We used to judge information on whether it was true or false. That doesn’t matter anymore. If it helps to advance someone’s political agenda, the truth is irrelevant.
We saw a perfect example this week following the horrific school shooting in Florida. An anti-gun organization tweeted that it was the eighteenth school shooting so far this year. That set off a blizzard of tweets from politicians and activists. Even more disturbing, many major media outlets reported it. Obviously nobody cared whether or not it was true.
Rather than blindly following the herd, the Washington Post decided to investigate. It turned out that most of these incidents were not what we would consider school shootings. They even included a suicide in the parking lot of a school that had closed down.
We need to be skeptical of what the media tells us. All too often their motivation is to attract viewers and/or push a political agenda, not report the news.
Donald Trump once said that he would not only balance the budget but pay off all the debt. Of course that was utter nonsense but he did commit to eventually balancing the budget. His latest budget removes the pretense that it will ever happen. He calls for nearly a $1 trillion deficit next year.
We are in an era of a ballooning deficit. The recent tax cut will obviously decrease revenue. Some claim that the more taxes are cut, the more revenue increases due to economic growth. By that logic we could balance the budget by eliminating all taxes.
Meanwhile expenses are going up. Republicans traded increased defense spending for increases in Democrat backed programs. Of course nobody is doing anything about entitlements.
Some believe that the federal budget must be balanced like a household budget. There are a couple of problems with this comparison. Households have a deficit if a new car or house is purchased. More important, they don’t have the power to raise revenue through taxation.
There is no problem with a modest deficit. One economist stated that the economy can easily absorb one that is less than the increase in GDP. We would need 5% growth to cover next year’s deficit. That certainly won’t happen.
The problem gets worse over time. Entitlements will skyrocket due to the retirement of the baby boom generation. Then there is the interest. If we assume an interest rate of 2% on the $20 trillion current debt, that’s $400 billion. Let’s suppose that the debt in ten years is $30 trillion with a 6% interest rate. That works out to $1.8 trillion in interest. Obviously, something needs to be done. Those few in Washington sounding the alarm are being ignored.
Promising lower taxes and/or increased government benefits may be a great way to achieve electoral success. However, it’s a lousy way to govern.
President Trump has ordered the Pentagon to put on a parade to honor the military. Apparently he got the idea from a parade he saw in France.
I think this is a ridiculous idea. It will divert millions of dollars and many thousands of people away from their duty of protecting the country. It also promotes the wrong idea. Our military dresses in ordinary uniforms and is trained to fight. Putting emphasis on snappy uniforms and precision drills presents the wrong image. Finally, it sends a horrible message. It brings up images of the old Soviet Union and petty dictators.
Nearly one-hundred years ago a huge parade featured returning World War 1 veterans. Humorist Will Rogers suggested we honor them by letting them sit in the stands watching civilians march by. Maybe that’s not a bad idea. At any rate, let’s hope this is the only way we emulate the French military.
The Obama Department of Justice and FBI had a number of people in high places that put politics above their real responsibilities. There was even a discussion about a plan to ensure that Trump wouldn’t win the election. Those involved should be roundly criticized and, in some case, indicted.
In spite of all their bad behavior, I they are being treated unfairly regarding their investigation of Carter Page. Page was briefly a voluntary foreign affairs advisor to the Trump campaign. He has strong pro-Russia views. The FBI interviewed him in 2013 and had him under surveillance in 2014. The FBI obtained a FISA warrant against Page on October 21, 2016.
Congress has been investigating this matter for some time. The staff of Devin Nunes, the Republican chair of the intelligence committee, put together a memo declaring that the FISA warrant was based on the phony Russia dossier that either the DNC or Clinton campaign commissioned. The memo had been classified until President Trump ordered that it be declassified. The Justice Department, FBI and Democrats claim the memo is full of errors. If the charges are true, obviously the FBI was sloppy in its investigation.
Republicans are using the memo as proof for much more than sloppy work. Many are stating that the FBI and Justice Department deliberately used the dossier to spy on the Trump campaign. That is utterly ridiculous. Page was a low level person who had left the campaign when the warrant was issued. If their goal was to spy on the campaign, they would have gone after top level staffers.
It used to be that standard of judgment was whether something is true or false. The new standard is whether or not it hurts the opposition. This is another reason why I am disgusted with both sides.
Tonight is an exercise in democracy mandated by the Constitution. The President speaks to both houses of Congress. The fact that Donald Trump is President is beside the point. All members should attend and behave themselves. If they don’t like what is being said, they should sit there quietly.
Unfortunately, some give politics a higher priority than democracy. A few are planning to boycott the event. A walkout or verbal protest is possible.
Let’s hope everyone behaves like a respectable elected representative of the people and not a political rabble rouser.
Immigration is certainly a highly debated issue. However, there is broad consensus that there should be no mass deportation of people brought here illegally by their parents. Many have known no other home and have become productive citizens. To send them to a strange land is downright cruel. Unfortunately almost everyone involved in the issue has mishandled it.
