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Category Archives: My Opinion


We have always been suspicious of elected officials, their parties and their motives especially when their motives are counter to what we personally think. Our personal opinions are informed by what we read (correct or not) and more modernly the influence of mass media right in our pockets. In the back of our minds, we always think the political parties are barely on our side and have been proven correct enough times to maintain that distrust to the point of being swayed by any information that seems true according to our core beliefs (proven or unproven). Our enate information while valuable for everyday living until we reach the learning stage of high school where for the most part we receive the opportunity to interact with others of different faiths, creeds and ideas (the formative years?). After high school comes additional education in the form of college, tech schools and military service. These all come with the baggage of home learned information which tends to color or tilt our overall thinking. When we become voters and are assailed by political messages which either reinforce our ideas or challenges them, that is when the political information becomes suspect. The political process has always been messy and has become more so since the “Citizens United” decision which opened the flood gates on monetary contributions. This allowed an unlimited amount of cash to flow into the coffers of candidates which rendered them “paid for”. The current political system has maintained and reinforced our sense of politicians maintaining integrity for the good of their party and not for the good of the voters.

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It seems that voter suppression is alive and well in Georgia (and possibly elsewhere). MA

Dartunorro Clark 13 hrs ago NBC News

The move comes ahead of the 2020 presidential election. The state will also have an unusual “double-barreled” Senate contest, with both of its seats up for grabs at the same time.

Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger’s office said that it plans to send notices to voters who have been inactive for the past couple of elections and the notice will come with a paid return postage to give voters the opportunity to remain active. People have 30 days to return the notice.
Walter Jones, communications director for the office’s voter education project, told NBC News that the number of potential cancellations constitutes roughly 4 percent of Georgians on the voter rolls.
“This is not an outstanding number, relatively speaking,” he said. “Registration is considered inactive if there has no interaction with the registration system.”
The 2018 gubernatorial election between now-Gov. Brian Kemp, the Republican secretary of state at the time, and Democrat Stacey Abrams was roiled by accusations of voter registration purges and suppression. Kemp won by less than 2 percent. Also, in July 2017, Georgia canceled more than 530,000 registration — the largest in state history, according to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.
The plan to remove the inactive voters was announced Monday, the paper reported.
Jones said the move is routine list maintenance but voters could also get off the inactive list by voting in Georgia’s upcoming Nov. 5 election, returning the cancellation notice or registering with the state’s department of driver services.
However, Fair Fight Action, a group founded by Abrams that is suing the state over its handling of elections, excoriated the move in a tweet on Monday.
“Voters should not lose their right to vote simply because they have decided not to express that right in recent elections,” the group said. “Anytime a voter purge is conducted, errors can be made, including active voters being wrongly included on the list.”

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Listening to several political talk shows and the folks who call in to them, I realized that TOTUS and many of his supporters have Colonial Mindsets. The type of thinking that many years ago allowed the European and Asian countries who had the power to take and drain the resources on the conquered. One caller applauded the killing of the last(?) ISIS leader while citing TOTUS’s statement regarding the “protection”(?) of the oil fields (which are nowhere close to where the ISIS leader was killed). The same caller stated that we should take the oil much like the early conquerors took the resources of the conquered. It is apparent that many Americans who enjoy the fruits of early colonialism misremember what the original Americans (you know the NATIVE AMERICANS) lost during the first 100 years of this country. Is it possible that many nonnative aka “White” (no matter what other nationality) Americans do not or cannot see the folly of their notions, attitudes, and pseudo historic sense of our country? Unfortunately, American prosperity was built on the European model of conquering and oppressing rather than the premise of acting like a guest (as it were) in someone else’s country. Apparently many have lost (or never had) the ability to accept and coexist with other people (I don’t say Race as we are all of the Human Race) who are different. NO ONE is above the law and NO ONE is better than anyone else except in their particular circumstances. So Update your thinking to 2019 and beyond!

