Sifting Through The Ashes, Part Nine – About those Voters…

Greetings and Salutations;
The fallout from the Election continues,  as the day the donald will be sworn into Office approaches.   Last night,  President Obama gave a really great,  farewell speech, in Chicago.  A recording of it is available,  and if you have not seen it,  I strongly urge you to take a quiet hour,  watch it,  and contemplate on the messages in it.   The President touched on many issues  that apply both to the Political world and Real Life.   It was amazingly sad,  and uplifting at the same time.   As an Academic,  and Community Organizer,   President Obama has honed the ability to communicate a message so that every person hearing it feels as if he is speaking to them.   It was clear,  and very well said.   If you want to do it later, then great.  If you want to do it right now…even better,  I will be happy to wait!
One of the important issues President Obama brought up  was the peaceful transition of power from Administration to Administration.   He is correct, that this is a hallmark of our Democracy,  and is terribly important.   Alas,  this particular transition is rather less easy than many previous ones have been.   In my voting career  (I first voted for Nixon when he was re-elected to a second term –  More on that later)  I have seen the two main parties swap positions several times.  While I have not been comfortable with Republicans taking power before,  this is the FIRST Election where the incoming Administration seems Hell-Bent on not only destroying the advances in society we have made since the 1950s,  but,  is taking aim at the heart of our Democracy,  with the intention of killing that foolishness off,  and putting in a “REAL” government.   To go from the quiet and patient elegance and intelligence of President Obama,  to the ravings and chaos of the donald is a fearful thing to contemplate.    I can only hope that the moderate republicans in Congress will come to their senses,  and will realize that Constitution and Country far outweigh Party in this world  (A point that President Obama ALSO makes in his speech).  There have been some efforts on the part of Moderate Republicans that are heartening, if they can grow,  and not be squished by the shorter-sighted members of the Party.
That having been said…there remains the problem of us voters.   This election has stirred up more emotion than any previous election I have seen.   There have been smaller,  regional issues that were pretty hot, and, like the Civil War,  split families in two,  but, this is the first time that almost every American has a strong opinion and will get really emotional when one attempts to discuss differing views with them.   I am still amazed and interested by the mind of humans,  and so I have been trying to interact with as many points of view as is possible,  to try and understand what has brought these folks to believe what they believe.   This has been a challenging task for me, both because I, too,  have an unpleasant emotional reaction to this election,  and, there are challenges with talking to folks who support the donald.   It can be challenging to deal with them on a civilized,  polite level.

This meme has started circulating around Social Media over the past few days.   The original one consisted of just the BLACK parts.   The edit  is a recent change, and points up my conundrum with understanding the Mind of America.   Of course,  I have a few thoughts on how this graphic affects me, and my reactions to it:
IF, they are really “Adult” and really “Friends”, then, I hope that Sally will engage with Bob and try to understand why he DOES support the donald. I have been trying to do that, and to discuss why I find their support of the donald pretty worrisome. However, that has proved to be a challenging path.  Let me take a moment to lay out some of the things that I have run into with voters of all persuasions, over the past 18+ months.
  • SOME folks simply call me a name (or twelve), make snarky remarks about me and my opinions, and spout right-wing lies from Agenda-Driven websites to “prove” their point.  These are the folks that I look at and think…”Wow,  that is a Fear Driven Life there.”   When push comes to shove they have not moved one step beyond the level of social development that existed when Homo Sapiens appeared on the Earth.   They are instinctively Tribal,  and react to people within the tribe as if they were the best of friends,  but,  look at anyone OUTSIDE the tribe as an enemy and a danger…to be driven off, or avoided.   They are so fixed in their views of reality that they cannot conceive of anyone that is not just like them as having humanity; of having a life and opinions that is just as valid as their own; or have anything worth contributing to a conversation.  It has been my experience that they prefer to belittle a person by saying “Get a JOB” or “now that Our Boy is in office,  you parasites are not going to get free things from the government any more.”  Of course, both these comments are without Merit, as a vast majority of Liberal and Progressive folks not only have jobs,  they show up to them and do the best that they can every day – only to see their financial well-being being eroded away by the law changes done by a Right-Wing Congress.   As for the second point…All the Progressives and Liberals I know  agree that people should not be wards of the state.  However,  from the Liberal perspective, the way to deal with the problem is to recognize the worth of every person, and, if they are down on their luck,  to do what is necessary to support them and help them make their way back to being a productive member of society.   While there are a percentage of folks in the System that are eking out a living by working that system,  a vast majority of the folks getting aid would rather have a real job, as they realize it provides them with far more resources than being a client of the Department of Human Services can ever provide. Be that as it may,  this group tend to be the people that I find ways to eliminate from my life.  On Social Media,  I will block them.  In Real Life,  I will slowly cut back on the times we interact,  until it becomes either never,  or less than once a year.
  • SOME deflect, claiming that he did not mean what he said, or, making attacks on their opponents that are off topic.   They too do not discuss well, as their beliefs enable them to dismiss my concerns as meaningless.   It is very hard to discuss, on a civil level,  touchy subjects like this when the person is rejecting the FACTS they are presented with the claims that it is “Fake News”,  or “there is no proof that is true”, or “A LOT of people disagree with these facts”.   I find this last response both hilarious and irritating.   It is truly funny because it is so without merit it causes the speaker to look as ignorant as a new-born baby.   To beat the dead horse a moment longer…JUST because “a lot of people” have this opinion does NOT turn it into a fact.   It is true that, during the Salem Witch trials in 1692-1693,  a VAST majority of the population believed that there were actual  Witches in the world, who could use mystical powers to bring Evil and injury to another person’s  life.  In the 1930s-1940s,  many people living under the Third Reich believed that Jews were subhuman, evil people that were responsible for putting up barriers to their success.  They believed in the concept of “Racial Purity” and that it was “Evil” to dilute their blood with the blood of other races.   The fact that a lot of people believed (and, alas,  STILL Believe) this does not magically make it a fact.
  • SOME are single issue voters. For example, I have talked with people whose hot buttons range from abortion and woman’s rights, to LGBTQ issues, to Healthcare Costs, to Work issues.
  • Many of them, when push came to shove, said that they thought the donald would push their agenda where HRC held a different stance. They were able to ignore all the other ugliness and chaos in the donald’s life and history. I.E. Willful blindness.   I, for one,  believe that the failure of the Educational System in America is partly to blame for this.  Schools should have the goals of teaching kids the basic tools of living –  Critical Thinking skills,  reading,  writing,  Math,  etc.   The schools should present the students with the data they need to become well-rounded and educated enough to deal with the world.  This includes a more objective presentation of History,  Human Sexuality,  Number theory,  and vocabulary.  Alas,  for the past decades the school’s roll in doing this has been undercut by a lot of factors.   One of the BIG things undercutting this important task is, in my view,  Religion.   As time has passed,  the Religious community in America has become more entrenched and divided by their own agenda.   My view is that God does exist (Read Edward Abbott’s “Flatland”  for a simple analogue for my view on how that works),  and, that It is far too complex for any single path to lead to It.   In spite of being raised in the Missouri Synod Lutheran Church,  I have had a very broad view of other religions.   I have never believed that ONE denomination  has “THE Only Answer and Way To GOD”.   I do have the opinion that, as it says in the Bible,  “now we see through the glass,  Darkly”  so, some philosophical paths are rather more complicated and stray further away from the shortest path to understanding and Connection.   However,   alas,  in the past decades the Balkanization of the Religious Community has produced a lot of parents who believe that their kids will be forever damned if they learn anything except what their interpretation of the Bible supports.   These folks have fought to have school Curricula changed to either remove or re-word  topics that conflict with their beliefs,  or, in an increasing number of cases,  they Home School their kids, absolutely controlling what they learn.
  • SOME of the voters actually do prefer the platform and plans put forth by the Republican Party  over the goals of the Democratic Party.   Again,  a complicated problem.  I was a strong Republican when I was a new voter.  By the by,  I am talking about during the 1960s and 1970s.  My first Vote was for Richard Nixon,  to elect him to his second term.  My parents were in the Republican Corner as in their minds (and mine, at the time),  the Republican Party expressed the view of reality that I found most appealing.   The Party was Conservative in that it was not for radical changes that happened quickly.  Change would happen under that Party, but, it would have the speed of molasses in Winter.   The Platform preached the gospel of Self-reliance –  Not depending on the Government to be the Nanny State.  The Federal Government should do the tasks it had to do to keep the country running,  but keep its nose out of the lives of individual Citizens.   The Party left that task to the local governments!   It pushed the “Horatio Alger Jr. Story of America” where it was easy for a person starting in poverty,  with nothing to work hard and be frugal,  and end up a very rich and powerful person,  who could relax and live on their investments and savings.  As we all realize though,  that even in those days,  this was an idyllic goal,  that was hard to reach for White Males,  and nearly impossible to even see for people of color.   One thing about that time, though…for a lot of people,  that 20 year period between 1950 and 1970  DID provide a lot of folks with the fulfillment of that dream.  Today, though,  the world has changed a LOT.  The economy and financial life of most Americans are in shambles.   Over the past 20 years or so Management has apparently picked up and are clinging to the idea that Profit for themselves and investors is the God to be Worshiped,  and anything that might interfere with that (such as paying a living wage,  treating employees well,  slow steady growth, etc)  are to be avoided.   The bottom line these days is that for a person working in a company,  they are likely limited in their advancement,  both in position and salary.   While there are a few “mail room to CEO” stories still around,  they are, indeed, few and far between.   Today,  for most people,  the only way to get increased benefits or salary is to look around and find a new job.   Of course the massive economic collapse of 2008/2009  has even closed off that avenue of escape.   Jobs have been scarce for a number of reasons, including the waves created by that crash,  so often, moving has been impossible.   Over the years,  I, as have most of my siblings,  have moved to the Democratic Party,  both from an ethical point, and a fiscal responsibility point. For decades now, post Nixon,  the general trend is that the Republicans get into office,  and provide HUGE tax cuts (mostly for the upper class with all the money)  and added huge spending programs in the belief that their tax cuts will produce more revenue, as they will encourage the rich to expand their businesses,  and hire more people.   This, by the by, has been a pipe dream from Reagan on, and has left us with an unimaginably large debt that the country owes,  and deficit that has been building that debt like a fire hose spraying gasoline on a skyscraper fire.   The Democrats,  when they take office,  have taken steps to bring down the deficit,  and reduce the debt.   They have done this by raising taxes on the people with the most money (in general),  and finding ways to make the government run more efficiently.   Add to that, the social responsibility that the Progressives in the Democratic Party  feel towards all citizens, and their attempts to improve life for ALL citizens,  made it a trivial choice.
  • Finally, there is the painfully large percentage of his supporters who, as far as I can tell, just do not like, or are frightened by, a strong, intelligent, well-educated WOMAN having taking the office. I have to Admit that this puzzles me a bit,  but I do understand enough about the human mind and its workings that I know that there can be subconscious fears and uncertainties that can motivate actions that seem odd.  Do these voters really just hate their mothers?   Were they made to look like a fool by another,  intelligent, strong, well-educated woman?  Do they just feel inadequate and threatened by folks that are better at something than they are?   All or some are,  I think factors in their prejudiced thoughts.
Now,  I realize there are far more than just TWO political parties in the United States (at least as of today).   However,  the above categories fit a fair number of folks that vote for the alternative party candidates too.  Also,  as history shows us, Alternative Parties do not do well in the United States (and I will offer some analysis as to why this is true elsewhere)  For example,  in the 2016 election,  in terms of overall vote,  the alternative candidates, combined together,  got less than 8% of the popular vote.  Now,  I have, at times, voted Third Party, although when I do, I am fully aware that I am making a statement, not influencing an election with my vote!   Since I live in a Deep Red State,  the votes of most voters do not matter,  as there is a 99% probability that the Republican Party will sweep the National Offices.  This reality extends to the Governor’s office as well.  It is not until one gets down to the county level that it is possible for Democratic or Independent candidates to gain office.
  • I am also aware (painfully so) of the large percentage of Americans who were qualified to vote,  but,  for a variety of reasons, did not bother to take advantage of the many opportunities to vote.
  • Some, alas, just were too lazy or distracted to vote.
  • A goodly number of them were so disgusted by the several candidates offered,  and disillusioned by the electoral system, that they did not even make the effort.
  • Over the past few decades,  the Republicans have worked very hard to make it harder to vote,  focusing their attention on  those folks that they believe would not support them.
  • They have re-drawn Congressional districts, gerrymandering (or “henrymandering” as David O. Stewart says in this edition of “Your Weekly Constitutional”) them to ensure that a given district has such a majority of their locked in voters as to make it impossible for any other candidate to have a chance.
  • There is the focus on making the issue of “Voter ID” a big talking point, and using that to add layers of regulations and requirements to obtain a voter ID.  The  CLAIM to that they are trying to cut down  on voter fraud.  The actual effect has been that it has made it much harder for ANYONE (who were not a well-off,  W.A.S.P.)  to get a valid ID to vote
  • There has been a lot of movement  towards  cutting back on the number of polling places, the amount of time open, and their locations.  The claim is because they are too expensive.  However, from the information about where the cuts happen,  and where the remaining polls are sited,  it seems rather more likely that it is to make sure those annoying dissenters unable to vote
  • There are a proliferation of  rules that made it easier to challenge the validity of a person’s vote..which can change the outcome of an election easily.
  • All of these  actions, mostly by the Right Wing,  has huge numbers of voters being  disenfranchised, silencing the  voices of many American Citizens  by making it impossible for them to vote.
The end result of all these factors meant that some  49% of the voters in America did not cast a vote in the 2016 election.  Democracy in Action?   Not really by MY definition of the word, alas.
Now…after all that ugly stuff,  I ask myself,  what can I do, as an individual,  to improve the situation.   It can seem like an overwhelming problem, and incline a person towards giving up and keeping one’s head low, in order that the storm will blow over and no debris will smash into them and ruin their life.   I certainly have to fight that fear almost every day.   So…what do I propose to help the situation.
  • Email or call them to let them know your objection or support for the item of interest. When you do this,  be SURE to follow these guidelines:
  • Use this tool – to track down YOUR Representatives.
  • Now…to help change your government and what it is doing,  there are some simple things to do.
  • I have, in the past decades,  communicated with my Federal Representatives on occasion.  However, since the Election and the terrible vision for the future that it brings,  I have found that I have been shooting off Emails to them at least once a day.  I realized, finally that anyone that tells you that a communication from you as a Constituent, to your Representative is a waste of time, because “The politicians only pay attention to the lobbyists that write them the big checks”,  is lying to you. They are likely fearful that if you DO contact your Representative,  it will destroy their chances for making a big score off the Government.
  • I have been urging people to vote, and arguing to convince them that their vote matters for decades.   I can relate to them,  because after Nixon,  it was very hard to get my enthusiasm up and believe that my vote meant something.   I spent too many years simply ignoring the elections (other than to curse at them when coverage of the events of the day interfered with a television show I particularly enjoyed watching)   I finally came to the realization that even if the issue or person I voted for did not take the day,  my vote was still vital.  By voting,  I was communicating directly with the Elected Officials that could screw up my life.  In cases where the issue or candidate I supported WON,  I could say “Hey…you have a network of support out here that heard you, and like what you are offering”  In the cases where the issue or candidate I supported LOST,  I was still saying to those Elected Officials “Ok,  you have taken this battle..but look at the results of this election.  There were a LOT of people who disagreed with you.  You are their Representative too, so you need to not blow off their existence,  but need to find a compromise that will not leave your opponents out in the cold.”   As an example of this…the donald and many Republicans are crowing about a “mandate” they have from Americans to implement the changes to the laws they want to do.  They are, bluntly,  lying through their teeth.   The donald barely squeaked through the Electoral College to take the office (and I discuss some issues I have with that in Previous Posts).  As the counts were halted by order from the politicians,  Hillary Clinton had gotten a solid 2.9 MILLION more popular votes than the donald.  For the Republicans to claim that they have a “Mandate” under these circumstances is nothing more than the ravings of a delusion madman.
  • Be Clear about what you are talking about.
  • Do not write a lengthy, emotional rant.  Be polite, and simply tell them whether you support or oppose the issue,  and give them a single reason why you feel that way.
  • Repeat as necessary.
  • CLING to the basic truth that “All that Evil needs to succeed is for good people to do nothing”  and use that as motivation.

