Monday, July 31, 2017
Memo to Anthony Scaramucci and General Stanley McChrystal The media is not your friend. “Off the record” is not off the record if it would embarrass you or a conservative administration. It’s only off the record if you don’t say it. The reporters get kudos and awards. You get the boot. Check out Secretary of the Interior James Watt, who got a boot, but kept his job. Memo to Trumpanistas: “The mainstream media is at war with the Trump Administration. It is unconditional war on their part. It will only end if President Trump resigns or is impeached, at which point they will then attempt to destroy President Pence.” Even your friends may reveal your statements. Secretary of Agriculture Early Butz resigned 4 decades ago because John Dean, the disgraced John Dean, published in Rolling Stone Magazine a crude, highly offensive racist joke. Finally, understand that anyone may tape your remarks on a smart phone, any time, any place, even in closed, friendly audiences, such as campaign fundraisers. Memo to Scaramucci, McChrystal, Butz, Romney, Obama, et al, “Zipper Your Lips!” If you can’t zipper your lips, then temper your remarks. You just never know!
Jack Webb in Dragnet: “Just the facts, ma’am.” Here are the bare facts about bare ass on bare fare Spirit Airlines. An unnamed passenger caught the spirit of Spirit Airlines by barring it all in boarding the airline. No fig leaf No pasties No shame The media won’t report if it is a he or she, so I will prefer to the person as “he/she/it.” He/she/it boarded in Las Vegas for a flight to Oakland. We can safely assume he/she/it is not an Oakland raiders fan. They loudly overdress rather than underdress. We can safely assume he/she/it did not lose its shirt in Vegas because he/she/it was wearing it before embarking and disrobing. Perhaps he/she/it was mistaken about a gig. We can safely assume he/she/it either caught the Spirit of Spirit, which painted “Home of the BARE FARE” on an engine, or the letter of Bare Fare. One must bare it all to get the bare fare. Spirit is known for its cheap fares, its bare fares, but you pay for everything else except one 16” X 14” X 12” carry on, personal bag and oxygen. Spirit would charge for the air if it could. Spirit’s charges are a caricature of the larger airlines’ fees. Want to print out a boarding pass at the airport kiosk, that’s $2. Want a reserved seat, pay for it. Want to sit with your family, pay for reserved seats. Want an upgrade, pay for it Want to check in luggage, pay by the dimensions and weight. How much? Go to Spirit’s “Bag-O-Tron” and prepay No refunds On a family vacation? Bikes, golf bags, skis, scuba equipment are oversized luggage. Pay extra. Want to carry on a bag to stow overhead, pay for it. Thirsty? Buy a drink Hungry? Pay for a snack Want to fly standby, that’s cost you with no guarantees Nothing though in Spirit’s rules of carriage about passengers with lice. Presumably they can come aboard if they are attached to members of the family. Delta kicked the whole family off the plane. Good for Delta! He/she/it proves that what doesn’t go in Vegas may still stay in Vegas But where’s the video?
Sunday, July 30, 2017
The Senate Republicans Have Effectively Advanced the Single Payer Option, and Other ObamaCare Thoughts
The Republicans said give us the House and we can do something. They got the House in 2010 and did little. The Republicans said give us the House and Senate and we can do something. They gained and Senate in 2014 and did nothing. The Republicans said give us the House, Senate and Presidency, and then they could act They got the House, Senate, and Presidency in 2016, and now they would act. Let me rephrase it pursuant to the Kiss Theorem: Give us the House! Give us the Senate! Give us the Presidency! Give up!!!!!! The Senate Republicans rejected all changes to ObamaCare, the single most important factor in the Republican rise over the past seven years. They risk fading into oblivion and meaninglessness, as ObamaCare accelerates the road to implosion. The only solution then with our current healthcare system shattered will be single payer. Single payer can be highly seductive, just as socialism. Get rid of the avaricious insurance companies and let the efficiency of a single payer take over. To see how single payer would work, look to the Veterans Administration. Look to the Indian Health Service, which rivals the VA with poor health service. Look to the Army’s fabled, flagship Walter Reed Hospital, which closed in 2011, because it was physically dilapidated. The single payer will be a large, ever growing federal bureaucracy, protected against sloth and incompetence by civil service rules, and which will be unionized by the next Democratic President. Think of England’s National Health System, which is the largest employer in England, and the fifth largest in the world with 1.4 million employees. The Senators who fought change in 2017 are not up for reelection in 2018. What do they care? Four years is an eternity in politics. They must believe the Republican voters are stupid with short memories. The GOP is the party of the elephant and not the donkey. The Republicans voted in a meaningless gesture for seven years to repeals the reviled ObamaCare. Senators Lisa Murkowski of Alaska and John McCain of Arizona ran ads against ObamaCare. Senator Murkowski sponsored several bills to limit ObamaCare. That was then; this is now. Their votes matter now; every vote matters. Hypocrisy; they got cold feet when it mattered. Senator McCain has a reputation as a maverick. He is, but he is also consistent in one respect. He respects the civility, dignity and bipartisanship of the Senate compared to the raucous House. Note to Senator McCain. Those days are history, destroyed by President Obama and then Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid. The Republicans are criticized for not cooperating with Democrats on their attempts to deal with the Act. The Democrats, having 60 Senate votes in 2010, totally ignored the Republicans in drafting and enacting ObamaCare. It goes back even further. President Obama and the Democrats enacted their Stimulus Bill in 2009, totaling ignoring the Republicans. They didn’t even throw them a bone. Senator Reid further destroyed the decorum of the Senate by