Tuesday, February 28, 2017

Presidential Address to Congress Reaction: Good Tone but where is the Action?

Immediate Feedback to the President's Address to the Congress was that it was well delivered and it struck some solid notes. Of course, Politifact will probably have a field day with all the out of context and inaccurate remarks.

What is interesting by in the playback of the President's comments and pundit commentary is the lack of a sense of urgency. If the economy is a "mess" that the President maintains, where is the written proposal on the trillion dollar infrastructure plan. Where are the written ideas on sensible tax reform that could stimulate real long-term economic growth? Where are the fixes to Obamacare that could attract bipartisan support?

Do not misinterpret the above comments. President Obama tried to repeatedly get infrastructure projects enacted. It was the President Trump's Party that resisted and obstructed. It was President Obama that offered to work with both parties on sensible tax reform ideas that would revitalize the economy but it was President Trump's Party that resisted and obstructed. It was President Obama that supported fixes and adjustments to the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare for those that did not know) but it was President Trump's Party that resisted and obstructed. Finally, it was President Obama who inherited a real "mess" in the Great Recession and Democrats passed measures to save our country like the Stimulus Plan, the Auto Bail Out, and yes the Affordable Care Act. It was President Trump's Party that mostly played politics and stayed on the sidelines.

People in this country, especially those who bought into the con that is the Trump Presidency, need to wake up and not reward the President's Party that has done nothing to help them move our country forward.


Editorial Cartoon courtesy of Mike Luckovich


Monday, February 27, 2017

What should be our Priorities?

The administration is supposedly proposing a budget that includes a 54 billion dollar increase in defense spending coupled with 54 billion in cuts to programs like the  Environmental Protection Agency, School Lunches,  PBS, and Foreign Aid. The President, knowing what partially comprises his political base, is not going to tackle entitlement reform in social security and medicare. Also missing are any details of Mr. Trumps one trillion dollar infrastructure program.

We as a country have to ask what are priorities should be. Is a 54 billion dollar increase in defense spending (where we as a country have a military that is bigger than at least the next seven nations combined) better spent cleaning up our environment, feeding hungry children, providing cost effective educational television, and sensible investments in assisting other nations? While Social Security and Medicare are in a sound financial position, should not painless reforms like gradually raising the retirement age and increasing the maximum payroll contribution for the richest Americans be enacted. Should we be debating another round of supply-side tax cuts which have never historically worked in the long term or a jobs program through the President's infrastructure program that has been nowhere to be seen?

Again, what should be our priorities?

http://thehill.com/policy/finance/321287-trump-to-ask-for-major-epa-state-cuts-to-boost-military-spending-reports

The Altar of Nostalgic Reactionism


Today, the Trump Administration, through the Justice Department led by racially sensitive Attorney General Jeff Sessions, decided not to follow the Obama Justice Department's example in arguing against the State of Texas strict voting id laws. It seems that on the issues of race, discrimination, and immigration, this Administration wants to make America great again by going back to the pre-civil rights days when states rights ruled, voting obstacles prevailed in southern regions, and immigration quotas endeavored to maintain a white dominant society. These are the acts of a desperate group grasping for one last day in the sun on the altar of nostalgic reactionism

http://thehill.com/homenews/administration/321361-trumps-doj-dropping-opposition-to-texas-voter-id-law

Another beacon of decency in Philadelphia

Thank you to members of the Islamic Community who helped repair Jewish Headstones that were vandalized in Philadelphia. This is the second major desecration of a Jewish Cemetary in this country over the last couple of weeks and this is the second time that members of the Islamic Community have helped in the restoration. Again, this is an example of what the meaning of America is all about.

http://thehill.com/blogs/blog-briefing-room/news/321271-muslim-americans-help-repair-hundreds-of-vandalized-jewish

Good News from the Arizona State House

According to the below link from the Arizona Republic, it looks like the bill coming out of the Arizona State Senate to criminalize the organization of protests that deteriorate into chaos is going to stay there as the Arizona Speaker of the House J.D. Mesnard voiced concerns over the bill's infringement on first amendment rights. Way to go Mr. Speaker.

http://www.azcentral.com/story/news/politics/legislature/2017/02/27/why-gov-doug-ducey-wont-have-weigh-arizonas-controversial-protest-bill/98474882/

Editorial Cartoon courtesy of Steve Sack


Editorial Cartoon courtesy of Jimmy Marguiles


Editorial Cartoon courtesy of Chip Bok


Sunday, February 26, 2017

Editorial Cartoon courtesy of Steve Benson


Second Book of the Week

Building the New American Economy: Smart, Fair, and Sustainable by renowned economist Jeffrey Sachs with a forward by Senator Bernie Sanders.

This work offers an innovative and environmentally friendly prescription of how to reform the American Economy.

President Trump needs to get with the Clean Energy Program


The new Administration needs to get its head out of the sand and stop ignoring the Obama legacy on clean energy and market realities.  As the article below in reference to Norway's commitment to electric vehicles illustrates, the only people and groups against the proliferation of alternative fuel vehicles are Big Oil firms and Vladimir Putin. Does the Trump Administration really want to be on that team?

Clean Energy Vehicles (Electric, Solar, Water, Hybrid) are here to stay. The sooner the parts of the country that are resistant to change accept that, the sooner these parts can move forward and rebuild on a new model.

https://thinkprogress.org/norway-aims-to-end-sales-of-fuel-burning-car-by-2025-as-ev-market-soars-edeac854f1e#.exs7dpycd

Reichstag Fire Foreboding: Interesting ideas/warnings below

Interesting commentary from writer Tim Snyder in the New York Review of Books called The Reichstag Warning. In the article, Synder points to a quote from "Father of the Constitution" James Madison who that "tyranny arises on a favorable emergency."

People need to watch out that any unfortunate major events are not twisted by the current administration to pave the way for policies that most denizens in times of peace would not endorse. Unfortunately, there are examples of this in United States History from surprising sources:

The first Red Scare against Communism in the United States in 1919/20 partially caused a Conservative Backlash, a growth in the membership of the Ku Klux Klan and restrictions on immigration that would have an effect on people trying to flee Hitler's Europe in the 1930's and early 40"s.

The attack on Pearl Harbor caused the knee jerk reaction of President Franklin D. Roosevelt issuing orders to intern Japanese-American Citizens into camps and confiscate their property. Although there were similar orders leveled at Italian and German Americans, the one against the Japanese had the most impact and outreach. History has proven this was not a wise course to pursue.

The Tonkin Gulf Resolution passed in Congress in 1964 as a response to an attack (although even the Johnson Administration had doubts about its seriousness or even authenticity) on an American Warship helped propel this country into a decades involvement in the Vietnam Civil War.

The horrible attacks on 9/11 enabled the Bush Administration to pass the Patriot Act and provided on some levels cover for the United States invasion of Iraq in 2003.

Again, people need to watch out that our leaders are knowingly or otherwise moved by events to commit acts that are not in the best interests of the country and its people.



http://www.nybooks.com/daily/2017/02/26/reichstag-fire-manipulating-terror-to-end-democracy/

Saturday, February 25, 2017

Book of the Week

This weeks Book of the Week recommendation is 1919 by Margaret McMillan. It is an excellent history of the peace treaties that ended World War One which partially resulted in the creation of the Modern Middle East (that is presently breaking apart) and the environment that paved the way for World War Two and the Cold War. It is well written and very educational for people that need to be informed of current events.

Shades of McCarthyism and HUAC at CPAC yesterday.