Your Elected officials pay attention when 10,000 emails show up.   They pay attention when thousands of constituents call them up.  Why?  Well, it is fairly simple.  They like their jobs!  They know that the folks that are contacting them are the voters that care and are paying attention to what they are doing.  They are also the people that can vote for someone else if they are sufficiently unhappy with the job the incumbent is doing.

Politicians might ignore a petition with 10,000 signatures, but, 10,000 emails, phone calls,  or snail mail notes make a big impact and will get their attention.

  1. Talk to your friends and family about issues.  Again,  as above,  be polite, ready to listen,  and respond with reasonable facts and not name calling or dismissive,  snarky comments.  Think about your values,  and understand why you believe those values.  That way,  you can make a reasonable argument in trying to get them to vote with you.
  2. As a part of the need for voting which I mentioned in item #1in he first section,  make sure that you know when elections will be held.  Take a little time to look at the candidates, and understand their positions on issues.   This will help with item #1 in this section.  If you understand who is advocating what,  you can do a much better job of discussing the issues and make better arguments for who (or what) to vote for.
  3. When Election Day approaches,  touch base with the people you know.  Find out if they are going to vote.  If not,  then urge them to do so.  Offer to get them to the polls if there are transportation issues.  If there are issues with getting correct registration,  then, either help that neighbor to get their registration run through,  or help organize a bus to take a group in.   These are not big things,  but, they will help cut down on the percentage of voters that did not cast a vote in the 2016 elections, and that will be VERY good for Democracy.
Only 9 days to go.
God Help Us All!
Bee Man Dave

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Sifting Through the Ashes, Part 2-A, Instead of the Electoral College, what?

Greetings and Salutations;

I have offered some  opinions about the Electoral College, how it is supposed to work, and how it actually worked in the 2016 Election back at this Post.  However,  there is still more to be said, in my opinion,  so I thought I would wrestle with it again.
The issue of the Electoral College and its workings and,  how to change it to represent reality a bit better is continuing to be a topic of discussion.  There are some hints that for the first time in decades,  it may undergo some serious reworking soon.   I have to say,  I rather hope so!

What, I asked myself,  are our options?  On this week”s issue of “Your Weekly Constitutional” Stewart Harris talks with David O. Stewart (who is a Constitutional Lawyer and has some insightful views to offer)  at length about these issues.  I strongly recommend taking the time to listen to their Presentation.   Now,  among other things,  he suggests a change to the laws that would adjust the Electoral College so that instead of a “Winner Take All” law for the candidate winning the state,  the candidate winning the majority of the popular vote would get that state’s entire number of electoral votes.   I have to say that,  while this is interesting, and, perhaps wise from a legal point of view,   I am not entirely satisfied with it.  It does not address the issue I have commented on before about how I do not care for the whole idea of “Winner Take All”.  In any case,  he has interesting views.  I suggest a visit to his website –  to see what else is in the discussion.

Now,  on to MY thoughts.   First off,  I have, in the first post on the Electoral College,  presented my objections to the “Winner Take All” laws,  and suggested that the Electoral votes be applied to the candidates  in proportion to the actual vote in the state.   This will, among other things,  ensure that a candidate, who squeaks through to a win with a dozen or fewer votes  will not overly benefit from their victory.
 If, for example,  there are 5 Electoral Votes from a state,  and three candidates took  1%, 49%  and 50% of the total votes,   the five votes would be split, as evenly as possible among them.  I would see that the 1% candidate would be out…as one cannot have 1/2 a vote!   It would then, mean that the remaining two candidates would get (respectively)  2 and 3 Electoral Votes.  It is as fair as I can see it can be,  since we are working with integers here!
Also, there is a HUGE difference between a 1 vote advantage and a 3 vote advantage that would be given with a “Winner Take All” law.  Between that,  and removing the “Faithless Voter” laws that punish the Electoral voter from changing their vote,   the results of the College  would better represent the desires of the people.
There is, of course,  another option….
We could move to a more Parliamentary format of Election for the Congress.   Each state would have a list of (hopefully) several candidates,  representing differing parties and differing view on the ballot.  They would, then, vote for candidates,  and the top folks would get the nod.  This would certainly ensure that the Congress would more closely represent the demographics of the country,  but,  it would likely provide a voice for smaller candidates and parties too.   As an example:  Say a state can elect 10 Representatives.   In the elections,   the breakdown of votes is (by party)  #1:5%. #2:29%, #3:31%, and #4:35%.  This  means that the Representatives would be apportioned out this way – #1 gets  1 Representative.  Each of the remaining 3 parties (the top three)  get 3 Representatives  each.    Again,  this is integer math,  so,  if a party got a small enough number of votes,  they would not have a seat, and for several parties that were close enough together in their percentages of the vote,  they would get the same number of seats.
I realize that this,  second method,  would really change the face of Congress.  as we would be likely to see more parties represented in the House (at least), but it could extend to the Senate.   One positive aspect of this change is that  it would really change the face of Government, but, without lighting wildfires that destroy the entire structure and surrounding areas.   As for Electors…I would use the SAME rules for the states to appoint Electors to the College.    Now,  this might cause more Presidential elections to go to the House for Resolution,  but,  that would have happened in this one,  if the recounts and challenges to Electors been allowed to play out.
God Help Us All
Bee Man Dave

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Sifting Through The Ashes, Part Eight….OH! My! GOD!

Greetings and Salutations;

This is a painfully long post,  but it is important to me to have it here.   I found a direct transcript of the Interview that the donald did with the New York Times.   It is,  essentially UnEdited,  and is best taken a little at time.   Having read it,  I have to say that my long-time opinion that the donald has a literacy level of about a 9 year old and the writing skills of a 7 year   still seems pretty valid.    Also   I have speculated on his deteriorating mental state.   There are lengthy sections of this transcript where his answers have to be read about three times to make any sense at all.   It does not look good for us,  alas.
Following is a transcript of President-elect Donald J. Trump’s interview on Tuesday with reporters, editors and opinion columnists from The New York Times. The transcription was prepared by Liam Stack, Jonah Engel Bromwich, Karen Workman and Tim Herrera of The Times. More on the Trump transition here.
(New York Times (C) 2017)

ARTHUR SULZBERGER Jr., publisher of The New York Times: Thank you very much forjoining us. And I want to reaffirm this is on the record.

DONALD J. TRUMP, President-elect of the United States: O.K.

SULZBERGER:All right, so we’re clear. We had a very nice meeting in the
Churchill Room. You’re a Churchill fan, I hear?

TRUMP: I am, I am.

There’s a photo of the great man behind you.

TRUMP: There was a big thing about the bust that was removed out of the Oval

SULZBERGER: I heard you’re thinking of putting it back.

TRUMP: I am, indeed. I am.

SULZBERGER: Wonderful. So we’ve got a good collection here from our newsroom and editorial and our columnists. I just want to say we had a good, quiet, but useful and well-meaning conversation in there. So I appreciate that very much.

TRUMP: I appreciate it, too.

SULZBERGER: I thought maybe I’d start this off by asking if you have anything you would like to start this off with before we move to the easiest questions you’re going to get this administration.


TRUMP: O.K. Well, I just appreciate the meeting and I have great respect for The New York Times. Tremendous respect. It’s very special. Always has been very special. I think I’ve been treated very rough. It’s well out there that I’ve been treated extremely unfairly in a sense, in a true sense. I wouldn’t only complain about The Times. I would say The Times was about the roughest of all. You could make the case The Washington Post was bad, but every once in a while I’d actually get a good article. Not often, Dean, but every once in awhile.

Look, I have great respect for The Times, and I’d like to turn it around. I think it would make the job I am doing much easier. We’re working very hard. We have great people coming in. I think you’ll be very impressed with the names. We’ll be announcing some very shortly.

Everybody wanted to do this. People are giving up tremendous careers in order to be subject to you folks and subject to a lot of other folks. But they’re giving up a lot. I mean some are giving up tremendous businesses in order to sit for four or maybe eight or whatever the period of time is. But I think we’re going to see some tremendous talent, tremendous talent coming in. We have many people for every job. I mean no matter what the job is, we have many incredible people. I think, Reince, you can sort of just confirm  that. The quality of the people is very good.

REINCE PRIEBUS, Mr. Trump’s choice for chief of staff: [inaudible]

TRUMP: We’re trying very hard to get the best people. Not necessarily people that will be the most politically correct people, because that hasn’t been working. So we have really experts in the field. Some are known and some are not known, but they’re known within their field as being the best. That’s very important to me.

You know, I’ve been given a great honor. It’s been very tough. It’s been 18 months of brutality in a true sense, but we won it. We won it pretty big. The final numbers are  coming out. Or I guess they’re coming out. Michigan’s just being confirmed. But the numbers are coming out far beyond what anybody’s wildest expectation was. I don’t know if it was us, I mean, we were seeing the kind of crowds and kind of, everything, the kind of  enthusiasm we were getting from the people.

As you probably know, I did many, many speeches that last four-week period. I was just telling Arthur that I went around and did speeches in the pretty much 11 different places, that were, the massive crowds we were getting. If we had a stadium that held — and most of you, many of you were there — that held 20,000 people, we’d have 15,000 people outside that couldn’t get in.

So we came up with a good system — we put up the big screens outside with a very good loudspeaker system and very few people left. I would do, during the last month, two or three a day. That’s a lot. Because that’s not easy when you have big crowds. Those speeches, that’s not an easy way of life, doing three a day. Then I said the last two days, I want to do six and seven. And I’m not sure anybody has ever done that. But we did six and we did seven and the last one ended at 1 o’clock in the morning in Michigan.

And we had 31,000 people, 17,000 or 18,000 inside and the rest outside. This massive place in Grand Rapids, I guess. And it was an incredible thing. And I left saying: ‘How do we lose Michigan? I don’t think we can lose Michigan.’

And the reason I did that, it was set up only a little while before — because we heard that day that Hillary was hearing that they’re going to lose Michigan, which hasn’t been lost in  38 years. Or something. But 38 years. And they didn’t want to lose Michigan. So they went out along with President Obama and Michelle, Bill and Hillary, they went to Michigan late that, sort of late afternoon and I said, ‘Let’s go to Michigan.’

It wasn’t on the schedule. So I finished up in New Hampshire and at 10 o’clock I went to Michigan. We got there at 12 o’clock. We started speaking around 12:45, actually, and we had 31,000 people and I said, really, I mean, there are things happening. But we saw it everywhere.

So we felt very good. we had great numbers. And we thought we’re going to win. We thought we were going to win Florida. We thought we were going to win North Carolina. We did easily, pretty easily. We thought strongly we were going to win Pennsylvania. The  problem is nobody had won it and it was known, as you know, the great state that always got away. Every Republican thought they were going to win Pennsylvania for 38
years and they just couldn’t win it.

And I thought we were going to win it. And we won it, we won it, you know, relatively easily, we won it by a number of points. Florida we won by 180,000 — was that the number, 180?

PRIEBUS: [inaudible]

TRUMP: More than 180,000 voted, and votes are still coming in from the military, which we are getting about 85 percent of.  So we won that by a lot of votes and, you know, we had a great victory. We had a great victory. I think it would have been easier because I see every once in awhile somebody says, ‘Well, the popular vote.’ Well, the popular vote would have been a lot easier, but it’s a whole different campaign. I would have been in California, I would have been in Texas, Florida and New York, and we wouldn’t have gone anywhere else. Which is, I mean I’d rather do the popular vote from the standpoint — I’d think we’d  do actually as well or better — it’s a whole different campaign. It’s like, if you’re a golfer, it’s like match play versus stroke play. It’s a whole different game.

But I think the popular vote would have been easier in a true sense because you’d go to a few places. I think that’s the genius of the Electoral College. I was never a fan of the Electoral College until now.

SULZBERGER: Until now.


TRUMP: Until now. I guess now I like it for two reasons. What it does do is it gets you out to see states that you’ll never see otherwise. It’s very interesting. Like Maine. I went to Maine four times. I went to Maine 2 for one, because everybody was saying you can get to 269 but there is no path to 270. We learned that was false because we ended up with what, three-something.

PRIEBUS: I’ve got to get, we’ve got to get Michigan in.

TRUMP: But there is no path to 270, you have to get the one in Maine, so we kept going back to Maine and we did get the one in Maine. We kept going to Maine 2, and we went to a  lot of states that you wouldn’t spend a lot of time in and it does get you — we actually went to about 22 states, whereas if you’re going for popular vote, you’d probably go to four, or three, it could be three. You wouldn’t leave New York. You’d stay in New York and you’d stay in California. So there’s a certain genius about it. And I like it either way. But it’s sort of interesting.

But we had an amazing period of time. I got to know the country, we have a great country,  we’re a great, great people, and the enthusiasm was really incredible. The Los Angeles Times had a poll which was interesting because I was always up in that poll. They had something that is, I guess, a modern-day technique in polling, it was called enthusiasm. They added an enthusiasm factor and my people had great enthusiasm, and Hillary’s people didn’t have enthusiasm. And in the end she didn’t get the African-American vote and we ended up close to 15 points, as you know. We started off at one, we ended up with almost 15. And more importantly, a lot of people didn’t show up, because the African-American community liked me. They liked what I was saying.

So they didn’t necessarily vote for me, but they didn’t show up, which was a big problem that she had. I ended up doing very well with women, which was — which I never understood why I was doing poorly, because we’d go to the rallies and we’d have so many women holding up signs, “Women for Trump.” But I kept reading polls saying that I’m not doing well with women. I think whoever is doing it here would say that we did very well with women, especially certain women.

DEAN BAQUET,executive editor of The New York Times:  As you describe it, you did do something really remarkable. You energized a lot of people in the country who really wanted change in Washington. But along with that — and this is going to create a tricky thing for you — you also energized presumably a smaller number of people who were evidenced at the alt-right convention in Washington this weekend. Who have a very…

TRUMP: I just saw that today.

BAQUET: So, I’d love to hear you talk about how you’re going to manage that
group of people who actually may not be the larger group but who have an expectation for you and are angry about the country and its — along racial lines. My first question is, do you feel like you said things that energized them in particular, and how are you going to
manage that?

TRUMP: I don’t think so, Dean. First of all, I don’t want to energize the group. I’m not looking to energize them. I don’t want to energize the group, and I disavow the group. They, again, I don’t know if it’s reporting or whatever. I don’t know where they were four years ago, and where they were for Romney and McCain and all of the other people that ran, so I just don’t know, I had nothing to compare it to.

But it’s not a group I want to energize, and if they are energized I want to look into it and find out why.

What we do want to do is we want to bring the country together, because the country is
very, very divided, and that’s one thing I did see, big league. It’s very, very divided, and I’m going to work very hard to bring the country together.

I mean, I’m somebody that really has gotten along with people over the years. It
was interesting, my wife, I went to a big event about two years ago. Just after I started thinking about politics. And we’re walking in and some people were cheering and some people were booing, and she said, you know, ‘People have never booed for you.’

I’ve never had a person boo me, and all of a sudden people are booing me. She said,
that’s never happened before. And, it’s politics. You know, all of a sudden they think I’m going to be running for office, and I’m a Republican, let’s say. So it’s something that I had never experienced before and I said, ‘Those people are booing,’ and she said, ‘Yup.’ They’d never booed before. But now they boo. You know, it was a group and another group was going the opposite.

No, I want to bring the country together. It’s very important to me. We’re in a very
divided country. In many ways divided.

BAQUET: So I’m going to do that thing that executive editors get to do which
is to invite reporters to jump in and ask questions.

MAGGIE HABERMAN,political reporter:   I’ll start, thank you, Dean. Mr. President, I’d like to thank you for being here. This morning, Kellyanne Conway talked about not prosecuting Hillary Clinton. We were hoping you could talk about exactly what that means — does that mean just the emails, or the emails and the foundation, and how you came to that decision.

