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Archive for the ‘How Capitalism Will Ruin You’ Category

Day 152. 

If you are one of those who believe that we are living in a police state, the incident on a United Flight from Chicago to Louisville the other day is more ammunition for you.  If you believe that we live in a country that is run by corporations, the same is true.  If you believe that we live in a free society, then maybe you should rethink that belief.

Here is a brief description of what happened, according to what I have read so far.  United Airlines is known for over booking their flights.  Over booking is an airline’s way to help ensure that they are flying with nearly full if not completely full airplanes.  When this happens, they usually ask for volunteers to give up their seats for “compensation”.  However, that compensation is often less than what the law says they must pay.

We will get back to that in a little bit.  So, on this particular flight, an air crew arrived at the gate and needed to get to their next airport to fly another plane.  Their airline asked people to voluntarily give up their seats.  Not enough people volunteered.  So, the airline invoked what is known as “involuntary deplaning”.

One of the passengers who was told to get off the plane refused.  So, the crew called the airport police to remove the person from the plane.  Here is where it gets a little fuzzy.  According to reports the passenger told police that he was a doctor and had to get back home.  They refused to listen.  Then, according to the video circulating, a police officer forcibly tried to remove the man from his seat, and he began screaming.

The man is a 69-year-old Asian man.  He was forcibly thrown out of his seat and he clearly hit his head of the arm rest of the seat across the aisle.  Then you see the police officer literally drag the person from the plane.  A later video shows the man running back on the plan saying “I have to get home”.  There is obvious blood on the man’s face, and he seems disoriented.

After the video went viral, the CEO of United Airlines apologized, but didn’t really apologize.  In an internal memo, he actually claimed that the Airline and the Airport Police acted properly and that he was standing by his staff.

This is what happens when we give up our rights and our money.  When you purchase an airline ticket you go to the airport with full anticipation that you will board your flight and arrive at your destination on time.  But, the law says otherwise.  Your “reservation” is not really a reservation.  It is just something that says you may get your seat on your scheduled flight.

However, there are some caveats that go with the law.  If you do not volunteer to get off the plane, the airline is required to pay you in cash for you inconvenience.  If you are rebooked on a plane that arrives at your destination between one and two hours after your scheduled flight, you are to be paid 200 times the cost of your ticket.  If you are scheduled to arrive more than two hours late, they are required to pay you 400 times the price of your ticket, up to $1350.

The funny thing is that they don’t tell yo that.  They try to buy you off with “flight ticket credits” or offer less money than they are required.  Which is why experts say never voluntarily give up your seat.  Make the airline pay you what they are supposed to pay you under the law.

However, this situation goes beyond this matter of law.  There are a lot of questions that go into their “involuntary deplaning” selection process.  As it turns out, this man was an Asian American.  Why was he singled out?  Was it because he was Asian?  I am not saying that was the case, but the question needs to be asked.  Additionally, he was a senior citizen.  Was that why he was singled out?

Why was it so important to select this man and not simply try to entice another passenger to get off by explaining he would get proper compensation under the law?  If it is true that he told them he was a doctor and really needed to get back to Louisville, then why go through all the bother.

United Airlines is guilty of being one of the most overbooked airlines in the country.  Their bump rate is about 21 times higher than the lowest among airlines.  Delta is even worse with a rate about 30 times higher.  And, if you are mad now, believe me you will get even madder when it happens to you.

As I mentioned above, there is no way to tell how an airline decides who should get bumped and who should not.  We know for example, that if you are a member of their “frequent flyer” program, you will not be involuntarily bumped.  So we know automatically that they do target the casual or “vacation” flyer.

That is a problem because I know people who were booked on cruises and missed the cruise because the airline bumped them off of flights they had paid tickets to be on.

On one hand I understand why airlines over book their flights.  However, as the economy picks up and more and more people are flying, they should adjust their over booking rates so this doesn’t happen as much as it does.  But they don’t.  They just keep over booking at the rates they used when the economy was worse and fewer people were actually flying.

However, part of this problem is also our fault.  We have ceded our rights to corporations in order to get to where we are going.  It has gotten so bad, that it is a federal crime to disobey a flight attendant.  We don’t want unruly passengers on our flight, so we allow a flight attendant to tell a passenger anything they want, if that passenger doesn’t immediately comply, they can be charged with a federal crime.

