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Sunday, December 30, 2018

Before Trump, I Had Hope

Image result for president trump

It's true. Before Donald Trump became President, which even now pains me to say, I believed in America. I believed in people. I believed in progress.


Now that Donald Trump not only became President but has been so for 2 years, all that is gone.

I no longer believe in the arc of progress through history. I no longer believe in the progress of humankind. I no longer see or believe in progress as being inevitable and/or natural. I don't assume it any longer.

It's the same with racism in our nation.

I used to see it as something deeply stupid that used to exist and occur in our society. I used to see it as something we would and were naturally working away from, having learned our collective lessons.

No longer.

Again, with this President---a member and now leader of the Republican Party it needs to be repeatedly pointed out--racism has not just reared its ugly head but come out very publicly, repeatedly and demonstrably.

I thought we'd all learned that lesson. I thought we knew better. I thought we were weaning ourselves of that outrageous ignorance.

Climate change?

This President doesn't believe in it. So naturally, we don't need our government or the governments of the world to do anything about it. Forget the science. Forget the scientific studies. Forget the facts and truth. Full, polluting speed ahead.

Then there's the safety nets we already decided on as a nation that this President is rolling back.

78 Environmental Rules on the Way Out Under Trump

This broke this week.

I was against Ronald Reagan becoming President and his tenure in the office bears me out. I was vindicated by what he did, in more ways than one. This was the biggest one.

Iran-Contra: Reagan's Scandal and the Unchecked Abuse of Power

Then there was Dubya'.

Yes, naturally, I was against George W. Bush becoming President.

I know, shocking, right?

And it was more, far more than just because he was a Republican. He proved me correct, too.

How Clinton Surplus Became A $6T Deficit

But Reagan and Dubya' both became President and we lived through it and I knew we would.

But Trump? Donald J. Trump as President?

In these fast two years with him in the White House, I see so many ways not just our nation but the world has gone and is going backward, already. It has made all kinds of things that were previously considered impossible, possible.

I do see some glimmers of hope. They are only brief and glimmers but there are some promising things out there. Here's one.

More Republicans Now Think Donald Trump Is ‘Unfit to Be President of the United States,’ Watergate Reporter Claims   When even Republicans come out publicly denouncing him in any way, it gives me hope. Of course, there have been Republicans and Right Wingers publicly writing against and yes, denouncing him, for some time--columnist George Will, now-deceased Charles Krauthammer, both, among them.

While I've lost hope, I am still of the opinion we have to fight ignorance and stupidity and short-sightedness and greed. We can't give in completely. We have to work, however and whenever and wherever we can to better things, both for others and ourselves. Always.

We have to persevere.


Confronting the Cost of Trump's Corruption

Friday, December 28, 2018

Our Obscene, Highly Immoral, Bankrupting, Even Murderous Healthcare System

In the past week, quite by accident, I've heard two different stories from two completely unconnected people, women, as chance would have it, about health care travesties. They highlight, very well, the ugly insanity of how we do health care.

Image result for healthcare for money

The first was from a woman who said she worked full time at a law office and for her family's health insurance, she paid $600 per month.

That's it.

That's the whole story.

One person, one woman, trying to support her family and the best her company--heck, our nation--could offer her was to pay $600 per month for health care insurance.

She rightly and truly pointed out, too, that this didn't include the huge, thousands of dollars minimums she'd have to pay first if there were any health care needs nor does it include the co-pays.

That alone is, as the headline says, obscene and immoral.

Is it any wonder health care costs are the number one cause of bankruptcy in this nation?

The second example was from a co-worker, by chance, this afternoon. I heard her talking that she had, some time ago, gone to her doctor's office and had some sort of health care episode of some kind. She was in her doctor's office by coincidence, for something else, entirely. The doctor's office was physically attached to the hospital. One could go through the hallways to get there.

