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The Stupidity of It All

How ludicrous. How two dimensional. How ridiculous. Recent reports have given sway to Second-places arguments for re-election. He plans to be both the victim and the hero. Good Goddess, when will the insanity end? Worst of all, many people in the political arena think it will resonate and work with independents and those he needs to gain an Electoral College victory again. Yes, Electoral College victory, because his handlers are quite sure he will never win the general vote.

Their pitch is that he has been harassed on all sides. That he has never been able to implement his plan because Washington insiders, the Deep State, and the liberal Democrats have all conspired to keep him from succeeding. That all of these people have thwarted his moves through the Muller investigation, liberal courts, and Fake News in order to make him look bad and keep his power.

But, ‘Our Hero’ has fought these bad people at every turn. He has forced through tax cuts, stood hard against immigrants, and used his executive orders to implement his vision. He has drained the swamp of disreputable villains and cleaned up the executive branch, even though he stands in a mire much higher than when he took office. It would all be laughable if he and his followers didn’t whole heartedly believe the whole damn thing.

Not once has Second-place or his followers ever even understood that the people are standing in his way, using what ever means given them, to keep him from implementing these horrible assaults on our country and its humanity. They say give him a chance when we know, we know, implementing these horrific policies is not only illegal, immoral, and unethical, but wrong and damaging to our country. They act as if we don’t understand how good it will be when it is fully functional. But our country has been there before. We don’t have to see. We have seen it, it is in our history, and it is a terrible solution. One we will never, ever embrace again.

He is not the hero his followers believe he is, a single man standing against an evil world. He is the evil ignorant man the world is standing against. To use a pop culture analogy, he is not Tony Stark, he is Thanos. Second-place uses simple solutions because he is a simple, ignorant man and cannot understand complexities. Therefore he eliminates any complexities. Like Thanos, he believes he has the right to eliminate half the population and make them live under his rules. But like Thanos, Second-place doesn’t have that right to be judge, jury and executioner, no matter how self-important he thinks he is. No one has made him God or even a King. Might does not make right. Second-place doesn’t succeed because we are in his way. He doesn’t succeed because he is wrong, incompetent and incapable.

Worst his successes aren’t even successes. His tax cuts have helped the rich and redistributed middle class funds to them, but it hasn’t helped the economy or the people. His executive orders deregulating industries, cutting red tape or selling off public lands are not only illegal but hurting the people of the United States while they are allowed to stand. The economy he promotes has the same growth or less than his predecessor. His unemployment figures have only dropped .8 percent below his predecessors while his predecessor’s unemployment figure dropped a full 8 percent. It is all a farce, a façade that is quickly falling apart under policies he is embracing from the Republican leadership. And I say embracing because he never had one policy idea in his life. He only adopts those policies from those that are sycophantic enough to praise him while using him.

We have work ahead of us, folks. We can’t dissuade those who support him, they are just to ignorant or invested to understand or know. But we can ensure those on the fence see him for what he is and allow us to return this country to the stature and mantel of freedom it was meant to be.

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Get Over It

It’s been a bit since I last wrote about politics and the happenings in the world. I mean what is there to say? Second-place is a looming buffoon. McConnell believes he has it all under control and he hasn’t. The Republicans have shown they have no backbone and the Democratic House is in danger of backlash because they won’t do what the people want, impeach.

    Is there any light of day? Any wise words to unite the country again, getting us to move forward? Any way we can recover our status in the world, let alone our self-respect? I have no words of comfort for you. I wish I did. But doing so would be blowing smoke up your bum. Who needs more confusion and lies than we already have?

    What we have is a lot of work to do. For better or worse, mostly worse, Second-place has done one thing for us, create chaos. He has definitely ripped the norms apart mostly through sheer ignorance. The best part of chaos is we get to rebuild as we see fit. We also don’t have to include the buffoon and his minions that tore the structures apart. So let’s get started.

