Archive for the ‘All Linky No Thinky’ Category

Day 55

The real problem with lying is that you have to keep track of your lies.  Otherwise they become a blur and you get confused about what lies you told, and which lies come together for a full story.

Our president-elect should know this better than anyone.  Yet, he has a problem.  He lies so much he can’t keep track of what lies he has told and how they mesh together.

Last week he said that we was going to meet with Intelligence Officials this week.  Then, he said that he “had information about Russia hacking our elections that no one else had.”  He then promised to let us know what that information was either Yesterday or Today.

I guess he got the two statements mixed up.  Because yesterday he tweeted that the Intelligence Briefing he said would be “this week” was “delayed” until Friday.  While he was tweeting this, the Director of Homeland Security and the FBI were getting ready to fly to New York on Friday to brief him on the intelligence that shows Russia was the guilty party.

His tweet actually read:

The ‘Intelligence’ briefing on so-called ‘Russian hacking’ was delayed until Friday, perhaps more time needed to build a case. Very strange!

In the meantime, he has not yet released the “information I have no one else has” to the public like he promised.  I guess he got confused, again, and is looking to divert his promise to release his own information.

Besides, if he has information no one else has, where did he get it?  If he hasn’t seen the intelligence reports about the hacking, and hasn’t attended any briefings about the hack, how can he have any information?  Unless he got it from Putin.

I am sure that the entire world will believe what Putin has to say about the issue.  I am certain that Putin will look Trump in the eye and say “I don’t know anything about it” and Trump will believe him.  No one else in the world will believe him, but Trump will.

There are two things about this president-elect that I find interesting.  The first is his constant pounding of the very intelligence agencies he is going to head up.  Oh, yes, he keeps bringing up the “weapons of mass destruction” lie that got us into the Iraq war as his evidence, but you have to remember, it wasn’t the CIA saying that to the world, it was the Bush Administration, mostly Dick Cheney.

It is the job of the intelligence agencies to gather the information and present it to the President.  It is up to the President how to use that information, and whether or not to lie about it.  If you are itching for a war, you lie about it.

And, if Trump is such an expert in cyber security, why does he always tell us his 10 year-old son knows more about computers than he does?  That tells me that he doesn’t know anything about computers and probably uses his 10 year-old son to operate his remote control for his television because he can’t figure that out either.

The second thing that bothers me is his love affair with Putin and Russia.  In my 66 years of living, I have never seen an American president fall in love with a country that is considered as our “enemy” as Trump has with Russia.

Russia is run by the former head of the KGB.  In case Trump has forgotten, the KGB was the major spy agency for the former Soviet Union.  He made a living trying to destroy us.  What makes Trump think he has had a change of heart now?

If Putin and Russia were charged in a U.S. Court for the crime of hacking, they would not need hire an attorney.  Trump and his transition team are better “public defenders” for them than any attorney could be.

No matter how you slice it, Trump can’t keep his lies in order.  He tweets so much he forgets what he said before.  He was willing to lie his way into the White House, and he is apparently willing to keep lying no matter what.

I am a progressive person.  I am a 20 year veteran.  I don’t like war unless it is absolutely necessary.  But, I do know that we need our intelligence agencies.  They need to be watched so they don’t abuse their powers, but they are needed.  And, if the information they present is not what you want to hear, it doesn’t make it wrong.

There are rogues in every agency.  However, the vast majority of people who work in our intelligence agencies only look for the facts and tell like it is.  They do not sugar coat the message to appease an administration.  If Trump wants to hear only what he wants to hear, then he is interested in having a KGB instead of a CIA or NSA.

Somehow I cannot imagine what it is like to go through life lying every single day.  Maybe the lessons I learned about integrity are too deep for me to even try to lie so much. It seems very easy to Trump.

Whenever something good happens it is all because of Trump.  Whenever something bad happens it is always some else’s fault.  His inauguration is sixteen days away, and we still don’t know how he plans to divest all of his holdings so there is no conflict of interest.  That is if he even will attempt to divest himself.

We were supposed to learn that last month.  We still don’t know when he will tell us.  Yes, he announced a press conference for January 11, but he never said what it will entail.

