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Tuesday, August 15, 2017

The Zeitgeist Has Turned on Mr. Trump


Even before this Charlottesville, Virginia protest and killing, Donald Trump hit new lows in support. The fact is, he lost the popular vote in the November election, getting 3 million fewer votes than his opponent and he's gone downhill ever since.

President Trump's Approval Rating 

Just Hit Another All-Time Low


It's only gotten worse, much worse, since.

Trump's approval rate at all-time low; 

slip in support among base



Anti-Trump rally draws thousands 

for President's return to NYC


Merck stock spikes after CEO leaves Trump council 


Another bails.


Trump Takes Aim at Executives 

Leaving Presidential Council 


This just broke in the last hour.

Walmart Chief Joins C.E.O. Protests


This hit today:

"Why we voted for Donald Trump": David Duke explains the white supremacist Charlottesville protests

This came out yesterday, also.


Image may contain: 2 people


What we don't know is a) how we get rid of this President and b) how we all pull together, now or in time to come.

But we must come together.


Monday, August 14, 2017

What We're Fighting, 70 Years On


From the movie 1972 "Cabaret"




The Great Single Airport, Billion-Plus Dollar Bamboozle


Yes sir, Kansas City.  The powers that be in the city, from the Airport Authority to City Hall to the Mayor's office to The Kansas City Star to now, heck, even George Brett have all decided we cannot and will not renovate and renew our only 40 year old airport. They and more have all decided we must, must walk away from our existing facilities, terminals and all, and build anew.

They decided this long ago.

Our Airport Authority decided it first and now they've gotten everyone else to go along with it and its successfully--for them--snowballed, ever since.

The thing is on this, besides the fact that they want us all to accept this fiscally irresponsible idea and expense but they also are, in no way, addressing who's going to pay for it or how our flight ticket prices will increase because of it all.

Forget the fact that, besides being, again, fiscally irresponsible and very expensive, very soon, once it goes through (and it will go through, rest assured), they also no way want to mention how environmentally irresponsible this is.

WE'RE GOING TO THROW AWAY MANY, MANY BUILDINGS OUT THERE.

We're going to just walk away from them.  Poof.

Then, last evening, I even saw this beauty of an article from The Star:

Editorial: Why an increase in airline passenger fees could actually be a good deal for travelers

Editorial: Why an increase in 

airline passenger fees could actually be

 a good deal for passengers

So not only is this whole expense going to cost more than 1 billion dollars, it is also completely, totally unnecessary. The current facilities could be renovated for the security they're calling for. They won't but we should.

And now they want us to believe the inevitable increase in our passenger fees is---wait for it---GOING TO BE GOOD FOR US!!

BWAHAHAHAHAHA

If I don't laugh, I cry.

The one gain we've gotten out of this is that finally, finally The Star is acknowledging that the prices and costs for our flights are going to go up.

Small progress.


How's This For Irony, Kansas City?


Last evening, there was a local protest against the racism and ugliness and ignorance and even stupidity of the Charlottesville, Virginia protests and murder. There were lots of them, city to city, across the nation.

What was ironic about ours, you might ask?


Stand Against Hate
Sunday 5 PM · JC Nichols Memorial Fountain · Kansas City
Shared to People Power KC

It was held at a public fountain honoring a well-known racist. 

A person significantly, personally, publicly and professionally responsible for the segregation of our city that lasts and still exists and divides us and keeps people down right to today.


Sunday, August 13, 2017

The Racist, Misogynist, Elitist World That Is Donald Trump's America


It has been quite a week.

It's been nearly stunning what all took place in the last 7 days. First there was this:
Inside Google and Out

It seems a young engineer at Google wrote not just a sexist memo but a very sexist one, declaring Google's inclusive culture, including women, if you can imagine that, was not just negative but "bad for business."  From the NYT:

His 10-page memo, titled “Google’s Ideological Echo Chamber,” argued that “personality differences” between men and women — like a woman having a lower tolerance for stress — help explain why there were fewer women in engineering and leadership roles at the company. He said efforts by the company to reach equal representation of women in technology and leadership were “unfair, divisive, and bad for business.”

So women, who make up more than half of our nation's population, shouldn't be included in technology, according to this young man, this Einstein.

