Author Archives: Grandpa T

Retirement and Politics…..Bad for Your Health?

Being retired definitely has its advantages.  I can play video games any time I want….and in my pajamas!  I can go days without shaving.  I get ‘old fart’ discounts at restaurants.  I can watch anything I want on television, anytime I want.  Vacations aren’t a problem…we can go whenever and wherever we please.  We just need to make a withdrawal from the grandkids college funds. Voila!  We’re sailing in the Caribbean!

But, alas, there are some disadvantages.  For instance, If Grandma P and I did not have doctors appointments, we would not have a social life.  In that regard, it sucks to get old.  Another disadvantage is that Grandma P knows she can shame me into doing any repair work around the house, any time it needs to be done.  In her eyes, I am a ‘handy man’ available 24/7.  Change that light bulb.  Mow that yard.  Paint those faded lawn ornaments.  You get the drift.

But there is one really, really big disadvantage about being retired.  As I am doing the fun things I want to do, usually in my office, usually with the television on, I get to watch all the political machinations that are taking place in Washington, D.C.  I get to watch the daily press briefings.  I get to watch any congressional fact finding commissions or panels.  And, as a result, I have noticed two things.  Firstly, how stupid most of the reporters are at the press briefings and how stupid most of our elected officials really are.  Secondly, it is obvious that most politicians are not concerned about what is best for our country.  They are far more concerned about pandering to their political base (whatever that is!) and getting reelected.

As I am writing this blog, the government is approaching its third day of shutdown.  A very unnecessary, dangerous shutdown.  As a former business owner, there were times, because of the economic environment, when I had to expand or contract my work force.  It is logical that I would want to hire the best most productive people possible.  It is also logical that in times of contraction, I would release the least productive people.  So, how is it that the people, in this case the Congress of the United States, that are responsible for this shutdown are the only people exempt from the ramifications of the shutdown?  I think their paychecks should be the first casualties of a shutdown!  Just sayin’.

Our country is currently facing many challenges.  The war in Afghanistan.  The federal budget.  North Korea has not gone away.  The wall.   Dreamers.  Illegal immigration.  And now, we have a government shutdown.

My frustration grows…..

A couple of weeks ago, much media attention was given to Donald Trump allegedly referring to Haiti as a ‘shithole.’  Many people attending this meeting said that the POTUS did not say this.  The POTUS stated he did not say it.  The one person who got the press was Senator Dick Durbin (D) from Illinois. (Nothing is sacred or secret in our government if the slightest tinge of political gain can be gotten.)  So this issue became a political hot potato.  It got better.  There was a Senate Judicial Hearing concerning Homeland Security.  You know these Homeland Security people, they are responsible for  everything about public security in the U.S., including TSA, Immigration, border security,  cyber security, the Secret Service, etc.  During this hearing with the Secretary of Homeland Security, Kirstjen Neilsen; Senator Cory Booker (D) New Jersey, decided that rather than asking pertinent questions about the public security of our country, he would go into a tirade about how he cried when he heard the purported remarks the POTUS made about Haiti from Dick Durbin.  He passed up his opportunity to better our country to pander to his constituents. After all, Cory Booker has never met a television camera he did not like.  (This is not an uncommon trait among senators!)

I have to admit, when this story first broke about what the POTUS said, I was a little perplexed.  But then I had to fall back on common sense.  I had to consider the source.  In this case, this was the same Dick Durbin that was quoted as saying we need to cease using the term, ‘chain immigration’ because it reminds the black race that their ancestors came to America in chains. Say what?  Are you kidding me?  If that is the case, then there should be marching and burning in protest to the term, ‘ minority whip.’  That is the person from the minority party in the House of Representatives that is tasked with keeping the party members in line with the party platform by supporting the platform with their vote.  In this case, the minority whip would be a Democrat.   I digress.  (Dick Durbin’s analogy is absolutely stupid.)

I wish that the POTUS  would not use the term ‘shithole’ when referring to a third world shithole like Haiti.  It upsets people and creates liberal press fodder, even though it is a spot-on descriptive.  Haiti has had billions of dollars poured into it, without any benefit to the common people.  Where did the money go?   I don’t really care if Trump said it or not, as I know that Haiti is a shithole because it is the only country in the Caribbean that Grandma P and I have not visited in our 20 cruises throughout the area.  If it were anything else, it would be a port of call.  (We have been to the Dominican Republic numerous times at the other end of Hispaniola.  It is beautiful!)  What concerns me is that a US senator turned a serious Senate Judicial hearing into a carnival sideshow.  All of this because another US senator decided to mow political hay with the purported description used by Trump.

Frustration building…..  (1.  Take a deep breath.  2.  Paint some faded lawn ornaments!)