Among the Presidents comments at CPAC yesterday were his insistence that journalists reveal the name of their sources instead of maintaining their anonymity.

This is eerily reminiscent of the Inquisition or Witch Trials (both in Europe and the American Colonies) where people were pressured (sometimes tortured) to reveal the names of people they were supposedly in league with.

More recent historical examples are the HUAC and McCarthyism hearings of the 1940's and 50's where people were pressured to give names of people who were accused of being communists. Many lives were ruined.

These comments from the President do not rise (yet) to the level of the above historical examples. It is the responsibility of the informed masses to make sure the media is not pressured to fall into the same trap as in the prior historical episodes.


http://www.nbc-2.com/story/34600461/efforts-to-stop-anonymous-sources-clash-with-1st-amendment

Editorial Cartoon courtesy of Tim Eagan


Congratulations to former Labor Secretary Tom Perez on his election as the new DNC chair.

Ghost of White House Past: The Presidents New NSC Advisor agrees with President Obama on at least one thing.


Even as the President was vowing at the CPAC conference yesterday to get rid of Radical Islamic Terrorism in the United States, news reports, like the link below from Fox News, highlighted that the Presidents new National Security Advisor, General H.R. McMaster, does not like using the phrase "Radical Islamic Terrorism" for the same reasons former President Obama did not use it: it is counterproductive and could strain relations with the nations we need to get rid of the real terrorist threat.

The use of the phrase is also hypercritical. We do not call the people who attack mosques or synagogues "Radical Christian Terrorists." We call them criminals, terrorists,  and lunatics and that is what the people who populate I.S.I.L. are. We should remember that.

http://www.foxnews.com/politics/2017/02/25/trumps-national-security-adviser-reportedly-says-label-radical-islamic-terrorism-not-helpful.html

Friday, February 24, 2017

When does defending a man's wife's family warrant ridicule?

The baseball player in the article below, Dexter Fowler did not say anything wrong when questioned about his views on the Presidents travel ban which affected his wife's family. The people that think he said something wrong leave a lot to be desired, are the reason the majority of the people who voted against Trump think his supporters are slime, and should stay in the gutter where they belong.

http://bleacherreport.com/articles/2694654-attacks-on-dexter-fowler-an-eye-opener-to-how-the-world-is-for-others-in-mlb

Who is Mayor Peter Buttigieg?: May be the future head of the Democratic Party

At the debate among the candidates for the head of the Democratic National Committee, one candidate that emerged as a potential leading contender was the Mayor of South Bend Indiana, Peter Buttigieg. Endorsed by former DNC chair and Governor Howard Dean, Mayor Buttigieg spoke of the need for a 50 state strategy that champions the ideas and values that contrast with the current administration. While acknowledging that we should show where we oppose the Trump Presidency, we need to reaffirm to the majority of the country that voted against the President and to those that switched to support him, what ideas and policies Democrats would promote at the local, state, and federal levels. People voting to choose the next DNC chair may want to give Mayor Buttigieg a second look. He appears to have the right message for the right time.

http://www.cnn.com/2017/02/23/opinions/give-mayor-pete-a-chance-psaki/index.html

According to Sean Spicer, we are sliding into dictatorship


Today the White House Press Office denied entry to a closed door press gaggle to the following news organizations: The New York Times, CNN, BBC, Politico, Buzz Feed, The Hill, The Los Angeles Times, the Daily Mail, and the New York Daily News.

To its credit, the Associated Press and Time Magazine, in a show of support decided not to join the gaggle. Fox News Pundits Brett Baier and Shep Smith, returning the favor when the Obama White House tried to stonewall them, criticized the Trump White House for this maneuver.

Perhaps the strongest critic of what happened today was the current White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer who in December said actions like this were becoming of dictatorships, not democracies.

What has happened in less than three months to make Spicer embrace the behaviors of the dictator?

https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/politics/wp/2017/02/24/in-december-spicer-said-barring-media-access-is-what-a-dictatorship-does-today-he-barred-media-access/?tid=sm_fb&utm_term=.3cb09da34586

http://thehill.com/homenews/administration/321111-foxs-shepard-smith-cnn-is-not-fake-news

National Follow Up on attempted crackdown on Protests

Below is an article from the Hill online journal that discusses how other controlled Republican Legislatures, like the Arizona State Senate, are trying to crack down on the organization of protests. As written in the earlier post, the right to protest is constitutional and should not be infringed upon. People who abuse the right should be cited but peaceful protests should not be restricted.


http://thehill.com/homenews/state-watch/321018-state-legislators-take-steps-to-criminalize-protests

Editorial Cartoon, no name given


Editorial Cartoon courtesy of Walt Handelsman


Editorial Cartoon courtesy of Rob Rodgers


Thursday, February 23, 2017

Public Services should not be shifted to the Private Sector and the Profit Motive.

Interesting article from the Hill below on the Trump Administration doing away with another Obama Executive Order on forbidding the federal government from employing the services of Private Prisons.

From a public services standpoint, private organizations that cater to public needs should be not for profit. That goes for schools, medical facilities, environmental agencies, child services, law and military enforcement, and other organizations that serve the public good.

Having private organizations that serve the public according to rules governing competition and the profit motive may yield short term efficient and qualitative results but will eventually devolve into money pinching apparatus that pay more attention to the bottom line than to the communities they are supposed to serve.

Only organizations that do not have a profit motive should be allowed to serve the public good. That does not mean inefficiencies and corruption should be allowed in such organizations. That only arouses the drives of the people who want to privatize everything. Only well run not for profit entities should be allowed the mission to guide public policy.

http://thehill.com/homenews/administration/320915-trump-admin-rescinds-plan-to-reduce-private-prisons

The Opposition has the right to Oppose

The Republican Controlled Arizona State Senate is moving forward with a bill that would penalize protest organizers if the events they organize result in any property destruction or personal violence. While granting that protests should not descend to chaos, this move by the Arizona State Senate, like their earlier move this month to restrict how petition signatures are gathered, is another plan to thwart the democratic process and the right of the opposition to oppose. That is the hallmark of our democratic republic. This is unconstitutional and should not pass judicial scrutiny (hopefully.)

http://www.azcentral.com/story/opinion/op-ed/laurieroberts/2017/02/23/roberts-arizona-senate-moves-silence-protests/98308306/

Editorial Cartoon Courtesy of Trevor Irwin


Editorial Cartoon courtesy of Jimmy Marguiles


Editorial Cartoon courtesy of Bob Englehart


Wednesday, February 22, 2017

Editorial Cartoon courtesy of Stephen Benson


Editorial Cartoon courtesy of Clay Bennett


Progressive Idea: Independent Commissions Draw Up Congressional Seats


In order to get rid of both political parties natural desire to create gerrymandered congressional districts, each state should create independent commissions with equal representation among the major political parties that will decide the congressional districts rather than state legislatures. An article from the Hill online journal with a video link favoring this idea narrated by former California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger is below.

http://thehill.com/blogs/in-the-know/in-the-know/319678-schwarzenegger-rips-gerrymandering-congress-couldnt-beat-herpes

The death cries of the petroleum industry

Interesting article below on states looking to increase fees for people who own a hybrid or alternative fuel vehicles. We have seen other states trying to charge fees for alternative energy usage (an earlier post highlighted a movement in Wyoming). This is the death cry of the petroleum industry. Within a hundred years, the gasoline station may become tourist attractions and historical national monuments.

