Featured

Reality to US: My Condolences

I’m still trying to figure out how you actually mess up a condolence call to a soldier’s family and turn it into a national nightmare when the White House Chief of Staff has to lie to cover up for the president’s lies. And just to make it worse, the White House Press Secretary then questions an American’s right to ask questions simply because the Chief of Staff is a Four Star General.

I’m all for respecting the military and the soldiers who serve our country. What I strenuously object to is the idea that we need to glorify the military and hold it in higher regard than  the rights they fight to protect, among which are the right to freedom of speech and of the press.

Saying that its inappropriate to criticize John Kelly simply because he’s a general shows me how utterly ignorant the present administration is of our history and jurisprudence. It also shows me how dangerous they are when it comes to what people say. Would it not also be inappropriate to question John McCain’s service to our country? The president did not hesitate to question McCain’s heroism and commitment.

Perhaps Trump’s tax returns have a line for moral bankruptcy to go along with his likely other manipulations.

Is there not going to be day when something that used to be predictable, normal, mundane or life-affirming is turned into a sloppy, incompetent, truthless, egomaniacal, psychological endurance test? How much more will the president’s actions cause good, honest people to lose their way and wobble because their moral gyroscopes have been knocked off their axes by his insipid need to be the story? Wasn’t John Kelly the man who was going to bring order to the White House? To stop the internecine bleeding and feuding that was tearing the country apart?

This is not going well, especially because Kelly is now looking a lot less like a pillar of moral strength  and more like a man who is wading into the tide of turpitude that threatens to become a tsunami. None of this is making America look like a worthy ally, governing entity or negotiating partner.

All of this comes at the end of a week that saw the president flip-flop on whether he supports a bipartisan fix for the Affordable Health Care Act that would go a long way towards meeting goals that he’s enunciated, which are to provide comprehensive health insurance to people at an affordable price and to stabilize the insurance markets. Of course, that’s what Trump has said. What he really wants to do is disrupt the law and have the country blame the Democrats, but that’s not going to happen. There are too many people in states that Trump won that rely on the ACA. Does he think that Democrats won’t remind those voters next November that it’s his actions that caused their plight if they lose coverage?

This is also a week that saw the president also try to kill two deals that are not nearly as bad as he says they are: NAFTA and the Iran nuclear agreement. The NAFTA negotiations are not going well, and you can’t really blame Mexico and Canada for wanting to hold the line on the deal because their economies have done well under the pact. Why would they want to renegotiate, especially since this administration has shown that it will destroy any agreement they don’t like. And while NAFTA has done serious damage to many parts of the United States, it has also done some wonderful things to other parts. Scrapping the deal will lead to significantly higher prices, an there’s no guarantee that it will lead to the job growth that Trump has promised.

The Europeans, in addition to the Iranians, are also wary of this administration’s negotiating tactics and are saying that Iran is abiding by the nuclear deal. That Iran is supporting terrorist groups in the Middle East is terrible, but let’s address that separately. The last thing anybody wants is for Iran to support terrorists and have a nuclear program.

Which brings us to tax reform, in which the middle class is going to be asked to give up deductions for mortgage interest and state taxes and, as of yesterday, possibly a severe restriction on how much its members can contribute to 401(k) retirement plans. All because the president wants to give businesses a massive tax break, from 35% to 20%, under the illusion that corporations will use that money to create jobs.

And not to help their stock price.
Which is what investors want.
And is tied to executive compensation.
See where I’m going with this?

If these corporations were so moral, why not use the money they have parked away now, bring it back to the US, and create more jobs. You know the answer.

We are very quickly losing our moral authority as a beacon of democracy, tolerance, openness and responsibility. It will take us years to get those back.

For more, go to www.facebook.com/WhereDemocracyLives or Twitter @rigrundfest

Politics

Bill Maher – Republicans have Gone from Lying to “just making sh*t up”- Video

image

Things that come naturally to Republicans – lying and making sh*t up.

HBO’s Bill Maher explains.

Video

Ben Carson #Politics

Ben Carson Admits he Lied To The American People

But wait, in today’s politics, Republicans are looking for the most outlandish candidate to represent them in the election. This lie by Carson might be all he needs to solidify his position as a leader in the Republican Party, and be the party’s nominee for president.

