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Saturday, April 22, 2017

Earth Day protest signs are clever eco-modern art nouveau

Brilliance shows it's light in many ways and so it does on Earth Day 2017.  Take a look at the wonderful protest signs appearing throughout the world to show support for science in an era when "alternative facts" appears to take precedence over meaningful research and analysis. Earth Day logos are, likewise, charming.

In Los Angeles alone, at least 12,000 people joined the March for Science, police said. Some demonstrators walked in lab coats while others shaded themselves under umbrellas and signs as temperatures neared 90 Fahrenheit (32 Celsius).

Al Gore created an international art form as well as an environmental movement to protect our planet.

There is no "Planet B" was a sign observed in several cities

Albert Einstein (1879-1955) the genius of the theory of relativity was a Jewish German born refugee.
He died in Princeton, NJ 

"Make Earth Great Again" in Australia

Demonstrators on Earth Day in front of Trump International Towers in New York City

"Keep your tiny hands off my science!"

"Architects for Science" in Massachusetts

"No one is above peer review"

Every day is Earth Day Image result for Earth day logo

Earth Day Logo

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Let's hear from those Trump coal miners!

In recent "made for White House photo albums" (like the annual Easter Monday egg roll or even the portrait taken with the Super Bowl Champions New England Patriots), the missing guests in the pictures are the much talked about, unemployed or sick, coal miners. Where are they?

"Unfortunately, most of the Trump administration’s moves so far seem like they’ll only be helping coal executives"

Chuck Nelson is a former coal miner from Sylvester, West Virginia

Finally! The Pulitzer Prize winning newspaper (2017) The Charleston Gazette-Mail in West Virginia, published real news about this group of hard working people who cast their votes with Donald Trump, because he would "Make Them Great Again".

Chuck Nelson: Government must keep promise to miners (Daily Mail) 

I’m proud to have worked as a coal miner for nearly 30 years, and to have been part of the workforce that kept America’s lights on. But mining has taken its toll on me.
Mining is dangerous work, and breathing coal dust underground for so long isn’t good for the body.
My mining-related medical history runs about a mile long: I’ve had treatments for black lung, for a bad back, a failed kidney — you name it.

I knew the health risks when I signed up for the job. Fourth-generation miners like me have seen family and friends struggle with health problems from a lifetime of working with coal.

Miners are nearly four times as likely to incur fatal and severe injuries on the job than the average U.S. worker. A recent report shows that rates of black lung among miners may be 10 times higher than government estimates.

But when I first went underground in 1975, I had a promise from the government and from the coal companies: help us power the country, and we’ll help you with bills. I was told I’d receive the best health care money could buy and a comfortable pension as thanks for this dangerous work when I retired.

I foresaw the upcoming doctor’s visits — even as I hoped they wouldn’t happen — and I knew how to keep myself safe on the job.

What I couldn’t foresee was that my employers and the government would someday turn their backs on me, my family and my fellow miners, just when we need them most.

I’m one of 23,000 retired miners at risk of losing our health care and pension coverage this year.

In 1946, the government and the United Mine Workers of America established a fund for miners supplied with money from the coal companies. Thousands of spouses, widows, children and other dependents also rely on this fund.

But without action from Congress by the end of this month, those of us who were promised care will be left out in the cold.

As coal has taken an economic downturn, the fund is in jeopardy. Coal companies who declared bankruptcy between 2012 and 2015 no longer have to pay into the fund, depleting most of its revenue source. Over three dozen companies declared bankruptcy during that time period, including three of the four top coal producers in the country.

There’s a lot of talk about what’s responsible for the decline of coal. But it’s clear that not only is the government ignoring miners, but that coal companies are breaking promises to take care of employees who were so instrumental to their success.

Even as they declared bankruptcy, these giant companies somehow found the money to take care of the folks at the top. Peabody is planning to pay out $12 million in bonuses for only six executives as part of its bankruptcy plan. That $12 million would go a long way toward paying off miner health care bills — but I somehow doubt that we’ll be seeing any of that cash here.

Donald Trump promised to help miners and bring back the coal industry. Many miners elected him to steer the government back to working for us, keeping our health care and pensions safe and creating jobs in our communities.

Unfortunately, most of the Trump administration’s moves so far seem like they’ll only be helping coal executives. Financial analysts say prospects for coal jobs are slim, even with Trump’s attempts to roll back regulations. Washington’s strategies to “help” the industry may end up padding executive pockets instead of creating jobs.