eliminating the filibuster on federal judges, except for the Supreme Court. He further limited amendments on bills the democrats wanted enacted. Senators Lindsay Graham and John McCain said before the last vote that they could not support the “skinny” Senate proposal as the final bill, but wanted assurances from the House that it would go to conference for changes. Speaker Paul Ryan gave those assurances. Senator McCain voted against it anyway and is now back in Arizona undergoing cancer treatment. Here’s what the Republicans could not even do: Repeal ObamaCare outright? No Repeal and replace ObamaCare? No Adopt block grants leaving more discretion to the states on implementing the Medicaid extension? No Repeal the reviled individual mandate? No Repeal the employer mandate? No Repeal at least the medical devices tax? No They couldn’t pass any measure, fat, lean, skinny to at least get to a House-Senate Conference Committee. The Senate couldn’t even live up to its reputation as the world’s greatest deliberate body. They debated little behind closed doors. The Republicans spent seven years listening to horror stories about ObamaCare: high premiums, high deductibles, limited networks, loss of existing insurers and medical providers. They’d heard the blowback in recent months from ObamaCare beneficiaries who fear losing their existing coverage. Their fears are real, but not realistic. The House Republicans made it clear that the current Medicaid beneficiaries would be protected. The opponents were loud, jamming the Congressional open houses back home. The protests were often organized, as they were during the Presidential campaign. Many Republicans were spooked. Now they’re hearing the blowback from their base, letting them have it. Now they’re facing the threat of President Trump to throw them onto ObamaCare, as I blogged on July 14. The Republicans should have held public hearings with witness after witness telling horror stories reminding the American people of why they detest ObamaCare. A rumor is that Senator McConnell asked President Trump to stay out of the negotiations prior to the votes. I don’t know if that’s true, but if is, then the President have further reason to be upset. Another observation is yet again the false conclusions of the “non-partisan” Congressional Budget Office, which said the skinny bill would cause 14 million Americans to lose health coverage. Absolutely false! See May 26 blog. They count as those “losing” coverage Americans, especially the young healthy Americans, who don’t want ObamaCare, and persons who prospectively would be ineligible if the loosened requirements for Medicaid would be tightened somewhat. Finally, let the American people understand that Medicaid does not = medical care. Providers are increasingly leery of taking Medicaid patients because of the low rates – another harbinger of a single payer system in the United States. Hispanics in san Jose, California have filed suit because they are enrolled in MediCal (California’s version of Medicaid), but unable to obtain coverage. This is what 51 Republican Senators voted to perpetuate!
Tuesday, July 25, 2017
The 1960’s and early 1970’s witnessed demonstrations and violence on our campuses, starting with the Free Speech Movement at Berkeley in 1964. Anti-Vietnam War fueled most of the subsequent demonstrations, riots and sit-ins, followed by Kent State and Cambodia in 1970. Other causes were the CIA, Dow Chemical, disinvestment in South Africa, and civil rights. Berkeley, Cornell, Harvard, Dartmouth, UCLA, Maryland, Indiana, San Francisco State, Kent State, Dartmouth. University leaders were seemingly helpless, although supine is a better word. The great Catholic University of Notre Dame was not immune to the student’s outpouring of rage. The campus experienced demonstrations, sit-ins, and student strikes. Notre Dame’s President Father Theodore Hesburgh led the University for 35 years, guiding it into a great academic institution. Father Hesburgh was sympathetic to the students. He also opposed the war. He believed in academic freedom. He issued a letter on February 17, 1969. His words were clear and simple. He promulgated the 15 minute rule: “Anyone or group that substitutes force for rational persuasion, be it violent or non-violent, will be given fifteen minutes of meditation to cease and desist.” They would then be asked for their ID and face suspension. They would be expelled if they persisted for another five minutes. Decisive leadership! His intent was to preserve freedom of speech and a diversity of expression at Notre Dame in a peaceful manner. The past two years has witnessed a return to riots, sit-ins on our campuses, starting with the University of Missouri, a state with underlying racial issues from Ferguson. Allegations of racism led to protests. The losing football team joined the protests, supported by their coach. Melissa Click, a communications professor, became the public face of the protesters as she was caught on video asking for some ”muscle” to muzzle against a student reporter. The University of Missouri has encountered a large backlash among students, potential students, parents, and alumni. Freshmen enrollment has plunged 35% in two years. Overall enrollment has dropped 7.4%. Faculty have been laid off, dorms closed, and the Republican legislature reducing funding. Professor Click was terminated. The craven response at Missouri was the resignation of the President and Provost, thereby emboldening the left both at the University of Missouri and nationally. Claremont McKenna students last year blocked the entrance hall in which Wall Street Journal columnist and Thomas S. Smith Fellow at the Manhattan Institute Heather MacDonald was scheduled to appear. Ms. MacDonald is a staunch supporter of police and has criticized Black Lives Matter for its anti-police rhetoric and actions. She has published “The War on Cops: How the New Attack on Law and Order Makes Everyone Less Safe.” Social media was used to shut down her event, calling her an “anti-Black Fascist.” Police led her into the near empty lecture hall for livestreaming. Her speech was interrupted by protestors banging on the windows. University President Hiram R. Chodosh promised disciplinary against the demonstrators. The University fulfilled his promise