Wednesday, 24 May 2017

Beware of Politicians with Hyped-up Child Policies

“The state must declare the child to be the most precious treasure of the people. As long as the government is perceived as working for the benefit of the children, the people will happily endure almost any curtailment of liberty and almost any deprivation.”
          Adolf Hitler, Mein Kampf

Someone brought up this quote today, and it's an interesting philosophy that the Nationalists Socialists practiced.  As long as you convinced people that you had their best interest at heart....you got a blank check from the public.

I am reminded of the effort to bring everyone onboard to some federal dynamic on school lunches.  In the end, a bunch of food was dumped onto plates that kids wouldn't eat, and everyone patted themselves on the back for achieving this purchase of wasted food.

It was like the big craze to give laptops to kids, but you never saw any improvement in grades or comprehension.


Monday, 22 May 2017

The Collude Factor

"From my perspective, having worked with the Trump campaign, I’d be stunned that they were organized enough to collude with anybody."
         - Rick Santorum

This quote came up from the weekend, and I have to admire it.

Just the term "colluding" is a problem for most folks.  Go ask a guy to define it.  It means to conspire or come to a secret understanding that multiple sides can agree upon without divulging the agreement.  It'd be like you getting your neighbor to agree to a fake hostility situation so you could convince your wife that you really need to sell this house and move somewhere else.

Money exchanged in collusion?  No, not necessarily.

Are there Senators from both political parties acting in a collusion-like way?  Yes....almost daily.  Are journalists behaving in a collusion-like way?  Yes....hour by hour.

To be honest, we probably can only function as a country today, by collusion.  What do you think the France did in 1776....they colluded with the Americans, to ensure the defeat of the British.  Banks collude with people to ensure their survival.  Farmer collude, car mechanics collude, and even doctors collude.

Santorum is simply speaking the truth in that the team around Trump really wasn't that bright, but they lucked out because Hillary Clinton was so inept at running for President.  Toss in the Russian meddling, and people just tired of politics, and you've got the sum and total of the 2016 election.

Sunday, 21 May 2017

Hillary, Putin, and the Rest of the Story

The Dailycaller put the basis of this story together, and the pieces of the puzzle finally fit.....but it's a story that the news media probably print or discuss, and it leave you mostly amused.  I'll tell you the story in the fashion that Paul Harvey would have explained it.

At some point about a year into the Obama Administration, this plan of revolution was put into effect.  Some charming individuals from the tech-world, the State Department, and lobby groups affecting the White House figured that they had some great 'weapons' to bring change.  YouTube, Twitter, Facebook, social media, etc.

A list of countries were laid out and targets of change.  The list: Yemen, Syria, Tunisia, Egypt, Iraq, and Libya.  The list expanded out and to a lesser degree included Morocco, Bahrain, Algeria, Iran, Lebanon, Jordan, Kuwait, Oman, Sudan, and Somalia.

Then, the smart intellectual folks decided to go ahead and include Russia.

The Russians were going to have a legislative election in December of 2011.  Following that, they'd hold a presidential election in March 2012.

Russian elections are typically scripted out with some minor opposition in public places.  But by late 2011....social media had gotten into the middle of the election and getting opposition groups focused and more dynamic. For Putin and the gang....this was a major problem to deal with.  They'd never had the internet and social media used as political weapons.

Who was making speeches highlighting the free and open election topic for the US?  Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.  She was the face of the episode.  She went to interviews around Europe and chatted up the opposition to Putin.  This won her all kinds of commentary and positive thoughts with the elite and intellectual crowd of Europe.

The two elections eventually passed in Russia.  A lot of frustration was the end-result.

So, Putin sat there.  Rather than to jump into the Obama election of 2012....the Russian view was that Hillary, the Clinton Foundation, and the American meddling needed a 'spanking'.  They evaluated the tactics used against the 2011/2012 Russian campaigns....the internet, bloggers, fake news, bias reporting, Twitter, Facebook, etc.