Ben Carson’s campaign on Friday admitted, in a response to an inquiry from POLITICO, that a central point in his inspirational personal story was fabricated: his application and acceptance into the U.S. Military Academy at West Point.

The academy has occupied a central place in Carson’s tale for years. According to a story told in Carson’s book, “Gifted Hands,” the then-17 year old was introduced in 1969 to Gen. William Westmoreland, who had just ended his command of U.S. forces in Vietnam, and the two dined together. That meeting, according to Carson’s telling, was followed by a “full scholarship” to the military academy.

West Point, however, has no record of Carson applying, much less being extended admission.

“In 1969, those who would have completed the entire process would have received their acceptance letters from the Army Adjutant General,” said Theresa Brinkerhoff,a spokeswoman for the academy. She said West Point has no records that indicate Carson even began the application process. “If he chose to pursue (the application process), then we would have records indicating such,” she said.

When presented with these facts, Carson’s campaign conceded the story was false.

“Dr. Carson was the top ROTC student in the City of Detroit,” campaign manager Barry Bennett wrote in an email to POLITICO. “In that role he was invited to meet General Westmoreland. He believes it was at a banquet. He can’t remember with specificity their brief conversation but it centered around Dr. Carson’s performance as ROTC City Executive Officer.”

“He was introduced to folks from West Point by his ROTC Supervisors,” Bennett added. “They told him they could help him get an appointment based on his grades and performance in ROTC. He considered it but in the end did not seek admission.”

Carson would have needed to seek admission in order to receive an offer of free education from West Point. Also, according to West Point, there is no such thing as a “full scholarship” to the military academy, as Carson represented in his book.

Featured #paris #Politics

Paris Mayor – “What Fox News Did was to lie… at a very, very serious time”

Hidalgo spoke to CNN about the city’s planned lawsuit against Fox News for its coverage of the supposed “no-go zones” in the wake of terror attacks by Islamic extremists earlier this year in Paris. Fox eventually issued multiple corrections and said there was “no credible information” to support the idea that non-Muslims are not allowed in parts of England or France.

“We are in a world that can very dangerously tip over, as we’ve seen,” Hidalgo said, according to CNN’s translation. “And we should not accept this type of talk that only adds difficulty.”

Though she did not explain details of the lawsuit against Fox, she said the city “took legal action at the Paris high court.”

She said she remained angry about Fox’s reporting and that “it has economic consequences because some in the United States suddenly become afraid of Paris.”

“What Fox News did was to lie,” Hidalgo said, according to CNN. “It wasn’t opinion or legitimate criticism. We are in a democracy, so real criticism is normal. But it was a lie at a very, very serious time. And some like Fox stigmatized a portion of the population and they wanted to show something that doesn’t exist.”

ObamaCare #Politics

PolitiFact to Rand Paul – Your Lie About Obamacare is a ‘Pants on Fire’ Lie

rand-paul-hed-2013a

So Rand Paul has sent out mailings to his supporters telling them some rather impossible to believe claims about Obamacare. Of course his supporters drink it all as truth. They happily believe everything these Republicans say. But PolitiFact has checked and this lie got their Pants on Fire ratings.

According to PolitiFact, someone sent them the mailing from Rand Paul claiming that “for every Kentuckian that has enrolled in Obamacare, 40 have been dropped from their coverage.” An insane ratio, I know. And I’m not the only one who found this claim rediculous. It also caught the attention of PolitiFact. They checked into Paul’s claim and found this:

Tracking cancellations isn’t so easy, because cancellations are issued by private health insurance companies, and regulations differ in each state. The Associated Press assembled a comprehensive, 50-state look at Obamacare-related cancellations and concluded that, in Kentucky, 130,000 people received cancellation notices. Meanwhile, the Kentucky Department of Insurance has put the number at 168,000.

So a reasonable number for cancellations in Kentucky is probably between 130,000 and 168,000.

How many Kentuckians have signed up for Obamacare?

The answer depends on your definition of “Obamacare.”

The broader measure includes both signups for private insurance at the state-run Kynect insurance marketplace, as well as signups for Medicaid, the longstanding government-run health insurance program for the poor that Kentucky chose to expand under Obamacare.