I can understand if that passenger is endangering everyone else.  But in this case, the man was not endangering anyone.  According to the video, the man did not become belligerent or start screaming until a police officer physically tried to grab him and forcibly remove him from the plane.

Our beloved leader says he is going to bring back “law and order”.  This is a perfect example of what happens when we allow our political leaders and our corporations to determine just what “law and order” is.

The laws governing over booking on airline flights need to be changed.  The definition of what really constitutes “disobeying a flight attendant” needs to be reexamined to determine if it has gone too far, which I believe it has.

We also need to know exactly how an airline determines who should get thrown off their flight and why they are being chosen.  Should we really be picking on elderly people?  Should we really be targeting minorities?  Just what determines why you should have to deplane and someone next to you doesn’t.

I used to do a lot of flying when I was in the business world.  Fortunately for me,  was a “frequent flyer” and was never forced to involuntarily deplane a flight.  But, I did often wonder just how passengers were selected for this dubious privilege.  I even saw couples split up because one was selected and the other was not.

When you purchase an airline ticket, you expect that your money is good enough and you won’t be inconvenienced by the airline just because. Only that is not the way of the airline world.   Instead, when you purchase your ticket to go on a cruise vacation, or to see your child get married, you are at the mercy of the airline.  If they over book and someone of “more importance” than you needs that seat, you lose.

Yes, there are laws about being compensated, but the airlines don’t tell you about them so they don’t have to pay you the money.  Why isn’t that a requirement laid out in the law?  Because airlines and their profits are more important to Congress than you are.

This situation is not something that is unusual.  It may be unusual because it was video taped and the world got to see the obnoxious behavior of the airport police.  But, getting bumped off flights is an ongoing thing you just don’t usually hear about.

It is also a simple snapshot of today’s country.  There have been many “advertisement” parodies popping up like “you carry them on, we carry you off”.  But, to me it says “do as you are told, or else”.  We have gotten to the point where everyone is treated like a child who misbehaves.  The difference is if we treated a child who is misbehaving like the police treated this elderly man, we would face child abuse charges.

Before you go off on this man for “not doing what he was told”, think about if that was you and you needed to get home.  What would you have done?  What if it meant that you would miss your cruise ship?  What if it meant that you would miss your child’s wedding?

Besides, what gives an airline the right to deny you a seat you paid for if you haven’t done anything wrong?  And before you use the old conservative argument that “flying is a privilege” save your breath.  When I purchase a ticket, it is no longer a privilege.  I paid the money, it is up to the company to honor the their end of the bargain.

More importantly, you need to ask just how far are we supposed to let companies treat us in this fashion?  Where will it all end?  This isn’t going to end with airlines.  What will you do the next time you plop down 35,000 hard-earned dollars to purchase a new care and then be told you have to wait an extra three weeks because someone more important needs that car more than you do and you already sold your old car?

The problem is that I don’t expect our Congress or even our beloved leader to saying anything about his or try to change the laws that allow it to happen.  And, that is the real tragic part of this whole sickening tragedy.

And, the shirts keep marching along.

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Day 96. 

If you are wondering, the truth is dead.  According to the trump administration, there is only “alternative facts” that matter.  That became very clear today at the propaganda minister’s press briefing.  According to the administration, Flynn was cut loose because of “an erosion of trust”.

That sounds like a nice 20 second sound bite, but it is also a lie.  Flynn was cut loose simply because the whole mess came out in the press, and trump could not just let it die away and keep Flynn in his administration.  The so-called “erosion of trust” came out because the press proved that Flynn had lied and trump knew he had lied.

The other piece of evidence is that the propaganda minister said that the White House Counsel found nothing improper in Flynn calling the Russian Ambassador and talking about not taking the new sanctions the Obama administration was placing on them seriously.

Okay, even if we like to think that might be true then the huge question is “Why did Flynn lie about it?”  Did he lie about because he believed there was something wrong with undermining the administration still in office?  Or, did he lie about it because trump ordered him to make the call?

If the National Intelligence Advisor lied about a phone call, then it is safe to believe that there was a legal issue with the call or its contents.  What was so secret about the call that made Flynn lie about it?

Then there is the fact that trump knew about this “lie” for 3 weeks before doing something about it.  He did nothing at all.  Why, if there is such “an erosion of trust” would the president allow this liar keep reading very sensitive classified information for 3 weeks after he discovered that person was so dishonest?