    First, don’t try to ‘educate’ or ‘understand’ the trumpets. It is a waste of time. More than one theory has been proffered why the trumpets keep standing by ‘their man’. Each is right in their own study, but none explain it all. Let’s just go by the understanding that they felt and feel like they have and are being left behind in the great American Dream. They believe the immigrants, poor, disadvantaged, disabled, and socially abnormal (they mean you LBGQT+, or whatever you call yourself now. Seriously, you have to get a better name.) are cutting in line and not paying your dues. You are using your differences to move unfairly to the head of the line and making them pay for it.

    Simply put you aren’t following the rules. You know, ‘THE RULES’. The ones everyone gets when they are born in the United States. Rules like work hard and you will get ahead. Or work hard and anyone can be President. (Well, that turned out to be a lie didn’t it. You really don’t have to work hard.) Another one is wait for your turn, because everyone gets a chance. Best one so far is that everyone can pull themselves up by their bootstraps. Protestant work ethics, Christian rules that have been embedded into our psychic since we began Kindergarten. I don’t want to complain too much. These rules have been good for the United States in general, but not all of us.

    But you aren’t following these rules. (Rules, by the way, trumpets adjust, adjudicate, and execute as they see fit.) These are simple, black and white rules. So, the trumpets, the true patriots, have to restore order. And whatever you think of Second-place, he is restoring order to the system. At least the trumpets defined system. All of those cheaters are being sent back, told to stand in line and wait their turn. The results show the trumpets, that this restoration is good. The economy is booming, and jobs are plentiful. Soon he will make those bad ol’ companies return back to the United States and bring the good paying jobs with them.

    Except they won’t. He can’t. It isn’t. And they can’t and won’t understand why. Their world is black and white with simple rules relying on yes or no answers. So is Second-place’s world. That is why he resonates with them. He is simple. His solutions are two dimensional and so are his followers. So you will not change their loyalties. Quit trying. There are better things to do.

    First, get good candidates. Ones that think. Candidates for dog-catcher to President need to be found and supported. Next get funding. Lots of it. Work on it and dedicate yourself to getting funding. It wasn’t supposed to be this way. Anyone, any good woman or man, was supposed to be able to run and be judged on their merits. Money was supposed to be secondary. The one percent took that away from us so quit bitching about it. It is what it is. So, let’s out raise them. Let’s get more and better candidates than they do and support them.

    After getting the funding and candidates, quit campaigning the way we did it before. Even campaigning like we did in 2008 isn’t working. Newspapers are not the primary source for even local news. Television and radio ads don’t do it anymore either. Neither does Facebook, Twitter, or Snapchat. There is no one reliable media campaign venue. Having a candidate walk door to door in districts with a million voters and 400 square miles is impractical and a waste of time. Also realize that most voters don’t even engage until the last 8 weeks before an election, only activists do, and they already chose their candidate.

    So what then? What works? Truthfully, all of it and none of it. You have to do it all. But do it where it will do the most good. How many actual voters will follow a local candidate’s Facebook page or Twitter account, twenty or maybe forty? Will that win an election? No? Then do it, but don’t waste time on it. Will building a web page drive votes or bring in donations? No? Then put a simple one up for a quick policy discussion and move on.

    What works is ripping the people from their comfortable medium and engaging them where they will respond. You need to talk to the people. Make them pay attention. Podcasts, online interviews, radio interviews, newspaper discussions (not articles laying out positions, but discussions). Put information in their mailboxes and driveways and let them see your name wherever they look. Billboards, yard signs and banners waving on a pole. Does it sound like the same old same old? It isn’t

    How many of you make phone calls or knock on doors from lists created by obscure databases that you have been told have the latest information? How many of you have tried to regiment, dissect, manage the election cycle? Scientific campaigning, wave of the future, targeted voting, do they all sound familiar?