How about the political circus surrounding the government shutdown itself?  95% of the Republicans voted for the funding measure to fund the government, effectively ending the shutdown.  95% of the Democrats voted against the funding measure and initiated a filibuster to halt the vote in the senate.  The Democrats want the funding of our nations military and security apparatuses to go unpaid while they are wanting a full amnesty for the ‘dreamers.’  You know who the ‘dreamers’ are.  They are the children brought into the US by their illegal immigrant parents.  But the Democrats want to take it further.  They want citizenship for the ‘dreamers’ as well as their parents who illegally entered this country.  But, with the assistance of an all-too-willing liberal media, the Democrats are blaming the POTUS and the Republicans for the shutdown.  Hopefully, most people in America are smart enough to see through this.

Speaking of the media, you should have watched the news conference about the president’s health.  The examining doctor was kept on the podium for over an hour because of some of the dumbest questions you would ever want to hear.  How can you say he is physically fit?  How can you say he is mentally acute?  How can you say he is physically fit when he eats cheeseburgers?  (As do 300 million other Americans!)   Apparently these people are of the belief that if you ask the same question four times, the answer may change.  Not likely.  Many press briefings follow this same, repetitive scenario.

(Where is the President’s doctor when I need him!  Blood pressure..up!   Heart rate..rising!  OMG!  I ate a cheeseburger last week!  I’m a goner!)

Did you know that five representatives are not attending the State of the Union Address because they claim that Trump is a racist.  Is that how you want your representative to represent you?   What kind of respect and cooperation can these five people expect in Congress, when they don’t show any respect for others.  These people may be loud, and brash, and get reelected, but they will not get much legislation passed that will benefit your legislative area as other Congressmen will not show respect and cooperation for them.

So I have a challenge for my retired friends.  Please take time to observe a weeks worth of White House press briefings.  Observe the stupidity of the press corps and their questions.  You will be astonished.  For those still working, I am sure you can tape these briefings and watch at night.  They do provide some of the best entertainment on television.

My second challenge is for everyone to make an attempt at observing your federally elected officials at work.  There is no question that some of these people are brilliant and have the best interest of our country at heart.  There is also no question that some of them are egocentric, stupid, and are more concerned about reelection than results.  I have pointed out a couple, but you can make your own judgement.

I get so upset about the maneuvering that is taking place to create shutdowns, belittle the President’s physical condition, belittle the President’s mental condition, and basically ‘stonewalling’ anything that is positive for this country that I have to turn off my television.  Are these the people you want to represent you?  Observe your politicians at work.  You may be surprised  how they represent you.

(Shut off the television.  Heart rate…declining.  Blood pressure…normal.) 

Well, its rainy and dreary outside.  Time for a nap.  Ah. yes.  The advantages of being retired.

Sexual Harassment. The New ‘Political Weapon of Choice?’

As a child, did you ever go into the deep end of a pool, when you knew it was wrong?  We all have experienced the reckless sense of adventure at one time in our lives, and that is what I am experiencing as I write this blog.

As I reflect on 2017, I am intrigued and concerned that the new ‘political weapon of choice,’ is the accusation of sexual harassment.  Oh, don’t get me wrong, there are definitely some first class slime balls in this world that use their position and authority, such as Harvey Weinstein.  But are there innocent people being accused?  And what the heck entails sexual harassment anyway?  Does it involve physical actions or can it be words?  So here I am, Grandpa T, wading into the deeper water without my pink and lime green water wings.

One of my concerns about the subject of ‘sexual harassment’ is that it can be almost indefensible if you are accused of sexual harassment.  Let me provide a scenario.  Accuser: “I was subjected to sexual harassment from my boss at my workplace.  Response: “Why didn’t you report this?”  Accuser:  “I was afraid I would lose my job.”  Whether it be true or not, how does the accused defend themselves against such an accusation?  No witnesses.  No proof.  But the accusation itself receives the prominence of a verdict without a trial.  This is especially so in today’s over-reactive society.

The first person that set the stage for sexual harassment was our POTUS, Donald Trump.  If you remember, during the Republican primaries, about a dozen women jumped on the bandwagon and accused Donald Trump of sexual harassment.  What was intriguing about these accusations was that they all were within about 36 hours, and they were made only when it appeared Donald was a viable candidate to receive the Republican nomination.  Donald’s response?  After denying the accusations, he said he would sue each and every accuser. (When you are a billionaire, you can afford such things!)  The result?  The accusers disappeared…almost miraculously!  Hmmmm.

But now, Trump did receive the Republican nomination.  So, the media had to jump into the sexual harassment foray.   The Washington Post, one month before the November election, released a 2005 video of Donald Trump discussing his ‘lewd treatment of women.’  Admittedly, Donald did shoot his mouth off when he said that, “if you grab a woman by her xxxxx, you can get anything you want.”  Lewd?  Absolutely!  Sexual Harassment?  I’m not so sure.  Doesn’t sexual harassment involve the occurrence of an actual physical act?  The reason why I mention this, is that in my lifetime, I have had occasion to be in a locker room or two.  The conversations in those locker rooms seldom were about such subjects as global warming, world peace or balancing the federal budget.  They were usually about the physical attributes of the opposite sex, the desire to be able to study those attributes more closely, or the desire to initiate contact with those physical attributes.  All kinds of ‘locker room’ talk, but no action.  Is that sexual harassment? (Does this kind of talk not take place in female gatherings?  Why are the Chippendale’s so popular?)

A couple of weeks ago, on her NBC morning show, Megyn Kelly had a program interviewing women about  sexual harassment.  I caught part of that program.  One of her guests spent an inordinately amount of boring time relating that she had been ‘ogled’ in the workplace.  Ogled?  Are you kidding me?  So let me get this straight.  This woman thought that because of the way men look at her, she is being sexually harassed?  Call me old-fashioned, call me ignorant, but in all the days I have walked on planet Earth, I thought women wanted to be noticed by men.  If you are married and your wife just gets back from having her hair and nails done, what do you think you are having for dinner if you don’t notice said hair and nails and make a positive comment about the beautiful results of those treatments?  I’m smart enough to know where my bread is buttered as I always notice and make a positive comment that is always appreciated by Grandma P.  My personal Grandpa T theory is that if women did not want to be noticed, they would all dress like the Amish!  I have never been accused of sexual harassment, by any woman, when I commented on how lovely they looked, how nice their hair looked, or the beauty of her dress.  I was thanked every time.

2017 has become a milestone year for the accusations of sexual harassment as the ‘political weapon of choice.’  Look at all the men who have fallen from grace this year.  Representative John Conyers of Michigan, Senator Al Franken of Minnesota, and senate candidate Roy Moore of Alabama have all been in the cross-hairs of sexual harassment accusations.  Each of the circumstances for these three men are different.

John Conyers is the most interesting in that he has been a Congressman for over 50 years.  He was the first black person to achieve this goal.  But, one of his staffers accused him of sexual harassment, and was paid a $27,000 settlement with the use of public funds.  A second accuser came forth, and after an investigation by the House Ethics Committee, it was determined that these accusers, plus sexual harassment allegations by others, were true.  The Democrats in Congress withdrew their support and called for his resignation.  He resigned on December 5.

I am not exactly sure of what Republican senatorial candidate Roy Moore did in Alabama.  During Moore’s election campaign for the Senate, a total of nine women accused Moore of inappropriate sexual or social conduct.  Three of the women said they had been sexually assaulted by Moore when they were aged 14, 15, and 28.  The other six described him pursuing a romantic relationship with them while he was in his 30s and they were as young as 16, (the age of consent in Alabama) but said there had not been any inappropriate sexual contact.  I find a couple of disturbing items about the Roy Moore affair.  Firstly, Roy Moore had been in 8 previous elections in Alabama.  Why did these accusations not surface at an earlier election?  Secondly, these accusations were made 40 years after the events occurred.  Should there be some kind of ‘statute of limitations’ on sexual harassment accusations?  Don’t think for one minute that I am defending Roy Moore.  I am not and I am glad he lost even though I would have appreciated a different Republican candidate in the race.

But my favorite victim of sexual harassment allegations is that mental giant from Minnesota, Senator Al Franken.  Al has a distinction among the disgraced and fallen that the others do not….proof.  Lots and lots of pictures as proof.  Forgetting that he was no longer a writer on Saturday Night Live, and was a U.S Senator, Al thought it would be hilarious to have a picture taken with his hands cupped over the breasts of a sleeping beauty while on a USO tour.  Now there is a display of class!  After this picture became public, more accusers came forth describing how he grabbed their buttocks while having their pictures taken with him at the Minnesota State Fair.  After that admission, numerous other accusers have come forth.  Apparently, Al had roaming hands and an inquisitive tongue.  He has appropriately resigned the Senate, and will be replaced on January 2 by the female Lt. Governor from Minnesota.  In a resignation speech that contained no apology and absolutely no remorse for his actions, the fallen Senator took the podium to point out the faults of the POTUS.  Apparently, Mensa Al was drug-addled during the Bill Clinton administration.

Most of these guys got what they deserved.  But that still does not adequately define sexual harassment.  Should a woman be required to tolerate unwanted ‘touchy feely?’  Absolutely not! (I am being sexist here, and assuming all victims are female.)   And I would believe that a stern verbal warning would stop 95% of the men in their tracks.  The other 5%, as repeating offenders need their faces slapped!  A woman always has the option of reporting the harassment.  If it cannot be reported to the boss (because he is the accused!), report it to the authorities.  With the temperament of intolerance in today’s society, the authorities will definitely get involved.

The real gray area in the sexual harassment equation is the unwanted verbal harassment.  Are words really harassment?  The receiver may not appreciate the words, but at least there is no physical contact.  My advice?  Refer to the paragraph immediately above.

Does sexual harassment exist?  Absolutely!  I am concerned that it has become the ‘political weapon of choice.’  There seem to be no time limits, as witnessed in the Roy Moore case.  It seems to appear when it is politically convenient and makes the most impact, such as for Roy Moore and Donald Trump.  And, the accusation itself can have the prominence of guilt without trial. All of these items make it the perfect ‘political weapon of choice.’

