petition to begin proceedings.
The "Need To Impeach" organization lists 10 reasons why Congress needs to take action - and it's not just a list - they offer detailed arguments for each of the following: 1) obstructing justice, 2) profiting from Presidency, 3) collusion/conspiracy (facts not yet released but mounting), 4) advocating political & police violence, 5) abuse of power, 6) reckless conduct, 7) persecuting political opponents; 8) attacking the free press, 9) violating immigrants' right to due process, and 10) violating campaign finance laws. You too can read more about each of these charges to see if you agree with the case "Need To Impeach" is making. That process may take too long or be too destructive to our country - the next election may be our only recourse. Already many Democrats & Independents have announced their candidacy to run for President and all of 'em so far have expressed a common goal: "get this guy out before he destroys this great country!"
My track record predicting such things this early in a political race is not good. Before the 2008 election my early pick was former New Mexico Governor Bill Richardson. Boy, did he have experience ... US Congressman, former UN Ambassador, former Energy Secretary ... but after the 2008 election he became Commerce Secretary - not President. In just about every election cycle the past two decades I've wanted to see Al Gore resurface, especially given the reality that W stole the 2000 contest.
So I'm a bit worried about jinxing Amy Klobuchar, Democratic Senator from MN but I think she's a mighty appealing candidate for 2020. She is bright, focused, reasonable, highly electable (look at her record) and she gets things done. Last night she was a guest on the Rachel Maddow Show ... an interview worth watching. Share it with a friend!
Trump's Idea of "Draining The Swamp" Translates to Favors for Gambling Pals
When President Trump awarded Dr. Miriam Adelson with the Medal of Freedom in November of 2018 I didn't give it much thought. I figured he was doing the right-wing version of "political correctness" by recognizing the $113 million campaign contributions she and gambling magnet hubby Sheldon had poured into 2018 GOP mid-term races ... or the $5 million they contributed to Trump's inauguration ceremonies or the $20 million contributed by the Adelsons to Trump's 2016 campaign. Heck, what's a few million here or there? But many of us had one of those "Ah-Ha moments" when news surfaced about the Patriot Legal Defense Fund Trust created to help pay legal fees for Trump associates who are being prosecuted for their roles in the 2016 election and Trump's connections with Russia. The Adelsons contributed mightily to this fund, too; Politico reports the Adelsons contributed $500,000 [source]. There must be a lot more to this connection, I thought. Fortunately some of the nation's finest journalists who love to dig deeper for the truth thought it was a bit fishy, too.
Given the volume of negative news the Trump administration creates on a daily basis it was easy to forget this little bit of curious news. I got sidetracked with mid-term elections and other news like the Donald's ill-fated government shutdown (which cost Americans $11 billion for no good reason). But then this past week at a hearing with the House Judiciary Committee questions for acting Attorney General Matthew Whitaker caused the topic to re-surface - thanks to Rep. Jamie Raskin (D-MD). The House committee was trying to find out more about Whitaker's involvement with DOJ special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation and other matters. Raskin asked Whitaker about his position as executive director of a non-profit organization: Foundation For Accountability & Civic Trust which paid Whitaker $1,200,000 in salary from October 2014 to September 2017; the funds reportedly came from a single donor ... Sheldon Adelson. [See & hear the entire Q&A between Raskin & Whitaker....on YouTube video.]
Raskin was connecting the dots that appear to lead from Adelson to Whitaker to a surprise shift in a recent DOJ’s legal opinion during the government shutdown which benefits Adelson's vast gambling empire. Shelton is CEO of Las Vegas Sands, Venetian Macao Limited, Marina Bay Sands in Singapore and other gambling related ventures ... so it's hardly a shock that Sheldon & Miriam have lobbied against online betting & gambling at the state and federal levels. The recent DOJ opinion reverses the Obama/Holder-era position that the Wire Act applied only to sports gambling, so a broader interpretation benefits foes of online gambling. (BTW...closer to our home: news of the DOJ opinion appears to have contributed to scuttling chances of reopening the Sports Creek Raceway - harness racing facility in Swartz Creek, MI.)
Read more about these shady connections and America's new version of Trump's Swamp:
Trump's Threats in State of the Union
Address Should Concern All Americans
As predicted below the State of the Union address offered little other than more evidence of the dangers Donald Trump represents. The address began with Trump showboating, wonky tie & all, as he cutoff Nancy Pelosi's introduction of the President, which is customary for the Speaker of the House to do. Big & small things prove how this character is unfit to hold the highest elected office on planet Earth.
