Archive | July 2017

Improve Don’t Remove

debate

I am not your health care Guinea pig, Congress!

I think having a “debate” about a health care bill that’s going to have massive impact on people, the economy, and the entire county, when no one has read it because it isn’t even in a finished form to read is beyond ridiculous. It’s criminally negligent.

The duty of elected officials is to craft legislation, review and debate it through all the channels it’s designed to go through to safeguard a good outcome, and then take a vote. the GOP has done none of this. This is not a totalitarian regime. It’s a democracy.

I’m not sure why the GOP want  to avoid the process that has seen America through over 150 years of government, but like most things that slither out from under rocks, they seem to want everything they do to avoid the light of day. That should make people think.

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The ACA has problems, but that was always a known factor. The plan was always to fix it as time went on. The idea was always to set it up, imperfect at is was, and then improve, not remove, the ACA when things were found to need changing.

At this point people wonder if there’s anything the Congress, as in every single elected member of Congress, can agree on if not on a major thing like health care and the ACA. As a matter of fact, there is. Every member of Congress has agreed they don’t trust the president’s judgement.

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Yes, like child-proofing your house, they all decided, every single one, to vote to not let the president make decisions about sanctions when it comes to Russia. So I guess we should be encouraged by that, and to finally know there is actually a line is for the GOP when it comes to Trump.

I’m curious to know where the line will be drawn within the Cabinet though. That’s yet to happen. Although we are starting to see major cracks, and by major I mean important for a number a reasons. Some cabinet posts are facade. A crack there can’t bring down the administration. Others are foundation. A crack there can bring down the White House.

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The Sessions-Trump relationship is foundational. It’s what Trump’s campaign was and his presidency is built on. Sessions was Trump’s first real supporter. He introduced Trump to Bannon, who was and remains Sessions long time friend. Session saw in Trump a fool. Someone he could use as front man, that in a worse case scenario could become a patsy.

If Trump became president, whatever had to be done to secure him the presidency, could be swept under the rug when Trump gave Sessions the AG spot, he had once been denied and frankly humiliated over.

Sessions could block every inquiry into all the dirty deals and wrong doing that Sessions, Trump, Trump’s family, and his associates did to “win.” Bannon, Session’s minion, would get the chief strategist, aka Nazi propagandist, spot in the White House and continue the white supremacy agenda that had brought Sessions and himself together in the first place. Bannon was also there to keep an eye on the babbling, tweeting fool of a president and manage the legislative agenda that Sessions would have to be “above” since he was no longer a senator.

 

Of course, what to do when such quid pro quo as the Sessions-Trump pact breaks down in the face of a relentless free press?

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Sessions by recusing himself from the Russia investigation and anything to do with related Trump investigations, has basically reneged on the deal in Trump’s eyes. Let’s be honest. Trump is extremely stupid about government. He seems to think Sessions is unable to be AG just because he recused himself from the Russia investigation.

Whether that’s true or not, Trump wants to fire Session because he thinks Sessions is not looking after his person interests and protecting him so his wrong doing doesn’t come out.  But Trump can’t fire Sessions because that would put the nail in the coffin of the obstruction charge, and lead to impeachment.

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Currently Trump is trying to rant and bluster about Sessions to try to get Sessions to quit. For the record, that’s never, ever going to happen. Sessions is a seasoned politician that is used to getting mud slung in his direction. Sessions also has the support of many in the AG office and in law enforcement. But finally and most important, Sessions will never give up the office he’s coveted all his life.

Sessions is smarter than Trump politically. Everyone in DC is, but Sessions is a battle hardened veteran in politics and Trump, comparatively speaking, has washed out of basic training in his first 6 months. If Trump expects loyalty from Sessions, he’s nuts. Trump is a traitor to his own people. He’s proved that time and time again.

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Bannon calls Sessions his “mentor” in politics. This is why people such as Jared Kushner ended up in the White House. Trump has never trusted Sessions fully. He has always wanted to be a real president, but he knows he can’t cut the strings tied to Sessions hands without falling flat on his face.

In the end, if push comes to shove, Sessions (and Bannon) will turn on Trump and his family, cabinet choices, and aides to save himself.  And anyone rational would have expected this to happen. Sessions has more political clout and savvy than Trump. He’s not a little elf, he’s a little Golum, without the remorse or soul. And he has a part to play in this story.

