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Monthly Archives: April 2018


The above song title  (by Kansas) doesn’t sum up our present situation but possibly foretells a future situation. Our current mis Administration has shown to most that we are in a much more precarious position than ever before. Our staffing of Cabinets posts by “friends and ring kissers” have given us an EPA that barely protects our environment , reduction of protections of public lands and national forests and an assault on Human services. The staunch supporters of this regime (aka TOTUS) have been blinded by tweet governing much like being entertained by reality shows on TV. Governing is a serious business that has been reduced to sound bites and sniping. Our over paid Congress is essentially absent in Government with many just trying to stay out of  the Tweet sphere of the Resident instead off doing their jobs. The push back has been essentially one-sided as the majority party “leaders” have been AWOL in many important  issues such as Healthcare and Tax reform. They have allowed and perpetrated many falsehoods on these two important issues. Apparently the general Congressional thinking is that the Resident’s desires are more important than what’s good for the country and the people who elected them. Remember all of the current Cabinet members were confirmed by this neer do well Congress!

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It should be apparent to all voters that we have been had in many ways. The swamp is not drained, Our health protection’s under the EPA are being rolled back and couple this with the changes in the ACA due to the “tax reform(?)” . It is of little importance what your politics are or what you think they are, we as voters are in a hole that gets deeper with every tweet. We have an administration with marginal ability with installed Cabinet members who have less ability but were passed in some cases narrowly by the majority party in Congress. If you are tired of the political system not doing what you think they should do then perhaps it is time to pay attention to who pays the political bills for your party members. Our TOTUS has no clue what’s going on and still refuses to listen to anyone except the less rational members of his inner circle who kiss his ring in spite of his obvious failings as a leader and perpetuates the misinformation train steaming out of his administration. I am wondering if at some point there may be a secret visit with an ambulance and a Gurney.

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The deluge of information on all things political has brought me to wonder why the various sides have not seen the need to really listen to each other. This extreme listening could result in better solutions and possibly a better political climate. The sides (right, left, center and the assorted subsets) seem to be saying similar things once you plow through the hype surrounding their issues(?). Alas these are humans and the emotional side takes over the rational mind. What if as stated in one fast food restaurants missions statement, we could have our way? The “our ways” could very well create more “sides” and more division. Instead why not adopt another fast food restaurant’s way of taking what is served as it is designed to be served. This acceptance may not be perfect but we going back for more so how bad is it? The Constitution is a fluid document and it is alive. this means that in the long ago wisdom of the framers they knew that as the years go by and the country grows and progresses the Document has to be able to change as needed to continue as the basis of our Democracy. Currently (if you have been paying attention) some areas of freedom have been usurped purely by huge money with the aid of the highest court in the decision “Citizens United” which  as shown here: “Citizens United (organization) … In 2010 the organization won a U.S. Supreme Court case known as Citizens United v. FEC, which struck down as unconstitutional a federal law prohibiting corporations and unions from making expenditures in connection with federal elections.” This allows unlimited spending on political campaigns and to that end politicians have to go along with the donors agenda to get funding for their campaigns. This amounts to a candidate being bought. The solution is a public outcry for the rescinding of the “Citizens United” case and hopefully return the political process back to the people and their parties.

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During the recent Senatorial campaign for office in Utah one candidate stated that “he wants to work for the people of Utah”. Perhaps I am wrong but isn’t the job of all Senators to work for their districts and hopefully by extension all Americans? Apparently this is a mantra espoused by many office seekers but once elected, the mantra disappears and the real person emerges to meld with the existing neer do wells. If we consider the existing members of Congress, we as voters would be better served carefully considering the words spoken before electing someone to office no matter if it’s City, State or Federal. These folks have the ability to help or hinder and we never know which until after election in spite of their insistence that they are doing what they told us before getting in office. It must be remembered that being in office brings certain perks and challenges. The perks appear to be more the goal than the doing the actual job. The recent past election brought us the subsequent Proclamations and roll backs of health care provisions coupled with a disastrous Tax Plan that will haunt us for years to come. It is clear that we need to elect people who understand that we will unseat them for poor performance. Recently we have come to understand that “Kissing the ring” will get you a post in this (mis) administration no matter your qualifications or  lack of ability to do the job. The people of the United States are and have been in the past gravely underserved by the people we elected and now we have gross incompetence abetted by a flawed Congress led by possibly 2 of the worst leaders in many years. It should be understood that we as voters deserve better but will not get it without “vetting” the people we want to elect. Campaign rhetoric and slogans are not the same as what they do once they are in office. If there is a divergence from what we need then we need to spend a stamp, email and call to protest to that person. Anyone who has contacted their representative knows that often we get a canned type response which is non-committal and usually does not respond directly to us however we need to keep doing it, think of it like wound that you keep picking , it will not heal until you stop. Our wound is poor  representation and we need to keep picking at it.