If you missed the address the NY Times has a transcript of the lengthy speech and it's annotated by Washington journalists to provide a little a bit of direction for those seeking to fact-check the President. Example: Trump says in his speech: "We have created 5.3 million new jobs" - Bureau of Labor data shows 4.9 million jobs have been created during the Donald's term. Example #2: "5 million Americans have been lifted off food stamps" - false. the number is 3.5 million. #3: "Now is the time for bipartisan action," says Trump, who went on for nearly 15 minutes trashing Democrats previous response to the wall that he originally said Mexico was going to pay for...and, offered no compromises on the right. The examples reflect small mistakes, but even when he's corrected he keeps misstating the facts, almost as if it's on purpose. So I keep thinking: why exaggerate the truth? Trump does it all the time...see "lies" below.
Little was mentioned about Americans paying for the tariffs Trump has imposed...Ford Motor Co. said last week the steel tariffs cut into their profits by $750 million and that was just for a partial year...they also said the tariff on steel reduced bonuses by $750 for each of their hourly employees. Not nice. Today the Wall Street Journal reports on the impact this administration is having on small farms throughout America: "Farm Belt Bankruptcies Are Soaring" - adding: "trade disputes over agriculture add pain to low commodity prices that have been grinding down American farmers for years." Soybean farmers in particular have been hammered by Trump's tariffs. Another self-inflicted wound.
Most thinking and caring people cringed when Trump threatened: "If there is going to be peace and legislation, there cannot be war and investigation." So much for the call for unity. Shallow, hollow, meaningless words that his pathetic base eats up like red-meat. These "ridiculous partisan investigations" as Trump refers to it have indicted or gotten guilty pleas from 34 people and three companies so far, with the latest being longtime Trump adviser Roger Stone. That's ridiculous? Thanks to Justice Department Special counsel Robert Mueller’s team, as well as several DOJ districts (NY & DC in particular) the truth is slowly emerging that proves the Trump campaign and his early administration have lied repeatedly. So it's noteworthy now with Democrats in control of the House - the WH is particularly sensitive to continued investigations by Congress as part of their oversight responsibility and have hired dozens of attorneys to fight and resist the pending House investigations. Yep...that's how we spell unity these days.
One hour, 22 minutes, 25 seconds ... the third longest address in history. The end could not come soon enough for many of us especially at the conclusion where his speech writers went over the top as Trump tried to reach his audience "from the rocky shores of Maine and the volcanic peaks of Hawaii." Cue the noble sounding music. It's largely BS...last year the President called for the nation to “set aside our differences, to seek out common ground, and to summon the unity we need to deliver for the people we were elected to serve” ... how did that work out in 2018? The vast majority of Americans would agree: not well.
State Of The Union Will Offer
Little "New" Information
Only time will tell if my hunch is accurate, but I doubt we'll hear anything substantially new in the State Of The Union address this evening. I say that because it seems in public comments the President has made recently, that he's been testing portions of his speech for weeks now. The Donald was in rare form Sunday (2/3/19) on CBS's Face The Nation. If you caught only a portion of the interview, or saw news reports about portions of Trump's crazy comments, you really owe it to yourself to read the transcript. In typical Trump fashion his comments are disjointed as he speaks in partial sentences and often misstating facts & reality ... throughout the entire 20+ minute interview. Read it. You can also watch it though I admit, it's painful to view. There may be a dinky handful of his supporters who loved it...there are good reasons why fewer than 32% of Americans support the guy.
It drives me crazy when I hear radical right-wing extremists telling me what Democrats, progressives, or liberal folks think on any given issue ... and they know it drives us crazy, Rush Limbaugh often uses the technique and justifies his goal is to "annoy the left". The Donald uses the same playbook - restating semi-accurately a portion of any given topic but then adding assumptions that are not true. Example, in describing House Speaker Nancy Pelosi's positions on the recent government shutdown, the President says: "She knows that we need border security ... she wants open borders. She doesn't mind human trafficking ..." Oh really? Pelosi favors open borders and supports human-trafficking? CBS's Margaret Brennan reminded Trump that Pelosi has offered over a billion dollars for border security in the recent negotiations, and Trump cuts her off: "Excuse me? .... she's costing the country hundreds of billions of dollars because what's happening is when you have a porous border, and when you have drugs pouring in, and when you have people dying all over the country because of people like Nancy Pelosi who don't want to give proper border security..." No, the poor grammar and incomplete sentences are not my doing - its pure Donald. "I'm like really smart," he says. And no, if you read the transcript as I suggested you'd stop saying things like: "he's really smart." He's not. What he is ... is dangerous and Congress needs to take action that limits the amount of destruction he's able to do to our country. (See Impeachment movement above.)
"If you look at Afghanistan we're going in very soon we'll be going into our 19th year spending 50 billion dollars a year," Mr. Trump says. A few sentences later the figure goes up to $51 billion. Neither number is accurate ... though I do agree with the notion that the US does spend too much money on the conflicts in Afghanistan and we've sacrificed far too many lives on this battle ... the actual number is $45 billion [source].