If Washington really wanted to help miners, ensuring we have health care seems like a no-brainer. But Congress may ignore the policies that would improve our lives. In December, the government nearly shut down over disagreements about funding our health care. As we inch closer to the end of this month, our future is in danger again.

If Congress doesn’t act by April 28, I — and thousands of other miners — will be left without health care or pensions. Miners like me knew the risks of our profession, but we were counting on being taken care of in exchange for all our years of work.

The coal industry and the government has pulled the rug out from under us.

Now, it’s Congress’s responsibility to step up and keep the promise that was made to me and thousands of others.

Chuck Nelson is a former coal miner from Sylvester, W.Va., a member of United Mine Workers, chairman of the Ohio Valley Environmental Coalition and vice president of Keepers of the Mountains Foundation.

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Friday, April 21, 2017

Donald Trump failure grade "0"= first 100 days

Here's my report card on @realdonaldtrump, the handle used to post his Tweets (when he's not impersonating somebody else). Although Mark Cuban gives Donald Trump a "C" for his first 100 days, I'd complete the three-hundred-and-sixty degree angle to create the proper grade of "0".

Here's a report card to support the zero score, deserved for the Donald Trump first 100 days in office (when he's not in Mar-a-lago, FL):
Image result for report card graphic
1.  January 21, 2017: Failed communications compromised Seal Team 6 raid in Yemen- Senior Chief Petty Officer Ryan killed and an expensive intelligence helicopter lost, all while newly inaugurated Donald Trump was busy "Tweeting".

2.  Hiring Sean Spicer to be the White House press secretary, the creator of "Spicey facts", a pseudonym for propaganda.

3.  Allowing Lt. General Mike Flynn to sit in on White House security briefings when he was being paid to work for Turkey, without registering as an agent of a foreign government, and who also had clandestine ties to Russia. (This information puts cold shivers up my spine!)

4.  Not shaking the hand of world leader Chancellor Angela Merkel, of Germany, during her visit to the White House. 

5.  April attack on Syria air base, but runways didn't sustain damage; in fact, the airport's runways were operational the next day! Donald Trump claimed his 59-missile strike on Assad’s Syrian air base missed their targets, saying he ‘didn’t want to hit the runways’. In fact, the Sharyat Air Base was back up-and-running with military jets using it as usual. HELLO? 59 Tomahawks?

6. Bombing Afghanistan with a Massive Ordnance Air Blast (MOAB pronounced /ˈmoʊ.æb/, commonly known as the Mother of All Bombs) without killing the ISIS leaders or anybody of importance, that we're aware of- like ISIS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, for example.

7.  Misrepresenting the location of the aircraft carrier USS Carl Vinson and the armada, in the Pacific, as being directed to prevent a nuclear attack against the US by North Korea. In fact, the naval operations were, instead, headed to Australia!

8.  Appointing "Ken and Barbie" his daughter Ivanka and son in law Jared Kushner, to be his advisers when neither one of them has any diplomatic or political experience. Frankly, their role is to keep Donald Trump's erratic behavior under control. Obviously, Donald Trump isn't allowed to be alone and unsupervised, because it's proven he's a danger to himself and others.

9.  Accusing President Barack Obama of wiretapping the Donald Trump Towers in New York City, without any proof whatsoever (a proven Trump lie).

10.  Putting the world at risk for nuclear war for the purpose of diverting attention away from the Trump-Russia clandestine connections and the infamously salacious "dossier".

Report card for Donald Trump and his failed administration during the first 100 days is ZERO.  In fact, the Trump failures are lower than an F grade and his leadership demonstrates incompetence.  

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Franco-American Hall of Fame inductees 2017

Franco-American Hall of Fame inductees 2017- very honored to be among the 2017 inductees!

Thursday, April 20, 2017

Military families and the USS Carl Vinson

Mockery, anger in South Korea over USS Carl Vinson 'bluffing'- " has caused some South Koreans to question leadership and strategy..." 

One newspaper headline called it Trump's "Carl Vinson lie," and speculated that the Russian and Chinese leaders must have had a good laugh at its absence.
The aircraft carrier USS Carl Vinson in the Sunda Strait, Indonesia, on April 12.
USS Carl Vinson- "Calling the USS Carl Vinson!"
How can Donald Trump loose track of an aircraft carrier?