As the end of 2015 arrived and the heated American campaign started up....Hillary suddenly found that Bernie Saunders had a lot of hype by various bloggers.  Reports of her health issues, the email server, the deals, Bill's affairs, etc.....were now circulating on a daily basis.  Oddly, if the Clinton machine had dug around....they would have found little of this came back to the GOP or lobbyists connected to the GOP.

By convention time, the threat of Bernie was over.  But the problems of fake news was now hyped up.  Oddly, the French, the Brits, and the Germans were all worried about fake news (note, they never said Putin-retaliation).

So November came, and the Clinton machine failed.  Why?  The same tools used against Putin in 2011/2012 were used against Hillary.  It was simple and pure retaliation.

The news media and various lobbyists have hyped up the fake news business, and gone ballistic trying to connect Trump back to the Russians.  Tens of thousands of hours have been wasted on public debate over this, and a lot of frustration exists with the idea that Trump and Putin are working together.

But here's the silly thing.....the GOP could have found some idiot retired barber from Tulsa and ran the guy, and the Putin retaliation against Hillary would have been at the same level.

Who to blame?  The news media and political players are set to say some type of talk or agreement occurred with Putin and Trump.  Weeks and months will pass on this investigation which people seem to suggest impeachment will come.  By the end, some idiot will stand there and say that Russia went and did the whole thing without any connection to Trump....simply because Hillary pursued the 2011/2012 social revolution change in Russian politics.  Yes, Hillary started this mess by meddling in Russian politics.  Every weapon that the US used in the 2011/2012 Russian elections?  Used in the 2016 American election.

So you sit there and seem amused?  CNN and the New York Times?  They can't tell this story because it really goes back six years and starts with the Obama camp meddling not only with Russia....but really meddling and creating tensions in Egypt, Syria, and Iraq.  A whole lot of meddling with no thought that maybe some of these people would come back to interfere with the US election.

Is this over?  Maybe.  I doubt that Trump intends to mess with the next Russian election and maybe Putin is satisfied enough to just say 'enough'.  Hillary?  Did she learn anything?  I doubt it.

Saturday, 20 May 2017

Examples of Sponsorship of Civil War Statues/Memorials

I spent two hours looking over the topic this week.  Few people ever grasp who paid or sponsored the placement of Civil War statues/memorials.  Examples:

- The Ozark, Alabama Confederate Memorial....paid for by the United Daughters of the Confederacy group.  Finished in 1910.

- The Phoenix, AZ Confederate Soldiers Memorial....paid for by the Sons of Confederate Veterans.  Finished in 1999.

- The Caddo Parish Memorial....paid for by the United Daughters of the Confederacy group.  Finished in 1906.

- The Sam Davis Memorial in Pulaski, Tenn (I've actually been to this one).  You won't find it on Goggle maps.  It was paid for by the local Sam Davis-supporters.

- The Stonewall Jackson statue in Charleston, WV....paid for by the United Daughters of the Confederacy.  Erected in 1910.

Generally, if you go down through the bits and pieces, it's roughly twenty to fifty years after the war ended that the majority of these statues went up.  For some reason, in the period of 1900 to 1915....there is an upswing, which I think is due to the 40th and 50th anniversary period.  Some of the statues rests in federal parks (Arlington Cemetery for example).

A complete listing of all of these?  Based on my reading, and my general background of the topic....I'd say that what is listed over the internet is maybe fifty-percent of the actual number.  In most counties of both Alabama and Mississippi....you will find a minimum of one to two statues/memorials.  If someone did an absolute complete listing....to include all fifty states....I suspect it'd get fairly close to 2,500 statues and memorials.

Civil War Memorials and Evolution

For a number of months, I've been watching various efforts unfold in the south that revolved around the dismantling or removal of Civil War memorials honoring southern figures.

For those who don't think much about it or read up on the topic....the vast number of statues erected in the south up until 1865....would probably total less than a dozen statues.  From 1865 to the 1915 era, you can probably count around 150-odd statues and at least 600 memorials (not exactly a statue), which will prominently cover either southern generals or politicians.....or some generic CSA soldier. The odd thing about all these statues erected is that they were generally paid for by private donations or the efforts of a few private citizens.  It's almost impossible to find a statue that was paid in some fashion by a state government or city.