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/flurry-of-state-bills-introduced-likely-backed-by_us_58a61008e4b026a89a7a2844

This is what this country is supposed to be about.


With violent acts of vandalism committed against Moslem and Jewish holy places over the last month by cowards in the night, the true meaning of what it means to be part of the United States has shown itself as Jews and Christians helped Moslems after their Mosque was burned earlier this month in Texas. Likewise, Muslims and Christians helped Jews in St. Louis after a Jewish Cemetary was recently desecrated. Even the Vice President and Governor of Missouri lent a helping hand in Missouri today. This is the true meaning of what it is to be an American in our ability to respect one another and help one another in a time of need no matter the ethnicity because we are all Americans.

http://abcnews.go.com/US/muslim-activists-raise-60000-aid-vandalized-jewish-cemetery/story?id=45651684&cid=social_fb_abcnp

http://time.com/4657876/texas-mosque-fire-jewish-christian-communities-help/

http://www.cnn.com/2017/02/22/politics/jewish-cemetery-muslims-fundraising-trnd/

Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Must read from Vox on how to avoid losing our Constitutional Democracy

http://www.vox.com/the-big-idea/2017/2/21/14664568/lose-constitutional-democracy-autocracy-trump-authoritarian

Facing the Music

One of the responsibilities of all of the political representatives of the nation (local, state, or federal) is to address the concerns of their constituents at town hall meetings. Most times these are amicable affairs. However, there are occasions when the people want explanations for why the people they elect are not following their wishes. These, of course, can create tense moments. It does not mean that our elected officials should avoid these events or ignore the people that come to them. Even if their anger is misplaced, they deserve to be heard. Nine times out of ten, people will be satisfied if they are being given thoughtful and Honest responses. Avoiding them just makes the matter worse.


http://thehill.com/homenews/house/320558-republicans-at-risk-in-2018-steering-clear-of-town-halls


http://www.dailykos.com/story/2017/02/21/1636317/-How-s-the-GOP-s-suicide-pact-with-Trump-playing-in-Iowa-Not-well?detail=facebook

http://www.dailykos.com/stories/2017/2/21/1636271/-Sen-McConnell-attends-a-constituent-event-with-50-people-while-more-than-1-000-more-wait-outside?detail=facebook

Protecting any groups rights is not just a states issue

Interesting articles from the Huffington Post and the Hill that alludes to the pending development that the Trump Administration will reverse Obama federal guidance on how transgender populations should be treated in public schools (particularly in bathrooms). It would be up to the individual states to determine what rules should be followed. This would be a gross mistake. Leaving these issues of discrimination up to the states is wrong. That is what the South was allowed to do in the Pre-Civil Rights Era. It was wrong then and it is wrong now. There needs to be federal guidelines and enforcement of rights for all.


http://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/trump-lgbtq-discrimination_us_58ac9309e4b0e784faa22d69?section=politics

http://thehill.com/homenews/administration/320402-trump-to-roll-back-protections-for-transgender-students-report

Editorial Cartoon courtesy of Steve Breen


Editorial Cartoon courtesy of Joe Heller


Monday, February 20, 2017

Is the Republican Party the party of Voldermort and Eugenics?

Scary articles below from John Sanbonmatsu (Alternet; Huffington Post) and Sarah Jones (New Republic) on how the Republican Party has become the party of Voldermort and Eugenics. Before dismissing this out of turn, consider the alt right movement, proposed budget cuts to the needy, tax policies that favor the affluent, and repeal of the Affordable Care Act. Are these the policies of a political party whose elite leadership that champion compassion and toleration for all.

http://www.alternet.org/culture/death-eaters-not-only-walk-among-us-now-they-occupy-white-house

https://newrepublic.com/article/140641/trump-turned-gop-party-eugenics

It is no ones business.

Interesting article from Daily Kos on a move by a member of the Iowa State Legislature for University Faculty to reveal their political party affiliation. To put it simply, it is no ones business what political party a faculty member belongs to unless they are openly promoting violence and even then it is no ones business. You just arrest the person IF they are doing something wrong AND are a threat to others.

http://www.dailykos.com/stories/2017/2/20/1635991/-Iowa-legislature-introduces-bill-to-require-university-faculty-applicants-to-state-party-affiliation?detail=facebook

Is the President Anti Semitic? Probably not but some of his core supporters are.

As the below online article illustrates, since the election of the President, there has been an increase in threats to the Jewish Community.

At two press conferences last week, the President failed to alleviate concerns from the Jewish Community whose journalists asked for what the President is going to do to combat this rise. In one answer, the President commented on his electoral victory before touching on that his daughter and grandchildren are Jewish. In another response, he took it as a personal attack, responding that he is not Anti-Semitic or Racist.

Is the President Anti-Semitic? Probably not.

However, some of hs strongest supporters on the alt right undoubtedly are and instead of trying to coddle to this part of his base, he should condemn it in the strongest possible terms as well as open threats against Islamic, Hispanic, Native American, Asian, and African American Communities. He would gain more with the majority of the people that did not vote for him than the support he would lose with the vermin that have no place in our society.


http://usuncut.com/news/100-headstones-damaged-jewish-cemetery/

It is not okay to be ignorant.

Very interesting editorial from the Miami Herald's Leonard Pitts Jt. It goes to the point that there is an uninformed gap with Trump supporters being very ill informed. Recent acceptance by Trump supporters of a nonexistent terrorist attack at Bowling Green and thinking the Affordable Care Act is different from Obamacare are two cases on point in this regard.

http://www.miamiherald.com/opinion/article133497824.html

Editorial Cartoon of the Day courtesy of Bill Daly


Sunday, February 19, 2017

Editorial Cartoon courtesy of Scott Stantis, Chicago Tribune


Editorial Cartoon courtesy of Phil Hands, Wisconsin State Journal


Editorial Cartoon Courtesy of Matt Wuerker


Editorial Cartoon courtesy of Signe Wilkensen


Where is the Canadian Wall?

For all the talk about building a wall to protect us from illegal immigrants from Mexico and South America, where are the Trump proposals for a wall to protect us from illegal immigrants from Canadians. You know those hockey players are dangerous with their sticks.

The Person that prepares the President's and his people's talking points needs to be fired.

Last night at the earliest campaign for reelection rally in the history of our republic, President Trump mentioned how letting in refugees has caused terrorist acts in various European countries including Sweden.

Setting aside that the terrorist acts committed over the last year were not committed by any refugees, the President erred in mentioning a terrorist act in Sweden that never occurred.

Unfortunately, this is not the first time the President or one of his people misspoke (if you want to be charitable) about a terrorist act that did not occur. Press Secretary Spicer mentioned a terrorist act in Atlanta that did not occur. He later said he meant Orlando. White House Counselor Kellyanne Conway said not once but three times that the media did not adequately cover the Bowling Green Massacre. The problem is there was no Bowling Green Massacre.

Earlier in the week, the President asserted that his slim electoral college victory was the highest since President Reagan's. That was so false, the reporters at the press conference fell over themselves to be the first one to bring up the inaccuracy.

The President and his people also blamed the media for not fully covering 78 acts of terror. While that was false on its face (please check the Politifact link below), what was more troubling was the President did not list any of the domestic attacks led by mentally deranged Caucasians or white racists professing to be nationalists. Please see the link from Democracy now on this.