As a side note, it turns out the Vice President, Mike Pence was not told he was lied to until last Thursday.  That was over two weeks after trump knew it.  That means Pence was sticking to the story that was false to begin with, and trump was letting him continue lying to the American People.

When the White House Counsel found out about the lie from the Acting Justice Department head, he told trump, but no one bothered to tell Pence.  And, from what transpired during the propaganda briefing today, Pence was the only person of importance who was not told.

The Republican Politburo on the hill isn’t helping things either.  While most people with a brain are calling for in independent investigation, the leaders of the Grand Oppression Party is claiming that isn’t necessary.   In the House, Jason Chaffetz, the staunch leader of the oversight committee who wanted so bad to take down Hillary Clinton, said he doesn’t see any reason to investigate Flynn and we should “just move on.”

Then, today, our beloved leader signed a law passed by his Politburo that repeals an order connected with Dodd-Frank.  Our beloved leader said that signing the bill will bring back oil jobs to America.

He claims it is a great start in repealing “restrictive orders that cost companies billions of dollars”.  He called it a “big deal” several times while getting ready to sign the bill.  It was HJ Resolution 41.  Here is what this “big deal” that will save the oil companies billions of dollars and bring back oil jobs is all about.

The bill rolls-back an order from the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) that required oil and mining companies to disclose their payments to foreign governments. Holy Shit!  That order must have really cost these companies a lot of money to comply.  That really is a “big deal”.

Tonight the New York Times has an article that claims that members of the trump campaign were in contact with Russian Intelligence during the election.  If that is true, then the sink hole just got a whole lot deeper.

“The truth shall set you free” as the saying goes.  Maybe that is the reason that trump and his administration isn’t interested in telling the truth.  Maybe that goes against their plan to take over the country.  Maybe that is the one thing that scares them to death.  Why else would they say that the Flynn mess isn’t the big deal, the leaks are the big deal.

The Republicans in Congress are showing no spine to stand up and do what is right.  No one in the administration is showing any spine over this either.  If I were Mike Pence, I would tell trump to take his job and shove it.  I quit a job because of integrity issues, and I turned down others when I suspected integrity issues.

If Pence cannot rely on the president to be honest with him, why should he continue in the job?  Unless he thinks trump will get impeached and he will become president.  Which tells me Pence does not have any integrity himself.

It is totally obvious that the truth is dead on arrival in the White House.  That is why an independent investigation into all of this is so important for our democracy.

And, the shirts keep marching along.

 

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Day 71.

Today Donald John Trump will place his hand on a bible and take the oath of office to become our next president.  And, for the first time, I am beginning to lose my optimism for the future of our country.

To be totally honest, if I were a Christian, I would wonder if he is going to burst into flames once his hand touches the bible.  He has shown that he is anything but a Christian in his actions before, during and after the election.

He will be taking that oath knowing that he is the least favorable president-elect to be sworn in in our history.  Usually, after an election, the favorability numbers of the president-elect go up.  This time, they have gone down.  Maybe that is because of his caustic behavior, or his overflowing the swamp with his cabinet picks, or maybe just because even his supporters are realizing what a virtual pig he really is.

The other thing that has gone virtually unnoticed during the transition is his absolute horrible leadership.  When a new president takes office, they are required to fill about 4,000 positions in various departments of the government.  The most important positions include the National Security Council, the Department of Defense, and the Department of Homeland Security.

When he takes office, almost all of those positions will have empty desks this afternoon and the unforeseeable future.  So far, not counting his cabinet nominees, they have hired about 30 of the 4000 people needed to fill those positions.

He had announced at first that every political position would end today when he takes office.  Then, when he realized that he isn’t even close to fill any of those critical positions, he started asking people to hang around for a “few months”.  Some have agreed and some have not.

Now remember, this is supposed to be a “great businessman who organizes tremendously”.  Well, this situation shows that statement is true in his own imagination.  As someone who worked in business for over 20 years and in the Coast Guard for 20 years, I find this a total disaster caused by someone who loves himself but has no clue about leadership.  In simple words, he has totally botched the transition.  If he can’t handle that, how can we expect him to handle the country?

We can only be thankful that there are thousands of professional public servants who will take up the responsibility of these critical positions until Mr. Incompetent finally gets around to filling them.

Then we have his conflicts of interest hanging over us and him.  At the moment he becomes president, he will be in violation of his lease for the hotel in the Old Post Office building.  Only, nothing will probably be done because the lease if owned by the General Services Administration and he will be in charge of it.