TRUMP: Well, there was a report that somebody said that I’m not enthused about it. Look, I want to move forward, I don’t want to move back. And I don’t want to hurt the Clintons. I really don’t.   She went through a lot. And suffered greatly in many different ways. And I am not looking to hurt them at all. The campaign was vicious. They say it
was the most vicious primary and the most vicious campaign. I guess, added together, it was definitely the most vicious; probably, I assume you sold a lot of newspapers.


I would imagine. I would imagine. I’m just telling you, Maggie, I’m not looking to
hurt them. I think they’ve been through a lot. They’ve gone through a lot.

I’m really looking … I think we have to get the focus of the country into looking

SULZBERGER: If I could interject, we had a good conversation there, you and I, and it was off the record, but there was nothing secret, just wanted to make sure. The idea of looking forward was one of the themes that you were saying. That we need to now get past the election, right?

MATTHEW PURDY, deputy managing editor: So you’re definitively taking that off the
table? The investigation?

TRUMP: No,but the question was asked.

PURDY: About the emails and the foundation?

TRUMP: No, no, but it’s just not something that I feel very strongly about. I
feel very strongly about health care. I feel very strongly about an immigration bill that I think even the people in this room can be happy. You know, you’ve been talking about immigration bills for 50 years and nothing’s ever happened.

I feel very strongly about an immigration bill that’s fair and just and a lot of other
things. There are a lot of things I feel strongly about. I’m not looking to look back and go through this. This was a very painful period. This was a very painful election with all of the email things and all of the foundation things and all of the everything that they went through and the whole country went through. This was a very painful period of time. I read recently where it was, it was, they’re saying, they used to say it was Lincoln against whoever and none of us were there to see it. And there aren’t a lot of recordings of that, right?


But the fact is that there were some pretty vicious elections; they say this was, this was the most.  They say it was definitely the most vicious primary. And I think it’s very important to look forward.

CAROLYN RYAN, senior editor for politics:   Do you think it would disappoint your
supporters who seemed very animated by the idea of accountability in the Clintons? What would you say to them?

TRUMP: I don’t think they will be disappointed. I think I will explain it, that we have to, in many ways save our country. Because our country’s really in bad, big trouble. We have a lot of trouble. A lot of problems. And one of the big problems, I talk about, divisiveness. I think that a lot of people will appreciate … I’m not doing it for that reason. I’m doing it because it’s time to go in a different direction. There was a lot of pain, and I think that the people that supported me with such enthusiasm, where they will show up at 1 in the  morning to hear a speech.

It was actually Election Day, they showed up at, so that was essentially Election Day. Yeah, I think they’d understand very completely.

THOMAS L.FRIEDMAN, opinion columnist:   Mr. President-elect, can I ask a question? One of the issues that you actually were very careful not to speak about during the campaign, and haven’t spoken about yet, is one very near and dear to my heart, the whole issue of climate change, the Paris agreement, how you’ll approach it. You own some
of the most beautiful links golf courses in the world …

[laughter, cross talk]

TRUMP: [laughing] I read your article. Some will be even better because actually like Doral is a little bit off … so it’ll be perfect. [inaudible] He doesn’t say that. He just says that the ones that are near the water will be gone, but Doral will be in great shape.


FRIEDMAN: But it’s really important to me, and I think to a lot of our readers, to know where you’re going to go with this. I don’t think anyone objects to, you know, doing all forms of energy. But are you going to take America out of the world’s lead of confronting climate change?

TRUMP: I’m looking at it very closely, Tom. I’ll tell you what. I have an open mind to it. We’re going to look very carefully. It’s one issue that’s interesting because there are few things where there’s more division than climate change. You don’t tend to hear this, but there are people on the other side of that issue who are, think,  don’t even …

SULZBERGER: We do hear it.

FRIEDMAN: I was on ‘Squawk Box’ with Joe Kernen this morning, so I got an earful of it.


TRUMP: Joe is one of them. But a lot of smart people disagree with you. I have a very open mind. And I’m going to study a lot of the things that happened on it and we’re going to look at it very carefully. But I have an open mind.

SULZBERGER: Well, since we’re living on an island, sir, I want to thank you for having an open mind. We saw what these storms are now doing, right? We’ve seen it personally.  Straight up.

FRIEDMAN: But you have an open mind on this?

TRUMP: I do have an open mind. And we’ve had storms always, Arthur.

SULZBERGER: Not like this.

TRUMP: You know the hottest day ever was in 1890-something, 98. You know, you
can make lots of cases for different views. I have a totally open mind.

My uncle was for 35 years a professor at M.I.T. He was a great engineer, scientist. He
was a great guy. And he was … a long time ago, he had feelings — this was a long time ago — he had feelings on this subject. It’s a very complex subject. I’m not sure anybody is ever going to really know. I know we have, they say they have science on one side but then they also have those horrible emails that were sent between the scientists. Where was that, in Geneva or wherever five years ago? Terrible. Where they got caught, you know, so you see that and you say, what’s this all about. I absolutely have an open mind. I will tell you this: Clean air is vitally important. Clean water, crystal clean water is vitally important. Safety is vitally important.

And you know, you mentioned a lot of the courses. I have some great, great, very successful golf courses. I’ve received so many environmental awards for the way I’ve done, you know. I’ve done a tremendous amount of work where I’ve received tremendous numbers. Sometimes I’ll say I’m actually an environmentalist and people will smile in some cases and other people that know me understand that’s true. Open mind.

JAMES BENNET,editorial page editor:   When you say an open mind, you mean you’re just not sure whether human activity causes climate change? Do you think human activity is or isn’t connected?

TRUMP: I think right now … well, I think there is some connectivity. There is some, something. It depends on how much. It also depends on how much it’s going to cost our companies. You have to understand, our companies are noncompetitive right now.  They’re really largely noncompetitive. About four weeks ago, I started adding a certain little sentence into a lot of my speeches, that we’ve lost 70,000 factories since W. Bush. 70,000. When I first looked at the number, I said: ‘That must be a typo. It can’t be 70, you can’t
have 70,000, you wouldn’t think you have 70,000 factories here.’ And it wasn’t a typo, it’s right. We’ve lost 70,000 factories.

We’re not a competitive nation with other nations anymore. We have to make ourselves competitive. We’re not competitive for a lot of reasons.

That’s becoming more and more of the reason. Because a lot of these countries that we
do business with, they make deals with our president, or whoever, and then they don’t adhere to the deals, you know that. And it’s much less expensive for their companies to produce products. So I’m going to be studying that very hard, and I think I have a very big
voice in it. And I think my voice is listened to, especially by people that don’t believe in it. And we’ll let you know.

FRIEDMAN: I’d hate to see Royal Aberdeen underwater.

TRUMP: The North Sea, that could be, that’s a good one, right?

ELISABETH BUMILLER, Washington bureau chief:   I just wanted to follow up on
the question you were asked about not pursuing any investigations into Hillary Clinton. Did you mean both the email investigation and the foundation investigation — you will not pursue either one of those?

TRUMP: Yeah, look, you know we’ll have people that do things but my inclination
would be, for whatever power I have on the matter, is to say let’s go forward. This has been looked at for so long. Ad nauseam. Let’s go forward. And you know, you could also make the case that some good work was done in the foundation and they could have made mistakes, etc. etc. I think it’s time, I think it’s time for people to say let’s go and solve some of the problems that we have, which are massive problems and, you know, I do think that they’ve gone through a lot. I think losing is going through a lot. It was a tough, it was a very tough evening for her. I think losing is going through a lot. So, for whatever it’s worth, my, my attitude is strongly we have to go forward, we have so many different problems to solve, I don’t think we have to delve back in the past. I also think that would be a very divisive, well I think it would be very divisive, you know I’m talking about bringing together, and then they go into all sorts of stuff, I think it would be very, very divisive for  the country.

SULZBERGER: I agree, I think speaking not as a journalist now, it’s very healthy. There, and then we’re going to go

MICHAEL D. SHEAR, White House correspondent: Mr. Trump, Mike Shear. I cover the White House, covering your administration …

TRUMP: See ya there.


SHEAR: Just one quick clarification on the climate change, do you intend to, as
you said, pull out of the Paris Climate …

TRUMP: I’m going to take a look at it.

SHEAR [interrupts]:   And if the reaction from foreign leaders is to slap tariffs on American goods to offset the carbon that the United States had pledged to reduce, is that O.K. with you? And then the second question is on your sort of mixing of your global business interests and the presidency. There’s already, even just in the 10, two weeks you’ve been president-elect, instances where you’ve met with your Indian business partners …

TRUMP: Sure.

SHEAR: You’ve talked about the impact of the wind farms on your golf course. People, experts who are lawyers and ethics experts, say that all of that is totally inappropriate, so I guess the question for you is, what do you see as the appropriate structure for keeping those two things separate, and are there any lines that you think you won’t want to cross once you’re in the White House?

TRUMP: O.K. First of all, on countries. I think that countries will not do that to us. I don’t think if they’re run by a person that understands leadership and negotiation they’re in no position to do that to us, no matter what I do. They’re in no position to do that to us, and
that won’t happen, but I’m going to take a look at it. A very serious look. I want to also see how much this is costing, you know, what’s the cost to it, and I’ll be talking to you folks in the not-too-distant future about it, having to do with what just took place.

As far as the, you know, potential conflict of interests, though, I mean I know that
from the standpoint, the law is totally on my side, meaning, the president can’t have a conflict of interest. That’s been reported very widely. Despite that, I don’t want there to be a conflict of interest anyway. And the laws, the president can’t. And I understand why the president can’t have a conflict of interest now because everything a president does in some ways is like a conflict of interest, but I have, I’ve built a very great company and it’s a big company and it’s all over the world. People are starting to see, when they look at all these different jobs, like in India and other things, number one, a job like that builds great relationships with the people of India, so it’s all good. But I have to say, the partners come in, they’re very, very successful people. They come in, they’d say, they said, ‘Would it be possible to have a picture?’ Actually, my children are working on that job. So I can say to them, Arthur, ‘I don’t want to have a picture,’ or, I can take a picture. I mean, I think it’s wonderful to take a picture. I’m fine with a picture. But if it were up to some people, I would never, ever see my daughter Ivanka again. That would be like you never seeing your son again. That wouldn’t be good. That wouldn’t be good. But I’d never, ever see my daughter Ivanka.

UNKNOWN: That means you’d have to make Ivanka deputy President, you know.

TRUMP: I know, I know, yeah. [room laughs] Well, I couldn’t do that either. I can’t, that can’t work. I can’t do anything, I would never see my, I guess the only son I’d be allowed to see, at least for a little while, would be Barron, because he’s 10. But, but, so there has to be [unintelligible]. It’s a very interesting case.

UNKNOWN: You could sell your company though, right? With all due respect, you
could sell your company and then …

TRUMP: Well …

UNKNOWN: And then you could see them all the time.

TRUMP: That’s a very hard thing to do, you know what, because I have real estate. I have real estate all over the world, which now people are understanding. When I filed my forms with the federal election, people said, ‘Wow that’s really a big company, that’s a big company.’ It really is big, it’s diverse, it’s all over the world. It’s a great company with great assets. I think that, you know, selling real estate isn’t like selling stock. Selling real estate is much different, it’s in a much different world. I’d say this, and I mean this and I said it on “60 Minutes” the other night: My company is so unimportant to me relative to what I’m doing, ’cause I don’t need money, I don’t need anything, and by the way, I’m very under-leveraged, I have a very small percentage of my money in debt, very very small percentage of my money in debt, in fact, banks have said ‘We’d like to loan you money, we’d like to give you any amount of money.’ I’ve been there before, I’ve had it both ways, I’ve been over-levered, I’ve been under-levered and, especially as you get older, under-levered is much better.

UNKNOWN: Mr. President-elect …

TRUMP: Just a minute, because it’s an important question. I don’t care about my company. I mean, if a partner comes in from India or if a partner comes in from Canada, where we did a beautiful big building that just opened, and they want to take a picture and come into my office, and my kids come in and, I originally made the deal with these people, I mean what am I going to say? I’m not going to talk to you, I’m not going to take pictures? You have to, you know, on a human basis, you take pictures. But I just want to say that I am given the right to do something so important in terms of so many of the issues we discussed, in terms of health care, in terms of so many different things. I don’t care about my company. It doesn’t matter. My kids run it. They’ll say I have a conflict because we just opened a beautiful hotel on Pennsylvania Avenue, so every time somebody stays at that hotel, if they stay because I’m president, I guess you could say it’s a conflict of interest. It’s a conflict of interest, but again, I’m not going to have anything to do with the hotel, and they may very well. I mean it could be that occupancy at that hotel will be because, psychologically, occupancy at that hotel will be probably a more valuable asset now than it was before, O.K.? The brand is certainly a hotter brand than it was before. I can’t help that, but I don’t care. I said on “60 Minutes”: I don’t care. Because it doesn’t matter. The only thing that matters to me is running our country.

MICHAEL BARBARO, political reporter:   Mr. President-elect, can I press you a little further on what structures you would put in place to keep the presidency and the company separate and to avoid things that, for example, were reported in The Times in the past 24 hours about meeting with leaders of Brexit about wind farms …

TRUMP: About meeting with who?

BARBARO: Leaders of Brexit about wind farms that might interfere with the views of your golf course and how to keep, what structures, can you talk about that meeting, by the way?

TRUMP: Was I involved with the wind farms recently? Or, not that I know of. I mean, I have a problem with wind …

BARBARO: But you brought it up in the meeting, didn’t you?

TRUMP: Which meeting? I don’t know. I might have.

BARBARO: With leaders of Brexit.

MANY VOICES: With Farage.

TRUMP: Oh, I see. I might have brought it up. But not having to do with me, just I
mean, the wind is a very deceiving thing. First of all, we don’t make the windmills in the United States. They’re made in Germany and Japan. They’re made out of massive amounts of steel, which goes into the atmosphere, whether it’s in our country or not, it goes into the atmosphere. The windmills kill birds and the windmills need massive subsidies. In other words, we’re subsidizing wind mills all over this country. I mean, for the most part they don’t work. I don’t think they work at all without subsidy, and that bothers me, and they kill all the birds. You go to a windmill, you know in California they have the, what is it? The golden eagle? And they’re like, if you shoot a golden eagle, they go to jail for five years and yet they kill them by, they actually have to get permits that they’re only allowed to kill 30 or something in one year. The windmills are devastating to the bird population, O.K. With that being said, there’s a place for them. But they do need subsidy. So, if I talk negatively. I’ve been saying the same thing for years about you know, the wind industry. I wouldn’t want to subsidize it. Some environmentalists agree with me very much because of all of the things I just said, including the birds, and some don’t. But it’s hard to explain. I don’t care about anything having to do with anything having to do with anything other than the country.

BARBARO: But the structures, just to be clear, that’s the question. How do you
formalize the separation of these things so that there is not a question of whether or not you as president …


are trying to influence something, like wind farms?

TRUMP: O.K., I don’t want to influence anything, because it’s not that, it’s
not that important to me. It’s hard to explain.

BARBARO: Yes, but the structures?

TRUMP: Now, according to the law, see I figured there’s something where you put
something in this massive trust and there’s also — nothing is written. In other words, in theory, I can be president of the United States and run my business 100 percent, sign checks on my business, which I am phasing out of very rapidly, you know, I sign checks, I’m the old-fashioned type. I like to sign checks so I know what is going on as opposed to pressing a computer button, boom, and thousands of checks are automatically sent. It keeps, it tells me what’s going on a little bit and it tells contractors that I’m watching. But I
am phasing that out now, and handing that to Eric Trump and Don Trump and Ivanka Trump for the most part, and some of my executives, so that’s happening right now.

But in theory I could run my business perfectly, and then run the country perfectly. And there’s never been a case like this where somebody’s had, like, if you look at other people of wealth, they didn’t have this kind of asset and this kind of wealth, frankly. It’s just a
different thing.

But there is no — I assumed that you’d have to set up some type of trust or whatever
and you know. And I was actually a little bit surprised to see it. So in theory I don’t have to do anything. But I would like to do something. I would like to try and formalize something, because I don’t care about my business.

Doral is going to run very nice. We own this incredible place in Miami. We own many
incredible places, including Turnberry, I guess you heard. There’s one guy that does — when I say Turnberry, you know what that is, right. Do a little [inaudible]. But they’re going to run well, we have good managers, they’re going to run really well.