It's very serious error in judgement when Donald Trump and his Press Secretary, "spokesy Spicey", appears to plays games with the USNaval operations. Moreover, the families of our military serving in these dangerous operations are receiving mixed messages.

Quite frankly, I'm horrified by this terrible headline about how the USS Carl Vinson was misrepresented as being on a trajectory to the Korean Penninsula to intercept in a potential crises while, in reality, the aircraft carrier was headed to Australia.  This miscommunication is irresponsible!

Donald Trump said he was sending "an armada" to Korean waters to potentially deal with threats from Pyongyang, North Korea.

But its no-show has caused some South Koreans to question his leadership and strategy regarding their unpredictable neighbor in the north.

And as the country prepares to vote for a new president on May 9, the claim could have far-reaching implications for the two countries' relations.

"What Mr. Trump said was very important for the national security of South Korea," Presidential candidate Hong Joon-pyo told the Wall Street Journal.

"If that was a lie, then during Trump's term, South Korea will not trust whatever Trump says,"​ said Hong, who is currently trailing in the polls.

South Korean media also seized on the conflicting reports on Trump's "armada" -- led by the aircraft carrier USS Carl Vinson.

Meant to present a robust defense against a potential nuclear test by Pyongyang, the report likened the bluff to North Korea's shows of force, where "fake missiles" are paraded through the streets of the North Korean capital.

"Like North Korea, which is often accused of displaying fake missiles during military parades, is the United States, too, now employing 'bluffing' as its North Korea policy?" it asked.

Sending the armada
In the face of antagonism from North Korea last week, Trump had said the USS Carl Vinson carrier group was being deployed to waters off the Korean Peninsula.

"We are sending an armada. Very powerful," Trump told Fox Business Channel's Maria Bartiromo. "We have submarines. Very powerful. Far more powerful than the aircraft carrier. That, I can tell you." (This is so inconsiderate of the military families who follow their loved ones and the misleading information is distressing to all involved in the naval operations.)

It turns out the carrier group was never actually steaming towards the peninsula, but rather heading to joint exercises with the Australian navy. US officials insist it's now on its way to the Sea of Japan, known in South Korea as the East Sea. 

On Thursday, the US Navy announced it was extending the Vinson's deployment by 30 days "to provide a persistent presence in the waters off the Korean Peninsula."

South Korea reacts

"How does the US expect South Koreans to trust the US when its leader bluffs and exaggerates? South Koreans' feelings were hurt considerably by remarks by the leader of a close ally."

Confusion reigns
Trump's initial assurance, in the form of a strong military response, telegraphed a robust defense of the US' stalwart allies, South Korea and Japan.

It also ratcheted tensions on the peninsula, prompting North Korea's deputy ambassador to the UN to warn that the US was risking nuclear war with its actions on the peninsula -- any hostile act is inherently a dangerous calculation when dealing with an unstable actor like North Korean leader Kim Jong Un.

A senior administration official later said a miscommunication between the Pentagon and the White House was to blame for the mixed reports.

White House press secretary Sean Spicer (aka "Spicey"), however, compounded the confusion, by doubling down on the President's assertions.

"We have an armada going toward the peninsula. That's a fact," he told a skeptical press corps during his daily briefing on Wednesday, arguing that, in the broadest sense, the president's statement was accurate because the ships would eventually get to the waters between North Korea and Japan.

Meanwhile, the US and South Korean military are currently engaged in joint training exercise at the Kunsan Air Base on the west coast of the Korean Peninsula. North Korea has long objected to the two countries' annual joint maneuvers.

"We've been tasked to do these yearly exercises because we always have to be ready to defend the republic of Korea and we've been doing it obviously for a while and we will keep doing it as need be," Lt. Col. Steven Raspet told CNN.

Political thin ice
The bluff -- if that is what it was -- comes at a precarious time for South Korean politics -- in less than a month, the country will go to the polls to elect a replacement for impeached President Park Geun-hye.

In addition to the comments about US-South Korea relations made by Hong, the presidential candidate from Park's ruling party, the confusion over the US' response to the potential nuclear tests has led to questions about how much the government and the military knew about the location of the Vinson and its group.

Questions about what this means in the context of the election, where Pyongyang's increased belligerence has been a key election talking point, abound.