He doesn't value his intelligence teams - FBI, CIA, NSA...or the Defense Intelligence Agency, or the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency. "I will say this: my intelligence people, if they said in fact that Iran is a wonderful kindergarten, I disagree with them 100 percent," says Trump. The trouble with that simplistic response is his intelligence team never said that. Trump said they were misquoted ... but Mr. President, we have video of what your intelligence team said at their Congressional testimony ... it is not fake news ... though we realize your base will not bother to check it out.
Some of the other things I expect Trump will repeat tonight:
The list could go on, and on ... but you get my drift. There is very little that Trump says that is accurate, and when you watch his address tonight I hope your critical ear is ready to push back and not accept his bluster.
Why is the public paying legal fees
Thankfully, I am not the only one who questions government expenditures incurred by radical right-wing extremists. Legal bills in the "Flint Water Crisis" paid by the state & city of Flint has already exceeded $34.5 million which has become a bit of an outrage here in the Great Lakes State.
In a similar situation involving right-wing legal troubles in the fine state of Kentucky I read this morning that KY residents are being asked to pay over $222,000 in legal fees for Kim Davis the Rowan County Clerk who did not want to issue same sex marriage licenses ... even though there was a Federal Court order directing her to do so. Davis, shown above, became a celebrity for political pundits like Mike Huckabee who made sure he did not miss a national photo-op when Davis was released from county jail for defying the law.
I'm more familiar with the details of the Michigan case since I live just 17-miles South of Flint - the contaminated water issue has been front page news, perhaps the story of the century around these parts. It was a man-made crisis caused by the Republican administration, who, at the time were attempting to save money on local water service for the citizens of Flint. The Republican state legislature & GOP Governor, Rick Snyder, rammed legislation thru Lansing that flipped a voter referendum rejecting Snyder's plans for "Emergency Managers" to take operational control of local governments in bankrupt cities like Detroit, Flint, & Benton Harbor. The GOP ignored with will of the people...so why are they not paying their own legal fees out of their own pockets? I do not understand why we allow these radical right-wing Republican extremists to get away with this.
posted by Mike 01.31.19
Eric Trump speaking with Sean Hannity on Fox News (yesterday 01.29.19): “They’ve become so radicalized and it’s not going to work. They’ve become crazy. The message doesn’t even make sense anymore. It’s almost an anti-American message.” If you hadn't guessed, the "they" in Eric's remarks are Democrats, and Hannity is loving it as he too piles-on to the notion that our nation's problems are caused by "radical" Democrats, liberals & progressives. These two whack-a-mole characters went on to discuss our "state of the union" as if the Donald has been doing great things that drive a healthy economy and a safer, more secure world. Is there anyone on a regularly scheduled TV program who is more detached from reality than Sean Hannity? (Ok, Laura Ingraham could be in contention for that title.)
As discussed in previous articles below (and archives of Mike's famous Trump bashing articles listed in the right-hand column) most anything that is going well these days in the world and in the USA has nothing to do with Trump policies. The improving economy & our nation's employment began turning around 10-years ago when Barack Obama and Democrats were busy cleaning up the messes created by Republicans from 2001-2008 (which to summarize if you've already forgotten, included: two unfunded wars, unfunded tax cuts, unfunded Medicare drug benefits, a cratered economy often compared to the Great Depression). There are millions of Americans who have still not recovered from the last Republican mess ... entire communities that will never be the same. Need examples? See USA Today article "10 years later, these 28 U.S. cities never recovered from the Great Recession". Trump can not take credit for the few glimmers of positive news that Americans enjoy, and certainly has done very little good on any front. The current string of 98 consecutive months of job growth dates back to 2010. However, the past year Wall Street has been flat, as previously discussed, due in large part to the volatility & uncertainty caused by Trump's unfunded tax cuts, destructive tariffs and general instability of his domestic & global policies. For example: Trump's gov't shutdown cost America some $11 BILLION says the Congressional Budget Office ... for what? Trump is not getting the funding he wants for his border-wall ... and Republicans have tanked in the polls. No, Eric, (and no, Sean) the problems we face in this country are not the fault of Democrats.
As seen on TV...
Found myself humming-along to the humdrum tune promoting Apple's latest "smart device". Have you seen it?