The background on the property?  Most cities gave an internal vote and allowed a foundation group to erect a statue on public property (usually near a court-house or in a city park).

The erection of most of these Civil War statues came to a conclusion after WW I.  You might find a few that were put into place....but the massive bulk of all of these were prior to the 1920 era.

Taking them down?  If they are on public property....a simple vote can bring them down, but the statues in my humble opinion would have to be turned over to the group who sponsored them in the first place.  My guess is that they'd take the statue....find private land in the region and put them up again. Public anger would be triggered but to think getting rid of the statue fixes everything....would be a joke.

We are at some crossroads on erecting statues.  My suggestion would be that we need to just stop putting up any statues of people because you'd come back to some evolutionary period in the future where you'd have to remove some statue of a guy from the 1970s for some oddball reason.

So, we need to aim for statues mostly of dogs, horses, cattle, and such.  Generally, a horse statue never gets anyone upset and you can't blame much onto a horse.  Same for dogs as well.

As for Stone Mountain, Georgia?  Well, that's going to be an interesting case.  Eventually, twenty years down the line....it'll be a major political topic and involve half the state in some effort to dismantle all of Stone Mountain's carving.  If you think politics is heated now....just wait on the Stone Mountain episode to occur.

Thursday, 18 May 2017

The 2018 and 2020 US Election: The Rest of the Story

Over the past month, there's various cards being laid upon the table and you can reasonably lay out the strategy for the November 2018 mid-term election and the 435 seats.

The Democratic strategy from this point on....is figure out the twenty-five weakest GOP members in urbanized areas.  The chief topic in this areas for the next 18 months will be the coming Trump 'impeachment'.  You need a simple majority of House members to send the papers onto the Senate.  Right now, with the GOP membership....there's a zero chance of this happening.

So you can imagine this continual chit-chat....on and on....trying to interest a majority of what would be independent voters to agree on some Trump impeachment being necessary.  The odds?  You might be able to win ten to fifteen seats....not enough to change the outcome.

The real worry of the Democrats for 2018?  It's an odd race for the Senate.  Out of 33 seats up for grabs....ONLY 8 belong to the GOP.  For the Democrats?  It's 23 seats.  The odds of five to eight seats flipping to the GOP?  It's a 50-50 shot.  I'm betting on six seats going to the GOP, and only two losses for the current GOP.  That is a four-net situation.

The 2020 election?  This becomes more interesting.

There are a lot of signals that Bernie Sanders isn't finished yet.  There are signals that Hillary Clinton is not to be written off.  For a lot of the Democratic crowd who are ready for a bold new leadership scheme....this puts the bulk of them into a difficult situation.

No one can be sure of Trump's desire to run in 2020, or just step back.  If he announces by summer of 2019 that he won't run....then this entire impeachment gimmick of the Democratic Party is screwed up and doesn't help their agenda.

If I were the leadership of the Democratic Party....I'd start to look at the strategy of the past two decades and decide to revamp the whole game.  It's time to play in the rural communities and talk heart-land politics.  But if Hillary and Bernie are part of 2020....well....just get ready for some crazy election to occur, and the next Trump-character to arrive on the scene.

I read this week that the "Rock" (Dwayne Johnson) suggested he might run.  If you go down the states that Trump won....I think the Rock could take each one of those.  For the Democrats?  They might have to break out some other fake Democratic character, and run a Trump-like campaign.

Wednesday, 17 May 2017

Trump and Intelligence: The Rest of the Story

For a couple of days now, this Trump-Intelligence story has been blasting away.  If you sit and review the whole story....pondering enough....you come to three observations.

1.  It is rather odd that the news media worries about the loss of intelligence data.....when Hillary's 'keepers' cut and pasted hundreds (perhaps several thousand)....secret and top secret lines onto emails which went to the bath-room server, and were read by countless numbers of secondary 'customers'.  No one mentions that loss of intelligence, for some odd reason.