Once she started having this "episode"--I don't know what the ailment was--they told the doctor's staff, naturally. That staff informed the woman they would not only call an ambulance but that--get this--THEY HAD TO CALL THE AMBULANCE.  She couldn't go through the building or even go around to the front door or something. An ambulance had to be called, she had to be put into it and be taken to the emergency entrance.

So that's what happened.

And because of that, she was billed $800.

$800 for an ambulance trip, AROUND THE BUILDING, not even a block, that took seconds.

This is a woman who doesn't make a great deal of money, ladies and gentlemen.

We seem to not have any sense when it comes to health care in this nation. We're all about companies and corporations making loads of money and having big profits but we don't care about the costs.


We, the US, are the only nation in the world that ties health and health care to profit and profits.

Consequently, we are the only nation that has citizens that go bankrupt due to health care costs.

We are the only nation that has people die because they can't afford treatment. We are the only nation that has people die because they can't afford insulin, as just one perfect example.

We just are not very bright. In spite of what we tell ourselves.


Americans are dying because they can’t afford insulin

Thursday, December 27, 2018

Notes On the Southern Wall and This Government Shutdown

Yes, let's make two notes, two points about this Southern border wall Mr. Trump wants and his Federal Government shutdown.

First, there's this.

There Is No Crisis At The Border - And DHS Stats Prove It


Southwest Border Apprehensions and Individuals “Inadmissible” at Ports of Entry Compared by Fiscal Year
FY 2018
FY 2017
FY 2016
FY 2015
FY 2014
FY 2013
Source: U.S. Customs and Border Protection.

The report reflected reality: Border Patrol apprehensions along the Southwest border plummeted by approximately 80%, from a high of over 1.6 million in FY 2000, to around 300,000 in FY 2017. (Apprehensions are considered a proxy for illegal entry, so the fewer apprehensions, the less illegal entry.)

Ironically, the government’s own data show that illegal entry by family units is actually down in FY 2018...

And then, on this, the Christmas, holidays, Federal Government shutdown, there is this.

Let's never forget.

Tuesday, December 18, 2018

It Has Been An Incredible Day Full of Revelations On and About Mr. Trump

Three-quarters of CEOs say they've apologized for Trump's rhetoric

Yes sir, it's been a big, big media day for Mr. President Donald Trump, for sure.

First, there are not one. Not two. Not three, four or five but there now 17 different formal investigations into this Trump Presidential administration. They are:
  1. Russian Gov’t’s election attack
  2. Wikileaks
  3. Middle Eastern influence
  4. Paul Manafort’s activity
  5. Trump Tower Moscow project
  6. Other campaign & transition contacts with Russia
  7. Obstruction of justice
  8. Campaign Conspiracy & the Trump Organization’s Finances
  9. Inauguration funding
  10. Trump Super PAC funding
  11. Foreign lobbying
  12. Maria Butina and the NRA
  13. Elen Alekseevna Khusyaynova
  14. Turkish influence
  15. Tax case
  16. Trump Foundation
  17. Emoluments lawsuit
You can get more background here:

Not done there, this news and article also broke today.

"A survey of 134 American CEOs was conducted during last week's Yale CEO Summit in New York."

What they're concerned about? Check out their number one concern.

1. President Donald Trump

Naturally, Mr. Trump figures in 3 out of the four.

2. The arrest of Huawei CFO Meng Wanzhou — and Trump's potential intervention.

3. A recession caused by political instability.

Some information on this one:

Half of respondents expressed fear the US could wind up in a recession by the end of the year.


Sixty-seven per cent blamed political instability in the nation and trade negotiations.

More from CEOs on Mr. Trump.

Three-quarters of CEOs say they've apologized for Trump's rhetoric

Three-quarters of CEOs said they find themselves apologizing to international partners about the president's rhetoric, according to a survey of attendees at the Yale School of Management's CEO summit. The invitation-only meeting, which took place in New York last week, claimed 134 attendees, including the CEOs of Ford, Morgan Stanley and Verizon, according to The New York Times.
The people who should, you might think, be for this man since he's for little government regulation and low corporate taxes but they have to apologize for this man's, for our leader's actions and words.

