Monday, August 31, 2015

"Deflate-Gate" Idiocy

Our President has established...or perhaps I do him a disservice and he simply reflects...an attitude in the country where no one is ever responsible or suffers consequences for anything.  The NFL for some reason never had officials in total control of Game Balls.  Seems like an oversight to me.  And not a particularly egregious one, but an error nonetheless.

But that error was discovered last year in a manner that threatened to bring mirth and derision down on the league for failing to oversee one of the most critical tools of the game...the ball.  What to do?  What to do!  For some inane reason, "Our Bad!  We'll fix it!" did not come to their collective minds.  Instead, they focused on how to blame someone...anyone...else.  Who could they possibly put on the hot seat that already had erred in the past (ala the guy who already has a record so everyone will certainly believe that he transgressed again)...Hello, New England Patriots.

The League made a bunch of assumptions (always a really bad beginning for any action): 1) that the "under pressure" was deliberate; 2) that the staff of the New England Patriots reduced the pressure; and 3) that Brady both knew and condoned it.  Of course, there is no proof of any this.

If you inflate balls indoors, with warm air, and then take them outside into winter or late fall weather, the air pressure goes down.  That is why we have to re-inflate our auto tires in the late fall and winter.  If the balls were inflated indoors to the lower legal limit called for in the rules, as soon as they were taken out to the field, that pressure would drop.  No rules were broken.  The League didn't have any provision requiring or even suggesting that the officials check ball pressure prior to or during a game.  Is that New England's fault?  I have no recollection of anyone proving that any ball-boy or anyone else on the Patriot's staff did anything with the ball pressure.  Did any confess?  If so, I missed that headline.

Finally, I have 5 friends who played Quarterback at various levels, up to and including top University teams.  All of them say that they could not tell pressure in a ball: a ball they liked in cold weather sometimes turned out to have higher air pressure than another that they did not like.

As a side note, some point out that Brady "destroyed" his phone when he got a new one.  Well, he had given the league the emails that he thought had anything to do with the matter before, and he was fully aware of how easy it is to get data off any electronic device even when you think you have erased it, so his decision to completely destroy his phone after he had gotten a new one seem like good common sense to me...and I am not a star subject to a desire of many to know the most insignificant details of my life.  He did a smart thing.

So...this action by the National Football League is not about Justice, ...or Punishment...as much as it is about their desire to save face and direct attention away from their failure to supervise game balls properly to someone or something else...and it was the New England Patriots turn to be in the barrel.

Thursday, August 20, 2015

Iranian Nuclear "Deal": Part III

If you wrote this as a fictional novel, not one publisher would touch it; they would claim it is too unbelievable for any reader to think that any leaders of any major country could possible be so blatantly naive...or inept.

Apparently News Reports that one of the major "side" agreements to the overall "agreement" provides for the Iranians to self-inspect their military sites.  Perhaps a review of past history of Iranian adherence to promises made might be in order?  Feels a little bit like the Police allowing a known Drug Distributor checking his own premises and/or warehouse and assuring them that there are no drugs being moved in or out of there...it leaves a shock of disbelief at the core of your being.

Yet...this is precisely what Mr. Kerry and Mr. Obama are approving as sufficient assurance that Iran will not develop a nuclear device.  What they actually are trying to get approved constitutes an express lane for Iran to develop the "bomb."

There are only three possible explanations for this:
1.  As previously suggested, everyone on our side of the table is naive and inept;
2. America's representative at the table are anxious to have Iran eliminate all opposition to controlling the Middle East; or
3. Mr. Kerry and Mr. Obama are so blinded by their narcissistic need for a legacy that it is the creation of any agreement that is important, not the content of that agreement.

If the reports of this side agreement's contents is confirmed, then it strikes me that the act of recommending approval of our government to the "deal" would constitute treason.

I further suggest that if confirmation is obtained, the same charge would be in order against any Representative or Senator who votes to approve the "agreement."