2.  The guys who passed the stories onto the news media over the past couple of days?  They all have clearances and have signed documentation that they would never divulge classified data.  Oddly, they'd now done that.  The news media doesn't refer to the jail time that their 'buddy' might get for the behavior.

3.  If Trump were handing over the nuke codes, or the actual capabilities of the F-15, or discussing the operational rates of the Navy submarines.....it might be worth getting hyped up.  Basically, this was a discussion over terrorism, and data related to just that one subject.  Would he have shared the data with the French or Germans?  Who says that he hasn't already done that?  You can't be sure of nothing with this story.

As long as no charges ever occur with Hillary or her twenty-odd people who committed serious bad handling of classified information, I don't think there's much to get hyped up about.  Besides, those Senators who've passed out classified data?   Have any of them been really investigated?

If and When Impeachment Comes

After a fair amount of reading and pondering, I have come to four observations about this entire impeachment talk.

1.  Since 9 November 2016, oddly enough, there's been impeachment talk.  Within twelve hours of Trump being declared the winner, I can recall at least two chatty 'experts' noting that the impeachment would occur.  The simple fact is that you would need two-thirds of the 100 Senators to convict and remove the President.  That means you'd have to find at least 18 Senators who are Republican to cross the line.  You can talk all you want about impeachment, but those 18 Senators would be more or less finished for all future elections within their states.  More than enough people would consider the GOP 'brand-name' to be finished and do just about anything to bring those individuals back home (in the permanent sense).

2.  The journalists hyping up their anonymous sources, and weekly chatting about impeachment?  Oddly, they are the same ones who were in July, August, September, and October.....telling you and I that Hillary was safely ahead, and would be winning by 10-percent or more.  Same folks.....so you have wonder....if they didn't know what they were talking about in the months before the election of 2016.....how can they be sure of much today?

3.  The insiders dishing out anonymous information?  At some point, they will be brought into a room and be told that tapes now exist of them passing information onto journalists.  They will be given a rare chance....to stay on and keep their job, with no charges filed against them....by handing false information and helping the journalists to write pages and pages of false reporting which will end up creating a massive public joke.

4.  To bring charges of impeachment, you have to have the charges read, and a majority of House members (remember, the GOP controls the House right now) must vote in favor of handing the papers over to the Senate.

Where all of this leads onto?  The entire House election in November of 2018 will be about impeachment charges, period.

You will be sitting there in amazement as dozens of TV ad's each week in September and October of 2018 hit you over Trump.

The problem is that you have the GOP members talking about platforms, agendas, taxes, jobs, growth, and the military....while the only theme from the Democrats will be the impeachment.

Ask yourself....which is the positive message?  If by the summer of 2018, there's over one-million new jobs created in the United States....how will the impeachment theme sell over those jobs and new tax credits?

Maybe it's just me, but you'd have more success over dumping the DH rule in baseball, than impeaching Trump.

Mentality of Abandoning

There's a pretty decent article over at the Atlantic today....which goes into a long essay and chats about Americans who are deserting towns and regions throughout America....because there's no jobs and no future.

What the writer goes on to talking about....is that a guy will wake up one day and realize his 'anchor' (his community) has nothing to offer, and it's time to hit the road.  Where the guy goes is much of this essay because it's not rocket science over where you choose to escape to, or try to find a future.

I look upon this whole experience as abandonment.

From 1929 to 1942....you can find hundreds of thousands who woke up one day to realize that factory job was gone, and there was no future staying in their community.  Some not only abandoned their home and town....some even abandoned their family, in hopes of finding something (anything).

Over the past couple of decades, most folks have launched themselves into anchoring down....buying property....handcuffing themselves to one particular church....making long-term connections to the community....building their whole life into the big puzzle of the region itself.  So walking away from it has to be fairly difficult and complex.

I live in Germany today, and it's a place where you just don't desert your home-region.  Germans will think of a move from the west part of Frankfurt, to the east part of Frankfurt as a massive move (a 4 mile move at best).  Don't even come up and suggest that they'd have to move from Frankfurt to Eltville (25 miles away).....they'd get all hyped up and frustrated about such a suggestion.

