Friday, February 24, 2017

It's Friday fun day! My fun is mocking Rump's latest adventure into inhumane executive orders, this time harming transgender children for no good reason.

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And to laugh at the stupidest man to ever serve in Congress,and at right wingers insanity regarding guns, and at their fundamental gutlessness and hypocrisy.  They would have a fit if this were true of a Democrat.

And from the brilliant Steve Sack at the STrib:


Thursday, February 23, 2017

This week, a bright day in the darkness that is Kansas

Governor Sam Brownback is a teabagger, a right wing radical.  He and his policies have left Kansas in a big smoking crater politically and economically.  It is unlikely he will ever hold public office after his current term expires, because that is the epic scale of his failure.

Brownback, not laughing now
Trickle down economics does not work.  The only thing it does, the only thing it EVER has done, is to be redistributive, taking money from the poor and middle classes and then giving it to the 1%.  It explodes the wealth and income gap enormously.  And it creates massive debt and deficits for the state or nation that enacts it.  Greed, not greatness is the driving motivation.

Image result for arthur laffer
Laffer, not laughing now

Earlier this week, the legislature in Kansas took a GENUINELY bi-partisan approach to governance when it repealed the failed tax policy of Brownback and Laffer.  Brownback promptly vetoed the repeal, and the House side of the Kansas Legislature then overturned the veto with a vote 1 over the required number.  Sadly the Senate, which is much much smaller, tried to do the same, but fell 3 votes short.

So for now the tax policies of Brownback stay, but it is likely there will be another attempt at repeal and it is expected the next try will be successful.  It is sufficient that they nearly succeeded in Kansas, and that they plan to try again.

The architect, so to speak, the designer of disaster, was one Arthur Laffer, who previously advised Ronald Reagan to implement trickle down economics which was a huge failure, is now abandoning the sinking ship that is Brownback and Kansas to promote the same tax policies with Trump's administration.  What Brownback and his Republican legislature put in effect was entirely on party lines, was nearly identical to what Trump is now planning to do with the cooperation of the Republican controlled Congress.

Let me outline some of the outcomes of the Reagan effort, which parallels the much earlier "Horse and Sparrow" debacle of the same tax plan in the 19th century.
"Reagan significantly increased public expenditures, primarily the Department of Defense, which rose (in constant 2000 dollars) from $267.1 billion in 1980 (4.9% of GDP and 22.7% of public expenditure) to $393.1 billion in 1988 (5.8% of GDP and 27.3% of public expenditure); most of those years military spending was about 6% of GDP, exceeding this number in 4 different years. All these numbers had not been seen since the end of U.S. involvement in the Vietnam War in 1973. In 1981, Reagan significantly reduced the maximum tax rate, which affected the highest income earners, and lowered the top marginal tax rate from 70% to 50%; in 1986 he further reduced the rate to 28%. The federal deficit under Reagan peaked at 6% of GDP in 1983, falling to 3.2% of GDP in 1987 and to 3.1% of GDP in his final budget. The inflation-adjusted rate of growth in federal spending fell from 4% under Jimmy Carter to 2.5% under Ronald Reagan; however, federal deficit as percent of GDP was up throughout the Reagan presidency from 2.7% at the end of (and throughout) the Carter administration. As a short-run strategy to reduce inflation and lower nominal interest rates, the U.S. borrowed both domestically and abroad to cover the Federal budget deficits, raising the national debt from $997 billion to $2.85 trillion.This led to the U.S. moving from the world's largest international creditor to the world's largest debtor nation."

So to recap, Reaganomics caused a huge decline in federal revenue, and we became the world's largest debtor nation after being the world's largest creditor nation. The ONLY reason that things improved towards the end of the Reagan administration were the reversals of his tax cuts with ELEVEN tax increases. But NEVER have the 1% returned to an level of paying their fair share. The burden of making up the deficiencies from Reagan forwards has always fallen on those who earn less and have less financial resources than the wealthy, who benefit disproportionately from government.

From CBS News:
Meanwhile, following that initial tax cut, Reagan actually ended up raising taxes - eleven times. That's according to former Republican Sen. Alan Simpson, a longtime Reagan friend who co-chaired President Obama's fiscal commission that last year offered a deficit reduction proposal.
Raising taxes, that is just what they are doing in Kansas, but only after significant harm. And that is what we have to look forward to from Rump and the Republians AGAIN.

