Tuesday, September 27, 2016

Prediction: The Actual Debates Will NOT Change Anything

Why do I say that?

Several reasons:

  • When you think about it, the debate format is silly.  We don't elect a President to debate with his opponents.  We hire him to run the country - that's why it's called an Executive Position.
  • Trump had a low bar - he just had to avoid going into a screaming meltdown to surpass expectations.
  • HRC had a tougher climb out of her pit - she had to find a way to answer critics of her actions (Benghazi, emails, Clinton Foundation money fiddles, etc.).  She did NOT do that, she just danced around the questions, spewing redirection like a pro (no offense, she is a pro with the media and sound bites).
  • At worst, Trump came across as slightly aggressive, not budging when he wanted to make his point.  He was scrupulously polite, referring to HRC as "Secretary".
  • HRC looked bad - referred to Trump as "Donald".  She overcame her low energy problem (amazing what drugs will do).
  • The worst part is that HRC comes across as smug.  She reminds people of the kid in school who always had the right answer (not especially smart, just studious), and who lorded it over the rest of the class.  She spoke EXTRA SLOW to Trump, something that had the effect of making her seeming to be talking down to him (probably was).
In the beginning, she worked in a reference to her granddaughter's 2nd birthday.  This was probably planned to "humanize" her.  She got a jibe in at the rich, and how they had to pay the government more money.

Trump came out strong, pointing out specifics in the Mexican economy, and using his personal experience with international business.  He appeared gracious, conceding that he and HRC shared some concerns about child care.  He used the specific example of Carrier and how it is moving jobs south to Mexico.

HRC:  That phrase "trumped-up, trickle-down" is clumsy.  She must think that it's a slogan that will get traction - I think she's wrong.

Trump:  Good point about the difference in countries that have sales taxes, vs. those with VATs.  He clearly understands the financial aspects of trade.  BTW, he calls her Secretary Clinton, then checks "is that OK?".  Comes across as not just polite, but gracious.

He is making some good points, but gets interrupted by Holt, who asks, How do you bring jobs back?  Good answer by Trump, who says, "Well, the first thing you do is, don't let the jobs leave."

He clearly favors a tax on imports, which is not a bad idea.  It's different from a tariff, which penalizes imports.  This is making the importers pay the tax that would have gone to a local company, similar to what they do in those other countries.

HRC mistates Trump's words without penalty.

Fortunately, Trump doesn't seem to accept the Marquis de Queensbury's type of debate protocol, and interrupts HRC when he feels she has misrepresented his words/statements.

He does hammer her "Is it Obama's fault?" - trying to get her to go on record as opposing the President.  She evades the trap, but Trump's point is made.

That was just the first 20 minutes or so.

The consensus?
  • Media/analysts - HRC's a CLEAR winner!!!!
  • Everyone else - Trump, 60 - 40


Monday, September 26, 2016

Campaign Fatigue

There has been a lot of comment about how tired Hillary looks - and, it's true, she does (who, recovering from a major illness, does NOT need a nap?),

I'm of the opinion that her tiredness is similar to what we are all feeling - just sick and tired of the whole thing.

Sunday, September 25, 2016

Out of Town, Very Little Service

I've spent a substantial amount of time on the road the last 3 days, attending my husband's 50th class reunion.  Almost no time to even think (although I did get some good pictures).  With any luck, we'll stop early enough that I can get online for a while.

Saturday, September 17, 2016

Some Ideas About the Middle East

All of the previous ways various US administrations have tried to "fix" the Middle East have had limited - VERY limited - success.


One big reason is that the Middle East is religiously and culturally NOT the Western Culture.  Plans to reduce violence and increase cooperation that are based on that model will not work.  That includes the massively-comprehensive, Westphalian-style, international conference that, in the past, had worked for Europe (that it has been considerably less successful in this century hasn't seemed to dawn on the Feds, particularly the State Dept.).

In my life, I've known many people with Mideastern roots.  Part of this was the lucky accident of having been born in that early 50's time period that was filled with what were called "DP's" - short for Displaced People.  That was a term intended to be an insulting way to refer to the flood of refugees that changed the political, social, religious, and cultural dynamics in many Cleveland neighborhoods.

By an accident of naming, my maiden last name, Ruble, was unusual enough - and sufficiently "foreign" sounding - to lump me in with that group.  As a result, once these former Europeans heard my name, their faces would light up, and they would rush over to talk to someone who they believed to be another outsider.  I became familiar with a variety of non-American family structures and cultures.