Wonderful, right?

The week got worse.

This happened Friday night.



I thought we were better than this. I thought we were smarter than this. I thought we learned all these lessons, especially about race but about sexism, too, certainly.

When you pair this with the fact that a President and an entire political party just tried to pass a "health care law" in our nation's capitol that would have cut between 22 to 32 million Americans from health insurance rolls, it's easy to see that Donald Trump's America, the nightmare come true, is, in fact, a racist, sexist, misogynistic and elitist one. Great for white people and wealthy ones, at that, and corporations but God help you if you're anything else. If you're female or Black or Hispanic or poor or, heck, middle-class and/or working-class, it sucks to be you just now.



And this doesn't even touch the subject of the ugliness and stupidity and vitriol that came out of the White House and this President's mouth this last week. That may get us all, not just the nation but the world into a nuclear war and nuclear winter. I'm not even touching that.

Welcome to Donald Trump's and the Right Wing's and the Republican Party's America.

Again, God help us.


You Know What Takes Guts?


Image result for no religion

Guts is throwing off your hand-me-down, 2000 year old religion you inherited from your parents, and they from theirs, ad infinitum, and realizing and accepting that we're all there is and we're all there ever was and there is no Heaven, no Hell, no "God" and that we just have to and ought to do what's right and good and beautiful and fair, just because it's the right thing to do and because this is all there is. Not because if you do anything bad you'll be punished, not at all.

Guts is accepting this is all there is.  Nothing to run to. Nothing further, bigger, better to hope or plan or work for.

Guts is realizing and accepting that this, the here and the now, the way it is now is what there is to work for. The people that are around you now, the people that are around all of us now.

That nothing else matters because there is nothing else.

The staring oblivion and the abyss in the eye.

The realizing and accepting and facing this is all there is.


But that's too much for too many people.

Most people.

Far too many.


Do you have that much guts?

Do you have that much courage?


Friday, August 11, 2017

Trump Supporters


Homer and Goober discuss national and international politics.

Image may contain: text


Higher and Yet Higher Health Care Costs Thanks to This President


Yes, sir, all that bloviating and equivocating this Republican President is doing is no way going to be good for your or my health care costs in this nation. The health care companies, the pharmaceuticals and insurance companies, especially, are using it to, yet again, still more, just keep on raising and raising their prices---and so, our costs.


This came out yesterday, from the non-partisan Kaiser Family Foundation, no less.


The Trump administration's own actions are triggering double-digit premium increases on individual health insurance policies purchased by many consumers, a nonpartisan study has found.

So to all the Trump voters and supporters, once again, to you and The Donald, both, we say, THANK, FELLAS!!


The Honkies and Crackers Have Decided to Fight Affirmative Action


Yet one more shameful, completely ignorant thing this administration out of the White House is going against.


Justice Dept. to Take On Affirmative Action 

in College Admissions


Ignore, forget that Black Americans have been discriminated against and held back in so many ways in this nation, since first we brought them to the land. Sure, forget all that. How would you know any of that if you're, first, born very white and second, born to money and privilege and exclusivity your entire life?

David Alan Grier got it so right the other night on Jimmy Kimmel's show.




Monday, August 7, 2017

Quote of the Day -- On Race in America


William Faulkner wrote these very insightful, telling, even indicting lines all the way back in 1956. They could not be more true of us, then as well as, sadly, even now, today, this much father along in 2017.
Image result for william faulkner and blacks

That’s what the white man in the South is afraid of: that the Negro, who has done so much with no chance, might do so much more with an equal one that he might take the white man’s economy away from him, the Negro now the banker or the merchant or the planter and the white man the sharecropper or the tenant. That’s why the Negro can gain our country’s highest decoration for valor beyond all call of duty for saving or defending or preserving white lives on foreign battlefields, yet the Southern white man dares not let that Negro’s children learn their ABC’s in the same classroom with the children of the white lives he saved or defended.

More should read the entire, brief article:


Additional link:



Monday, July 31, 2017

It's Cool to Trash Gubmint

Image result for us capitol

I am really more than a bit tired of the trend--because that's all it is, a trend--to be against or to out and out hate government.