The President needs to fire the person or persons that are preparing his and his staff's talking points. It is clear that their agenda is not the same as the country and its leaders should be pursuing.


http://www.politifact.com/truth-o-meter/article/2017/feb/08/list-78-terror-attacks-white-house-says-media-didn/

https://www.democracynow.org/2017/2/10/see_the_signs_of_terror_journalists

Saturday, February 18, 2017

Editorial Cartoon courtesy of Jim Morin, Miami Herald


Editorial Cartoon courtesy of David Horsey, LA Times


Cutting PBS, Americorp and National Endowment for the Arts will not balance the budget


Interesting article in the New York Times yesterday that shows that Republicans may have their best chance at cutting programs that they have had a fascination with for several decades. These include PBS, Americorp, and the National Endowment for the Arts. Most informed citizens know that cutting these programs will not make a dent in balancing the budget. Neither will cuts to Foreign Aid or the EPA or School Lunch Programs to poor kids. Conservative fantasies about large tax cuts (they are playing that song again) that will pay for themselves and generate more revenue has been historically proven wrong time (Reagan) and time (second Bush Presidency) again. In the first 204 years of this country, the National Debt was one trillion dollars. In the next 36 years, that debt went up twenty times over. That was not caused by Great Society or New Deal Programs. This was not caused by the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare for those that think there is a difference.) This was not caused by those who want to give students Pell Grants for college, clean up the environment, or modernize our transportation system.  That was caused by a reckless tax policy that members of both parties supported. It was caused by going into two major wars in 2001 and 2003 that members of both parties supported and not paying for them. It was caused by not taking on the third rail of politics and adopting sensible unharmful reforms to Social Security and Medicare (although to be fair, these programs are not yet in the dire shape opponents make them out to be) to make them solvent and robust. It was caused by maintaining a Military Industrial Complex complete with obsolete weapons systems that surpass the budgets and numbers of the next 17 militarily strongest nations combined.

The American People are adults. If presented with the situation by responsible public servants, they would support prudent measures (and even a little pain in some increased taxation) to get our fiscal house in order.

The House is not going to get in order by cutting PBS, Americorp and the National Endowment for the Arts. That is a joke and people should not fall for it.

https://www.nytimes.com/2017/02/17/us/politics/trump-program-eliminations-white-house-budget-office.html?smid=fb-nytimes&smtyp=cur

The Right to Petition in Arizona

This is an interesting editorial below from Laurie Roberts in the Arizona Republic with regards to members of the Arizona State Legislature attempting to reform the mechanisms that enable petitions to get the required signatures necessary to qualify to get onto the ballot. These reforms are designed to make the process harder and jeopardize the democratic process the people who first designed the state government of Arizona wanted.

Even if the legislature succeeds and this legislation passes, people should meet the challenge. The party apparatus of one of our greatest political parties has fallen under the spell of a strange combination of right-wing xenophobic racist populism and crony monopolistic capitalists. People need to pay attention, get involved (that includes voting) and call our leaders to account when they are supporting measures that do not move the state forward in a positive direction.

http://www.azcentral.com/story/opinion/op-ed/laurieroberts/2017/02/16/robertssos-30-arizona-you-just-took-hit/98003188/

Book of the Week: Ibsen's "An Enemy of the People"

Given President Trumps tweet on branding the press as the "Enemy to the People," This weeks Book of the Week is Henrik Ibsen's play "An Enemy of the People." People in our country should read and find comfort that if you believe in what you are doing is for the greater good, there is nothing be afraid of if the people closet to you stick by you.

Is the Press "The Enemy of the People?" What would Ibsen say?

Below are three links to articles describing the Presidents aversion to facts and his publicly labeling the media "The Enemy of the People."

When I heard the phrase reported from one of the President's tweets, I was reminded of the play from Norwegian Henrik Ibsen called "An Enemy of the People." It is a play I used as an instructor in English class. It is a story about a town doctor who is condemned by the leaders of his community as "An Enemy of the People" for accurately reporting that the public town baths are contaminated with pollutants, jeopardizing the health of the people who bath in them. This report threatens  the economic well being of the town who depend on the revenue from tourists to the baths. The people, spearheaded by the town leaders (including the lead journalist and the town mayor who is the doctor's brother) turn on the doctor for jeopardizing their livelihoods. Despite feeling extreme pressure, the Doctor continues his quest for the truth and will not back down.

The honest members of the press need to do the same thing as the doctor in that play. Do not back down. If their reporting of an event is honest and with a goal to inform the uniformed, they must go on. Do not back down to the school bully or his followers just because he is the President of the United States. Only through hard work and persistence will the people hopefully realize when the President's alternative facts are false and demand a change in direction that either the President will oblige or he will be replaced in the next election. Remember the one fact and comfort the President hates to admit. He was not the choice of the majority of the American People. Another person (I think you know who) received close to three million more votes than he did. There is a light at the end of the tunnel if he continues on his present course.


https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/post-politics/wp/2017/02/17/trump-calls-the-media-the-enemy-of-the-american-people/?tid=sm_fb&utm_term=.2cd136e9f420

https://www.nytimes.com/2017/02/16/us/politics/trump-fact-check.html?_r=0

http://www.bbc.com/news/world-us-canada-39015559?ocid=socialflow_facebook&ns_mchannel=social&ns_campaign=bbcnews&ns_source=facebook

Thursday, February 16, 2017

"I Inherited a Mess"

At today's Press Conference, the President made the bizarre remark (one of several that bordered on the surreal) that he had "Inherited a Mess." This is plainly absurd. Let's look at some "messes" some Presidents stepped into.

The first Republican President Abraham Lincoln came into office in 1861 with the Southern States already seceding as the Civil War began.

Franklin Delano Roosevelt came into office in 1933 with the country mired in The Great Depression.

Harry Truman assumed the Presidency after the death of President Roosevelt at the tail end of World War Two.

Dwight Eisenhower became President with the Korean War in full swing.

Richard Nixon (although an earlier post indicated he had no one to blame but himself) became President with the Vietnam War at its halfway point.

Gerald Ford had to deal with the legal quagmire of the Watergate Scandal that forced Richard Nixon out.

Ronald Reagan came into office during the stagflation of the late 70's and when American Power, as evidenced by the Iranian Hostage Crisis, was at a low point.

Bill Clinton became President as a Recession was ending,

Barrack Obama came into office with two wars going on and the country/world suffering through the Great Recession.

I challenge supporters of the current occupant of the White House to indicate how his "mess" measures up to the historical examples listed above. I am not saying we are in a perfect world. Far from it but as history shows, President Trump did not "inherit a mess."

Editorial Cartoon courtesy of RJ Matson, Roll Call


Editorial Cartoon courtesy of Walt Handelsman, New Orleans Advocate


Wednesday, February 15, 2017

Footing the bulk of the bill for N.A.T.O.: Not any more

One of the reasons President Trump did get more traction than he should have is because he did make common sense remarks on some topics. Most people would agree with the President  that other nations that are part of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (N.A.T.O.) should pay their fair share towards operations. Secretary of Defense Mattis made this comment at a meeting of defense ministers today. It is painful to write but the Administration is correct. The United States should not be expected to carry the money bag in perpetuity. This is not saying the United States should withdraw from N.A.T.O. That would feed right into the hands of other powers like Russia who would welcome that development and what the United States would do for leverage to get the non compliant member states to get with the program is a very good question. However, the other member states need to get their act together and not take the United States for granted.

Progressive Idea: Increasing ways to get valid Voter ID's

One idea that makes sense even though Donald Trump and vote suppressing conservatives believe in it is proving you are who you are when you vote. We have always had to do it in Arizona so I do not see the problem. However, there are circumstances like when people that are elderly and do not drive anymore for example that furnishing id can be difficult. Here are some ideas to get people id's with little to no fuss.