There you have it for 20017.  I completed two grueling laps around the pool after I found my pink and lime green water wings.  Should I be concerned when I caught Grandma P attempting to pull the air plug?

PS:  Happy New Year everyone!  May everyone have a healthy and prosperous year.  Yesterday, on the anniversary of my blog, I received over 200,000 additional unique hits over the last year.  Thank you for allowing me to indulge in my hobby.

Get Off Your Knees and Honor Your Country!

Next weekend, our country will again be commemorating Veterans Day.  Yes, November 11 is once again upon us.  Most everyone knows why the holiday is celebrated on November 11.  World War I hostilities ended on the 11th day of the 11th month at 11:00 AM in the year 1918.  An armistice was finally reached and recognized the ending of a war that truly had countries from most every continent involved.

On November 11, 1919, President Woodrow Wilson issued a message to his countrymen on the first Armistice Day.  It was a passionate speech about what was sacrificed in order to win that war.  But Veterans Day did not begin in 1919, as a matter of fact, neither did Armistice Day.  The United States Congress adopted a resolution on June 4, 1926, requesting that President Calvin Coolidge issue annual proclamations calling for the observance of November 11 with appropriate ceremonies.  But…A Congressional Act finally approved on May 13, 1938, made the 11th of November in each year a legal holiday: “a day to be dedicated to the cause of world peace and to be thereafter celebrated and known as ‘Armistice Day.”  So there you have it.  The war ended in 1918, a speech was made in 1919, a recommendation was made for celebration in 1926, and finally, yes, finally it was made a national holiday in 1938.  (19 years, and we want tax cuts by Christmas!  I digress)

(William Armstrong, James Calhoun, John Chavis, Samuel Jefferson)

But another large scale happening occurred, which ultimately became known as World War II.    In 1945, a veteran from Alabama, Raymond Weeks, had the idea to expand Armistice Day to celebrate all veterans, not just those who died in World War I.  He took his idea to then General Dwight Eisenhower.  Again, with the speed of a snail, it took until May 26, 1954 for a bill to be signed which would recognize all veterans, from both world wars on Armistice Day.  But just days later, on June 1, 1954, Congress amended the bill replacing ‘Armistice Day’ with ‘Veterans Day,’ and it has been know as Veterans Day since.

Regardless of what we call the November 11 holiday, we Americans oftentimes forget about the sacrifices that have been made to protect this great nation.  For instance, during World War I, America lost 63,100 people in combat fighting in Europe.  Thus the origination of the holiday.  In World War II, 419,400 American service people lost their lives defending this nation in particular, but also protecting the world from the tyranny of the Axis Powers.  During both World Wars,  American men and women were killed.   People representing  all the races living in the United States were also killed.  For informational purposes, 36,516 American lives were lost fighting in the Korean Conflict.  Viet Nam was responsible for 58,209 American lives lost.  All of the Islamic terroristic fighting that has taken place in Iraq, Afghanistan and in other countries where we are attempting to wipe out Islamic terrorism have accounted for about 9000 lost American lives.  If you are a ‘big picture’ person, let it be known that since our initial fight for independence for Britain in 1775, it is estimated that over 1,354,600 people have lost their lives to defend (and create) this country.

(Maurice Esters, Samuel Foreman, Joseph Gordon, Oscar Hutton)

So, in recognition of this very special day, Veterans Day, I would like to recognize one amazing group of people for their heroics and actions during World War II.  This particular group was a unit within the Army Air Corps.  To best describe the unit, let me relate their war accomplishments:

  1.  1578 combat missions, 1267 for the Twelfth Air Force, 311 for the Fifteenth Air Force
  2.  179 bomber escort missions, losing bombers on only seven missions and a total of only 27,    compared to an average of 46 among other 15th Air Force P-51 groups
  3.   112 enemy aircraft destroyed in the air, another 150 on the ground and 148 damaged
  4.   950 rail cars, trucks and other motor vehicles destroyed (over 600 rail cars)
  5.   One destroyer put out of action, 40 boats and barges destroyed.

This unit was not without recognition.  During its wartime experience, it received the following awards and decorations:

  1.  Three Distinguished Unit Citations
  2.   One Silver Star
  3.   96 Distinguished Flying Crosses to 95 Airmen
  4.   14 Bronze Stars
  5.   744 Air Medals
  6.   8 Purple Hearts

(Charles Johnson, Samuel Leftenant, Andrew Maples, James L. McCullin)

Have you figured out which unit I am describing?  I am sure that some of my military history friends have already figured it out, but let me be more descriptive.  I am describing the 99th Pursuit Squadron, the 99th Fighter Squadron, and the 332nd Fighter Group with its three Fighter Squadrons, the 99th, 100th and 301st Fighter Squadrons.  There you have it!  Still no recognition?  What if I were to tell you that these were the units of the Tuskegee Airmen, the all black aviators of World War II.  They were also known as the ‘Red Tails’ because of the distinctive red on their rudders and on the red stripes on the  noses of their airplanes.  Now do you know who they were?