"Both South Korea and the US are in close cooperation to deter North Korea's provocations and to pursue peace and stability of the Korean peninsula," a South Korean Defense Ministry official said.
"The defense ministry has been and is closely working together with the US military. However, it is inappropriate for the ministry to go into details about the (strength of the) US military operation."
Wounded pride
Some of Trump's comments (!) have also rankled in South Korea. 

In fact, Trump told the Wall Street Journal -- after getting a primer on regional geopolitics from Chinese President Xi Jinping -- that the Korean peninsula "actually used to be part of China."

South Korea's Foreign Affairs Ministry, in a daily briefing Thursday, announced the government's response to the comments.

"The Ministry is in the process of checking facts with both the US and China through various diplomatic channels," the ministry's spokesperson Cho June-hyuck said.

"The international community unequivocally acknowledges that Korea was never a part of China in its thousands of years of history that no one can deny the fact," he added.

CNN's Pamela Boykoff and journalist Seo Yoon-Jung contributed to this report.

In conclusion- it is obvious that Donald Trump can't get anything right! Impeach for incompetence- or invoke the 25th amendment.

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Tuesday, April 18, 2017

Racism and Donald Trump election

Racism motivated Trump voters more than authoritarianism
(Graphs referenced int his WP article are on the website link)

Image result for racism graphic design
Racism outweighed other surveyed factors among those analyzed in this article

People who voted for Donald Trump are flat out telling lies if they deny they voted with a racist point of view in the 2016 election.   I would speculate even further that the Russians were infused by racism when they so visibly interfered with the presidential election.  My family is half Ukranian - Russian, so I know what deep ethnic feelings are harbored against people of color.

Here is the report from The Monkey Cage analysis by Thomas Wood in The Washington Post:

During the 2016 presidential campaign, many observers wondered exactly what motivated voters most: Was it income? Authoritarianism? Racial attitudes?

Let the analyses begin. Last week, the widely respected 2016 American National Election Study was released, sending political scientists into a flurry of data modeling and chart making.

The ANES- American National Election Study- has been conducted since 1948, at first through in-person surveys, and now also online, with about 1,200 nationally representative respondents answering some questions for about 80 minutes. This incredibly rich, publicly funded data source allows us to put elections into historical perspective, examining how much each factor affected the vote in 2016 compared with other recent elections.

The first narrative was about how income affected vote choice. Trump was said to be unusually appealing to low-income voters, especially in the Midwest, compared with recent Republican presidential nominees. 

The ANES provides us data on income and presidential vote choice going back to 1948. To remove the effects of inflation and rising prosperity, I plot the percentage voting for the Republican presidential candidate relative to the overall sample, by where they rank in U.S. income, from the top to the bottom fifth. The dashed horizontal line shows the average likelihood of voting for the GOP presidential candidate that year; a point above that means an income cohort was more likely than the other groups to vote for the Republican. To most directly test the Donald Trump income hypothesis, I’ve restricted this analysis to white voters.

2016 was plainly an anomaly. While the wealthy are usually most likely to vote for the Republican, they didn’t this time; and while the poor are usually less likely to vote for the Republican, they were unusually supportive of Trump. And the degree to which the wealthy disdained the 2016 Republican candidate was without recent historical precedent.

Authoritarians or not?

Many commentators and social scientists wrote about how much authoritarianism influenced voters. Authoritarianism, as used by political scientists, isn’t the same as fascism; it’s a psychological disposition in which voters have an aversion to social change and threats to social order. Since respondents might not want to say they fear chaos or are drawn to strong leadership, this disposition is measured by asking voters about the right way to rear children.
The idea is that voters anxious about change and disorder will say it’s best to encourage children to follow rules. For instance, respondents are asked whether it’s better when children are considerate (likely more liberal) or well-behaved (likely more authoritarian), or whether they should be self-reliant (likely more liberal) or obedient (likely more authoritarian).

Trump’s voters appear a little less authoritarian than recent white Republican voters. In other words, open to change.

Did racism affect the voting?

Many observers debated how important Trump’s racial appeals were to his voters. During the campaign, Trump made overt racial comments, with seemingly little electoral penalty. Could the unusual 2016 race have further affected Americans’ racial attitudes?

To test this, I use what is called the “symbolic racism scale” to compare whites who voted for the Democratic presidential candidate with those who voted for the Republican. This scale measures racial attitudes among respondents who know that it’s socially unacceptable to say things perceived as racially prejudiced. Rather than asking overtly prejudiced questions — “do you believe blacks are lazy” — we ask whether racial inequalities today are a result of social bias or personal lack of effort and irresponsibility.
Since 1988, we’ve never seen such a clear correspondence between vote choice and racial perceptions. The biggest movement was among those who voted for the Democrat, who were far less likely to agree with attitudes coded as more racially biased.

