THE GREAT AMERICAN CONFLICT by Richard Moberly

THE GREAT AMERICAN CONFLICT by Richard Moberly

For decades now in the United States a conflict of values has been evolving. The rise of the middle class throughout the post war years, continuing into the 90’s was precedent-setting. Unions thrived, wages for the average worker increased, and people were able to reach for their American dream. Then came the bastardization of the Reagan era economics. This, even though we saw that they did not work then.

Politicians never admitted and many in the middle class refused to believe that the trickle-down economics philosophy was really a scam for corporations and the upper class. The G. W. Bush presidency promoted the same economic policies, as well as many other disastrous policies- including war which led the country into the massive debt and the biggest crisis since the Great Depression. The greed that set in at that time continues today, even more vehemently, by the rich and powerful who are now in control of the government. They continue to promote the same lies and policies in order to further enrich themselves at the expense of the rest of us.

The conflict for me is this: The rich and powerful who are creating an oligarchy in this country will not increase wages or increase the minimum wage so they can continue to pad their own pockets and keep the large businesses’ bank accounts exploding in cash. This ploy obviously is increasing the stocks to outrageous, unrealistic and unsustainable levels, again in order to increase their wealth and their stockholders’ bank accounts. At the same time, they want to gut the social support services that assist those in need of basic necessities who cannot afford them, as a result of their aforementioned policies. They cannot have it both ways, or can they?

They cannot, by any rational, caring and sensitive interpretation of the conflict. If they are not willing to have their companies pay a living wage, then the support service are necessary to keep people from starving and dying. Do they care about that? Not according to their myriad attempts to sabotage and gut the Affordable Care Act, for example.

If average folks cannot afford a better education, then the rich and powerful can keep them ignorant and much easier to persuade, manipulate and control. By making college education more expensive and taking away the tax deductions, fewer people will be able to afford a college education.

The policy changes being proposed in the Federal government at this time with the Department of Education, the removal of internet neutrality, the Justice department and others, all are moving quickly to a position of trying to feed the people information that those in power wish to have people hear…and only that information. This should strike fear into the minds of every American citizen because it resembles what we see in foreign countries under dictatorships and the former or current Communist countries which have no access to any information other than state-sponsored news programs and propaganda.

It is becoming more and more obvious that those in positions of wealth and power do not care. They appear to have the philosophy that the “worker bees” are expendable. If they die off, there will be others to replace them in the factories and the offices to keep their businesses running. They will continue to abuse the “worker bees” by demanding them to work unrealistic hours, because they need the job. There is no appreciation for dedication of the employee beyond the benefit they provide to the bank account of the company.

The sad reality to me, is that Americans seem to accept this situation as their plight with no recourse or opportunity to promote change. Apathy in the workplace, and life in general, has evolved over recent years by the lack of response to our so-called “representatives” in Congress consistently acting against the best interests of their constituents. This has resulted in people adopting a feeling of futility and complacency. It is as though they feel that it no longer matters, as the rich and powerful will do whatever they want to do anyway. So, why bother wasting time expressing our disagreement.

We have seen millions of people protesting in other countries against abusive and oppressive government regimes. Why not here?

Yes, although there were some sizable protests the beginning of the year in Washington, D.C. and some other major cities, but to add to the feeling of futility, nothing seemed to result from them. The oligarchs ignored the protests and did nothing but move forward their own agenda. Why? Because a one day protest does not carry the same weight as a consistent, daily protest by millions, disrupting the daily operations of government. Can we see that here? Unfortunately, probably not.

And why not? The “worker bees” have to continue to work to put food on the table and try to survive. Also, my guess is that the majority cannot even tell you the names of their Congressmen/women. Many people who vote during the elections go on to forget about politics since, as they see it, they have done their civic duty. The rest, who didn’t bother to vote because of apathy or complacency, continue to live in their own little bubbles oblivious to what is happening with their government. This country is also so large geographically that a commitment like what would be needed to stage a sizable, ongoing demonstration would require the majority of the people to invest a huge amount of personal capital beyond their capabilities.

So, in reality, do the oligarchs care about the plight of the majority of Americans? The answer is a resounding “NO” according to their recent actions. They only care about their personal bank accounts and could care less how many people they squash while padding their stash!

While most of upper class proclaim to be good Christians, their actions are the polar opposite of what is the true meaning of Christianity. As we proceed toward the Christmas season, anyone think the rich and powerful will suddenly have an epiphany? That peace and goodwill and concern for the “worker bees” will blossom and flourish?

Nope, I don’t think so either!

 

[Richard Moberly is an occasional contributor to Columnist with a View. He lives and works in Jacksonville, Florida. We welcome his views on current states of affairs!]