This was a truly remarkable unit.  In all, 992 black pilots were trained in Tuskegee from 1941-1946.   355 of these pilots were deployed overseas, and 84 lost their lives in accidents or combat.  The toll included 68 pilots killed in action or accidents, 12 killed in training and non-combat missions and 32 captured as prisoners of war.

What makes these people exceptional, other than their war fighting skills, is that the Tuskegee Airmen were the first African-American military aviators in the United States Armed Forces.  During World War II, black Americans in many US states were still subject to the Jim Crow laws and the American military was racially segregated, as was much of the federal government.  The Tuskegee Airmen were subjected to discrimination, both within and outside the army.  And yet, they volunteered to defend this country and defeat the tyranny of the Axis Powers.

So let me put this in a clearer perspective.  These people, from this unit were considered second class citizens, they were discriminated against on a daily basis, and yet they gladly volunteered to fight for the United States and die for a country that had not treated them the best it could.  But yet, they were on their knees to God, and on their feet, at attention, saluting the flag.

Where has this country gone wrong?  We have black and white over-indulged athletes taking a knee during the playing of the national anthem.  We have rap artists with album covers showing the death of the POTUS.  Yet, there is not one of these black entertainers or black athletes that ever, ever faced the discrimination that was prevalent during World War II and what the Tuskegee Airmen faced.  So, for clarification I need to ask the question that is on the minds of most Americans……“What the hell is your beef?”  Can you verbalize it, as I have not heard an intelligent answer.  And, if as I suspect, you cannot verbalize your beef, my next question is. “What the hell is your problem?”

I keep hearing this gibberish about the lack of respect.  If that is truly what this whole little charade is about, let me be perfectly clear about expressing the thoughts of the majority of Americans:

  1.  Americans love fun and games and entertainment.  We especially love them because they provide us with a diversion from our everyday lives.  It is our way of ‘taking a trip without leaving the farm.’  We do not want the people who provide us with this entertainment to begin using their platform to advance some cockamamie  form of political correctness, social injustice, or advancing some b.s. political message or cause.
  2.  Don’t think for one nanosecond that your disrespect for our flag, our anthem, our country and the people who protect it is going to garner one drop of respect for whatever your cause may be.  If your cause is to irritate and piss off the American public that pays your exorbitant salary…you have succeeded.  We do not think of you as geniuses.  You are entertainers, and very disrespectful at that!  You not only exhibit disgrace for this country, but for your ancestors that have made the ultimate sacrifice.  Your ability to run off at the mouth has been paid for by their blood.
  3. If you need to demonstrate your opinions, do it on your own time.  Your employer does not need to support your negative behavior.

I highlighted the accomplishments of the Tuskegee Airmen because of what they did and the adversity they faced in realizing these accomplishments.  I have the utmost respect for these honorable men.   I  respect and revere all of those individuals that have placed their lives at risk to protect this great nation.

The best advice I have heard lately?  “It is time for this nation to stand at attention in front of the flag, and to take a knee in front of God.”  Veterans Day gives us this opportunity.

Oh, I almost forgot.  Those names that are placed between the paragraphs?  Those are names of Tuskegee Airmen that made the ultimate sacrifice fighting for our great nation.  Those NFL knee takers would be wise to crack open a history book and really learn what duty, honor, and country meant to the real heroes, under the most adverse circumstances.

God Bless America and those people who have protected it, past and present.

(PS.  There have been calls for an NFL boycott next weekend.  You knee benders may just be surprised when America demonstrates its disdain for your actions.   Maybe you will get the message when NFL revenues decline….along with your privileged salary.)

How Deep Is That Swamp?

Stop the presses!  Man the ramparts!  Fill the moats!  Double up the manpower on the ‘Clinton Suicide Prevention’ hotline!

Frankly, I am concerned about the psychological condition of the the Hillary Clinton supporters that have now found out that the Russians did not assist Donald Trump on the way to the presidency.  Could Hillary actually have lost the election for other reasons?  I am concerned about the psychological mental imbalance that the 50 million liberal wonks, who are now clutching their teddy bears for comfort,  must now be suffering because of her defeat.  And…..there is even talk that Hillary may indeed have been the person colluding with the Russians!  Could this get any worse?  How could this possibly be?  But never fear.  I, Grandpa T, am going to attempt to talk you down from your precipice of despair.