Like most trends, it's tiresome but this one goes beyond that. It's not just wrong but wrong-headed, too

Seems Right Wingers and Republicans and Libertarians, all, at minimum, like to rail against government. They sometimes literally say or will write, on social media, that "government doesn't do anything right."

To that I like to point out just a few of the things government has gotten us all.

The Interstate Highway System


The Social Security system, which lifted millions of Americans out of poverty and keeps millions more out of same.


And then there's Medicare.


And Medicaid.


Note that's "healthy and employed" so they can stay at work and be productive and benefit our society, locally and nationally. So there aren't just costs to Medicare and Medicaid, to be clear. There are benefits as well.

Heck, "gubmint" took us all, took man to the moon, for God's sake, no small task.


Government cleaned up some of our dirtiest and most-polluted rivers.

Including, of course, the EPA, the Environmental Protection Agency.


Heck, at one point, at least a few of our rivers were so polluted, they actually caught fire.


And these are just a few, quick examples of how government actually not only works for us but helps us all, individually and collectively.




Again, this is a case of all of us benefiting, too, due to "gubmint", these regulations called the Clean Air Act of 1970 and what it's done for us. We live longer lives, better lives, healthier lives and so, more productive lives because we require companies to pollute less. It's a total win for all, including those companies.

Have governments, has our government, at times gone wrong, done wrong by the very people it is to serve?

Of course.

Has there been, is there waste in government?

Most certainly.

But it's up to us, the people, to keep our government on the "straight and narrow." Things will go wrong, things will be done poorly or wrongly and/or not at all, at times. But government can do and has done great things, over time, certainly.

Government is, after all, us, we the people.


Sunday, July 30, 2017

Religion and Its Evolution


Face it, accept it or not.

No automatic alt text available.


This Unprecedented Presidential Administration


Adding to the fact that this has been the most protested administration, both before and after it took office and, again, both nationally as well as internationally, there is now this.


Look at that. It's incredible.

--A total of 10 people already resigned in less than 6 months of an otherwise entirely new administration.

--Four people left the EPA, the Environmental Protection Agency. Or what used to be the Environmental Protection Agency, anyway. Now it's the Fossil Fuel Protection Agency, it seems.

--And a total of four people were fired from this administration. So far.

Yet one more indication and example of the turmoil of this man Trump and his administration.

God help us, America.

Links:








Republican State Senator From My Hometown Making Us Proud


Yes sir, St. Joseph's own Republican Representative Rob Schaaf, no less, is asking questions and trying to hold our very Republican Governor, Eric Greitens, to task for what he said and claimed and challenged during the now-Governor's campaign for that job.


Bait-and-switch 


Some of the article:

When Eric Greitens was seeking the Republican nomination for governor last year, he claimed to support transparency in the funding of political campaigns. He said in one interview, “What I’ve found is that the most important thing is that there’s transparency around the money,” continuing, “I’ve been very proud to tell people, ‘I’m stepping forward, and you can see every single one of our donors, because we are proud of our donors and we are proud of the campaign that we are running.’ ”

Since that time, Greitens has turned his back on transparency, accepting millions of dollars from undisclosed donors and now disavowing donor disclosure altogether. With this reversal, he has betrayed the Republican Party and the people of Missouri. His new stance threatens the integrity of our republic.


It's a great article, I think, and even important. Any and every voting age Missourian would do well to  read it so they know what's going on in our state and what should likely change.


Eric Greitens and a No-Bid Contract?


Our own Star newspaper printed and published what I think is an important story this week on our new, pretty boy, Republican Governor Eric Greitens that every Missourian should read and be aware of.

Editorial: Gov. Eric Greitens is behaving just like those ‘corrupt career politicians’

Editorial: Gov. Eric Greitens is behaving just like those ‘corrupt career politicians


Remember his political campaign to become governor when he railed against those--his words--"corrupt career politicians"?

It didn't take him long to throw all that in a waste bin. 

For starters, he wants our state to issue a no-bid contract. 

How that is remotely in the people's best interests, I can't imagine. What happened to those "free markets" and Capitalism those Right Wingers and Republicans love so much and that they say bring us all lower costs?

Second, not to be done there, he wants to issue this no-bid contract to a business that gave him a "...$25,000 campaign donation in December..."

So two things become very clear from this.