a few days ago. Five students were suspended and two placed on probation. Four of the students were seniors, whose graduation was postponed pending the completion of their suspensions. Four students from other campuses were barred from non-academic activities on the Claremont McKenna campus. Attorney Nana Gyamfi, lead organizer and co-founder of Justice warriors 4 Black Lives, protested: “Universities should be places where students learn about the power and limitation of civic engagement and this completely shuts that down with the hot-button issues of our current time.” She accused the college of “over reacting to a minor incident” with “cruel and unusual punishment.” Civic engagement does not include the right to violent demonstrations and shutting down speakers one disagrees with. The demonstrators had earlier forced on November 132 the resignation of Dean of Students Mary Spellman who had emailed a Latina student during campus protests seeking greater diversity and concerns about “marginalized” diversity students that she would work to help students who ‘don’t fit out CMC mold” I don’t think she meant it the way it was construed, but she resigned in the uproar that followed. By way of comparison to Claremont McKenna we have Middlebury College in Vermont. Charles Murray, co-author of The Bell Curve, was scheduled to speak on March 2, 2107. He was met with violent demonstrators who assaulted and battered both him and his faculty interlocutor, Professor Allison Stanger. She suffered a concussion as her hair was pulled and neck twisted. No arrests were made. College President Laurie L. Patton promised accountability while issuing a public apology. The college announced sanctions on May 23 against 67 students. The sanctions raged from probation to written sanctions of the students’ transcripts – in short, a slap on the wrist for violent violence resulting in personal injury. No academic discipline has been imposed against the rioters who shut down Milo Yiannopoulos at Berkeley on May 2, 2017. The University, the site of the Free Speech Movement, also muzzled Ann Coulter by denying her a reasonable time and place to speak on April 27, 2017. Yale, Ithaca College, Smith, Evergreen State, have also failed to support academic freedom and administrators. This fall promises to be hot, fueled partially by anti-Trump animus, unless other campuses follow the lead of Claremont McKenna making sure consequences follow violent action and disruption of speech. Peaceful demonstrators are appropriate, but stifling debate through violence is unacceptable.
Wednesday, July 19, 2017
The Cleveland woman screamed out during the 2012 Presidential Campaign: “Everybody in Cleveland - low, minority - got Obama phone! Keep Obama president, you know. He gave us a phone.” The free Obama Phone! The Lifeline program for free phones goes back to the Reagan Administration with President George W. Bush extending it to mobile phones. President Obama did not in fact start the Obama Phone program, but he extended it. The more that’s free, the greater cost to those working and the greater the diminution of the work ethic for those receiving benefits. The list of often substantial free benefits keeps growing. Cell phones are the least of it; food, housing, medical, and even cash head the list. Why work hard to achieve the American dream when you can get much of it for free? Government’s role was limited, except during war, until the Great Depression and the New Deal. The government promoted economic development and growth. The American ethos was limited government, self-reliance, and hard work. The change from reliance to at least quasi-dependence occurred earlier around 1890 when the Director of the Bureau of the Census announced the Frontier was closed. The early English settlers in Jamestown and Massachusetts always had a western frontier to settle. Wave after wave of mostly European immigrants poured into America as they progressively settled the West. Hundreds of millions of acres were cheap, if not free. The frontier settlers had to be strong and self-reliant to survive. The American people believed in independence and personal responsibility. They had to for survival. (As a side note, I took little note of the Turner Thesis, “The Significance of the Frontier in American History,” in my American history course in college). The formal end of the frontier was accompanied by the rise of the cities, whose residents could not be self-reliant. They have to rely upon others to supply food, clothing, utilities, protection, transportation, waste disposal, sanitation and public health, which necessitates a growing role for government. The New Deal started the progressive change in government’s role to one of redistribution and dependence with entitlement program after entitlement program. FDR started social security in 1935 pursuant to which many beneficiaries will be able to earn substantially more than they and their employers paid in. Unemployment compensation started in 1932 in Wisconsin, spread to five more states, and then became a federal/state program in 1935 in an expansion to the Social Security Act. The periods of receiving benefits is normally 26 weeks, but is often extended. Social security was further expanded in 1956 during the Eisenhower Administration to include disability benefits. Housing can be free or subsidized for low income residents. Los Angeles is responding to the escalating homeless problem by spending hundreds of millions of dollars on shelters and housing. Portland, Oregon is experimenting with tiny homes for the homeless. Berkeley mandates marijuana dispensaries provide free marijuana for low-income and homeless residents. Lyndon Baines Johnson, a young Democratic Congressman from Texas during the New Deal, followed FDR’s New Deal with his Great Society when he became President. He gave America Medicare and Medicaid. Medicare is for seniors and Medicaid originally for those in poverty. Medicaid is free for some, with co-pays and cost-sharing for others, but heavily subsidized. It is one of the fastest growing part of state budgets, squeezing out other programs. The ObamaCare extension offers Medicaid to those with income up to 138% of the poverty level and increased the eligible groups. President George W. Bush added Medicare