So I don’t have to do anything, but I want to do something if I can. If there is

BARBARO: Can you promise us when you decide exactly what that is, you’ll come
tell The New York Times about it?


TRUMP: I will. I’ve started it already.

SULZBERGER: One of our great salesmen, by the way.

TRUMP: I can see that. I’ve started it already by, I mean, I’ve greatly reduced the check-signing and the business. I’ve greatly reduced meetings with contractors, meetings with different people that, you know, I’ve also started by — ’cause I’ve said over the last
two years, once I decided I wanted to run, I don’t want to build anything. ’Cause building, like for instance, we built the post office, you’ll be happy to hear, ahead of schedule and under budget. Substantially ahead of schedule. Almost two years ago of schedule. But ahead of schedule, under budget, and it’s a terrific place. That’s the hotel on Pennsylvania.

FRIEDMAN: Just so you know, General Electric has a big wind turbine factory in South
Carolina. Just so you know.

TRUMP: Well that’s good. But most of ‘em are made in Germany, most of ‘em are made, you know, Siemens and the Chinese are making most of them.

[cross talk]

TRUMP: They may assemble — if you check, I think you’ll find that the, it’s delivered there and they do most of the assembly.

JULIE HIRSCHFELD DAVIS, White House correspondent: Mr. President-elect — I’m sorry I entered late, but I did want to ask you about …

BAQUET: You should introduce yourself.

DAVIS: I’m Julie Davis, one of the White House correspondents.

TRUMP: Hi, Julie.

DAVIS: I apologize for my delayed flight. I wanted to ask you about personnel. They say personnel is policy.

TRUMP: I can’t quite hear.

DAVIS: Personnel.

TRUMP: Personnel.

DAVIS: You hired Steve Bannon to be the chief strategist for you in the White House. He is a hero of the alt-right. He’s been described by some as racist and anti-Semitic. I wonder what message you think you have sent by elevating him to that position and what you would say to those who feel like that indicates something about the kind of country you prefer and the government you’ll run.

TRUMP: Um, I’ve known Steve Bannon a long time. If I thought he was a racist, or alt-right, or any of the things that we can, you know, the terms we can use, I wouldn’t even think about hiring him. First of all, I’m the one that makes the decision, not Steve Bannon or anybody else. And Kellyanne will tell you that.


KELLYANE CONWAY: 100 percent.

TRUMP: And if he said something to me that, in terms of his views, or that I thought were inappropriate or bad, number one I wouldn’t do anything, and number two, he would have to be gone. But I know many people that know him, and in fact, he’s actually getting some very good press from a lot of the people that know him, and people that are on the left. But Steve went to Harvard, he was a, you know, he was very successful, he was a Naval officer, he’s, I think he’s very, very, you know, sadly, really, I think it’s very hard on him. I think he’s having a hard time with it. Because it’s not him. It’s not him.  I’ve known him for
a long time. He’s a very, very smart guy. I think he was with Goldman Sachs on top of everything else.

UNKNOWN: What do you make of the website he ran, Breitbart?

TRUMP: The which?

UNKNOWN: Breitbart.

TRUMP: Well, Breitbart’s different. Breitbart cover things, I mean like The New York Times covers things. I mean, I could say that Arthur is alt-right because they covered an alt-right story.

SULZBERGER: [laughing] I am, I am. I’ll take whatever you say. I am always right, but I’m not alt-right.

[laughter, cross talk]

TRUMP: The New York Times covers a lot of stories that are, you know, rough stories. And you know, they have covered some of these things, but The New York Times covers a lot of these things also. It’s just a newspaper, essentially. It’s a newspaper. I know the guy, he’s a decent guy, he’s a very smart guy. He’s done a good job. He hasn’t been with me that long. You know he really came in after the primaries. I had already won the primaries. And if I thought that his views were in that category, I would immediately let him go. And I’ll tell you why. In many respects I think his views are actually on the  oher side of what a lot of people might think.

DAVIS: But you are aware, sir, with all due respect, that African-Americans and Jews and many folks who disagree with the coverage of Breitbart and the slant that Breitbart brings to the news view him that way, aren’t you?

TRUMP: Yeah, well Breitbart, first of all, is just a publication. And, you know, they cover stories like you cover stories. Now, they are certainly a much more conservative paper, to put it mildly, than The New York Times. But Breitbart really is a news organization that’s become quite successful, and it’s got readers and it does cover subjects that are on the right, but it covers subjects on the left also. I mean it’s a pretty big, it’s a pretty big thing. And he helped build it into a pretty successful news organization. Now, I’ll tell you  what, I know him very well. I will say this, and I will say this, if I thought that strongly, if I thought that he was doing anything, or had any ideas that were different than the ideas that you would think, I would ask him very politely to leave. But in the meantime, I think he’s been treated very unfairly.

It’s very interesting ’cause a lot of people are coming to his defense right now.

PRIEBUS: We have never experienced a single episode of any of those accusations. It’s been the total opposite. It’s been a great team, and it’s just not there. And what the president-elect is saying is 100 percent true.

[cross talk]

TRUMP: And by the way, if you see something or get something where you feel that I’m wrong, and you have some info — I would love to hear it. You can call me, Arthur can call me, I would love to hear. The only one who can’t call me is Maureen [Dowd, opinion columnist]. She treats me too rough.  I don’t know what happened to Maureen! She was so good, Gail [Collins, opinion columnist]. For years she was so good.

[cross talk]

SULZBERGER: As we all say about Maureen, it’s not your fault, it’s just your turn.


ROSS DOUTHAT, opinion columnist: I have a slightly different, but somewhat Steve
Bannon-related question, I guess. It’s about the future of the Republican Party. You started out here talking about winning in so many states where no Republican has won in decades, especially Midwestern Rust Belt states. And I think many people think that one of the reasons you won was that you deliberately campaigned as a different kind of Republican. You had different things to say on trade, entitlements, foreign policy, even your daughter Ivanka’s child care plan was sort of distinctive. And now you’re in a situation where you’re governing and staffing up an administration with a Republican Party whose leaders, and Reince, may differ with me a little on this, but don’t always see eye-to-eye on those views.

TRUMP: Although right now they’re loving me.


UNKNOWN: Well, right now they are.

[cross talk]

TRUMP: Paul Ryan right now loves me, Mitch McConnell loves me, it’s amazing how winning can change things. I’ve liked Chuck Schumer for a long time. I’ve actually, I’ve raised a lot of money for Chuck and given him a lot of money over the years. I think I was the first person that ever contributed to Chuck Schumer. I had a Brooklyn office, a little office, in a little apartment building in Brooklyn in Sheepshead Bay where I worked with my father.  And Chuck Schumer came in and I gave him, I believe, I don’t know if he’s willing to admit this, but I believe it was his first campaign contribution, $500. But Chuck Schumer’s a good guy. I think we’ll get along very well.

DOUTHAT: I guess that’s my question is, how much do you expect to be able to both run an administration and negotiate with a Republican-led Congress as a different kind of Republican. And do you worry that you’ll wake up three years from now and go back to campaigning in the Rust Belt and people will say, well, he governed more like Paul Ryan than like Donald Trump.

TRUMP: No, I don’t worry about that. ’Cause I didn’t need to do this. I was telling Arthur before: ‘Arthur I didn’t need to do this. I’m doing this to do a good job.’ That’s what I want to do, and I think that what happened in the Rust Belt, they call it the Rust Belt for a reason. If you go through it, you look back 20 years, they  didn’t used to call it the Rust Belt. You pass factory after factory after factory that’s empty and rusting. Rust is the good
part, ’cause they’re worse than rusting, they’re falling down. No, I wouldn’t sacrifice that. To me more important is taking care of the people that really have proven to be, to love Donald Trump, as opposed to the political people. And frankly if the political people don’t take care of these people, they’re not going to win and you’re going to end up with maybe a total different kind of government than what you’re looking at right now. These people are
really angry. They’re smart, they’re workers, and they’re angry. I call them the forgotten men and women. And I use that in speeches, I say they’re the forgotten people — they were totally forgotten. And we’re going to bring jobs back. We’re going to bring jobs back, big league. I’ve spoken to so many companies already, I say, don’t plan on moving your company, ’cause you’re not going to be able to move your company and sell us your product. You think you’re going to just sell it across what will be a strong border, you know at least we’re going to have a border. But just don’t plan on it.

And I’ll tell you, I believe, and you’ll hear announcements over the next couple of months, but I believe I’ve talked numerous comp — in four-minute conversations with top people — numerous companies that have, leaving, or potentially leaving our country with  thousands of jobs.

FRIEDMAN: Are you worried, though, that those companies will keep their factories here, but the jobs will be replaced by robots?

TRUMP: They will, and we’ll make the robots too.


TRUMP: It’s a big thing, we’ll make the robots too. Right now we don’t make the robots. We don’t make anything. But we’re going to, I mean, look, robotics is becoming very big and we’re going to do that. We’re going to have more factories. We can’t lose 70,000 factories. Just can’t do it. We’re going to start making things.   I was honored yesterday, I got a call from Bill Gates, great call, we had a great conversation, I got a call from Tim Cook at Apple, and I said, ‘Tim, you know one of the things that will be a real achievement for me is when I get Apple to build a big plant in the United States, or many big plants in the United States, where instead of going to China, and going to Vietnam, and going to the places that you go to, you’re making your product right here.’ He said, ‘I understand that.’
I said: ‘I think we’ll create the incentives for you, and I think you’re going to do it. We’re going for a very large tax cut for corporations, which you’ll be happy about.’ But we’re going for big tax cuts, we have to get rid of regulations, regulations are making it impossible. Whether you’re liberal or conservative, I mean I could sit down and show you regulations that anybody would agree are ridiculous. It’s gotten to be a free-for-all. And companies can’t, they can’t even start up, they can’t expand, they’re choking.

I tell you, one thing I would say, so, I’m giving a big tax cut and I’m giving big regulation cuts, and I’ve seen all of the small business owners over the United States, and all of the big business owners, I’ve met so many people. They are more excited about the regulation cut than about the tax cut. And I would’ve never said that’s possible, because the tax cut’s going to be substantial. You know we have companies leaving our country because the taxes are too high. But they’re leaving also because of the regulations. And I would say, of the two, and I would not have thought this, regulation cuts, substantial regulation cuts, are more important than, and more enthusiastically supported, than even the big tax cuts.

UNKNOWN: Mr. President-elect, I wanted to ask you, there was a conference this past weekend in Washington of people who pledged their allegiance to Nazism.

TRUMP: Boy, you are really into this stuff, huh?

PRIEBUS: I think we answered that one right off the bat.

UNKNOWN: Are you going to condemn them?

TRUMP: Of course I did, of course I did.

PRIEBUS: He already did.

UNKNOWN: Are you going to do it right now?

TRUMP: Oh, I see, maybe you weren’t here. Sure. Would you like me to do it here? I’ll do it here. Of course I condemn. I disavow and condemn.

SULZBERGER:  We’ll go with that. I’d like to move to infrastructure, apologies, and then we’ll go back. Because a lot of the investment you are talking about, a lot of the jobs you are talking about — is infrastructure going to be the core of your first few years?

TRUMP: No, it’s not the core, but it’s an important factor. We’re going for a lot of things, between taxes, between regulations, between health care replacement, we’re going to talk repeal and replace. ’Cause health care is — you know people are paying a 100 percent increase and they’re not even getting anything, the deductibles are so high, you have  deductibles $16,000. So they’re paying all of this money and they don’t even get health care. So it’s very important. So there are a lot of things. But infrastructure, Arthur, is going to be a part of it.

SULZBERGER: It’s part of jobs, isn’t it?

TRUMP: I don’t even think it’s a big part of it. It’s going to be a big number but I think I am doing things that are more important than infrastructure, but infrastructure is still a part of it, and we’re talking about a very large-scale infrastructure bill. And that’s not a very Republican thing — I didn’t even know that, frankly.

SULZBERGER: It worked for Franklin Roosevelt.

TRUMP: It didn’t work for Obama because unfortunately they didn’t spend the money last time on infrastructure. They spent it on a lot of other things. You know, nobody can find out where that last — you know, from a few years ago — where that money went. And we’re going to make sure it is spent on infrastructure and roads and highways. I have a friend, he’s a big trucker, one of the biggest. And he orders these incredible trucks, the best, I won’t mention the name but it’s a certain truck company that makes — they call them the Rolls-Royce of trucks. You know, the most expensive trucks. And he calls me up about two months ago and he goes, ‘Man, I’m going to buy the cheapest trucks I can buy.’ And I said, ‘Why?’ and — you know, and this is the biggest guy — he goes, ‘My trucks are
coming back, they’re going from New York to California and they’re all busted up. The highways are in such bad shape, they’re hitting potholes, they’re hitting everything.’ He said, ‘I’m not buying these trucks anymore, I’m going to buy the cheapest stuff and the strongest tires I can get.’ That’s the exact expression he used, ‘the cheapest trucks and the strongest tires.’

We’re hitting so many bad points, we, you know, I said, ‘So tell me, you’ve been doing this how long?’ 45 years. He built it over 45 years. I said, ‘Have you ever seen it like this?’ He said, ‘The roads have never been like this.’ It’s an interesting …

BAQUET: What did, what did, I’m curious what Mitch McConnell and Paul Ryan said when you said, ‘I’m going to launch a multibillion-dollar infrastructure program.’ Are they reluctant to spend that?

TRUMP: Honestly right now …

DOUTHAT: Trillion. Trillion, I think, was the figure.

BAQUET: Because they would be in the wing of the Republican Party that would say, ‘That’s great, but you’re not going to be able to do that and balance the budget.’

TRUMP: Let’s see if I get it done. Right now they’re in love with me. O.K.? Four weeks ago they weren’t in love with me. Don’t forget — if I read The New York Times, and you don’t have to put this on the record — it can be if you want, you might not want …

SULZBERGER: You say if, but you do …

TRUMP: Well, I do read it. Unfortunately. I would have lived about 20 years longer if I didn’t.

SULZBERGER: There’s Nixon’s quote right there if you’d love to reread it —

TRUMP: I know. But when you look at the different, all the newspapers, I was going to lose the presidency, I was going to take the House with me, and the Senate had no chance. It was going to be the biggest humiliation in the history of politics in this country. And instead I won the presidency, easily, and I mean easily — you look at those states, I had states where I won by 30 and 40 points. I won the presidency easily, I helped numerous senators — in fact the only senators that didn’t get elected were two — one up in New Hampshire who refused to say that she was going to vote for me, who by the way would love a job in the administration and I said, ‘No, thank you.’ That’s on the record. This is where I’m different than a politician — I know what to say, I just believe it’s sort of interesting.

She’d love to have a job in the administration, I said, ‘No, thank you.’ She refused to vote for me. And a senator in Nevada who frankly said, he endorsed me then he unendorsed me, and he went down like a lead balloon. And then they called me before the race and said they wanted me to endorse him and do a big thing and I said, ‘No thank you, good luck.’ You know, let’s see what happens. I said, off the record, I hope you lose. Off the record. He was! He was up by 10 points — you know who I’m talking about.

So, others — if you look at Missouri, [Senator Roy] Blunt, he was down five points a few days before the election, he called for help, I gave him help, and I think I was up like over 30 points in Missouri. I was leading by a massive amount, 28 points. I gave him help and he ended up winning by four points or something. I brought a number of them  Pennsylvania, brought over the finish line. Let’s see, we brought Johnson, in, you know,  that was a good one. We brought him over the line in Wisconsin. Winning Wisconsin was big stuff, that’s something that …

FRIEDMAN: Mr. President-elect, I came …

TRUMP: So right now I’m in very good shape, but

FRIEDMAN: I came here thinking you’d be awed and overwhelmed by this job, but I feel like you are getting very comfortable with it.

TRUMP: I feel comfortable. I feel comfortable. I am awed by the job, as anybody would be, but I honestly, Tom, I feel so comfortable and you know it would be, to me, a great achievement if I could come back here in a year or two years and say — and have a lot of the folks here say, ‘You’ve done a great job.’ And I don’t mean just a conservative job, ’cause I’m not talking conservative. I mean just, we’ve done a good job.