And, since he and his team always rave about the hotel and suggest that everyone including foreign governments use it, he is in possible violation of the emoluments clause.  That is just the beginning of his possible conflicts of interest.  This is something that will need to be watched very closely.  Only, it will be difficult because Mr. Secret won’t divulge his holdings or where he is actually getting his money.

If you love the Constitution, and all Republicans claim to do so, then the first piece of legislation needed to be passed is one that requires all public officials in the federal government, including the president, must release their tax returns.  That is the only way to ensure the emoluments clause will be honored and openly enforceable.

We are looking a very uncertain next four years.  Trump made so many promises to so many people he doesn’t even remember which ones he made or to which group of people he made them to.

He keeps talking about bringing jobs back, but he still refuses to ensure his own family brings their manufacturing to the U.S. and leaves those 12 countries they currently use.  If he doesn’t add his family’s products to the 35 percent “border tax” he keeps threatening, we will know he doesn’t mean a damn thing he says.

There is talk about cutting the budget, again.  But, the only items on the cut list are things that support the rights of every citizen.  Things talked about being cut are grants to help prevent violence against women.  Closing down several agency departments that protect civil rights of minorities of all kinds.  And of course closing down PBS or at least privatizing it.

Then we need to watch out for cuts in several social safety nets.  Republicans want to privatize Social Security.  They want to voucherize Medicare.  They want to “block grant” Medicaid.  And, of course they want to throw about 18 million people off of their health care by eliminating the Affordable Care Act without even telling us what their replacement plan is.

These are just some of the issues and potential problems that America will face under a Trump presidency.  We will have a cabinet with more ethical questions than we have seen in over 100 years.  I will be quite surprised if any of the nominees are stopped.  The current Republican Party is not interested in ethics or integrity.

The anti-regulation crowd known as the Republican Party is itching to eliminate all of the same regulations they eliminated under George W. Bush which caused the Great Recession of 2008.  That is a very scary thing indeed.  Are they actually trying to cause another Great Recession?

Then again, all of this could be mute.  We will have a president who loves to attack people on twitter.  What is going to happen when his target is some unstable foreign leader?  How certain are we that he won’t start a war just because of his bitter, and immature use of twitter?  And, if he does start a war using twitter, will he launch nuclear weapons. After all, as he said “why do we have them if we aren’t going to use them?”

We are moving into a very uncertain future.  We are most likely going to see attacks on African-American rights.  Gay Rights.  Women Rights.  Religious Rights.  Our Health Care.  Our Environment.  Our Economy.  Our Farms.  Our Small Businesses.  Our Public Education.  And, Our Decency.  It is probably the most uncertain future in my lifetime and I lived through the “great red scare”.  I also lived through the so-called “hippie” movement and civil rights and anti-Vietnam war protests.

The future was far more certain during those times than it is today.  The only reason those times were more certain was because we had leaders who were reasonable and rational people leading our country.  Today we will get what I consider the least rational person in history in charge.

It is that instability that causes concern for everyone in the world, not just in our country.  As a result, I am very cautious about the future of our country.  I served my country and I hate the idea of someone so irrational being in charge of the nuclear codes.

I can only keep voicing my opposition to this madman.  I can only try to point out his conflicts as they arise.  I can only try to educate anyone who wishes to be educated about any damage he causes our liberties and freedoms.

We have heard for the last eight years that President Obama restricted our freedoms.  But, when asked to name just one, there is silence.  I am afraid that will not be the case under a Trump presidency.  I am afraid that we will see our Constitution be shredded by him and his Republican lackeys in Congress in the name of Power.

I find it extremely ironic and very frightening that a man is going to take the oath of office that swears to “protect the Constitution of the United States” when he doesn’t even know what is in it.

Furthermore, his actions during his entire life has shown a complete disregard for the law and decency.  He ran for president to line his pockets with more money.  That is all he is interested in and that is all he will work towards.

Hopefully, the near future will also be a time of activism.  It will be a time when people take to the streets again to hold our elected officials somewhat accountable.  It is all up to us now.  We can no longer pretend that the people in charge have our best interests at heart.  They don’t.

And the shirts keep marching along.

 

 

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Day 70

We are now seeing just why Republicans have been so worried about having ethics watchdogs hanging over their heads.  Now, I am fully aware that there are some Democrats who follow the same lack of ethics in office, but it is the Republicans who are trying to do away with the ethics groups in government.

