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"People disagree with me on this, and the reason they disagree is because they are wrong." 
('cuz I tend to deal with facts - the above quote is from scientist Bill Nye but I like it so much I've adopted it, too.)

current thoughts:   archive:
The list of  Trump hypocrisy  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

Library:
source material Americans should read, save, & share with others:
  1. Stone indictment
  2. HPSCI Minority report on Russia Investigation
  3. NY Times report on Trump Finances 10.02.18
  4. "Steele Dossier" opposition research outline
  5. Steele Dossier "annotated" [link to website]
  6. Manafort's Indictment-01.03.18
  7. State of the Union - text annotated by NYT 02.05.19

 

Trump Bashing; or, More Factual Reasons Why Trump Should Not Be President:
Wishing Obama Could Still Be President

Why Are Voters Hood-winked?

Donald isn't the only Evil-doer!

Block Kavanaugh

Lindsey's Rant

More Dirt On Brett

Pay Up, Donald

Spineless GOP

Trump's Dinky Base

The Donald's 1st Year

Tariffs Hurting American Economy

Trump Pays Porn-Star Hush Money

he’s still the most popular Republican

Russian Connection

Our Twitter President

GOP Performance @ FBI Hearings - What A Disgrace!

Actually, Donald, America has been losing coal jobs for nearly a century

Voters Get To Share The Blame

Immigration Debate

Other fairly interesting thoughts by Mike:
Parade of Projects

Going GEO

Zoom!

What sweet delight a quiet life affords

Bombs Away

Turkey Time

Choice

Need more pie

Made In The USA

He Lacked

About Mike

If the clown face fits, wear it, Rush!

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.

posted 02.16.19 

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!

posted 02.12.19

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:

  • Justice Department issues new opinion that could further restrict online gambling - a Washington Post article Jan. 14, 2019  Washington Post website:   Or here's Mike's handy, ad-free text file.
  • Justice Department decision to issue legal opinion long sought by casino magnate Sheldon Adelson draws criticism - article Washington Post February 7, 2019 Washington Post website:   Or another swell ad-free text file from Mike.
  • Advance copy (.pdf file) of some of the House Judiciary Committee questions sent to Whitaker in advance (so much for Trump's claim that his boy Matt was "ambushed".)

posted 02.10.19

Trump's Threats in State of the Union Address Should Concern All Americans

see USA Today for more infoAs 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.

posted 02.06.19

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 economy has never been stronger ... and ...we've created more jobs than any administration in history."  Nope.  Untrue.  The nation's economic recovery began in 2009 & 2010 as previously discussed on this website.
*  "No President has been tougher on Russia than Donald J. Trump."  Again, false.  The Trump administration has just relaxed sanctions on Russia that is netting his pals like Oleg Deripaska hundreds of millions of dollars ... a majority in Congress voted to block the move but fell short by 3 votes.

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.

posted 02.05.19

Why is the public paying legal fees for Wing-nuts?

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

Wing-nut Central...

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.

posted 01.30.19

As seen on TV...

Found myself humming-along to the humdrum tune promoting Apple's latest "smart device".  Have you seen it?

Lyrics:
Come along catch a Heffalump
Sit with me on a muddy clump
We’ll sing a song of days gone by
Run along now don’t be glum
Get you gone now have some fun
Don’t be long for the end is nigh
Come, come, come, come, come along now
Run away from the hum-drum
We’ll go to a place that is safe from
Greed, anger and boredom
We’ll dance and sing ’til sundown
And feast with abandon
We’ll sleep when the morning comes
And we’ll rise by the sound of the birdsongs…

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).  web-link:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=d8LJXcQhD0k
Seriously, catch a Heffalump!

posted 01.28.19

You 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.

posted 01.27.19

Trump 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.

posted 01.26.19

Trump & 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. 

posted 01.24.19

Grow a 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  

Maddow: 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. 

posted 01.16.19   ~    Source links:  MSNBC video clip...NY Times 1.14.19 article.    

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.)

posted 01.13.19

Trump 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.

posted 01.07.19

Poll: 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.