Wednesday, February 15, 2017

Distraction? No! An unravelling illegitimate presidency

I recently passed a few hours reading an old Tom Clancy novel  published 15 years ago, that focused on Russian intelligence services and politics. That novel, "Red Rabbit", mentioned early on the attempts by the Soviet Union and subsequent Communist Russians attempting to influence a d control the outcome of US elections.  Clancy also made reference to these same people trying to influence our politics through funding extremist and hyper-nationalist groups.  Clancy also expressed the assurance that US and allied intelligence services would successfully obstruct such efforts.

I would argue the intel community failed to prevent that happening but they may very well undo the Russian success that has been foisted on us.

While Clancy wrote fiction he did extensive research and had significant contacts in the intelligence communities.  Clancy was not making up those allegations which are well documented for decades to present.

We have seen this play out with Russian funding of French and Austrian far right extremist groups, and their candidates, like Marine Le Pen of the neo-nazi French National Front. Those same funding operatives from Russia met with disgraced General Mike Flynn and with Le Pen's counterpart in Austria, which Russia also funded.

The involvement of what is clearly successful Russian intervention, combined with the continuing successful verification of the MI-6 agent Steele's dossier that argues Rump is likely at least partially or more fully the puppet of Putin and the Russians through a combination of blackmail material and financial controls.

If, as I believe is plausible verging on probable, that Rump achieved office through a rigged, invalid election then he needs to go, and his entire administration with him.  That has to include the Vice President who is in office through the same tainted process.  I was amused to see on BBC's World News that Irish bookies are offering odds of 4 to 1 that Rump will be impeached, and 15 to 8 (nearly 2 to 1) that Rump will resign before his term is up.  So this expectation is not unique to me but apparently some people are venturing cash on it.

I would go further and argue that the only explanation that makes any sense for why Pence was supposedly kept in the dark about Mike Flynn and the Russians is the hope that Pence might appear clean enough to avoid being thrown out with Rump as information about how they got elected emerges.

That is so catastrophically far from being a trivial "distraction" is instead an unprecedented governmental crisis, a crisis even Tom Clancy in his day could not have constructed.  To paraphrase the famous words of Abe Lincoln, we must preserve government of the people, by the people, for the people, not government of Americans, by Russians, for Russian oligarchs and other fascists.

Tuesday, February 14, 2017

History Repeating: How treason President Nixon has a parrallel with Rump

When running against LBJ, tricky Dicky, the man who was clearly very much a crook despite his protestations, negotiated with OUR ENEMIES to prolong the Viet Nam War as a means of winning election.  LBJ could not reveal at the time that the US intel knew this from phone bugging without damaging further essential intel gathering.
So LBJ, who had been lol looking at a landslide election - a real landslide, not a fake 'YUGE' win like the one claimed by Rump or Dubya before him, just walked away.  Robert Kennedy could have easily defeated tricky Dicky but that option ended with his assassination. HHHumphrey, LBJ's Vice Prez, could not overcome crooked Nixon who later became infamous for his illegal dirty tricks, having to resign after Watergate.

Now we have Rump engaging in cheating and cyberwar to steal an election, this time with our enemy Russia, in multiple proxy wars like Crimea and Syria.

You have to be willfully ignorant to believe General Flynn would be gone were it not for a strategic patriotic leak revealing the treasonous conduct of Rump and Flynn attempting to undermine the policy and actions of the legitimate sitting president.

Rump and his cabal would have you believe this was not illegal.  He is wrong.  Rump would have you believe this was normal interaction; five calls and texts to the Russian ambassador is not normal, nor is the promise to undo sanctions for interfering in our elections.  Our intelligence agencies are clear that this was action to help Rump win, and it was clearly effective.

I would argue Rump like Nixon is both illegitimate because of how he came to power, and that Rump like Nixon is selling out the United States for personal power grabbing and financial gain.

THAT is both UN-American and Anti-American.

But at least it appears the Rump secrets will see the light of day sooner than was the case with disgraced tricky Dicky.

Let us hope that unlike the thousands of American deaths that resulted from Nicon's actions does not repeat with American deaths laid at Rump's door.