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sub·ver·sion
/səbˈvərZH(ə)n,səbˈvərSH(ə)n/
noun
noun: subversion; plural noun: subversions
the undermining of the power and authority of an established system or institution.
“the ruthless subversion of democracy”

The current administration has seemingly made subversion a tool of its daily work. Over the past 3 years, TOTUS has continued campaigning rather than run the government with integrity. Aided by an almost criminal Congress and the related Whitehouse aides and miscreants, this administration has opened the U.S. to international and national ridicule. Our long-time allies while not speaking out have opted to do the work they need to do without the U.S. At the same time our long-time enemies have risen in our place as “protectors”. This dereliction of duty by the administration has allowed this strengthening of bad actors in the world while spending valuable capital pursuing and punishing immigrants new and long time U.S. residents. The U.S. has long contributed to our Southern hemisphere neighbors to enable them to provide better conditions for their residents. TOTUS and his “crew” have cut those funds,  allowing for the dire conditions there to become more urgent. This increased urgency (coupled with in some cases) the rise of an unscrupulous leader has caused great harm and desperation in the people who then flee their homes and livelihoods. The flow of people has led to the crisis on our Southern border and at other entry points of our country. This defunding has only weakened us a country while satisfying the baser instincts of a small core of people. In effect, the U.S. has been subverted by an administration devoted to self-service.

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The hits keep coming.MA
ABC News

5 hrs ago

Former Veterans Affairs Secretary David Shulkin joined ABC News’ “The Briefing Room” on Friday, expressing concern over a “shadow government” within the Trump administration that, he said, made it more difficult to do his job.

“You serve at their pleasure, and the president should have the team around him or her that allows them to feel comfortable and to get the advice they want, there’s no issue with that,” he told ABC News Deputy Political Director MaryAlice Parks. “The issue that I’ve raised in the book and just laid out the facts — for people to decide — is this was being orchestrated by a small number of political appointees who weren’t elected and weren’t put in place to decide who should be secretary.”
When asked about the current administration, Shulkin added, “I think that President Trump is struggling right now.”
Shulkin served as VA secretary from February 2017 until his departure in March 2018, after an ethics investigation and alleged misuse of taxpayer dollars.
He said they created the situation by leaking and creating “false information” that had an influence on the other members of government.
In his new book, “It Shouldn’t Be This Hard to Serve Your Country: Our Broken Government and the Plight of Veterans,” Shulkin describes the nation’s capital as “toxic, chaotic and subversive.”
When Parks asked if the book, in part, was a way for him to settle the score after he said a “shadow government” of political appointees worked to undermine him, Shulkin said it wasn’t.
“I wrote the book because I feel so strongly that our veterans deserve the very best care and services that this country can offer,” Shulkin said. “I had found a formula, I think, for working within government to make that better and I wanted to share what was working and what wasn’t.”
Shulkin’s advice? More Americans need to volunteer to serve and help make the government better, including helping to protect whistleblowers.
A report published Thursday by the VA inspector general showed the VA Office of Accountability and Whistleblower Protection failed to meet its stated goals under the Whistleblower Protection Act. The office, specifically created by President Donald Trump to clean up the challenged agency, didn’t meet its objectives and created circumstances that could put whistleblowers at further risk for retaliation.
“In its first two years of operation, the OAWP acted in ways that were inconsistent with its statutory authority while it simultaneously floundered in its mission to protect
Shulkin said he agreed it was tough for people to speak out even when he was in office, but that it wasn’t his intention.
“Well, I think that there’s no doubt that this has been an environment that has been tough for many people who have tried to speak out. When I was secretary we passed through Congress, and the president signed, the Accountability and Whistleblower Protection Act,” Shulkin added. “We were enacting new legislation to be able to make sure that people felt comfortable speaking out when they saw wrongdoing and that certainly was not the intention or an environment that I supported where there was retaliation.”
He expressed concern over partisanship preventing what he feels should be a bipartisan effort.
“Unfortunately, I think that this pattern of behavior, the experience that I had, which I think took away from the ability to focus, in this case on veterans, is not, unfortunately, a unique experience,” he said. “I’ve seen the same thing happen to many other people who have come to serve, many dedicated career professionals, who, trying to do the job and there for the right reason because they believe in government and they believe in their country, being prevented from doing their job every day.”
Shulkin said Trump and “others in Washington” should take a lesson on service from veterans.
“Veterans are about serving and putting country first and I think we all have a lot to learn from them,” he said. “I think that this is a country that is divided, and it’s hard to be a leader of a divided country, and I would hope that he would see that this is the opportunity to really lead in a very different direction.”