Each of my Senators and Representative have been put on notice by me in writing that I will hold them directly accountable for the results if they vote for the United States to accept this agreement.  And I suspect a lot of folks around the country will be watching and noting their own Senators' and Representatives' vote on this matter.

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Only the government wins...

Our President, and the current leading contender for the Progressive Liberal Democrat Party nomination for President in a year or so, Mrs. Clinton, have come out in favor of increasing the minimum wage for all workers in the United States.  They claim that this would at least partially solve the pressure of the cost of living for people who are apparently "stuck" in entry level positions historically known for their minimum wage levels.

They suggest two things: 1.  That the plight of these workers is the fault of the opposition; and 2, that this increase will benefit the poor and the middle class.  Both assertions are demonstrably wrong.

As to the first assertion, for the last 22 years, Progressive Liberal Democrats have held the Office of the Presidency for almost 64% of the time (14 years).  During most of that time, they controlled the Congress and had the opportunity during that period to both discuss and create an action plan to solve the now declared plight of the Middle Class.  As our current President stated with such smug, quiet impudence when he first took office and was rejecting the suggestions of the opposition regarding the health care plan, "We won."  Yet, the Middle Class has not progressed during his time in office either.  Looking, as an example, at the plight of the Black community we see that the unemployment rate for them is higher than when Mr. Obama took office.  Previously, Mrs. Clinton's husband held the office of the Presidency yet the middle class did not increase or gain economically.  The same is true for Mr. Carter's sojourn in the Oval Office.  Yet, with all that opportunity, Mrs. Clinton wants the nation to believe that the fault lies with the opposition!  That is patently absurd.

The second assertion is similarly flawed.  And the reason is so obvious that one is tempted to call the assertion a purposeful deceit.  Consider the following:

When the minimum wage is forced higher by government action, all other pay levels must be adjusted to keep the step system defensible to all employees.  When the cost of labor goes up, prices rise.  This increase in the price of goods and services, eliminates any apparent gain in wages.  It is a wash.

Well, that is not actually true...both the business sector and the Middle (and all other working) Classes lose.  Why?  Because the Federal Government Income Tax is a graduated tax...as you earn more money, you pay a higher percent of your income to the Federal Government.  So  everyone but the Government loses when wages go up.  But the Federal Government wins big time!  And they have the nerve to tell you, "Hi, I'm from the Federal Government.  I'm here to help you!"

Hypocrites all...and in this case, especially Mrs. Clinton.


Sunday, August 9, 2015

"Trump" is an idea, an attitude, but not a President

I must admit that our Federal Government has infuriated me for a minimum of six Presidential terms of office.  We have descended morally, financially and civilly.  I have watched misbehavior in the White House (always, I am sure, present to some degree at different times) become endorsed as acceptable and understandable and not cause for censure by the multitudes.  Our Federal Representative and employees have shown disregard for responsibly balancing the federal budget and for actually working an honest work day properly for some pretty good wages.  And now we see all our Elected officials lying with unprecedented frequency with not one hint of embarrassment.

But when anyone shouts out in anger and disappoint, stating these facts out loud, the media and multitudes shout them down as being "disrespectful."  Seriously?  Such behavior warrants respect?  In what Universe?

And into this remarkable state of affairs comes one Donald Trump.  He doesn't work for people; people work for him.  That has been true for most of his life and he has made money...a lot of money. He has gotten quite used to his word being law and, to quote a recent, once successful actor, "winning."

He has, like many of us, become unhappy with our government.  And he states his anger with no filter.  What is most wonderful to many of us is that the media actually reports these comments.  And these are comments we have made for years to each other and not one reporter, not one elected official has ever done more than nod in what was supposed to be seen as sympathy, ... and then ignore us and our anger.  To see the consternation on the part of media at this is cathartic...it makes me feel wonderful at not being able to shut down his comments.

So...why am I uneasy?

Because anger, when unchecked, becomes the ignition for mob attitude and behavior;  such anger becomes the rationale and excuse for excesses that go beyond those that are the immediate source of that anger.  It can be dangerous...like watching a back-fire you thought would stop the big blaze suddenly turn into an even bigger danger.  Be careful what you wish for...