Monday, February 13, 2017

N Korea messes with weakling Trump

The president of the undesirables whom it pleases me to mock by calling him Rump, is facing a crisis that is approaching that of the Kennedy era Cuban Nuclear Missile Crisis.
Let me outline the similarities:
1.  Nukes are nukes, they are weapons of mass destruction, and that destruction is difficult to direct
or control, and is capable of expanding far beyond their target.
2.  As with Russia, China is a superpower subsidizing, supporting, and protecting the smaller proxy power.  To attack one is to engage both in war.
3.  Both proxy states, Cuba and N. Korea, are or were substantially dominated by powerful dictators.
4.  Any war, nuclear or otherwise, would have a near certainty of expanding into a global conflict/ WW III.
5.  Both proxy countries, Cuba and N. Korea, are targets for displaced former nationals, Cubans and S. Koreans. Family members of these groups would be or were directly and adversely affected by
escalating conflict.

So far their is no sense of respect for Rump, or intimidation on the part of N. Korea for his swagger; rather the timing of the missile test appears intended for maximum impact to challenge Rump as he hosted one of the other great opponents to N. Korea, a country facing a very real and more proximal threat by this test.  Japan NEEDS the protection of the USA and Korea just threatened that support.

I continue to be shocked and dismayed at the ignorance demonstrated by Rump supporters, ignorantly asserting we should not just attack N. Korea, but nuke them first.

These willfully ignorant and belligerent know-nothing's are clueless children, not informed adults.

Even if we were to find ourselves in a greater conflict with China that was short of a shooting war, we could and should expect devastating economic consequences on both a national and global scale.
Any serious student of history knows that economic conflicts are the single greatest catalysts for subsequent armed conflict.  If you did not know that, I suggest you address that gap in your understanding, including the tariff conflicts like the stamp act and the Boston Tea Party as leading to the American Revolution.

Wednesday, February 8, 2017

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What Liz Warren and Coretta Scott King had to say about Jeff Sessions

The deplorable Jeff Sessions has been confirmed as Attorney General of the United States. He is actually a step worse than the most incompetent AGs of prior presidents, notably Dubya’s Alberto Gonzales who was so execrable as AG that he could not find even a patronage job from righties as an attorney after he left office. Sessions has taken more money from big oil than any other member of Congress; he is fully owned and operated by the fossil fuel industries. He is a bigot of the worst order, and a religious zealot of the worst extremism. Shame shame shame on the right. Shame on Rump; he is not president of the entire United States. He is further demonstrating he is the president only of special interests and the deplorable worst elements of the United States.

The pesky truth: the Statue of Liberty WAS originally a Muslim Woman

I"m fed up with the lie blindly and enthusiastically accepted by the right that credible, professional media has a secret agenda to lie to the general populous.  It is false. In point of fact, the only real "fake news" of any substance or quantity originates from the right, particularly the right wing propaganda machine.

There is a fact free, fact averse paranoia which is being promoted by "their" president, Rump, and his White House, most notably by press secretary Spicer and other spokes puppets that the main stream professional media are liars.  We see it in a wide range of major stories and also minor stories like the one about the origins of the Statue of Liberty origins, a topic featured on CBS news and USA Today among others.  The Statue of Liberty Originated as a Muslim Woman story is an excellent template to examine the right wing mdeia paranoia.

The reality resisted by the right, for example, in their anti-Muslim bigotry,is that the story is true and factually correct that the Statue of Liberty really was originally conceived and designed as a female Muslim figure, Libertas, (the Roman Goddess of Liberty) by the artist who created it, Bartholdi. 

Why pick a Roman goddess reconfigured as a Muslim woman in Egypt? Why not? A little history: the Romans conquered Egypt when Octavian /aka Augustus kicked out Marc Antony and Cleopatra was the last of the Ptolemeic dynasty put in place by the Macedonian Alexander the Great. (Cleopatra was actually ethnic Greek.) Trajan conquered the rest of the applicable territory to the canal a bit later.  And in the era of Bertholdi (a German from the Alsace Lorraine region of France) the French were fascinated with "orientalism" and neo-classic subjects in the works of artists like Gerome and Ingres as well as Bartholdi.  So the assumption that the Egypt of the mid 19th century, the time of the construction of the Suez Canal, was subject to rigid Islamic fundamentalism is false, as is the right wing notions of the Islamic version of Aniconism as it pertains to a Muslim woman being the image for a statue of Libertas/Liberty.