“Come Along” by Cosmo Sheldrake. Commercial made for Apple by
ad agency TBWA\Chiat\Day of Los Angles. Production in Czech Republic (because, goodness knows Americans are not capable of these stunts & production).
too can be smarter than the average Fox News "Journalist"
Rather than relying on your Facebook or Twitter news feeds as your primary information destination, consider reading the actual source material which often is the basis for blockbuster news stories on any given day. It may be a Congressional report or a report from the Justice Department or other gov't agency. For example, when Roger Stone was arrested (Friday 01.25.19) most informed citizens learned about the FBI raid on Stone's home in Florida from some "news organization" on radio or TV. And we know some news outlets are highly influenced by politics like Fox News. Or perhaps it was a President's Tweet like one the Donald issued Friday which asked in typical Trumpian accusatory manner: "Who alerted CNN to be there?" (The answer, Mr. President is simple: most news organizations & even Roger Stone himself have stated that they expected Stone was about to be indicted. CNN reporters, anticipating the same outcome, had Stone's residence on "stake-out".)
Let me ask you: how many Fox News talking heads do you think actually read the Stone Indictment? Betcha' it's barely a fraction. So this is your chance to be as informed, likely better, by reading it for yourself. It's 23-pgs long, double-spaced. In the short but amazingly detailed indictment you can see for yourself what sort of information the Special Prosecutor's Office has uncovered about Stone's activities prior to the election including references to emails Stone sent and received regarding the data & information theft and WikiLeaks distribution of private Clinton campaign documents. For example, pgs 9 & 10 and beyond outline in detail what is known about some of the Stone's lies in his testimony with the US House investigation. Lying to Congress is a felony. Beginning on page 17 the indictment offers details about Stones obstruction of justice & witness tampering. If you find it easier to comprehend details presented in an executive summary or chart, see pgs 22 & 23 for a complete list of the seven counts that Stone is charged with.
[For your reading pleasure the Stone indictment is linked above/right in a .pdf format; since it is written in legalese it may help navigation thru the report & prove to be helpful to know the following: Person 1 = Jerome Corsi; Person 2 = Randy Credico; Organization 1 = WikiLeaks; Head of Org 1 = Julian Assange; High-ranking Trump Campaign Official = Steve Bannon; SSI = US Senate Select Committee on Intelligence; HPSCI = House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence.]
You may also find it liberating to read the so-called "Steele Dossier" - the opposition research report that both Republicans & Democrats had an interest in prior to the 2016 election...and other documents listed to the left - my little "library" for folks who want to be more informed than Fox News.
Caves as Americans Blame Him for Gov't Shut Down
A defeated, ashen Donald Trump took to a microphone in the Rose Garden Friday to announce his grand bargain: [roll-film & watch] the 35-day gov't shut down is temporary over and thankfully, no funding for his beloved, divisive border wall. Not yet anyway. Republicans, who are losing favor with the voting public, urged the President to end the hardship and negativity. Roughly 800,000 Federal employees will be paid sometime next week after being forced to work for free since before Christmas. Likely a similar number of contractors and people who work in jobs that support Federal employees will be left holding the bag.
And just like last year at the "Helsinki Summit" with his boss: Vladimir Putin, the Donald appeared sullen & incompetent ... shoulders hunched. After his brief, nearly incoherent remarks last Friday, the Donald dashed back inside without taking any questions from reporters as had been promised by WH Communications staff. The reprieve will last just 3-weeks giving law makers a chance to negotiate a budget and immigration reform. Three weeks for the Donald to hear viscous critique on Rush Limbaugh & Fox News & other conservatives talking-head venues he frequents during his "Executive Time" which makes up some 60% of a typical day. Something tells me this budget/border wall fight is not "over" and settled.
In mid-December Congress thought they had a budget bill all set to avoid a gov't shut-down before the holidays until the Donald got spanked by Limbaugh, Hannity, Ann Coulter & Laura Ingraham causing Trump to back-peddle and renege. So before the new deadline of Feb 15th be ready for similar full-court pressure by the radical right-wing conservatives who thrive on spreading fear and ignoring facts they disagree with ... I won't be surprised to hear more threats by the President to fund his border wall thru Executive Order claiming its a national security issue, though Republican leadership is urging the President to avoid that path. Democrats should be proud the way they held firm in this latest episode of reality-TV-show politics. Unless Republicans in Congress wish to experience another humiliating defeat they should negotiate a settlement with Nancy Pelosi & Chuck Schumer and Democrats that will over-ride a Presidential veto. The vast majority of Americans ... including progressives, independents & Democrats will continue to be winners as they fight the Donald's bogus, exaggerated national security claims in court ... they must block the border wall that DJT said Mexico was going to pay for. Mexico won't be paying for it ... just like Trump's tariffs the cost will be shouldered by Americans. It seems as if a day rarely passed since 2015 when he launched his campaign, that candidate Trump promised all sorts of crazy stuff. Yes, changes are warranted in our immigration laws and Democrats will be reasonable ... they have a lot of work to do in the next 15 days - I'd like to see Congress in session full-time to get this done & avoid another self-inflicted wound.