Rep. Chavetz and the incoming administration’s Cabinet Picks are showing why getting rid of ethics watchdogs are so important.  They don’t have any ethics and they are damned proud of that fact.

First we have Chaffetz who has been screaming at the top of his lunges that OGE Director Shaub “blew off a meeting with him” in December.  Problem, emails that were released yesterday through the Freedom of Information Act, proves beyond a reasonable doubt, that it was in fact Chavetz who blew off the meeting.

Those emails were not just from the OGE, but from Chaffetz’ office as well.  In the last one, Chaffetz own person told Shaub that Mr. Chaffetz was backlogged and was trying to “get home” which is why he missed the meeting.

This unethical, lying buffoon is the  chairman of the House Oversight Committee to top it all off.  Instead of threatening to close the OGE because Chaffetz didn’t like Shaub’s comments about Trump’s non-divestment from his businesses, they should look at shutting down the Oversight Committee.  Or, at the very least replace this liar from his chair on the committee.

Then we have the case of Wilbur Ross who is the nominee to head up the Commerce Department.  He came out and said that last month he fired a household employee because that person couldn’t produce a valid driver’s license and Social Security Card.  He claims that he did produce what appeared to be the same documents when he hired him.

He is saying that he “unknowingly” hired an undocumented immigrant.  Of course, if he had used E-Verify, he would have discovered the discrepancy when he hired the person in the first place.  When other nominees had similar problems, Republicans said at the time that ignorance was no excuse and they pulled their names from nomination.  Not so for Ross.  He is being given a pass.

There is the nomination to head up the Budget Office, Mick Mulvaney who did not pay employer taxes for his employees for years.  The final bill was over $15,000.  Again, when other nominees were found out doing the exact same thing, they were disqualified.  Republicans don’t think this is a big deal for Mulvaney.

Then, of course, is Tom Price.  He is the nominee to head up Health and Human Services.  His problems come from stocks.  Seems Mr. Price purchased stocks just before he introduced legislation that would help that company’s stock prices rise.

You can quibble about how much money was involved in that one deal or the many other stock purchases he made.  The real question comes in when you look at what he was and what extra jobs he had.

When this first came out a few days ago, the Trump team put out a statement that read:

Dr. Price’s Morgan Stanley financial advisor designed his portfolio and directed all trades in the account.  Pursuant to the arrangement with Morgan Stanley, the financial advisor, and not Dr. Price, has the discretion to decide which securities to buy and sell in his account.

Here we go again with another lie.  During his testimony, Price admitted that Morgan Stanley’s financial advisor was told by him to purchase the stock and did not do so on their own.  The company in question makes hip replacement parts.  Exactly six days after purchasing the stock, Price introduced legislation that would eliminate regulations on that particular industry.  Can you say “conflict of interest?”

It turns out that Price has a lot of medical company stocks.  At first glance, the idea of a doctor purchasing medical equipment stock may not seem all that horrible.  But, this is also a man who served on a committee that was responsible to regulate the health care industry.  Additionally, even if he wasn’t on that committee, he would have to vote on legislation affecting his stock.

Senator Murray questioned Price on whether he thought it was appropriate for members of Congress to be trading stocks that could benefit from legislation under consideration, adding that the 21st Century Cures Act had numerous provisions that would benefit Innate Immunotherapeutics, the company Price purchased his stocks in after Rep. Collins told him about the company.  Collins was a board member of the company at the time.

“Do you believe it is appropriate for a senior member of Congress actively involved in policy making in the health sector to repeatedly personally invest in a drug company that could benefit from those actions?” Murray asked. “Yes or no?”

“That’s not what happened,” Price said.  Sorry doctor, that is exactly what happened.  Why didn’t you divest your health industry stocks to avoid any possible conflicts of interest?  Because you wanted to be able to influence your stock’s worth with laws and lack of regulations that you personally introduced.  In other words, you are a crook.

As I said, ethics hold no meaning for these people.  They are even proud of the fact they have no ethics.  So much so that they want to kill all of the ethical watchdogs in Washington that could call them out for their actions.

The amount of money involved is neither here or there.  The simple fact that a sitting member of congress is willing to take advantage of their position for any personal gain is repugnant at best, and criminal at worst.