Nielsen TV Ratings Show Viewer Shift Away From Fake News

This is indeed a noteworthy item of good news! With the mid-term elections illustrating a shift away from wing-nut politics as far more Democratic ballots were cast vs. Republican, it's nice to see that TV viewers are also (slowly) bailing on Fox News.  Nielsen reports that MSNBC has replaced Fox as the 1 daytime cable news network, and that Rachel Maddow has replaced Sean Hannity as the overall "most-watched program on cable news".  According to Nielsen, some 3.49 million viewers watch Ms. Maddow...two of those regular, nightly viewers reside at High Pointe. Hope the trend continues. [https://www.nielsen.com/us/en/top10s.html]  

Say, while on the subject of Maddow...have you heard about Rachel's podcast "Bag Man"?   Is it possible for an American Vice President to carry out a criminal enterprise inside the White House and have nobody remember?

What's It Going To Take For Trump's Base To Wake Up?

Perhaps you are among the mindless masses who relies on their "smart phone" and Facebook or Twitter to keep yourself informed of the daily news.  Or perhaps you're among the detached masses who pay no attention to the days news from any source.  If the following headlines are unfamiliar to you - if you have no inkling what the story is about, you have a problem...actually America has a problem because far too many of our citizens have become removed from reality.  Consider what you do or do not know about the following:

  • Trump torpedoes funding bill over border wall (link)
  • Trump torpedoes deal to avoid government shutdown (video link)
  • ‘A morning of alarm’: Mattis departure sends shock waves abroad (link)

If you're asking yourself, or trying to recall who is Mattis?  ...you know you have a problem with current events.  (Answer: General James Mattis, Secretary of Defense - just tendered his resignation in protest of Trump's policies.)

  • Trump move to pull U.S. troops from Syria opens way to turmoil (link)
  • Putin Welcomes U.S. Withdrawal From Syria as ‘Correct’ (link)

So after Trump receives Putin's endorsement on pulling out of Syria, with the US reneging on obligations to ally forces in the region, the Donald receives his next directive from Russia:

  • Afghans, diplomats surprised by report of Trump plan to pull out troops (link)
  • Reality deals more blows to Trump's alternative narrative (link)
  • Stocks slide in second day of declines, Dow falls to 14-month low (link)

The Donald loves to take credit for our economy which was recovering nicely under the Obama administration after the last Republican debacle.  Lately, however our economy has been tanking largely due to Trump's tariffs and the uncertainty that his administration fosters.  Tell me about it...well actually, you don't have to because I track my investments daily...and this morning we're down 10% from the start of the year...which is startling when I consider nearly half of my portfolio is comprised of fixed-income investments (bonds, CD's). 

The havoc Trump and his flawed administration has created is now affecting every aspect of the world.  Global finance, warring in the Middle East, domestic immigration, government funding, Trump's Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen can not answer basic questions at Congressional hearings focused on border security & immigration.  The Mueller investigation that Trump continues to refer to as a "witch hunt" has indicted or received guilty pleas from 33 people.  The latest is Trump's personal attorney Michael Cohen.  About to be sentenced is Trump's national security advisor Michael Flynn who was among the first to squeal "guilty" and immediately began telling justice officials all he knows more than a year ago.

There is almost more news than any one person can consume on a daily basis concerning damage this President and his administration have done to our country.  Those who simply shrug their shoulders and mindlessly go about your daily lives pretending that we are not experiencing a crisis are pathetic. Attempting to stay informed through your Facebook account is equally pathetic.   Grow a spine, America, and stay freaking informed!

posted by Mike as a public service (media links to help you regain your self respect & be better informed).
12.21.18

update 12.22.18 - Detroit Free Press opinion editor Brian Dickerson wrote an excellent piece for the Thursday edition (12/20) of the newspaper titled originally "GOP reps hope voters have short memories" - the online version has a new headline for some reason: "These 6 lawmakers hope you'll forget what they did this month".  The topic if you hadn't already surmised from the headlines: GOP is up to their old nasty tricks during this lame duck session in the Michigan legislature. Republicans pulled the same stunt in Wisconsin.  I urge all Michigan residents to read it & share it with others - we need to vote these people out - at least those who will still be serving in public office.  Many of the out-going Republicans who are trying to cram thru their evil legislation should be publicly scorned and shamed.  This past mid-term election the vast majority of votes were cast for Democratic candidates - only gerrymandered districts preserved the GOP majority...for now.  Come 2020 citizens should send the signal that these actions should be further proof that Republicans are unfit to lead or serve.  Period.  Vote 'em all out of office - every office from County Dog Catcher to local school boards!