GOP Can't Erase Rant "I am proud to shut down the government"
Republicans are losing the budget battle and soon, they'll be losing control of the WH and the Senate. Bloomberg News headline from Wed (01.23.19) says it all: "Key 2020 Voters Will Remember the Shutdown." And remember who caused it and who made it drag-on as long as it has!
The Bloomberg article goes on to say "even though Americans have short memories, those who were most affected may be highly energized assets for Democrats."
The Donald said on December 11th, 2018 when Congressional leaders visited the WH..."I am proud to shut down the government". And for those wing nuts who think I'm cherry-picking favorable quotes to support my opinion, turn off Fox News for 20 seconds and read the transcript for yourself. "I will take the mantle. I will be the one to shut it down. I’m not going to blame you for it," Trump said to Chuck Schumer & Nancy Pelosi...and no, you can't claim it's "fake news"...the mindless rant by the Donald was captured on video and will likely be used in campaign commercial spots from coast to coast in the next election. That's assuming the Donald survives that long.
spine, Republicans...Vote to End Shutdown & Override Trump's Veto
The problems surrounding the gov't "shutdown" are caused 100% by Donald Trump. In December the Senate voted overwhelmingly for the Continuing Resolution to fund the gov't but Paul Ryan wouldn't bring the bill up in the House. Now we have a new Congress so Mitch McConnell needs to stop the obstruction and allow the Senate to debate & pass the same or similar bill; and since Speaker Pelosi's House has already passed short-term funding measures, the gov't shutdown would be over for the time being...assuming two/thirds of the Senate votes affirmatively to override Trump's vow to veto any bill that does not fund the wall that he claimed Mexico would pay for. The notion is laughable that the President is "negotiating" by advocating that Congress approve $5.7 billion funding for a border wall which is more cash than his own homeland security team had requested for the current fiscal year. The "bargaining chips" the Donald is floating (limited DACA and TPS protection) are ridiculous since both of those problems were caused by Trump himself. I'll admit it - I'm surprised the Donald didn't include a proposal to reunite the children his homeland security staff separated from the parents. As I said in the 1st sentence above: 100% of the problems the nation faces in regards to this border wall shutdown are created by Donald J. Trump.
The media is wrong to advance the notion that somehow Democrats and those who oppose Trump need to "come half-way" in these discussions to solve the problem created by one person: Donald Trump. The majority of Americans do not support the President of his crazy plan...and even if Kirstjen Nielsen, Homeland Security Sec't, had the $5.7 billion likely her department wouldn't get around to spending it anytime soon. Heck, they've not spent the cash they got in 2018; the only border wall activity last year involved repairs & maintenance to existing border walls & fencing. Before any construction can begin the Federal government needs to obtain clear title to the land - and that's a process that could be tied-up in litigation for years. There are already numerous cases pending where land owners are fighting the gov't case for eminent domain.
Meanwhile, Federal employees who are being forced to work with no pay ought to have their grievances expedited thru the courts...if Republicans in Congress are unwilling to bring this despicable chapter to an end, America needs the 3rd branch of gov't to hold Trump accountable and end the shutdown. Fewer than 37% of American voters support the wacky politics of Trump.
C'mon, Mueller Investigation! The nation needs to see your completed report.
posted on 01.21.19 the day we celebrate the life & contributions of Dr. Martin Luther King
Putin's Hold On Our President - "Blackmail In A Bottle"
The New York Times reported Sunday (01.14.19) that "Trump Discusses Pulling US From NATO" based on interviews with senior aides over new concerns about Russia's grip on Donald Trump. Maddow discussed the impact of General Jim Mattis leaving the Defense Department and the mystery behind Trump seizing the only US record of the July 2018 talks between Trump & Putin in Helsinki. The only logical assumption analysts say is that the Donald is beholden to Putin for some reason - not clear why, but hopefully details will trickle out. Maybe the Russians have better records of the meetings...which MSNBC's Rachel Maddow says: it's like Trump faces "blackmail in a bottle". Trump told Fox News that investigators have "found absolutely nothing" which is hardly a denial to Jeanine Pirro's question: "have you ever worked for Russia, Mr. President?” So the list of Trump's overly-friendly acts & comments regarding Russia continues to grow...it's actually been going on for over 30-yrs.
President Trump's House of Carbs
College football national champs from Clemson visited the WH the other day to celebrate their victory over Alabama, and the President treated the players to an assortment of fast-food take-out...which he says he's personally going to pay for. Well, isn't he generous?
