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[Disclaimer:  The following is an editorial / opinion piece I read about dealing with MAGA-RINOs.  I tried to pull out the relevant (IMHO), most important points, but I felt it fell apart as excerpts, so I am offering it in its entirety.  The article is the sole possession of the author (Peter Wehner) and the publisher (The Atlantic) and I am making no claim of ownership and I am seeking no personal or monetary benefit by re-posting the piece on my blog site.  I am offering the piece because it presents an opinion on a significant topic of our time and for our country:  “how should rational American’s deal with irrational Trump followers who have taken over the “name” of the Republican Party (GOP)?”  I will remove this post if I receive an objection from either the author or the publisher.    —    kmab]
That Donald Trump has acted recklessly and lawlessly, without empathy, as if he lives in a world devoid of moral rules, should surprise no one.  Some of us warned back in the summer of 2016 that Trump was erratic, unstable, and temperamentally unfit for office. He had what I referred to then as a “personality disorder.”  I believed then and I believe now that it is the most essential thing to understand about him. Trump in power couldn’t end well.
Trump never found a way to escape the antisocial demons that haunt him.  But here’s what turned a personal tragedy into a national calamity:  He imprinted his moral pathologies, his will-to-power ethic, on the Republican Party.  It is the most important political development of this century.
The GOP once advertised itself as standing for family values and law and order, for moral ideals and integrity in political leaders.  Such claims are now risible.  The Republican Party rallied around Trump and has stuck with him every step of the way.
Republican officials showed fealty to Trump despite his ceaseless lying and dehumanizing rhetoric, his misogyny and appeals to racism, his bullying and conspiracy theories.  No matter the offense, Republicans always found a way to look the other way, to rationalize their support for him, to shift their focus to their progressive enemies.  As Trump got worse, so did they.
Republicans defended Trump after the release of the Access Hollywood tape and alleged hush-money payments to a porn star.  They defended him when he obstructed justice to thwart the investigation of Russian interference in the 2016 election and sided with Russia over U.S. intelligence during a press conference in Helsinki, Finland.  They defended him after learning of his effort to solicit foreign interference in the 2020 presidential election.  They defended him despite his effort to overturn the election by pressuring state officials to “find” votes and send fake electors, by wallpapering the country with lies, and by instigating a violent assault on the Capitol.  The ex-president continues to peddle the Big Lie to this day, and any Republican who challenges it is targeted.
Something malicious has occurred since Trump won the nomination in 2016.  Six years ago, Republicans jettisoned their previous moral commitments in order to align themselves with the MAGA movement.  Today, they have inverted them.  Lawmakers, candidates, and those in the right-wing media ecosystem celebrate and imitate Trump’s nihilism, cynicism, and cruelty.  What was once considered a bug is now a feature.
This is the result of individuals’ and institutions’ accommodation of one moral transgression after another after another.  With each moral compromise, the next one — a worse one — becomes easier to accept.  Conduct that would have horrified Republicans in the past now causes them, at best, to shrug their shoulders;  at worst, they delight in it.
How does that change play out in our politics?  Five years ago, leading Republicans were publicly critical of Trump’s statements following the white-supremacist rally in Charlottesville, Virginia.  Now consider that just a few weeks after far more ominous actions by Trump — inspiring and provoking an insurrection — House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy flew to Mar-a-Lago to grovel before Trump.  Initially, Republicans accepted the need for a bipartisan commission to find out what had happened on January 6;  since then, they have undermined every effort to uncover that day’s events and how central a role Trump played in them.
The 2016 Republican platform said, “The next president must restore the public’s trust in law enforcement and civil order by first adhering to the rule of law itself.”  Today, Republicans, in response to a lawful search of the home of a lawless ex-president, compare the FBI to the Gestapo and the Stasi.  Trump himself, during a rally, referred to the FBI and the Department of Justice as “vicious monsters.”  And no political party in living memory has done as much as the GOP to undermine civil order and the public’s trust in law enforcement, or to attack the rule of law.
In hindsight, January 6, 2021, was a milestone along not just one path of radicalization, but two.  Of course, it represented an unprecedented assault on democracy by the violent mob on Capitol Hill and the president who incited it.  But it also represented what turned out to be the last moment when Republicans considered repudiating Trump.  For a few days, party leaders seemed, at last, horrified enough to break with him.  But when McCarthy slunk to Mar-a-Lago, hat and apology in hand, and when then – Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and other Senate Republicans backed away from Trump’s impeachment and removal, the moment was over, and a door slammed shut.  There would be no more wavering.  Today, the dominant faction in the GOP is not conservative in the American tradition;  it is authoritarian and revolutionary, like far-right parties in Europe.
Karen Stenner, a political psychologist and the author of the groundbreaking “The Authoritarian Dynamic”, argues that about a third of people across 29 liberal democracies seem to have a psychological predisposition toward authoritarianism.  The tendency exists on both ends of the political spectrum, though it’s more prevalent on the right.
Stenner defines authoritarianism, which she believes is about 50 percent heritable, as a deep-seated psychological predisposition to demand obedience and conformity — what she calls “oneness and sameness” — over freedom and diversity.  Authoritarians have an aversion to complexity and diversity.  They tend to be intolerant on matters of race, politics, and morals;  to glorify the in-group and denigrate the out-group;  and to “reward or punish others according to their conformity to this ‘normative order.’”
The danger, Stenner says, arises when that tendency, which is often latent, is activated by “normative threats,” a deep fear of change, and a loss of trust in our institutions.  She also made this point to my colleague Helen Lewis:  In normal, reassuring, and comforting conditions, people with authoritarian tendencies could be your best neighbor.  But those predispositions “are activated under conditions of threat and produce greater intolerance to differences.”
Donald Trump has made his supporters feel “permanently panicked,” according to Stenner.  He “never got past the constant-rage-and-fear stage.”  And it doesn’t help that modern life’s complexity is overwhelming for many people.
For those with authoritarian tendencies, Stenner says, there’s a need “to reassure them and calm them down.”  Her goal is “to help authoritarians live in peace with liberal democracy.”  We need to reintegrate, rather than triumph over and banish, the authoritarians.  Demeaning and dismissing a significant part of the country won’t turn out well.  And so the focus of her work is to find practical ways to bring “activated authoritarians” back from the brink, including by means of normatively reassuring messages.  The key, she believes, is to reduce the feelings of being threatened and to find the right language — language that is less alienating to those with authoritarian tendencies — to talk about things such as diversity and immigration.  She and the social psychologist Jonathan Haidt point out that moral elevation, the response we have when we witness virtuous acts, can also be helpful.
This approach is commendable;  my guess is that right now it might have sway with the minority of Republicans who are uneasy about Trump.  Perhaps, combined with an indictment of Trump, it might be enough to weaken the ex-president to the point where the Republican Party breaks with him.  But will its members break with the authoritarian tendencies that now define the GOP?
That seems unlikely.  The majority of the party has gotten more radicalized, more aggressive, and more conspiracy-minded, not less, since Trump left office.  The MAGA movement has provided many of its adherents with an identity, a source of personal meaning, and a cause for which to fight.  They have created a narrative in which they are heroic figures fighting malevolent forces.  They find psychological satisfaction in relentless conflict;  their lives seem more vivid and more purposeful within MAGA’s ever-combative frame.  Politics has become, for them, an ersatz religion.  In this activated state, they are not reachable by reason or open to amelioration.  In fact, many in MAGA world are looking for reasons to take offense, to feel victimized, to lash out.
There is an analogy to nature:  When a thunderstorm cloud has sufficient electrostatic charge, it has to discharge toward the ground.  If the lightning bolt doesn’t find one target, it will find another.  So will Trump supporters.
“We have a big faction of one of our two major political parties who wants to unravel our democracy because it no longer serves them,” Barbara Walter, a professor at UC San Diego and the author of “How Civil Wars Start and How to Stop Them,” recently told CNN.  “The reality is if you don’t say anything, if you stick your head in the ground, this makes it easier for those who do want to create some sort of authoritarian or strongman, minority-rule government — sort of what you have in Hungary — it simply allows them to do that more easily.  They can do it quietly behind the scenes when no one’s looking.”
I’m of two minds about all this.  I admire groups such as Braver Angels, which is attempting to bridge partisan divides, decrease affective polarization, and help Americans understand one another beyond stereotypes.  If we can help those with authoritarian tendencies reintegrate themselves into liberal democracy, we should certainly do so.  It’s important to hear perspectives that differ from our own.  And it’s imperative that we relearn how to talk with one another as fellow citizens instead of as combatants.
I also believe we should continue to stay in relationships whenever possible, including with family members and friends whose authoritarian attitudes have been activated, even as we look for the right moment and the right way to name our differences and express our disappointment with those who have aligned themselves with malignant political figures and movements.  We should speak with candor but not with malice, striving for grace as well as for truth.  It’s an impossible balance to always achieve, at least for me;  my frustrations can sometimes get the better of me, and perhaps they get the better of you too.  But the balance is still worth fighting for.
But even though we shouldn’t give up on individuals, I can’t escape concluding that the time for mollifying grievances is over.  In our political endeavors, the task is now to contain and defeat the MAGA movement, shifting away from a model of psychological amelioration and toward a model of political confrontation.  This is the model that Liz Cheney embraces, and so do I.
It requires defeating Trump Republicans at the polls, but it goes well beyond that.  It also means rallying the forces that must rise up to oppose authoritarianism by speaking honestly about the nature of the threat.  It means telling the truth about not just Trump but many of his supporters, who remain complicit in a corrupt and corrupting enterprise — one that is inflicting grave injury on our nation and its ideals.
MAGA supporters have had countless opportunities to take the exit ramp, and they have always found reasons not to.  At some point, when an enterprise is thoroughly corrupt, staying a part of it, helping it along, refusing to ever speak up, is not just a mistake in judgment;  it is a failure of intellectual and moral integrity.  This doesn’t mean that every area of a MAGA supporter’s life is devoid of rectitude, of course.  But it does mean that one important area is.  And that needs to be said.
So, no, I am not suggesting “giving up” on individual MAGA supporters, writing them off, throwing them out of polite society — even if I were in a position to do any of those things, which I’m not.  I am suggesting that much of MAGA world is authoritarian, that Liz Cheney is right to turn all her political energies to opposing it, and that containing and defeating MAGA — not hoping it will change, not placating its grievances — is now the No. 1 priority for friends of democracy.  Maybe we’ll succeed, maybe we’ll fail, but the mission is unavoidable.  And honorable.
    —     Peter Wehner
From his editorial / opinion piece:  “There’s No Escaping the Truth About Trump:  The former president has imprinted his moral pathologies and will-to-power ethic on the Republican Party.
The editorial appears in:  The Atlantic
Dated:  8 Sept. 2022
The editorial also appears online at:  https://www.theatlantic.com/ideas/archive/2022/09/trump-republicans-authoritarian-tendencies/671366/
(There may be a pay-wall or required subscription to view the entire editorial online.  If you are financially able to support a local or national news source, please do so.  A strong, energized free press is one of the most consistent bulwarks for democracy and against tyranny.  And please make the effort to vote in the coming mid-term elections.    —    kmab)
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On This Day In:
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2020 Give Me A Minute To Think About That…
November 3rd Is Coming!
An Eye For An Eye
2019 Is #45 Warning Alabama Again?
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2018 Worry (x2)
2017 Still Working
Gold In The Morning Sun
2016 Power Inside
2015 Sometimes I Feel Small
2014 It Slipped Away
2013 Corollary
2012 Working Retired
2011 The Web Is Not Authoritative! (Really?)

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NATO has long played a key role in Trump’s narrative that the U.S. foots the bill for the rest of the world at the expense of its own citizens.  He once again lambasted NATO allies’ contributions during a speech on June 25 [2018] in South Carolina by falsely claiming that the U.S. was responsible for 90% of spending.  In fact, the U.S. provides 22% of the NATO alliance’s common funding — which covers NATO’s running costs, the military budget and some capabilities like aerial surveillance.
European leaders are now punching back at the U.S. French President Emmanuel Macron said, “We don’t mind being G-6, if needs be,” while the E.U. retaliated on June 22 [2018] with its own tariffs on U.S. goods.  “The initial idea of playing nice with Donald Trump has been demonstrably proven to yield no benefits,” says Anthony Gardner, who served as U.S. ambassador to the E.U. from 2014 to ’17.
     —    Charlotte McDonald-Gibson
From her editorial / opinion article:  “Is NATO Trump’s next target?
Appearing in:  Time Magazine;  dtd:  9 July 2018
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On This Day In:
2019 Paint-By-Numbers
2018 #45: Still Trying To
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2017 Two Views Of The Starting Line
2016 Never Had It, Never Will (Donald Trump)
2015 20/20
2014 All Of My Best Ideas Come While Walking…
2013 Learn To Learn
2012 I Remind You
2011 Respect And Prestige
2010 Living Legends (Willie Nelson) and the Gettysburg Address

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On June 21, the writer E. Jean Carroll came forward with a vivid and disturbing claim that Donald Trump raped her in a department store in the 1990s.  She is the 22nd woman to allege that Trump committed acts of sexual misconduct.  These claims are more extensive and more corroborated than the accusations against Bill Clinton.
It’s worth contrasting Trump, who denied Carroll’s claim (as well as his other accusers’), with Clinton because his scandals helped spur the Southern Baptist Convention in 1998 to issue its seminal “Resolution on Moral Character of Public Officials.”  That document’s key statement was ominous and unequivocal:  “Tolerance of serious wrong by leaders sears the conscience of the culture, spawns unrestrained immorality and lawlessness in the society, and surely results in God’s judgment.”
The relentless drumbeat of claims against Trump – combined with the clear moral declarations of the past – have caused millions of Americans to look at their evangelical fellow citizens and ask, simply:  Why?  Why have you abandoned your previous commitment to political character to embrace Donald Trump?
Part of the explanation is undeniably basic partisanship and ambition.  White evangelicals are largely Republican, and they’re generally going to vote for Republicans.  And proximity to power has always had its attractions for religious charlatans of all stripes.  But I’d suggest the real reason for the breadth and depth of evangelical support is deeper and – perversely – even more destructive to its religious witness.
That reason is fear.
Talk to engaged evangelicals, and fear is all too often a dominant theme of their political life.  The church is under siege from a hostile culture.  Religious institutions are under legal attack from progressives.  The left wants nuns to facilitate access to abortifacients and contraceptives, it wants Christian adoption agencies to compromise their conscience or close, and it even casts into doubt the tax exemptions of religious education institutions if they adhere to traditional Christian sexual ethics.
These issues are legally important, and there are reasons for evangelicals to be concerned.  But there is no reason for evangelicals to abandon long-held principles to behave like any other political-interest group.
Instead, the evangelical church is called to be a source of light in a darkening world.  It is not given the luxury of fear-based decision making.  Indeed, of all the groups in American life who believe they have the least to fear from American politics, Christians should top the list.  The faithful should reject fear.
This is made plain to young Christians from the early days of Sunday school.  There, many millions of young believers are taught the biblical verse:  “For God gave us not a spirit of fear but of power and love and self-control.”
But in 2016, something snapped.  I saw Christian men and women whom I’ve known and respected for years respond with raw fear at the very idea of a Hillary Clinton presidency.  They believed she was going to place the church in mortal danger.  The Christian writer Eric Metaxas wrote that if Hillary won, America’s chance to have a “Supreme Court that values the Constitution” will be “gone.”  “Not for four years, not for eight,” he said, “but forever.”
That wasn’t faith speaking.  They were the words of fearful men grasping at fading influence by clinging to a man whose daily life mocks the very values that Christians seek to advance.
But why?  The American evangelical church isn’t so weak that it needs Trump’s version of secular salvation.  The early persecuted church would be stunned at the modern American church’s immense political strength.  It has become so strong that it exercises veto power over the political prospects of any Republican nominee.
Yet the church is acting as if it needs Trump to protect it.  That’s not courageous.  It’s repulsive.  And so long as this fear continues, expect the church’s witness to degrade further.  In seeking protection from its perceived enemies, the church has lost its way.
It’s time for evangelicals to exercise their political veto power.  America’s conservative people of faith should seek a primary challenger to Trump and send a message to the GOP that it will not compromise any longer.  And it should do so from a position of confidence – and faith.
    —    David French
From his opinion / editorial:  “The Evangelical Republic of Fear
Appearing in:  Time Magazine, dtd:  8 July 2019
Also, found online at:  https://time.com/5615617/why-evangelicals-support-trump/
[I make no claim to ownership of this editorial.  It belongs to either Time or to the author.  I normally only present excerpts from articles / editorials because I am trying to exercise “fair use”  while giving full credit to the owner and / or original source.  In this (rare) case, the editorial is presented in its entirety because the whole is FAR greater than any of its parts.  As always, I encourage readers to visit the original source.  I subscribe to the “hard-copy” version of Time.   —    kmab]
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On This Day In:
2021 A Simple Choice, Really
Waaaay Before The Movie
2020 I Just Want To Stay Happy
Fading…
2019 Show Righteousness, Not Fear
2018 Sounds Like Politics, Too
2017 Resist More
Conservatives Are Not The Enemy
2016 Two Weeks To Go…
2015 Remembering
2014 The Creeping Death Of Civilization
Orange October (X) – A Blue Morning Turns Into An Orange Evening
2013 License Problem
2012 Giants Win Game 2 Of The 2012 World Series 2 To 0!!!
Adage, n.
Questions Women Should Ask Before Voting…
2011 What Are You Looking At?

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When asked if he had any theories about why the error so enchanted people, Cailliau wrote “I don’t even have a hunch about the 404 fascination.  And frankly I don’t give a damn.  The sort of creativity that goes into 404 response pages is fairly useless.  The mythology is probably due to the irrationality, denial of evidence, and preference for the fairy tale over reality that is quite common in the human species …  These human traits were relatively innocent in the past, when individual influence was small and information spread slowly.  Today, and in no small way due to the existence of the net, these traits have gained a power that is dangerous.”  As examples, he cited the election of Donald Trump, the deterioration of the EU, meek political responses to gun violence, and the proliferation of euphemism (“climate change”).  Or the fascination could just be a dash of humanity, an appreciation that the internet is made by humans, and humans — especially on the internet — are often bored.
    —    Robert Cailliau
Quoted by:  Anna Wiener
In her article:  “Page Not Found: A Brief History Of The 404 ERROR
Appearing in:  Wired Magazine
Dated:  December 2017
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On This Day In:
2021 Looking Up
Shiny
2020 #45: Or All-Consuming Greed
You Could Have Told Me Yourself
2019 Not Personal
2018 Preference For Irrationality
2017 All At Once
2016 One Of My Vices
2015 The War Lord
2014 Orange October (II) – Giants Win NLDS Game 2 In 18 Innings (2 to 1)!!
Acknowledging Doubt
2013 Fulfilled Acceptance
2012 Error Is Tolerated Here (So Far)
2011 In Defense Of Pain

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I am not particularly concerned about President Trump taping former FBI Director Comey as we have a long history of Trump being a liar and Comey being a public servant with integrity.
What I am “mildly” shocked by is that nobody is saying the obvious:  we need the tapes because they will be the “smoking gun” linking Trump to General Flynn and to the Russians.  Then we’ll find out if Priebus, Bannon and Pence knew about it (collusion with the Russians to affect the election) AND anybody else in the Trump family.
And I still want the President to release his tax returns…
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On This Day In:
2016 On Viewing This Mudball
2015 It Takes A Village
2014 In God’s Eyes
2013 We Root For Ourselves
2012 Like A Shark
2011 Discernible Virtue

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You can’t con people, at least not for long.  You can create excitement, you can do wonderful promotion and get all kinds of press, and you can throw in a little hyperbole.  But if you don’t deliver the goods, people will eventually catch on …
    —    Donald Trump
From his book:  “The Art Of The Deal
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On This Day In:
2016 Living There
2015 Bookin’ West
Beyond My Reach
You Never Call Anymore…
2014 Winning?
2013 Still Inventing
2012 Motivated
2011 Waiting In Line At Starbuck’s

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 Revenge is always the weak pleasure of a little and narrow mind.
     —    Decimus Junius Juvenalis  (in English: Juneval)
When people wrong you, go after those people, because it is a good feeling and because other people will see you doing it.  I always get even.
     —    Donald J. Trump
Revenge is sweet and not fattening.
    —    Donald J. Trump
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2016 Mere Specks
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2014 We Have Ignition!
2013 The Dreamer
2012 I Err Gladly
2011 Ill Executed
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And that marks Democrats’ first job in this new era:  We will stand up to bigotry.  There is no compromise here.  In all its forms, we will fight back against attacks on Latinos, African Americans, women, Muslims, immigrants, disabled Americans  —  on anyone.   Whether Donald Trump sits in a glass tower or sits in the White House, we will not give an inch on this, not now, not ever.
    —    Senator Elizabeth Warren
[Found at one of the blogs I’ve stumbled on:   http://friendnature.wordpress.com/
The original post is at:   http://friendnature.wordpress.com/2016/11/11/join-senator-elizabeth-warren-standing-up-to-bigotry/    —    KMAB]
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On This Day In:
2016 Why Do You Write/Blog?
2015 Can Your Repeat The Question, Please?
2014 On Faith
2013 My Name Is Charles Stein
2012 Faiths And Sorcery
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2011 Multi-Source Learning

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Every tyrant who has lived has believed in freedom for himself.
    —   Elbert Hubbard
[Despite almost 50 years history of Presidential candidates releasing their tax returns, President-elect Trump now says he won’t release his tax returns while he is under audit.   He has never offered proof he is under audit and the IRS is not allowed to discuss / confirm if he is under audit.  They are not allowed to do so for any person without the person’s permission.  Trump could authorize the IRS to confirm the audit and state which years are being audited.  He refuses to even do this.  Why not?  What is he hiding?  I’m not in the press, but I want to know…
Trump said he would completely set aside his business interests because he was (now) more interested in becoming President and helping this country become great again.  At one of the Republican debates, Trump said running his business was “peanuts” compared to the Presidency.  Now, he will not do this (divest his business interests).  His attorney states that no one should expect him to destroy the business he has spent his whole life building just because he is President.  Why is selling off his assets “destroying the business” if they are worth billions which would then be placed in a blind trust?  Since he is such a great negotiator, would he not get a great price for them?  Are they not worth billions?
Trump is “ceding” control of his company to his sons, but he retains the right to fire them if they don’t do a great job.  Of course there are those nasty little things called gift taxes, so he can’t “give” the assets to his kids without the assets being valued and taxed.  And we all know it’s “stupid” to pay taxes.  The key to a blind trust is that you don’t know what’s going on.  How is it “blind” if you must know what they’re doing in order to judge if they are doing a great job?
Trump is refusing to sell off assets which might lead to a conflict of interest.  Instead he proposes to “gift” to the U.S. Treasury any profits received from foreign governments for the use of his assets.  Of course, he hasn’t said how his company intends to determine “profit” or how it will be independently verified.  Since he is a pathological liar, why should we trust him?
President Kennedy got his brother Robert appointed Attorney General of the United States.  Congress subsequently passed a law to prevent future nepotism in high offices.  Trump wants to appoint his son-in-law as a senior counselor to the President.  If you want to talk to a family member and get his advice, why does the U.S. taxpayer have to pay for it?
Questions big and small…  Just asking?   —    KMAB]
You can fool some of the people all of the time, and all of the people some of the time, but you can not fool all of the people all of the time.
    ―    President Abraham Lincoln
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On This Day In:
2016 Still A Burden
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2015 All A Game
2014 Two Thoughts
2013 RIP – Dear Abby
Half-Life Problems
2012 To The Soul…
2011 Reverted!!

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We learn from experience that men never learn anything from experience.
    ―    George Bernard Shaw
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On This Day In:
2016 Three Errors From Eureka
2015 Limiting Choices
2014 Praise The Lord And Pass The Hypocrisy
That Sound
2013 Still Waiting For Answers
2012 Informal Leadership
2011 A Little More Progress
2010 Bec’s Gone Again…

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The following are my brief reviews of four documentaries I watched on Netflix…
Requiem for the American Dream  (2016)   —  movie / documentary review
This documentary is (more or less) a seminar about the consolidation of wealth in the hands of the few (1%) and the subsequent use of wealth to control the government and thereby use the government to increase their wealth.  The documentary presents the views of Noam Chomsky, an MIT emeritus professor who made his fame in the study of linguistics and philosophy.  Chomsky is a long-time “leftist”, but not in the traditional sense of Communist or Socialist, and more in terms of being pro-democracy, that is supporting the rule of the governed as opposed to the rule of the elite.  More specifically, the people should control the governmental (government and regulations) business environment, not the business’s (or the mega-wealthy).  I didn’t find much which was really new in this documentary, but then I have considered Chomsky’s positions previously and have long agreed with him.  If I have any problems with this film it’s that it is presented in a “relatively” dry (“academic”) format.  So, while I agree with Chomsky, the American public doesn’t seem to mind government of the elite, by the elite and for the elite – hence, the election of Donald Trump.  Final recommendation: highly recommended, particularly if you are angry about the state of the country and / or worried about your job / career and place in our economic class system.
Sneakerheadz  (2015)   —  movie / documentary review
A short (just over an hour long documentary) summary / description of people who obsessively purchase sports shoes.  I agree with one of the commentators – a young lady – who says (in effect): “If you grow up poor and wanting things, like name-brand shoes and clothes, when you grow up and have enough money to buy them, you do.  To excess…“)   As I watched, I recognized myself and realize that except constrained by money, I could / would otherwise fall into this “addition”.  Beyond the simple ego-boost of being able to get something you previously could not afford, there is an underlying message of people seeking a place in society by creating an image of themselves which they can project out to others.  Interestingly, it seems this message is learned at an early age and then becomes the goal of their (the Sneakerheadz) life.  There is also a strong message about societal values and the ability of marketing to influence those values.  Not an original idea, but I still found it interesting to hear it stated so openly in documentary about shoe collectors.  Final recommendation:  highly recommended.
A Drummer’s Dream  (2010)  —  movie / documentary review
What happens when you take some of the greatest drummers in the world, put them in an isolated Canadian farmland with a bunch of kids and all the drum kits and money the drummers can bring together?  It seems you get smiles, effervescent passion and irresistible personality. Starring drummers:  Nasyr Abdul Al-Khabyyr, Dennis Chambers, Kenwood Dennard, Horacio “El-Negro” Hernadez, Giovanni Hidalgo, Mike Mangini and Raul Rekow, the documentary captures you with Rock, jazz, Latin fusion, and soul, but mostly it is about the drummers and their joy in playing…  And, did I mention smiles!  These musicians are driven by the beats of their hearts – full of love and joy of life.  Final recommendation:  Highly recommended!  I found myself tapping my hands and feet for days after watching this.  Fortunately, my attention deficit disorder prevents me from becoming obsessive (in this way) or I’d still be drumming and trying to find / share their joy.  Come for the percussion, stay for the smiles…!
The Real Miyagi  (2015)    —  movie / documentary review
Back in the 1960’s, a young Japanese man came to America with little but an expertise in Martial Arts.  He subsequently went on to become an internationally recognized Martial Arts instructor and stunt back-up actor.  That man is Fumio Demura.  If you have seen any of the first four “Karate Kid” movies, you’ve seen sensei Demura in action (probably without realizing it). Pat Morita’s iconic sensei (Mr. Miyagi) in ‘The Karate Kid’ was based on sensei Fumio Demura and Demura was Morita’s stunt double in the action sequences.  I don’t mean based on Demura’s actual life, as Mr. Miyagi was a fictional Japanese-American character who fought in World War II.  Rather, Mr. Miyagi is based on the idea of a man perfecting (improving) himself using art – in Miyagi’s case it is Karate and Bonsai trees.  The documentary traces sensei Demura’s life and offers multiple tributes from his students which offer insight into the man behind the title “sensei”.  Final recommendation:  strong if you have only a casual interest in Martial Arts, highly if you have a personal interest in Martial Arts or in historic Martial Artists.
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On This Day In:
2015 Just Like All The Others
2014 In My Own Vanity
2013 Filled With Words
2012 Lectio Auget Existentiae Meae
2011 Lied Lately?
2010 Born To Work At Faux News
Lost Again (Uh, Make That Still)
Qui Genus Humanum Ingenio Superavit
They’re Back… (Part 1)

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During the campaign it was widely reported that then candidate Trump was the most dishonest candidate running for President.  (That’s Politically Correct “speak” for Trump was the biggest liar.)   Trump’s honesty rating (according to Politifact.com) was 15% – “true” (4%) or “mostly true” (11%) – and 85% dishonest – “half true” (15%), “mostly false” (19%), “false” (34%), and “pants on fire” (17%).
Trump is now on his Twitter account denying the recent reports (by various media) of “disarray” on his transition team.  Trump reports everything is going “smoothly”.
To quote Groucho Marx:  “Who are you going to believe, me or your lying eyes.
To quote Abraham Lincoln:  “You can fool all the people some of the time, and some of the people all the time, but you cannot fool all the people all the time.
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On This Day In:
2015 Something Pagan
2014 A Note To Self
2013 Determining Our Degree Of Freedom
2012 Journalism And Fantasy
Known Knowns
Jerk, n.
2011 Love Questions

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There are limits beyond which your folly will not carry you.  I am glad of that.  In fact, I am relieved.
     —     Isaac Asimov
[Shout and talk tough to make myself feel good…  Don’t deliver a single promise, then blame it on Congress, Washington politicians and special interests…  (‘Cause failure is never my fault.)  Do everything the same as “W” and President Obama – and – what Hilary proposes to continue…  Then in “an appropriate” amount of time, give all the “illegal” aliens amnesty and citizenship, exactly like Reagan did…
…My prediction in the disastrous event “The Donald” should win the Presidency.    —    kmab]
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On This Day In:
2021 Practically Worthless In Every Way
It Never Was
Frustrating Incentive
2020 You Too?
Six Degrees
2019 A Branching Stream
Day 9: One Day At A Time
2018 Pity The Nation (Part 2)
Day 1: Redux
2017 Good Blogs, Too
2016 My Prediction For #AmnestyDon
2015 Worth A Try
2014 I’m Feeling It
2013 May I Have A Little More, Please?
2012 Increasing Doubt
2011 You Can’t Touch This

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Class

Class never runs scared.
It is sure-footed and confident.
It can handle anything that comes along.
Class has a sense of humor.
It knows a good laugh is the best lubricant for oiling the machinery of human relations.
Class never makes excuses.
It takes its lumps and learns from past mistakes.
Class knows that good manners are nothing more than a series of small, inconsequential sacrifices.
Class bespeaks an aristocracy that has nothing to do with ancestors or money.
Some wealthy “blue bloods” have no class, while individuals who are struggling to make ends meet are loaded with it.
Class is real.
It can’t be faked.
Class never tried to build itself by tearing others down.
Class is already up and need not strive to look better by making others look worse.
Class can “walk with kings and keep it’s virtue and talk with crowds and keep the common touch.”
Everyone is comfortable with the person who has class because that person is comfortable with himself.
If you have class, you’ve got it made.
If you don’t have class, no matter what else you have, it doesn’t make any difference.
    —    Ann Landers
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On This Day In:
2015 20/20
2014 All Of My Best Ideas Come While Walking…
2013 Learn To Learn
2012 I Remind You
2011 Respect And Prestige
2010 Living Legends (Willie Nelson) and the Gettysburg Address

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Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., calling Trump’s judicial attacks “the most un-American thing from a politician since Joe McCarthy,” told The New York Times: “If anybody was looking for an off-ramp, this is probably it …  There’ll come a time when the love of country will trump hatred of Hillary.”
Speaking of Donald Trump…
“He and I have both been incredibly blessed to have our opportunities in this country, and if you ask me, after military service, the most patriotic thing you can do is pay your taxes,” Cuban said.  “I have gotten a lot from this country and feel like I owe back something.  That’s not his feeling, and that’s his choice.”
    —    Mark Cuban
[As an admitted life-long Democrat (social liberal / fiscal conservative), I’d have to ask Senator Graham:  “What time does your conscience say it is, now?”
I’d like to ask Mr. Cuban:  “What is your opinion of any ‘America loving’, self-anointed patriot who is actually a chicken-hawk (a person who speaks out in support of war, yet has avoided active military service) and who also doesn’t want to pay his taxes in peace time or in war time?”
And I’d like to ask Mr. Trump:  “We know you dodged the draft (four student deferments and one medical deferment) when it was your opportunity to serve, so where are the tax returns?”    —    KMAB]
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On This Day In:
2015 First Things First
2014 Without The Other
2013 Earn This
Seeking A View
2012 Stumblin’ Along My Way
We’re Proud Of You, Jr!
Union Card
Two Philosophies
2011 Simply Unpredictable

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