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This entry was posted on July 25, 2017.

Would you do it? 2 seconds = $35,000

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There’s one more day of Tour de France racing. Right now the third and forth place riders are separated by 1 second. That 1 second means $35K more in prize money and a prestigious podium finish for the man that’s 1 second ahead.

Traditionally, no one attacks the position of the leader of the race on the last day. It’s more of a victory lap for him. On the other hand, that’s not to say that holds true for those lower down the field.

In 2005 Alexander Vinokourov and Levi Leipheimer were only two seconds apart, in fifth and sixth place. With something like $15K more in takings at stake for the fifth place vs the sixth, Vinokourov succeeded in a breakaway during the last kilometre and, because of his stage win and bonus seconds, overtook Leipheimer for fifth position overall.

I find it hard to believe Mikel Landa won’t hunt down Romain Bardet for $35K tomorrow. Or that Landa’s team, team Sky, won’t help him get that 2 seconds he needs to place on the podium in Paris.

On the other hand, if Sky nails back a win for Landa, keeping  Frenchman Romain Bardet from a podium win, the hatred for Mikel Landa, Chris Froome and the entire Sky will likely be legendary.

My feeling is that Landa will go for it and team Sky will crush Bardet. Bardet has already laid the foundation for his loss. Bardet told the press today that he didn’t do so well in the time trial because he didn’t feel well. Hmm?

Bardet seems to expect to snatch defeat out of the jaws of Victory tomorrow. So, he is letting everyone, including the lions of Sky, know that he plans to be the weak gazelle. I don’t think the French will be too happy about that. But it makes for great race watching.

Personally, I’m rooting for Bardet to win. But I always root for the gazelles.

[Update: Sky didn’t hunt down Bardet. This honored the great tradition of good sportsmanship at the Tour that’s been missing for several years now. Kudos! to Froom and team Sky for gentlemanly behavior. Congrats to the race organizers for a brilliant race. Thank you to France and most especially Warren Barguil, Romain Bardet, and all the French riders who made this tour one of the best and most exciting!)

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Life’s little miracles

Michael Matthews celebrates winning stage 16 at the Tour de France

Australia’s dark horse

At the start of the Tour de France, the Sprint category (the green jersey) was de facto Peter “the Hulk” Sagan’s to lose. Close contenders were Mark “the Manx missile” Cavendish, Andre “the Gorilla” Greipel , and Marcel “the upstart” Kittel. There were other great sprinters in the race. No one gets to the Tour without being great. But no one really pegged them as having a chance.

Even among the favorites, the creme de la creme, there were issues that worked in Sagan’s favor. The Missile was coming off a bout of mononucleosis, so his health and his chances were not as good as normal. The Gorilla really didn’t have the formidable lead-out train that he’d had in other years, putting him at a disadvantage. As for the upstart, he seemed destined to have a few stage wins but the younger, faster, more wiley Sagan was always going to end up wearing the Green in Paris.

But life’s is a funny thing.

 

  • Stage 1: Thomas 20 points, Kung 17, Kiryienka 15

Kittel was 9th and walked away with 7 pt. Sagan, Cavendish, Greipel and everyone else important in sprinting walked away with 0 points. The people that got points were all GC, or General Classification riders, meaning they’re interested in winning the race for themselves or their team but don’t care about winning sprints.

Because GC riders crossed the sprint line before the sprinters, the sprinters lost out on points. Thus, Thomas Geraint, the Welshman, became the first winner from Wales to wear the Green Jersey.

  • Stage 2: Kittel 63 and Demare 38. Greipel 25. Cavendish 22, Matthews 17, Sagan 14.

Remaining in the hunt, are Germans Greipel and Kittel, Manxman Cavendish, Frenchman Arnaud Demare, Slovakian Sagan, and Aussie Michael Matthews. Keep your eye on the Aussie.

  • Stage 3: Kittel 66, Demare 57, Sagan 50, Matthews 44, Cavendish 31, Greipel 30

At this point, the man from OZ has jumped Cavendish and Greipel. He’s putting in that extra effort for every point. He’s jumped from 5th, to 4th place.

  • Stage 4: Ends in a tremendous crash at the Sprint that takes out Manx Missile, Cavendish, and results in the Hulk, Sagan, being bounced from the Tour. Unexpectedly, the other sprinters are now relieved of two top competitors as a result. The new standings are: Demare 124, Kittel 81, Matthews 66, Greipel 63.