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.

posted 11.28.18

Mixed Reaction to Mid-Term Elections

My personal assessment of the recent Mid-Term Elections is mixed. I was hoping for that Blue Wave and saw some evidence in select pockets of our state and federal government, but also too many shameful examples of racism and hate that has been present ever since America voted not once but twice for Barack Obama. I had hopes after his 8-years in office cleaning up the last series of messes created by Republicans. I had hopes that the process would continue of cleaning up our environment, reducing threats of nuclear war, improving our voting laws and eliminating gerrymandered voting districts created by Republicans following the 2010 census. I had hopes that social movements such as Black Lives Matter and Me Too would have a positive and lasting impact on our society.

Sadly, the racist inclinations that surfaced in the 2016 election have simply continued...and in many ways gotten worse under Donald Trump's leadership. Unnecessary tariffs are causing job losses in many sectors. Hit especially hard are farmers and the manufacturing industries that helped fuel the Donald's electoral college win. Racism and nationalism are at the core of the political divide in America today. If you doubt me perhaps you can explain how and why Cindy Hyde-Smith defeated Mike Espy in the Mississippi Senate race.  Republican voters in Mississippi may not be thrilled with Hyde-Smith as a candidate, but they are coalescing behind her because her opponent is Black. "...it's about our conservative values," Hyde-Smith said at her victory celebration in Jackson, MS. Why were voters NOT outraged by the backlash to her racially-tinged comments: "If he invited me to a public hanging, I'd be on the front row"? And why were voters NOT turned-off by Hyde-Smith when she said that making voting more difficult is a "great idea." Why the hell not, indeed? "She's a Republican, I guess," said Jerry Smith, a grandfather and longtime Mississippi resident, about why he was voting for Hyde-Smith...as if that explanation was valid.  (It is not.)

Republican voters also re-elected two members of the House who have pending federal indictments: Rep. Chris Collins (R-NY) charged with securities fraud, and Duncan Hunter (R-CA) charged embezzling a quarter of a million dollars from his political campaign funds. The 60 counts against Hunter assert the Congressman and his wife spent campaign dollars on personal expenses like vacations, clothes, and theatre tickets.  Both of these creepy guys, Collins & Hunter, were just re-elected in the mid-terms by Republican voters.  As was Jim Jordan (R-OH) shown above left, even though he's been charged with ignoring sexual assault charges while he worked as a wrestling coach at Ohio State Univ.  Trey Gowdy, above center, opted to not run for re-election after embarrassing himself as Chair of the United States House Select Committee on Benghazi. Mike Pompeo (R-KS) now serves as our nation's Secretary of State which is quite a joke given his work while in Congress on the same House committee that Gowdy chaired. Pompeo was also famous for mistakenly referred to President Obama as an "evil Muslim communist." These people are just flat-out pathetic, as are the voters who keep them in office.

Personally, I am pleased that virtually everything & everyone I voted for won. The recreational pot referendum in Michigan passed by a wide margin as did 2 other referendums designed to reduce voter suppression tactics deployed by Republicans like gerrymandered voting districts and voting rules impacting same-day registration and absentee ballots.  The nation should follow Michigan's lead on all three initiatives.  Thankfully Michigan voters reversed the narrow Thump vote record from 2016 and rejected Republican candidates for Governor, Secretary of State, and Attorney General ... posts won soundly by Democratic women!  Sadly, the state legislature remains in control of Republicans which makes no sense.  Democratic voters in Michigan out numbered Republicans 56.2% to 43.8% ... so why don't Democrats control the legislature?  Answer: gerrymandered voting districts ... which the newly created Independent Citizens Redistricting Commission will get a chance to resolve. Hopefully in 2020 the voter trend to toss-out the GOP will continue.