And in spite of the CEOs having to make these apologies for him, for us, Mr. Trump thinks he's doing a bangup job. Why, just ask him.

Here we go:

President Donald Trump's re-election campaign team appears to have issued its first ad, with a message calling on "every Trump supporter" to call an 800 number to thank the president for his leadership...

In the ad, 2020 campaign manager Brad Parscale makes the claim that Trump has "achieved more during his time in office than any president in history."

Next up, today, at least for now, there is his folding like a cheap suit.

He had promised his supporters and threatened the Democrats and Congress that he wanted his border wall on the Southern border, all 5 billion dollars of it. He said if he didn't get it, he'd shut down the government.

For whatever good reason--common sense struck?--he backed off. That's what people do who are only committed to themselves and money. He has no allegiances or commitments to anything but, again, himself, his own perceived, best self-interests and yes, money. That's it with this guy.

Finally, there is this and it is, by itself, huge.

Check out that first paragraph--

“The Trump Foundation — the charitable foundation started by President Donald Trump years before he became a presidential candidate, which New York's top prosecutor said exhibited a ‘shocking pattern of illegality’ — will dissolve according to a court filing.”

But wait. There’s more:

“Our petition detailed a shocking pattern of illegality involving the Trump Foundation — including unlawful coordination with the Trump presidential campaign, repeated and willful self-dealing, and much more… This amounted to the Trump Foundation functioning as little more than a checkbook to serve Mr. Trump’s business and political interests."

Then there’s the good news.

“It does not stop the lawsuit by AG’s office has filed against the foundation, which was formed in 1987, and that action will continue”

So who knows what's next with this man? There's no telling what he'll do or say or tweet, of course, as we've seen in these 2 bizarre first years. And with the Mueller investigation's results not even released yet, the only thing we can count on is more unpredictability.

God help us.

God help us all.

Thursday, December 13, 2018

Nancy Pelosi Growing the Cajone's the Democrats Should Have Had Long Ago?

It seems Nancy Pelosi is finally, finally getting tough on this Republican Party President and his political party. First there was this, last week, in the Oval Office of the White House...

Trump spars with Pelosi, Schumer in Oval Office meeting

Mr. Trump was still wanting his wall on the Southern border--you know, the one he said Mexico would pay for? But now he wants the wall and wants us all to pony up the 5 billion dollars for it. 

Nancy Pelosi and Chuck Schumer were having nothing of it and went toe to toe with him, so to speak, in the Oval Office itself.

Now, this is breaking news today, in the last hour, actually.

WASHINGTON — Democrats controlling the House next year will start trying to obtain President Donald Trump’s income tax returns from the Internal Revenue Service, the likely next speaker said Thursday.

From the sounds and looks of it all, Ms. Pelosi took people's advice that she needs to get tougher with the President seriously. She wanted and wants that House leadership position and badly. 

It looks like she's taking that advice very much to heart.

Funny thing about this last issue with Trump's tax returns, however. Remember what he said about them?

Thank goodness for videotape, huh?

Interesting Data On How States Are For and To Women

There's an article out this week that ranks the best and worst states for women.

Image result for best and worst states for women

Let's take a look at the highs and lows.

First up is neighboring Arkansas, next to worst at 50.

Also neighboring Oklahoma down there, too, at 48.

Here's where it gets more local and interesting yet.


37     The bottom, worst half

37. Missouri

Total score: 50.85th
Ranking for women’s economic and social well-being: 36
Ranking for women’s health and safety: 38th

Missouri landed in the mid-30s in other Wallet Hub rankings as well, coming in at 38 out of 51 on the list of best states for working moms and 37 out of 51 for best states to have a baby.

Then there's Kansas.

Still in the bottom, bad half, at 28 but at least they’re more in the middle, than the low, low worst ¼
28. Kansas

Total score: 56.21
Ranking for women’s economic and social well-being: 33rd
Ranking for women’s health and safety: 25th

Kansas performs better in the category of women’s health and safety than it does when it comes to women’s economic and social well-being.