Now how many of you have participated in it? How many have gone next door 8, 7, 6 weeks before an election and asked your neighbors if they are going to vote and would they consider voting for your candidate? Have you engaged them, asked them, talked with them? Have you given them a podcast link to look at? Have you invited them to a tea, coffee or even a rally to meet your guy or gal? Or just knocked, handed a brochure or two, or hung one on the doorknob?

Databases were the savior of politics. They were going to identify voters, like minded people, and make campaigning efficient. But that was then, BT, before Second-place. Databases are a good starting point but have to be regulated to the tool they have become. Volunteers and candidates need to engage with the voters.

The lines are not as delineated as we would like to believe. The two parties are shrinking in membership while the non-partisans are growing. A lot of the remaining Republicans are trumpets. But a lot more want to hear the merits of the arguments. They want to engage with the discussion and those supporting the candidate, their party’s or the opposition. They will split tickets if given incentive.

Democrats are the same. If you doubt it, I point out the 2016 election in Pennsylvania, Ohio, Michigan and Wisconsin. You can argue voters didn’t turn out, but you know Democrats crossed Party lines.

You want to win? Then don’t be so tied to the past, even the recent past. Chaos has entered the political arena. You feel betrayed by your neighbor, friends. Get over it and get them behind you. There are other votes to chase. Our country depends on us winning the next election. Change is here. So engage, talk, advertise, and raise funds. Try something new. Life is not as we knew it. Get used to it. We have the gift to make a new campaign paradigm out of the chaos of ruins. Let’s build it.

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TAIL WAGGING THE DOG

I have watched the parade of atrocities, missteps, and unbelievable decisions that have engulfed the Trump administration these last several months. Indeed, the daily barrage of ignorance, miscalculation, and just plain stupidity have been born out across the media and social networks in such numbers to have numbed the observer to any new egregious outbursts. Basically, we are just plain tired of the circus and want to go home.

But the ticket has been bought and the seat taken. Unless some miracle happens, such as the clowns refusing to participate anymore in these sad acts, or even the fire marshal shutting it down, we are doomed to watch it unfold for another 31 months. Fortunately, an intermission appears in 5 months and we may be able to save ourselves from this interminably bad production. Until then, what do we make of this buffoon and his presidency? Why does his right-wing support grow and strengthen?

After nearly 16 months of observing this man/child’s presidency and speaking, chatting and reading about him from his supporters, some conclusions have been drawn. His supporters, his hard-core supporters think he and his actions are ‘saving’ this great nation. They aren’t deluded, maybe delusional, but not deluded. His supporters had come to believe the globalism inherent in our earlier administrations were destroying our national identity and ideology. The embrace of international concerns was not, in fact, ensuring our countries security and future. But were deceptions taking our funds, our tax dollars away to support ideologies, people, and nations elsewhere in defiance of the our common good.

Many truly believed that Washington D.C. bureaucratic and political establishment had become so entrenched that it was immune to the protestations and ideologies of the American people. A belief shared by many across all spectrums of the electorate. But instead of recognizing their complicity in this paralysis due to their hard-core inability to accept any compromise; a position birthed from their insistence that compromise is what got us here. They doubled down by electing a true outsider. A person known to disrupt, if for no other reason than the theater of the disruption itself.

They knew they were electing a fraud and they were glad of it. He is doing everything they wanted him to do, walking away from international accords, closing our borders, standing firm against foreigners, and putting the most egregious people in positions of power. Positions that enable them to rail against and hopefully destroy the entrenched bureaucracy, the ‘deep state’ (i.e. civil servants), that refuse to listen and bend to the will of the people.

But herein is the problem, these so-called patriots don’t know what they are talking about. They aren’t the rebels bringing down the empire. They aren’t the minute men standing against the tyranny of the King. They and their ignorance are the collective disease that could destroy our country. Really destroy it. Not only its ideology, but its very existence. But they will never see it because they live in a world of sound bites, click bait headlines, and propaganda.