My suggestion to Donald Trump is if you are going to continue to lie to the American people, have at least enough smarts to reread your tweets for the previous week so you can keep your lies together.

Imagine, this clown is going to lead our country and be given highly classified material in order to do his job.  Now that is scary.

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Education is necessary for this country to compete in a global economy.  It has been the backbone of our innovations and achievements.  Without educating our children, we would become a country of morons.  Worse, we would go back to the days when companies “owned” your soul.  Most Americans don’t remember the days when companies owned you.  Corporations like coal mines owned the mine, the town, and everything in it including the people.

If you worked in a coal mine, you were forced to “rent’ your house from the coal company.  You were forced to get your food and clothing and furniture from the company owned store.  You were even charged for the tools you used on the job.  As a result of this as well as high costs for everything, you were basically owned by the coal company.  If you lost your job you were screwed.

Unions help bust these monopolies.  But, education was another important factor in breaking from company owned lives.  By getting an education, you had the opportunity to break-away from the company and branch out on your own.  This meant that fewer children from miners were heading down into the mine when they grew up.  More and more simply left for better opportunities.

This worked very well for America, in the 20th century, especially after World War Two.  Between better education and the unions, the middle-class surged.  Even factory workers with High School educations were better off than their fathers.  Things were looking up and America’s economy grew rapidly.

In the 1970s, things started to change.  Unions came under fierce attack.  States started passing “right to work” laws that basically took collective bargaining away from workers and resulted in lower pay.  The worst part was that education was also under attack.  Teachers were being vilified and treated as the enemy.  They found their pay stagnating and they were blamed if students didn’t do well on the standardized tests.

Funding for public education plummeted in certain areas of the country.  Especially in poor areas both urban and rural.  Education fell drastically.  Once having the highest rating for education in the world, we have fallen to about 25th in the world.

The problem is that the current Republican Party seems determined to lower that standing even more.  Republicans are introducing legislation in several states that will halt any real education of our children.  They aren’t even trying to make an argument for these changes either.  They simply want to stop educating our children altogether.

Some Examples:

1)  They have been pushing to get rid of Common Core Standards.  The irony is that they claim that Common Core is too challenging and causes too much stress.  I thought education was supposed to be challenging.  However, their real argument is that the Federal Government is pushing this on local communities.  That is what they don’t like.  By making sure that every child receives basically the same education, we will help ensure that these children can attain their dreams.  One group won’t lag behind others because they didn’t receive the best education possible.

As I wrote once before, I believe that in order to compete in a global economy, we cannot use “local control” when it comes to educating our children.  We need to make sure that all children receive the skills needed to compete in the real world.  That includes math, reading, science and history.  The Republicans want to “dictate” what the children in their states learn, the future be damned.

2) Most Republican controlled states have cut education funding dramatically.  Some states have cut it more than $1 Billion.  Places like Mississippi, which is the lowest funded public school in the country, wants to cut even more.  They don’t care if their children learn anything.  One of their state Representatives Gene Alday even compared education to welfare.  Especially when it comes to teaching black children.  He seems to think that educating black children is a waste of money.

That leads to defunding public education in general.  Meaning that he is very happy with his state being at the bottom of the education ladder.  No one in Mississippi seems to think that is the biggest reason the state ranks dead last in economics for its people.  Mississippi continuously rates as the poorest state in the union.  I will venture that their poor education system is the cause of this continued rating.

3)  There is a major push by Republicans to not teach AP History.  In Oklahoma, a committee voted along party lines 11-4 to outlaw the use of the AP History curriculum.  The reason isn’t because there is anything really wrong with the curriculum, but rather because it actually teaches students our faults as well as our achievements.

The bill’s sponsor, state representative Dan Fisher, argued that the schools should be teaching “American exceptionalism,” and avoiding teaching parts of American history that are less than flattering.  Even the Republican National Committee endorses the idea that AP history courses should teach less strife and present a more rah-rah view of American history.

Earlier in the school year, students in Colorado walked out of classes when that state tried to limit the AP History course.  To some, it may seem like a good idea that we teach only the rah-rah parts of history.  But, by doing so, we are failing our children.  One only need to look back to 1930s Germany to see what happens when governments rewrite history to achieve political agendas.