1) For the elderly who no longer drive, either send them new social security cards with their pictures on it or take them to the Motor Vehicles Division and just get a non license photo id.

2) For young people just turning 18, either give them the photo id when they register for the draft, get their drivers license or graduate from high school. They would get new id's when they renew their license.

I am sure there are other ideas. The main point is that we should not deny a persons right to vote because they could not easily get valid photo identification.

Country before Party

Very interesting editorials from Thomas Friedman and David Brooks in the New York Times. It is time for the party of Lincoln, Theodore Roosevelt, Eisenhower, and even Ronald Reagan to wake up and realize that the 30 pieces of tax cuts and deregulation is not worth selling your collective souls for this Administration. If this was Hillary Clinton or Barrack Obama, the impeachment hearings would be getting organized by now.

https://www.nytimes.com/2017/02/14/opinion/what-trump-is-doing-is-not-ok.html?src=me&_r=0


https://www.nytimes.com/2017/02/14/opinion/how-should-one-resist-the-trump-administration.html?src=me

Who is afraid of the Big Bad Media?

For the third press conference in a row, President Trump has not allowed a news organization other than Fox or other conservative media outlets to ask questions. The below article from The Hill has more information. For some one who says he is strong and knows how to deal with anyone, why is he so afraid of reputable journalistic operations like Reuters, NPR, the Associated Press, or the Christian Science Monitor?


http://thehill.com/media/319698-cnns-acosta-the-fix-is-in-on-who-gets-to-ask-trump-questions

Editorial Cartoon of the day courtesy of Clay Bennett


Tuesday, February 14, 2017

The Past Repeating Itself: What is the common denominator?

The recent controversies surrounding Russia and its possible assistance helping President Trump claim an electoral college victory last November will only gain renewed and, hopefully, serious attention now that Michael Flynn has resigned as the National Security Adviser. Hopefully, both political parties will put aside partisan bickering and launch investigations to get to the bottom of this important matter.

Unfortunately, the recent events have similarities to a couple of  Presidential Elections over the last 50 years. Readers should decide what the common denominator is from all these events. Please read below and come to your conclusions.

1968: Richard Nixon and Hubert Humphrey are locked in a tight Presidential Race. With George Wallace as a third party candidate and the Vietnam War still raging, Nixon looked like a sure winner. However, Humphrey, after breaking with the Administration over Vietnam, staged a dramatic comeback and seemed poised for a possible upset. However, Nixon and his allies made a deal with the South Vietnamese Government to not cooperate with the Johnson Administration on a peace deal with the North. With no peace deal, Nixon won a close election. What do you call it when someone outside the government in power makes a separate deal with another nation that would not benefit the country. I think the word starts with a t.

1980: President Carter was running for re-election against Ronald Reagan. The main issue going against Carter was the ongoing Iranian Hostage Crisis which made the President look weak for his inability to free them. Fearing an "October Surprise," rumors spread that Reagan allies met with Iranian go-betweens in Europe asking them to stall the release of the hostages so Carter would not use that momentum to achieve reelection. Unfortunately, the hostages would not be released until after Reagan was sworn in. I think the t word applies here if these rumors turn out to be true.

So President Trump is not the first Republican Presidential candidate to employ questionable (potentially treasonus) tactics in trying to achieve victory.

Monday, February 13, 2017

Dining alone???

Why was the President conducting National Security business in the middle of a public dining room at his golf course? Where are the chants of "Lock Him Up"  from the hawks and true believers?

Who is Stephen Miller?

Apparently, President Trump was very pleased with Stephen Miller's performance on the Sunday Talk Shows. Of course, given the President's apparent temperament, it is not surprising that he feels that way given Mr. Miller saying on multiple shows that the President's authority should be unquestioned and that voting fraud in favor of Hillary Clinton is a fait accompli.

Who is Stephen Miller? Well, he is currently a Senior Advisor to the President. Before that, he was an aide (Communications Director) to Senator (now Attorney General) Jeff Sessions. Before that, he was an aide (Press Secretary) to Representative Michelle Bachman. His views on immigration and right way nationalist populism match well with Mr. Bannon and his Breitbart ilk. His assistance helped the President win the Rust Belt.In other words, this is a person to be feared and taken seriously. Democrats and Progressives would do well to do everything possible to check his influence and create the situation, with the media's assistance, for his removal. Hopefully, future appearances on the Sunday Talk Shows will help speed the process. People like that generally do not think their fecal matter stinks and feel they are on a holy mission from above while really they are not moving society forward in a positive direction.


https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/the-fix/wp/2017/02/13/stephen-millers-audacious-controversial-declaration-trumps-national-security-actions-will-not-be-questioned/?utm_term=.a062c117bc9b

http://www.msnbc.com/morning-joe/watch/joe-takes-stephen-miller-to-school-on-law-875977283878?cid=sm_npd_ms_fb_ma

Editorial Cartoon courtesy of Marian Kaminsky


Editorial Cartoon courtesy of Steve Benson, Arizona Republic


Sunday, February 12, 2017

Good article below on good job from George Stephanopoulos confronting Stephen Miller on alleged voter fraud

https://www.aol.com/article/news/2017/02/12/you-have-provided-absolutely-no-evidence-stephanopoulos-grill/21712283/

Editorial Cartoon of the Day courtesy of Kevin Kallaugher, Baltimore Sun


Teachers in Arizona deserve a raise

Recent articles in Arizona Periodicals lambast Governor Ducey for proposing giving teachers raises that amount to a little over $2.00 a week. Whether that is accurate or not (The Governor had said in earlier reports that the average raise would average $900 a year).

Either way, the number is too low.

People think teachers have it easy because they have all holidays, a fall break, a two-week winter break, a spring break and almost three months a year off for summer vacation.

Nothing can be further from the truth.

Even with Prop 123 passing last year, teacher salaries are still not where they should be.

More often than not, instructors either teach summer school or take other jobs to help pay the bills.

During the holidays, teachers are playing catch up by either planning lessons or grading papers.

If they are not working in summer school or another summer job, they are planning or revising their scopes and sequences for their classes for the new year.

Teachers deserve respect and appreciation from all walks of society because the great majority of them, day in and day out, are looking for ways to successively shape children's minds and steer them in the right direction.

They are the agents for our children's future. They should be compensated as such.

The weekly Trump fact check from NPR

http://www.npr.org/2017/02/11/514612245/8-fact-checks-on-the-trump-administration-this-week?utm_source=facebook.com&utm_medium=social&utm_campaign=morningedition&utm_term=nprnews&utm_content=20170210

Where is the Infrastructure Plan?

All during the campaign, President Trump bragged about how he was going to launch a one trillion dollar infrastructure plan. Three weeks into the new Administration, the question is "Where is the Infrastructure Plan?" One of the few Trump initiatives that would probably garner considerable Democratic support is nowhere to be found. Instead, we have had abortive attempts to repeal and replace Obamacare, an Executive Ban on immigration from predominantly Muslim countries that did not pass the judicial smell test, and the poorest unveiling and confirmation process of a President's cabinet and sub-cabinet positions in recent United States History.

If the President wants to get things back on track and not lose the people that temporarily switched sides to support him, he should come out with his infrastructure plan (that Obama tried to get done and Clinton wanted to)  that will attract members of both political parties.