Ironically, the Rubles entered the United States just as the country was becoming one - in the 1770's.  The first Ruble was imported by the British to fight the colonials.  Which he did, before deserting the Tory side to join the colonials.

Thus, one of my early ancestors had a Yakov Smirnoff moment - What a Country! - and became an American, by choice and action.

I was 10 when we bought a house where, 2 doors down, as we Clevelanders say, there live Mrs. Kellogg, and her upstairs tenants, the Nadars.  The Nadars were Egyptians, and Muslim.  Mrs. Nadar was a sweet woman with an old-fashioned upbringing, who - after months of coaxing - would stand on the upstairs steps, and talk with the neighbors.  She kept an eye peeled for any traffic, street or pedestrian, and scoot upstairs if any many approached.  I did think it odd, but Mrs. Kellogg explained that it was the way she'd been brought up, and she just didn't feel comfortable around men who she wasn't related to.

It was widely accepted that the seclusion of Mrs. Nadar wasn't forced on her, and that her husband, far from being a brute, was besotted with her, spending money on furs, clothing, and jewelry lavishly.
It was my first inkling that understanding Mideast culture would not be easy.

If you want to "get" the Mideast, you have to accept that family means something totally different to them.  For typical Westerners, your family is your parents, sisters, and brothers.  Later in life, you add in your spouse and children.  That's the relatively small group that influences your life choices - where you work, where you live, how (and if) you worship, who you associate with, how you spend your money.  You might solicit their input, but, in modern America, they seldom have a veto, unless their own money is on the line.  Relatively few people depend on their family to provide them with a business, or the money to start one.  Still fewer give their families veto power over their choice of a life partner.

That is NOT the experience in households in the Mideast.  In those countries, the family provides you with a living, in the family business, if they have one.  If a person is single, their income, minus a small amount for personal spending, belongs to their family.  If a young person wants to start a business, they go to relatives (close or distant) to secure the funding.  A bank would be a LAST choice, even in America.  In turn, when they make some money, they OWE it to their family to give loans to other family members.

Their choice of spouse is generally limited to what their family will accept.  A more progressive, modern family might provide several choices to the prospective bride or groom.  Often, in America, the first spouse is chosen by the family.  That is so they can either use that marriage to provide residency (and eventual citizenship) to someone they owe a favor to, or collect money for that green card marriage.  The American partner in that marriage is typically told they can choose their next spouse, after the green card comes through.

The family relationship is a little like the Mafia - once a part of that group, you can never truly leave.  There are benefits, financial and relational.  But, again like the Mafia, once you accept those benefits, they OWN you.  You are expected to acquiesce to the demands of the Family forever.

As will your children.  And their children.

These Iron Bonds of Family are everywhere in the Mideast.  Sometimes, a person who becomes acquainted with someone of that culture feels a part of the family.  That comes from the tradition of welcoming the stranger with food and drink, and a place to stay.  Sometimes, you begin to feel as though you have joined the family.

Don't believe it.  You will NEVER be one of them.  Family will ALWAYS come first.

After a time in this country, many immigrants begin to rebel against the family constraints.  The American experience is that, in a few generations, the original ties become weakened, through marriage with other nationality groups, education, and assimilation.  And, for other groups, that is true.

NOT Mideasterners.  There is are reasons why they send to the Old Country for their spouses, aside from the lucrative green card hustle.  By returning to their intertwined roots, they further enmesh succeeding generations into that Mideast culture.  At no time are the American descendants further than 1 generation from their Native Culture, thanks to at least 1 immigrant parent.

I haven't addressed the complicated kinship structure, where the spouses are related, at least distantly, to their partners.  This is part of the family structure that makes it so painful to break with the family.  If they do, they lose ALL of their extended family.  For someone brought up to distrust those outside the family, this is an extremely painful choice.  Leaving puts them adrift.  This explains why so many women who fear becoming a victim of an honor killing return.  They haven't the emotional resources to go it alone, without the family.


Wednesday, September 14, 2016

Why Hillary's Illness is Such a Big Deal

I've had pneumonia in the past, when I was younger.  It knocked me out for at least a week or two of bed rest, and another few weeks of limited energy.

After 4 bouts of it, I learned (I can be a slow learner).

Get the pneumonia shot.  It may not stop ALL respiratory illnesses, but not getting pneumonia matters.

Why is this important?