THE FAR-REACHING IMPACT OF OUTRIGHT LYING by L. Milton Hankins

THE FAR-REACHING IMPACT OF OUTRIGHT LYING by L. Milton Hankins

Is there a more palatable word to use for lying? It seems to me that calling a person, especially face-to-face, a “liar” is one of the more reluctant, difficult things to do. No one wants to be called a liar; no one wants to call someone a liar.

CHIEF OF STAFF JOHN KELLY

But, when the truth is discounted, misrepresented or ignored, there doesn’t seem to be a kind or generous way to talk about it. Let’s take Chief of Staff General Kelly’s remarks to the press corps regarding Representative Frederica Wilson and the president’s call to La David Johnson’s widow.

General Kelly totally misrepresented an occasion, during which he was present, when Frederica Wilson participated in the dedication of an FBI building in her district in Florida in 2015. Kelly referred to Wilson as an “empty barrel” focusing “more on her own actions than the heroism of the two FBI agents for whom the new building had been named.”

A conclusive review of the video of Wilson’s speech during the occasion showed that General Kelly was clearly not telling the truth. “Not telling the truth” is a kind euphemism for lying!

The entire subject of the president’s call to Johnson’s widow and the Kelly/Wilson dispute which followed swallowed up at least six days of news cycles. The president responded, according to his practice (tweeting), calling  Representative Wilson “wacky” and denying that he had said anything at all that should have upset the grieving widow.

REP. FREDERICA WILSON

According to Wilson, the phone call was on “speaker phone,” and was heard by everyone in the automobile when the widow received the call.

The subject matter was not so much centered on “lying,” as it was on the lack of compassion and sympathy shown by the White House. And, it’s notable that no sort of apology for the whole affair was later offered to the Gold Star widow who said the president didn’t even know her husband’s name. Of course, President Trump denied this. The attention to lying came later.

To my way of thinking, the real problem is that the four-star Marine General who is now serving as the president’s chief of staff, publicly lied in an effort to excuse or explain President Trump’s behavior. As a result, until Chief of Staff Kelly offers an apology and/or recants his story before the White House press corps, he is a bold-faced liar–in other words, we cannot believe anything he has to say on behalf of the president.

It pains me, too, that we have a man sitting in the Oval Office who seems not to know the meaning of truth, to put it mildly. To be blunt, the president routinely discounts, misrepresents, and ignores the truth. And, to make matters worse, whenever he is called by the press corps on his obvious lies, he doubles down.

 

The president is a liar. And there is no more palatable term to describe him. It is most unfortunate that he is deliberately making those around him–especially his spokespersons–liars, too.

The time will come when nothing coming out of the White House will be believed. The time will come when other nations will hold Americans in official positions in contempt.

[(c) 2017, L. Milton Hankins. Hankins is the founder, publisher and editor of Columnist with a View. He is a weekly contributor to the Huntington, WV Herald Dispatch and resides, along with his wife Deborah and Jose, their pet Chihuahua, in Ashland, Kentucky. His e-mail address is: amsmilt@windstream.net]

TRUMP ADMIN DISSES SCIENCE, DISMISSES SCIENTISTS by L. Milton Hankins

TRUMP ADMIN DISSES SCIENCE, DISMISSES SCIENTISTS by L. Milton Hankins

Most folks like you and me don’t give much thought to “science” per se. After all, we’re not scientists and we are not inclined to contemplate the importance of science in our daily lives.

Because of our lackadaisical attitude toward science and how it affects our everyday lives, many of us (not including this writer) are unaware that the present administration is stripping various agencies of the federal government of its scientists.

TRUMP ADMINISTRATION DISMISSING SCIENTISTS

For example, a May 8, 2017 Associated Press article in the Los Angeles Times’ headline read “Trump’s EPA dismisses half of the scientists on its advisory board.” According to Science Magazine (2015), the EPA published “a controversial regulation aimed at improving protection for wetlands and small streams” in a “400-page technical tome assembled by agency researchers as the rule’s scientific foundation and justification.” In March, 2017, President Trump “signed an executive order aimed at gutting the rule.”

PETER THIEL

Although Peter Thiel, a biomedical research investor, is surprisingly one of Trump’s few supporters in Silicon Valley, he is an outspoken advocate for government-fostered science. He says, “Voters are tired of hearing conservative politicians say that government never works. They know the government wasn’t always this broken. The Manhattan Project, the Interstate Highway System, and the Apollo Program–whatever you think of these ventures, you cannot doubt the competence of the government that got them done. But we have fallen very far from that standard, and we cannot let free market ideology serve as an excuse for decline.”