These aren’t the only people nominated by Trump with potential ethical problems.  Don’t forget Mr. Mnunchin who ran a bank known as the “foreclosure machine”.  He once foreclosed on a home for an elderly lady over 24 cents.  And, Trump wants him to be the Treasury secretary.

Trump has promised to “drain the swamp”.  If this is his idea of draining the swamp, please stop.  After screaming about the evils of Goldman Sachs, he has placed six Goldman Sachs executives into his administration.

He has offered up the most unethical cabinet nominees in a very long time if not history.  There is the real possibility that we are going to see a whole host of “Teapot Dome” scandals follow his administration if these people are confirmed.  And, with Republican repugnance to ethics on full display, they most surely will get confirmed.

By the time Trump takes his oath of office tomorrow, he won’t be able to walk down Pennsylvania Avenue to the White House without wading boots.  The swamp is overflowing right into the heart of our capital.

This is what happens when “businessmen” are selected to run the country.  The only thing they are interested in is running more money into their own pockets.  Take for example the Facebook ad that says Trump wants to invite you to the inauguration for “free”.

It is a scam to raise money.  If you click on the RSVP button, you don’t get an RSVP response, you are taken to a page where you can buy a Commerative Inauguration License Plate for $30.  If you want to go to the inauguration, you can go for free anyway.

Raising money for the inauguration is fine as long as you are up front about it and not trying to scam the people.  This is an open and blatant scam to raise money, but we don’t know where exactly that money is headed.  Another con from the conman!

Money in politics is very bad as we can see.  But, it isn’t just the money in contributions to campaigns, it is the money these scoundrels make everyday right under our noses because of their “secrecy” protections.

But don’t worry, Trump has promised us more “military parades” so you don’t have to think about their lack of ethics.  You can be proud of the military parades just like they are in Russia and other authoritarian countries around the world.

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Day 25

Donald Trump named Betsy DeVos to head up the Department of Education.  About the only thing that would have been worse is if he had named one of the Koch brothers.  It is quite possible that DeVos could totally ruin or make public education disappear completely.

DeVos and her husband have been arguing for voucher systems all across the country.  They are using phrases like “we just want every child to get a good education regardless of socioeconomic status”.  But, that isn’t what this is all about.

What they are really trying to do is make tax payers pay for religious education by sending children to “Christian” schools.  They are interested in placing “religious teachings” in our classrooms.  They have pushed for “intelligent design” to be taught in public schools instead of evolution.

DeVos managed to get privatized public education in Michigan.  It has been terrible, especially in Detroit where children need better education not worse.  In addition, they are the types of people that believe “competition” is necessary for education to improve.  Since when does “market-type competition” belong in education?

I know a lot of people are in favor of these voucher programs.  But what they don’t understand is that is blurring the line between separation of church and state.  They also don’t understand that private schools are not required as much as public schools to take in children with physical or learning disabilities.

Because they are “private” they are not required to adhere to integration rules either.  There a several “private religious” schools that have not children of color in attendance.

What this means is that if too many children are allowed to attend private schools using vouchers, there will be far less money left for the Public Schools.  That means that every child who cannot get into one of these private religious schools will get an even worse education than they are already getting.

The answer to our public schools is not vouchers and allowing millions to attend private schools on the taxpayer dime.  It is to use the money allocated to public education wisely.  It is to improve all sorts of areas like modernizing old crumbling buildings.  It is to provide a curriculum that will both challenge and help our children become successful in the future.

Look, I don’t have anything against private schools.  I am a product of private schools.  However, my parents paid for my tuition not the government.  If someone wants their children to attend private religious schools, that is fine.  But, the tax payers should not have to foot the bill.

You also need to look at the very fact that “Christian” schools are the largest benefactor of these voucher programs.  And, that is the purpose of the voucher programs.  Instead of building new Christian schools and setting up scholarship awards for poor children, the DeVos’ want to use taxpayer money to educate everyone in Christian doctrine.

They have decided that “to impact our culture in ways that are not the traditional funding-the-Christian-organization route, but that really may have greater Kingdom gain in the long run by changing the way we approach things, in this case the system of education in the country.”

Meaning, they want to do away with public education altogether and replace it with their version of “Christian schools” that every child will have to attend.  Can you spell indoctrination?

Public education has been the backbone of our education system.  It is necessary to ensure that all children get a good education.  Replacing it with “for-profit” schools or vouchers is not the answer to improving it.  We need to have a very serious discussion about education, how to improve it, and work together for the sake of all children.

