Tuesday, October 03, 2017

We Need To Address Gun Violence Now

"A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed."

Contrary to strict constructionists, there is more than one way to interpret the Second Amendment.  It is and has been obvious that the interpretation of the Second Amendment by the NRA and its Conservative supporters is not good for this country. 

It is logically inconsistent to ignore the language in the Second Amendment that clarifies it is granting a right to people who are part of a militia and yet legalize the ownership of firearms designed only for war and killing large numbers of people.

The Supreme Court has ruled that the Second Amendment does not give citizens unlimited access to arms.  If the Second Amendment is not tied to militia defending the country, there is no need for private ownership of arms only meant for war.

I am tired of hearing politicians express sympathy for the victims of gun violence and then do nothing to try to prevent future tragedies.

I am tired of hearing politicians tell us that now is not the time to talk about changing gun laws.  That is bull shit.  Politicians count on time dulling our outrage and they won't have to take a stand and work on solutions.

We heard that same crap after innocent first graders and educators were murdered at Sandy Hook.  It has been almost five years since the massacre at Sandy Hook.  Is now the right time to talk about common sense gun law changes as a result of the innocent lives lost at Sandy Hook?

Wednesday, July 26, 2017

Would We Be Better Off Without Obamacare?

Republicans like to argue about how bad Obamacare is.  Obamacare is not perfect.  Some people may have been harmed.  But something like 30 million got access to health care they didn't have it before.

No Republicans voted for Obamacare even though many Republican ideas were incorporated into the bill to address their concerns.  Now Republicans claim that Obamacare is so bad it must be repealed.

I would like to ask Republicans if they believe the overall health of Americans would be better today if Obamacare had never been passed.

I suspect they would find some reason to argue we would all be better if the millions who got health care because of Obamacare received no help. We can be assured of that since they now believe the country would be better off if these people lost their health care.

Health Care is a Right

Whatever happens to Obamacare it will be a success.

Obamacare has planted the seed that health care is a right.  That is a seed that will grow and that all politicians will have to support.

Thursday, July 20, 2017

Pardon Is Not A Get Out of Jail Free Card

There is reporting tonight that President Trump is asking for legal advice about his powers to pardon his staff, relatives and himself.  Presumably he is looking for a get out of jail free card if investigators get too close to proving illegal activities.

While that may sound like an easy way to avoid penalties of illegal activities, it may be just the opposite.

I don't know if a President can give a blanket pardon for all prior federal crimes even those that are not identified or not associated with their public service.  That might be possible.  I also don't know if a President can give a pardon for future crimes, but that seems unlikely.

If future crimes cannot be pardoned, there would then be a lot of people who once pardoned could not be prosecuted for their prior federal crimes, BUT those people could still be questioned under oath about those crimes.  They would have to tell the truth or be subject to obstruction of justice charges or lying under oath charges.  We would then be able to ask and expect to get complete and honest  answers about the crimes for which they were pardoned.  Those confessions would silence the Trump forever supporters and possibly expose additional crimes for which these or other people could be prosecuted.

A presidential pardon only applies to federal crimes, so crimes in other jurisdictions may be uncovered and prosecuted.

I'm not sure that the Trump billionaires have enough money to pay for all the legal support they will need after the pardons.

Friday, June 09, 2017

Did Russia Influence Brexit?

It was recently reported that Nigel Farage, a British politician, is being investigated as a possible link between the Trump campaign and Russian interference in our election.

Nigel Farage led a British political party that campaigned for Brexit, which committed Great Britain to leave the European Union.  He has a relationship with Donald Trump and appeared on the campaign trail with him.

Earlier this year Nigel Farage was seen leaving the Ecuadorian Embassy in Great Britain where Julian Assange has been staying to evade extradition to Sweden on charges of rape.  As Farage was leaving the Ecuadorian Embassy he was asked why he was there.  He responded that he couldn't remember.

Julian Assange leads WikiLeaks which during our presidential campaign released the emails hacked from John Podesta and the Democratic National Committee by Russia.

If there are possible links between Russian influence on our presidential election, WikiLeaks and Nigel Farage, is it too conspiratorial to wonder if there may be a links between Russian influence in the Brexit vote and Nigel Farage?