Sure Democrats gained 40 seats in the House of Representatives with one seat still being contested (as of 11/30/18) but they did not regain control of the Senate. Why is that?  Why any Republican got more than a handful of votes is beyond me.  Democrats deserved to sweep the nation with positive voter margins of 95% or more.  I recently read a noteworthy quote from science observer Bill Nye that I think is appropriate here: "People disagree with me on this, and the reason they disagree is because they are wrong."  The facts support my position (see substantiating articles linked along the right-hand column of this webpage); the nation has gotten ugly and evil, and those responsible need to be voted out of office ... like Duncan Hunter, Chris Collins, Cindy Hyde-Smith, and most all Republicans.

posted 11.07.18, updated 12.01.18

Updated Jan. 24, 2019

In 730 days, President Trump has made 8,158 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

https://www.washingtonpost.com/graphics/politics/trump-claims-database/?noredirect=on&utm_term=.09247409f322

Originally posted by Mike on 11.08.17.   Since then we have multiple Trump officials pleading guilty to crimes, and many more indicted - with dozens of Trump officials testifying before Congressional and/or FBI investigative panels. Even his own personal lawyer and "fixer" Michael Cohen pled guilty to criminal charges & indictments, both Federal & state.  This is by far the most shameful period of American politics in our nation's history easily surpassing Nixon's Watergate & topping the national disgrace caused by 8-yrs of George W. Bush (2 unfunded wars, 2 unfunded tax cuts, + unfunded Medicare drug benefits).  Interesting how the most shameful periods of recent American political history have been caused by Republicans. 

The 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. 

speech video:  https://www.cnn.com/videos/politics/2018/09/07/barack-obama-full-speech-urbana-illinois-sept-2018-vpx.cnn
speech text: https://www.usatoday.com/story/news/politics/elections/2018/09/07/president-barack-obamas-speech-transcript-slamming-trump/1225554002/

posted 09.07.18

 
Keeping Us Sane

If you've followed this website you know we've had fun this past year digging into my Dad's childhood baseball card collection...which prompted us to dust off the Ken Burns Baseball documentary series from 1994...trouble is we've gotten hooked on high definition TV viewing ... and our old collection is VHS format ... so we upgraded to a used digital CD set.  We've also brought out our beloved CD collection of the West Wing and find ourselves longing for political leaders who were good, decent, noble and thoughtful.  A lot of similarities to the Obama administration ... virtually nothing like the GW Bush or Trump years.  Okay, I'll admit it, the Donald has made me consider softening my opinion about W...but then I re-read the list of criminals from his administration...eleven of 'em and I just shake my head. [read more]  

And just think: the Donald still has rallies to this day where the audience shout "lock her up" in unison...even after his attorney pled guilty, and his former campaign mgr was found guilty of eight felony counts.  Do we need to remind voters that no one from the Obama administration was convicted of a crime???  (And no, I don't count David Petraeus...he has a Bush hold-over.)  Tell me again why anyone in their right mind votes Republican these days. 

Trump Defeated !

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 ! 

 
A Little Kindness Makes A World Of Difference

Documentary films typically have a short run at our local movie theatre, so when we read that a new film about Fred Rogers, Won't You Be My Neighbor, was in town we figured we'd better not delay.  So glad we followed our own sage instincts and saw the film - it's fabulous!  In fact, we like it so much we think when the Academy of Motion Picture Arts votes for the next Oscar awards they can save a lot of time & energy and just give 'em all to Won't You Be My Neighbor.  Best picture, best documentary, best direction, acting, sound, music, etc ... hands-down. 

Boys & girls...it is a sensational film. Made us choke-up a bit & shed a tear, and enjoy many laughs & smiles. Loved the history of the program and how the film maker ridiculed political conservatives for they way they dissed Fred Rogers, PBS, and the program over the years.  Like when Fox & Friends host Brian Kilmeade called Rogers: “This evil, evil man has ruined a generation of kids.”  Such a negative comment.  (Full quote is offered on a separate page - click here if you care to read it.)  And how about the focus on learning to embrace, not resist, change. While kindness and empathy are in short supply today, it need not be that way, Mr. Rogers taught us.  Ironic how a portion of the very 1st episode back in 1968 advocated peace & goodwill rather than intolerance and building walls and culture wars.  It goes to show how timeless and spot-on the show really was....50-yrs ago!