First, it only costs any wealthy person or corporation a paltry $25000 to buy this Governor Greitens of ours.

Second, it only took 7 months for this same guy--again, this Republican--to go from supposedly fighting for the people down here to taking in money and working and fighting for, again, the already-wealthy and corporations.

He;s got a low price and a quick turn around, both, this Eric Greitens.

I wonder what he'll sell us out on next.

Can you imagine how much screaming we'd be hearing at this time from Republicans in this state if a Democratic governor pulled such a stunt, pretty boy or no?

Finally, importantly, on any every government level, from the city to county to state, all the way to the Federal level, why are no-bid contracts even allowed?   Why are they legal?




Quote of the Day/Week



"Let me say, in one week Donald Trump got rebuked by 

the Boy Scouts, 
by the Pentagon, 
by the International Association of Police Chiefs," 

Rep. Ted Lieu said. 

"You really gotta' try to be that bad."

Links:

Saturday, July 29, 2017

Update For Trump Voters



1. He told you he’d repeal Obamacare and replace it with something “beautiful.” 

You bought it. 

But he didn’t repeal and he didn’t replace. Just as well, too, thank goodness. His plan would have knocked 32 million off health insurance, including and maybe especially many of you.

2. He told you he’d cut your taxes. 

You bought it. 

But tax “reform” is stalled. And if it ever moves, the only ones whose taxes will be cut are the wealthy. That "Trumpcare" the Republicans came up with was little more than yet further tax cuts for corporations and the already-wealthy.

3. He told you he’d invest $1 billion in our nation’s crumbling infrastructure.

You bought it.

But his infrastructure plan, which was really a giveaway to rich investors, is also stalled. And a lot of his fellow Republicans want no such spending on infrastructure.

4. He said he’d clean the Washington swamp. 

You bought it. 

But he's brought into his administration more billionaires, CEOs, and Wall Street moguls than in any administration in history, to make laws that will enrich their businesses, along with former lobbyists, lawyers and consultants who are crafting new policies for the same industries they recently worked for.

All The President's Billionaires: 

A Guide To Trump's Gilded Inner Circle


5. He said he’d use his business experience to whip the White House into shape. You bought it. But he created the most chaotic, dysfunctional, back-stabbing White House in modern history, in which no one is in charge.

6. He said he’d close “special interest loopholes that have been so good for Wall Street investors but unfair to American workers." 

You bought it. 

But he picked a Wall Street financier Stephen Schwarzman to run his strategic and policy forum, who compares closing those loopholes to Hitler’s invasion of Poland.

7. He told you he’d “bring down drug prices” by making deals with drug companies. 

You bought it. 

Now the White House says that promise is “inoperative.”

8. He said that on Day One he’d label China a “currency manipulator.” 

You bought it. 

Then he met with China’s president and declared "China is not a currency manipulator."

9. He said he wouldn’t bomb Syria. 

You bought it. 

Then he bombed Syria.

10. He called Barack Obama “the vacationer-in-Chief” and accused him of playing more rounds of golf than Tiger Woods. He promised to never be the kind of president who took cushy vacations on the taxpayer’s dime, not when there was so much important work to be done. 

You bought it. 

But in his first 6 months he has spent more taxpayer money on vacations than Obama did in the first 3 years of his presidency. Not to mention all the money taxpayers are spending protecting his family, including his two sons who travel all over the world on Trump business.

Trump on track to spend more on travel 

this year than Obama did in 8 years


11. He said he’d force companies to keep jobs in America. 

You believed him. 

But despite their promises, Carrier, Ford, GM, and the rest are shipping jobs to Mexico and China. Meanwhile, he and his political party have done and will do nothing to take away tax credits for those expenses incurred to offshore those jobs and that manufacturing.

12. He said he’d create coal jobs. 

You believe him. 

He hasn’t. 

But here's what he has done: Since 1965 a federal program called the Appalachian Regional Commission has spent $23 billion helping communities in coal states fund job retraining, reclaim land, and provide desperately needed social services. A.R.C. helped cut poverty rates almost in half, double the percentage of high-school graduates, and reduce infant mortality by two-thirds. Trump’s first proposed budget eliminates A.R.C.

At what point do you all realize his promises are never going to be fulfilled and that he's only in this for himself and his own gain?