SHEAR: To follow up on Matt, after you met with President Obama, he described you to folks as — that you seemed overwhelmed by what he told you. So I wonder if you are overwhelmed by the magnitude of the job that you’re about to inherit and if you can tell us anything more about that conversation with the president and the apparently subsequent
conversations that you’ve had on the phone since then. And then maybe talk a little bit about foreign policy, that’s something we haven’t touched on here, and whether or not you believe in the kind of world order — a world order led by America in terms of having this country underwrite the security and the free markets of the world, which have been in place for decades.

TRUMP: Sure. I had a great meeting with President Obama. I never met him before. I really liked him a lot. The meeting was supposed to be 10 minutes, 15 minutes max, because there were a lot of people waiting outside, for both of us. And it ended up being — you were there — I guess an hour-and-a-half meeting, close. And it was a great chemistry. I think if he said overwhelmed, I don’t think he meant that in a bad way. I
think he meant that it is a very overwhelming job. But I’m not overwhelmed by it. You can do things and fix it, I think he meant it that way. He said very nice things after the meeting and I said very nice things about him. I really enjoyed my meeting with him. We have — you know, we come from different sides of the equation, but it’s nevertheless something that — I didn’t know if I’d like him. I probably thought that maybe I wouldn’t, but I did, I did like him. I really enjoyed him a lot. I’ve spoken to him since the meeting.

SHEAR: What did you say to him?

TRUMP: Just a basic conversation.  I think he’s looking to do absolutely the right thing for the country in terms of transition and I really, I’m telling you, we had a meeting, Arthur, that went for an hour and a half that could have gone for three or four hours. It was a great — it was just a very good meeting.

UNKNOWN: Sort of like this meeting.

[cross talk, laughter]

TRUMP: He told me what he thought his, what the biggest problems of the country
were, which I don’t think I should reveal, I don’t mind if he reveals them. But I was actually surprised a little bit. But he told me the problems, he told me things that he considered assets, but he did tell me what he thought were the biggest problems, in particular one problem that he thought was a big problem for the country, which I’d rather have you ask him. But I really found the meeting to be very good. And I hope we can have a good — I mean, it doesn’t mean we’re going to agree on everything, but I hope that we will have a great long-term relationship. I really liked him a lot and I’m a little bit surprised I’m telling you that I really liked him a lot.    Let’s go foreign policy, sure. Sure.

FRIEDMAN: What do you see as America’s role in the world? Do you believe that the role …

TRUMP: That’s such a big question.

FRIEDMAN: The role that we played for 50 years as kind of the global balancer, paying more for things because they were in our ultimate interest, one hears from you, I sense, is really shrinking that role.

TRUMP: I don’t think we should be a nation builder. I think we’ve tried that. I happen to think that going into Iraq was perhaps … I mean you could say maybe we could have settled the civil war, O.K.? I think going into Iraq was one of the great mistakes in the history of our country. I think getting out of it — I think we got out of it wrong, then lots of bad things happened, including the formation of ISIS. We could have gotten out of it differently.


TRUMP: I think going in was a terrible, terrible mistake. Syria, we have to solve that problem because we are going to just keep fighting, fighting forever. I have a different view on Syria than everybody else. Well, not everybody else, but then a lot of people. I had to
listen to [Senator] Lindsey Graham, who, give me a break. I had to listen to Lindsey Graham talk about, you know, attacking Syria and attacking, you know, and it’s like you’re now attacking Russia, you’re attacking Iran, you’re attacking. And what are we getting?
We’re getting — and what are we getting? And I have some very definitive, I have some very strong ideas on Syria. I think what’s happened is a horrible, horrible thing. To look at the deaths, and I’m not just talking deaths on our side, which are horrible, but the deaths — I mean you look at these cities, Arthur, where they’re totally, they’re rubble, massive areas, and they say two people were injured. No, thousands of people have died. O.K. And I think it’s a shame. And ideally we can get — do something with Syria. I spoke to Putin, as you know, he called me, essentially …

UNKNOWN: How do you see that relationship?

TRUMP: Essentially everybody called me, all of the major leaders, and most of them I’ve spoken to.

FRIEDMAN: Will you have a reset with Russia?

TRUMP: I wouldn’t use that term after what happened, you know, previously. I think — I would love to be able to get along with Russia and I think they’d like to be able to get along with us. It’s in our mutual interest. And I don’t go in with any preconceived notion, but I will tell you, I would say — when they used to say, during the campaign, Donald Trump loves Putin, Putin loves Donald Trump, I said, huh, wouldn’t it be nice, I’d say this in front of thousands of people, wouldn’t it be nice to actually report what they said, wouldn’t it be nice if we actually got along with Russia, wouldn’t it be nice if we went after ISIS together, which is, by the way, aside from being dangerous, it’s very expensive, and ISIS shouldn’t have been even allowed to form, and the people will stand up and give me a massive hand. You know they thought it was bad that I was getting along with Putin or that I believe
strongly if we can get along with Russia that’s a positive thing. It is a great thing that we can get along with not only Russia but that we get along with other countries.

JOSEPH KAHN,managing editor:     On Syria, would you mind, you said you have a very
strong idea about what to do with the Syria conflict, can you describe that for us?

TRUMP: I can only say this: We have to end that craziness that’s going on in Syria. One of the things that was told to me — can I say this off the record, or is everything on the record?

SULZBERGER: No, if you want to …

TRUMP: I don’t want to violate, I don’t want to violate a …

SULZBERGER: If you want to go off the record, we have agreed you can go off the record. Ladies and gentlemen, we are off the record for this moment.

[Trump speaks off the record.]

TRUMP: Now we can go back on.

SULZBERGER: I’m going to play the cop here. We’ve got only two and a half minutes left, because they have a hard stop at 2. And by the way, I want to thank you again, on behalf of all of us …

TRUMP: Thank you.

SULZBERGER:  for this meeting, and really I mean that. We are back on the record.
Maggie, you get the last question.

TRUMP: Is he a tough boss, folks? Is he tough?

HABERMAN: I have two questions, very, very quickly. One is your vice president-elect left open the idea of returning to waterboarding. You talked about that on the campaign trail. I’m hoping you can talk about how you view torture at this point, and also what are you hoping that Jared Kushner will do in your administration and will you bring him in formally?

TRUMP: O.K., O.K. So, I didn’t hear the second question.

HABERMAN: Jared Kushner. What will Jared Kushner’s role be in your administration?

TRUMP: Oh. Maybe nothing. Because I don’t want to have people saying ‘conflict.’ Even though the president of the United States — I hope whoever is writing this story, it’s written fairly — the president of the United States is allowed to have whatever conflicts
he wants — he or she wants. But I don’t want to go by that. Jared’s a very smart guy. He’s a very good guy. The people that know him, he’s a quality person and I think he can be very helpful. I would love to be able to be the one that made peace with Israel and the Palestinians. I would love that, that would be such a great achievement. Because nobody’s been able to do it.

HABERMAN: Do you think he can be part of that?

TRUMP: Well, I think he’d be very good at it. I mean he knows it so well. He knows the region, knows the people, knows the players. I would love to be — and you can put that down in a list of many things that I’d like to be able to do. Now a lot of people tell me, really great people tell me, that it’s impossible, you can’t do it. I’ve had a lot of, actually, great Israeli businesspeople tell me, you can’t do that, it’s impossible. I disagree, I think you can make peace. I think people are tired now of being shot, killed. At some point, when do they come? I think we can do that. I have reason to believe I can do that.

HABERMAN: And on torture? Where are you — and waterboarding?

TRUMP: So, I met with General Mattis, who is a very respected guy. In fact, I met with a number of other generals, they say he’s the finest there is. He is being seriously, seriously considered for secretary of defense, which is — I think it’s time maybe, it’s time for a general. Look at what’s going on. We don’t win, we can’t beat anybody, we don’t win anymore. At anything. We don’t win on the border, we don’t win with trade, we certainly don’t win with the military. General Mattis is a strong, highly dignified man. I met with him at length and I asked him that question. I said, what do you think of waterboarding? He said — I was surprised — he said, ‘I’ve never found it to be useful.’ He said, ‘I’ve always found, give me a pack of cigarettes and a couple of beers and I do better with that than I do with torture.’ And I was very impressed by that answer. I was surprised, because he’s known as being like the toughest guy. And when he said that, I’m not saying it changed my mind. [An earlier version made a mistake in transcription. Mr. Trump said “changed my mind,” not “changed my man.”] Look, we have people that are chopping off heads and drowning people in steel cages and we’re not allowed to waterboard. But I’ll tell you what, I
was impressed by that answer. It certainly does not — it’s not going to make the kind of a difference that maybe a lot of people think. If it’s so important to the American people, I would go for it. I would be guided by that. But General Mattis found it to be very less important, much less important than I thought he would say. I thought he would say — you know he’s known as Mad Dog Mattis, right? Mad Dog for a reason. I thought he’d say ‘It’s phenomenal, don’t lose it.’ He actually said, ‘No, give me some cigarettes and some drinks, and we’ll do better.’

SULZBERGER: So, I, with apologies, I’m going to go to our C.E.O., Mark Thompson, for the last, last question.

TRUMP: Very powerful man …

MARK THOMPSON: Thank you, and it’s a really short one, but after all the talk about libel and libel laws, are you committed to the First Amendment to the Constitution?

TRUMP: Oh, I was hoping he wasn’t going to say that. I think you’ll be happy
I think you’ll be happy. Actually, somebody said to me on that, they said, ‘You know, it’s a great idea, softening up those laws, but you may get sued a lot more.’ I said, ‘You know, you’re right, I never thought about that.’ I said, ‘You know, I have to start thinking about that.’ So, I, I think you’ll be O.K. I think you’re going to be fine.

SULZBERGER: Well, thank you very much for this. Really appreciate this.

TRUMP: Thank you all, very much, it’s a great honor. I will say, The Times is, it’s a great, great American jewel. A world jewel. And I hope we can all get along. We’re looking for the same thing, and I hope we can all get along well.

I will be adding  commentary later on….

God Help Us All!
Bee Man Dave

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Sifting Through The Ashes, Part Seven – What ABOUT Health Insurance?

Greetings and Salutations;

Sigh…There is so much going on in the world that it is an unending resource for those of us that comment on society,  and the current tidal change in our Political world.

Paul Ryan

Just for a minute,   I want to look at a coming proposal,  put together by the Right-Wingers in Congress – Led by Paul Ryan – to delete the ACA from the face of American Law.   I have discussed these healthcare insurance reforms elsewhere,  so will focus on what the proposed replacement for it is,  and list some of the reasons this proposal is well up there on the list of “Screw the 99%ers” legislation the Republicans are trying to push through.  In short,  the Ryan plan is to repeal the ACA, and replace it with a “Healthcare Savings Account”.  Now,  I have to say that this is a law that, if implemented WILL impact all but the richest folks in America.   Here is an excellent explanation that is circulating on Social Media just at the moment:
When Trump or McConnell or Paul Ryan say they want to replace the ACA with “Health Savings Accounts” (HSAs), they are also saying they want to replace Obamacare or Medicare or Medicaid so YOU will be paying for your healthcare.
That means YOU pay for chemotherapy… YOU pay for all surgeries and hospitalization… YOU pay for all your family’s doctor visits, urgent care, ER visits, and prescription drugs out-of-our-pocket.
A Health Savings Account is just a tax-free way for you to save up money to pay for your own medical bills. So if you are paying off college loans, or saving for a house down-payment, or simply living paycheck to paycheck, guess what — a Health Savings Account does you no good, because you have no discretionary funds to deposit into it. And even if you manage to save five grand or ten grand in an HSA, that could all get wiped out in one hospital visit for you or a family member. Then you are back to square zero again.
Even if you can supplement your HSA with affordable health insurance, you will be eating away at money that you should be investing for your retirement or your kids’ college tuition. Only the top 3-5% of Americans can save enough for retirement, college AND their own out-of-pocket medical expenses. Therefore, the tax benefits of HSA’s only help those people.”
There are some, short-sighted folks, who hop all over this idea of an HSA,  as they believe in “Self-Reliance”  and “NOT enabling the lazy with benefits”   It is gallows humor,  but I have to laugh when I hear this.  My usual response to the “get rid of the ACA” folks goes something like  this:
OK…Ryan wants to wipe out the entire law, and replace it with Healthcare Savings Accounts. Tell me…do you have enough cash ON HAND to deposit $100,000 in that HSA? If not, how are you going to deal with it when a week after this change happens, your wife and child are seriously injured in an automobile accident, and in hospital, racking up bills at a rate of $10,000 a day? Will you sell everything to help them? Will you say to yourself ‘screw it, I can find a new wife, and create a new kid with no effort, so pull the plug on them?
I have yet to get a straight answer to this question!  (Imagine that)  Bless their hearts,  the folks that support this are deluded at best, and malicious at worst.  As my question indicates,   a vast percentage of Americans live paycheck to paycheck.  They do not have that kind of money to tuck away, and it would take them 20 years of sacrifice to get it.  Then,  there is that fact that this law does not remove the money in it from being taxed.  It only defers the tax, anticipating that by the time the money is withdrawn,  the tax rates will have dropped,  or the income will have dropped,  enough to overbalance the taxes due on this.  Right now?  If, for example,  I pull $10,000 out of a 401K to pay for a short hospital stay,  I will actually have to deduct $11,500 (at least) from the balance,  to deal with Penalties for early withdrawal, and taxes.  Well,  so,  the fact is that 99% of Americans will  NOT have an HSA with $100,000 in it, not now, not in two years,  not in 10 years.
Beyond this,  there is the fact that this will  remove the barriers that have kept the abusive behavior of the Health Insurance Industry at bay for several years.  This will,  inevitably,  lead to
  • massive premium increases
  • people unable to get insurance because of preexisting conditions
  • people losing their policies after a claim
  • the sale of policies that cover NOTHING and so are little more than an excuse for the Insurance Agency to suck cash from the subscriber’s pocket
  • life-time caps on coverage (which are almost always low enough that a serious health issue will top them out,  leaving the patient with the choice of dying,  or going bankrupt from their attempts to pay for needed coverage.
  • Another serious issue that the Republicans like to ignore,  or blow smoke over to conceal,  is the fact that repealing the ACA will, by ALL estimates,  cost America well over $1 TRILLION dollars in coming years, and likely destroy many jobs.   There are plenty of studies that show this available with a simple,  Google search.
  • This will cause upwards of 20 MILLION Americans to lose their health insurance.
In case anyone has forgotten,  it was only eight years ago that the above situation was not the exception,  but the normal mode of doing business that the Insurance Industry held to.

This is not a guess,  this is not speculation.   These are FACTS.