It was also nice meeting Fred Rogers' wife and two sons who appeared in the documentary as well as seeing Susan Stamberg, former host of National Public Radio's All Things Considered.  She's such a lovely woman - she retired too young.  Fred Rogers died in 2003 at age 74. 

coming up this winter: Tom Hanks to star in Mister Rogers bio-pic "You Are My Friend".

Rachel Maddow Awarded Two Emmys

Detroit Free Press reports: "Rachel Maddow continues her hot streak, as “The Rachel Maddow Show” finished the third quarter as the highest-rated cable news show. Her show got 2.7 million total viewers, topping both Fox News and CNN in the time slot in overall viewers and adults aged 25 to 54. It marks the first quarter that an MSNBC show has ranked No. 1 for all of cable news. The numbers for “Maddow” represent a 75 percent increase over the third quarter in 2016."

"Rachel Maddow's efforts to bring attention to the Flint water crisis have earned her an Emmy. The MSNBC host took home the gold for outstanding news discussion and analysis at Thursday night's News and Documentary Emmy Awards from the National Academy of Television Arts & Sciences.  Maddow was one of the early voices in network cable news to bring Flint's contaminated water to national attention. Maddow's aggressive coverage of Flint reflects a style that has brought her to the top of the ratings heaps."  That, and Rachel and her staff dwell on facts & truth unlike most Republicans and social conservatives.

"In July, she became the first non-Fox News host to grab the top ratings spot since October 2001 and the days of CNN's Larry King, according to the Associated Press. Maddow's show nabbed two Emmys total. It also was honored for outstanding live interview for an episode featuring a one-on-one with Kellyanne Conway, currently a White House counselor to President Donald Trump."
http://www.freep.com/story/entertainment/2017/10/06/rachel-maddow-emmy-flint-water-crisis/740242001/

Jobs 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". 
http://www.msnbc.com/rachel-maddow-show/us-lost-jobs-last-month-the-first-time-7-years?cid=sm_fb_maddow
originally posted 10.08.17

See related story in Mike's "archive": Jobs, Jobs, Jobs

Have A Ball!

Perhaps it's a simple form of escapism, but as the Trump administration proceeds on it's path to destroy life on Earth as we once knew it, the US Postal Service introduces some fun new postage stamps.  "Have A Ball!" Forever Stamps - meaning, it will always be worth what it costs to send one 1st class item - even if you misplace it for decades.  Louise picked-up a sheet of the new stamps the other day at our local post office....they feature balls used in baseball, basketball, football, golf, kickball, soccer, tennis and volleyball. For those of you who stopped mailing anything when you got your "smartphone" the postal service is where you go to send a letter or a package.

This information is being shared with the hope that a few folks who have clamored to "make America great again" will realize that we already are great.  Some 30% of Americans who don't actually follow the news because they think it's all "fake" or a "hoax" but this item is actually true and can be verified.  Try it out for yourself...first, write someone a letter - maybe a relative like your favorite Aunt who wonders if anyone still cares for her.  Next, march right down to the local post office near you while we still have 'em and buy a freaking stamp!   Step 3:  attach stamp to letter and deposit same in mail slot or mailbox designed for out-going correspondence.

Louise said the clerk was excited to share her observation that a special coating was applied to selected areas of the stamps during the printing process which gives them a texture that mimics the feel of a baseball’s stitching, or a golf ball’s dimples.  Cute.  Best value on Earth for just 49

Sidebar:  "So Mike...when are you going to get over it and stop with the Trump bashing?"  Answer: never.  The guy is a joke and dangerous; if he does not start World War 3 we'll be lucky.  He needs to be removed from office - until that happens none of us can remain silent.

Unbelievable...
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. 
Mike
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something on this pg was added or revised on 02.18.19