Someone Has To Pay..

No, this post is not going to talk about taking revenge or seeking vengeance. Instead, it is about the idea of getting free information on what is going on in the world and particularly our country today. I think the old saying “you get what you pay for” is true in many areas of life including this one.

2017-02-19_11-13-29.pngI must admit up front that I am probably like most of the people in that I get at least part of my news from Internet sources. I used to get agitated when I clicked on a news article only to have some words to the effect that I need to sign up with a paid prescription in order to view the article. I almost always mumbled, “you gotta be kidding…”

But it finally it dawned on this dense brain of mine that someone has to pay if you want quality news information. Someone has to track down the info, get at least double verification of the facts, and then write the article in concise and understandable words and then someone else needs to check it for all the above. It takes people of talent to do that and they need to be paid what they are worth. In the past, the video versions of news sources were paid by the advertisers of the programs selling their products but that paradigm seems to be losing its effectiveness rather quickly now. How do we get reliable sources for our information? That is the question at hand.

One way is to pay for the service directly through subscription. I recently joined millions of others in this post-truth era who subscribe to the New York Times.  Why the Times? Because they have the most talented writers around. They stick to tried and true methods of obtaining the latest news.

With the abundance of fake news now proliferating the Internet, we need someone we can trust to give us the real facts.  “You get what you pay for” almost seems to be archaic in today’s world but maybe it is actually truer than ever.

Next time you read a news article or see it on a cable news channel, stop and think if this is really true or even pertinent? If you doubt it in any way look for another source of verification.  Especially it that news channel happens to be FOX news or MSNBC and most particularly when it comes out of the Oval Office…

 

It’s All About Trust.

This title is a pretty good description of what America looks like right now. I will admit that we are only a month in (God, it seems much longer than that!) so maybe we just need to give them time to get their ducks in order.

I still have trouble seeing how the Trump administration survives a full term. Judging by his Thursday press conference, President Trump’s mental state is like a train that long ago left freewheeling and iconoclastic, has raced through indulgent, chaotic and unnerving, and is now careening past unhinged, unmoored and unglued….

2017-02-20_10-47-04.pngThe first conclusion is obvious. This administration is more like a medieval monarchy than a modern nation-state. It’s more “The Madness of King George” than “The Missiles of October.” The key currency is not power, it’s flattery….

We’re about to enter a moment in which U.S. economic and military might is strong but U.S. political might is weak. Imagine the Roman Empire governed by Monaco.

That’s scary. The only saving thought is this: The human imagination is vast, but it is not nearly vast enough to encompass the infinitely multitudinous ways Donald Trump can find to get himself disgraced.

Source: New York Times

I am a person driven by logic, anything else makes no sense to me. CO3 continues to rant and rave with one lie after another.  When will it end? My wife is a lover of TV courtroom drama so I get my share of that venue. The lawyers are always saying thing like “you tell frequent lies so why should we trust you to not be lying now?” That to me is the hallmark of this current administration. CO3 and all his cronies continue to shout blatant lies so why should I trust anything they say?

Trust is the name of the game for many of us. If we can’t trust someone then they lose all credibility to us. Like the quote above says I am having trouble seeing how this administration survives full term.  If it has to go down in ashes then the sooner the better as far as I am concerned.

  • CO3 = Current Oval Office Occupant

Many Americans Believe A Lot Of Dumb Stuff – AKA Lazy Minds

It is amazing to me just how dumb so many Americans are. It seems that in most surveys taken lately show that we are indeed in a Post-Truth era as my friends at The Week mentioned in their January 13, 2017 edition of their print magazine (edited for length):

Misinformation: Why facts are now irrelevant

Here’s some unsurprising yet depressing news, said Catherine Rampell in WashingtonPost.com. “Many Americans believe a lot of dumb, crazy, destructive, provably wrong stuff.”