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THANKSGIVING: ALL OF IT
Virtually everything learned in school about Thanksgiving is a lie, including the central story of the feast celebrating a partnership between Native Americans and early European settlers. The Pilgrims were fanatical and violent religious zealots who considered indigenous Americans savages, and the Indians naturally resented their presence. The modern, feel-good story is propaganda that’s only 120 years old, but there was a celebratory feast in Massachusetts in 1637 — proclaimed by Gov. John Winthrop for the return of Puritan gunmen from hunting and murdering hundreds of Pequot Indians.

AMERICA GAVE THE WORLD DEMOCRACY
The rise of America undoubtedly shattered the era of kings and queens ruling over monarchies, which had existed in Europe for centuries. But the common schoolhouse lesson that America invented democracy would be news to the Greeks, who introduced “demokratia,” or direct rule by the people, which included three branches of government, in 507 B.C.

ABRAHAM LINCOLN WAS AN ABOLITIONIST
History teachers are quick to remind students that Lincoln was the “Great Emancipator.” In reality, however, Lincoln’s views evolved over time and he came to anti-slavery movement late in the game. He said publicly and repeatedly that he would tolerate slavery to preserve the Union. His anti-slavery sentiments, at least early on, seemed more pragmatic than moral, as revealed in his famous “house divided” speech.

THE EMANCIPATION PROCLAMATION FREED THE SLAVES
Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation was limited in effect — first limited to slaves in rebel states, and then not universally known. The holiday of Juneteenth, celebrates the moment June 19, 1865, that Union soldiers rode into Galveston, Texas, to tell America’s last remaining slaves they were free. This was news to the slaves, who had never heard of the proclamation, signed two and a half years earlier.

POT IS A GATEWAY DRUG
Anyone who went to school during the just-say-no era of the drug war knows that while marijuana itself isn’t so bad, experimenting with it leads to addiction, incarceration, and death from street drugs. For years, educators accepted the “gateway” theory, a 1950s scare tactic that has since been widely debunked and acknowledged as myth in 2016 by then-Attorney General Loretta Lynch. Social ailments such as poverty, bad home environment, and early exposure are better indicators of future addiction.

SLAVERY ENDED WITH THE CIVIL WAR
The 13th Amendment supposedly ending slavery still allowed forced labor as punishment for a crime. Convict leasing existed in every Southern state for decades after the Civil War. Tens of thousands of Black Americans who committed no real crime were kidnapped off the streets by corrupt local sheriffs, convicted in informal local courts for vague “crimes” such as vagrancy, issued fines they couldn’t pay, and sold to businesses to work in mines, timber yards, farms and railroads in conditions often worse than slavery.

AMERICA IS THE FREEST COUNTRY IN THE WORLD
“It’s a free country” is a mantra most kids probably hear before they even get to school. The reality, however, is that 22 countries are freer than the United States. The Human Freedom Index ranks America No. 23 on its global list, based on government size, religion, labor, trade, rule of law, and basic freedoms such as movement and association.

ALBERT EINSTEIN FLUNKED MATH
Many sub par math students have been consoled by encouraging teachers who remind them that even Einstein — history’s most famous mathematical genius — flunked math class. He did not. He mastered differential and integral calculus by 15, and taught himself algebra and geometry with books his parents bought him before he was 12 so he could master the fields on his own over summer vacation.

WATER TOWERS STORE DRINKING WATER
It’s true that some water towers store drinking water, but even in those cases, the main function of a water tower is to create water pressure. Most drinking water comes from wells, reservoirs, lakes or rivers. The reason water rushes out when you turn on your faucet is because massive stores of water in vertical, gravity-fed water towers apply enough pressure to force water to flow through your municipality’s network of underground pipes leading to your house.