Hillary either didn't get the shot (unlikely in a person who both sees a medical doctor on a regular basis, and who is exposed to MANY people's germs on a regular basis), or this is not standard bacterial/viral pneumonia.

The term pneumonia can either refer to the respiratory infection that can accompany a bad cold; such an infection is a known threat, and can be handled.

That term also refers to the respiratory condition that can accompany many chronic illnesses - MS, Parkinson's, Rheumatoid Arthritis, AIDS - all are illnesses that, as they progress, can cause those afflicted to become more sedentary - a major factor in the development of pneumonia.  The pneumonia is a side-effect of the greater, more debilitating illness.

It's sometimes said that deceased people often don't actually die of those illnesses they have struggled with for so long - it's pneumonia that is the proximate cause of death.

That's the problem with the Clinton team blithely tossing off the pneumonia excuse for HRC's collapse.  It is possible that she was just overcome by a sudden infection.

But, not likely.  She's been suffering from that cough for some time.  She's been working on a reduced schedule for months, making few public appearances (other than fundraisers with carefully selected audiences), and only appearing on camera for brief periods.  That isn't a cold-type cough - nasty, but generally controlled with a good decongestant.  That's a serious cough.  That's a cough that is indicative of a MUCH more serious medical problem.

It's time for the campaign to release the FULL medical records.  If the voters want to elect a woman who - I suspect - is QUITE ill, so be it.  But, let their choice be based on the full record.


Tuesday, September 13, 2016

Home, Watching TMZ

Their "latest" news is FAR behind the blogs - it would seem that mainstream media is finally catching up with the "amateurs".

TMZ is, however, focusing on the slanting of the news clip by selective editing on the part of CBS.

Nice to see Trash TV is on top of these things.

Monday, September 12, 2016

Just Like Traveling Back in Time...

...to the former Soviet Union.

Day after day, we are fed lies, confusion, half-truths, and complete nonsense by:

  • The government
  • The media
  • The reigning elite that run this country - or, would like to
That's what Benghazi was, you know.  A blatant attempt to bypass inconvenient truth with blustering, implying that refusal to believe poorly-sourced and omnipresent lies was akin to believing in a conspiracy (they aren't smart enough to craft a true conspiracy), and a heavy reliance on "everyone KNOWS this".

Inconveniently, not a few in this country escaped statist dumbing-down, and can use their brains logically.  When they did, they - even MORE inconveniently - published their thinking on the topic online, where the truth would begin filtering out.

Only a relative few blogged - at least the ones that wrote something worth reading.

But, Facebook and Twitter served an unexpected and essential purpose - they helped to get the word out to the average citizen.  I'm sure their creators hadn't planned on their platforms being used to spread the truth.  There is evidence that they actively worked to keep that from happening.

But, at least in this case, the Truth would OUT!

It's happened before.  In the former Soviet Union, many people (who should be named to honor rolls in libraries, newsrooms, and government buildings), risked imprisonment, torture, and exile for the chance to reach just a few other human beings with their testimonies.  They laboriously copied, via typewriter, the samizdat.  Those are re-typed articles, books, and letters from dissidents.  The effort and time such an endeavor took is staggering to imagine.

But, they did it.  To keep from being silenced.  The official news organ of the USSR was Pravda (the name means Truth).  When people bought Pravda, a favorite activity was to examine the articles, to determine just where the paper was lying, and by how much.

What will Americans do to spread the truth?  How much will they inconvenience themselves?

Will they risk their jobs?  As a teacher, I have limits on the things I can say or write, whether in school or in my private life (people are always amazed at how much schools hem in their employees' free speech rights).

Even private employers hesitate to keep on a worker whose remarks might offend a customer, co-worker, or supplier.  Often, people don't realize the limitations on their speech, until after they have transgressed.  Most people work "at-will", meaning that an employee can fire them for any reason, or no reason.  The only difference is, with "no cause" for firing, an employee has recourse to obtain unemployment benefits immediately.  With a cause, it depends, and may involve weeks before a determination can be made that an employee is eligible.

Free speech costs, no matter what the country/state/employer.  If it doesn't have a cost - if your speech is met with near-universal applause, it's not the sort of speech that was intended to be protected by the 1st amendment.