Trump's comments are expressions of frustration...but they are not solutions.  When asked for specifics, he replies with a torrent of comments which all come down to two things: "I'll build a wall" and "Trust Me."  The first is only a first step to protect our borders and is by no means comprehensive.  "Trust Me"????

We are completing 6 1/2 years of an administration that was elected on the basis of "Hope" and "Change."  Everyone I have spoken to interpreted those words as meaning what each individual saw as hope and as change.  Turned out that no one ever actually demanded that our "President" tell us how he defined those terms.  That has not turned out very well.

Now I watch a firebrand and hear him saying "trust me."  I don't think so, Skippy!  Been down that road before and I won't do it again.

But that ignition is still operating and I watch, hear, and read the tremendous emotion of his followers, acolytes and minions declaring that "the whole thing needs to be turned down."  They are the reverse image of the followers of our current "President"; facts mean nothing, questions are not allowed, discussion is useless, and behavior is crude and uncivil.  Any challenge is perceived as personal, not related to policy of accumulation of fact.

We have a President right now that sees his power as exponential, by-passing Congress on everything, including items that are clearly withing the purview of Congress; who is so thin-skinned that whenever anything...anything...he says is challenged in any way, you can see the rise in both blood pressure and  pulse rate.  Mr. Trump has the same reaction to any challenge, only his verbal skills are far more crude and direct; Mr. Obama will internalize that and then seek retribution in some way that does not leave any evidence.

I don't want a hot head in the oval office.  I don't want a liar in the oval office.  I am looking for a President that is honest and has a sense of NOT being the smartest person in the world; one who will always welcome questions and disagreement...both of which expand understanding and lead to better decisions.

Does anyone who has watched the ideas and attitude that is "Trump" feel that such attributes apply?

Saturday, August 1, 2015

Iranian Nuclear "Agreement": continued

Apparently the Administration is presenting the Iranian Nuclear "Agreement" to Congress in a manner and form that looks more and more like the AHCA (Obamacare) on steroids.  Anyone who remembers that debacle recalls Ms. Pelosi declaring, "We have to pass it to find out what's in it."  Sure!  Did that ever work out.  As I recall, there were...and remain...so many errors in that bill that it continues to reward our citizens with pain and disappointment.  Not only were there technical errors that required a subservient Supreme Court of the United States to abandon legal analysis and assume the role of proof reader for Congress to bail them out, but the failure to thoroughly think through how the new bill would affect everyone left many with higher costs and higher deductible after being "promised" that this would not happen.

But...back to the Iranian "Agreement"...notice that we now know that two diametrically opposed conditions have been established; 1) We have a written agreement that when carefully read and analyzed fails to provide for inspection of Iranian Military locations under any conditions; and/or 2) We have been told of two "secret" side agreements, not subject to examination by Congress or known to U.S.citizens that are alleged to proved some sort of examination of Iranian Military sites under written conditions and terms that will NOT be made available to Congress, although promises have been made that oral assertions as to the contents will be made known to our "Representatives" (as if they really do that..."represent" us) in classified sessions.

So...the real and proper choices for Congress would be the two following scenarios:  First, judge the Agreement ONLY on the written portion presented and made public, fully available to all to read and interpret; and, Second, judge the Agreement on assertions of "Trust Us" made by the Administration without their even knowing (according to their sworn testimony before Congress) the written details, but relying on assertions by the AEIA...the equivalent of Ms. Pelosi's assertion, "We have to pass it before we can know what is in it"...except that in this case we will NEVER know what is in the secret side deals.

I don't know what others think, but I have already contacted my Congressional Representative in both he House and the Senate informing them that I still have not forgotten their passing the Healthcare bill without reading it...an obligation on their part that they failed to perform...and that any vote by them to approve the Agreement with Iran would constitute a far worse abdication of their duty to protect the country.  The written "Agreement" is inadequate; the alleged side "secret" agreements must be considered inadequate until and unless they can be examined in their written executed forms for specifics and analysis.  Minus such detail, there is no way any individual would bind him or herself to such obligations...why would any official do the same to an entire country?