In late April 2014, the state announced that 82,795 Kentuckians had purchased private plans on Kynect and 330,615 others had qualified for Medicaid coverage, for a total of 413,410. Data from the federal Department of Health and Human Services that counts a few more weeks of signups had slightly higher numbers.

Comparing the two numbers

Using just these numbers, Paul is either wrong or very wrong.

The smaller number — private-insurance number of signups (82,795) — is exceeded by the number of cancellations (up to 168,000), but at most, the discrepancy is only twice as big, not 40 times as big.

But it’s not clear that this is the right number to use. Paul’s newsletter didn’t only refer to private plans, and the Medicaid expansion was just as much a part of Obamacare as the marketplaces for private health insurance plans.

So if you include both types of signups (413,410), then the combined Medicaid and private-insurance signups in Kentucky actually exceeded the number of cancellations by more than double. So Paul’s claim is not just off-base, it’s actually going in the opposite direction.

In fact, the 40-times-higher claim is ridiculously off-base.

Democracy #Politics

America Has A Secret…. and it’s not Democracy

Yes, America has a secret… America’s secret is that we are exhausted. We are exhausted from the mind numbing and energy consuming denial of who and what we are, and until we come to grips with the truth of who and what we are our exhaustion will continue to lead us down the path of a punch drunk fighter and more of our current delirious actions.

As we as a Nation attempt to move towards being a true Democracy, a very vocal minority has invested much energy and resources in trying to convince “We the People” that we have already arrived at Democracy, so much so that we should go around the world and make others Nations into our brand of a Democracy. They would like us to believe that we are a shining example of what Abraham Lincoln said in his ‘Gettysburg Address’, referred to as “A Government for the People, by the People”.

That’s simply not true. Not yet.

people

If ‘one man, one vote’ is an ingredient of the principle of Democracy I challenge the reader to attempt the exhausting task of defending the position of our “arrival” at Democracy. When were we ever a true and complete Democracy?

The Native Americans, all but totally wiped out by genocide did not see it. Was it when the 13 Colonies won their freedom with the assistance of slaves who fought and died on behalf of others yet after the Revolution was won continued on as subjects of the most brutal slavery system on record for another hundred years?

Was it when Women weren’t seen as fit to vote? How about during Jim Crow laws when certain segments of Society would be lynched for even thinking about participating as a full and complete Citizen? Or maybe now? Now that that Corporate monopoly over the perception altering media and “Elected” Political so called Leaders clearly do the bidding not of “We the People” but of the Puppet Masters that fund their worthless campaigns to nowhere?

Trying to uphold a lie can be pretty exhausting, it goes against the grain of what is natural and there is nothing as powerful as nature. She is undefeated. No lie can last forever.

If “We the People” can be convinced that we have somehow arrived at an acceptable expression of Democracy then we stop striving towards the true meaning of this great principle. Any Country that is a Prison Industrial Complex has NOT yet arrived at Democracy. Any Nation that is a Military Industrial Complex has yet to reach true Democracy. Be be not deceived America, we have a long way to go so conserve your energy for a long struggle to true Democracy.

The Son of Man says, keeping up a lie is an exhausting waste of your natural human essence and power. We can’t cure a disease that we have yet to acknowledge. This disease is killing us. For those that have an ear let him/her hear.

Politics #Republican #Unemployment

Shutting Down The Republican Lie That “23 Million People Are Unemployed”

Mitt Romney has used this talking point in the debates and he uses it all the time on the campaign trail. He never states where this information came from, because accurate information is not necessary in Republican world. And his mouthpieces are now using the same talking point, but today, one person stood up for the truth.

Her name is Neera Tanden. She was a guest on the Melissa Perry Show this morning, and responding to the talking-point, Ms Tanden said, “23 million people aren’t unemployed. This is something that Mitt Romney says, it’s not true. We have an under-employment problem.”

And the record reflects Neera Tanden’s point. According to CNN reporting, “the U.S. Labor Department, which puts out the official government jobs data, counts 12.8 million people as unemployed — not 23 million.

“Even if you add in unemployed people who are not counted in that total because they are not actively looking for work — a category the Labor Department terms “marginally attached” — that number rises to just over 15.3 million.”

But again, Republican never let facts get in the way of a good talking point.

Video: