A PUZZLE:  HOW WELL CAN YOU CONNECT THE DOTS? by Milt Hankins

A PUZZLE: HOW WELL CAN YOU CONNECT THE DOTS? by Milt Hankins

DID YOU KNOW that despite the president and his Press Secretary Sean Spicer’s assertions, Paul Manafort played a primary role in the Trump campaign and the Republican National Convention?

TRUMP TOWER

DID YOU KNOW that Paul Manafort lived in Trump Tower before he became Trump’s campaign manager? [The Daily Beast]

DID YOU KNOW that Paul Manafort “worked for a Russian billionaire with a plan to ‘greatly benefit the Putin Government?'” [Washington, Associated Press, March 23, 2017]

DID YOU KNOW that, according to the Associated Press, Paul Manafort received millions of dollars from Russia to influence American politics and businesses? He drew no salary for his Trump campaign work. 

DID YOU KNOW that Donald Trump said that Paul Manafort “had done a great job” the day after the Republican National Convention? Did Trump know that Manafort was working for a millionaire ally of Vladimir Putin? [Trump speech]

HILLARY CLINTON SPEAKING AT THE LAST PRESIDENTIAL DEBATE

DID YOU KNOW that Roger Stone is “under investigation for what would be his dirtiest trick–colluding with the Russians to defeat Hillary Clinton and to put his friend in the White House?” [Maggie Haberman, The New York Times, March 21, 2017]

DID YOU KNOW that Carter Page, an American oil consultant and “an early foreign policy adviser to Donald J. Trump who was scrutinized by the F.B.I. on suspicion of private communications with senior Russian officials over the summer, was back in Moscow on Thursday.” [Moscow release to The New York Times, December, 2016]

DID YOU KNOW that Representative Devin Nunes (R, Calif), who is running the House Intelligence Committee on the Russian-Trump connection, was a member of President Trump’s transition team?

DID YOU KNOW that Representative Devin Nunes (R, Calif), who is running the House Intelligence Committee on the Russian influence in the 2016 election, told reporters he didn’t know who Roger Stone and Carter Page are? [Nunes interview]

DID YOU KNOW that Representative Adam Shiff, (D, Calif), a ranking member of the House Intelligence Committee’s investigation, has said publicly that “he has more than circumstantial evidence” that Trump associates colluded with Russia. [Lawrence O’Donnell program, MSNBC News, March 22, 2017]

VLADIMIR PUTIN

DID YOU KNOW that Rex Tillerson, the current Secretary of State and General Mike Flynn, who served as Donald Trump’s National Security Advisor during the transition period and for a short period after President Trump took office, had close relationships with Vladimir Putin and the Russian oligarchs? [various news reports]

STEPHEN BANNON

DID YOU KNOW that “the reclusive mastermind behind President Trump’s nationalist ideology and combative tactics, Stephen Bannon, made his public debut Thursday, delivering a fiery rebuke of the media and declaring that the new administration is in an unending battle for ‘deconstruction of the administrative state.’” [The Washington Post reporting on the Conservative Action Pac conference]

DID YOU KNOW that it is commonly known that Vladimir Putin despised Hillary Clinton and therefore wanted to influence the 2016 election to see that Ms Clinton lost the presidency to businessman Donald Trump? [MSNBC news release]

DID YOU KNOW that President Donald Trump is on record “assert[ing] his desire to draw Russia and the United States closer together as president–building on a long-established track record of Trump’s fondness for the autocratic Russian leader?” [CNN Politics article, “Donald Trump’s Praise for Vladimir Putin” by Jeremy Diamond, July 2016]

DID YOU KNOW that, while he was telling his followers that Hillary Clinton was under F.B.I. investigation,

DONALD TRUMP

Donald Trump [himself] was the subject of an F.B.I. investigation? [released during the House Intelligence Committee Investigation]

DID YOU KNOW that “The U.S. intelligence community concluded in a report released publicly on January 6th, 2017 that Russian President Vladimir Putin ordered a massive influence campaign to interfere in the presidential election in favor of Trump?” [MSN article, Max Greenwood in The Hill, March 22, 2017]

Now that you know these facts and assertions, can you connect the dots (the relationships)? Would you say that the Trump administration has some ‘splainin’ to do?

I would.

ROBERT B. REICH:  THE 15 WARNING SIGNS OF TYRANNY

ROBERT B. REICH: THE 15 WARNING SIGNS OF TYRANNY

ROBERT REICH

As a very young man Bill Clinton was on his way to college in England as a recipient of the prestigious Rhodes scholarship, and on the ship he met a very seasick and very short guy who was also going there on a Rhodes scholarship, Robert B. Reich. Bill extended himself in helping the guy because he was so sick, and they became lifelong friends.

PRESIDENT BILL CLINTON

When Bill became president he appointed Reich as Secretary of the Labor Department, for which he was eminently qualified and served very well. His has always been an insightful and iconic voice. He has written several books that sold well for nonfiction. The title of one always makes me laugh when I think of it, a book that was published not long after he left his position on the cabinet: Locked in the Cabinet (Remember, he’s very short) You gotta like a guy like that. This is something he wrote that was published very recently as an Op Ed piece in the Baltimore Sun:

1. Exaggerate their mandate to govern–claiming, for example, that they won an election by a landslide even after losing the popular vote.

2. Repeatedly claim massive voter fraud in the absence of any evidence, in order to restrict voting in subsequent elections.

3. Call anyone who opposes them “enemies.”

4. Turn the public against journalists or media outlets that criticize them, calling them “deceitful” and “scum.”

5. Hold few press conferences, preferring to communicate with the public directly through mass rallies and unfiltered statements.

6. Tell the public big lies, causing them to doubt the truth and to believe fictions that support the tyrants’ goals.

7. Blame economic stresses on immigrants or racial or religious minorities, and foment public bias and even violence against them.

8. Attribute acts of domestic violence to “enemies within,” and use such events as excuses to beef up internal security and limit civil liberties.

9. Threaten mass deportations, registries of a religious minority, and the banning of refugees with particular beliefs.

10. Seek to eliminate or reduce the influence of competing centers of power, such as labor unions and opposition parties.

11.  Appoint family members to high positions of authority and power.

12. Surround themselves with their own personal security force rather than a security detail accountable to the public.

13. Put generals into top civilian posts.

14. Make personal alliances with foreign dictators.

15. Draw no distinction between personal property and public property, profiteering from their public office.

These warning signs should be of concern to everyone, regardless of political party. In fact, historically, conservatives have been especially vigilant against potential threats to our constitutional rights.

 

[The editor of Columnist With a View received this article from a close friend who clearly documented its source in the opening paragraph. The author is, of course, Robert B. Reich.  The editor received it without a copyright imprimatur and believes the piece is being reprinted, and widely circulated, without attribution on Facebook. As a result, it is most likely now in the public domain. There is no intention here, or with person(s) involved in the circulation of this important material, to use it without appropriate citation to its author and the site of its first publication, the Op Ed page of Baltimore Sun.]

 

THEY ARE MAKING THEIR CHOICE KNOWN–WHAT’S YOUR CHOICE by Beth Rankin

THEY ARE MAKING THEIR CHOICE KNOWN–WHAT’S YOUR CHOICE by Beth Rankin

“THERE’S A DIFFERENCE BETWEEN KNOWING THE PATH AND WALKING THE PATH.” — The Matrix

Back in the late 90s I worked as an administrative assistant in the Vanderbilt Hospital office that maintained the electronic machines that go beep, among other things. One of the technicians had the opportunity to go to a training seminar out of state and was excited about that until he realized he would have to rent a car to get from the airport to the training site. (No uber or lyft in those days.) He asked if I could arrange to get the department credit card for that expense. I presented his request to the supervisor who had an interesting reaction.

He not only immediately said no, as he was wont to do anytime asked anything “nice” of him, but he then went on a demeaning rant about how anyone could be so inept with their own personal finances that they could not float a $500 expense that might take a month to get reimbursed. He not only had no understanding that not everyone he knew was as financially solvent as he was, but he had no empathetic ability to recognize times may be hard for others and what small thing he could he do to help.

As I was myself in severe financial straits at the time, dealing with a serious long term illness in the family, I could immediately understand the technician’s situation, and so, went to bat. We got the department credit card, the technician went on his training trip, and all worked out. But the message hit home. Some people are so narrow in their view of the world that they have NO ability to recognize anyone may be different. And when that different worldview is thrust upon them, they refuse to learn about it, and so more easily want to brush it under the table. Make it disappear.

Unfortunately, there are a lot of people like that supervisor. Many are in positions of authority as he was, and so exert control with little signs of benevolence. Instead, they are judgmental and their aim to make people causing them problems disappear may not be hidden well.

 Years before, sometime in the 1970s I read a book which stayed with me. Triage by Leonard C. Lewin, published in 1973, was not a best seller and is not a spellbinding page turner but it is a view of a dystopian society where the government and individual corporations make decisions that can and will cause death of “stupid” people, “old” people, “sick” people, “worthless” people.

The one story I remembered from reading forty-plus years ago was about how car manufacturers had come up with a motor that had NO unhealthy emissions and so would eliminate pollution. Sounded great as they made their presentation to what is clearly recognizable as the EPA until someone finally asked a question they were hoping would go unasked. Simply, the revolutionary motor needed to be started with a proscribed sequence and if not done correctly would blow up. The manufacturers had rejected installing a switch in the car to inhibit imperfect start-up because then they would be accepting responsibility if it failed. The bests thing they could offer is that it would only kill the driver who would be showing his lack of intelligence by not following instructions. Passengers would only be injured. The roads would then, they argued, have one less unsafe driver and so driving accident rates could be expected to decrease.

When I went to purchase the book recently to refresh my aging memory the reviews talked about how this is a libertarian viewpoint. Each person is responsible and no paternal oversight should be expected. I don’t know about that but I do know there is something very much missing in the actions described in the book.

Today we are three weeks into the new President’s administration and the view from here is one where decisions are being made without much thought about consequences. It seems like back are being scratched and the promise to clean up the government by “draining the swamp” is resulting in an exchange of self-interested people with long term experience for people who have paid for their new position and have considerably less experience and a demonstrated predominant display of self interest.

I am not inclined to buy into conspiracy theories but it is getting clear even to a Pollyanna-ish me that something stinks. We The People are not relevant to the people in power. We will be killed off by restricting health insurance, astronomically raising the price of life saving medicine for increased profits, eliminating environmental protections for water and air, allowing food to have increasing levels of potential carcinogens. Discussions about a new educational policy have not included improving work and life skills nor cognitive reasoning skills. We have been promised that rules restricting businesses will be reduced, thereby helping small business people, but the candidate to run the Labor Department has a long history showing he cares little about wages and work benefits. I fully expect more, not less regulations affecting my own business.

In addition, we are seeing the formation of a shadow administration. We have a president who has already demonstrated he is unwilling to be informed to make decisions and thereby relying on his advisers for their input. In Stephen Bannon we have a person who has a history of showing a very narrow definition of who is acceptable. His advice to the president will ONLY be in their own best interests and those of their cohorts.

The rest of us are expendable. Get ready to play. You’re in the game whether you want to be or not.

TRUMP’S TRIVIAL PURSUIT by Deborah G. Hankins

TRUMP’S TRIVIAL PURSUIT by Deborah G. Hankins

Of the many, almost uncountable mistakes Donald Trump has made in his first week in office, perhaps the most foolish is his insistence on the “three to five million” fraudulent votes cast. Anyone who knows me is aware of my belief that The Embarrassment-in-Chief has never developed rational thinking skills, but this particular folly proves that there seems to be no one around him who has them either. Perhaps someone who has these skills should make some large charts to explain the following.

DEBORAH G. HANKINS

It should be noted that state election officials, along with members of congress, state there was no voter fraud anywhere near this level.