The budget that Trump has sent to Congress “whacks 18 percent from N.I.H.’s [National Institute of Health] budget, and even more from the Department of Energy and the E.P.A.’s [Environmental Protection Agency] science programs.

According to the Editorial Board of the New York Times (March 17, 2017) a “$250 million annual grant program administered by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration ‘supporting coastal and marine management, research and education’ would be killed [in Trump’s budget], including programs that provide important resources to help coastal states prepare for the coming effects of climate change.”

The above paragraphs document my theory that the Trump administration is anti-science. It should come as no shock, especially in the last example, since President Trump admittedly does NOT subscribe to climate change.

RICK PERRY,  SECRETARY OF ENERGY

And, keep in mind, he appointed former Texas Governor Rick Perry to head up the Department of Energy, which is rich with scientists and thrives on scientific knowledge and input. Perry, you’ll recall, when running for the presidency, although he botched remembering the name of the agency in debate (Oops!), was FOR abolishing the Department of Energy…which he now heads!

Science is literally the backbone of technological development and underscores all of the advancements we have made in all of the areas for which the Trump administration apparently has little respect.

The decline of first-rate science and mathematical training in our primary and secondary schools, coupled with the growing disenchantment for these subjects at the highest levels of our government is frightening.

That the current administration is gutting national agencies of scientists is calamitous!

TRUMP:  AMERICAN PATRIOT OR PUTIN PROMOTER? by Richard Moberly

TRUMP: AMERICAN PATRIOT OR PUTIN PROMOTER? by Richard Moberly

PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP

What American patriot would advance and promote Russia and their President Putin over the reputation of the United States of America? What American patriot would defend Russia and their President Putin over the interests of the United States of America? There have been decades and decades of mistrust, rancor, disagreements, competition, conflicts, and, yes, cooperation with the two countries’ space programs. And yet over the past two years we have seen Donald Trump, the candidate (and again since his election) speak in defense and on behalf of this country’s antagonist. Why? How can this be? Is he so uninformed that he is not aware of Mr. Putin’s past and present atrocities against his own people and those of other countries? Or does he just look with a blind eye for some reason?

IS TRUMP BEHOLDEN TO PUTIN?

These questions will hopefully be answered in the coming months with the naming of the special counsel by the U. S. Justice Department. What we already know is that the Trump organization has relied on money coming out of Russia to fund their projects for many years. The two older Trump sons broadcast several years ago that their organization no longer needed funding from United States Banks, who quit writing the Trump organization loans because of their frequent bankruptcy filings.

A MOSCOW BANK

They had all the funding they needed coming in from Russia. Hmmm, so if you are beholden to Mr. Putin and his rich cronies for multiple millions of dollars in various projects around the globe, you are very likely not going to want to disappoint the man. Right? You are going to sell your soul to the devil to keep yourself from disappearing in the middle of the night only to be found floating face down the next morning in the middle of the Mockba River–like so many other Putin dissenters.

RUSSIAN PRESIDENT VLADIMIR PUTIN

The “dear” president of Russia, Mr. Putin, is a thug and a murderer, and has been for many years. He has his eye on world domination and becoming more than just the next czar of Russia. His climb to his self-proclaimed throne started in earnest with his last “election” to the presidency. He has demonstrated that he will stop at nothing and will use (and abuse) anyone to fulfill his dreams. Unfortunately, for the U.S., our hapless Mr. Trump has fallen into his web and cannot easily get out.

You are probably asking, how does a typical guy in Florida know this, and how can this guy make such outrageous claims? This is how….

I LOST A RUSSIAN FRIEND TO PUTIN’S “MARAUDERS”

Before making a trip to Moscow in 2011, to satisfy a personal curiosity, I befriended online a fellow from Moscow. We communicated for several months, and he agreed to be my personal guide during my stay in Moscow. Over the time we spent together and, afterward, we became good friends (albeit long distance). At that time he worked for an American architectural firm as an architect by day and an aspiring writer by night. Sergey was verbally fluent in English, though not confident with his writing skills in English. He would write his first draft in Russian, then go back and translate it into English. Several times over the years he asked me to assist him with some of his projects to make sure his grammar and sentence structure were correct.

I grew to greatly respect him. He was honest, caring, sensitive, intelligent and very generous. He lived in very modest accommodations, but had big aspirations. Sergey was fortunate to be able to travel abroad and visited his editor in Los Angeles fairly regularly. He also submitted his first play into a competition in London and was awarded first place in his category. I admired his determination.