Not once! Not once when confronted on those issues in which they cheered the news of some political or policy demise did these Trumpites offer any understanding of why that agreement or this policy was enacted in the first place. They refused to understand that we are a country of immigrants and they themselves are the children or great grandchildren of immigrants. Closing our borders is denying ourselves. They do not understand the depths of the Iran agreement and the many subtleties involved in moving a theocratic government into the civilization of men and women. They do not see where they are the beneficiaries of the very social programs they are voting to destroy. The Trumpites and Trump himself only see the black and white of any issue. The irony is not lost since they receive their limited information on color television.

They do not see, nor want to see, the merits of any position they oppose. Then again, that is their downfall. To them we are all winning now. We are finally getting the government and bureaucracy that we deserve. We even have bureaucracies, major governmental departments, that are running without leaders. Proof mind you, proof that they and their bureaucracies were never needed in the first place.

Merit is never what they sought. The virtue of a solid argument well supported with evidence and a consensus of the majority is not their goal. They have always come to a problem sideways. Resistance to their beliefs have always made them seek success through deception, interpretation of rules, subversion of policies, or outright lies. Guilt or shame was never their burden. They were always fighting ‘the man’ and you used what you had to win. The will of the majority was always wrong, simply because the majority was always manipulated by those in power.

So now what we have in the United States is the tail wagging the dog. Trump and the Trumpites, supporting Republicans and likeminded independents have through every survey and poll always registered as the minority view. They have gained no more than 40% of the nation in support of their positions and usually quite a bit less. Even in Trumps heralded victory 57% of the voters wanted someone, anyone else but him to be President.

The minority, through its manipulations of elections and preying on the levers of law, is telling the majority what to do. It isn’t the first time it has happened and I doubt it will be the last. Still it is time for it to stop. It is time for the big dog to hold still. It is time to return to majority rule. The policies and procedures the minority wants is not good for the country. Those institutions they are ignoring or letting decay are destroying our foundations. Our future as a global leader, as an economic power house, as a country with the highest personal living standards is at stake.

This time the majority must be heard. The minority cannot continue to jeopardize our country with ignorance, superstition, and false ideology. This time the majority must vote and be counted. Make sure you do.

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What the DACA is going on?

With a plethora of possible rants to choose from — hurricanes, North Korea and tax reform among them — today I have chosen immigration, primarily because of President Trump’s announcement that he would phase out the DACA program initiated by President Obama. Now many of you may not even know to what this latest government and media acronym refers. Let me enlighten you.

DACA stands for Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals. It mandates a Department of Homeland Security administrative function. Implemented during the Obama presidency, it allows children that were brought to the United States by undocumented immigrants to be given a two-year renewable deferment and the possibility of a work permit. It was an effort to right a terrible wrong against children.

The understanding was that children had no choice in their immigration to the U.S. Their parents brought them whether they wanted to come or not. Now, after living decades in the United States, only their nation of birth keeps them from declaring themselves full and complete United States citizens. It’s sort of like living with a stepdad your entire life. Mr. What’sHisName planted the seed, but your Daddy is what grew ya’. As far as the immigrant children are concerned, Daddy is family. Mr. What’sHisName is some unknown stranger. Hell, you probably don’t even speak What’sHisName’s language.

But our antiquated immigration laws declared that those years with Daddy held no bearing on your loyalties. Mr. What’sHisName, whom you have never seen, lived with nor spoken with, was the sole decider of your Familia. You know, Daddy ain’t your Daddy. He’s just a placeholder. So, DACA was initiated as an administrative function of the Department of Homeland Security. It wasn’t an Executive Order. It wasn’t a law enacted by Congress. It wasn’t even funded by American taxpayers. Financing was provided through the fees paid by those who applied for the deferment.

Nice solution. No harm, no foul, no cost. Applicants had to have been brought by their families. You had to be under the age of 16 in 2007 to apply and a plethora of regulations ensured no crooks, criminals or social deviants were admitted. Plus, you had to reapply every two years to ensure you continue to be a good, contributing member of society. We keep the best of the crop and send the rest packing.