Has the Democratic Party taken the White Working Class (or working class in general) for granted?

Since former Secretary of State Clinton's Electoral College loss to Donald Trump in November (she did win the popular vote by close to three million votes and Democrats did gain seats in both the House and the Senate), there has been widespread analysis of how Democrats lost crucial states like traditional blue states Michigan, Pennsylvania, Wisconsin as well as purple states Florida and North Carolina. One of the criticisms echoed by Democratic Operatives ranging from President Obama to Vice President Biden to Ohio Representative Tim Ryan to former Virgina Senator Jim Webb (on Meet the Press today) is that the Democrats took the working class, particularly the white working class for granted.

There are a couple of comments to make here:

1) Have the Democrats taken the working class for granted? Possibly even though please remember the working class voters did overall vote for Clinton. However, areas that went overwhelmingly for Bill Clinton and Barrack Obama in Rust Belt parts of the nation went to Donald Trump and thus turned the election to him.  Why did this happen? There are several reasons ranging for this like Hillary Clinton ignoring local operatives begging her to visit more often for one and Donald Trump blowing dog whistles that appealed to white working class hysteria on topics like outsourcing, terrorism, and crime. Moving forward, Democrats and Progressives need to campaign more vigorously in these areas and not take a "They'll come out for us anyway attitude." Clinton would be President now if she visited the Youngstown's and Scranton's more often instead of sending proxies like her husband and Vice President Biden. People love to see these Progressive heroes but they also want the person heading the ticket coming to town to hear their concerns and goals for the future.

2) What does the Working Class want? Simply put, they do not want to be ignored or taken for granted anymore and frankly it does not matter what ethnic group they come from. All working class voters want the same things: equal treatment before the law, equal opportunities to succeed and live comfortably, a clean environment, and a safe and opportunistic future for their children. Democrats and Progressives have the right ideas and had they consistently communicated a plan for how they were going to build on the successes of the Obama years (To be fair Clinton had good ideas but they never made the media sound bite when she spoke about them which was still not often enough), Clinton would have overcome the challenge of both Trump and Jill Stein and won those three states and may be more. They still have opportunities to build for a better tomorrow but they have to do so from the ground up from the local dog catcher to the highest office in the land. Only then will they be able to address the needs of the working class who have been hoodwinked by a clever group of Alt Right Fascist wannabes into thinking they are on their side.

Saturday, February 11, 2017

Books of the Week: There are three.

This week's Books of the Week are

Naomi Klein's Shock Capital, a classic in progressive circles that tells how certain cliques use disasters or horrible events to advance their group's socioeconomic priorities. A potential must read in this time period.

Naomi Klein's This Changes Everything: Capitalism versus the Environment may be an interesting read given the new Administrations attitude towards environmental and energy policy.

John Judis's The Populist Explosion may be a prophetic work given recent political events and upcoming elections in Europe (particularly France) this year.

The People need to get better informed.

A recent poll by Public Policy found that 51 percent of President Trump's supporters think the recent Executive Ban on immigrants from predominately Muslim Countries is necessary because of the Bowling Green Massacre. What is the Bowling Massacre? According to Kellyanne Conway, President Trump's third campaign manager and now a counselor at the White House, it is where Iraqi refugees launched a terrorist attack in Kentucky. The problem here is Ms. Conway, the person who memorably coined the phrase "alternative facts" in an interview with Meet the Press's Chuck Todd, made it up. There was no such attack. Later Conway said she misspoke. The problem is she has peddled the same account to at least one other news organization before the mistake (ironically enough not caught by Chris Matthews when she made the assertion on Hardball) was caught. 

In order to have a government that serves the wishes of the people, the people need to be better informed. They can not let stories like Bowling Green gain popular acceptance as truth. Unfortunately, stories like this have been widespread throughout history. 

How long was Senator Joseph McCarthy able to get away with giving random numbers of suspected Communists in government circles before finally being rebuked? How many innocent lives were ruined by the time McCarthyism ended?

How many people supported President George W. Bushs 2003 invasion of Iraq because they erroneously thought that Iraq had a hand in 9/11?

How many people believed President Obama was at the helm during the events of 9/11 or Hurricane Katrina?

How many people do not know that the Affordable Care Act and Obamacare are one and the same thing? 

As long as people do not pay attention and stay informed, they will be perpetual sheep to a plutocratic elite that will take advantage of their laziness and lethargic attention to detail and events in the hopes that people will never have the energy or desire to care. If that is true, then the people deserve the oligarchy we are getting. If not, people need to start doing the fundamentals like reading the newspaper (either online or in print). They need to watch objective news channels. The link below is a fair chart of what objective news outlets exist out there.  Progressive change can not be completed without support from the ground up. 







Worrying article below on the growth of hate groups


The growth of hate groups, no matter what ethnic or religious affiliation is a worrisome trend that must be combatted through education and sound public policies that minimize the factors that cause these entities to thrive. With tolerance, hope, understanding, and compassion, the sickness that infects the desperate and delusional who flock to these groups would wither away.

http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/americas/white-nationalist-movement-twitter-faster-growth-isis-islamic-state-study-a7223671.html

Interesting article on China and Wind Power

China may be accelerating its clean energy programs. The United States should not lose its advantage in this area like it has throughout recent history when it had the lead in several technological areas only to let other nations take the ball and run with it. Interesting article from Bloomberg below.


https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2017-02-10/china-widens-wind-power-lead-over-u-s-world-with-another-23-gw?cmpid=socialflow-facebook-politics&utm_content=politics&utm_campaign=socialflow-organic&utm_source=facebook&utm_medium=social

Progressive Idea of the Week: Uniform Voting Guidelines

When the first Tuesday in November was decided as the day for people to come and vote in elections, the decision to do so came from the fact that a couple of hundred years ago, people would need a day to travel from their farms to the urban areas where they could sell their produce and the vote. It was also seasonal as the harvesting season was about to end as winter approached. Furthermore, voting on weekends was considered a taboo because of the Holy Days of most faiths.

In this Twenty-First Society, most states have a form of early mail-in voting and early voting dates. This has helped people exercise their right to vote.

However, the rules do vary from state to state and this may be a good time to establish some minimum guidelines that states could add to. These guidelines should include:

1) The Distribution of Mail In Voting Ballots one month before the election. Voters can mail the ballots back in with a copy of their identification (Personally, I do not see the problem with this and a lot of progressive volunteers would do well to help those people that are eligible to vote to get the i.d.'s they need to exercise their constitutional right.) or drop it off at a polling location the official day of the election.

2) With the mail in voting ballots, give the voter the option to vote online by giving them access to a county website with a special access code. After verifying their identity with either the last digits of their social security or drivers license number along with their birthday, they can vote online.

3) The opening of Early Voting Locations at least twelve days (including weekends) before the official election.  For convenience, these locations can rotate every three since it would not be expected for all the locations to be open until the official Election Day. That would take care of the argument that some early voting locations are out of reach for some people to journey to.

4) Making the first Tuesday in November an official holiday for voting. Voting in elections should be a civic responsibility on par with honoring veterans on Veterans Day or Memorial Day. It potentially has more long-term significance than taking a full day off for Labor Day, Martin Luther King Day or Presidents Day. It should be a national holiday every two years (midterms when most Governors are running and Presidential). States that have elections in off years (Virginia, New Jersey, and Mississippi for example) can make those elections state holidays. It is the right thing to do.

Adopting these measures will surely increase voter turnout and shape public affairs in a positive way.