Now,  I am all for “Self-Reliance”,  however,  this is a bit delusional an attitude to hold in today’s world.  We,  in America,  have a society based on Democratic Socialism.   There are a vast collection of services and support that comes from decisions we, as Citizens, have made about providing them.   For example:
  • Police Protection – How many of us could afford hiring a subscription to a private security service that we could call when disaster happens to us at home.   Then,  there is the issue of being on the road,  and getting into an accident. Even if we are not at fault,  HOW is that mess going to be dealt with?  Finally,  there is the security issue itself.  Will an employee of a private company be as willing to run TOWARDS danger and possible death? Mercenaries,  while a bit strange from my point of view,  may be good at what they do,  but, when push comes to shove a vast majority of them will say “I preserve ME,  first…THEN the other guy”.
  • Fire Protection – We, in America are blessed with a huge population of men and women who, like police,  run TOWARDS danger instead of away from it.  They,  with quiet courage,  ride their trucks into the unknown,  taking on tasks ranging from battling wildfires eating thousands of acres and likely to turn and eat them at any moment,  to rescuing a companion animal from a tree,  or stream, or culvert where they have gotten stuck.   They do this with grace and a caring attitude,  and put their own lives second in many of these situations.
  • Infrastructure Creation and Repair – There is a road running by your house.  There are street lights that illuminate the road,  making it safer to drive,  there are bridges that cross impassable barriers, and a thousand other things that are the foundation of our life here in America.  The men and women who work on these tasks are, in general,  dedicated, hard workers who want to do the job as well as they can,  both for you,  a stranger they may never have met,  and for their families who likely drive on the roads and bridges they support and are directly affected by how well the structures are maintained.   Would YOU want to be “Self Reliant” and either pay a crew to keep the road along your property paved,  or take care of the task yourself?   What if a downed tree damages the power lines to your house?  Going to fix THAT on your own?   This, by the by,  includes clean water supplies and in some cases,  trash and waste disposal.   Do you want to have to dig a septic system and maintain it?  Do YOU want to have to make frequent runs to a commercial trash collector station, where you would likely have to pay a fee for EVERY bag of trash you put in the system?
  • Public Education – We, as a society,  use tax revenue to support a public school system that is free for all.  This free education extends through High School.   Now,  other countries are rather different about that.  Uganda, for example,  has no publicly funded High School system – which is far too common in the area.   So…for a child to go to High School  requires a significant payment from the parents.  The end result?  A population that has a small proportion of its kids getting any education beyond elementary school.   Look around at today’s society for a second – I will wait –   Ok…can you really say that someone with less than a High School education can really be successful in dealing with the complexities of this world?  Or,  for that matter,  look for any opportunity for work that is past the dishwasher/line cook  level?   Say you had three kids…one boy, two girls.  How much would YOU pay to ensure that they each would make it out of High School?   $5000/year for 4 years?  That is a real possibility.
These are but four of the many “Socialist” programs the United States supports and enjoys.   To me “Self-Reliance”  means doing what I can,  but making sure that this support system is kept in good shape to take the burden of things that I prefer not to have to deal with  or that I can,  by joining a group where we each contribute a little bit,  we can get great rewards back.   To touch back on Politics for a moment,   Bernie Sanders ran a very successful campaign in the lead up to the 2016 Presidential election,  paid for by millions of people who contributed $27 each.   He may not have won (alas),  but, he made some big changes to the platforms of the parties,  and brought some serious issues to the attention of the American Voter.
As for the “enabling” comment..a vast majority of the people supporting this repeal of the ACA claim to be “Good Christians”.  I missed the book of Christ’s teachings where He said “Ah,  forget it…I was just joshing with you.  Screw the poor and disadvantaged.   Let them starve…  Greed is GOOD!”   Having studied and meditated on the teachings in the Bible for 50+ years now,  I would be interested to hear where anyone has found comments that support the view that the disadvantaged should be kicked to one side while we enrich ourselves.
Be sure to contact your Congressional Representatives if you think this change is a bad idea –  Here is a good tool to track down the contact pages of your Senators and Representatives:
These days,  I have created and keep open three tabs on the browsers I use,  with one Representative’s email page in each.  It takes about five minutes to hit all three tabs and send a short,  clear, polite message expressing your opposition to this (or other) issues.   It is worth the time and anyone that tries to tell you it is not, is lying to you, because they know that our voices ARE important, and ARE heard by our Representatives.   They always have an agenda that depends on us, the voters and Citizens of America,  NOT taking that time to communicate with our government.
Be Smart…Make your voice heard.    Also,  of course,  if your Representative fails to support causes you find important..make an effort to vote in EVERY Election,  vote them out of office and replace them with Representatives that actually DO Represent you.   If possible,  be a bit of an activist.  Find out if your neighbors vote,  and if they have excuses,  politely discuss it with them, and offer to get them to the polls on Election day.   Contribute to your candidate – both time and money are useful and appreciated.   Finally,  stand up for what you believe in on Social Media.  We should not call names and engage in playground fights…but,  state the truth and let it stand on its own.
11 days to go.
God Help Us All
Bee Man Dave

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Sifting Through The Ashes, Part Six. – the donald VS The World – Summed Up In One Exchange.

Greetings and Salutations;
The Golden Globe Awards were held last night.   I did not watch them in whole,  as

Meryl Streep at Golden Globe Awards, 2016

I am not a great fan of awards shows.  There are many reasons for this,  which perhaps I will examine in a different blog entry.    That having been said,   Meryl Streep,  who was given a the Cecil B. DeMille Award for her work,  used much of the time allocated for her acceptance Speech to speak about the current political situation,  and the donald.   It is worth spending a few minutes to watch,  as Ms. Streep reminds us of the puerile behavior and speech of our President-Elect. HERE is another story on the interaction

the donald

I call this post “the donald  VS  The World”  because in this one exchange between Ms. Streep and the donald, we see exactly why he is unfit to hold the office.  In years past,  Presidents and other Elected  Officials have been mocked during these speeches,  and have had some mighty digs pointed in their direction.   How have they treated these moments?   They have,  in most cases,  simply let it go and provided NO public comment.   Privately,  they may have whined,  but they kept it private.  Not,  however,  the donald.   This morning,   he let loose with a snarky  commentary on Twitter,  saying this about the event:
 Meryl Streep, one of the most over-rated actresses in Hollywood, doesn’t know me but attacked last night at the Golden Globes. She is a Hillary flunky who lost big. For the 100th time, I never “mocked” a disabled reporter (would never do that) but simply showed him “groveling” when he totally changed a 16 year old story that he had written in order to make me look bad. Just more very dishonest media!
Hum…the donald claims that he did not mock the reporter?   Really?   What do Y’all think THIS VIDEO shows?
SO…How does this exchange of missiles demonstrate the basic problem with the donald in the Presidency?
  1. Once again,  he demonstrates that he is both thin-skinned AND vindictive.  It might be acceptable to issue a public statement that he disagreed with Ms. Streep’s characterization of his demonstrating the handicapped reporter’s mannerisms.  However,  he went far beyond that point.
  2. Anyone that says anything that tweaks him is an enemy,  to be slapped down hard…so,  he starts off his rant by slagging her reputation,  trying to weaken her comments with insults.
  3. He lies…blatantly, and almost constantly.   To me, the above recording does show him mocking the reporter.    In addition,  his remarks about Ms. Streep are without merit either.  She is not “One of the most over-rated actresses in Hollywood”.   Even today,  she can command the screen better than even 10 copies of the donald all clustered around squeaking for attention could do.  She was NOT attacking him but was decrying  his actions and speech, as well she should, as it was an ugly moment among too many ugly moments in the campaign.    Finally,   “100th time?”   that seems a bit exaggerated,  although it might be at least half way to the truth.
  4. His volatility is a problem (More on that in a bit).   Do we REALLY want a person who can launch Nuclear Missiles in the position to do so, when he has shown that he is a chicken-hawk,  and not only could become angry at a slight by a world leader,  and launch,  and,  has a proven history of asking “What good is there in having Nukes,  if we cannot use them”.

There are many more,   of course,  but I have commented on them in other blog entries this year,  and, they are well documented on line.    To get back to that point about volatility for a moment, though, I wanted to pass along this commentary by Keith

Keith Olbermann

Olbermann.  He  is a very insightful,  and articulate man,  and recently posted a video aimed at the donald cultists in specific, and all Citizens in general, why he thinks there is something wrong with the donald. and offering suggestions on how to prepare for drastic action.   He has known the donald for 20 years or more,  and has interviewed him a number of times.   This, to me, enforces the seriousness of his words.   If you have not seen it,  I strongly suggest you watch, and consider THIS VIDEO ESSAY.   It is a powerful indictment of the donald,  and bears serious consideration.   Keith has lost his job at several News Channels  because of his focus on the truth,  and his outspoken rants that gore the ox of powerful people.  One of the somewhat chilling things about this essay is that this is no rant…it is as calm and balanced as can be…He Means It.   Not to dilute this entry,  but I suggest visiting Olbermann’s YouTube Channel and watching other examples of his work.   He is not always correct,  and sometimes I feel he has gone over the edge…but,  overall,  he is one,  IMPRESSIVE voice.

Only 11 Days to go.
God help us all!
Bee Man Dave

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Sifting Through The Ashes, Part Five

Greetings and Salutations;

Well, just a quick update on the progress of the political train wreck that the 2016 Presidential Election turned into. The last chance of deflecting the disaster came and went a few days ago, when the House rubber-stamped the votes of the Electoral College, and Certified the election of the donald as President. Not only is it a terrible commentary on today’s world, that both the Electoral College and the House would abdicate their responsibilities under the Constitution, and allow the results from a deeply flawed election stand, but, it speaks to the cowardice of the 100 Senators that we appointed, as the best of the best, to Represent us. There were a number of House members who raised objections to the Electoral College vote, and attempted to delay its certification until a full investigation could be completed. However, it requires ONE Senator to have the courage and character to endorse these objections for them to have any effect on the outcome. Not a single Senator stood and supported our Democracy. They sat there, silent, and watched the collapse of the house of cards.

I want to note that the objections raised by the House Members were quite serious, and valid objections. Their main point was that, by this point in time, over 50 Electors who cast votes were not qualified to BE a member of the Electoral College. The main point was that no Electoral College Voter can be an office holder in the Government. However, almost every one of the challenged Voters were, indeed, Office Holders in some level of Government.

Well, That having been said, there is a fellow out there in the Cyber Ocean by the name of Chris Brecheen, who just published a sharp, and well written summary of the Cognitive Dissonance that ALL the folks that voted for the donald had to live with. I found it impressive enough that (along with the the links to the Original) I am quoting it here. It may be that not every point applies to every person that voted for the donald…However, a vast majority of them DO, and as a group, all these points apply.

If you are still trying to convince yourself that a Trump presidency will not be that bad, here is (some of) the cognitive dissonance that exists within that narrative of normalization:


  • That a presidential nominee who you praised for not being a typical politician (one who goes back on their promises) will go back on their promises…..but only the ones you don’t like (like cutting YOUR government support or maybe that Muslim registry that DID sound kind of scary). The ones you liked he’ll do. Absolutely.
  • That nearly every person who has either lived through or studied Hitler’s rise to power suddenly, all at once, decided to become melodramatic and overwrought. For no reason.
  • That he says what he means and you like that. Except for the stuff that you swear you weren’t okay with him saying. You’re not a racist or anything. That was just bluster. But the stuff you agree with wasn’t just bluster; it was totally sincere. You are able to tell exactly which things are bluster and exactly which things he has high integrity about.
  • That a guy who lies almost every time his mouth is open was totally telling the truth to you. Totally. And sure he lies all the time, but he’s right about all the stuff you agree with him about. Yep.
  • That a presidential nominee who bragged during nationally televised debates about scamming freelance workers and spent twenty-five million to settle a fraud lawsuit can be trusted to know exactly where the water’s edge of “conflict of interest” is between his personal investments and US interests and doesn’t need the slightest oversight.
  • That a presidential nominee who bragged during nationally televised debates about scamming freelance workers and spent twenty-five million to settle a fraud lawsuit totally wasn’t saying anything he had to to win so he could defraud YOU.
  • That these appointments aren’t terrifying at all. Breathtaking cronyism in a historically uneducated and inexperienced cabinet with a bent towards white supremacy and anti-LGBTQ+ policy is only alarming because everyone on the left is a sore loser.
  • That Republican paranoia about shit that Obama never said he would do (like taking away your guns) was justified, but our fear of explicit campaign promises is blowing things out of proportion.
  • That Russia hasn’t ever done anything enemy-ish, is absolutely blameless, would never do such a thing, and you should mock everyone who thinks otherwise. Even those seventeen U.S. intelligence agencies. Because what did they ever do.
  • That nothing bad ever happened when a president decided not to pay attention to an intelligence report. *cough9/11cough*
  • That your vote was all about economics. Not even a teensie weensie bit about race or bigotry. (Even though those “identity politics PC folks” sure had it coming!) Despite the fact that Trump’s tax plan very clearly spelled out that your taxes would be (and will be) going up unless you are a business or in the top 1%. But let’s go with the economy. Absolutely.
  • That intelligence agencies are somehow only trustworthy if they are accusing Hillary Clinton of a crime.
  • That someone who has called American citizens of the opposition party his “enemies” in a taunt that a twelve year old 4channer would find petulant egged on by a mainstream constituency that is delighted at how much pain and suffering “those fucking coastal elites” are about to endure is somehow going to heal the divisions of our country.
  • That the party that once used “pinko commie” as an insult to the left to insinuate that they were in league with Russia is now darned cool with those guys and their curious blend of anti-LGBT, one party, imperialistic oppression.
  • That after enduring eight years of birther crap, racism, faux lynchings, literal burning effigies, the rhetoric of taking the country “back,” watching the Tea party rise as a Koch brothers astroturf movement involving a bunch of white dudes in revolutionary war costumes calling the administration of a right leaning Democrat (with an infuriating penchant for compromise) “tyranny,” as well as an unprecedented obstructionism at every single level of government, liberals should just “get over it” because “He won.”
  • That the REAL problem is that a group who is trying to get everyone the same rights, achieve equality, listen to others’ lived experiences, and empower those pushed to the margins of our society is lacking empathy. If only we’d learn to build a bridge.
  • That in a country where the status quo is already violently unjust towards certain people, an administration that has openly voiced hostility towards these people will make things better.
  • That a head of state who chooses not only to ignore a foreign attack by our enemies, but also mocks the sitting president who retaliated with sanctions….then turns around and PRAISES the foreign head of state who almost certainly attacked us…. That THAT guy is going to keep US interests safe.
  • That a dude who didn’t realize his tweet calling for a boycott of Apple was going to reveal that it had come from an iPhone somehow knows more about hacking than 17 U.S. intelligence communities and a host of private analysts.
  • That a guy who brags about grabbing women by the pussy isn’t sexist and it totally wasn’t even a little sexist to go ahead and vote to make him the most powerful person on Earth.
  • Repeat the last point for racism, xenophobia, ableism and every shitty bigoted thing he has said or done. But it totally isn’t even a little bigoted that all this stuff wasn’t a deal breaker, and liberals are just being “hateful” to suggest it.
  • That “the least racist person you’ll ever meet” appointed a white supremacist to a new White House position.
  • That a person with an ego so frail that they take to twitter at the slightest criticism (be it from SNL portrayals or a Broadway musical with the audacity to hope that all US citizens would gain equal protection) is going to be an effective diplomat, and totally won’t have a nuclear power rattling its saber at him before he’s even sworn in.
  • That negative three million votes is a “mandate.”
  • That the problem with a widely diverse groups struggling against the bigotry of cis het white male lawmakers to enact policy that will not target and possibly help marginalized groups is that we are “elites.”
  • That nuclear proliferation is a big competition and Trump can “win.”
  • That the guy who not only has been conspicuously silent about the shocking uptick in hate crimes but has also demanded a list of the federal employees involved in combatting the rise of extremist groups (but won’t say why) isn’t going to be as bad for minorities as he’s being painted, and all “those people” are just making mountains out of molehills.
  • That being cheered on by Nazis is not an inauspicious sign.
  • That calling Obama racial slurs and racist epithets are just free speech, but pointing out when Trump is lying with facts should be cracked down on because it’s so hateful.
  • That someone who hates taxing the rich and hates unions and hates regulations and hates bipartisan cooperation isn’t talking about the social hegemony of cis het white men when he wistfully looks to the past while invoking a promise to make America “great again.”
  • That it’s too late to admit you’ve made a mistake and join us in our every effort to #RESIST
Chris Brecheen (C) 2017
 Only 12 days to go.
God Help Us All
Bee Man Dave

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You Keep Saying That Word “Change”