To paraphrase the book 1984, “To control the future you need to control the past.  You control the past by controlling the present.”  Rewriting history in order to make us look good and present the idea that America can do no wrong, is very dangerous for the future.  Without remembering our weaknesses, we will definitely relive them.

4)  Cutting education funding is not limited to just elementary and high school   Many states, like Wisconsin, are cutting funding to state universities as well.  This is resulting in higher tuition costs.  It also means that fewer students will be able to afford college.

As it is, the average college graduate leaves college with massive student loan debt.  By cutting funding to state universities, that debt will rise even more.  Plus, it will make a lot of people who wish to attend college turn away because they cannot afford the costs.

Walker and his staff haven’t really taken many pains to hide that this is rooted in a deeper hostility to the very idea of knowledge itself. “A harbinger of what Walker might face came in an immediate uproar on social media this month after his staff proposed changing the university’s ethereal focus on the pursuit of truth, known as the ‘Wisconsin Idea,’ to a grittier focus on ‘workforce needs.”

Even though there may be some conservative lip smacking about “saving money” Walker backed off recasting higher education as nothing more than job training after his critics pointed out he is a college dropout, but the fact that this wording change was proposed at all shows that the hostility to education is ideological and has little to nothing to do with saving money.

5)  Kansas has taken the spotlight again.  Kansas has become a cesspool of stupid ideas, especially since Brownback took office as Governor.  This state’s legislature wants everyone to know that you should wait for marriage before having sex.  But, that isn’t enough for them.  They want that taught in sex education classes.  They don’t want anything else being taught as “sex education.”  There’s growing support for having teachers fear jail time should they ever hint, during sex education, that sex is a thing people do for pleasure.

Citing a teacher who had used a poster in class that suggested that sex is sometimes used to show affection, Republicans are pushing a bill that would make it a crime for teachers to dare to acknowledge such a thing again.  You read that correctly.  They want to be able to put in jail any teacher who suggests that sex is sometimes used to show affection.

There are other examples as well.  Don’t forget about the conservative push to ban evolution being taught in science classes and replacing it with creationism.  The list goes a whole lot deeper.

The Republican Party has been fighting against education for generations.  This is really nothing new.  Education funding is always one of the first things to be cut in states under their rule.  Teachers are vilified and as you can see in Kansas, criminalized. Why is education under so much attack by Republicans?

You may or may not agree with this, but I believe that the Republican Party wants Americans to be as stupid as possible!  They don’t want us to think for ourselves.  They don’t want us to be able to question their policies.  Basically, they want to return us to the world of company towns again.

When the populace is uneducated, you can get them to believe your crazy ideas much easier.  When you rewrite history, you can make them believe whatever you want.  These are very dangerous philosophies.  We owe a better future to our children.

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Maha of the Mahablog nails it:

There possibly is no clearer measure of the difference between the U.S. Right and Left than the way we react to bad news. Righties immediately scream that the whatever-they-don’t-like is a lie, because it doesn’t fit what they think reality is supposed to be. And they blame somebody else, usually news media, or Democrats, or anybody but them. The whatever-it-is is never their fault.

Lefties accept the reality, sometimes perceiving the reality as even worse than it is. Then we blame ourselves (or at least each other), and form circular firing squads.

Nothing more to say. Go read the whole thing.

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Good rant here from otherwise-unidentified John Goodman look-alike.

“Hey, White Guys! . . . It’s true, we don’t get a pass from despair and hard luck. Nobody is exempt from a crap bath. It’s just that we start at third base when everyone else is still lining up for an at-bat.”

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David Broder says the tax deal marks the beginning of Obama’s recovery. The president is doomed.

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Catch-Up Linkage

I’ve been remiss in not reading LarryE‘s in a while, but now that I’m catching up, I see that he’s been on fire of late. See, for example, his writings on Social Security, or on the Park51 “controversy” (also here), or on conservative tax policy BS.

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You listen!

And why do deficit hawks always go after Social Security, anyway? Until very recently, Social Security ran big surpluses. It’s Medicare and defense that bust the budget.

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