Betsy DeVos is not the person who will lead that discussion.  She is not the person to improve our public education.  She is intent on destroying it and making it go away.  Neither she nor her husband are interested in educating our children.  They are merely interested in indoctrinating them into their narrow view of Christianity.

How much do you want to bet she isn’t in favor of using vouchers to send your child to a Muslim School.  If she is approved and her plans are put n place, you can chalk up “religious freedom” as another right lost to the Trump authoritarian government.

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As Donald Trump continues his spiral deeper into the sewer of political games, there is a word that should be used and isn’t.  Maybe that is the “rigged” system he keeps talking about.

Trump keeps saying the election is being rigged against him.  He keeps saying that “illegal aliens” are allowed to vote.  He keeps saying that “dead” people vote.  He keeps saying that people vote five or ten times each.

Of course this all bullshit.  There is one thing that both helps and hurts our election system.  The elections are all controlled by the states individually.  This has presented problems when states pass voter suppression laws.  But, it also helps from our system from being “rigged” as Trump claims.

The type of conspiracy that Trump claims is going on would have to include over half of the states.  Many of which are controlled by Republicans.

That would be an almost impossible task.  But, let’s look at it another way.  A Law Professor at Loyola University in California did some fantastic research on voter fraud.

The results are amazing.  He went back through the years and looked at one billion votes.  He discovered something chilling.  In those one billion votes cast, he discovered a whopping 37 cases of possible voter fraud.

Imagine what damage that did to our electoral process.  This research was not done because Donald Trump has been claiming the system is “rigged” but because of all of the voter suppression laws that Republican states passed.  The main argument for these voter suppression laws was “the integrity of the ballot”.

Turns out the integrity of the ballot has been quite remarkable without all of these Photo ID laws Republicans claim are so necessary.  To further show this myth, Indiana State Police raided a voter registration group last week.  They seized about 50,000 registration forms.

They did an exhaustive inspection of them.  In the first 38,000 forms they “inspected” they found 10 were not correct and would not have been valid for registration.

How does this show the system works?  The raid was conducted after some registrations were “red flagged” by poll workers.  So you see, they system is truly “rigged”.

All of the research by “experts” into voter fraud has found that it is as close to non-existent as possible.  Yet, Trump keeps railing that they “system is being rigged against me”.

That brings us back to that one word that the media and GOP leaders refuse to use.  Instead of using it, they use “conspiracy theory” to try to soften what is actually being said.

That word is a noun and is defined as:

conduct or speech inciting people to rebel against the authority of a state or monarch

It is the word sedition.

Once again you may think I am stretching things here.  But am I?  We have heard a woman at a Trump Rally telling Mike Pence that she is “ready for a revolution”.

The Oregon Militia is recruiting new people on the basis that Hillary Clinton will become President through the “rigged” system.  We have had a Trump supporter calling for Hillary Clinton to be “taken out” if she is elected President.

Mike Pence says that he and Trump would “absolutely” accept the vote of the American People.  20 minutes later Trump tweets that they system is rigged against him.

His talking heads went on the Sunday Talk Shows and said that Trump only means that the Media is rigging the election against him.  30 minutes later Trump tweets that “they system is absolutely being rigged right down to the voting booths.  SAD”.

Of course when Trump started to claim that even the Republican Party had joined forces to rig the election, that supposedly made it real.  He has riled up his “base” of nut jobs to be ready to not accept the vote on election day.  And the craziest of his supporters are clearly hearing what he means by his comments.  Hence the threats above.

Yesterday in Green Bay the Trump supporters kept chanting “Paul Ryan sucks”.  Trump did nothing to stop the chants either.  Actually, he egged them on more.

Many people believe the charge of “sedition” is antiquated and should probably be repealed.  But it hasn’t been repealed.  One could argue that Donald Trump is engaged in sedition every time he claims that the election is being rigged “right down to the voting booth”.

He is telling his supporters the only way he can lose the election is if it is “stolen” from him.  He has openly claimed that the media, the Clintons, and the Republican Party are all in collusion to “steal the election” from him and his followers.

That has raised the stakes very dangerously.  Media members at Trump rallies have been threatened with violence including death threats.  Many conservative newspapers, like the Arizona Republic have received death threats for their endorsement of Hillary Clinton.