In other words, race was a big motivator for those who chose Donald Trump over Hillary Clinton (you can see this evidenced in the selection of who is sitting in the administrative leadership positions).

So which of these had the biggest influence?
Finally, the statistical tool of regression can tease apart which had more influence on the 2016 vote: authoritarianism or symbolic racism, after controlling for education, race, ideology, and age. Moving from the 50th to the 75th percentile in the authoritarian scale made someone about 3 percent more likely to vote for Trump. The same jump on the SRS scale made someone 20 percent more likely to vote for Trump.

Racial attitudes made a bigger difference in electing Trump than authoritarianism.

Thomas Wood is an assistant professor of political science at Ohio State University. He studies public opinion and elections. Follow him on Twitter @thomasjwood.

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Monday, April 17, 2017

World War One letters to the editor in Kansas City Star

Curious as to why (?) there was no mention of President Eisenhower in the Kansas City Star report about the tribute to World War One. Giving the coverage the benefit of the doubt, perhaps the omission in this article was just an oversight?

The World War I Museum and Memorial in Kansas City hosted the national WWI centennial observance on morning of April 6, 2017, in Kansas City. Foreign dignitaries from 27 countries joined elected officials and regular Americans from 26 states under an azure sky with no rain to hear words and songs from another era.

Reported in the Kansas City Star
A century after the United States took the leap and joined the European Allies in the slaughterhouse that was World War I, the nation and the world gathered in Kansas City to contemplate the ordeal and the changes it wrought.

“We still live in the long shadow of World War I in every part of our lives,” said retired Col. Robert J. Dalessandro, chairman of the United States World War One Centennial Commission.
By Matt Campbell, Katy Bergen and Scott Canon

Read more here:
Image result for Kansas City Star logo
Great WWI tribute- letters

For almost 100 years, the community of Kansas City has played a leading role in honoring the brave men and women who sacrificed so much on behalf of freedom and liberty. As the artistic director of the recent National World War I centennial event, I wanted to acknowledge that commitment by featuring some of the many wonderful actors, designers and musicians from the local artistic community.

I would like offer my most sincere thanks to speakers John Rensenhouse, Carla Noack, Dale Morehouse and Victor Raider-Wexler; musicians Matt Rombaum, Samantha Gossard, Alla Wijnands and Bram Wijnands; the Kansas City Symphony; the Lyric Opera of Kansas City; and the students from the UMKC Theatre program.

Their extraordinary talent and generosity of spirit made the centennial event such a moving and memorable experience.

Edward Bilous, Artistic Director
World War I Centennial, New York

For the last few years, the National World War I Museum and Memorial has done yeoman’s service in reminding us of the importance of the Great War, both in its exhibits and its programming.

It again showed its worth last Thursday, as it hosted the national observance of the 100th anniversary of the American entry into the war in conjunction with the National WWI Centennial Commission. The blend of words and music from 1917 was an excellent tribute to those who served.

I like to think that my great-uncles — one Army, one Navy in the war — would have been pleased with the tribute.

The centennial continues, and one can expect the museum to carry on with the mission of explaining how the first world war changed the world and continues to affect us today.

Blair D. Tarr , Kansas World War I
Centennial Committee
Topeka KS

No mention of President Eisenhower in an otherwise impressive tribute to World War One- seems to be a significant oversight and a misunderstanding of American presidential history. (Just my opinion.)

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Sunday, April 16, 2017

Drain the Swamp to find Donald Trump tax returns?

"Show me the money!"....we'll learn who and what power brokers own Donald Trump. (Maybe they're hidden in the drained swamp?)
70% want to see your taxes — that’s bigly

As Tax Day Approaches, Protesters Demand to See Trump’s Returns- By JULIE HIRSCHFELD DAVIS and EMILY BAUMGAERTNER

PALM BEACH, Fla. — In a Tax Day groundswell of calls for President Trump to release his tax returns, hundreds of protesters marched to Mr. Trump’s Mar-a-Lago (tax payer subsidized!) getaway on Saturday in Florida, and thousands more gathered in Washington and other cities across the country.