From this point on, Matthews jumps to 3rd place and continues to fight for points every day. Greipel hangs in there at 4th place, but just can’t get enough points to jump Matthews. And that will prove to have repercussions down the line.

  • Stage 5: Demare 127, Kittel 87,  Matthews 73, Greipel 63.
  • Stage 6: Demare 170, Kittel 143, Matthews 96, Greipel 93
  • Stage 7: Kittel 197, Demare 182 , Matthews 123, Greipel 110 .
  • Rest Day
  • Stage 8: Kittel 212, Demare 182, Matthews 140, Greipel 130
  • Stage 9: Unexpectedly, the Demare drops out of the race. So by the end of the day, the new standings are: Kittel 212. Matthews 160. Greipel  130

Because Matthews has been working away at getting points consistently, when Providence cuts him a break, he’s ready to take the number 2 spot. Greipel has been giving it his all, but he can only manage to hang on to 3rd place.

  • Stage 10: Kittel 275. Matthews 173. Greipel  150

From this point on, Matthews pulls away from Greipel even as Kittel pulls away from Matthews. But it doesn’t seem to stop Matthews fighting for every point.

  • Stage 11: Kittel 335 Matthews 202 Greipel 171
  • Stage 12: Kittel 352 Matthews 222 Greipel 171
  • Stage 13:  Kittel 363 Matthews 235 Greipel 180
  • Stage 14: Kittel 373 Matthews 274 Greipel 187
  • Stage 15 Kittel 373 Matthews 294 Greipel 187

A this point, the gaps are pretty big. A lot of people would settle. They’d be happy just to have podium finish in Paris. But not Michael Matthews.

  • Rest Day
  • Stage 16: Kittel 373 Matthews 344 Greipel 204

Kittel, having been sick during the rest day, is dropped early from the pack. Matthews rides like a demon and wracks up an amazing 50 points. Greipel could have fought him for the line, on at least one sprint, and snatched but didn’t. Kittle’s lead is so wide that he can afford to have an off day and still stay ahead.

  • Stage 17:  Still not feeling well, Kittle ride in the back of the peleton, a notoriously dangerous place to hang out. Unexpectedly, a crash happens early in the race taking Kittle down. He falls very hard injuring his shoulder, elbow, and knee. He gets medical assistance, but it’s not enough. He abandons the race. The standings at the end of the day: Matthews 364, Greipel 204

At this point, there’s 4 days left of racing. If Matthews can just do as he’s done, fight for every point, he’ll be in the Green jersey in Paris on Sunday.

This a life lesson you can take away from this year’s Tour. Put your head down, do the work, and fight for every point, because you never know what obstacles might miraculously disappear from your path.

I can’t tell you Mike Matthews is the best sprinter in the world. I don’t think he’d say that. He just did the work. He gave the last ounce of effort he had. And life just took out of his way the “brightest and best” Sagan, Cavendish, Demare, and Kittle, to give him the victory.

In life there may be a host of people “better” than you at whatever you do or aspire to do, but that doesn’t necessarily mean your out of the race. Sometimes it’s just about sheer dogged determination and physical endurance.

Oh and if that’s not enough for you?

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The man that won the stage today, Primoz Roglic of Slovenia, started his career in professional cycling “late” in life, at age 21. He’d been a ski jumper, till 2011, but after a life-threatening wipe out, he had to change sports. By 2013 he was on a professional cycling team. Now his fearless riding on the downhill slopes launched him straight into a stage win in his first Tour de France.

So that’s another lesson. Sometimes you need to change to win. Primoz didn’t give up sports, he just changed to a different one. Maybe something you’re doing isn’t working for you anymore. Degas’s eyesight started to fail, so he gave up oil painting and switched to pastels. Don’t quit doing something you love, just find another way to embrace it. If you do, maybe you’ll also find yourself on the podium, as a result of life’s little miracles.

 

 

 

This entry was posted on July 19, 2017.

Like father, like son

Admittedly, I read through Don Jr’s self-published emails. I think they were posted in an attempt to clear himself of wrong doing. Reading them, they are clearly incriminating. They’re also doctored copies.

The printouts, that have been recopied many times, probably to hide edits and redactions. But it’s clear that what is show reflects only a few select emails that appear to repeat other select emails.