     Greetings and Salutations;
Well,  it is finally the last day of 2016….New Year’s Eve.    I have to say that this year is one that I am just as glad to see the end of.    Sadly,   we shall start 2017 off with the Inauguration of the donald as President of the United States.   This is unspeakably bad for so many reasons.
However,   I am more interested in talking about the donald’s claim to be “Draining the Swamp”,  and the fact that so many voters seemed to be motivated by frustration with the current Federal Government,  and wanting change.   Let me do a quick comparison between HRC and the donald on that whole “Change” thing.
President Obama has,  in the last eight years,  performed some  minor miracles with the United States.  To touch on a few of them:
  • His administration tracked down and killed Osama Bin Laden.
  • He inherited an economy in shambles, now it is in considerably better shape.
  • The Stock Market was tanking  NOW,  the Stock Market is at record highs;  
  • Companies were shutting down,  causing massive job loss.  NOW,  new businesses are opening up and growing and job growth has been on a steady upward swing.
  • the Federal Deficit which was causing a huge growth in the National Debt,  has been cut by 3/4.
  • He managed to get the first, real healthcare insurance reform in the history of the country passed.
  • Our international reputation was in shambles, but since he took office,  our international reputation has Improved every year.
And what is more impressive about this is that he did this and many more things in spite of the absolute, unending opposition of Congress,  and the unending fire hose of racist attacks by citizens.
Now….Hillary Clinton   ran for the office,  and much of her platform was to continue to expand and continue these accomplishments by President Obama.  Her plans were to change how the Federal Government worked,  through careful and thoughtful actions.  Sadly,  the Electoral College chose to ignore their responsibility and put the donald into office.
Now then…what did the donald bring to the table.   From day one,  it is true that he mentioned “Change”…although his favorite phrase was “Drain the Swamp”.   Alas,  now that he has taken the office,  here is what he actually will bring to it.
  • He wants to eliminate the ACA during his first 100 days in the office.  This will mean that the insurance companies will be free to return to the same,  abusive actions they gloried in for years,  including massive premium increases,  denying insurance for pre-existing conditions,  dropping people who use their policies,  putting caps on payouts and a host of other actions that made it impossible for millions of Americans to get health insurance for years.   The immediate effect will be that close to 20 million Americans will lose their insurance coverage.
  • He has packed his Cabinet with billionaires  who have no experience or knowledge about running the departments they have been put in charge of.  Not only does it appear that the only qualification for holding a Cabinet level Job in the donald’s administration is to have given him a lot of money.   No Change THERE and I would be hard put to call that “Draining The Swamp”.
  • Every one of the people,  save ONE, that he has put on his Cabinet and assigned to run an agency of the government has a long record of being totally against that agency.  This means that their only goal is likely to disassemble the agency and destroy it.  No changes there, as the Right-Wing has wanted to remove the agencies that constrain their greed and protect the rest of the Citizens for decades.
  • He has announced massive tax cuts for the 1%  who have most of the money in America.   No change there.
  • He has claimed that he will do all this improvement of infrastructure,  yet has no way to pay for it!  No change there.
  • It is a fact that almost every economist who looks at his economic plans says that they will cause a huge drop in revenue,  so,  even if he does little or nothing to improve the country’s infrastructure,  it will cause the deficit to spike upwards and cause a huge growth in the debt…Guess what?   No change there.
  • To touch on the Cabinet again…during the campaign,  the donald was spitting fire over HRC’s giving a speech to Goldman Sachs.  Well,  guess who he has added to his administration?   Several executives from Goldman Sachs, of course. 
  • In addition,  he has said many things about getting the lobbyists out of the government’s way.   Well,  again…guess what he has added to his administration?   SEVERAL Lobbyists.
So…it should be pretty clear from even this small sample,  which Candidate was the real proponent of change for America.
Now,  in case you think I have forgotten the voters…do not worry…I am getting to us.   I say that we, as Americans do NOT want change in our Federal Government.   Here is what I base my observation on.   For most of my life,  in EVERY election the incumbents are returned to office more than 90% of the time.   Look at the state America is in right now.   It is that way because we have a Congress that has better tenure than many Universities.   The Republicans, in spite of holding a controlling percentage of the House,  and using that to pass laws which have hurt many, average Americans,  have NO worries about their job.  They know that they are there until they decide to leave, and there are few things that make that less likely.
I am of the opinion that all you that are reading this should do two things.
  1. If you are REALLY for change…then take time to communicate those desires to your Representatives.
  2. If they do not work on those changes, or ignore you…work to get them voted out of office.
Until we do that, there is not a one of us that can whine about government not changing.
God Help Us
Bee Man Dave

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Making a Difference At Christmas

Greetings and Salutations;

Today is December 25th,  2016
Christmas Day
.    This is always a complicated holiday for me,  as there is such a culture clash between what today is SUPPOSED to mean…and what its CONTENT says it means.  In theory,  it is a day for Children’s joy,   the lights and decorations around the house are spreading glints of color and movement wherever one looks.   There are presents wrapped in bright paper under the tree.  There are stockings,  hung by the chimney with care,  and overflowing with once a year treats.   There are visits by friends and family and, much rejoicing.
Alas,  the reality for too many of us is far from this.   For too many of the world,  this day is a reminder of the oppression and hate in the world; of the starvation and want;  of the destruction of one’s home,  of the death of family or friends;  of an overwhelming feeling of sadness and loneliness.
  • It is a reminder that while (for Christians)  it is a celebration of the birth of Christ,  the holiday has become so drowned in Materialism that the message of tolerance,  love, and helping one’s neighbor has been lost.
  • Right now,  there is a Veteran  who is taking his or her own life  because the physical and mental injuries of war have become too great to live with.
  • Right now, there are too many Americans who are huddling over street grates,  trying to get a little warmth against the bitter cold of the Winter.
  • Right now, there are aged relatives,  living in a facility,  who have no old friends and family visit them…and sometimes a five minute phone call is all the contact they get this year with their family.
  • Right now, there are LGBTQ folks who are being thrown out of their family because of their sexual orientation,  or who have not had a holiday with their family for that reason.
  • This inhumanity is not limited to HUMANS either.
  • Right now, there are millions of companion animals living in the wild  because their people have decided to take them on a ride and dump them out somewhere far from home, for no good reason.
  • Right now, there are hundreds of thousands of companion animals for whom today was their last day in the world.  Why?  Because the shelter they were dumped into ran out of room and has killed them to clear out cages for the next wave.
I am sorry to be such a wet blanket, It is no fun for me either…I weep as I type this post.  So,  I shall leave you with some suggestions about things that YOU can do to help the situation.
  1. Do not just say “I should contribute something to a charity”.  Take five minutes and DO it.   Most organizations these days have an online presence that will allow donations through the Net.   Use to find a cause to donate to, and to make sure the charity you are supporting is not just a scam.   Here,  by the by,  are a few Charities that I rather like.
  2. Donations to your local University to support grant programs.   This is great as all Universities have programs to help deserving students who show great promise,  but cannot afford higher education,  to attend.
  3. The K.I.N.D. fund –  This program,  created by Lawrence O’Donnell,  pays for school desks for kids who now have to sit on the floor.   It has also started subsidizing high school (which is NOT free in many,  African countries)  to allow kids to push on with their education.
  4. Heifer International –  This group  helps the impoverished with animals and other sources of food and money.   I am lucky enough to have a relative who,  every year,  contributes enough for a beehive to this worthy cause.
  5. Local Veteran’s support groups – Look around…make a couple of calls in your town.  There are too many groups who help Vets with rehabilitation and rehab, and housing and food available.   A contribution to one of these helps support a person who has, in fact,  put their life on the line for you – a stranger.
  6. Local Animal shelters – Gifts of cash or needed supplies will do much good for our companion animals who have been lost or discarded.
  7. Rescue Groups – Look online,  etc.   There are many rescue groups who want to save the discarded from an early death,  and restore some Karmic Balance by finding them good homes and loving guardians.   Money is always useful.  Time can be a great gift.   Even if you only do it once…that is ONE animal whose life has been made better.  That is worth a lot.
  8. Rescue an animal yourself – If you can,  open your family of choice to a companion animal (or two).   They add an enormous amount to one’s life,  and cost very little.   If you can take an older animal from the shelter,  or a bonded pair,  that is even better,  as they are the least adoptable, and so  most likely to either spend their days in a small cage (if lucky enough to be in a “no kill” shelter)  or be executed to get them out of the way (if not).
In terms of gifts…All charities and organizations have suggested amounts.  They have to,  because without those choices too many people will say to themselves “Well,  I do not know how much they want,  so I will give NOTHING”.   However,  even a small amount will help.  If you drink a Starbucks’ coffee several times a month,  then…simply giving up ONE of those can easily net $10 for a worthy cause.    When you go grocery shopping…buy a few extra cans of soup (for example)  and drop them off at a homeless shelter.   Pick up an extra package of several pairs of underwear, and drop that off at the shelter.   If you adopt an adult animal (and yes, I know how cute puppies and kittens are),  seriously consider adopting two of them.   That way,  your companion animal will have a friend to keep them company when YOU cannot be there.
Now,  I am lucky enough to have a goodly sized house, and so can take care of 8+ cats inside and about 5 semi-feral, outside cats.   I do not expect anyone to take on that level of effort…I, though want to save them all.  I cannot do that, but, I take comfort in the fact that I can say,  every time I re-socialize a feral cat,  and get it moved to a good home with loving guardians,  that I have saved that ONE animal.  One by one.
The coming years are going to be a difficult challenge for all of us.  I believe that the best way to deal wih the surge of Evil in the world is by staying strong, and whenever we can,  perform a random act of Kindness in the world.   It will not make the world perfect,  alas,  but it will bring something positive to you,  as well to the recipient of that Kindness.
God Help Us.
Bee Man Dave

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What to do now?

Greetings and Salutations;
Well,  the deed is done.  The Electoral College has proved that it has abandoned all of the responsibilities that Hamilton placed on it,  and become a useless rubber stamp for the Establishment.   Because of this,  Caesar lays on the floor in front of us,  dead from many knife wounds.   My question is  “What Now?”   The donald is,  barring a miracle,  going to be sworn in on the 20th of January,  and,  even if HE is out of office in less than four years,  we, as a society,  are stuck with his administration.    We need to mourn the death of something very good this year,  but,  once we have wept over what Our Country has become,  we need to stand up and say “No More”.   Eugene Robinson,  a man of many talents and great wisdom, who came under attack by trump cultists,  made some very telling remarks in an Op-Ed piece in the Washington Post:

Eugene Robinson Washington Post

The people chose Hillary Clinton. But it’s the electoral vote that counts, not the popular vote, so Donald Trump will be president. And no, I’m not over it.
No one should be over it. No one should pretend that Trump will be a normal president. No one should forget the bigotry and racism of his campaign, the naked appeals to white grievance, the stigmatizing of Mexicans and Muslims. No one should forget the jaw-dropping ignorance he showed about government policy both foreign and domestic. No one should forget the vile misogyny. No one should forget the mendacity, the vulgarity, the ugliness, the insanity. None of this should ever be normalized in our politics.
The big protests that have followed Trump’s election should be no surprise. You can’t spend all those months trashing our nation’s values and then expect everyone to join you in a group hug. Trump made the bed in which he now must lie.
How did the unthinkable happen? Is Trump, like Brexit, part of some world-sweeping populist wave? Are the Rust Belt hinterlands in open rebellion? Was Clinton just a spectacularly flawed candidate? Did FBI Director James B. Comey boost Trump over the top? Did too many anti-Trump voters stay home out of complacency?
There is evidence to support all of those theories. But the urgent question isn’t why? — it’s what now? 

Nationwide protests gripped many cities for days following the presidential election as thousands marched against Donald Trump’s victory. Trump tweeted to condemn “professional protesters, incited by the media.” (Jenny Starrs/The Washington Post)


 If a normal Republican had been elected, I could say the polite and socially acceptable thing, something like “I didn’t support So-and-So, but he will be my president, too, and I wish him success.” But I cannot wish Trump success in rounding up and deporting millions of people or banning Muslims from entering the country or re-instituting torture as an instrument of U.S. policy. In these and other divisive, cruel, unwise initiatives, I wish him failure. I do hope he succeeds in avoiding some kind of amateurish foreign policy blunder that puts American lives or vital national interests at risk. And let me be clear that I am not questioning his legitimacy as president. When the results are certified and the electoral college casts its votes, Trump will be the nation’s duly chosen leader, ridiculous though that may be. he has not earned our trust or hope. Rather, he has earned the demonstrations that have erupted in cities across the country. He has earned relentless scrutiny by journalists, whom he shamelessly made into scapegoats during the campaign, and he has earned the constant vigilance of the public he now must serve. There have been more than 200 reports since the election of harassment and hate crimes, mostly directed at minorities, according to the Southern Poverty Law Center. During an interview broadcast Sunday on “60 Minutes,” Trump addressed his supporters: “I will say this, and I will say right to the cameras: Stop it.”
That would have been a better start had he not also sought to minimize the incidents, saying there had been a “very small amount” of them; and had he not also claimed the media was somehow applying a double standard in reporting on the protests.
The most troubling post-election development thus far was Trump’s appointment of campaign chief executive Stephen K. Bannon — a prominent figure in the racist, xenophobic alt-right movement — as chief strategist and senior adviser. A spokesman for Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) said the move “signals that white supremacists will be represented at the highest levels in Trump’s White House.”
I agree with these thoughts and have to say that I intend to be a gadfly for the new Administration.   In the unlikely event that they accidentally create legislation that will help the vast majority of Americans that are far outside their wheelhouse of experience,   I will support and applaud their efforts.   However,   when the Administration moves to implement the Evils listed above, and any other of the LONG list of attacks on the American Citizens  that the donald and his obscenity of a VP have said they want to push through,   I shall,  and I urge ALL of us,  to write our Representatives;  to engage in Protests;  to take actions to communicate in clear fashion that this is unacceptable.    Now,   to some folks,  this may sound like a  call to go out,  engage in violence, vandalism and looting.   It is most definitely not.   Remember the great men of history – Christ, Gandhi, Martin Luther King, et al,  who knew that peaceful,  non-violent protest was a powerful tool for changing society.
Look,  for example,  at the Civil Right’s Movement.   The gains in recognition that people of color have achieved did not come from burning Watts to the ground.   Rather,  it came from the growing outrage at scenes of peaceful protestors being attacked by authorities,  using dogs and fire-hoses.   It came from the ugly image of one, small,  Black girl,  walking bravely into a school to desegregate it,  and having to be surrounded by cops to protect her from the hateful crowds screaming at her.  The faw Evil shining out of their faces   disgusted the people of good will in the country,  and moved them out of their apathy to take action to recognize ALL citizens as equals.
Today,  the LGBTQ community and the Islamic community are in a similar place,  and we people of good will must stand up and be counted.   Stand against legislation that removes the rights of these citizens  and remind all of us that as citizens of the United States they have the same rights and responsibilities as laid out in the Constitution as each of us.  Do not stand for oppression,  hate,  division, and intolerance.
More Later
Bee Man Dave

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Hamilton Weeps…

Greetings and Salutations;
Today,  the Electoral College met, and, to the disappointment of many and surprise of few,  proved it was not what Hamilton had intended for it to be,  but,  rather,  was a rubber stamp in the process of the Presidential Election.   In spite of the fact that the donald is manifestly unqualified to be President of these United States, and,  that there is a large amount of evidence that a Foreign Country (Russia)  worked to influence the Election to ensure the donald’s election,  the Electors cast enough votes for the donald that he has, officially,  been elected as the President.   
Hamilton,  in the Federalist Papers #68,  explained in detail that he was aware of how a demagogue can use the magic of language to speak to the basic fears and prejudices of the voters,  and thereby allow an unqualified person who does not have the best interests of the country to take the Chair of the President.   The Electoral College was created and charged with the responsibility of keeping that from happening.  Well,  today they failed.   As has been well documented time and time again,  the donald has based his campaign not on concrete plans to improve the lot of most Americans,  but on anger, prejudice and hate of “The Other” who is responsible for the problems the citizens are having.  
  • It is “The Other” that is sneaking into our country, taking our jobs, and causing “real” Americans to end up out of work;   
  • It is “The Other” who is making financial decisions in the banks that threaten to take the citizen’s home away;  
  • It is “The Other” who is bringing violence to America and killing us and our families randomly;  
  • It is “The Other” who is a very educated person who looks down upon the plumbers,  delivery guys,  Restaurant Servers and the like with contempt and who does not care about them at all;   
  • It is “The Other” who has brought such chaos and evil to the Federal Government that only HE,  the donald,  can fix it.   
These, and a much longer list of points demonstrate that the donald is precisely the person that Hamilton was talking about.  However,  while I will not get into it right now,  it is documented that these attacks are lies, and have no basis in reality.  That, though,  does not matter to the donald, or the 25.5% of American voters who have joined his cult.
No one argues that Hillary Clinton is not perfect.  She has a 40 year history of public service,  during which she has made a few bad decisions.  In a vast majority of those cases,  she has, as she had learned more about the issues, changed her mind and position.   She has also publicly owned her mistake, apologized for it, and worked really hard to NOT repeat it over the time since.   As has been pointed out elsewhere,  she has been under almost constant investigation by Republican committees during most of these years.  Yet,  in spite of these witch hunts by enemies,  no charges or indictments have appeared.  I. E.  she, unlike the donald,  has a record clean of civil convictions.    In addition,  as of today,  she has a majority vote of close to 3 million votes over the donald.  Yet…it was a foregone conclusion that the Electoral College would never elect her to the Presidency.   Yet another example of how Hamilton’s Ideal of Democracy has been raped and murdered over the years.  It has been the death of a thousand cuts,  but, the victim has finally expired.
It is a sad day for America and the world today.
God save us all!
Bee Man Dave

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Sifting Through The Ashes, Part Four – Words of a Wise Woman

Greetings and Salutations;
We,  in the South,  are blessed with some of the best minds in America.   A (somewhat distant) friend of mine,  Park Overall,  is a strong activist for water quality in East Tennessee,  and produces some of the most thoughtful and wise commentaries on issues of the day that I have read.    She just posted some comments on the political coup going on in North Carolina  that I found insightful enough that I am re-posting them here.   Read and enjoy (or weep)…

“I am just going to say it. That’s what I am going to do. This NC thing is proof positive of what I’m going to say. See, Dems like their politics messy. That’s how they like it. The Hells Angel said to me, when I told him a police officer had told me they were nothing more than organized crime, the Hells Angel said, “He said that?” I nodded, and he said, “More like disorganized crime.” And that’s how dems are. Disorganized and for the common man. Sure, there can be a bad apple in every bunch. Sure. But, the thing is for all you republicans that live in this fantasy America, understand what is happening to you. The republicans have redistricted every area they can. Ann Richards said in TX, you could drive a car through a democratic district and open the car door and hit every democrat in it.!