If Russia's goal is to destabilize the west, Brexit and our presidential election would have been prime targets.

The Truth Will Set Trump Free

President Trump has said he is "100%" ready to testify under oath.  If he does, the chances he will be impeached is also 100%,

If there is one thing we know about President Trump, it is that he has no intellectual capacity to distinguish between true and false.

For Trump, true and false is always modulated by the moment.  For him, true is whatever seems to meet the needs of the moment.   Whatever is true one moment can be false the next.  He doesn't care what he previously asserted was true.  He probably doesn't even remember because the previous answer was not anchored to any other "facts" in his mind.  A new moment brings a new chance to determine the truth unencumbered by any previous answer..

So when Trump is under oath and there is legal liability for not telling the truth, President Trump will not be able to provide consistent answers.  A skillful interrogator will have him lying repeatedly.

Impeachment will follow shortly and Donald Trump will be free to go back to the former life he prefers.

Sunday, March 26, 2017

President Trump Needs A Health Checkup

I have not seen any reporting that President Trump has received an independent health check up since he was elected. Given the vast number of Trump supporters who seem to have trouble distinguishing reality from obfuscations and fantasy, we need to insist that President Trump immediately have a thorough health evaluation by a team of respected health care professionals.

What little I've heard does not suggest that the President watches his diet or exercises. We do have the word of his personal physician that he is extremely healthy, but that is not good enough. Dr. Oz said Donald Trump was healthy enough to be president, but I would like an independent evaluation.

If the President were to have a sudden, serious health event that incapacitated or killed him, how long would it take for conspiracy theories to convince a large numbers of people that the President's enemies had poisoned him? I suspect that would happen anyway, but it might help to have prior, accurate and public medical facts for counter arguments.

The exam needs to be thorough. The President's personal physician could participate, but not lead the team. Any findings of serious illness or potential issues need to be made public and as many details as possible should be released so independent researchers can do their own analysis.

I would also recommend frequent periodic re-evaluations if the President is not leading a healthy life style or serious health issues are found. I don't think we know if the stress that comes with the office will prematurely age President Trump as it seems to have aged some prior presidents.

Given the ease with which the President's supporters ignore facts, I'm very concerned about what might happen if there is a health crisis and no prior documentation to counter conspiracy theories.

Monday, March 20, 2017

Advice to North Korea: Cool It!

When President Trump feels pressured, he commonly tries to change the focus by saying or doing something outrageous.

It is widely thought that President Trump's libelous accusation that former President Obama wire tapped Trump Tower was such an attempt.

Now that the Director of the FBI and the Director of the NSA have testified these accusations are false, what new outrage will President Trump spew to distract us?

North Korea, now is not the time to be confrontational.   We have a leader who may be more unpredictable than yours.

Tuesday, February 28, 2017

Earth to Trump: Health Care is Hard!

While addressing the Governors this week, President Trump said about health care,

"It's an unbelievably complex subject. Nobody knew that health care could be so complicated. [DTU]".

Nobody?  One person who obviously didn't know and probably still doesn't know is President Trump.

I've got a few "who knew" questions myself.

Who knew that Donald Trump was so unprepared to be President of the United States?

Who knew that Donald Trump knew so little about health care after campaigning for months to replace Obamacare?

Who knew that Donald Trump would be so unaware of how ridiculous he would look making that statement?

I mean really.  Who knew?

Donald Trump's Fact Free Universe

Over and over President Trump makes outlandish claims that are easily proven false. This happens so often it is safer to assume that anything he says is false until it is proven true.

Why does he continue to make outlandish statements?

My guess is that Donald Trump has lived most of his life in a universe where people never question what he says.  When you live that long in a world where every word you speak is treated like gold, you no longer question whatever comes out of your mouth. 

But alternative facts are only facts in Donald Trump's Universe (DTU).

Much like adding "[SIC]" in a quote to identify an original misspelling, we should add "[DTU]" after quoting a Trump alternative fact.

Sunday, January 22, 2017

Trump Lied

Candidate Donald Trump told us on several occasions during the campaign that he would release his tax returns as soon as the IRS audit was complete.

Kellyanne Conway told us today that President Trump will not release his tax returns, ever.