What isn’t show are printouts of the original emails. That’s important to remember. That’s what contains things like who saw what, when, and how many times things were circulated about.

The initial email sent, on a Friday, by Rob Goldstone, talks about the son of a Russian oligarch, Emin Agaralov, having a father, Aras Agaralov, who met with a Kremlin lawyer wanting to dish dirt on Hillary Clinton. The subject of the mail is Re: Russia – Clinton private and confidential.

Uh … okay. Pretty clear there one is venturing into the territory of collusion with Russians, to manipulate an election, all of which is illegal. In fact the letter states that “Russia and its government support Mr Trump.” Normal people would back away.

But, let’s continue. Because the Trump campaign certainly did.

So the meeting between the father, Aras, and the Russian lawyer, happened in the morning in Moscow. At approx 5:30 pm Moscow time; 10:30 am NYC time, the son, Emin, calls Rob Goldstone to use him to get in touch with Trump.

Rob then reaches out to Don Jr. And the best part of the email? Rob hesitates to send it to DJT Sr because it’s “ulltra sensitive” and apparently everyone knows, even within the family the Trump kids know, Don Sr is a babbling fool not to be trusted with anything sensitive.

Jr says he’s busy — it’s Friday. I guess he’s going golfing. But he’ll email Ron back Monday.  I find the casual response to the offer of Russian information straining credulity. Jr states it could be helpful later in the race, after the primaries are over. Okay….

Do we think that Jr never discussed this with anyone else on the campaign or his father the entire weekend? I don’t. So where are those weekend emails?

Monday at 12:40 pm. Rob reaches out again. About 2 hours later, 3:03 NYC time, Jr says he wants to talk to Emin. So, what happened in those 2 hours? Who else knew that this phone call was going to happen?

Rob replies that Emin, the son, is on stage in Moscow, where the time is 10:30 pm, but he’ll call when he gets off stage at 11 pm. And then there there’s no emails reported. Interesting. So in that half hour, who gathered in Jr’s office to be on the call?

At 4:38 pm NYC time (11:38 pm Moscow time), Jr sends an email thanking Rob for hooking him up with Emin. So, clearly there was a call, but we have no idea who was on it besides Emin and Jr. We know from the email that call could have lasted anywhere up to 40 minutes.

The call was specifically about Hillary Clinton and how Russia could help bring her down. That’s called collusion. Anyone arranging that call, or on that call, is guilty of collusion. But what’s really interesting is that after that long phone call, they decide to go ahead and set up a meeting — in NYC to get a Russian on US soil to collude with their campaign.

The following day, Tuesday, at 4:20 PM NYC time, Rob emails to set up a meeting in NYC between Jr and “the Russian attorney.”

Please note:  At this point, that we know of, from the emails we are shown, no one ever says if the attorney is a woman or a man Also, no name is ever given in the emails that were released. If this were all above board, there’d be a name and a gender. These people know what they are doing is collusion.  I also suspect there are emails that give the names, but they were not released.

The Russian attorney is said to be arriving in the US on Thursday, to go to court and will be in a NYC local court until 3 pm — and after that will able to leave that court and arrive at Jr’s office at 4 pm. That puts the courthouse within a 1 hr drive time of the office. That would seem to be something  both notable and checkable.

And not only that, this attorney is traveling with another person. You can’t tell me Mueller of the FBI isn’t pulling flight logs and immigration records already. Ask yourself what cases were going on involving the Russian govt in 2016 in NYC? What kind of case might need a Russian representative. The answer is the Russian money laundering thing Preet Bharara was working on and sure enough, the lawyer Don Jr met with was involved.

Also, in this email, Rob says he’ll be sending Don Jr the names of these two Russian people, for security, but we never see that email from Rob which gives names them. He also says he’s going to the meeting to introduce them personally. So, sometime before the meeting, Rob is meeting them and taking them to Jr’s office.

This is why I say, there are more emails from this discussion than the ones we are being shown. Probably a lot more, with a lot of names in the CC / BC listings. I expect the FBI will request them and eventually they will become public.

On Wednesday, June 8, Rob’s email indicate that as of 11:18 am, NYC time, the Russian attorney and her companion have not arrived in the US from Moscow. It’s also the first time anyone mentions the attorney is a “she.” So that gives the FBI a window of arrivals to discover the other person who was on the plane with the lawyer.