Part D, a prescription plan, to Medicare. Free medical benefits also exist in a federal statute which requires emergency rooms to treat all patients, regardless of ability to pay. Free food benefits accrue through The Food Stamp Program (Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Act – “SNAP”), which covers about 46 million Americans in addition to the School Lunch Program, which has been extended into summer and breakfasts. Students are demanding free tuition, realizing that their student loans are not in fact as free as they seemed at the time. Mark Zuckerberg is advocating for a universal basic income of $13,000 per person. Think of a Berkeley student with free tuition, free pot, free or subsidized housing, free food stamps, and $13,000 cash. Free! Free! Free! The days of of struggling college students working their way through college on a tight budget, receiving a basic education in economics and self-discipline are history for many of today’s students. Hard work was the path to success. It still is. The only place where success comes before work is in the dictionary! It's not free. Harvard students were traumatized by overdue library fines, so now they have free use of books for however long they want. President Nixon gave us the Earned Income Credit. Many of the programs are means tested, directed at the less fortunate in our society, but not all. We end up with about half of Americans (Governor Mitt Romney’s infamous 48%) receiving government benefits, often for free. In addition, every new program creates a new bureaucracy, federal and state, to administer it. Once implemented, a new entitlement is almost impossible to repeal. Government keeps growing. Free quickly becomes addictive to the beneficiaries. An entitlement, once in place, becomes politically impossible to repeal. Free is addictive, even to Republican governors. Yesterday’s failure of the Senate to rein in, much less repeal ObamaCare, is illustrative. Much of the potent political opposition to the Republican’s efforts to repeal and replace ObamaCare was by Republican governors who signed onto the ObamaCare extension. It was “free,” hence seemingly free money to the states. The federal and state governments normally share the costs of Medicare with the current ratio about 57% for the feds and 43% for the states. The Medicaid expansion was 100% covered by the feds. Hence, free cash to cash starved states. Many Republican governors rejected the extension because it was 100% free but only for three years. The state’s share will rise to 10% by 2020. The House and Senate proposals would roll back some of the Medicaid expansion The governors squawked. Yet it was their jumping for the free money which puts them in this position. State health insurance laws and requirements imposed compulsory mandates on health insurance coverage. ObamaCare expanded these mandates at the federal level with the Secretary of Health and Human Services authorized to impose additional mandates as essential health benefits. She extended it to reproductive rights. Mandates may seem free to the beneficiaries, but someone is paying for them. It is not the insurance companies which will pass them on. The catch about "free” is that someone has to pay. They impose an increasing tax burden on those working for a living. Government at the federal, state, and local level though a series of large taxes, such as income, property, sales, payroll and excise, as well as a seemingly infinite number of lesser taxes and fees, keeps seeking more funds. National Tax Freedom Day was April 23 this year, the day when American income has covered all federal, state, and local taxes. In short 31% of American’s income went to fund government this year. It is never enough. Free is not free when someone has to pay for we all pay in the end, directly or indirectly.
Friday, July 14, 2017
President Trump may know the Art of the Deal, but he’s not yet a President Lyndon Baines Johnson. LBJ, both as Senate Majority Leader and President of the United States, was a master politician, who knew how to cajole both Democrats and Republicans in enacting legislation. Former Speaker Nancy and former Senate Majority and Minority Leader Harry Reid were good, but they were no LBJ. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell is no LBJ, and neither is Speaker of the House Paul Ryan. Admittedly, they lack some of the powers of past presidents and Congressional leaders to enforce party solidarity. The Speaker Gingrich House eliminated earmarks, reducing the ability to “buy” Congressional votes. The media will savage President Trump if it was discovered he made threats or express offers to individual members of Congress. He does have one ace in the hole. The ObamaCare statute threw members of Congress and Congressional staffers into ObamaCare and stripped them of their 75% federal subsidy. The statute provides “The only health plans that the federal government may make available to members of Congress and Congressional staff … shall be health plans that are … (i) created under this Act … or (ii) offered through an exchange ….” The language is very clear. The intent was to not exempt Congress from ObamaCare. President Obama in 2013 ignored the express provisions of the statute. He granted a waiver pursuant to which the Office of Personnel Management allowed the members of Congress and their staffers to obtain health insurance in the District of Columbia Small Business Exchange (SHOP). Both Federal and District of Columbia law limits SHOP to small employers with no more than 50 employees. That definitely excludes Congress. President Obama also let them retain their 75% federal subsidy. President Trump should explicitly state that if the Republicans do not carry through their promise to repeal and reform ObamaCare, then he will revoke the illegal Obama Congressional waiver. The media will scream. So what, the American people will cheer. The Hill will erupt with outrage. Americans hate that type of double standard between them and Congress. The House of representatives supposedly represent “the people.” Let them join the people. If ObamaCare is failing, then Congress and its staffers should share in the pain. If they have to feel the pain, then they will act. President Trump should make that threat.