Let us take a trip down memory lane.  In 1992, the United States elected a POTUS named William Jefferson Clinton.  He was charming.  He received an overwhelming amount of female votes because of his appeal over his competitors.  (George H.W. Bush in 1992,  Bob Dole in 1996)  And, as later proved, he had the morality of a snake.  Yes, Bill decided to take up with a White House intern, and their affair became public.  But , Bill, being the power seeking cur that he was, lied about the affair just prior to the upcoming reelection campaign of 1996.  “I did not have relations with that  woman.”  And, you liberal wonks, decided that your man just could not be lying like a cheap rug, and decided that because ‘boys will be boys’, you reelected him.  Later, Bill was charged with being a sexual predator.  More importantly, he was required to pay, as a result of a court case, damages to one or more of his victims.  But during all of this, while he should have been impeached, his loving wife, Hillary, stood by her man.  And, because a better script could not have been written by the National Enquirer or by Hollywood, she was regarded as the ever dutiful wife.  As her reward for supporting Bill (and to maintain power), Hillary ran, and won a senate seat in a state she never lived in, New York.  Hillary lamented the fact that on the day that they left the White House, they were broke.  Small wonder, because that’s what sexual predator settlements do to your net worth.

I must interject at this point, that in my entire business career, if someone has deplorable morals regarding their personal lives, they very often have these same morals with their business life.  I digress.

Because of book deals and exorbitant speech fees, the Clintons’ made a quick financial recovery.  In 1997, they founded the Clinton Foundation.  This foundation is headquartered in New York City, but any donations funded to the organization go through Canada.  The reason is because Canada has laws protecting the identity of anyone contributing to the foundation, both foreign and domestic.  After being sanitized, the funds are then forwarded to New York.

So, during the same election that George W. Bush was elected in the fall of 2000, Hillary was elected to her first term as a U.S. Senator from New York.  She was reelected in 2006.

Now the presidential election of the fall of 2008 rolls around, and Hillary believes that she is finally going to get her shot at becoming POTUS.  But…no…this upstart named Barrack Obama, a relative unknown politician receives the Democratic nomination.  Why?  Because every political poll at that time showed that she would lose the election, regardless of the Republican challenger.  So the DNC made a bold and desperate move and nominated Obama.  After his win, Obama appointed Hillary as the Secretary of State.  As it turned out, a very nice consolation prize for supporting him during the election campaign.  The Clinton’s kept their fingers in the political power pie!

I have to backtrack and say that for the purposes of intrigue, the next part of this article should be held to last.  It would provide for a dramatic ending.   But for the purposes of accurate chronological portrayal, it needs to be discussed next.

During Hillary’s tenure as Secretary of State, somehow the Obama administration decided it would be a wise decision to sell Russia 20% of our enriched uranium reserves.  This occurred in 2010.  Perhaps you have heard about it recently as it is dominating the news?  Now I will admit that in 2010, I wondered, as a concerned citizen, why we would sell enriched uranium to a questionable Russian entity.  Why would Congress allow such a transaction to take place?   Well, part of my wonderment has recently been fulfilled when it was reported that this transaction took place because they bypassed Congress.  A decision of that magnitude, with worldwide implication made without Congressional approval!

So why, dear readers and liberal wonks, was this transaction allowed to take place?  And…more importantly, what did Russia do with that enriched uranium.  Let me assist both the liberal and conservative readers by attempting to talk you off the precipice of despair.  The ‘why’ portion of this ordeal is easy.  It was done for MONEY!  Lots and lots of money!  Some in the form of kickbacks, and some in the form of $140 million contributions from Russia to the Clinton Foundation.  In the meantime,  Bill was receiving exorbitant fees for 20 minute speeches in Russia.  Let me interject that the scab is just now being torn off this wound.  The number of people involved, the members of the past administration involved, and the amount of monies being involved will blow your mind once this has been investigated.  We are talking billions!  And the Clinton’s are in this up to there necks as Hillary was deeply involved in this transaction occurring.

One question not being asked is, ‘what did Russia do with the enriched uranium?‘  Now the official response from this whole can of worms is that they would sell the enriched uranium back to the United States.  Does that make sense?  Why would our country buy back what we already own.  Here is my fear, and for once I hope I am wrong.  What if Russia sold this enriched uranium to Iran?  What if Russia sold it to North Korea.  There are billions of dollars at stake here, and our country delivered $1 billion to Iran, in cash, during the Obama administration.  Would this not be treason of the highest magnitude?  Could Iran or North Korea use our own uranium to attack us or our allies?  If so, there should be people in prison.

Now we get to the 2016 elections.  Hillary’s time has come.  She and the DNC decided to undermine Bernie Sander’s election campaign.  But, what the hell, Hillary deserves to win regardless of the cost.  But the upstart Trump needs a political haircut.  Enter…..Fusion GPS.  Ah yes.  Fusion GPS is a company founded in 2011 in, of all places, Swamp Central, also know as Washington, D.C.  Their primary business is opposition research.  They will research a political opponent for a fee.  One of their first targets?  Mitt Romney.  If they do not find any dirt worthy of a good smear campaign, they will make dirt up.  Then they will hire some down and out reporter or author to submit the recently fertilized dirt to a media source.  There are no shortage of media sources that will publish fiction as fact, especially if it is against a Conservative or against the POTUS.   Of course, the article will be submitted stating that it was thoroughly researched and investigated.