Aniconims is the prohibition of figural art, sometimes defined as only applying to human figures, sometimes applying to images of all forms of natural and supernatural subjects, both plant and animal, as well as figures such as angels and demons, etc.  The strongest examples of aniconism tend to occur in the monotheistic Abrahamic religions of Judaism, Christianity, and Islam.  But that varies tremendously by geography and historic era.  There is in fact a rich tradition of figural art in Islam, both religious and secular forms.  But don't take my word for it, the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City has an excellent essay on it, here.  In my personal experience, which has included viewing a wide range of Islamic art featuring human beings, aniconism tends to be limited to religious contexts, such as inside mosques.  The assumption that all figurative art is prohibited in Islamic countries or by Sharia law is ridiculous, the kind of bigoted misinformation one finds on the right.

A little more history as context to the original statue that became the Statue of Liberty in New York City harbor, while Egypt at that time was a semi-autonomous part of the Muslim Ottoman Empire, it was ruled by Mohammed Ali Pasha, a Muslim Albanian.  Egypt had a substantial presence of Albanian mercenaries.  But the real control of Egypt was by the French and English, who owned the debt for the building of the canal, and who held important seats in government that provided de facto control of the region involved in the Canal zone.

The original design was for a female figure holding aloft a torch, that would serve as a lighthouse at the mouth of the Suez Canal, back in the 19th century.  We only have the current statue of Liberty, or more correctly, and certainly ironically, "Liberty Enlightening the World", because the funding on the Suez Canal version fell through.  The title for the proposed but not completed Suez Canal version of Libertas, holding a torch just like the one held by the USA Statue of Liberty was very similar, "Egypt Carrying the Light to Asia".

This rubbish about the mainstream media is simply not true.  It relies on a mixture of propaganda from what has become a right wing propaganda machine, a concerted effort to misinform and dis-inform, and from willful intentional ignorance on the part of the right wing and right wing leaning information consumers.

The premise of being "post Truth" is wrong, that facts simply matter less in this first quarter of the 21st century.  This is pure bloody-mindedness combined with a childish denial of objective reality by those who don't find reality catering to their prejudices.   Put another way, the facts are not their friends. It is compounded by resentment that the 21st century requires education based knowledge and expertise, and that gut hunches and wishful thinking are insufficient for making good decision or for good governance.  An example of this would be Sarah Palin's selection and appeal as John McCain's VP choice and Betsy DeVos, the theocrat Education Secretary pick of Trump who wants God in schools, not facts or logic.  These are two women who shed only darkness on the American populace.

To be unable and unwilling to differentiate fact from ideological fiction, to believe one doesn't need to know anything of history, or art, or factual comparative religion, or geography is a weakness.  To deny objective reality is a terrible failing.  This is a facet of right wing ideology which not only dangerously exacerbates existing tensions but which endangers us all in the short, middle and especially the long term.

Monday, February 6, 2017

Rump, Obama and their respective Executive Orders and Immigration Bans.
And a big thank you to the Attorneys General of WA and MN.

Anyone else remember all the right wing nut claims of executive order overreach leveled at Obama?

I can't be the only one with a clear memory, but for those who might be a bit fogged by the razzle dazzle of the overwhelming amount of bold faced lies and bullshit, I will document it for you below.

Over the weekend, the Appellate Court refused to reinstate the apparently unconstitutional Rump Immigration ban against Muslims.  Further, the Rump spokes-puppets incorrectly claimed that Obama had used a similar ban -- he didn't; and that the Rump ban was both Constitutionally and Statutorily well founded.  That doesn't appear to be true either.

It only serves to underline the rank hypocrisy and double standards applied by the right, as well as their failure to understand or accept objective reality facts.  I have long maintained that conned-servatives embrace lies (aka "alternative facts") because the real facts are not on their side. 

I've also strongly advanced the argument that conned-servatives don't properly assess or identify ACTUAL risks versus their hobby horse fears of all varieties.  The right uses fear to justify attacking our freedom, particularly those aspects of freedom guaranteed by the U.S. Constitution, without ever making us safer or better in any other way.