Some people are born with the capability of just accepting a radical move, and just get on with their life.  Some folks are opposite, and they will never be able to form a connection to their new neighborhood or new town.

The Atlantic piece is worth reading and does highlight part of our problem today....nothing is really secure.

Sunday, 14 May 2017

The Good and Bad Food Agenda

I noticed in the news this weekend that the new Sec of Agriculture sent out an order....curtailing the school lunch guidelines implemented under the Obama administration.  If you remember the whole gimmick put up....a lot of nutritional talk was tossed into the middle of school lunch programs, and you had to serve 'good' food.  At no point, did any idiot ask....would the kids eat healthy food?  So, statistically speaking....they added up the amount of food served, and later tossed into the garbage....an 82-percent increase from the old program to the new Obama administration program.

Naturally, since this new order went out.....it's got some former Democrats in the system all upset because it's just not right to feed kids garbage food.

At the center of this argument is this one single topic that people fail to really seize upon and grasp.  Once you say that the meal has to fit within a one-dollar or a $1.25 situation....it's pretty limited what you can serve in terms of good food or bad food.

I had an Air Force chow hall guy explain this whole game to me years ago.  The budget was set for every chow hall at the time....to roughly five dollars per day....per individual.  This made three hot meals a day practically impossible.  So they depended on the commissary system to sell them cut-rate and discounted items as low as possible.

If you look over at each school dining system....they are given an impossible task.  By the time you figure up some meat item and a fruit....you've spent most of your money.  I sat and watched some news piece with a gal explaining how their school went to some nutritional taco salad......but the journalist stood there and asked a couple of kids about the marvelous new item and half of them weren't that keen on the item and were dumping it.

The thing is....if you said you were serving a baloney sandwich, a cup of fake juicy-juice, and an apple....the nutritional expert would be all upset over the nutritional aspects.    In this case, you can't make anyone happy.  It's best to at least have the kid's stomach full....even if it is marginally healthy food.

My guess, in four to eight years....some Obama-like President will return, and we will go right back to the nutritional food gimmick, and start to see massive amounts of food dumped back into the garbage again.....repeating the whole cycle once again.

Saturday, 13 May 2017

The Russian Game Unfolding

This week, I sat and read through several accounts of the federal investigator crowd going after former Trump-adviser Paul Manafort.  A month ago, they went and requested bank records of Manafort.

The game at hand?  There's a discussion that this is all part of the Russian interference in the 2016 election.

Congress even says that they want Manafort to come be testify.

Back around a dozen years ago, Manafort was hired as a lobbyist and consultant for some pro-Russian folks over in the Ukraine....a year or two later, he's working for some Russian folks in Cyprus (at least the news folks say that).

The thing is....these are all businessmen, not Kremlin guys or the KGB.  It's the same type business as if some Chinese hotel owners hired you, or some South Korean cookie makers, or some Saudi oil guys, or some Brazilian cattle folks.  Lobbying is lobbying.

What makes Cyprus unique in this story?  It's one of those EU countries where you can walk in....present a lot of cash for investment purposes, and get residency or a passport.  With a Cyprus passport, you can enter any EU country without any visa.

Back around a decade ago, a lot of billionaire-type Russians started showing up in Cyprus, and dropping their investment money off there.  To be honest, you'd rather do that than put it into some Russian bank and have the government looking over your capital.  But these Russians dropped so much money into the Cyprus economy, that the banks got heavily into some investment problems, and it proved to be too much.

My guess is that the billionaire Russians reached a point where they wanted to chat with a lobbyist from DC who might lead them to the right lobbyist (the insiders to Senators) and have some laws written so they can bring money in and buy into US investment opportunities.

So, in the middle of this congressional hearing....when Manafort is asked how he helped the Russians....he's going to explain the system. Then he'll suggest to the Senators and Congressmen....that they know the lobbyists of the Russians and took their money.  At that point, the meeting will abruptly end, and everyone will sit in their office realizing how Trump led them down this path.