Wednesday, July 12, 2017
President Trump’s speech in Warsaw last Thursday should lay to rest any questions about a Russia-Trump collusion in the Presidential Election. Vladimir Putin is not stupid. The eight years of the Obama Administration with the Clinton/Kerry State Department were wonderful for Russian foreign policy and aggression. A President Clinton would have augured more of the same. She started with a botched Reset Button and then approved the sale of 20% of the United States uranium deposits to a Russian company, whereupon the Clinton Foundation and former President Bill Clinton, her husband, received missions of dollars from the Russians. President Clinton gave a speech for $500,000 and $2.3 million flowed to the Clinton Foundation. Indeed, up to $145 million was donated to the Foundation by eight investors in the company when it was sold to the Russians.. The speech as a great speech. We know because the media mostly ignored it, except for complaining about his talking about (Western) Civilization and . President Obama started his Administrational with a global apology tour, followed by appeasement. Putin and Russia complained, so he unilaterally withdrew the missile defenses from Czechoslovakia and Poland. He asked nothing in return, since it was a sign of “goodwill” on his part. Vladimir Putin quickly got the measurement of President Obama. Russia invaded the Ukraine and occupied the Crimea. President Trump offered MRE’s to the Ukrainians. The Ukrainians needed bullets, but received “meals ready to eat.” He was caught on an open mike saying to then Russian President Dmitry Medvedev on missile defense: “On all these issues, but particularly missile defense, this, this can be solved, but it’s important for him [Putin] to give me space.” He added: “This is my last election. After my election, I have more flexibility.” President Trump’s approach is the opposite from President Obama’s. Poland announced on Wednesday, the day before President Trump’s speech, that it was acquiring almost $8 billion in Patriot missiles from Raytheon in the United States. The Polish people heard President Trump’s speech Thursday, loud and clear because President Trump stuck it to Russia. Poland’s historic plight historically is to be stuck between Germany and Russia. Poland has historically been a country on wheels as its boundaries have expanded and contracted and shifted eastward and westward over the centuries. Even at the end of World War II Poland lost its eastern area to Russia, but was given much of Germany’s Prussia in compensation. The Soviets attempted to reconquer Poland in 1920, but the valiant Poles defeated them at the Battle of Warsaw, achieving 19 dynamic years of independence. Germany and Russia, Hitler and Stalin, entered into the Molotov-Ribbentrop Agreement, also known as the Russian-German Non-Aggression Pact on the night of August 23-24, 1938. A secret codicil to the agreement divided Poland between Germany and Russia. Germany invaded Poland a week later on September 1, triggering World War II. Russia invaded eastern Poland on September 17. Poland was not free again until 1989. President Trump symbolically spoke at the Warsaw Uprising Monument in Krasinski Square. The Polish Uprising is a proud, but sad, day in the history of Poland. The Germans were in retreat against the onslaught of the Red Army. The Polish Home Army rose against their Nazi occupiers in Warsaw. The goal was two-fold: 1) facilitate the entry of the Red Army; and 2) establish Poland as a free country. The home army expected the Red Army to cross the Vistula River into Warsaw. Stalin ordered the Red Army to stand in place. He let the Nazis and Poles fight it out, sapping their strength. The battle ran from August 1, 1944 to October 2, 1944, until a capitulation was entered into. The Poles agreed to surrender. The Nazis agreed to recognize them as prisoners of war. Amazingly, the Nazis essentially adhered to the agreement. The Nazis were ruthless as they suppressed the uprising. They killed any Poles they found, men, women, and children, as they proceeded block by block. An estimated 130,000 were massacred by the Nazis. They evacuated the remaining Warsaw population and destroyed almost all of Warsaw after the Capitulation. Warsaw was a city of rubble. Stalin ordered the red Army to advance after the Nazis completed the leveling of Warsaw. Stalin’s perfidy was not done. Stalin and Beria executed the leaders of the Warsaw Uprising. The Poles cannot forget Stalin because of the “gift” he bestowed upon them, the 778’ tall Palace of Culture and Science, which towers over the Warsaw skyline. Poland opened the Warsaw Uprising Museum in 2004. Polish schoolchildren are bussed to the museum, where they graphically learn of the bravery of the Polish fighters, the Nazi atrocities, and the Russian betrayal. The Poles may not always know who their friends are, but they certainly know the Germans and Russians, especially today the growling Russian bear on the prowl. President Trump spoke to the Polish people Thursday – no diplomatic niceties and broad platitudes. They knew he knew the Russian menace. He recognized: “In 1939, you were invaded yet again, this time by Nazi Germany from the west and the Soviet Union from the east. That’s trouble. That’s tough.” He reminder the Poles, not that they needed reminding, but an acknowledgement by the American President was greatly appreciated, “From the other side of the river, the Soviet armed forces stopped and waited. They watched as the Nazis ruthlessly destroyed the city, viciously murdering men, women, and children. They tried to destroy this nation forever by shattering its will to survive.” He raised the 40 years of Soviet occupation in which Poland and the other occupied countries “endured a brutal campaign to demolish freedom, your faith, your laws, your history, your identity … indeed the very essence of your culture and humanity.” He urged the Russia “to cease its destabilizing activities in Ukraine and elsewhere ….” President Putin may test President Trump, but he understands this American President is the polar opposite of his predecessor, perhaps a little wild, just like President Reagan. Contemnit procellas!