Texas, still in the bottom, worst half at 42. Shame on you, Texas.

Neighboring Nebraska, in the far more respectable top half

17. Nebraska

Total score: 64.82
Ranking for women’s economic and social well-being: 19th
Ranking for women’s health and safety: 14th

Nebraska shares the distinction of having the lowest unemployment rate for women with four other states.
Going the other way, next door Illinois ranks far higher and better.

11. Illinois

Total score: 69.07
Ranking for women’s economic and social well-being: 7th
Ranking for women’s health and safety: 20th

Only two states have a lower homicide rate for women than Illinois, which also boasts the fourth-highest median earnings for female workers.

Now, to the North? Iowa In the top 10.

9. Iowa

Total score: 69.11
Ranking for women’s economic and social well-being: 10th
Ranking for women’s health and safety: 9th

Iowa boasts the fifth-highest high-school graduation rate for young women.

No. 1 position??

I’m very proud and happy to say my daughter’s adopted state of Minnesota is number 1! Fantastic!

1. Minnesota

Total score: 78.22
Ranking for women’s economic and social well-being: 1st
Ranking for women’s health and safety: 3rd

Minnesota, hats off to you! The Land of 10,000 Lakes topped the list of best states for women by three points. It’s easy to see why — and tough to find a positive economic marker this state doesn’t possess. Minnesota has the third-highest life expectancy rate for women, the fifth-lowest rate of women without insurance, the fourth-highest women’s high-school graduation rate, the fifth-lowest percentage of women in poverty and the second-highest median earnings for working women. Go, Gophers!

One interesting side note, North Dakota came down at an extremely respectable 4 on the list while neighboring South Dakota was far tougher on women at 24.

The conclusion?

Missouri and these other low-ranking states would do well to look around and see just what, precisely these other, higher-ranking states are doing to get these results. Not only is this for 1/2 of our population but it's for our mothers, daughters, sisters, cousins, all. 

It's not like we have to go far for the answers, after all.

Wednesday, December 12, 2018

Ink On Our Own "Magic Patrick" Mahomes

Our own Chiefs’ Patrick Mahomes is getting lots of great press after that come-from-behind, overtime win last weekend against the Ravens.

First this one from no less than Sports Illustrated.

Image result for patrick mahomes

You certainly have seen the play by now—you would have had to go out of your way to avoid seeing it. It was late in the first half of Sunday’s Chiefs-Ravens game, a second-and-1. Patrick Mahomes zigged to the left, then zagged back to the right, evading the rush as he scanned the field. Then, with his head pointed squarely downfield, he slung the ball across his body, firing it diagonally across the hash marks and painted field numbers to his left. Receiver Demarcus Robinson, crossing the field, made the catch at a spot where Mahomes had given zero outward indication he was going to throw.

“Look at the magic of the quarterback,” Tony Romo said on the CBS broadcast while watching the replay of the 17-yard pass to Robinson. “Moving around, dancing, then throws it—like, almost, no look. That’s incredible.”

Not done there:

What can a person say except...


Thursday, December 6, 2018

First They Gerrymandered, Then Voter ID Laws and Now This

First, there was gerrymandering--sculpting out voting districts from your state that benefits your own political party.

Both parties did it, sure, but then the Republicans decided it was one helluva great idea so they REALLY went with it. They carved up their constituents voting districts so it put the 8 ball in their corner pocket, time and again, getting them elected.

This is how gerrymandering works.

Image result for gerrymandering
And here's an example:

Image result for gerrymandering

Then? Next?

They decided that wasn't enough, they scare the people and tell them there were people out there--"fereners", illegals, illegal immigrants and others who were trying and lying to vote, left and right.

And the best way to stop it? The best way to stop these people from voting illegally?

Why, we got yer voter ID laws right here, folks, right here in River City.