On a waterfront patch facing Mr. Trump’s resort, where he is spending the weekend, demonstrators chanted “Pay! Your! Taxes!” and held signs calling him “Chicken in Chief” — the chicken being a symbol at the rallies of how Mr. Trump was “scared” to follow decades of presidential practice in releasing the returns.

“This is the closest we have come to making sure he sees us and hears us,” said Debbie Wehking, 66, a school principal from Miami. “He needs to show us his tax returns so that we can tell who’s influencing his decisions, who he owes money to, who he’s doing business with — really so we can figure out whether he needs to be impeached.”

Mr. Trump avoided the protest, taking a more circuitous route in his motorcade as he returned from a morning outing to his golf club in West Palm Beach. But while the president was spared the sight of chanting, sign-waving crowds, the demonstrations were heard around the country, in some cases snaking past properties bearing the Trump name.

In Washington, several thousand people who had gathered at the foot of the Capitol — many holding replicas of chickens with golden pompadours — marched through the streets, passing the Trump International Hotel near the White House.

“70% want to see your taxes — that’s bigly!” one sign read. It was a reference to the lopsided majorities that polls show want the president to release his returns, as presidents have done for the past 40 years, though they are not required to. (Republicans are irresponsible in not demanding to learn who is invested in the Trump oligarchy!)

Another said, “My taxes pay for your golf.”

The White House has said Mr. Trump cannot release his tax returns because he is under audit by the Internal Revenue Service

But the tax returns of presidents and vice presidents are automatically audited every year, a circumstance that has not prevented every other president since Richard M. Nixon from making public at least a portion of his tax records.

Government transparency groups and Democrats have said that Mr. Trump has a particular duty to make the returns public, given the potential conflicts presented by his vast business holdings and his push to rewrite the tax code. One government ethics group has sued the president, arguing that his hotel profits violate the Emoluments Clause of the Constitution, which prohibits federal officials from receiving “any present, emolument, office or title of any kind whatever from any king, prince or foreign state.”

“How can we determine his conflicts of interest or stop him from receiving payments from foreign governments if he won’t show us the names of the people and corporations that he is in active partnership with all over the world?” said Representative Jamie Raskin, Democrat of Maryland, who appeared at the Washington rally.

Kris Gillespie of New York, who traveled to Washington with his wife and two children to attend the march, said the family made the trip in part to help the couple’s 12-year-old son, James, cope with the stress he has felt since Mr. Trump’s election.

“We thought maybe if we bring him to something like this, it could help him process what he’s feeling,” said Mr. Gillespie, whose wife, Julie Underwood, traveled to Washington for the Women’s March the day after Mr. Trump was inaugurated. The tax rally had been billed as among the largest demonstrations since that march, though the crowds on Saturday were far smaller. Another protest, called the March for Science, will be held next weekend.

The tax protests unfolded a day after the White House announced that it would end the practice of releasing White House visitor logs, reversing a move toward greater transparency begun under President Barack Obama.

“Why does he want to hide his taxes, that’s what I want to know,” said Martha Marquez, 53, a graduate school professor who attended the Palm Beach march holding a sign that said “Show Me Yours and I’ll Show You Mine.” “He promised transparency; remember ‘Drain the swamp?’”

Ms. Wehking, the Miami principal, who traveled in January to Washington for the Women’s March, held a sign that read “We Care! Show Us Your Taxes!” It was a reference to remarks by Kellyanne Conway, counselor to the president, who said in January that Mr. Trump would not release his tax returns because the public was not concerned with them.

Jim Gnehm, 72, of Jupiter, Fla., said, “He works for us — he represents the country, and there’s just no excuse for him breaking the precedent that presidents have followed for the last 40 some-odd years.”

Intermingled among the protesters were a handful of ardent supporters of the president, who came with their own signs praising him and wishing him well.

“I think he’s doing a great job, and I couldn’t care less about his tax returns,” said Valeria Bianco, 59, a business consultant from Lauderdale-by-the-Sea, Fla., who had a sign wishing the first family a happy Easter. “People should stop worrying about what he’s hiding and focus on what he’s doing now to keep us safe, the brave and valiant message he sent to Assad, the jobs that he’s bringing back.”

In Berkeley, Calif., the police arrested at least 13 people at a pro-Trump “Free Speech” rally that devolved into violence as the president’s supporters and counterprotesters clashed. The rally had been organized by a group called the Liberty Revival Alliance, and drew support from the Oath Keepers, a far-right group of former and current military members, as well as biker groups.