  • 2017-01-06_09-24-05.pngnearly half of Donald Trump voters still believe the “bizarre theory” that Hillary Clinton helped run a child sex slave ring in a Washington, D.C., pizza joint, and 52 percent are certain Trump won the popular vote. (He lost by 3 million votes.)
  • About half of Clinton supporters “believe that Russia tampered with vote tallies to help elect Trump”—which is simply not true

Sadly, it seems that “the facts of political life are now subject to partisan interpretation,” said Juan Williams in TheHill.com.

  • 67 percent of Trump voters say unemployment grew during President Obama’s term in office, even though it shrank from 7.8 percent to 4.6 percent.

For a democratic system “based on the consent of voters who are fully informed,” the epidemic of willful ignorance is deeply troubling….

The irony is that the internet was supposed to democratize information, enabling “curious citizens’’ to become better informed about complex issues, said Jonathan Mahler in The New York Times. Instead, it’s made it possible for people to hide out in “closed information loops.’’

The internet’s lack of a filter has made all beliefs appear equally valid, since you can always find online “evidence” and opinion to back up even the most nonsensical notions, with no agreed-upon authority to differentiate fact from fiction. We truly have entered “a post-truth era.”

How did we ever get to the point that facts don’t really matter anymore? If truth is now irrelevant, what holds the moral fiber of a country together?  That is the most serious of all questions in a democratic form of government.  Given that a Liar-In-Chief now occupies the Oval Office we will likely see if facts REALLY don’t matter. After his first month in office he continues to believe that whatever he says is the absolute truth and anyone who disagrees with him is must flat out wrong!

  • Russia is our friend, not our enemy.
  • The real enemy is the press and their FAKE news.
  • My administration is like a well-oiled machine.
  • Global warming is a hoax invented by China.

This list could go on and on and the well continues to overflow with each passing day.

How long can we exist when so many of us believe in “alternative facts”? How long can we exist when we become so mentally lazy that we don’t bother to even attempt to tell the difference between truth and lie? I can only pray that two years from now we will wrest control of congress away from those supporting this “post-truth” era. It seems that the only thing CO3 has done is to add billionaires to the “swamp”, it will be up to us citizens to do the real draining.

* CO3 = Current Oval Office Occupant

That’s how dictators get started …

Snippet Banner  The quote below comes from John McCain criticizing CO3 for saying the press is your enemy.

“If you want to preserve democracy as we know it, you have to have a free and, many times, adversarial press,” McCain added. “And without it, I am afraid that we would lose so much of our individual liberties over time. Thats how dictators get started.”…

“I just don’t think it’s possible in our society,” he said in the profile. “There’s too many checks and balances. The danger is not Trump perverting our Constitution or taking too much power; the danger is the polarization of America.”

Source: McCain criticizes Trump for calling media the enemy: Thats how dictators get started – Chicago Tribune

I would like to feel as secure as Mr. McCain that CO3 cannot become a dictator but he does have all the markings of one.  I have one of those love/hate relations with Mr. McCain as it seems that he sometimes goes about as far off the rail as CO3 but sometimes he just speaks the truth when others are too afraid. Maybe I just don’t like him when he doesn’t speak “my” truth.  There is a lot of that going around isn’t there?

* CO3 = Current Oval Office Occupant

 

Tweets and Imports – Fake News

I get a print copy of The Week in my weekly mail. One of the interesting columns is call “Noted”. That is where they give me a few tidbits to counter all the “fake news coming from the Executive branch.  Here is this week’s words.

  • 2017-02-15_08-59-22In his first two weeks in office, President Trump attacked at least 23 people, places, and things on his Twitter account, including Women’s March protesters; Sens. John McCain, Lindsey Graham, and Chuck Schumer; Mexico; Iran; and the “failing” media.
    —Politico.
    com
  • U.S. imports made up just 15 percent of our gross domestic product in 2015—which makes us less reliant on imports than almost any other country. Less than 3 percent of U.S. spending is on Chinese imports.

Source: The Week Feb 17, 2017

Simply stated I am just not an “in your face” guy. I don’t believe that everyone that thinks differently than me is the enemy. In that vain, I can’t understand why CO3 * attacks so many people. Making 23 enemies in just two weeks?  But then again I realize that he is an extreme narcissist and that is just what they do to build themselves up at least in their own minds.