Seriously ... under the portrait of Abraham Lincoln the Donald showed off his feast fit for a (junk food) king ... they served pizza and packaged selections from McDonald’s, Wendy’s and Burger King. Apparently the Donald thinks the critique over the menu selection is about money rather than the reality that his gov't shutdown has furloughed the staff who normally would have handled the catering for the event. Some visitors expressed disappointment; "I thought the WH was 'sposed to be 'fancy'..." read one Tweet. Others wondered why the President didn't have his staff simply cater the buffet from Trump's International Hotel next door and served something more appropriate given the venue ... like a healthier selection of food. (Clemson actually has a dietary coach ... an "executive performance chef" ... on staff to ensure players do not consume a steady diet of the food groups Trump served.)
posted 01.16.19 ~ Source Links: CNBC
|Sunday Morning Futures with Maria Bartiromo
Just watched Congressman Jim Himes (D-CT) thoroughly trash & dispel Maria Bartiromo's arguments about the FBI investigations of Donald Trump on her Sunday morning news program today. It was classic & rich. Following a love-fest interview with newly elected Tennessee Senator Marsha Blackburn (R-TN) Bartiromo sought to tackle meatier subjects with Congressman Himes. Maria tried to continue advancing the destructive Republican strategy of disparaging the FBI and casting doubt on our nation's justice department and legal system (the "no collusion" mime the Donald loves to repeat a few thousand times). As soon as Himes proved to be better informed with the facts and embarrassed Bartiromo quickly closed-out the Himes interview so that she could move on to a more conservative-friendly guest: Jim Jordan, R-OH. Since Maria seems to love asking redundant questions of her guests (as she did 3 times with Himes) I'm anxious to see if she'll ask Jordan about the ongoing investigation into sexual assault at OSU while he was a wrestling coach. Well done Congressman Himes! (The Himes interview began just after the 17-minute mark on her program - see YouTube link above to witness it for yourself.)
Supporters & Fox News Typically Ignore Facts
As much as the Donald likes to control the daily news cycle, especially when most of the news that involves him & his administration is negative, the real problem lies with the American voter. Few voters who support the right bother to read actual news or information, relying more on Fox News to tell them what they want to hear. Trump loves to refer to most all non-Fox news venues as "fake" which is really rather pathetic.
Just wondering...how many right-wing voters question how or why so many people in his administration from his inauguration until now worked previously at Fox News or some other conservative venue? Does it not strike conservative voters as odd? Do they really think these people are qualified to take on these jobs? I don't. Let's consider a few of 'em: Communications Director Bill Shine was President of Fox News before being forced to resign amid allegations of sexual misconduct...he may know the conservative news business but what does he know about managing the WH communications team? At least former Fox News commentator John Bolton had some previous high-level gov't service experience but he's the rare exception (for those who are not informed, Bolton is now Trump's National Security adviser - the position vacated by convicted felon Michael Flynn, Trump's 1st head of his NSA). Lacking any experience in government service is our acting United Nations Ambassador Heather Nauert. Communications director Mercedes Schlapp also worked previously at Fox News and is a political animal with minimal experience. There's also Fox News legal pundit Joseph diGenova who joined the WH legal team to defend Trump of his assorted campaign violations and other legal issues of his own making. Treasury Dept. official Tony Sayegh and former deputy national security adviser K.T. McFarland both worked for Fox, as did former US Senator Scott Brown who is now our Ambassador to New Zealand. Former communications director Anthony Scaramucci lasted just 10-days before returning to Fox Business Network. Former chief strategist Steve Bannon was Chairman of Breitbart News. Former CNBC analyst Larry Kudlow is now the Donald's director of National Economic Council...at least Larry had some experience in the Reagan admin.
Besides those on team Trump who came from cable "news" venues there is little regard for truth or honesty among this bunch. Astute voters and reasonable Americans regularly consume news from a variety of sources and also make a habit of reading actual reports and documents that much of the "news" is based upon. If you are one of the minimally informed American voters I suggest you do yourself a favor today and visit the Annenberg Public Policy Center's website: FactCheck.Org. (For those who think this is another liberal think tank, think again...the Annenberg center was funded by conservative Republican Walter Annenberg who made some of his fortune in print & electronic media - Philadelphia Inquirer, TV Guide & Seventeen magazine - among his many holdings). Annenberg was the US Ambassador to Great Britain in the '70's under Presidents Nixon & Ford. Please folks, stop relying on your "news feed headlines" on your Smart Phone to keep you informed...that's like reading CliffsNotes study guides before your final exam (and never bothering to read your textbooks). No, it's not enough, Sparky.