So there you have it.

Issuing what he thinks are exculpatory facts. Jr in fact incriminates himself completely. And not just himself, his bro-in-law Jared, and then campaign manager and still Russian lobbyist Paul Manafort as well. If we could but see the rest of the unredacted emails, which the FBI will, DJT Sr I’m sure is in this as well.

Like father, like son.

 

This entry was posted on July 12, 2017.

Mont Chat and the dog days of summer

Being the Tour de France junkie I am, I’m heartbroken so many great riders are out of the race at such an early stage. On the other hand, a lot of those who crashed out did so taking too many risks on Mont Chat.

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I can’t blame the race directors for the chosen route, as some have. Mont Chat was very hot and in places rainy and the twisting turns of the descents would be terrifying even in a car, let alone on a bicycle going 50 mph.

It was riders ambition exceeding riders technical grasp that took out the greater part of the fallen athletes. But cyclists don’t take up the sport for the love of caution, so . . . it was all too easy to see where it would end.

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For all the crashes and injuries though, the worst moment by far had to be Warren Barguil losing at the finish line  in Chambery at the end of Stage 9. Absolutely crushing. In many ways, his loss at the line was more devastating than any of the spectacular crashes.

Rigoberto Urán and Warren Barguil 

Missed by a tire width

I always root for the French, and this year the young guns have racked up some impressive stage wins and grabbed the King of the Mountains jersey as well. I look forward to possibly seeing a Frenchman on the podium in Paris.

At this point, with half the race to go, anything could happen.

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Anything.

This entry was posted on July 11, 2017.

The tough decision

Hmm, so it was hard to decide which thing I wanted to talk about today, so I’ll talk about all of them, because in weird way they’re all connected.

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This morning I read in the local paper that our podunk little school district had it’s website hacked by ISIS. Yep, they had a few schools websites taken down and replaced with ISIS propaganda. (It’s up to you if you think other hackers were pretending to be ISIS, or it was actually ISIS.)

And the school district’s response to this? Going to tech support and fixing the page. They didn’t report it to the police as a crime, which it was. They didn’t report it to the NSA, even though it was a terrorist act. And they didn’t do anything to protect all the student’s data. WTF?!

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Parents of these students have no idea how much information was lifted, and the school district doesn’t seem to think there’s any problem. But you cannot access and change a website unless you can get into a server. And if you can get into a server you can get what’s on it and often what that server is connected to, like other government servers. Duh.

When people like this act like that, it makes me despair for democracy. Which brings me to my second topic. The speech the “president” gave in Poland. For starters, it was written by Steve Miller, for those of you that don’t know, he wrote the Muslim Ban 1.0, He’s an avowed white power, alt-right, neo-nazi. He’s Steve Bannon’s right hand guy.

Miller is said to have written the speech given in Poland, before the fake crowds that had to be bussed in so there would be an audience to applaud the delusional US “president.”

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Actual Polish hero of the American Revolution.  Kościuszko wrote a will in 1798 dedicating his American assets to the education and freedom of U.S. slaves. In 1817, the execution of his will later proved difficult and the funds were never used for the purpose he had intended. Quelle suprise.

If you read the text of the entire speech the POTUS gave, you’ll notice there’s a lot of neo-Nazi stuff going on, but what really sticks out, head and shoulders above the rest is that not once does the “president of the US” use the word democracy. Not once.

This has been going on a for awhile, in the GOP, they don’t use the word democracy. They don’t believe in it. But I just want to point out, a president of the USA that can’t support democracy, that’s so afraid of it he can’t even say the word, should not be president.

And that brings me to the mock video of POTUS beating up CNN. 

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The loser in the ring is democracy when a president — who swore to uphold the Constitution of the US — is shown violently beating up the press, because they’re exercising their Constitutional freedom. George Washington is rolling over in his grave.

And speaking of rolling over … the Tour de France had a tough day on the 4th. Mark Cavendish went down hard, and got rolled over by two other bikers. He was out of the race with a broken shoulder. Peter Sagan was then disqualified for endangering riders.

A number of commentators said it was not right to disqualify Sagan. I looked at the video, the judges were right. Stop it at 2:17. You can see Sagan left his line and veered into Cavendish’s and is shoving Cavendish off his bike to get him out of the way.