Video of the protests, which circulated widely on social media, showed repeated skirmishes between Trump supporters and protesters.

Julie Hirschfeld Davis reported from Palm Beach, and Emily Baumgaertner from Washington. Eli Rosenberg contributed reporting from New York.

(Is it possible future archaeologists will find  the Donald Trump tax returns inside a buried time capsule, embedded in the drained Washington DC political swamp? - Just sayin'? In the universe of possibilities, anything's possible.)

Saturday, April 15, 2017

Lt. Gen. Mike Flynn- Cliff notes to "General Chaos"

The New Yorker article (Feb 27, 2017), "General Chaos", by Nicolas Schmidle, gives insight into how Lt. Gen. Mike Flynn became a Donald Trump cult follower ("You don't just sprinkle magic dust on someone and 'poof' they become a three star general"). Yet, what I took away from the well written chronological history about Flynn and his downfall, was just how infused the "magic dust general" became into the network that ultimately consumed his ego - ie, "intelligence". 
Image result for magic dust graphic
Lt General Flynn told Nicolas Schmidle that he didn't become a three star general because somebody sprinkled magic dust on his career. Well, in fact, Lt. Gen. Flynn studied his way to the top, but then became consumed by all he learned and lost his perspective on reality.  Nevertheless, Lt. Gen. Flynn had to have been directed to go to Moscow and sit with Vladimir Putin in public. The question left unanswered is this:
Who set Flynn up and directed him to do this? The answer is as clandestine as the espionage involved in the world's vast covert networks.

Certainly, Schmidle wrote ample evidence about how Flynn lived his life as a risk taker. In fact, by the end of the chronicle, it's obvious how Flynn's risk taking instincts blinded him to the consequences of making decisions based on gut instincts and disregard for good advice. (This might explain Flynn's bonding with Donald Trump, who demonstrated the same behaviors.)

Interesting, how Flynn reminded Schmidle about his status as a "three star general". Yet, this distinctive rank made me angry to realize how the three star Lt. Gen. Flynn, became subject to Russian flattery by allowing President Vladimir Putin, a former KGB operative, to co-opt his integrity and reputation. It's possible the "magic dust" described by Flynn was a metaphor, like a toxin to his judgmental abilities. 

In other words, "how does a three star general find himself at a photographed dinner meeting, sitting at the same table with Russian President Vladimir Putin?" Moreover, why did Lt. Gen. Flynn find himself in the compromising position of publicly giving the speaker of the evening, a Russian propagandists, a standing ovation, after the dinner program, with Putin watching?  Recalling how the Donald Trump propagandist Kellyanne Conway told a news interviewer that "just one dinner when a person happens to be seated at the same table" doesn't carry any significance. Well, in fact, yes it does! Vladimir Putin chooses his dinner company very carefully. It's even more disturbing to realize, from Schmidle's article, how Vladimir Putin apparently made Lt. Gen. Flynn feel obligated to give the dinner speaker a standing ovation, because he was in the photo lens of the Russian president.  

Taaaadaaaa!  Co-opt 101- "gotcha!".

After this particularly well photographed dinner meeting in Russia, you might say Lt. Gen. Flynn's "Russian goose" became rancid. Nevertheless, he appeared to go into some kind of a political trance that caused him to make a hypnotic decision to follow Donald Trump and to help him to be elected president.  But, it was all downhill from there. Yet, what we don't know is what was said that caused Donald Trump to realize how Lt. Gen. Flynn was, in fact, dispensable. Schmidle never gets to that detailed level of Flynn's downfall.

"The end for Flynn came rather abruptly," wrote Schmidle.  

"In a White House characterized by chaos and conflict—a Byzantine court led by a reality-television star, family members, and a circle of ideologues and loyalists—Flynn was finished."

This jilting by the cult leader was even more mystifying when Flynn's friends described him as a soldier who followed orders. (Exactly! It's what I've been saying all along.  But, only one cult leader can give orders to the three star general who was infected by magic dust. That directive could only be given by Donald Trump.)  