Legislation was proposed during the Obama administration but filibustered by Senate Republicans. Neither side made a real effort at compromise. In response, President Obama created DACA. This was an entire new government program that was counter to existing law. He went way beyond his presidential authority.
The Trump administration announced in September that it would be cancelled six months into the future. If his purpose was to get Congress to act so that this is done in a constitutional way, then I applaud him. However, I fear it was done to hold the dreamers hostage to get his immigration bill through.
Then a federal judge ruled that President Trump doesn’t have the power to repeal it. I seriously doubt that the framers of the Constitution wanted the forty-fourth president to have extraordinary powers available to no other president.
Negotiations began. Trump demanded his entire immigration program be passed while Democrats refused to concede anything. That lead to the idiotic government shutdown.
Hopefully both sides will negotiate a compromise. However, I’m not holding my breath waiting for it.
Thank goodness saner heads have prevailed and this government shutdown silliness is over. While the Democrats should take the heat for this one, both parties are serving us poorly. Far too many of our elected leaders are focused on using every weapon possible to bludgeon the other side and refusing to compromise. Political infighting and maintain ideological purity is more important to them than the needs of the country.
The only reason we even have a country is that men with differing views got together and worked out a compromise. That is how a democracy is supposed to work. It is certainly possible to have strong views and still be willing to work with the other side. Nobody will doubt Ted Kennedy’s liberal credentials but he often worked with Republicans to get legislation passed. I once heard former Oklahoma Senator Tom Corburn say he was so concerned about the state of the country that he was willing to give more than 50% of what he wanted to get something done.
I urge you do follow my example and say no to both parties. It can be frustrating to be stuck with the choices they give us. Please be patient. One day our voices will be heard.
As of this writing, the government is shut down. Both parties are blaming each other but the fault clearly lies with the Democrats. Republicans, with the help of a few Democrats, secured sufficient votes to pass the bill but Democrats chose to filibuster it. It looks to me that this was a deliberate political decision that has nothing to do with DACA. Even though they did it, they are blaming Republicans. They claim that it’s their fault since they control Congress.
I believe in the filibuster. It keeps the majority from running roughshod over the minority. However, the minority must use it responsibly. That is clearly not the case here. When the Republicans shut down the government (also a really stupid move) they were called arsonists, terrorists and bomb throwers. Evidently it is now something noble.
Democrats continue to amaze me with their unbelievable stupidity. I can’t understand how they can think that sabotaging the government and inconveniencing millions is a good idea. They are just like those people in New Jersey who thought that closing lanes and creating a traffic jam was a smart political move.
I intended this blog to discuss my political opinions. It was never meant to be about me. My life has changed so much these last few days that I have to write about it.
My back was bothering me so I went to a spinal orthopedist. After taking some x-rays, he told me that the problem was in my hips and both would need to be replaced. This was certainly unwelcome news since I am overdue for a knee replacement. Something showed up on the MRI. Another MRI indicated there was a growth. The next step was to get a CT scan and see the oncologist.
The appointment was on Friday. I thought I was prepared to hear that I have cancer. I was most definitely not prepared to hear that there is a malignant tumor the size of a volleyball in my abdomin. I spent a couple of days calling people. Telling my elderly parents was really hard. Everyone has been incredibly supportive. I feel really blessed to have them in my life.
I am an analytical, math geek type of person. It has served me well. I haven’t freaked out and have laid out everything that needs to be done. Now I need to wrap my head around this. I feel the same as I did before. Obviously this could be a bump in the road or the end of the road. It is really bizarre.
There are a number of items on my bucket list. My initial thought was why bother with it if I can’t complete them. The journey is what’s important, not the destination. I had been planning a trip this fall and am back working on it. Whether or not I go is beside the point. It is so easy to get wrapped up in our daily lives that we forget what is really important. We must make each day count because none of us know how many are left.
Next time I will be back bashing one or both political parties.
I am certainly no fan of Donald Trump. Like it or not, the election is over. Now is the time for Democrats to focus on upcoming elections. They have a lot of work to do, including developing a cohesive statement of what they stand for and reaching out to voters that deserted them. Instead, many Democrats are still trying to get rid of President Trump.
First they tried election recounts. Then they tried to convince Republicans electors to vote for Clinton in the Electoral College. Fourteen months later they are still working on two approaches. One is to remove him from office by declaring him mentally unfit under the 25th Amendment. No matter what they do, the vice president would need to go along with them. That certainly won’t happen.
The other approach is to impeach him. According to some Democrats, nasty texts and unproven charges of collusion with the Russians qualify as high crimes and misdemeanors. That is utterly ridiculous. Even if they get control of the House, there is absolutely no way 2/3 of the Senate would vote to convict.
I realize that I have been attacking Democrats a lot lately. It is not a matter of partisan prejudice. As an independent moderate, I am disgusted with both parties. As a political analyst, I am frustrated by their unbelievable incompetence as they try to rebuild the party.