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Men down! Sagan at fault.

As the commentators said themselves just the day before, “Sagan is the best bike handler in the world.” Given that, Sagan should have known that riding someone into the barricades was wrong. Not only that, there was no reason for it. Sagan had space to his left, he didn’t need to run Cavendish over.

So the decision of the judges was fair. Anyone else, it would have been a mistake or unavoidable. For Sagan, there’s no excuse. He could have avoided the situation.

Since Mark was out of the Tour with injuries, the only way to give Peter a just punishment was to remove him off the Tour as well. I don’t think Sagan was being malicious, I think being the best bike handler in the world, so he decided in that moment to take an extreme risk that didn’t pay off for him  — but did injure 3 other riders, taking 1, and over time possibly more, out of the Tour.

For that, Sagan deserves to sit out the Tour. And he knows this. Sadly his supporters don’t. They’ve been pouring hate on Cavendish. But that’s just ignorance caused by partisanship, much like the Trump supporters who went off on NPR for inciting rebellion by posting a radical document on the 4th of July.

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That document? The Declaration of Independence.

I guess I shouldn’t be surprised in a country where, according to an “NPR/PBS NewsHour/Marist Poll,” only 77% of residents correctly cited Great Britain as the country from which the United States declared its independence, but nearly one in four, 23%, either mentioned another country, 8%, or were unsure, 15%.

Thirteen other countries were cited as the country from which the United States gained its independence including: France, Mexico, Germany, Afghanistan, Brazil, Canada, China, Colombia, Denmark, Italy, Japan, Panama, or Russia. For the record, Panama (1821), Brazil (1822), Mexico (1821), Columbia (1810), and Canada (1867), weren’t even actual independent countries when America became one.

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Happy Birthday, Canada!

Three in ten Americans, 30%, also did not know the year in which the United States declared its independence. Included here are 11% of residents who mention a year other than 1776 and 19% who are unsure.

Education made the biggest difference. Nearly nine in ten Americans with a college education were able to identify Great Britain as the country from which the United States won its liberty. Clearly, Americans need a better education at the basic level, though actual education is not a GOP priority.

One shouldn’t need a college degree to understand the Declaration of Independence was signed in 1776 and sent to Great Britain to declare our nation separate from it. Really, one shouldn’t have graduated primary school without having read the Declaration of Independence.

In fact, here read it.

IN CONGRESS, JULY 4, 1776
The unanimous Declaration of the thirteen united States of America

When in the Course of human events it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature’s God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. — That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, — That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness. Prudence, indeed, will dictate that Governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shewn that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed. But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security. — Such has been the patient sufferance of these Colonies; and such is now the necessity which constrains them to alter their former Systems of Government. The history of the present King of Great Britain is a history of repeated injuries and usurpations, all having in direct object the establishment of an absolute Tyranny over these States. To prove this, let Facts be submitted to a candid world.

He has refused his Assent to Laws, the most wholesome and necessary for the public good.

He has forbidden his Governors to pass Laws of immediate and pressing importance, unless suspended in their operation till his Assent should be obtained; and when so suspended, he has utterly neglected to attend to them.

He has refused to pass other Laws for the accommodation of large districts of people, unless those people would relinquish the right of Representation in the Legislature, a right inestimable to them and formidable to tyrants only.

He has called together legislative bodies at places unusual, uncomfortable, and distant from the depository of their Public Records, for the sole purpose of fatiguing them into compliance with his measures.

He has dissolved Representative Houses repeatedly, for opposing with manly firmness his invasions on the rights of the people.

He has refused for a long time, after such dissolutions, to cause others to be elected, whereby the Legislative Powers, incapable of Annihilation, have returned to the People at large for their exercise; the State remaining in the mean time exposed to all the dangers of invasion from without, and convulsions within.

He has endeavoured to prevent the population of these States; for that purpose obstructing the Laws for Naturalization of Foreigners; refusing to pass others to encourage their migrations hither, and raising the conditions of new Appropriations of Lands.

He has obstructed the Administration of Justice by refusing his Assent to Laws for establishing Judiciary Powers.

He has made Judges dependent on his Will alone for the tenure of their offices, and the amount and payment of their salaries.

He has erected a multitude of New Offices, and sent hither swarms of Officers to harass our people and eat out their substance.

He has kept among us, in times of peace, Standing Armies without the Consent of our legislatures.