Why is this a “bad” thing?

Well, 26 governors, all Republicans, 20 of whom have no immigration problem, said it was. Didn’t matter that this program followed an outline of immigration reform designed by the Gang of Eight and passed by the Republican Senate in 2013. Didn’t matter that John Boehner didn’t bring it up in the House the same year even though whip counts indicated it would pass. Didn’t matter that it only affected children and teens who were, through no fault of their own, already here and full-fledged members of our society. No. It’s “bad” because the Obama administration violated the Constitution, because Obama by-passed Congress. You know, that same do-nothing, obstructionist Congress that passed Obamacare repeal 57 times and shut down the United States government.

So, off to court we go again. An injunction was sought and granted, but that only prevented expansion of the program. And by a divided court at that. You know, the Supreme Court with only eight members because Republicans wouldn’t act on the nomination of a new Justice to fill a vacancy. The resulting 4-4 tie left the original program in doubt.

Now, with their newly minted conservative Justice and Republican President, the court and Congress is set to answer this liberal assault against the U.S. Constitution. Forget that this will impact over 800,000 children and young adults. Forget that Republicans in Congress allowed President Obama to implement this program because they couldn’t pass wind. Forget that Republicans could have avoided all of this and saved the youngest among us all the stress and worry if they would do their damn job! No. To the barricades! We must protect our Constitution, or at least our interpretation of the Constitution, from those liberal-leaning socialists!

So here we sit, using children and young adults in a game of political football. The result is an embarrassing shame. What makes this so frustrating is that there are 321 million people in the United States. Only 5.2 million of them are actually Native Americans. The rest of us, all of us, are immigrants or the children of immigrants. If it weren’t for immigrants, there would be no United States, no Constitution, no freedom. To deny immigrants entry into our country is to deny ourselves.

What’s worse to my mind is that illegal immigration has been flat since 2009. An estimated 11 million undocumented immigrants are currently in the U.S. That’s the same as in 2009. What this means is that, besides being a red herring issue fed to the masses to stoke unfounded fears, new illegal immigrants aren’t coming. Those who are here have been here, most of them for decades. We have become a nation that few wish to risk sacrificing everything to achieve. We are losing our status as a place of dreams and opportunities. We are choking off our own life blood.

As for those who still insist that illegal immigration is taking jobs away from hard-working Americans, I refer you to the recent jobs reports in Businessweek that showed crops rotting in the fields, farms failing and small businesses closing, all for the lack of immigrant labor. The vaunted white workforce refuses to apply. Jobs are plentiful, even with undocumented immigrants. Eight million “illegals” work in the United States, most of them in farming and construction. Yet, unemployment remains at less than 4.4%, typically defined as full employment.

Illegal immigration is an old song with a really bad score. The only ones who continue to sing it are those who want to pull up the drawbridge after they themselves have safely crossed. Instead of holding children hostage to legislative inadequacies, let’s insist Congress do its job and fix the problem. Placing blame is easy, but it is also an excuse. Let’s relight the flame of freedom and opportunity and welcome all to our shores. Let’s know what is important and what isn’t. And remember, as we walk through this shame, the party you choose and your vote for that party matters. It matters a great deal.

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Rubio. Where for art thou, Rubio?

I’m angry. We live in a republic. Now, I know a lot of you are going to interject and say we live in a democracy, but you would be wrong. Go find the definition on your own if you don’t understand the difference. I don’t have time here to teach you because, frankly, I’m more than a bit upset with our Senator, Marco Rubio, and his inability to live up to the most basic part of a republic. The basic premise is that HE is supposed to do the research and gather the information before he takes a vote representing us. He seems incapable of doing so even in the simplest of tasks. He just hangs onto and parrots party dogma and propaganda as truth. Then he uses the line of false rhetoric to justify his votes on OUR behalf.