So now, we find out that the Trump dossier, that damning piece of evidence that has triggered all kinds of investigations into Trump’s alleged ties with the Russians, is more fictitious than ‘Alice in Wonderland.’  And who paid the $9 million to Fusion GPS for this great work of fiction?  These guys received their payments from the DNC and the Clinton Campaign Committee.

This little dust-up, much like the enriched uranium scandal, are just beginning to surface.  All kinds of election laws were broken because of this.  And now, we have Robert Mueller and his hired team of 17 attorneys, investigating alleged ties between Trump and Russia, based on a fictitious piece of literature generated by Fusion GPS.  Did I mention that Robert Mueller was Director of the FBI during the Russian uranium purchase?  This investigation is going to cost the taxpayers millions, and who should pay for that?  I think the Clinton’s should pay for the whole damn thing.

Another very disturbing fact that has surfaced during this Fusion GPS affair, is that the CIA  and FBI took this garbage as fact, and consequently were granted wire-tap privileges of Trump because of it.  How frickin’ incompetent are these organizations?  If our two primary intelligence agencies can’t separate fact from fiction, our country is in a world of hurt.

So for my liberal wonks that need to come to a logical, analytical stage of emotional fulfillment as to why Hillary lost the election, grab your teddy bear tighter and let me offer the following:

  1.  Bill and Hillary have always been about money,
  2.  Bill and Hillary have always been about power, because power equates to money.
  3.  Bill and Hillary do not care one bit about average American Joe.  They hob nob with celebrities with money, not the working people in Wisconsin.
  4. Hillary spent over $1 billion on her election campaign.  Where did that money come from?
  5. Lying and declaring ignorance are not uncommon to Bill and Hillary. (Or the DNC.)
  6. Neither have been forthcoming about their personal lives.  Don’t expect anything better in their political lives.
  7. Hillary is not  a likable person.
  8. When in doubt as to the Clinton motivation, refer to 1 and 2.

So in the spirit of easing your troubled minds about Hillary’s loss in the last election, here is my soothing, conciliatory advice for you and your teddy bear, “Sorry.  But your candidate sucked!”

It is obvious from the recent events that draining the swamp is going to take bigger equipment and more equipment.  Many people believe that Donald Trump is brash and unreasonable.  I am beginning to think he has the patience of Job.  If I were him, I would immediately terminate any of the Obama strap hangers that have proven to be incompetent, non-trustworthy, or colluding to halt any progress for his administration or are attempting to cover-up the numerous transgressions of the past administration.  Make America Great Again!

We Defeated the Communists, and Then We Became Them!

My oh my!  Recently, there has been no shortage of world-wide events that have distracted our government from taking care of domestic issues.  There was hurricane Harvey, hurricane Irma, and now, once again tearing through the Caribbean, hurricane Maria.  These were catastrophic to the United States, and they totally destroyed some small Caribbean countries.   Last week, there was a ‘bucket bomb’ that exploded in a London subway.  And, much like an infant with a broken rattle, we can always count on Kim Jong-un to fire another missile anytime he thinks he is not getting enough attention on the world stage.

Because of these major events, not much attention has been given to our domestic problems. Obama Care has not been repealed or replaced.  The tax codes have not been revised.  And, have you recently heard any news referring to the federal budget?  This got me to wondering.  How is the federal government currently spending our money?  It is our money, isn’t it?  More importantly, how has the government spent our money in the past?  So, as a matter of personal interest, I have decided to compare our 2016 federal budget to the 50 year earlier, 1966 federal budget.  This was not an accidental choice, as I graduated from high school as a wet-behind-the-ears, know-it-all eighteen year old in 1966.  And, yes, I can still muster up enough memory to remember the era.  Let me set the stage.

1966

1966 was just over 20 years after the completion of WWII.  There were no shortage of veterans from that war.  They were our parents.  We fought an on-going war in Korea.  Because of what was called the ‘domino theory’ we sent military advisors to a country called South Viet Nam.  Eisenhower began this program, Kennedy expanded it, and Lyndon Johnson turned Saigon into the  twenty-third largest American city.  Little did we know in 1966 that Viet Nam would ultimately cost us over 57,000 American lives.

Our WWII ally, Russia, was now our dreaded enemy.  They became the USSR (Union of Soviet Socialist Republics), which was comprised of Russia and all the countries it decided to keep in its ‘sphere of influence’ after WWII.  The majority joined unwillingly by the use of Russian military force. We had NATO, and the USSR had the Warsaw Pact.  They built the Berlin wall and shot anyone that tried to cross it.  Winston Churchill dubbed this policy of isolation as the ‘Iron Curtain.’

In 1962, we had a little dust-up in the Caribbean called the Cuban Missile Crisis.  The USSR wanted to install nuclear warheads and missiles in Cuba.  US versus USSR.  Kennedy versus Khruschev. Good versus evil.  Eagle versus the bear.  Democracy versus communism.  According to all historical accounts, it was the closest the world has come to a nuclear holocaust.