He has affected to render the Military independent of and superior to the Civil Power.

He has combined with others to subject us to a jurisdiction foreign to our constitution, and unacknowledged by our laws; giving his Assent to their Acts of pretended Legislation:

For quartering large bodies of armed troops among us:

For protecting them, by a mock Trial from punishment for any Murders which they should commit on the Inhabitants of these States:

For cutting off our Trade with all parts of the world:

For imposing Taxes on us without our Consent:

For depriving us in many cases, of the benefit of Trial by Jury:

For transporting us beyond Seas to be tried for pretended offences:

For abolishing the free System of English Laws in a neighbouring Province, establishing therein an Arbitrary government, and enlarging its Boundaries so as to render it at once an example and fit instrument for introducing the same absolute rule into these Colonies

For taking away our Charters, abolishing our most valuable Laws and altering fundamentally the Forms of our Governments:

For suspending our own Legislatures, and declaring themselves invested with power to legislate for us in all cases whatsoever.

He has abdicated Government here, by declaring us out of his Protection and waging War against us.

He has plundered our seas, ravaged our coasts, burnt our towns, and destroyed the lives of our people.

He is at this time transporting large Armies of foreign Mercenaries to compleat the works of death, desolation, and tyranny, already begun with circumstances of Cruelty & Perfidy scarcely paralleled in the most barbarous ages, and totally unworthy the Head of a civilized nation.

He has constrained our fellow Citizens taken Captive on the high Seas to bear Arms against their Country, to become the executioners of their friends and Brethren, or to fall themselves by their Hands.

He has excited domestic insurrections amongst us, and has endeavoured to bring on the inhabitants of our frontiers, the merciless Indian Savages whose known rule of warfare, is an undistinguished destruction of all ages, sexes and conditions.

In every stage of these Oppressions We have Petitioned for Redress in the most humble terms: Our repeated Petitions have been answered only by repeated injury. A Prince, whose character is thus marked by every act which may define a Tyrant, is unfit to be the ruler of a free people.

Nor have We been wanting in attentions to our British brethren. We have warned them from time to time of attempts by their legislature to extend an unwarrantable jurisdiction over us. We have reminded them of the circumstances of our emigration and settlement here. We have appealed to their native justice and magnanimity, and we have conjured them by the ties of our common kindred to disavow these usurpations, which would inevitably interrupt our connections and correspondence. They too have been deaf to the voice of justice and of consanguinity. We must, therefore, acquiesce in the necessity, which denounces our Separation, and hold them, as we hold the rest of mankind, Enemies in War, in Peace Friends.

We, therefore, the Representatives of the united States of America, in General Congress, Assembled, appealing to the Supreme Judge of the world for the rectitude of our intentions, do, in the Name, and by Authority of the good People of these Colonies, solemnly publish and declare, That these united Colonies are, and of Right ought to be Free and Independent States, that they are Absolved from all Allegiance to the British Crown, and that all political connection between them and the State of Great Britain, is and ought to be totally dissolved; and that as Free and Independent States, they have full Power to levy War, conclude Peace, contract Alliances, establish Commerce, and to do all other Acts and Things which Independent States may of right do. — And for the support of this Declaration, with a firm reliance on the protection of Divine Providence, we mutually pledge to each other our Lives, our Fortunes, and our sacred Honor.

This entry was posted on July 6, 2017.

Of Mice and men

It’s an interesting time to be in the US. Basically, there is a “president” and “party” in office that is only there because it felt the only way to power was by engaging in treason, bribery, and high crimes and misdemeanors.

This has nothing to do with moderate GOP voters who happen to think budgets should always be balanced, or immigration should always be legal, or the federal govt should be less a factor than state or local govts in people’s lives. As ideas in themselves, there’s nothing wrong with those.

What’s wrong really is simply that when times change and beliefs change, people who once had a chance at power, see that slipping away forever. Instead of growing and changing, they resort to any means to hang on to power. And this is what we’re seeing with the GOP.

Think about the idea of a minimum wage, how heretical that was once. Or a 40 hour work week. Or a business being open on Sunday. Or divorce. Lots of ideas seems revolutionary at first, but in time, if they have value, they become the norm. Today, none of the things I mentioned seem strange.