The news media?  They can't tell any part of this story without explaining how both Republicans and Democrats are also insiders to the Russian interference.  In a way, it's a woeful tale.  But it is amusing just how far they got without realizing who they were dealing with (Trump, or the Russians).

Monday, 8 May 2017

Trump and Kim Jung Um?

The odds of Trump and North Korea's Kim Jung Um meeting?  A year ago, I would have said one in a billion.  Right now....maybe one in six.

My scenario....it'd have to be arranged in China.  Some private residence with Chinese guards.

You can imagine Trump sitting there with Kim.....chatting up golf and luxury condo stuff for a while, and eventually they get around to the nuke missile business.

After a while, Kim starts to realize that Donald is a pretty regular guy.  By the end of this visit, they both agree on more future talks.  Kim comes to visit Washington, tour the capital....watch a live NBA basketball game or two....and eat a few pizzas.

After a year, there's some fancy treaty signed by Donald and Kim, and everyone is so shocked, that the Nobel Peace Prize folks accidentally go crazy and nominate the two for some award.

Well....it could happen that way.

Ten Observations about Star Trek

If you count up the five different Start Trek series....I've watched about five-hundred episodes.  After a while, there's some things that you notice.

1.  It seems like no one ever has to go off to the latrine and spend some sitting time after eating some pretty solid chunky food.

2.  No one seems to have any necessity for duct-tape.

3.  Everyone in Star Fleet appears to be some male model.  No chunky women, no beer-gut guys, etc.

4.  No one on board ever drinks Pepsi or Coke.

5.  You never seem to see any bad behavior occasions from the crew where you need to have Lt Jones punished or sent to the brig.

6.  You never see any of the quarters for the junior guys onboard.

7.  You never seem to see any mental nutcases onboard.

8.  You never see a BX or shoppette onboard.

9.  No one ever talks NCAA football, which means that it must have just gone away at some point.

10. There's never any uniform inspections, which just strikes me as curious how you can go so long without jumping on folks.

Thursday, 4 May 2017

President Benjamin Fitzpatrick?

At one point, Senator Benjamin Fitzpatrick, former governor of Alabama....came very close to becoming President of the United States.  So this is the story.

In the long hot summer of 1860....the Democratic Convention was held and turned into a big mess.  The guy who was easily slated to win the nomination....Stephen A. Douglas (Sen, Ill, Democrat).  All he had to do was walk in and hustle up a few oddball representatives at the convention.  The representatives from Alabama and Louisiana?  They said the normal platform which read mostly that slavery was bad and would be dealt with one day....was not acceptable.  You could go back over five decades and find the same wording in every single Democratic platform.  The party intended to do little to nothing about the issue.

So, a fair number of convention members refused to vote for Douglas.  He never got more than 151 votes.  The party went through 57 ballots.  Douglas could not get the nomination.

The Democrats adjourned and left Charleston....in a fury.

They would meet a month later in Baltimore, and run an entirely different convention....refusing to seat some Alabama and Louisiana folks.  This time, Douglas won on the 2nd ballot.

The Vice-President?  Benjamin Fitzpatrick....Senator from Alabama.  At the age of 39, he became Governor of Alabama.  Three years later (after leaving the Governor's position), Fitzpatrick was appointed as temp fill-in for a dead Alabama Senator (serving one year).  Three years later, he filled another temp fill-in for another year in DC as Senator.

So, things were stacked up in 1860 for Douglas to easy win and Fitzpatrick to be his VP.  Because of the break-up of the Democratic Party in this election.....Lincoln beat Douglas, and the rest is history.

If the Democrats had not broken up their vote?  Douglas would have won, but gone on to have Typhoid Fever in 1861, and die in the summer of 1861 from the fever.  Alabama's Fitzpatrick would have assumed the Presidency and likely served out that three-and-a-half years, plus another four (if re-elected).

Rarely does this ever get brought up....but he's about the only Alabamian to ever get that close to the Presidency.