The explanation we are given is that people knew about his tax return issues before the election and he was elected anyway.  Ergo, no one cares.

This is another example of Trump's disdain for the truth, disrespect for people who voted for him and a clear signal that his returns contain some really damaging information.

And he probably thinks we will never know what is in those returns.


Sunday, January 15, 2017

Would You Buy A Used Car From Him?

President-elect Trump rails against fake news.  Whenever there is a story in the news that he doesn't like, he accuses the media of being unfair or biased or lying.

Of course, this is so ironic since the major disseminator of fake news is Mr. Trump in his tweets, statements and speeches.  His lack of veracity is so pervasive that fact checking is essentially futile.

Many voters voted for Mr. Trump because he would bring a business perspective to the running of the government.  But businesses are typically transactional operations.  They are less interested in making factual statements than in solving the issues of the moment.

We've all seen examples of business people who will say practically anything to make the sale or calm a disgruntled customer.  Whether or not what they say is really true is not their top priority. Anecdotally, think of the reputation of used car salesman.  Another everyday example are the responses of many customer service call people.

So when you listen to the soon to be President Trump or read a tweet or statement from him, think of the used car salesman.  What is he trying to sell?  Is the statement self-serving or factual?  How can you determine if what he is saying is true?

Saturday, January 14, 2017

Ego Tours Will Continue

I guess the Trump victory/thank you tour is over.  But of course, it will never be over.  It may have a different name, but Donald Trump will never be very far from an adoring crowd.

I have long suspected that Donald Trump got into the presidential race to burnish his brand.  He didn't really want to be president, but he stayed in the race for two reason.

First, he never thought he would win.  When he started winning in the primaries, he needed to find a way to lose that wouldn't look like he had somehow failed.  Some of his outrageous remarks seemed to be a ploy to get people to turn against him and force him out of the race.  Then he could blame political correctness, liars and the media. That didn't work.  In the end he just couldn't find a way to get out without taking a tremendous blow to his ego.

Second, he loves the attention.  He is driven and energized by cheering crowds.  It is now coming out that he would say things and take positions on issues just because his crowds loved the ideas and cheered loudly.
Why else would he glow on the victory tour when crowds would yell "Lock her up!"?  For heaven's sake.  He won.  But humility is not an emotion he has ever needed.  Humility would imply he is not perfect.

The combination, of not finding a face saving way to get out of the race and cheering crowds that fed his ego kept him in the race.

Donald Trump likes to portray himself as this confident, successful person, but in truth he has very low self-esteem.  His constant exaggerations that he is the best at everything is not to convince other people, it is to convince himself.  He needs the cheering crowds to constantly prove to himself he is really not a failure.

Now he has won the presidency, but even that is not enough. His lack of self-esteem is why he must always lash out whenever anyone criticizes him. It is also why he can't accept that Russia helped him win.

The ego tours will never end.

Republicans Take Credit For Obamacare, Sort Of

Marsha Blackburn, Republican Congresswoman from Tennessee, was interviewed on TV a couple of weeks ago.  She was talking about plans to repeal and replace Obamacare.  She made two statements that astounded me.

First, when questioned about the disruption that repealing Obamacare might cause, she said that there were some good features that would be retained.


After Republicans have insisted that Obamacare was rammed down the country's throat without Republican input or votes, declared to be a complete failure, blamed for all the ills in the health care system and they tried to repeal it dozens of times because it was beyond repair, I was amazed to hear Representative Blackburn say Obamacare has some good features that the Republicans would like to retain.

When questioned further about these Obamacare features that she would retain, she explained with a wry smile, that they were actually originally Republican ideas that were included in Obamacare.


After six years of hyperbole about how bad and worthless Obamacare is, now you want to take credit for its "good" features?

Actually, she is correct.  There were a lot of features in Obamacare that, at one point, could rightly be called Republican ideas.  They only became vile when Democrats included them in the legislation.  The individual mandate, which Republicans still despise, was also an idea conservatives had once supported.

So now that it is their turn to govern, they want to make sure that they, the Republicans, get credit for all the good features they will keep from Obamacare.

There are dirty, low-down, ornery liars and hypocrites and then there are Republicans.

The Russians Made Me Do It!

And the rationalizations begin.