Saturday, July 8, 2017
Seemingly assured of a landslide reelection, Mayor de Blasio is shirking his responsibilities to the people of New York City. His contempt for the NYPD raised its ugly, little head again. The rail system in New York City is deteriorating with a number of accidents and delays. The mayor is gallivanting around America, lining up big city mayors in an anti-trump crusade. Ayn Rand, if she’s looking down with Atlas Shrugged in her hand, will be smiling, saying “I told you so”. Major de Blasio is in Hamburg, Germany. Alexander Bond, a deranged police hating nut job suffering from schizophrenia and depression, assassinated NYPD Officer Miosotis Familia at 12:30AM Wednesday as she was filling out paper work in the cab of a NYPD mobile crime control vehicle in a high crime area of the Bronx. The Mayor said a few words at a press conference a few hours later, and then flew to Hamburg, Germany on Thursday to join the G 20 protestors. The Mayor, who idolatrized the Sandinistas and honeymooned in Cuba, still retains contempt for the police. The NYPD was swearing in 524 new officers on Thursday. The Mayor could have congratulated them on their dedication, their proud service to New York, the long history of the NYPD. He could have warmly welcomed them to the force. He could, but didn’t! He didn’t even leave a formal message to them. His absence was a message. He does not have their backs. The mayor flew to Hamburg Thursday to deliver the Keynote Address at the Hamburg Shows Attitude event, a protest for “democracy and human rights,” and to visit his son in Germany. The Mayor at a press conference in Hamburg blew off a reporter for the New York Post. The Post ran a headline: “AND DON’T COME BACK.” The Mayor, during his campaign four years ago, and after his inauguration, badmouthed the police. NYPD Sergeant Hugh Barry was indicted a few weeks ago for murder in his fatally shooting a woman who attacked him with a baseball bat. Sergeant Barry had the privilege of self-defense to protect himself against deadly force. The Mayor praised the indictment. That was a message to the police. Mayor de Blasio is posturing himself to be the Progressive Anti-Trump. The garbage is piling up on city streets, the trains are derailing, the homeless numbers are growing on the city streets, the streets weren’t cleared over the winter, cops are being killed, and the Mayor is absent. The country, not just New York City, will pay a steep price if the City resorts to its status two decades ago.
Thursday, July 6, 2017
Michelle Kelban-Carteron owns a Manhattan condo in the Chelsea Modern complex. Both Michelle and her husband, Gino Carteron, are attorneys. They retained a third lawyer, Adam Leitman Bailey, to represent them in a dispute with their condo board. The board issued an eviction notice to Luna, their five year old pet pit bull. Pit bulls were historically a mix breed between bulldogs and terriers. Luna assaulted Kinje, a small Havanese mix, in front of the condo, illustrating why pit bulls have acquired a vicious reputation. The condo lease contains an anti-pit bull clause, which allows the condo board to evict any pit bull or other dangerous dog. Michelle presumably read the contract before signing; she is not only a partner in the large, prestigious Latham & Watkins law firm, but co-chair of its real estate practice. If she didn’t read and understand it, then questions could be raised about her competency. She claims it was a one-time only incident. The board’s attorney says the pit bull has been unruly for a year. The common law holds owners of a vicious dog liable if they knew or should have known of the dog’s vicious propensities. The lore of the common law was that every dog “gets one free bite.” Luna had her bite. In addition, cases establish that landlords, or by analogy condo boards, could be liable if they know of the dangers posed by a dog on the premises, but fail to take steps to minimize the risk. Thus, the anti-pit bull clause in the condo contract. Michelle is not going to let her sleeping, or vicious pit bull, lie on her legal rights. Attorney Bailey is a noted real estate lawyer, who is acting like a pit bull of an attorney. He claims “dog racism” because the breed of pit dogs is being singled out and discriminated against. “Dog racism” is akin to the suit filed a few years ago seeking a writ of habeas corpus for Kiko, a chimpanzee. Admittedly, there’s about a 96% overlap in human and chimp DNA, but animals aren’t protected by the Bill of Rights. The case was tossed fairly quickly without a bone to plaintiffs. Similarly, courts have upheld pit bull bans in communities. Bailey threatens to take his dog racism case to the New York City Human Rights Commission, expecting a prosecution. Lawyers can be creative and ingenious. Michelle had Luna certified after the dog mauling incident as a “service dog” for her husband, who is sung the US Postal Service for allegedly being struck by a postal vehicle while cycling – not the wisest act in Manhattan. Two doctors have recommended that a dog, ergo Luna, be provided for emotional support for Gino, proving that the lawyers have gone to the dogs. Attorney Bailey thereby claims that depriving Gino of Luna would violate the Americans With Disabilities Act: “Unfortunately, they’re putting whatever petty grievances they have, or this [board member] woman has, over the need of my client to have a therapy dog and the welfare of the actual dog, a mixed-breed pit bull, which is very sad.” Every dog gets one free bite. Luna’s next bite could be a child! Now we have a battle between service dogs. Kinje is a certified service dog that visits pediatric cancer patients. Luna is servicing a lawyer.