I have been studying some of the early Hitler years and the similarity to today is very obvious. Now before you get the flamethrower out I am not comparing CO3 to Hitler other than to point out his fascist leanings. One of the first things that Hitler did was to attack the media as the enemy of the people and to state that he was the only one to be believed. It took Hitler almost ten years to take total control of his fascist regime and ethnic cleansing and the resulting WWII. Kind of like Minnesota’s Jesse Ventura, I can’t see the possibility of CO3 lasting more than four years. I really can’t see him even lasting that long before he gets impeached. 🙂

On the second quote it is kinda surprising to see that China imports make up only 3 percent of U.S. spending but given that it takes a lot of DVD players to equal a $30,000 car (there are no cars coming from China….yet) or a $350,000 home. Yeah, many of our toys are made in China but almost none of our food or other essentials comes from there.

The thing that the current executive branch totally lacks is perspective. Everything is either CO3’s way or it is wrong. That idea is growing very thin with me and I’m pretty sure many others.

* CO3 = Current Oval Office Occupant

He vowed to help the working class. He’s helping wealthy financial elites instead.

Can a person who is an NPD Narcissist really understand what the average person is going through in these trying times. Can he have empathy or is it fake empathy just to gain more admiration and praise he desperately needs? Can a person who has never ran anything other than a family owned kingdom actually know what to do in a massive public sector job? Those are the questions of today. One of those critical factors is consumer protection vs. corporate free will.

On Friday, the Trump administration rolled out new executive actions, this time calling for a review of the Dodd-Frank financial reform law signed by President Obama. The Labor Department will also have to consider whether a new fiduciary rule Obama put in motion, to be enacted this April, should be rethought or scrapped.

But after the financial industry nearly destroyed the economy in 2008, who on Earth would view deregulating the financial industry as a good idea?

The answer is obvious: the financial industry, of course. The more they’re deregulated, the more they profit — the rest of us be damned.

Republicans don’t like “big government” solutions. No Keynesian stimulus to help the economy, and less welfare aid and direct job creation to help the poor. Nor do they want to make Social Security more generous to help retirees.

They want the private financial industry to solve all these problems instead.

Source: Trump vowed to help the working class. He’s helping wealthy financial elites instead.

Since it has been more than eight years I suspect that there are some children around who don’t remember the near meltdown of our economic system due to deregulating of the finance sector. Our entire auto industry which is the backbone of what remains of the manufacturing sector was headed for bankruptcy. I think most of us remember those times and the causes for them.

Safeguard laws under the name of Dodd-Frank were instituted by congress to prevent future catastrophes. Now that the is a billionaire in the Oval Office he wants to get rid of those stifling rules that prevents those like him from getting richer faster.  If he really was looking after the “little guy” he would be trying like another GOP rebel Teddy Roosevelt finding any loopholes in the existing laws that should be closed. Instead he is doing everything possible to scrap any safeguards now in place.

I am praying that the Republican congress does not allow him to put us back in immenient harms way by undoing their prevention measures. I am hoping and even praying that at least “they” have a sense of public good in their hearts.  I doubt this type of resistance will come from Mr. Ryan but maybe those in the ranks will come forward. It can’t be all about the filthy rich getting richer.. It just can’t….

The Future of the American Center

One of the things I like about David Brooks is that he is an optimist much like I want to be but often not. Here are his thoughts below:

What’s about to happen in Washington may be a little like the end of the Cold War — bipolarity gives way to multipolarity. A system dominated by two party-line powers gives way to a system with a lot of different power centers. Instead of just R’s and D’s, there will be a Trump-dominated populist nationalism, a more libertarian Freedom Caucus, a Bernie Sanders/Elizabeth Warren progressive caucus, a Chuck Schumer/Nancy Pelosi Democratic old guard.

The most important caucus formation will be in the ideological center. There’s a lot of room between the alt-right and the alt-left, between Trumpian authoritarianism and Sanders socialism….