And here is an example of that, citing the right wing think tank the Cato Institute by way of Fact
Only 17 of the 154 foreign-born terrorists were from the seven countries covered by the Trump administration’s temporary travel ban. But none of the 17 was responsible for any deaths — even though the seven countries combined represented almost 40 percent of all refugees accepted into the U.S. in the last 10 years.
As of Jan. 31, a total of 255,708 refugees from Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen have been admitted to the U.S. since the start of 2008. Those countries account for almost 40 percent of the 642,593 total refugees who have come to the U.S. in that time period, according to the State Department’s Refugee Processing Center.
“The first sentence of his order states that it is to ‘protect the American people from terrorist attacks by foreign nationals admitted to the United States,'” Nowrasteh wrote in a blog post. “However, the countries that Trump chose to temporarily ban are not serious terrorism risks.”

Cato Institute, Sept. 13, 2016: The annual chance of being murdered was 252.9 times as great as dying in an attack committed by a foreign-born terrorist on U.S. soil.

Here is the failed right wing claims fact check from Snopes:

Executive Orders

President Obama did not issue a whopping 923 executive orders, giving the government unprecedented power to take over control of civilian institutions.

Claim: President Obama has issued a whopping 923 executive orders, many of which give the government unprecedented power to take over control of civilian institutions.


Example: [Collected via e-mail, September 2012]
The President signed 923 Executive Orders in 40 Months. It is all over the net. These sites include commentary on what the executive order is for and what it does. If this is the truth, I'm scared to think about it. Most of the past presidents have allegedly signed around 30 of them. At the end of the day an executive order circumvents the congress and senate. Fill in the blanks. Someone credible needs to research and report on this.
-EXECUTIVE ORDER 10990 allows the government to take over all modes of transportation and control of highways and seaports.
-EXECUTIVE ORDER 10995 allows the government to seize and control the communication media.
-EXECUTIVE ORDER 10997 allows the government to take over all electrical power, gas, petroleum, fuels and minerals.
-EXECUTIVE ORDER 10998 allows the government to take over all food resources and farms.
-EXECUTIVE ORDER 11000 allows the government to mobilize civilians into work brigades under government supervision.
-EXECUTIVE ORDER 11001 allows the government to take over all health, education and welfare functions.
-EXECUTIVE ORDER 11002 designates the Postmaster General to operate a national registration of all persons.
-EXECUTIVE ORDER 11003 allows the government to take over all airports and aircraft, including commercial aircraft.
-EXECUTIVE ORDER 11004 allows the Housing and Finance Authority to relocate communities, build new housing with public funds, designate areas to be abandoned, and establish new locations for populations.
-EXECUTIVE ORDER 11005 allows the government to take over railroads, inland waterways and public storage facilities.
-EXECUTIVE ORDER 11049 assigns emergency preparedness function to federal departments and agencies, consolidating 21 operative Executive Orders issued over a fifteen year period.
-EXECUTIVE ORDER 11051 specifies the responsibility of the Office of Emergency Planning and gives authorization to put all Executive Orders into effect in times of increased international tensions and economic or financial crisis.
-EXECUTIVE ORDER 11310 grants authority to the Department of Justice to enforce the plans set out in Executive Orders, to institute industrial support, to establish judicial and legislative liaison, to control all aliens, to operate penal and correctional institutions, and to advise and assist the President.
-EXECUTIVE ORDER 11921 allows the Federal Emergency Preparedness Agency to develop plans to establish control over the mechanisms of production and distribution, of energy sources, wages, salaries, credit and the flow of money in U.S. financial institution in any undefined national emergency. It also provides that when a state of emergency is declared by the President, Congress cannot review the action for six months.
Feel free to verify the "executive orders" at will ... and these are just the major ones ...
Teddy Roosevelt: 3
Others Prior To FDR: NONE
FDR: 11 in 16 years
Truman: 5 in 7 years
Ike: 2 in 8 years
JFK: 4 in 3 years
LBJ: 4 in 5 years
Nixon: 1 in 6 years
Ford: 3 in 2 years
Carter: 3 in 4 years
Reagan: 5 in 8 years
Bush 1: 3 in 4 years
Clinton: 15 in 8 years
Bush 2: 62 in 8 years
Obama: 923 in 3+ years!
During my lifetime, all Presidents have issued Executive Orders, for reasons that vary, some more than others.
When a President issued as many as 30 Executive Orders during a term in Office, people thought there was something amiss.
Even some Democrats in the House have turned on him, plus a very small number of Democrat Senators question him.
Origin:In the United States, an executive order is a presidential policy directive that implements or interprets a federal statute, a constitutional provision, or a treaty without the requirement of congressional approval. As described by TheFreeDictionary:
The president can use [executive orders] to set policy while avoiding public debate and opposition. Presidents have used executive orders to direct a range of activities, including establishing migratory bird refuges; putting Japanese-Americans in internment camps during World War II; discharging civilian government employees who had been disloyal, following World War II; enlarging national forests; prohibiting racial discrimination in housing; pardoning Vietnam War draft evaders; giving federal workers the right to bargain collectively; keeping the federal workplace drug free; and sending U.S. troops to Bosnia.
Historically, executive orders [are] related to routine administrative matters and to the internal operations of federal agencies, such as amending Civil Service Rules and overseeing the administration of public lands. More recently, presidents have used executive orders to carry out legislative policies and programs. As a result, the executive order has become a critical tool in presidential policy making. For example, President John F. Kennedy used an executive order to eliminate racial discrimination in federally funded housing, President Lyndon B. Johnson acted through an executive order to prohibit discrimination in government contractors' hiring practices, and President Richard M. Nixon used an executive order to set a ninety-day freeze on all prices, rents, wages, and salaries in reaction to rising inflation and unemployment.
The item reproduced above purports that President Obama issued a whopping 923 executive orders in his first term (compared to about thirty each for previous presidents) and offers supposedly alarming provisions of some of those orders. However, the entirety of this item is erroneous.
First of all, the number of executive orders issued by President Obama is grossly exaggerated here. Through his first term (i.e., the first four years of his presidency), Barack Obama issued 147 executive orders, not 923. (Barack Obama signed a total of 275 executive orders during his two terms, averaging 35 a year; the lowest number signed since Grover Cleveland.) Moreover, compared to President Obama's predecessors in the White House, this is not an unusually large number of orders for a modern president: President George W. Bush issued 291 executive orders during his eight years in office, while President Bill Clinton issued 364 such orders over the same span of time.
The listing of numbers of executive orders issued during the terms of modern presidents included in one of the examples above also bears no resemblance to reality. This chart compares the claimed number of orders issued by each president on the list with the actual number issued, as documented by The American Presidency Project:


Theodore Roosevelt 3 1,081
Franklin Roosevelt 11 3,522
Harry Truman 5 907
Dwight Eisenhower 2 484
John Kennedy 4 214
Lyndon Johnson 4 325
Richard Nixon 1 346
Gerald Ford 3 169
Jimmy Carter 3 320
Ronald Reagan 5 381
George H.W. Bush 3 166
Bill Clinton 15 364
George W. Bush 62 291
Barack Obama 923 147

  The attribution to President Obama of fourteen executive orders (numbered between 10990 to 11921) in the example text reproduced above is way off base as well: not a single one of those orders was issued by President Obama. The first twelve orders in the list date to the administration of President John F. Kennedy in 1962, one dates to the administration of President Lyndon B. Johnson in 1966, and one dates to the administration of President Gerald R. Ford in 1976.
The text of these orders can be viewed in full through the following links:
Executive Order 10990: John F. Kennedy, Feb. 2, 1962
Executive Order 10995: John F. Kennedy, Feb. 16, 1962
Executive Order 10997: John F. Kennedy, Feb. 16, 1962
Executive Order 10998: John F. Kennedy, Feb. 16, 1962
Executive Order 11000: John F. Kennedy, Feb. 16, 1962
Executive Order 11001: John F. Kennedy, Feb. 16, 1962
Executive Order 11002: John F. Kennedy, Feb. 16, 1962
Executive Order 11003: John F. Kennedy, Feb. 16, 1962
Executive Order 11004: John F. Kennedy, Feb. 16, 1962
Executive Order 11005: John F. Kennedy, Feb. 16, 1962
Executive Order 11049: John F. Kennedy, Sep. 14, 1962
Executive Order 11051: John F. Kennedy, Sep. 27, 1962
Executive Order 11310: Lyndon B. Johnson, Oct. 11, 1966
Executive Order 11921: Gerald R. Ford, June 11, 1976

Last updated: 28 January 2017

Friday, February 3, 2017

Because it's Friday Fun-day

Because of nothing in particular other than it pertains to Fridays....