In 1963, Kennedy was assassinated.  (I was hoping I would find out who was responsible before I died, but time is running out!)

On the domestic front, the ‘baby boomers’ were entering the workforce.  As a high school graduate, there were three life choices available:  go to college, get a job, or get drafted.  That was pretty much it.  The economy was booming because there was a war to fuel it.  Just about anyone that wanted a job had a job.  As eighteen year olds, we could not wait to move away from home and become independent.  We never moved back home.

With these events as a background, how did our government spend our money?  Our GDP in 1966 was $4.12T.  The total government receipts were $689B.  Our total outlays were $708B.  (Yes!  We dealt in billions and not trillions!)  Our deficit that year was $19.5B.  Ah yes, don’t you long for the good old days now?  42% of all revenues came from individual income taxes.  Payroll taxes accounted for 20% and corporate taxes accounted for 23% of revenues.

On the spending side, 43% of all funds were spent on national defense.  But here is the biggie….medicare and general health spending was only 2% of the budget that year.  Spending on social security, unemployment and labor in 1966 was about 23% of all outlays.

In raw numbers, the Dept. of Defense got $298B, Health and Human Services got $30.1B, Social Security Administration got $109B, Treasury got $61.9B and NASA got $31.2B.  The Treasury received their money largely to pay the interest on our $1.74T national debt.  Of course there are other departments, but these are the largest and pertinent to this blog.

2016

Now we fast forward 50 years to 2016, the last year of the Obama budget.  There were only two budgets put forth by the Obama admistration in his eight years as POTUS.  Harry Reed, the senate majority leader, promised not to bring a budget to the senate floor and the ‘gatekeeper from hell’ kept his word.  In 2016, the government took in $2.99T in tax revenues.  (Yes, we got to the trillions!) 49% of these revenues came from individual income taxes.  Payroll taxes accounted for 33% and corporate taxes accounted for 9% of total revenues.  The national debt now exceeds $16.7T!

The sources of revenue did not change substantially in 50 years.  But how the revenues have been spent have significantly changed.  Remember that the defense department accounted for 43% of the 1966 budget?  Well, even with all the shenanigans going on with terrorism and wars, the 2016 budget only spent 15% on the defense department.  Wow!  Where did that money go?  The 2% of monies spent on medicare and general health spending in 1966 now consumes 28% of the spending.  Spending on social security is now 37% of the budget as compared to 22% in the past.   Entitlement programs now consume 65% of our national budget!

The raw numbers are staggering.  The Dept. of Defense now spends $515B.  The Dept. of Health and Human Services goes from $30.1B to a staggering $995B!  The Dept. of Treasury goes from $61.9B to $484B!  Much of this is to pay the interest on our growing, inflated national debt.  Not to be outdone, the Social Security Administration received a nice bump, going from $109B to $866B!  NASA, on the other hand, had its 1966 budget of $31.2B reduced to $17.2B in 2016.

I need to provide a small history lesson at this point.  Do you know what the original responsibities were of the federal government?  Why the federal government was founded?  It was founded for two reasons; national defense and international trade.  End of list.  It is astounding how the federal government got to its present size.  Back to the blog.

There are some logical explainations for these large differences in these federal budgets.  In 1966, the huge ‘baby boomer’ generation entered the work force.  They worked.  They paid taxes.  They paid into the social security fund.  In 2016, guess what?  The ‘baby boomers’ aged.  They retired and they began collecting the social security in which they paid for after about 50+ working years.

In 1966, there wasn’t any government provided health care program.  We never expected a federal health care program.  But now look at what is happening.  Obamacare happened, and it has pretty much been a mess ever since.  Everyone agrees it needs to change, but we can’t get two people in a room of 100 senators to agree on how it should change.  Personally, I think the federal government should get out of the health care business altogether, but the proverbial cat has been let out of the bag.  Unlike the old days of 1966 where we did not believe in such a thing as a free lunch, we have people perfectly capable of working that expect a free lunch.  In 1966 we were raised under the mantra that, ‘you ate what you killed.’  Now our national conscious is that everyone should eat, even if they haven’t done one thing to feed themselves.

As amazing as it is to see the differences in our budgets after 50 years, it appears this is outdone by our expectations as to what the government owes us in entitlements.  Most of these entitlements did not exist 50 years ago, and yet we survived.  This is borne out by a Health and Human Services budget that is over 30 times larger than in 1966.  (Think ‘welfare’)

During the Cold War, we spent trillions of dollars to defeat those socialistic Communists.  Russia has turned from its socialistic/communistic society.  You remember socialism/communism.  That is the economic and political theory that advocates the means of production, distribution and exchange should be regulated by the community (government) as a whole.  Our electorate has seen fit in the last 50 years to elect officials that institute welfare programs that we can’t afford,  with money we don’t have, for people who should not receive them.   We have given up our independence.  Now, with our dependence on our federal government, we have taken the place of the former USSR.   Have we become the New Socialists/Communists?

It gives a whole new context to the motto, ‘Land of the free……..’