Soon?

Could it be soon?

Please?

(And mind you, the above is only a partial, abbreviated list).

Source:  Mostly from Professor Robert Reich on his original broadcast, June 30, 2017.


Friday, July 28, 2017

A Better Day, A Great Week


Big doings overnight, of course. The Republicans in Congress had their repeal of Obamacare shot down, finally, once and for all, it's being reported.


So, to recap the week so far:

--Obamacare 'repeal and we don't know' is dead

--the Russian sanctions are solidifying 

--a crude, fowl, sycophant is discrediting the entire White House (in this case I mean the new Communications Director, Anthony Scaramucci, not President Trump himself)

--And Kansas will soon, very soon, be rid of the scourge that was and is Sam Brownback

It's enough to give a person hope.

Links:





Here's a bit of a blockbuster headline, too.


Ex-Cruz aide: Trump presidency 'is effectively over'



Thursday, July 27, 2017

What Guns Allow -- And Don't


Image result for "When a man or woman doesn't have a gun in their hand, he or she tries harder to use his or her mind, sense of compassion and intelligence to work out a solution."


Horrible List Kansas City Makes


I saw this new list yesterday and yes, unfortunately, Kansas City is on it.

50 Worst American Cities to Live In 
- 24/7 Wall St.

We're 49 out of 50, sure, but still, we're on it.

Dangit.


49. Kansas City

Population: 151,261
Median home value: $87,600
Poverty rate: 22.2%
Pct. with at least a bachelor’s degree: 16.3%

While low property values can help make homeownership a reality for financially insecure individuals, cheap housing is more often indicative of a weak economy and poor living conditions -- and this appears to be the case in Kansas City. The typical home in the city is worth just $87,600, far less than the $194,500 national median home value.

Relative to the size of its population, Kansas City has very few amenities and attractions that might enrich the lives of residents. There are fewer bars, libraries, recreational centers, museums, and hotels per capita in Kansas City than there are in the U.S. as a whole. There are just 120 restaurants per 100,000 Kansas City residents, among the fewest food establishments per capita of any U.S. city.

Ow. Really. That hurts, just being on the list.

But it could be worse. 

We could be Little Rock Arkansas at number 26 or Fort Smith, also Arkansas, at 24.

Missouri wasn’t done there, either, unfortunately. Springfield hit a very high number 12, nearly making the top 10 worst cities to live in.  Wow.

Image result for springfield missouri

12. Springfield, Missouri

Population: 166,798
Median home value: $113,500
Poverty rate: 24.1%
Pct. with at least a bachelor’s degree: 28.0%

Few cities have a greater crime problem than Springfield, Missouri. The city’s annual violent crime rate of 1,356 incidents per 100,000 residents is more than three times the national violent crime rate of 373 per 100,000. Springfield’s property crime rate, at 7,795 incidents per 100,000 people, is also over three times the national property crime rate and the third highest of the 551 cities reviewed.

High crime in a city often coincides with high poverty in a somewhat circular cause and effect. Springfield’s poverty rate of 24.1% is nearly 10 percentage points greater than the national poverty rate.


Not done there, St. Louis does, in fact, break that top ten, even making the top 5 worst cities.

Image result for st. louis arch

4. St. Louis

Population: 315,685
Median home value: $130,800
Poverty rate: 24.9%
Pct. with at least a bachelor’s degree: 34.7%

St. Louis is representative of the economic decline that afflicted many large industrial cities over the latter part of the 20th century. Decades of manufacturing decline, white flight, and exclusionary zoning in St. Louis have led to some of the worst urban decay, racial segregation, and income inequality of any major city today. Some 24.9% of St. Louis residents live in poverty, far more than the 14.7% national figure. St. Louis has struggled with a high crime rate since the 1960s and today has the highest violent crime rate of any U.S. city. There were 1,817 violent crimes reported per 100,000 St. Louis residents in 2015, nearly five times the national rate.

Many of the economic problems in St. Louis are tied to the city’s rapid population decline. The city’s population is less than half of what it was during its 1950 peak of 860,000 people, and it continues to decline today. While the U.S. population grew 11.5% over the last 10 years, the number of residents in St. Louis fell 5.4%.


We have to do better, folks.