THIS WILL GO ON YOUR PERMANENT RECORD
Generations of teachers and principals kept students in line with the most ridiculous threat in the history of U.S. education: The next behavioral infraction will go on your permanent record. There is no permanent record. Some districts do keep files on students that contain personal information and attendance records, but even in those cases, anyone who isn’t the student or the student’s parent — including college admissions officers — can’t access the record without a written release.

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The trouble with drink ware is design. Some glass ware is made to hold a certain amount of liquid and look stylish and elegant at the same time. The problem with this is that these designs are sometimes tipsy. if a glass is narrow at  its base and wider at the top the chance of  tipping is evident, even a glass that is cylindrical and the same size top to bottom, there is the chance of “tippage “since many times the height is the reason for spillage. There is a similar issue with hot beverage containers disposable and retainable. The idea of a hot beverage container having a narrow base and  wide mouth is inherently dangerous by its use. The disposables are worse since aside from the contents there is no weight to offset the contents and making more of a chance for spilling. What makes a good drinking container is a sturdy base and body much like a beer Stein with a handle. While this may not be the ideal container in many cases the design is rational as a model. The actual Stein is heavy but can tailored to suit many other containers and without the handle as it has been in certain glassware in many bars and restaurants. These heavy bottomed containers still have the esthetics of fine glassware but have the rational heavy base to guard against the normal tipping event. There is not much that can be done about disposables aside from redesigning the conical shape and caution on behalf of the user.


Bias has been printed, spoken and used in the media so much in the past 10 years as to become a candidate for one the most used words. Biases are sometimes learned, sometime acquired and sometimes just accepted through lack of facts to the contrary. The worst of these is implicit bias. This the bias that informs a person actions toward another person as explained: implicit bias refers to the attitudes or stereotypes that affect our understanding, actions, and decisions in an unconscious manner. There is a test presented by Harvard (https://implicit.harvard.edu/implicit/takeatest.html ) which allows one to test their own bias. There will always be bias but one can overcome some by the act of examining why they have the bias or what influenced the bias. Simple example: children have food biases based on family history and sometimes the look, smell or texture of the food. Many times these biases are dismissed by education on the subject of that bias. Unfortunately with humans interacting with humans those biases often take center stage (as in our current administration’s actions towards too many of us). Bias is the tool of folks who through ignorance, misinformation and fear have to blame someone for their misfortune. This is what brought people like Adolph. Benito, Josef Et.al. to power and ultimately one of the most murderous eras of our modern times. These biased folks have had the ability to tap into the fears of others for their own gain with no regard for the harm caused. Bullying is an extreme type of bias as it affords the bully opportunities to pull others into their vortex of “anti” while bolstering their own fragile ego. This “bullying” has become more mainstream with advent of TOTUS in the U.S., Putin in Russia, Al Assad in Syria to name a few. It is well to remember that one synonym for a bully is Tyrant.

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Associated Press

4/10/2018

Fact-checking President Trump’s ‘Fake News awards’