Editorial Cartoon Courtesy of Steve Sack, Star Tribune


Editorial Cartoon of the Day courtesy of Dave Granlund


Editorial Cartoon of the Day Courtesy of Kevin Siers, Charlotte Observer


Thursday, February 9, 2017

Interesting Link to Vox Article below on explaining how the left helped contribute to the rise of Trump

http://www.vox.com/policy-and-politics/2017/2/9/14543938/richard-rorty-liberalism-vietnam-donald-trump-obama

Really: This is the thing that gets Congress to launch an Oversight Inquiry into the Trump Administration.

It is amusing that the House Oversight Committee has not been moved to expeditiously launch hearings into President Trump's potential conflicts of interests or potential Russian collusion with the President's campaign last year.

What gets the House Oversight Committee, particularly Chairperson Jason Chaffetz to wake up is White House Counselor Kellyanne Conway to openly plug for Ivanka Trump's products in the wake of them being dropped from the Nordstrom Catalog.

Really, promoting wardrobe products invites a quick ethics review but potential multi-billion conflicts of interest and borderline treasonous behavior does not. Where are Representative Chaffetz's priorities?


http://thehill.com/homenews/administration/318771-top-lawmakers-on-oversight-committee-to-call-for-ethics-review-of

Editorial Cartoon of the Day courtesy of Matt Wuerker


Wednesday, February 8, 2017

Two Crazy things Congress did over the last 24 hours.

In a span of 24 hours, the Republican-led Congress did two crazy things that call their views towards women and minorities into serious question.

First, in the debate over the confirmation of Senator Jeff Sessions to become Attorney General, Senator Elizabeth Warren was rebuked by Senator Mitch McConnell in a seldom utilized Senate Rule that forbids chastising a fellow member. What made this very interesting is that when male Democratic Senators made the same objections and citing the same sources as Senator Warren, no one invoked that rule.

Second and the link for this issue is below, House Republicans refused to consider a motion that reiterated the historically known fact that the Holocaust targeted Jews. This is clearly nonsensical on the part of House Leadership and they should be sharply ridiculed for this. To not acknowledge the groups that were targeted during the Holocaust after the neutral statement by the White House several days ago is spitting on the memory all the groups that make up the 12 million that perished.


http://www.slate.com/blogs/the_slatest/2017/02/07/republicans_block_vote_on_resolution_stating_that_holocaust_targeted_jews.html

The Canadians come for the warmth not the health care.

In a CNN televised debate last night between Senator Bernie Sanders and Senator Ted Cruz, Senator Cruz asserted that Canadians prefer the United States health care to their own system. While that has been debunked in most circles, what Senator Cruz is probably confused with are the many people from Canada (mostly retirees) who reside in places like Arizona and Florida in what we know as the "snow bird season." They generally come when the fall season hits and go home after Baseball's Spring Training. Being retirees, they probably visit local physicians and get local prescriptions. Common sense.

What is the job of the White House Press Secretary?

The job of the White House Press Secretary is to comment on national and international events, not whether the products owned by members of the First Family are being sold at Department Stores.

Editorial Cartoon of the Day courtesy of Robert Arial


Editorial Cartoon of the Day Courtesy of Steve Benson, Arizona Republic


Tuesday, February 7, 2017

"It Can't Happen Here." Is Lewis's vision of a Dystopian America Upon Us?

In a very interesting article by Ezra Klein from Vox who based it partially on an article in the Atlantic by David Frum, the eerie dystopian vision of the United States in  Sinclair Lewis's It Can't Happen Here may not be far away. In the article, Mr. Klein says that we may be in an autocracy already because the legislative checks on the executive appear to be mute right now because Republicans are relishing the dream of President Trump signing all their pet legislation. They should learn from history. Conservatives thought Hiter could fulfill their every whim. It only cost humanity one World War and 12 million dead in concentration camps.

People need to put country above party. Tax Cuts, Deregulation, and Power are not worthwhile nuggets if you have to allow legalized racism, corrupt crony capitalists in the cabinet who are not morally qualified for their positions, and the deterioration of the nation's financial and social stability, environmental quality,  and global standing. People who allow Mr. Trump to fully channel all his goals for the country need to know that they will be held accountable with him if he takes the country on the wrong and dangerous course. The 2018 Midterms are not that far away.

http://www.vox.com/policy-and-politics/2017/2/7/14454370/trump-autocracy-congress-frum

Moslems only need be listed

In the article below from Vice News, the White House erroneously claimed that the Media did not cover 78 terrorist attacks committed over the last several years. In a strange twist, the White House failed to list ten terrorist acts committed by White Nationalist Terrorists? Why would the White House only feel that "Moslems only need be listed?" Would it be because of the Breitbart Crew of Mr. Bannon, and Mr. Miller and other minor officials populating that side of the Trump White House? This is not what this country should be about?

https://news.vice.com/story/10-plots-and-attacks-by-white-people-the-white-house-left-off-its-terrorism-list

Why did the House vote to stop protecting Voting Machines from hacking?

In the below article from Nation Magazine, the House Administration Committee voted along party lines to eliminate the Federal Election Assistance Commission whose purpose is to ensure that voting machine errors like hacking or double chads (like in the Election of 2000) do not occur. Why are the Republicans afraid of Democracy? They continually try to look for ways to undermine the democratic process through suppression, gerrymandering, and voting opportunity restrictions. Of course one can see a historical reason for this with two of the last Republicans winners for the White House winning elections without the benefit of a popular vote majority under questionable results (Florida recount, F.B.I. interference, Russian Hacking). Progressives need to fight these measures from the ground up to ensure that every vote participates and every vote counts.

https://www.thenation.com/article/house-republicans-just-voted-to-eliminate-the-only-federal-agency-that-makes-sure-voting-machines-cant-be-hacked/

One of the latest Politifact articles analyzing the President's latest comments on how the Media cover terrorist attacks

www.politifact.com/truth-o-meter/statements/2017/feb/06/donald-trump/donald-trump-wrong-media-not-reporting-terrorism-a/

Editorial Cartoon of the Day courtesy of Steve Greenberg


Editorial Cartoon of the Day courtesy of Clay Bennett


Editorial Cartoon of the Day courtesy of Richard JL Pope


Monday, February 6, 2017

The Media not reporting Terrorist Attacks: The President thinks so.

Today while speaking to The United States Central Command, the President asserted that the Press and the Media have not adequately reported on terrorist incidents that have occurred around the world. Later the White House Communications Office released the list of 78 terrorist acts (including the ones in San Bernardino and Orlando). This is sheer lunacy and I wonder how long it will take for parts of the 46 percent that voted for the President to peel away with greater rapidity. One hopes the lies and gross inaccuracies will catch up with this Administration. He does not seem to have the Teflon Touch that President Reagan had.

Democratic Attorney Generals

Very interesting New York Times article on the actions of Democratic Attorney Generals who are spearheading the attack against the policies of the President like the Travel Ban Executive Order.

https://www.nytimes.com/2017/02/06/us/attorneys-general-democrats-trump-travel-ban.html?ref=politics

Who is in Charge?