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In case you hadn’t noticed, national politics have shifted from the absurd to the sublime. The current administration has shown how greedily our electeds want to hold on to power for power’s sake rather than for the sake of service to the country. Each major party has had its time in the limelight and squandered it. It is of less importance who the titular head of the government is when the combined legislative members are suspect and corrupt in morals and integrity. The current hearings can be likened to a “show of hands” of public opinion of the administration and the legislature. The degradation of our always suspect political system has steadily gone downwards in the past 20 years and we (voters) still ignore the 1000 pound canary in the room. The only and most effective control of the government is the vote. No amount of mass media, rallies or speeches can tell you what a candidate or party is about or what they will do. What can be done is to look at the past and current record of the candidates and how their actions have or will affect ALL of us no matter what our party affiliation is. There are still a lot of attempts to pull the “political wool” over the eyes of the voters and many of us have allowed it by remaining uninformed and essentially “phoning in” our votes and loyalty. It is now time to shear the fleecers.

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The current issues involving  Ukraine, Russia, Turkey, Syria and the Kurds have one commonality and that is TOTUS. The “Trump Organization” with all of its components and arms has always been a one man show. Unfortunately, the United States Government does not operate this way. The government has separate branches so that there will not be a one man show. With all of the party politics involved, the government still in practice continues to function. Our purpose as voters is simply to evaluate the candidates for office and make the best decision we can. It is unfortunate that mass media has made the choices a bit tougher to decipher which leads us to an assortment of other outlets for information whether it is true or force. Our present “leaders” are at once staunch party members and independent depending on the issues. There is no doubt that TOTUS is guilty of all or most of the allegations against him so where are the “upright’ citizens and members of Congress who want as honest a government as we can muster?  When the dust settles on all of this we will have alienated our most reliable allies and partners, uplifted our longtime foes and allowed the deaths of civilians by withdrawing troops with no plan. It is wise to look at the countries involved in the middle east conflict: Turkey who as the host country for one of our bases has received Russian made military hardware over our objections and pursuing the Kurds (our allies in the ISIS defeat) as enemies. This pursuit into Syria now brings Syria and Russia into yet another conflict which we will eventually have to make a decision to join or assist. All of this on an underlying bed of  Saudi, Iranian and Israeli tensions. The uninformed hand of TOTUS holds the spoon stirring it all and will throw up his little hands when it all goes south!

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The current administration is rife with feckless and incompetent members who at the behest of self-serving leader which has brought American prestige and power to a new low. TOTUS has regularly created problems, then solved them (poorly) in the idea that the administration is doing a better job than his predecessors. It is unfortunate that many of TOTUS’s followers have single visions on what he has accomplished when that vision is one they share with no regard to the effect on the country as a whole. This is with all due respect “WWII era thinking” when we were at war after being attacked. The “Make America Great Again” slogan is just that, a slogan. America will recover from this administration but will his followers do the same and take a wider (better)  view of where we are and our place in the world. Our long-time foes have ascended under this administration while our productivity has decreased under tariffs that do nothing to help our producers and caused prices to rise on imported goods (and for no good reason). All the actions of this administration’s actions are for the glory of TOTUS and so-called “deal making” abilities. If the lies and missteps of this administration were bricks, there would be enough to build the unnecessary “wall” on the Southern border. If we could solve problems as TOTUS attempts to do, we could simply roll back what was done or said but since that tactic does not work we will just have to vote new people in and take actions to punish the outgoing criminals.