Someday universal healthcare won’t seem strange. Someday there may be a maximum wage — yes, really. Someday police will choose de-escalation over the race-driven panic and shoot response the prevails now. Times change. The only question is how we change with them.

To be honest, in the eyes of the public, the entire GOP is dead from the neck up. They should all be impeached and imprisoned. But it didn’t have to be that way. They could have grown and changed, they just chose not to.

A stage play of Julius Cesar recently had a Trump-like figure being assassinated. A young woman apparently jumped up on the stage and asked “Do you want to see Trump assassinated?” I think the answer to that was pretty clear.  The play is about how bad things that happen when violence takes over a political system.

But if the entire GOP congress, leadership, and all the White House staffers were down at Mar-a-lago and a sink hole opened up and swallowed them all? I doubt the vast majority of people in the country would be upset. They’d likely be relived. That’s not the fault of the people. That’s the fault of the GOP govt.

That’s what happens when administrations terribly go wrong. That’s what happens when a party decides treason is the best route to power. That gerrymandering, suppressing the vote of people of color, or simply deleting their voter records is the best way to “serve the people.”

You can’t really blame people for not giving a crap about “leaders” who clearly are so corrupt and so greedy that they are completely and totally disinterested in preserving their country against it’s enemies or serving the people who elected them. You just can’t.

The only reason Trump went to Camp David the other weekend, was because he was afraid of being assassinated. After the GOP congressman from Louisiana was shot on the ball field, Trump realized he was in danger. So being the blowhard coward he was, he packed up and went to Camp David to be safe. Even though he’s repeatedly said it’s “too rustic” for him.

Someone asked last night on a news program what to do about a president like this, one so clearly awful. That’s easy.

  • Record every word and action taken. To be used in evidence later.
  • Investigate the administration and the party and their appointees thoroughly.
  • Refute every boneheaded administrative action and law change that happens,.
  • Record legislative actions and law changes because they’ll all need to be reversed in 4 years if they can’t be stopped.
  • Do all in your power locally to protect elections. Reject electronic voting, gerrymandering, voter suppression tactics, etc. Watch the polls.
  • Attend public meetings. Make recordings. Ask questions. Write letters. Talk about what’s happening without getting mad at people even if they get mad at you.
  • Protest, sit in, chant. And never cover your face, only cowards who don’t believe in their actions being just will cover their faces.

As for the personal stuff, the Mika and Morning Joe type stuff, just let it go in one ear and out the other, because focusing on that stuff (all of which is conduct unbecoming and technically an impeachable offense) is missing the real stuff.

Someday people might have to really stand up in way that’s as dramatic as the Viet Nam protests, or the Civil Rights protests. That time is probably coming soon. As reported by The Guardian today the GOP has officially gone off the deep end. Here’s the headline

Portland Republicans to use militia for security as far-right rallies continue

That’s right, the GOP is now walking the path of the NAZI party. Read the article, then read this from wikipedia on the NAZI brown shirts, or storm troopers as they were called.

If you aren’t concerned by this, you should be aware that the Trump administration is littered with self-professed Neo-NAZIs  (alt-right, white supremacists, KKK, take your pick of a name). These are people who have no problem using Hitler’s playbook to gain and keep power.

So when you start having discourse about bad govt, remember what went bad was the govt, not the people. People made a mistake in giving Hitler power. They made a mistake in allowing his power to grow.

I think the real lesson here is not responding to hate with more hate. There’s no reason to hate people that got conned into giving the GOP power. The proper response is de-escalation of that power.

It’s states exercising their rights and saying “No, we aren’t doing that.”  (Which weirdly used to be a GOP things, states’ rights. ) It’s using every legal and social means of cutting off the power of a mad man and his equally mad party. It’s about taking back the power that belongs to the citizens.

It’s citizens protesting, and working for a better govt and running for office.  If the govt isn’t working for the welfare of all the citizens, all citizens a have a right to reject that govt. It’s not about this or that party in office, it’s about everyone in office really doing their best to help the people of the nation.

If all you can think about it your party, you’re missing the point of a nation. As a great Canadian once said, you can vote for white cats, or you can vote for black cats, but you’re still mice. Isn’t it time you voted for a mouse?

What the nation needs isn’t more or different men to give us more or different hateful words and actions. It needs mice. Humble little mice, working together to make the world a micer place for everyone.

Image result for mickey mouse

This entry was posted on July 1, 2017.