There was an interesting article in the New York Times today by Glenn Trush and Maggie Haberman (link below) that indicated the President did not fully understand the National Security Council Executive Order he signed a little over a week ago that made his chief strategist Steve Bannon a full-time member. One has to ask who is in charge if the President is not aware what is written in the orders he signs.

https://www.nytimes.com/2017/02/05/us/politics/trump-white-house-aides-strategy.html?ref=politics&_r=0

Editorial Cartoon of the Day


Sunday, February 5, 2017

Interesting article in today's New York Times on Obamacare


It is a fairly balanced account of where the law has met success and where improvements may need to be made. On a side note, it is both amusing and annoying when people think the Affordable Care Act or their state's health care exchange (with a different name) is different than Obamacare. Another reason to have a well-informed citizenry.



https://www.nytimes.com/2017/02/05/upshot/grading-obamacare-successes-failures-and-incompletes.html?hp&action=click&pgtype=Homepage&clickSource=story-heading&module=second-column-region&region=top-news&WT.nav=top-news&_r=0

Editorial Cartoon of the Day courtesy of Stuart Carlson


Idea of the Week: New 28th and 29th Amendments to the Constitution: Term Limits and Public Financing of Political Campaigns

Proposed Twenty-Eighth Amendment:

Term Limits: No Senator or Representative will serve longer than twelve years in office or fourteen if they have replaced an earlier office holder. The President will be allowed to run for a third term but can serve no longer than twelve years or fourteen if succeeding a predecessor at least half way through their term. Federal Judges, including the Supreme Court, will be appointed for a twelve-year term and can not be reappointed if confirmed for the single twelve-year term. If they are nominated for a replacement appointment, they will be allowed to only serve out the remainder of the term they have been chosen for.

Proposed Twenty-Ninth Amendment:

Public Financing of Political Campaigns: All federal campaigns will be publicly financed. Office seekers in primary elections will be given a legally determined allotment if they are able to secure a minimum number of agreed upon valid petition signatures.

Facts Matter and the need to bolster Humanities Education


Very interesting article from Conservative Radio Talk Show Host Charlie Sykes in today's New York Times (link below) on how Trump supporters, after years of conditioning, have become trained to ignore truth and facts even when it is blatantly obvious. As Americans, this is very dangerous because a well-informed public is what drives our successful Democratic Republic. Without it, we open ourselves up to manipulation to a series of demagogues and plutocrats who view us as sheep and steer society to fit their own schemes.

As an educator, there is no arguing that a strong background in Math, English and the Sciences is essential to our future. But the other Humanities (History, Geography,  Civics, Economics, Foreign Languages and the Arts) serve to make us well rounded informed citizens.

Ignorance of the Humanities has been a time-honored method of certain elite circles for generations. Totalitarian Leaders routinely erased enemies of the state from the history books. Japanese Governments have failed to reconcile wartime atrocities in World War Two. There are still elements of German and Turkish society that deny (or would like others to forget) the Holocaust or Armenian Genocide.  Elements of American society would like to downplay narratives like the treatment of Native Americans throughout history or more recently, covert operations from the C.I.A. in places like Italy, Guatemala, and Iran.

It is no accident that in education committees across the country, the two subjects that arouse the most scrutiny are Science and History. The former is because of its examination of life's origins and evolution. The later is because of which narrative of the human condition do we want our children to learn and come away with. Humanities subjects like History have routinely been subordinated to the other core subjects, first by routinely giving the subject to coaches so they can have a full-time job and second trying to get all of histories events crammed into a single year course (one for World which encompasses the age of the planet and one for American which deals with this hemisphere from the time the first Natives arrived.

History standards are continuously ridiculed for being even-handed like the National Standards that were published in the 1990's or the recent controversy surrounding the College Board Standards for American (United States for the confused) History where certain elements of our country roared that we were giving too negative a picture of how our country developed.

FACTS MATTER and People need to be given a thorough grounding in history. This will take more than a year for each survey course and will involve more than just memorizing for a multiple choice test. The more recent standards movement has incorporated the utilization of document based questions and other critical thinking assignments but that is mainly applied to the Language Arts. What is needed is a more integrated Humanities Program where students are taught the tools that will hopefully give them an appreciation of history and make them well informed so the prospects of future demagogues and plutocrats having strangleholds on power are reduced.

https://www.nytimes.com/2017/02/04/opinion/sunday/why-nobody-cares-the-president-is-lying.html?smid=fb-nytimes&smtyp=cur

Saturday, February 4, 2017

Fact Checking the Second Week of The Trump Presidency courtesy of NPR

http://www.npr.org/2017/02/04/513348780/fact-checking-this-week-in-the-trump-administration


FACT CHECKING THIS ADMINISTRATION WILL PARTIALLY FULFILL ONE OF THE PRESIDENT'S CAMPAIGN PROMISES: CREATING JOBS.

Editorial Cartoon of the Day courtesy of Jimmy Marguiles,


Editorial Cartoon of the Day courtesy of Pat Bagley, Salt Lake Tribune


Editorial Cartoon of the day courtesy of Ed Hall, Artizans


Books of the Week

Two Books to recommend for the week examine progressive and pragmatic solutions to issues facing our populace from the ground up from our local governments. They are:

If Mayors Ruled the World: Dysfunctional Nations, Rising Cities by Benjamin Barber

The Metropolitan Revolution: How Cities and Metros are Fixing our Broken Politics and Fragile Economy by Jennifer Bradley and Bruce Katz


Acting Presidential

Today, The President had one of his "episodes" via twitter, questioning the legitimacy of another Federal Judge. This time it was Judge James Robart, a George W. Bush appointee, unanimously confirmed by the United States Senate to serve on the US District Court for the Western District of Washington in 2004.

Robarts sin, according to the President was to put a temporary halt on the recent Executive Order banning entry into the United States from seven predominantly Muslim nations. The ban affects people with already approved Visas and individuals with Green Cards who are currently outside the country.

Keeping the nation safe is the first priority of the President and the Congress. However and this has been discussed in previous entries, an Executive Order pertaining to nations where not one of its citizens have perpetrated an attack on the United States while other Muslim nations (the ones who conduct business with Trump Enterprises) whose populace have launched terrorist operations against us like Saudi Arabia seems ill prepared. Putting people who have lawfully fulfilled the Visa and Green Card Process into a three to four-month limbo seems poorly planned. Acting like a baby when numerous Judges have temporarily banned the order is Unpresidential and beneath the dignity of the Office of the President. President Trump should learn from the example of his immediate predecessor. Whether or not you disagree with his policies, President Obama at least acted like a President and conducted himself in a way our citizens would positively view.

Serving Who: The People or his Friends?

Yesterday, President Trump signed an Executive Order/Memorandum to relax some of the rules of Dodd-Frank, the law passed after the Great Recession that put regulations on the banking and investment sector so the chances of a  Meltdown that occurred in 2008 would be minimized. Stating that Dodd-Frank has hurt opportunities for "his friends" to secure loans, one has to wonder who is the President serving: The people or his friends. One has to ask why his friends can not obtain financing under the present statute. If they share the President's same business practices, it may not too hard to fathom.

Another rule the President is seeking to overturn is the "fiduciary rule " enacted by former President Obama last April where investment advisors are obligated to act in their client's best interests. While this is more the exception than the norm as most investment advisors realize that their reputations are based on sound business ethical advice to their clients, it is strange that the President wants to protect the view that feel serving their clients best interests is not their number one priority.

Again, the question should be asked who does the President serve: The People or his friends. No one should have to think about the answer.

Very interesting articles on the Environment and Climate Change. We have the opportunity to reinvent ourselves and make this planet a cleaner and better place. We need to do this now.

https://www.washingtonpost.com/outlook/2018/10/15/idea-that-action-against-climate-change-will-destroy-economy-couldnt-be-more-wrong/?fbclid...