© The Associated Press President Donald Trump speaks during a meeting with the Emir of Qatar Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad al-Thani in the Oval Office of the White House, Tuesday, April 10, 2018, in Washington.
WASHINGTON — The FBI raid on the office and hotel room of President Donald Trump’s personal lawyer provoked visceral rage from the president and a burst of misstatements. Here’s a look at his remarks:
TRUMP: “So I just heard that they broke into the office of one of my personal attorneys, a good man, and it’s a disgraceful situation.” — Comments at a meeting with military advisers Monday.
THE FACTS: It was not a break-in. The FBI executed a search warrant obtained from a judge in conducting the raid and seizing records on a variety of matters, among them a $130,000 payment made to porn actress Stormy Daniels by Trump’s lawyer, Michael Cohen. The application for the warrant was approved high in the Justice Department.
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TRUMP: “They found no collusion whatsoever with Russia.” — referring to the Mueller investigation.
THE FACTS: There has been no such finding. It’s true that evidence of collusion has not emerged to date in special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation of Russian meddling in the 2016 election and the Trump campaign’s relationship with Russian figures. But the investigation continues and Mueller does not disclose what his probe has found except when filing charges. Although Trump focused his fury on the Mueller probe, Monday’s raid was overseen by the U.S. Attorney’s office in Manhattan, not the special counsel. Cohen’s lawyer, Stephen Ryan, said the raid was based in part on a referral from Mueller, however.
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TRUMP: “Again, they found nothing. And in finding nothing, that’s a big statement.” — Referring to the Mueller investigation.
THE FACTS: They found something.
So far, four Trump associates have been charged in Mueller’s investigation, of whom three have pleaded guilty to lying to the authorities. Among them are Michael Flynn, former White House national security adviser, and Rick Gates, a former Trump campaign aide. Overall, 19 people, including 13 Russians, have been charged.
Mueller is known to consider Trump a subject of his criminal investigation at this point. Being a subject in an investigation — instead of a target— suggests Mueller may not be currently preparing a criminal prosecution of the president but considers him more pivotal than a mere witness would be.
To get a warrant, agents and prosecutors must establish for a judge that there’s probable cause of criminal activity and that a search of a property is likely to turn up evidence of that.
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TRUMP: “The stock market dropped a lot today as soon as they heard the noise of, you know, this nonsense that’s going on. It dropped a lot. It was up — way up — and then it dropped quite a bit at the end, a lot.” — Comments from the Monday meeting, after markets closed.
THE FACTS: His read on the market appears to overstate the impact the raid had on stocks. And while the market did give up most of the gains it had made earlier in the day, at the close it was up marginally from a day earlier.
The trade dispute with China has been primarily driving market developments in recent days.
On Monday, the Dow was up 440 points at about 2 p.m., after the president suggested the two countries could resolve their dispute, then started falling off. The market got worse when news of the raid was reported later in the afternoon, as investors fretted about the prospects for a constitutional crisis, but most of the damage preceded that development. It ended the day up 46 points.
On Tuesday, more news about the raid jolted the market, the Dow gave up a big chunk of its morning gains, but those losses were restored over the next hour. That’s been a pattern with recent political developments — short-term ups and downs that take second place to overarching questions about economic growth and corporate earnings.
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Associated Press writers Josh Boak and Christopher Rugaber in Washington and Marley Jay in New York contributed to this report.
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Find AP Fact Checks at http://apne.ws/2kbx8bd
Follow @APFactCheck on Twitter: https://twitter.com/APFactCheck

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“What we got here is a failure to communicate”. This one of the most remembered lines from “Cool Hand Luke”, we currently have a massive miscommunication or under communication issue across the country. The widely accessible media information is now divided into so called “fake News” and real news. It seem that the majority of  “fake news” comes from on air personalities who are not journalists but more provocateurs who comment on current events under the guise of relaying true events. It is unfortunate that our TOTUS et al have used these outlets as purveyors of facts rather than the generators of biased and single sided information based on alternate facts. These semi news organizations have and probably will continue to garner support from folks who want to believe salacious and biased information rather that what is true. The failure is not so much in the communication but more the skewing of the information to present a particular sense of the real information that is available elsewhere. It is unfortunate that our CIC has not grown into the job and probably will not given the past two years of this administration. There is a fine line between Governing and ruling, since this is not a Monarchy, there should be no line to navigate just a willingness to have factual and realistic  conversations about administering a culturally diverse country. There is no one size fits all in this and apparently TOTUS does not understand that.

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Matt Bai 1 hour 28 minutes ago

So here we have another typical week in the capital: President Trump humiliated his own United Nations secretary, Nikki Haley, who announced to the world that the administration was handing down new sanctions against the Russians without realizing that Trump had decided not to do that, because by now it’s clear that he’s way more protective of Moscow than he is of anyone in his administration.
(A little free advice for the president: If you’re going to undermine a member of your Cabinet, maybe choose Pruitt or DeVos, or someone else who wouldn’t completely dismantle you in a Republican primary if she woke up one morning and thought to herself, “Ah, what the hell.”)
But let’s leave the daily drama of Trump’s Washington there for now, and let’s talk instead about the much larger question of how we got here and where we’re headed.
As you may have seen, my colleague Jon Ward, who’s one of the best political reporters anywhere, published a thoughtful and provocative mini-treatise this week about the decline of parties over the last half century or so.
I know how it feels to have your complex ideas distilled down to CliffsNotes, so I hope you’ll read Jon’s piece for yourself rather than rely on my summation, but essentially the argument goes like this: Reforms that were meant to transfer power away from party establishments to individual voters, beginning in the 1960s, have had the perverse effect, over time, of obliterating a crucial buffer between the voters and all manner of extremists or charlatans.
With weaker parties comes not the idealized form of democratic participation that reformers had envisioned, but rather a riotous process that allows someone like Donald Trump to pretty much walk in and take over the entire operation with a plurality of reactionary supporters.
To be clear, I don’t think Jon is suggesting we return to the days when a handful of party bosses could effectively choose or veto the nominees. He’s saying that the system has tipped too far now in the other direction, and that the only way to save our political system is to rediscover a balance that gives party elites more control — something more along the lines of the superdelegate system Democrats instituted in the 1980s.
(Jon’s also launched a fun podcast around this subject, which I’ll take a moment here to plug.)
It’s hard to argue with the diagnosis here. The system for selecting candidates we have now is too easily overwhelmed by passionate minorities and digitized mobs, and I’m betting that Democrats who felt smug about the implosion of Republicans in 2016 are about to find out just how perilously unruly the process can get for them, too.