Case in point: I’ve just watched his video wherein he states he has decided to back the repeal of the Affordable Care Act (aka Obamacare) without a replacement. Well, considering Obamacare saved my life quite literally, you might understand why I have an interest. His ignorance on this issue is appalling. His basic premise is that Obamacare is a failure, that it was unsustainable and is not working. (All evidence aside, I might add.) The reason for the failure is that younger workers were paying extremely high premiums for what amounts to nothing more than catastrophic insurance. These premiums were so high as to seriously affect their ability to support themselves. He also states that these premiums were having detrimental effects on employer-sponsored insurance plans, raising their costs and lowering coverage.

Both items are bullshit in its most pungent form, and it doesn’t take an insurance actuary or a mathematician to figure it out. All you need to do to get the figures for coverage on the Obamacare plan is go to https://www.healthcare.gov/see-plans/ and put in as many figures, scenarios, and variables as you want to determine the cost of your coverage. Best of all, in the final analysis you get to “CHOOSE” the coverage you want. What? Oh. My. God! You have choice? In healthcare? In the current health care plan? Who could’ve thunk it? And, yes, you can even stipulate that you qualify for employer coverage, Medicaid, or whatever. You can choose the state, the zip code, the number of people you are covering. It’s all there, Right in front of you. You don’t have to speculate, Mr. Rubio.

And what does this burdensome effort find if you go through the ten-minute process of checking from your laptop or cell phone? Well, if you’re a single male of 32 years making $30,000 a year, you can get health care insurance for less than $185 a month with guaranteed coverage of 10, count ’em, 10 conditions including ambulance service, prescription medications, and pre-existing conditions. Is the deducible high? Well, yes, in this scenario, because I chose to list my probability of using health care as low. I could have chosen higher or lower premiums, but I didn’t. The choice was mine. Something the Senator would have known had he done his job.

Now, you might be puffing up and arguing, “Yeah, but the annual premium is still $2,220. Really? You’re going to go there? I mean, insurance is so much more than the simple coverage and the premium. Insurance, in case you didn’t know, and it appears Sen. Rubio doesn’t, provides negotiated pricing for services and drugs, much lower than the cash prices. Yes! Oh gosh, oh golly — YES! Insurance companies negotiate the prices they will pay hospitals, pharmacies, and doctors on your behalf. That is the reason for their existence. Not only do you have access to care when you need it because you have an insurance card, but they charge you less, much less, than the retail price for the same services. Can you freakin’ believe it!

Now, let’s go to your “company policy” argument. You know the one about Obamacare being detrimental to employee sponsored insurance plans. First, I’m both a current and former owner of small businesses. What in your right mind makes you think I’d want to be responsible for my employees’ and their families’ health insurance? Why would I want to have to make the monthly premium checks, monitor members’ eligibility, negotiate coverage and do all the other things that create a human resources nightmare? Are you kidding me?

Many small companies provide insurance that doesn’t meet the basics required by the Affordable Care Act. You know things such as ambulance service, prescription drugs and pre-existing condition coverage. That’s why their premiums are so low. Talk about catastrophic-only insurance. Look, a lot of companies don’t offer the basics for the simple reason they are trying to get their employees off their plans so they don’t have the headache anymore. And believe me, employee health insurance is a big headache. It takes thousands of dollars, if not hundreds of thousands, of time and energy each year for employers to monitor and negotiate health insurance. It’s much easier to get out of the game and concentrate on, you know, your business.

So, Senator Rubio, when you get on your high horse and put out a video explaining your vote to take insurance away from more than 32 million Americans, at least do the least you can do. Do your homework. Quit parroting the company line and for your constituent’s sake question the messenger. After all, the Republican Party didn’t elect you. We did. The people of the State of Florida. Do what’s best for us, not the propaganda that has been spewing from the depths of partisan disinformation and rhetoric.