Going forward, moderates face four big challenges. First, deepen a positive national vision that is not merely a positioning between left and right. Second, elevate a new generation of political leaders so the movement is not just a retread of retired establishment types.

Third, build a mass movement of actual voters, not just financiers and think-tank johnnies. Fourth, have the courage to stand together as a swing legislative caucus, when the pressure from the party leaderships becomes intense.

Source: The Future of the American Center – The New York Times

Before I get on to my thoughts about this topic let’s summarize the four thoughts:

  1. Having a positive vision of our country
  2. Spur a new generation of political leaders
  3. Build a mass movement of voters
  4. Take stands together

I think that pretty much summarizes a total game plan for the future, if there is a future for the USA.

Almost everything the current Oval Office occupant says is negative in nature. He says everything is terrible and only I can make it right.  To him America is a very dark place with nothing positive to proclaim. We need to get out of this mode of thinking the sooner the better.  Great nations were never sustained by such negative thoughts.

One of the major problems with politics today is that it is ruled by seventy-some year olds. Just look at our last election to see that fact.  Just look at the current makeup of the Senate to see that fact. Our future depends on getting a new generation of leaders to take the helm. A generation of leaders who have the whole country as their perspective, not just a small slice of it. Presently politics has become so stained I  just don’t see  how anyone would chose that as a any part of their life choice. We need to do whatever is necessary to make it a noble goal once again.

Another major problem in this country is that fewer than half of us ever get out to vote for any of our elected leaders. Too many think that their vote doesn’t matter. Too many others are like sheep and follow the easiest path which too often is destructive in nature. The result of this is that a relatively small minority can choose our leaders.

Taking stands is going to be a major way to resist destructive change that is certain to come in these following years. Things like gutting our social healthcare safety nets in favor of meager vouchers. Things like losing basic freedoms in the name of security. Thinks like basically changing the foundations of our democracy.  WE NEED TO TAKE STANDS TOGETHER.

Thanks David for showing us a possible path.

GOD SAVE OUR COUNTRY…

It’s The Democrats Fault You Lost your Health Insurance

The political spin machine is running at breakneck speed now. It doesn’t matter whether what it contains is true or not, it seems so many people believe anything that you tell them. Yeah, it’s the Democrats fault that so many millions will lose their health insurance upon the repeal of ACA…. because they shouldn’t have given it to you in the first place.

Here are some words about that from my friends at The Week

The first and most crucial test of how far we’ve fallen down the postmodern rabbit hole may well be reaction to the pending repeal of the Affordable Care Act, which (if passed without a comparable replacement) will lead millions of Americans (many of them Trump voters) to lose their health insurance. Normally one would expect this to produce a severe backlash against Republicans in general and the president in particular. Will it happen? Or can the party somehow persuade GOP voters, based on nothing more than factless assertion, that their pain is actually the fault of Democrats? And if that fails, will President Trump be able to insulate himself from the backlash by using media-induced chaos to convince voters to blame Democrats and Republicans in Congress?  If either happens, it will stand as ominous confirmation that we’ve fully crossed the threshold into a world of post-truth politics — a place lacking any true limits on the exercise of power.

Source: What Trump has wrought

Simply speaking we need to get over the insane partisan politics of this millennium. If we don’t we will keep falling deeper into the rabbit hole as a country. When we forget that we are all in this together we start our decline into tyranny. Given the character of our current president that wouldn’t take much of a push.

But I’m sure that the logic of millions losing affordable healthcare that they shouldn’t have gotten it in the first place rings true to far too many in this post-truth era. We claim to be a Christian nation but that seems to only be in thought and not deed as far as the Evangelicals are concerned.  If we are indeed a Christian nation then we must wholeheartedly endorse Jesus’ words about being our brother’s keeper that he spoke of so many times in the red letters.