In an interview on CNN with Chris Cuomo, Gregg Phillips stated he would have a report in several months detailing the voting irregularities. This is after saying specifically that there were three million illegal votes cast. When pushed to provide the information supporting his claim, he said he didn’t have it. When asked how he could say this without completing his research, he appeared puzzled. He evidently didn’t understand the question. At the very least, Mr. Phillips has made a rather inflammatory statement based on preliminary research which has not been completed and won’t be completed for some months. Generally, folks who write computer programs are pretty good at linear thinking, but the evidence says something different in this case.

If this claim proves not to be true, Donald Trump is going to be embarrassed that he claimed there were voting irregularities. I suspect in this case, there will simply be…no report…kind of like his providing his tax returns.

DONALD TRUMP

If the claim proves to be true, as noted by Jim Wright in his blog “Stonekettle Station,” the election is clearly not valid since there is no way to prove for whom all those three million-plus people voted. Not all Afro-American or Hispanic voters voted for Hillary, after all, so there should be SOME “illegal” votes cast for Donald Trump. Additionally, all the other elections held in November are clearly NOT valid since there were so many invalid ballots. Therefore, all elections from November 2016 will need to be declared invalid and the elections will need to be held again.

I hope someone will start working on those charts, film them, and then show them to Donald on television. That seems to be the most persuasive way to convince him.

 

THE RISKY TRADE-OFF:  HOW YOU ARE TAUGHT TO CONFORM by Beth Rankin

THE RISKY TRADE-OFF: HOW YOU ARE TAUGHT TO CONFORM by Beth Rankin

I tried to be a caring parent, providing a lot of positive messages to my kids while teaching them life lessons and tricks that would permit them to become successful adults who could participate in and contribute to society. More than once they would come home from school complaining about some rule which they considered to be inane, because it was a no-brainer as far as they were concerned.

BETH RANKIN, CEO
CAN-DO REAL FOODS

I had to tell them that many children were not being taught basic rules of community behavior that would permit them to fit in without negative consequence, so in large groups and organizations, like schools and like mother jobs in their future, there were going to be rules that might be nit-picky at best and downright rigid at worst. I also told my kids that if they didn’t know the rules in any given place just to follow my rules and they should be in good standing.

I never beat my kids. I did not like getting spanked or yelled at as a child, and I strongly disagree with any adult who feels those are the only ways to get a child to pay attention. I think if you start early enough, the teaching can be done better. The problem as I see it, is that many people do not nip a problem when it is small, and so, react in a larger way when it becomes greatly annoying. And being bigger and stronger only lasts so long with children.

ANGRY FATHER

So, in many families there is a system of uncertainty for the kids. They do what they want and  then boom!–they are punished. For many of those people, as they grow up, they like knowing the rules. They feel safer when there are rules. They like having someone give them strict boundaries for behavior that will keep them out of trouble.

Until they don’t like it. And then they have no way to work through it. They have been taught to conform, to swallow any impulse to think differently. So, if annoyed by the power above them, they tend to strike at those they consider weaker. And so the cycle is perpetuated.

Right now we have a large segment of the U.S. population who seem to like the idea of a strong leader who makes pronouncements instead of working with others. In fact, many people are confused with the marches and protests that have been happening since they perceive no threat to their own small world. Why is it some of us perceive a threat when others are unconcerned? It can not simply be that we are smarter but perhaps we read more and remember history better than others. Perhaps that reading and learning hasw helped us to recognize the clues of starting problems before they get really large.

We are also seeing many other nations leaning towards a conservative government; in fact, it is interesting to note that the one liberal government that exists in a major European nation right now is Germany. Perhaps their own experience with a fascist dictator taught them all they need to know.

Let’s hope that the lesson America is about to learn does not have a similar high a price to pay.

[Beth Rankin is an entrepreneur par excellence, mother, wife (to Graham Rankin, a retired professor), blogger, and writer who lives in McMinnville, Oregon. She is the CEO of her own successful company which processes, preserves, and moves foods from farm to table.  Beth’s own blog is at: www.goingplaceslivinglife.wordpress.com.  Please go to Beth’s website and subscribe for many first-hand articles that we do not re-print.  We are very grateful to Beth for allowing us to expose our readership to her efforts.]