But when it comes to the remedy, I arrive at a slightly different, and maybe more optimistic, place.
For one thing, I’ve never been a fan of political parties, generally. As party structures have grown weaker over the course of my lifetime, and as more of us have chosen to remain unaffiliated, the parties themselves have become increasingly dogmatic, homogeneous and intolerant of dissent. Most often, they reflect the impulses of their most cloistered constituents.
I can’t imagine that giving those party establishments more control over our politics would actually have any kind of moderating or ennobling influence, even if we could.
More to the point, we can’t, or at least not without a well-equipped DeLorean. Parties haven’t lost their influence because we changed the rules; we changed the rules because big institutions everywhere were beginning to lose their influence.
That’s not a trend we can just decide to reverse. It is, as I’ve written often over the past two decades, the central reality of our time.
Americans aren’t going to cede more power over their public affairs to politicians and local chairmen, any more than they’re going to trust priests or bankers or paid endorsers to decide what’s good for them. The more sway you give party leaders over the process, the more of an uprising you’ll see.
So what are we supposed to do? Are we destined to watch our nominating system devolve into a quadrennial reality show for demagogues?
Not necessarily.
From the time I started writing about politics, I’ve been fascinated, and often inspired, by growing ripples of independence in the two-party fabric. I’ll never forget watching Jesse Ventura, the former wrestler and newly installed governor of Minnesota, stride through the capitol in St. Paul in 1999, while crowds of visitors (and more than a few bureaucrats) spontaneously applauded.
They were cheering for themselves as much as for Ventura, who talked in those days of “doing the people’s business with joy in our hearts.” They were cheering the idea that the status quo was theirs to change.
Ventura turned out to be an imperfect vehicle for that change (although he built a solid and truly bipartisan administration). But I remember thinking: This is how politics ought to make people feel. This is how reform happens.
The Trump phenomenon has certainly tested my faith in this ideal. Here’s a successful outsider who took over a national party and overturned the order. But the nature of his reform isn’t uplifting or modernizing; it’s dark and relentlessly nostalgic. It’s theater masquerading as service.

It would be a mistake, though, to then assume that this is what political disruption has to look like, that we’re better off walling off the system from outsiders and stationing the two moribund parties at the gate. For every Trump, there’s an Arnold Schwarzenegger or a Mike Bloomberg out there too, waiting to test a more thoughtful and inclusive governing vision.
I don’t know who that is right now. Maybe the Rock reads history. Maybe James Comey is entertaining ideas. Maybe the pilot who landed that Southwest plane has loftier ambitions. (After hearing the audio, I’d vote for her.)
The point is that it’ll be a long time before we see another presidential field populated solely by career politicians. But that’s not something we should necessarily fear. That doesn’t mean that only hucksters and populists will apply.
Whether the challenge comes from within a major party or without, I still believe that an unconventional campaign — a candidate respectful of governing expertise, but determined to rethink how we use it — can be the thing that restores our faith in public life.
We should encourage candidacies like that, rather than try to make them less viable. And as journalists, we should subject them to serious scrutiny.
Perhaps, many decades from now, historians will talk about Trump’s election as a necessary, transitional moment, when party structures were fast being eclipsed by personal narrative, but before we’d figured out as a nation how to discern between genuine reformers and crass opportunists.
From here on out, presidents won’t always be establishment-approved, whether we like it or not.
But they won’t all be charlatans, either.

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