This entire matter only serves to reveal the incompetency and amateurishness of our Administration...and perhaps also their desparation.

Sunday, July 26, 2015

Iranian Nuclear Agreement: Accidental or Purposeful Fraud Untruthfully Presented?

Diplomats lie. They don't lie legally and could never be prosecuted for "lying under oath" or any related concept; they lie by implication and invited assumptions on the part of the listener (or reader).  They, and their Masters, know and depend on others who wish a particular outcome to see and hear what they wish to be true as existing in any agreement or pronouncement.  It has been going on for centuries at least.

That does NOT make it right!

It does NOT make it right when the people doing it, are doing it to citizens of countries to which the perpetrators have sworn an oath to protect and defend.

Compounding the danger to all normal citizens of any country is that the Masters that direct Diplomats are usually Politicians.  Mark Twain once said, "It could probably be shown by facts and figures that there is no distinctly American criminal class except Congress."  As I recall, both our current "President" and our Secretary of State at the negotiating table are past members of Congress, although it seems that the category could be applied to a greater and greater percentage of all people who are employed by our Government in general, whether in Congress or in any other branch of the Federal Government.  And it seems even more and more applicable as we remember just how many criminals are never caught or convicted, much less accused.

There have been articles in great number is various publications that have pointed out the lies that have been perpetrated in claiming what the proposed agreement does and does not do.  It is clear that one of the things that is is most unlikely to do is prevent Iran from developing the capability to make and deploy a nuclear weapon.  As to the details withing the agreement, those supporting it are raising as many verbal statements and promises that allegedly clarify actual clauses in the agreement that would, if true and enforceable, improve any interpretation of the actual writing.  But interpretation is exactly what those who wish to avoid conduct the agreement seems to mandate use to "skate" without consequences.

There are lies in the goals to be achieved as parties prepare to negotiate.  Remember the one about preventing Iran from becoming a Nuclear Power?  That one seems now not to be remembered, although at the time it was promised as an absolute.

And current articles in publication and by people on multiple ideological tracks point out the lies and issuance of invitations to make positive assumptions even as a careful examination of the sentence and phrase used shows no such enforceable promise.

While my angst will no doubt force a revisit to this subject, let me make this last point today:  Kerry, in sworn testimony before the Senate earlier this week pointed out that our "allies" were close to abandoning the current sanctions that he claimed were so effective in bringing Iran to the negotiating table and also that no military action was possible that would have stopped Iran's progress toward Nuclear capability.  Yet, when pressed on just what responses would be available should Iran violate or fail to abide by the letter and intent of the agreement, he claimed that sanctions would "snap" back.

The term "snap" implies an immediacy that clearly does not exist.  And he already claimed that there was no military option.  So...we have our own Government signing an agreement that provides Iran with exactly what our Government promised us...the American People...that it would not allow.  Further, that our Government believes that in addition to being powerless to keep its promise to us (no real surprise there!) it is inferring an Iranian "trust me" promise in the face of a track record of Iranian perfidy.

Except when I am the subject, I can appreciate a really good con job even as I strive to punish it.  But this does not qualify as "really good" and smacks of coarse, in-artful and even disrespectful treatment of the American Public.

Sunday, July 5, 2015

America has left me behind...and I miss her!

I am glad that I am in my twilight years and won't have to suffer the emotional pain for long.  It hurts me and I feel sad when events force me to think about what has happened to and in the America that I have loved my whole life.

My parents were immigrants.  My father came to this country poor, but with a work ethic and a friend who guaranteed the government that there would be a job and a place for him to stay...a requirement for legal immigration in those days.  That may still be so...I don't know.  But...my Dad just wanted a chance to see what hard work on his part might accomplish.  No guarantees, no promises...just a chance.  He didn't speak English, so he took whatever job was available.  He learned the language...not perfectly, but well enough, and to read and write it...he wanted to; he saw America as the embodiment of what he wanted to become.  He wanted the freedom to put himself on the line and see if he could succeed.