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Totus has shown us how nasty and divisive our politics has become. Many of us have always thought our politicians lie to us at some point and sometimes always. There has always been a basic mistrust since many of the everyday political workings are done in closed chambers which promotes an air of mistrust. As voters, we have to up our political game by paying more attention to who we elect and learn to dismiss potentially suspect statements from candidates new and incumbent. The hardest thing we have to do is to spend some time researching each one regardless of the party they belong to. It must be remembered that the party line is not necessarily in OUR best interests or the country’s. It has long been observed that candidates will and do say what is required to get elected but take another route once in office. The onus is and always has been on the voter. This is why all of us need to take a broad look at all candidates no matter what party they belong to and evaluate their words and actions ( previous and current) before jumping on a liner that could become a sinking ship. The real changes are not due to different people being in office but due to voters being educated on the candidates regardless of party.

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Be facebook smart, only post what you want to be known. MA

Grete Suarez 23 hours ago
Cambridge Analytica whistleblower Christopher Wylie blasted Facebook’s (FB) continued influence after its widely publicized data scandal, amid a recent controversy over the site’s refusal to remove a Trump campaign ad that makes false assertions about Democratic presidential contender Joe Biden.
The advertisement claims the former vice president tried to pressure a Ukrainian prosecutor to drop a probe of his son, Hunter — an argument that’s been widely debunked. It forms the basis of a widening controversy that’s sparked an impeachment inquiry in Congress, and given Facebook’s critics new ammunition to blast the platform’s practices.
Recently, Facebook said that it would not attempt to fact-check political ads — a position the company reasserted as the Biden campaign moved to have the spot taken down.
In a recent interview with Yahoo Finance, Wylie — who blew the lid on the data scandal that walloped Facebook last year — insisted that the site was “making a choice” to spread false information. He compared the company to a “stalker” on a date.
“So if one campaign is basing itself on a scaled spread of disinformation and fake news in its advertising campaign, and you say we’re just not going to do anything about it, you are making a choice, whether you like it or not, to help one side,” Wylie said to Yahoo Finance’s YFi PM.

Wylie just released a new book “Mindf*ck,” which reveals the inside story of “the data mining and psychological manipulation behind the election of Donald Trump and the Brexit referendum, connecting Facebook, WikiLeaks, Russian intelligence, and international hackers.”
The Cambridge Analytica scandal led to 87 million Facebook users’ data being sold and used for voter targeting campaigns for Brexit and Trump’s 2016 presidential bid.
The scandal resulted in Facebook having to fork over a record $5 billion in fines, and forced the social media giant to rethink key aspects of its data management — even as it continues its march into other business lines.
“This is a company that is everything from your photo album, to a communications network, to where we now have our public discourse and host elections… and at the same time wants to become a financial system,” Wylie said — referencing the company’s embattled cryptocurrency project, Libra.
“I question the wisdom of allowing a company to concentrate so many aspects of our society into one product,” he added.
Facebook is a publicly traded company, which Wylie points out is only accountable to their shareholders and CEO/founder Mark Zuckerberg. He called for independent regulators who will speak for its users — something several politicians have called for in the wake of the Cambridge scandal.
He believes the Internet “is part and parcel of democracy now” — which begs the question of whether the rules need updating.
Wylie used an analogy of Facebook as a perfect blind date — only to find out that person has spent two years stalking the person they’re courting.
“You are more vulnerable, because there’s an imbalance in power, because one entity, or one person, knows a lot more about you than vice versa,” he explained.
“Facebook is like that stalker – and that’s powerful… people will pay money to access the knowledge of that stalker,” he added.
Grete Suarez is producer at Yahoo Finance for YFi PM and The Ticker. Follow her on Twitter: @GreteSuarez

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