There are only two Friday the 13ths in 2017.

Because I checked. (Ok so I had some time to kill while something was downloading with annoying slowness.)

The first Friday-the-13th was in January.

The only other one is in October.

So now you know.

It Needs to Be Said

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Trump's Latest Actions that Makes Us Less Safe

There are so many ways in which not-my-president Rump is failing in his duties to the nation and to the Constitution, that it is hard to pick one, or to track the most recent.

As an aside, but interesting context to viewing the Rump Circus that is currently caricaturing actual governance, I have been reading an old Tom Clancy piece of fiction, Red Rabbit, from 2002.  Clancy has as a leitmotiv for his recurring hero, Jack Ryan, the line "wars are started by frightened men".  One could easily tweak that to read unreasonably fearful men, since it is my long held contention that conned-servatives are poor assessors of objective risk, and that they fear the wrong things for the wrong reasons.

A pair of bad actions that deserve our attention is both Rump's commitment to turn the United States into a Christian Theocracy, voiced at the recent Prayer Breakfast, which was also attended by former President Obama, and his alienation of yet another ally in his recent call to the Prime Minister of Australia. 

Both actions can reasonably be expected to make us less safe and to further agitate and empower our enemies.

As noted by Vox, which I find to be an excellent independent news source with consistent high quality analysis, Australia, like the UK and Canada, has been one of our staunchest allies, over more than 100 years.  Rump appears to have antagonized and offended PM Turnbull.

From Vox;

On his 13th day in office, President Donald Trump threatened to break an international agreement. On Twitter.

Do you believe it? The Obama Administration agreed to take thousands of illegal immigrants from Australia. Why? I will study this dumb deal!

The tweet appeared to confirm a report from the Washington Post that the president, in his call with Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull Sunday, had berated Turnbull about an agreement made with the Obama administration — in which hundreds of refugees being held offshore in Australian detention centers are being screened for admission to the US.
The executive order Trump signed on Friday banned nearly all refugee admissions to the US for four months — but with a loophole to allow refugees to be resettled per a “preexisting international agreement.” White House press secretary Sean Spicer and the US Embassy in Australia have both explicitly promised, since the executive order was signed, that the Trump administration would honor the deal. “The president, in accordance with that deal, to honor what had been agreed upon by the United States government … will go forward,” Spicer told journalists Tuesday.
That may be news to Trump.
The president and his press secretary also appear to differ on the scope of the deal; Spicer said the US would take 1,250 refugees, which appears to refer to the number currently in offshore detention centers (not all of whom are guaranteed to pass through screening); Trump’s call with Turnbull referred to 2,000, which could be a reference to the fact that the US is also screening hundreds of refugees receiving medical care in Australia (or could just be wrong).
Taken together, it’s clear that the best-case scenario is that the new president dislikes a deal he also doesn’t understand. The worst-case scenario is that he will break it.

It is not rocket science to recognize that breaking a deal with one of our closest allies is bad. It is not rocket science that the temporary President - I can't believe he will last a full term - should not be making calls like this to a foreign leader, EITHER an ally or otherwise.  This idiot, this buffoon, clearly has no idea what he is doing or the harm that it can cause. Antagonizing our allies does not make us safer, anywhere, ever.

And it is not rocket science to recognize that promoting what is clearly Christianity influenced government to the exclusion of other faiths or no faith, as Rump did at the recent prayer breakfast, is an invitation to a further religious war with Muslim extremists, as well as alienating to our Muslim allies in Africa and Asia.

Rump personifies the insanity that we saw previously with popsie candidate Sarah Palin, the notion that people do not need to know anything to serve in any branch of government at the highest levels.

They are wrong, and now we get to see how dead wrong, as in what the death count will eventually be, because make no mistake, people will die because of this faulty poor excuse for thinking, and for this failed ideology.

Those who voted for Rump will have a great deal to answer for in the near and middle future.  The blame for this, the guilt for this is squarely theirs and theirs alone.