That as until last summer, when I could no longer reach him. He was not returning any messages. In August, I learned from his Facebook page that he had abruptly “gone missing” in June. He was to meet friends for dinner and never showed up at the restaurant. Our last communication was in May–his requesting that I support an initiative he was promoting for President Obama. He had signed an online petition at the White House website requesting that the President intervene with Putin, as he may be able, against the erosion of personal rights which were under attack in Putin’s Russia. He disappeared approximately three weeks after that communication. We (Facebook friends) learned not long after this that the Russians had hacked into the White House computers and my guess is that the petition site was one of the non-secure areas that was breached. Putin’s thugs had Sergey’s name.

Sergey was also becoming more and more verbally anti-Putin in Moscow and online during this time.

RUSSIAN THUGS

He had told me of Putin’s “Marauders” who were attacking the Putin dissenters as, when it came to Putin, no criticism as being tolerated. We have since learned of the many names of the more well-known dissenters who have been found dead by one means or another over the last year or so. A Facebook friend in Helsinki shared that he had observed Sergey being “unwisely fearless” in his online activism.

My friend met the same demise as other Putin “enemies.” We found out in September that his cremated ashes were unexpectedly delivered to his family. There was no known, or released, information or explanation. We all “knew” what had happened. Last summer, according to some posts by one of Sergey’s friends, approximately 1,000 Russians were “going missing” every month!

THE TRUMP-PUTIN IMPERATIVE

So, is this the man President Donald Trump is defending?  A hideous murderer and power hungry madman? Sociopaths of a feather stick together, I suppose. Trump is power hungry, as well, with visions of grandeur. He has Putin’s power and fame, and I think envies the same thing for himself. He is either unwilling or unable (due to his delusion) to objectively look at the real Vladimir Putin. Then again, maybe he just doesn’t care. Trump also, on some level, realizes in his current predicament and indebtedness to Putin, that if he does not promote Putin, he could find himself or some members of his family…well, eliminated.

This socio/political experiment with Donald Trump in the highest office of the land must end!  Experiment results:  Failure! It never did compute!

[This narrative was received by Columnist with a View for publication at my (the editor’s) request, as I have known about Richard’s experience for some time now. I chose to do very little editing on this piece because I wanted it to be real, unpolished, and as close to the original manuscript as possible. My personal thanks to Richard Moberly for his being kind and generous enough to share his personal experience and editorial remarks.] 

 

 

 

GEORGE WILL PREDICTS OBAMACARE TO BECOME SINGLE-PAYER BECAUSE OF THIS INCONVENIENT FACT by Egberto Willies

GEORGE WILL PREDICTS OBAMACARE TO BECOME SINGLE-PAYER BECAUSE OF THIS INCONVENIENT FACT by Egberto Willies

GEORGE WILL SPOKE AN INCONVENIENT TRUTH TO THE TRUMP VOTER

George Will realized that America’s health care reality means that not only is Obamacare unrepealable but that we are on our way to a single-payer system. He seemed resigned to the fact that the failed market-based health care system he wants to retain is likely dying a slow qualified death.

“Barack Obama said as a candidate that he would prefer a single-payer plan but couldn’t get there,” George Will said. “As President when they were going through the Obamacare agonies, he said, look upon Obamacare as a starter home. The beginning, the thin end of an enormous wedge heading toward that. What does Donald Trump say? ‘Single-payer works fine in Scotland.’ So I don’t see any particular animus he has as you say against a single-payer plan. And, what we’ve learned in this debate about repealing Obamacare is that the essence of Obamacare is the expansion of Medicaid. Who has benefited from that? Probably disproportionately white working-class males, Trump voters.”

I have been saying that Obamacare was designed to be a stepping stone to single-payer health care for years. It is clear that it is the only solution.

It’s about time that Conservatives come to the realization that those that benefit the most from the policies enacted by Progressives are people in the Red States. Ironically if Trump, Ryan, and their Republican cohort were successful in repealing Obamacare and instituting their draconian health care policies, their constituents would bear the brunt of the pain. While that eventuality would likely flip both the House and the Senate, it is something we cannot wish on our brothers and sisters who bought into the lie.

This is why we #resist — not only for ourselves but the country as a whole.

[The interview this piece excerpts first appeared on MSNBC and can be viewed in full by googling “George Will on Healthcare.”  Recently progressive-leaning, Trump critic George Will is a long-time, noted Conservative columnist and pundit.  This excerpt first appeared in Daily Kos and is reprinted here with permission.]