Tuesday, July 4, 2017
“All men are created equal.” Technically, all property owning white men were equal in one sense at the time. All men are created equal in the eyes of the law. The concept that the people would control government rather than the government people, especially the Divine Right of Kings. That government derive “their just powers from the consent of the governed” was revolutionary. It still is in much of the world. The Declaration of Independence was a revolutionary, radical document. The signers of the Declaration put their lives, liberties, and fortunes at risk. The British would have executed the signers and seized their fortunes had the Redcoats won the Revolutionary War. Today’s America with its freedoms and opportunities sprang from the Declaration of Independence, but the Declaration by itself was just words. It needed action to have effect. The first step was the approval of independence on July 2, followed by ratification on July 4 of the Declaration of Independence. The 13 American colonies still had to win their independence from Great Britain. The blood of Patriots with the help of France secured independence in 1783 through the Treaty of Paris. 1788 saw the writing of the Constitution followed in 1791 with the Bill of Rights. The Bill of Rights grants us our freedoms and liberties. The purpose was to protect the people against the government. The critical provision in the Constitution was Article V which allows the Constitution to be amended. The Constitution has thus been able to evolve over 218 years. The War of 1812, technically a draw with Great Britain, solidified American independence. No longer would England, France and Spain covet the American lands. Instead, they started selling much of the territory of the current 50 states to the United States of American. America was on course to American exceptionalism. America was an experiment in unleashing the human spirit and Yankee ingenuity. Flee poverty, oppression, and semi-serfdom in the old country and seek opportunity in the New World. The American people spanned the continent in 241 years from Jamestown in 1607 to the Statehood of California in 1848. They conquered the Eastern Wilderness, the frozen Northern Plains, and the burning deserts of the Southwest. Rivers were bridged, dammed, diverted and tunneled. Mountains were cut, blasted, and tunneled. Wetlands were filled, drained, and dredged. The American people may have primarily been Anglo-Saxon with some Dutch in 1776 and an influx of Ulster Irish. The Native Americans were considered savages and the slaves were slaves. America opened its doors to the peoples of the world. They all became Americans over time. The Civil War freed the slaves and united the country into one republic. It did more though; the Civil War Amendments - 13th, 14th, and 15th Amendments were construed to extent most of the Bill of Rights to the states and not just the federal government. American history, as with the history of any people, has shameful periods: the Native Americans and slavery, the anti-Asian animus, starting with Chinese immigrants, especially on the West Coast, limited rights for women, periods of xenophobia and racial discrimination. The genius of America, especially but not exclusively through the Constitution and Bill of Rights, has been over the span of 241 years to rectify those wrongs. American have become a people, but not one based on ethnicity, race, religion, gender, or skin color, but on a culture, ethos, and shared values. Today we bask in the success of the American revolution and the American people; Our Founding Fathers would be surprised, but thrilled to see the United States of today on the 4th: Freedom Independence Equal Rights Under the Law Due Process and the Rule of Law Parades Fireworks Bunting and Flags BBQ’s Picnics Family Reunions Speeches Protests Sales Drinking Joey Chestnut and the Coney Island Hotdog Eating Competition
Sunday, July 2, 2017
Memo to Media and Politicians on President Trump: The First Amendment Works Both Ways and Does Not Provide a safe Space or Comfort Zone for the Media
The First Amendment provides: “Congress shall make no law … abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press ….” The media has the First Amendment right to print almost anything it wants. It can print fake news, up to a point. It can print garbage and trash. It can be vitriolic and intemperate. It can be caustic. It can question the President’s sanity, call for his impeachment, label him with treason. It can call him sexist and misogynist. All of which they have done with President Trump. They are not bound by journalistic standards. Yet, the First Amendment does not grant immunity from criticism. The First Amendment work both ways. President Trump has a First Amendment Right to respond to the media. He can call them douchebags if he thinks they are acting like douchebags. Much of the media and many Democrats have been on a non-stop Crusade against President Trump, even before he was elected. They have thereby opened themselves up to criticism, criticism as strident as theirs. The First Amendment does not immunize them against responses, even if in bad taste or despicable. The First Amendment does not provide a “comfort zone” for journalists. Media that dish it out should not be surprised to be on the receiving end of criticism. They act like bullies, but then call President Trump a bully when his tweets insults them or others. The conduct, or misconduct, of the media symbolizes the deterioration of civil discourse in the country. The commentators, editorialists, and even reporters are no longer content professionally to critique on the merits and policies. Instead, they engage in personal ad hominin attacks on the President. They attack his character, his judgment, and his family. Morning Joe Scarborough and