Forget that all hard data on it, time and again, state to state, across the nation, down through time shows there is extremely little to no vote fraud going on. Forget that, ignore that. It's surely "out there." They're out there, just waiting to vote illegally. Sure they are.

Myth of Voter Fraud 

 Brennan Center for Justice

So enact voter ID laws they did and they have and they still are. Everything they can do to disenfranchise people who aren't likely to vote for Republican.

And who are those people?  Glad you asked. They are
  • the elderly (unless they're already-wealthy)
  • the poor
  • minorities
  • the physically-challenged
At minimum.

And when you add those four groups together, that can be a great deal of people, a great deal of fellow Americans, denied the right to vote.

But again, they've done it and they're doing it, and all across states and the nation.

Now? Next? That's not enough so now what are they doing?

So get this.

They lost. In at least 3 states, North Carolina, Michigan and Wisconsin Republicans lost.

They had all that gerrymandering and voter ID laws going for them, taking away votes from fellow Americans, tax-paying citizens but they still lost.

So what do they do?

At the last minute, before they're summarily thrown out of office---by the electorate, by the voters--they rush to put in place new laws that strip power from the incoming--Democratic--office holders.

Understand, folks. These people who do this--and yes, they're all in the Republican Party, factually--are not out there for the people first. They're not out there for their constituents first. They're not out there for their District or state or the nation first. No, sir and ma'am, they absolutely are not.

They are out there for themselves and for their political party, above all. They are "party firsters", for sure.

Worse than that, far worse, they are out there for the political party first AND last.

Vote wisely, folks.

Vote carefully.

Wednesday, December 5, 2018

Entertainment Overnight: Happiest of Holidays

Local boy, Anthony Glise, makes good, very good.

From an hour North from Kansas City, in St. Joseph, my home town, coincidentally.

Happy Holidays.

Worst State Tax Rates for Retirees?

There is an analysis out today on that evaluates the tax rates of all 50 states, showing best and worst for retirees.

What it shows:

Nebraska, worst, worst, last place, of the 50 states followed far too closely by Kansas at 47th place and Missouri, next, at 46. Neighboring Iowa at 38. Arkansas, too, in the bottom, worse half, at 32. Oklahoma, 29.

Way to go, Midwestern states.

You don’t have mountains, you don’t have an ocean and you also don’t have good tax policies for retirees.

Besides less traffic and hopefully cleaner skies, what do you have?

Note to retirees: Check out the states that have both no income tax and no tax on Social Security.

In the #1 best spot on the list for most friendly to retirees?


Check out that map.

Slide 52 of 52: Retirees need to consider the impact taxes will have on their income. But that’s not the only thing they should think about when deciding where to retire. There are several factors to consider when looking for a place to retire — including the cost of living and access to healthcare. A state that isn’t the most tax-friendly might actually be a good fit for your retirement needs. Click through to learn about the best and worst things to do when looking for a place to retire. More on Retirement Planning  50 Cheapest Places to Retire Survey Finds 42% of Americans Will Retire Broke — Here’s Why Best Cities for Retirement in These Income Tax-Free States Watch: Will Your Kids’ Cap and Gown Kill Your Retirement Plans?  We make money easy. Get weekly email updates, including expert advice to help you Live Richer™.  Methodology: GOBankingRates examined four tax rates: 1) average state and local sales tax, sourced from the Tax Foundation; 2) state tax on Social Security benefits, sourced from Kiplinger; 3) effective state property tax, sourced from the National Association of Home Builders; and 4) state income tax rate based on the median income of adults ages 65 to 74, sourced from the Bureau of Labor Statistics. State tax on Social Security benefits was weighted twice as much as other taxes.

Worst tax rates for retirees, right in the center of the nation.

Kudos, Missouri, kudos, Kansas and Nebraska.

Way to chase people away.

Tuesday, December 4, 2018

Republicans and Democrats

Image may contain: 3 people, people smiling

Unfortunately, Ronald Reagan wasn't held accountable for his famously illegal Iran-Contra weapons scam.

But sure, the 2 parties are just the same.

Sure they are.