 

IS “FLIP-FLOPPING” AND LYING NOW ACCEPTABLE FOR A PRESIDENT? by Milt Hankins

IS “FLIP-FLOPPING” AND LYING NOW ACCEPTABLE FOR A PRESIDENT? by Milt Hankins

“Flip-flopping” once sounded the death knell for presidential candidates or politicians. President Donald Trump holds the record for “flip-flopping” and outright lying. It doesn’t seem to hamper his relationship with his base constituency. According to Glenn Kessler of the Washington Post, during the campaign, Trump flip-flopped so often it was impossible to determine his actual policy positions on anything. President Trump still flip-flops and lies on a regular basis!

Candidate Trump asserted many times that he would not reduce funding for Medicaid, the health-care program for the poor. He tweeted: “THE REPUBLICANS WHO WANT TO CUT SS & MEDICAID ARE WRONG.” Now, the president embraces congressional plans to replace Obamacare (ACA), changing the financing base for Medicaid to a block grant system.

In a Fox News interview (Aug. 9), Trump discussed the stock market. “If rates go up, you’re going to see something that’s not pretty. It’s all a big bubble.” Campaigning in Ohio on Sept. 5, he said: “We have a very false economy. The only thing that is strong is the artificial stock market.” Now that the stock market is reacting somewhat positively, presumably, to the Trump presidency, the president has repeatedly celebrated the continued rise of the stock market as evidence that his presidency is positively affecting the U.S. economy. (Kessler, The Washington Post)

Trump maintained that unemployment figures are “a complete fraud as evidenced by the jobless claims number.” He claimed during his campaign that the real unemployment was anywhere from 15% to 43%. He tweeted in August, 2016, the employment rate is “ONE OF THE BIGGEST HOAXES IN MODERN AMERICAN POLITICS.” Now, accepting unemployment numbers as reported, he told WH spokesperson Sean Spicer, “[unemployment statistics] may have been phony in the past, but [they’re] very real now.”

Trump often declared NATO outdated because it doesn’t cover terrorism, and, because the various countries do not pay their dues. After a meeting with NATO Secretary General Jan Stoltenberg, he changed his tune, saying it was no longer obsolete. “The secretary general and I had a productive discussion about what more NATO can do in the fight against terrorism. I complained about that a long time ago and they made a change, and now they do fight terrorism. I said it was obsolete. It’s no longer obsolete.”

Trump has frequently stated that China is a currency manipulator–as recently as ten days before he announced China is NOT a currency manipulator. He said China was a “‘world champion,’ of devaluing the yuan.” Trump flip-flopped following his meeting with China’s president in Mar-a-Lago, his posh Palm Beach, Florida resort.

 

In more than a dozen tweets in 2013 and 2014, Trump consistently opposed U.S. military action in Syria, urging then-President Barack Obama against launching air attacks on Syria for allegedly deploying chemical weapons. Trump said the United States should focus on domestic issues instead. President Trump took military action days after a chemical weapons attack in Syria, mocking Obama for inaction after declaring a “red line in the sand.” About his decision to order the airstrike [against a Syrian airbase], Trump offered no acknowledgment of his previous strong stance against such action.

RUSSIAN PRESIDENT VLADIMIR PUTIN

Does President Trump know Russian President Vladimir Putin personally? As recently as April 12, 2016 Trump claimed: “I don’t know Putin.” In November, 2015, Trump repeatedly asserted he not only knew Putin, but knew him “very well,” and that he had a “relationship” with the Russian president.

Candidate Trump stated several times that he would be in the White House essentially “all the time” since there is so much work to be done.  President Trump has spent nearly every weekend of his presidency, at tremendous taxpayer expense,  at his Mar-a-Lago estate in Florida playing golf!  

DONALD TRUMP–A LIAR!

Additionally, he is flying his wife Melania (who is a “more-or-less” First Lady) from Trump Tower in New York City along with members of his staff to Florida for the weekends.  He is holding top-level meetings with foreign leaders at Mar-a-Lago, while the White House in Washington, D.C. (which is staffed and maintained by the United States government for such purposes) stands virtually vacant.  Is the president billing the taxpayer for the use of his “winter White House?” Who knows?

These are merely a few examples. It’s difficult to know what policies, or lack thereof, are “firmed up” in President Trump’s mind. If we don’t know precisely where he stands on important policy concerns, how can we expect to be functional in our dealings with countries around the world? It is paramount that countries, and particularly adversaries, know where the United States stands while dealing with crucial questions–war and peace depend upon it!

According to a survey (April, 2017) Pulse (MSNBC) over 90% of responders agreed that violence is on the rise since Donald Trump was elected. I believe one of the reasons for this is a growing uncertainty about where we are going and what lies ahead with an administration that is becoming increasingly hawkish; while, at the same time, becoming obviously more and more unstable. Is President Donald Trump flying by the seat of his pants? We don’t know!