Who can inhibit/prohibit your speech?  A surprising number of people/organizations, including:
  • Private employers
  • Other citizens, whose protests may be loud enough to drown you out
  • Churches - as voluntary associations, they have the right to expel you from the congregation, excommunicate you, and, if a pastor, fire you
  • Home-owner Associations (HOAs) - they can prevent you from putting up a sign or a flag, meeting in community rooms to talk, having gatherings over a certain size, or otherwise violating the group's norms
  • and, Government entities - local, state, or national, providing that they can identify a protected minority who is being "discriminated against" by your speech.  "Hate speech" is always the first line of attack with this group - although they seldom manage to define such speech in sufficiently clear terms to pass judicial tests.  However, as their aim is NOT to permanently shut you up, but to keep your speech from being effective (delivered in time to influence elections/campaigns), it is sufficient to go through the motions, which wastes your time and money.
Reading this back, I'm more than a little depressed.  I hadn't realized the extent to which Americans had been hemmed in by the anti-Free Speech crowd's actions.  More later, maybe.  I'm both sickened, and need to get ready for work.


Friday, September 02, 2016

Is Obama Telling the Truth About the Iran Deal?

The Wall Street Journal says "No."

The evidence backs them up.  His actions include lying to the public and but NOT to Congress, which was told the truth in a secret.

Keep that in mind when you vote for Congressmen this year - ask him/her - did you receive notification that the President was lying to the public?


Wednesday, August 31, 2016

Am I Misunderstanding the Situation?

There is a post explaining that the IRS can't (or, at least, has not YET) notified the TAXPAYERS with legal Social Security numbers that their identity has been stolen, primarily by illegal aliens (I refuse to dignify their actions with the term immigrant).

They claim that they have given these CRIMINALS a way to claim money from the IRS by issuing another, alternative number, i.e., the TIN:
Victims’ numbers are stolen by illegal immigrants who need to give employers a valid Social Security number in order to get a job. Employers are prohibited from probing too deeply into numbers, even when they suspect fraud.
But the IRS learns of the scam when the illegal immigrants file their taxes using a special Individual Taxpayer Identification Number (ITIN) the agency doles out chiefly to illegal immigrants as a way of making sure they’re paying taxes even if they’re not supposed to be in the U.S.
Between 2011 and 2015 the agency flagged nearly 1.1 million returns where someone appeared to have stolen a valid Social Security number, the inspector general said.
But, the illegal aliens, like most of the citizens of the USA, do NOT owe money to the IRS - if they file, they get a refund.  Or, worse, a TAX CREDIT that was intended to help US Citizens with relatively low incomes, but working, raise their families.

So, why do we have to HELP THEM GET MORE MONEY?  In addition to the monies that they already receive in the form of:

  • Free school
  • Free hospitalization
  • EBT cards
  • Housing subsidies
  • Obamacare
  • etc.
Yes, I do know that "technically" the illegal alien doesn't receive the money/equivalent (wink, wink), but their American-born children do.

Same thing - the HOUSEHOLD, which contains people who should be deported, get $$$$$$$$$.


Yes, He DOES Have the Right...

to sit during the National Anthem.  I'm referring to Colin Kaepernick, the 49er player who refuses to stand during the Anthem.

That's the logical outcome of the totally clear decision of the Supreme Court, in West Virginia State Board of Education v. Barnette, in 1943, that overturned the decision of the Board of Education that expelled two students for refusing to say the Pledge of Allegiance.  That decision, in the middle of WWII, was not popular.  It was, however, correct, as a defense of the 1st Amendment.

Later cases, involving studens' right NOT to participate, nor even stand, during the National Anthem, followed that decision.  It naturally follows that, if you can't force a minor to participate, you can't make an adult do so.

Kaepernick's refusal is upheld by law.

However, it doesn't address the issue of the public's right to disapprove of Kaepernick, nor to direct their ire at the team - i.e., refuse to buy tickets to his team's games.  That ability, and right, is also absolute.

They might call him an ungrateful jerk, impugn his motives (some are suggesting he has fallen under Muslim influences - I'm NOT saying that - I wait until a public announcement is made to take that possibility into account), or suggest that he should be grateful to this country for all that he has achieved.

Frankly, I don't care.

If someone wants to engage in a display that practically begs - Look at me!  Look at ME! - I don't have to watch.  I don't have to get my knickers in a twist, as my mother-in-law used to say.

For him, there is likely a price to be paid.  He will probably have a less stellar career, possibly a shorter one, and a loss of endorsements.

He is likely to gain in Progressive circles.  Likely, he will - briefly - become the latest darling of Leftist/Progressive attention.  Some celebrities will copy him.

So what?