Mika Brzezinski have hurled highly offensive remarks about the President. In one broadcast she wondered if there’s “” a mental problem – or early onset dementia?” She’s also said she thought “he’s mentally ill in a way.” She compared the President another time to Kim Jong-Un, the brutal dictator of North Korea. Morning Joe said “My mother’s had dementia for 10 years. That sounds like the sort of thing my mother would say today.” He’s called President Trump “stupid,” a “jackass,” and a “schmuck” on other occasions. He’s said the President “clearly has a personality disorder.” We’ll told on June 23 that it feels like a “dictatorship” is developing in America. We also hear that] “This is a dark time.” Joe said on April 4 that “something is deeply wrong with this person.” Mika tweeted a photo of a box of Cheerios containing the caption “MADE FOR LITTLE HANDS.” She then commented on a Time Magazine cover of Donald Trump. She said he covered his hands “because they’re teensy,” echoing a statement of Senator Rubio during the primaries. She knew, and intended it to be, a comment on President Trump’s masculinity. She said he “is destroying the country.” Their broadcasts have been incessantly tasteless and classless. President Trump on Thursday tweeted Joe Scarborough was a “psycho” and called Mika Brzezinski “Low IQ crazy Mika.” He said he saw her “bleeding badly from a facelift. She denies the facelift, but admits to having “a little skin under her chin tweaked.” So not a full face lift, but a chin tweak? They responded Friday in an op-ed in the Washington Post. The title was “Donald Trump is Not Well.” Morning Joe said in a broadcast Friday that President Trump “attacks women because he fears women.” Mika said on Friday: “I’m just telling you, Melania’s got the worst job in the country and I don’t think she wants to do it a lot longer. I think she will do it for as long as she has to for her son, and that’s it.” Melania Trump responded with dignity and class: “It is sad when people try to further their own agenda by commenting on me and my family, especially when they don’t know me.” Mika also said President trump “appears to have a fragile, impetuous, childhood ego that we’ve seen over and over again.” The President tweeted on Saturday “Crazy Joe Scarborough and dumb as a rock Mika are not bad people, but their show is dominated by NBC bosses. Too bad!” It’s all good for the ratings! I personally like the unofficial Kennedy Family motto: “Don’t get mad; Get even.” I also like the saying “Revenge is best served cold.” President Trump has a different approach. He will not sit back and ignore the attacks, unlike President George W. Bush. President Bush thought it beneath the dignity of the President to respond. The media and Democrats proceeded to destroy his Presidency. President Trump has every right to respond. The media believes it has Freedom of Speech to pillory the President any way it wants, but call it bullying for the President to respond in kind. Critics accused President Trump of acting below the stature of a President; in short, “conduct unbecoming the President.” They don’t mention President Kennedy and his affairs, including a Mafia moll, a White House intern, an East German prostitute, a stripper, Jackie’s press secretary, and two White House secretaries, not to mention Marilyn Monroe, Gene Tierney, Janet Leigh, Kim Novak, Jayne Mansfield, Marlene Dietrich, and Angie Dickinson. JFK’s successor, LBJ, claimed to have had more women accidently than Kennedy had intentionally. President Clinton not only cheated in the White House, but then committee perjury about it. They say the President is acting uncouth, whereas more is expected of him as President. As to couth behavior, let’s look to some of our elected representatives. Senator Kristian Gillibrand at a New York conference asked if President Trump had kept his promises. She answered her own question with a resounding “F (expletive deleted) … No.” She had one F word, two “f…in” words, one “BulllS….” word, one “pissed off” and one “that sucks” in her presentation. Children were present in the audience. Senator Kamala Harris of California also used the F word in discussing healthcare at a San Francisco event: “What the f..k is that?” Outgoing California Democratic State Committee Chair John Burton led the delegates in a “F..k Trump” chant. Democratic National Committee Chair Tom Perez said Republicans don’t “give a s..t about people.” He used the S word several times. And of course we have Vice President Joe Biden saying the passage of ObamaCare was “a big f..king deal.” The mainstream media’s goal is to destroy the Trump Administration. CNN has been caught using fake news. They will attack him regardless of what he tweets. If he were to tweet Happy Easter or Merry Christmas, they would jump on him for violating the separation of Church and State. The media attacked him a few weeks ago for his tweets criticizing the Mayor of London after the terrorist attacks. President Trump is a New York streetfighter. He will fight back, giving as good as he receives. The media also asserts the President should spend less time tweeting and more time running the country, which is precisely the one thing they don’t want him to do. MSNBC issued a statement: “It’s a sad day when the president spends his time bullying, lying, and spewing petty personal attacks instead of doing his job.” Perhaps, instead of tweeting he could engage in the dalliances of Presidents Kennedy and Johnson, or emulate President Clinton’s oral sex in the White House. Then we have President Obama who spent an excessive amount of his eight years out of the White House campaigning and fundraising, golfing, and vacationing. Despite the constant negative media barrage, President trump is governing and his Administration continues to pare back the Obama “Legacy.”