47% of Americans blame Trump for Gov't Shutdown
Just 47% of Americans polled by Reuter/Ipsos say Donald Trump is responsible for the government "shutdown" ... even though we have the Donald recorded on video in advance of the shutdown saying that he alone welcomes the shutdown if he doesn't get funding for his border wall...you know the one that Mexico is going to pay for. 47% believe that to be true...and Trump said in advance that he alone would cause that to happen if Democrats in Congress did not cave to his threat. WHY DON'T 100% of poll respondents blame Trump??? Trump made the threat, Democrats opted to remain steadfastly opposed to the "wall" and even though Republicans control the House, the Senate, and the White House...they can't get an appropriations bill passed. And the result is Democrats are blamed with being obstructionists???
No. Obstruction is when Mitch McConnell refuses to schedule hearing and a vote on President Obama's Supreme Court nominee, Merrick Garland nearly a year before the 2016 election. "Let the voters decide," Mitch said, ignoring that voters already HAD decided when they voted TWICE for Barack Obama.
No, this is not going to end well and I hope Democrats continue to maintain this position. If there is no budget appropriations bill, blame those who are causing this: Trump and the Republicans. For those of who wish to see gov't function, stop voting for the people who advocate hate, and advocate real obstruction. Stop voting Republican. If you disagree with me, watch the video clip (again) posted above.
CNN's Don Lemon dug up the Fox News interview from 2013 when the Donald responded to a question about who should bear the brunt of responsibility for a gov't shutdown: “Well, if you say who gets fired, it always has to be the top. I mean, problems start from the top and they have to get solved from the top. And the president’s the leader. And he’s got to get everybody in a room. And he’s got to lead,” said Donald Trump calling for President Obama to be "fired". Pathetic.
|America's Proclivity For Excess
Spotted a great news article the other day in USA Today that was not overtly political and I wanted to share it. But first, now that the mid-term elections are past us I'm trying to remain positive & only think of the Donald as our most recent "past-president" ... so I've archived my previous year's worth of factual Trump bashing (see links to right).
The USA Today article that caught my eye has to do with a fellow minimalist - someone who values simplicity in her life and is sharing ideas with the world thru subtle action. Meet Julia Mooney a "New Jersey teacher [who] wears same dress for 100 days to promote sustainable fashion" ... the 34-year-old art teacher "has vowed to wear the dress every day she teaches for the first 100 days of the school year. Mooney is trying to raise awareness of what she calls a growing “culture of excess” in America that has filled our closets to overflowing with throwaway garments."
Mooney says she hoped to spark discussion among her students, friends and co-workers "about the peer pressure children face to buy the latest fashions and the sustainability of their “consume, consume, consume” habits. She has found herself at the center of a wider national conversation around what is known as sustainable fashion."
Good for her! Louise & I try to be frugal in so many ways too ... like buying high quality goods that are made to last. Decades ago a Royal Oak fashion shop referred to me as "the sweater guy" because their shop was my go-to place for holiday gifts for Louise. The sweaters I got her are all handmade from natural fibers and still are part of her seasonal wardrobe rotation. The initial investment may have been significant but given how long these gorgeous sweaters have lasted they're actually inexpensive in the long run. Our disposable society just can't relate. Sad. Anyhow...it's a cute story; I hope you click the links above and read it for yourself.
|Updated Mar. 2019
In 787 days, President Trump has made 9,179 false or misleading claims
Uninformed American voters are the reason the world has to put up with Trump
Major independent news analysts have concluded President Trump averages more than 11 misstatements or mangled truths every day. And to make matters worse, Trump often repeats the same false statements hundreds of times. Said another way: The Donald lies on average, ELEVEN times daily. Notice how the graph depicts how Trump's daily misstatements and lies are increasing? So far the most outrageous single day in his brief term of office was November 5th (2018) when Donald Trump lied 139 times in a single day. How can his base...roughly 32% of American voters, still support this lying disruptive egotistical jerk? I realize his supporters will not bother to read the details at the link below, but it may be handy to bookmark the article below and be prepared to counter-punch your weird & argumentative Uncle Harry or your equally mindless Aunt Jane with something they rarely are confronted with: FACTS.
Originally posted by Mike on 11.08.17, updated March 28, 2019
voice of reason & sanity
And it is good seeing you, Mr. President! One day recently I sat down for lunch, flipped on the tube to see what in the world is going on...and couldn't believe my lucky stars that Barack Obama was delivering a speech at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign. I'm familiar with the tradition that former Presidents maintain a low-profile following their service to the country...as Mr. Obama has been largely silent the past year-and-a-half. But given the crazy stuff that the Donald has done and said since moving into the White House the majority of Americans - Democrats, Independents, and Republicans largely welcomed Mr. Obama's entry back to our political scene as mid-term elections loom. (Okay, I realize some 39% of Americans representing the shrinking GOP base, was probably not interested...preferring to wallow in the angry hateful white supremacist inspired nonsense that is the Trump presidency.) Unlike 2016 and most all mid-term elections during my lifetime, America needs voters to turn out and do their civic duty: vote! This is no time to take a pass or to demonstrate your reluctance to get involved and participate.
The speech was nearly half over...but I pressed "record" on the DVR to preserve what I could for Louise (who was off on a nature hike with a good friend). Besides, I've come to learn that vital public events like this are captured digitally and shared with the world via the internet...that way, Louise & I could watch what we missed on the internet later...and then replay the 2nd half on the large screen. So I had not heard the President's opening line about flying into Urbana, IL and enjoying the sight of corn fields below as his plane descended & landed. But sure am glad I caught it on the re-run. If you missed the speech, I suggest you watch it or read it (or both) and then pass it on for others to experience - there are 2 handy links below...while you're at it, why not share 'em with your representatives in Washington? You'll be glad you did.
If you were watching the news, you noticed. Presidents Putin and Trump emerged from their 2-hour "secret summit" and enter the public press conference sporting dramatically different expressions and body language. As you can see from my collection of news photos that it looks as if the Donald has been spanked, much of the bluster and arrogance beaten out of him. Putin was smiling, standing tall & proud while Mr. Trump, shoulders slouched, eyes puffy, expression stoic, shows signs he's been defeated in their 2-hours of private "talks". He seemed to know that he dare not show any disrespect to President Putin...and no one has any evidence that this is not true. There was no one other than an interpreter present in these meetings who can testify as to the topics or discussion that transpired, though many suspect the Russians actually recorded the event. The media, and general public were outraged the way Trump bashed NATO the previous weekend, and deferred to Putin at every turn at their "secret summit". Even a handful of Republicans expressed concern - but already their voices have gone silent.
And, the chances are most folks in America did not notice or pay attention. The majority of Americans were not watching. Only a fraction of our adult population knows what the heck is going on - they have tuned-out and gradually have stopped following the news. Nearly 40% of registered voters skipped the 2016 election, and 66 percent of Facebook users get news there, according to a recent Pew Research study. Seriously, they get their news from social media??? Think about that. If you fall into that camp you're not alone - some 62 percent of American adults get their news from social media. Why is that? Is it because it's just so darned difficult to watch a regular news broadcast or read a newspaper? Can you name more than one member of Trump's cabinet? Do you even know the name of your representatives in Congress? Odds are you can't...or your neighbors can't. Have you any clue what the "Steele Dossier" is or what it's about? Have you bothered to read the indictments of the 12 Russians accused of meddling in our 2016 election? If not, why not Google it now - find a news source and sit down and read...it's only 29-pgs. (Ok, for those who do want to read the document but are concerned they may not be able to find it, here's a link to the Time magazine website - you can read it there.) These are dangerous times in America folks...you need to put the "smart phone" down and pick-up a paper...and read !
Growth That Began Under President Obama Continues
It is nearly a daily occurrence for the Donald or his spokespeople (Conway,
Huckabee-Sanders) to attempt to discredit or attack the previous
administration. Typically, facts tell a completely different story
like in the case of the economy & jobs. "We inherited a real mess,"
Trump says over and over. The fact is, what the Democrats inherited in
2009 was a government that had driven our economy into the ditch with 2
unfunded tax cuts, 2 unfunded wars, and unfunded Medicare drug benefits.
Republicans added nearly 10 trillion to our national debt and had the
audacity of blaming President Obama...now they're adding another trillion to
our nation's debt thanks to the Trump "tax cut".
See related story in Mike's "archive": Jobs, Jobs, Jobs
So goes my faith in the American voters. Actually most of my disgust is aimed at the 42.1% of registered voters who stayed away from the polls on Nov. 8th. Pathetic. My anger also extends to the media particularly commercial TV who have shamelessly chased after every Trump "rally" broadcasted free of charge for over a year. The talking heads universally trashed the man but coverage fueled the racist, alt-right faction of our society. "Drain the swamp"? Laughable. Look at who he's appointed - largely political insiders, all, except for a handful of faithful cast of wing-nuts.
So now the Trump reality slime-show will be fodder for the next 4-yrs of Evening News and SNL skits. The Donald meanwhile calls the media coverage of his flawed presidential administration a "witch hunt". No, Mr. President, that would be the treatment Republicans who employed 4-yrs of shameful Benghazi investigations against Hillary Clinton. "Lock her up!" How rich is it now that news has leaked that both Ivanka Trump and Mike Pence used private email services while employed in gov't service? Freaking hypocrites.
|I tried the "blog" thing. 90% or
more of the "feedback" received was spam. Sifting thru the crud to find a
nugget or two became a chore...so after neglecting it for quite a while I nuked it.
Saved and archived are some of the previous articles I've written that folks responded
to...see the right hand column above. Mainly these articles will be about news,
politics, current events.
something on this pg was added or revised on 04.23.19