It took him some time to achieve what he saw as success.  He and, later, my mother worked long hours.  First it was for others then for themselves.  They went through the Great Depression and were intent on being prepared should another ever occur. They saved.  The borrowed only to purchase a house...and that with misgivings.  We never spent money we did not have...that was anathema to them.They taught me to read and to do simple math early in life and explained that those skills would enable me to educate myself and not be dependent on others.  And there was no such thing as an excuse for not taking advantage of schooling:  I was required to have perfect attention, to do all homework (and show it to my parents daily), and to achieve good grades as they explained that education was the key to getting a chance to succeed in life.

My father never took a Social Security payment...ever...despite living to almost 70.  He had saved and he saw taking anything from the government as a hand-out.  He had left his native land at a time when his mother had no money and the family had significant debts.  Over the years, with increasing means he paid every one of those debts off in full, with interest (even if interest was not demanded).

He gave to those who came on hard times through no fault of their own...but refused even the time of day to those who did not try; those who were slackers, liars, cheaters and what in those days were called naer-do-wells were to be looked upon as unworthy and disreputable and not to ever even be around.

I grew up in an America where to be respected, your word had to be good...it was your bond.  And work was honored, and doing your utmost was the standard.  Dependence on the good will of others was seen as embarrassing and a failure and you would all you could to get out of that situation, pay back what had been given and again regain your place as a contributing member of the community, not a taker.

Civil discourse was the norm.  People could argue on many things: religion, politics, raising children and more.  But those arguments were conducted with personal respect of each other...for the right of every person to his or her opinion.  And we used good language: whole sentences, with decent construction.  In those days, "Sailor's" language was not used in mixed company and only occasionally even when men got together.  And even then there was a certain embarrassment after some of the utterances...it just wasn't polite and generally was seen as a sign of an inadequate vocabulary.  How much more effective, we felt, to use a word of criticism that required the other person to run to a dictionary, rather than revert to clearly inapplicable scatological utterances.

Classmates of mine in High School got jobs upon graduation:  good jobs that paid well.  Some of them used the pay from those jobs save up enough to later get a College Education to pursue and dream to which they were dedicated.  And some took an occasional course to extend their knowledge but were content to live in the practical world of having a loving family and supporting it and themselves.  Those of us who went to college, went with a dream.  We wanted to achieve something in particular.  Of course in the midst of the striving, the dream often changed a bit...but there was never the thought of spending on a College Education because of any right or entitlement: it was a gift of opportunity and not a way of avoiding the real world or military service.  That would have been dishonorable and a waste of our money...or, in some cases, our parents' money...in in even more cases, both our and our parents' money.

That America no longer exists.  I liked my country.  I respected my country.  I respected the morals and the ten commandments of that country.  And I respected the immigrants who come to this country according to its laws and with the intent to become Americans...not to bring their previous country's practices and attitudes and languages and make America more like them.  They wanted to become Americans.  And, except for the grandmothers and grandfathers...they did just that.

Now, everyone seems to believe that consequences of one's actions are a thing of the past.  That no one should be either expected or required to earn a living, but should be given any job they want and not held to standards.  People "working" for the government don't do their jobs, lie about it and are never held accountable.  Our government spends money it doesn't have and claims that it doesn't matter.  Our politicians lie to us with increasing frequency and are not only not embarrassed by it...they don't even admit it.  And the Press which for decades was a watchdog over all facets of government activity, protecting the public by shining the light of truth, now joins with those in power to protect them from any revelation to the public.  Meanwhile the "public" apparently has come to believe that there is such a thing as a "Free" lunch...or free anything.  Make that everything.

I miss the America that called out to my parents.  I miss the America that I grew up in and both enjoyed and revered for much of my life.  I don't recognize the country I now live in...it is still called America, but it no longer has the soul of the country into which I was born and raised.  And it makes me feel sad.