Flynn's military rise to the rank of three star general was likely supported by his obsession to learn and internalize the nuances of the vast government intelligence networks. It's almost like his incessant studies of intelligence briefings were burned into his brain and stunted his analytical neurons.  Eventually, it became his ambition to rule over all he learned during his consumption of daunting intelligence documents.  Obviously, the ability to read and understand long government reports was an attractive characteristic to Donald Trump, who reportedly finds reading long narratives to be cumbersome or, even worse, not understandable.  Trump and Flynn seemed to share a classic "ying and yang" attraction to one another. So, what went so terribly wrong?  Schmidle doesn't go that far. Yet, in leaving this causation unanswered, the reader is led to believe that the reason Flynn lost his influence and his job must have been very sinister.

Schmidle described how Flynn was let go. Somewhere along the short period of time when Flynn was employed as the National Security Council director, the word "blackmail" entered into the media. He was asked to resign "By protocol, Flynn would have spent his final moments in the White House being 'read out' of each program he was involved in, a process that involved signing multiple confidentiality forms. At around 11:30 PM, he walked out of the White House and called his wife."  Schmidle described the exit scene like Flynn was a very lonely man, at that moment. He probably still is - even his name carries toxic elements.
Apparently, the intelligence community that Flynn immersed himself to be an expert in, were the same ones that took him out.

While pondering the insight Schmidle provided into his report about the fall of "General Chaos", the reader learned a lot about the overwhelming influence of the world's intelligence networks. These clandestine systems thrive on espionage by spying on friends, foes, innocents and the guilty, without regard for consequences.  Each network of spies has one master. When in Russia, the ruler of espionage is Vladimir Putin.  In America, the espionage is now controlled by Donald Trump.

Obviously, Lt. Gen. Mike Flynn discussed more than pleasantry about the weather during the photographed dinner when he felt obliged to join a standing ovation for the dinner speaker, while Vladimir Putin was his table partner. Somehow, this experience and whatever followed made Lt. Gen. Flynn subject to blackmail.  

"This story is bigger than Mike Flynn," said a senior military intelligence official to Schmidle.  "Who told Mike to go do this?"

Therefore, in my Cliff notes summery, the answer to that specific question ie 'who told Mike to do this?', could very well be the impeachable Donald Trump moment. To get to the answer of that question might also put Lt. Gen. Flynn in the position of being tried for treason. But, it's also the spot where Republicans don't want to go, because they might, finally, have to say out loud what's being whispered in the Congress. "What did Donald Trump know (about Russia) and when did he know it?" "General Chaos" knows the answer, but he will have to take the ultimate risk to himself, to reveal the answer. In fact, Lt. Gen. Mike Flynn is his own version of the notorious "deep throat"- the man who turned on the Nixon administration. Will he do it? 

Although Donald Trump might temporarily protect Flynn from ultimate exposure, because he can, the fact is, the story about who "told Mike to do this" will never go away.  Eventually, the truth will be revealed. Unfortunately, it will take someone with real courage to blow through the "magic dust" of those blinded, inside the Donald Trump Republican cult.

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Nurse Practitioner criticizes Tennessee in letter to the editor

I was unable to find a discreet url link to this letter to the editor published in the April 15, 2017 edition of The Tennessean
A nurse practitioner critized the Tennessee legislature for not expanding the Medicaid coverage to the state's most vulnerable.
Letters to the Editor graphic (2)
Legislative failure prompts move- by Natalie Paul
I am a family nurse practitioner, and I completed my education in Nashville in 2016. I completed a rotation at a federally qualified health center in spring and summer 2016, which served low-income and uninsured individuals, and it forever changed my perspective on health care.

I decided I could no longer in good conscience practice in Tennessee due to the failure to expand Medicaid, which is nothing less than an act of legislative violence against the most vulnerable Tennesseans.

In my training, I saw people living in a state of crisis because they could not access basic preventative services and maintenance medications. I regularly sent over half my patients in Tennessee to the emergency room due to acute exacerbation of chronic conditions which could have been easily avoided if there was a robust Medicaid program to provide individuals with access to lifesaving medications and treatments. The emergency room does not treat chronic conditions, and so for many patients there were no ways to get them basic laboratory studies and life-saving medications.

I went home most days and wept for my patients, who could not access relatively inexpensive medications, treatments, or specialty services due to legislative violence. Medicaid expansion would give an estimated 280,000 Tennesseans access to health care.

I moved to Washington state so I could treat all my patients with dignity, and provide the standard of care. After my interview for my current position in Washington, also at a federally qualified health center, I wept in my car at the differences in the level of care I could provide, and the suffering of my former patients in Tennessee.

I keep the people of Tennessee in my prayers.

Natalie Paul, Vancouver, Wash. 98661

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