The picture below is what I am clinging to in the coming years. It is from my friends at the NPR. I am really trying very hard to believe there is good in the world…

2017-01-15_08-39-58.png

A Message from Elizabeth Warren

For this new year my intention in the political arena is to overwhelmingly focus on the issues and programs that are put in jeopardy and on the congress and to ignore for the most part what is happening on in the executive branch. The less I use the “T” word the happier I will be. The battle in 2017 is to try to preserve our democratic (little “d”) values, liberties and accomplishments. 

I recently got an email from Elizabeth Warren and as usual she is compassionate about keeping Donald Trump and the Republicans from dismantling what it means to be an American. Here are some words from that email:

We know what we are fighting for:

  • We will NOT let them gut the rules on Wall Street or weaken the CFPB.
  • We will NOT let them privatize Social Security and Medicare.
  • We will NOT let them completely dismantle the Affordable Care Act.
  • We will NOT let them weaken workers’ rights to good pay, decent benefits and the right to organize for better conditions.
  • We will NOT let them cut taxes for billionaires and giant corporations.
  • We will NOT let them cut investments in education, infrastructure, or medical research.
  • We will NOT let them poison our air and water and destroy our planet.
  • We will NOT let them rip apart families or build Trump’s stupid wall.
  • And we will NOT let them legalize hate and bigotry against African Americans, Latinos, Muslims, immigrants, women, or LGBT Americans.

We will fight them whenever and wherever we need to fight them. We will fight them with more energy, more passion and more determination than ever before because the fights to come are going to decide who we are as a people, and what kind of country we will be.

Facebook
Twitter

2016-12-30_10-10-54If only Elizabeth had managed to be the Democratic nominee in 2016 our country would be looking a at a very different future.

I posted a few days ago about the Republican proposal to privatize Medicare and it is a scary one.  Basically they want to give the healthcare providers the ability to charge whatever they want and to put the increased bill totally on the backs of us seniors. I don’t understand how they, primarily Mr. Ryan, thinks they can get away with that. But then again I can’t see why they think the same thing about this whole list of programs as cited above they plan on dismantling .

GOD SAVE OUR COUNTRY…

The New Norm?

Please forgive me if I don’t want to make the President-Elect’s actions the new norm for our country or the world. Blatant lying and narcissistic exaggerations are offensive to me.  I will do my best to stay in that mode for the next four years until someone with more sanity occupies the highest office in this land.

2016-12-24_07-56-45.png“People who expect the past are going to be shocked that there’s a new way of doing things,” said Barry Bennett, a Republican strategist who served as an adviser to Trump during the general-election campaign. “This is a glimpse of where he’s headed, and in a way, it’s highly transparent, but just not the way Washington has done business for the past 40 or 50 years.”

But others warn that Democrats and Republicans alike on Capitol Hill could have a hard time reading Trump and discerning his true priorities if he continues to operate as he has during the transition.“

It’s difficult to separate the wheat from the chaff — what comes out that he really wants and what’s just said at the spur of the moment,” said Jim Manley, a former longtime aide to Senate Minority Leader Harry M. Reid (D-Nev.). “In the past, a president-elect doing something like this would have been unfathomable.”

Source: The chaos theory of Donald Trump: Sowing confusion through tweets – The Washington Post

Yes, in the past these actions would have been unfathomable, but they are also unfathomable in the present and the future as far as I am concerned. Is our world  is going to be figuratively, but hopefully not literally,  turned upside down in the coming  few years?  Different cultures have different views of actions  and words and I pray that this very offensive behavior in our culture is not deadly in others.  The way Mr. Trump disses people on a daily basis would be a death sentence in the “Street” underworld. I wonder where else that might apply?

  • Will ISIS grow because his tweeting rhetoric is a massive recruitment tool  where many in that part of the world are literalists? I don’t know…
  • Will Israel come to believe that they can nuke Iran because of his reckless words?  I don’t know…
  • Will Russia increase their meddling in our democratic systems because of his complacency with their past attempts? I don’t know…

Let us pray that the rest of the world takes Mr. Trump in the same way that Barry Bennet does and disregard what he says and instead wait for an interpretation by his staff handlers.

God Save Our Country…..