Trump supporters have started showing up in front of Democratic offices to “protest” and carrying guns. They make sure the people inside the office know they are carrying guns, too.

It is time to take the gloves off.  Donald Trump is engaged in sedition.  He is “inciting people to rebel against authority” and that is sedition.  The GOP under its spineless, cowardly leadership of Paul Ryan, Mitch McConnell and Reince Priebus won’t use the word either.

They cannot use the word because it has been their party that has desperately tried to suppress the vote of minorities, elderly, and young.  They are the ones who have used “voter fraud” which does not exist to pass voter suppression laws.

If they come forward now and say Trump is wrong, they ruin their own argument.  The real danger for our country is becoming not if Donald Trump can win, but what will his “followers” do when he gets thumped at the polls.

I have said this before and I will say it again.  Donald Trump is an un-American fascist who will stop at nothing to gain power.  When that power is refused by the people, I don’t count on him to graciously go quietly into the night.

If I am correct, I believe we will see an upsurge in domestic terrorism after the election.  Only the GOP leadership can calm things, but they need to start now and not wait for the election to end and the madness to begin.

 

 

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Donald Trump has made a lot of comments about his giving to charities.  So far, it turns out that is not the case.  Two came out today.  He claimed to haven given money to the Boy Scouts of America.  As it turns out, that is true.  He gave a whole $7.00 to the organization.  For the record the fee to become a Boy Scout at that time was $7.00.  So, one truth for Mr. Big Giver.

Then we have another story about the Big Giver.  Trump has claimed over and over that he donated to 9/11 charity in the amount of $10,000.  The charity in question was being backed and supported by Howard Stern.

We all know that Trump made several appearances on Stern’s radio show.  During one of the shows, Stern and his co-host announced that Donald Trump who was appearing on that show donated $10,000 to their charity to help victims of 9/11.

During this campaign Donald Trump has had some very interesting comments about 9/11.  Like the time during one of the Primary Debates he said that he “watched as thousand upon thousands of Muslims in New Jersey were cheering as the towers came down”.

Of course that was a blatant lie because it never happened.  He also claimed on the same stage that he “lost hundreds of friends” when the towers collapsed.  That doesn’t seem to be true either, but I don’t know that for sure.  I even doubt that Trump has more than 2 or 3 friends at all, if that many.

But the biggest thing he kept harping on was the “fact” that he donated $10,000 to charity to help victims of 9/11.  He has bragged about it.  It has been in his literature.  It is one of the things he proudly points to to show how generous he is.

The New York Post filed a Freedom of Information Act request for records about donations to these charities.  The New York City Controller decided to honor the request, and he scoured all of the records of the charities associated with 9/11.

SHOCK!  There is no record of any money received from the Trump Foundation, any company owned by Trump, or Trump himself.  It would appear that the public records say that Donald Trump did not donate $10,000 to any 9/11 charity including the one Howard Stern was sponsoring and announced on his radio show.

Donald must really have problems with the mail.  It seems that all of the “millions upon millions” of dollars he claims to have donated to charities have all been lost in the mail.  Including this $10,000 donation.

Now, the idea that someone promises to donate to a charity and then for some reason doesn’t tells me they are a sleaze.  The idea that they take credit for donating money that they do not actually donate makes them sewer dwellers.

I lived in New York City twice during my time in the Coast Guard.  The World Trade Center was a fixture all the time I lived there.  When I retired from the Coast Guard and went into Security Management and Disaster Preparedness, I became acquainted with a lot of other professionals.  Including people who worked in the World Trade Center.

Unfortunately, 3 friends and 6 colleagues lost their lives in that attack.  As a result, the fact that Donald Trump pledged $10,000 to a charity to help victims and then “stiffed” that charity really bothers me.

I am quite sure that Donald will either claim that he never pledged the money or that he actually gave the money under an alias or this is another media conspiracy to hurt him.  I know for a fact that he will never own up to the fact he lied about his charity giving, again.

This is not about just stiffing a charity.  This is about integrity.  Integrity is the one thing that each of us must have in order to be believed about anything.  Donald Trump has proven he has no integrity.  I would be surprised if he even knows how to spell the word.

Without integrity you cannot have any morality.  You cannot have any character.  You can not be trusted.  Since Donald Trump has shown time and again he has no integrity at all, means we cannot trust him with the reigns of power of our country.

His lack of integrity makes him totally unfit to be President.

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