The republicans have followed a dangerous course, bowing to the Kochs, banking on corporations, which have broken the unions. You people that think voter fraud is an issue are nuts. How easy was that for me in CA? Not even possible. In Greene County? not even possible See voter fraud is ludicrous. Ludicrous. But the republicans want the poor and elderly’s hours cut at the polls. They want to limit who can vote. And they don’t want black and brown people voting for that is a new world order that they cannot handle. Those little people cannot be allowed to take over the country.

I was on the Subway in NYC as a young actress, and I looked around in that subway car and realized I was the only white person in it. That was a first in all my life. And for a moment that fear, that primal, oh my God thing, came over me. And you know what happened. Absolutely nothing. Nothing happened. And in a way the chains of the South and it’s narrow, limited choking message, were broken forever. Now, the Republicans have elected a narcissist to the WH. Fine. I’ve met a lot of um. They are easy to play – at least when you’re a young woman. But when he surrounds himself with dangerous, narrow, idealogues, you have a problem. You have an oligarchy and plutocracy. So- what can happen? In my book, the worst can and will happen. You have a master showman for president, and at last, the 24 hour news teams have 24 hour news. They can fill every minute with him and their mindless minions and his. And I don’t know what you republicans are thinking. The only thing that is at stake is the planet. Let’s start there. All you republicans who sit by the Lord are encouraging this planet to be doomed. And then comes your retirement, your SS, your way to your grave is going to be taken from you. When you have no unions you have no solidarity. You live like you’re in the 50’s. And you have blinders on. Actually, you have blindfolds on…….And it’s going to cost you dearly. NC has passed a law to limit the power of the new democrat. Now, folks, that’s when all is lost. Really lost. Your state house has been like this for years. The meaness that the organized republicans put on Gloria Johnson and Eddie what’s his name, love him was out of line. Out of control. And it was pure dee ole meaness. If anybody out there is listening, – we are in a world of trouble. And might I say, for your NYear’s Resolution, you might want to open your eyes.”

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Sifting Through The Ashes, Part Three – Coup in North Carolina

Greetings and Salutations;

Protestors In North Carolina State Capitol

It is a busy time here at the end of a long,  ugly year.    There are too many instances of insanity in the Political World that are motivating me to post a comment.   So…This one is about the situation in North Carolina.

For y’all that have not heard…the Republican Governor there  has been replaced in the November elections with a Democrat.   There are a number of explanations for this,  but,  I suspect the virulent Anti-LGBTQ  legislation passed and signed by the governor earlier this year is a big factor in it.   This legislation has already cost the state $Millions  as quite a number of large events have canceled their trips to the state and moved their event, and subsequent cash,  to another state.   Also,  the Legislators have taken actions to make it harder for the disadvantaged to vote, all in the hopes that the Republicans can keep and maintain their hold on political power in the state.
Well,  as the inauguration of the Democratic Governor nears,  the Legislators and Governor are frantically passing new laws that will limit the powers of the incoming Governor.   The are trying to do it under the cover of darkness too,  as they called a special session of the Legislature,  and as the night spread across the state,  they started passing these restrictive bills.   It was a classic example of smoke and mirrors too!   The Legislators announced that they were having a special session to pass disaster relief for victims of floods and fire in the state.  Well,  they did that…then,  they closed the session and immediately called another special session, “without an Agenda”.   This was a surprise for everyone except the Republicans who ad set it up.  They,  by the by,  tried to claim that it was a last minute decision.  However,  already Paperwork has shown up showing that this special session was planned several days in advance.
Some things that they have done already:
Passed a bill that cuts,  by almost 2/3,  the number of positions in the government appointed by the Governor.  The end result is that the political appointees of the Republican Governor will now become permanent employees of the state.
Election reform bills were passed.  This will rework the state board of elections and combines it with the state ethics commission. Previously, the state board of elections had a 3-2 majority in favor of the governor’s party, while every county board had a 2-1 advantage for the governor’s party. Under the new rules, the state board will have eight members, four of each party, appointed half by the governor and half by the legislature. County boards will have four members. The chairmanship will rotate, but appears to guarantee that Republicans will lead the board during crucial even-numbered election years for the foreseeable future.
Supreme Court elections, which have been nonpartisan but handed a majority to Democrat-aligned justices this November, will now be partisan.
They confirmed Yolanda Stith, the wife of (ex Governor) McCrory’s chief of staff, to the state industrial commission. (Republicans complained that the protestors were disrupting a triumphal moment for a black woman.)
Needless to say,  there have been quite a few protestors at the state Capitol,  and a bunch of those folks have been arrested for protesting this raw power grab.   It is hard for the legislators to claim that there was not a strong,  racial component to these changes,  as many of the new laws put into place through this session have attacked the ability to vote of people of color.
It looks to me as this is a palace coup,  emboldened by the squeaking through of the donald to take power.   This will bite them in the ass at some point in time, I am sure,   but, I can only hope that America is still around to see it happen.   This is such a bad situation that it has moved far beyond any sane commentary.
God Help Us All
Pleasant Dreams
Bee Man Dave

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Sifting Through The Ashes, Part Two – The Electoral College.

Greetings and Salutations;
The Electoral College,  as a part of our Presidential Election is rarely a step in the process that anyone cares about.   Every four years,  there are a few folks whining about how unfair it is,  or how it is influencing the results…but in general,   no one cares.  However,   this year,   it has turned into what some folks believe is the last  hope for Democracy in America…and so has had its importance spiked upwards.   I wanted to post a thought or two about it,  here in the few days before it votes and our next President is locked in.
Over the years,   the states have implemented a couple of VERY BAD laws dealing with how the votes of the Electoral College are cast and treated.
  • All but TWO states have a “Winner Take All” law.
  • Many states have created a “Faithless Electors” law.
Why are these two laws (in specific) very bad for Democracy and the firewall that the Electoral College is supposed to provide  and what could be done about it?
The “Winner Take All” law means that the candidate winning by even ONE vote gets the benefit of ALL the Electoral votes.  This could mean that a candidate with ONE vote gets 20 or more votes from the Electoral College.  The unfairness of this should be immediately obvious,  as it subverts the will of the people…disenfranchising the many votes for the other candidates.   How could this be fixed?   I suggest that the “Winner Take All” Laws be repealed and removed.   Instead simply apportion the Elector’s votes in proportion to the votes the candidates got in the election.
The “Faithless Elector” law makes it a crime for the Electors to refuse to vote for the winning candidate that they are assigned to.  This undercuts a major reason for the Electoral College,  and stands against the rules of a society of freedom.   I suggest that all such laws be repealed and removed.
That having been said,  I am not entirely sure that state laws dealing with the Electoral Congress are Constitutional, and therefore valid.  I can put up a good argument that State Laws do not and should not apply to the Electoral College. Specifically…
  • it is a direct function of the Federal Government.   It is created in the FEDERAL Constitution.
  • There are no permissions for a state to create law controlling the actions of the Electors in any of the Amendments which deal with the Electoral College. As a matter of fact, the Constitutional references invoke as free a path as is possible for the Electors to vote their conscience, unhindered by laws limiting their choices.
  • In the writings of Hamilton in the Federalist Papers, Hamilton speaks to the importance of the Electors ensuring that a demagogue, playing to the emotions and prejudices of the citizenry, NOT take control of the government.  The idea, as I see it,  is to ensure that a person who,  from either ignorance or malicious intent,  would destroy our Democracy in pursuit of their personal agenda.
So…  I believe these two,  major points show that an attack on the Electoral College – such as the concept of “Winner Take All” or of a “Faithless Elector” as being a person who refuses to vote for the candidate with the largest number of Electoral Votes null and void.  I believe that these laws undercut the picture of reality as held by Hamilton,    and are moving us towards destruction of our Democracy.
 I would , rather, argue that the term “Faithless Elector” is more appropriate for the Electoral College that chooses to be a rubber stamp and put a dangerous candidate into office simply because they are forced to bow to the the fickle and emotion driven opinions of the voters by law.

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Sifting Through The Ashes, Part One

Greetings and Salutations;
It has been several weeks since the election and its shocking results.  Of course,   the chaos continues,  and I may speak to that later on.   However,   right now,  I want to address a kind of sad thing that I have seen growing in the Democratic Party.   This is a small,  civil war between Bernie and Hillary supporters.  Today,  I saw yet another handful of posts from Bernie supporters going on about how the DNC screwed up by “anointing” HRC to be candidate, and cutting Bernie out.
I have to say that this year, I was pleased that, as a Democrat, I had TWO excellent candidates to vote for. Both Bernie and Hillary were strong candidates, with many views I agreed with and support. I actually voted for Bernie in the Primaries, but, was not upset that HRC took the Nomination. I was especially pleased that she was flexible enough to respectfully look at Bernie’s platform, and incorporate a number of his goals into HER platform.
This harping about Bernie vs Hillary is really not worthy of us as progressives. Frankly, y’all who believe that Bernie would have swept the election seem, to me, to be living in as much of a fantasy world as the donald minions. Between the fact that the donald appealed to a group of Americans that Bernie would NOT have; That Bernie DID have some platform planks that were unrealistic (at best); and the recent revelations of the Russian involvement in the election, I believe he would have gotten pushed out just as HRC was. Their comments about Bernie being an unbeatable candidate is also undercut by the fact that HRC has (as of today) gotten close to 3 MILLION more votes than the donald. However, thanks to the “Winner take all” laws controlling the Electoral college in most states, she was pushed out.   Is this “proof” that Bernie would have won?  Or lost?  No,  not really,  because speculation about him taking the election is a “What If” question that has no solid answer.
I suggest that we, as liberals and progressives, spend time working to make sure that voters understand why we are NOT demons, and that our path is the better one for bringing America back to greatness. Infighting is a pathetic and sad way to live and will only ensure that we continue to lose representation in the Federal Government.  What should we do?   I suggest these as things that are important to do.
  1. Work, on a national level and a local level  to get Gerrymandering declared illegal.  Require that Congressional districts be drawn by computer,  without regard to political party.
  2. VOTE!  Make it a point to vote in every coming election for at least the next four years.
  3. When voting, of course,  make sure that the candidates are Liberal/Progressive alternatives.   As a part of this,  work to support Liberal/Progressive candidates running office.   Volunteer to help,  contribute cash to campaigns,  use social media to push the Liberal agenda and to combat lies where ever they come from.
  4. Try to moderate our views about alternative candidates within the party.  PLEASE remember that simply because a candidate has a differing opinion about the proper course of action,  that does not make them a raving madman, or a demon from Hell bent on destruction of everything good.  Reserve those feelings for the few candidates who actually ARE so ignorant,  or evil that they are trying to destroy America.
I just ran across this statement which,  in general, seems to be a good position paper:
“I listened as they called my President a Muslim.
I listened as they called him and his family a pack of monkeys.
I listened as they said he wasn’t born here.
I watched as they blocked every single path to progress that they could.
I saw the pictures of him as Hitler.
I watched them shut down the government and hurt the entire nation twice.
I watched them turn their backs on every opportunity to open worthwhile
I watched them say that they would not even listen to any choice for Supreme
Court no matter who the nominee was.
I listened as they openly said that they will oppose him at every turn.
I watched as they did just that.
I listened.
I watched.
I paid attention.
Now, I’m being called on to be tolerant.
To move forward.
To denounce protesters.
To “Get over it.”
To accept this…
I will not.
I will do my part to make sure this great American mistake becomes the
embarrassing footnote of our history that it deserves to be.
I will do this as quickly as possible every chance I get.
I will do my part to limit the damage that this man can do to my country.
I will watch his every move and point out every single mistake and misdeed
in a loud and proud voice.
I will let you know in a loud voice every time this man backs away from a
promise he made to them.
Them. The people who voted for him.
The ones who sold their souls and prayed for him to win.
I will do this so that they never forget.
And they will hear me.
They will see it in my eyes when I look at them.
They will hear it in my voice when I talk to them.
They will know that I know who they are.
They will know that I know what they are.
Do not call for my tolerance. I’ve tolerated all I can.
Now it’s their turn to tolerate ridicule.
Be aware, make no mistake about it, every single thing that goes wrong in
our country from this day forward is now Trump’s fault just as much as they
thought it was Obama’s.
I find it unreasonable for them to expect from me what they were entirely
unwilling to give.”
Author unknown.

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A Ghost From The Past

Greetings and Salutations;

     First off,   this blog entry is likely to be updated.  Civil Discourse is welcome,  but it is my forum, so if you post rants that descend to attacks,  or spurious claims,  you are likely to be deleted and banned.

World Trade Center burning, 2001/09/11

I was amazed today to see,  on my Face Book time line,  a lengthy thread about the destruction of the World Trade Center, on 2001/09/11.   I had thought that after decades of debunking,   the Conspiracy Theories had been laid to rest.   Apparently not.    So…I am going to touch on some aspects of that day and the events therein.

    I, oddly enough,  had a bad night on the 10th,  and had not been able to sleep,  so I was awake at 7:30 or so when the report of the first plane hitting the tower came in.   I immediately turned on the TV,  and did little for the rest of the day except watch in amazement and some horror as events transpired.   The images from that day are as clear today to me as they were 15 years ago as they first sprayed into my home across the airwaves.   It was a very chaotic day for much of the time,  as an event like this had never happened to America,  and,  we apparently did not believe that it COULD happen.   There was,  early on,  commentators talking about how they could not understand why anyone would do this!   It was like that first moment when one awakes,  and has to pry eyelids,  crusted together by the night  open to see reality.  We,  as a society,  were forced to confront the fact that America is NOT perfect, and that we do terrible things in the world for no reason other than expediency,  or short term gain,  or simple stupidity and misunderstandings of reality.   No one likes to be confronted with their failures,  and have their fantasy about their own perfection questioned,   so, of course,  many folks grasp at any straws they can in an attempt to avoid that ugly truth.
America can be a “Great Society” and does have many positive moments.   Look,  for example,  at the recent Wildfires in the East Tennessee area,  and how we, as a people, have banded together to reach out and aid our fellow Tennesseans.   We do not care who a person voted for.  We do not care what their race is.  We do not care how rich they are.   We reach out to provide needed aid, and support in this difficult time.
First off,  let me touch on the motivations of the terrorists that flew the planes into the towers.   This was not a surprise to the Intelligence community,  as there had been traffic about Al Queda preparing for a big attack for months.   At least once,  Pres. Bush had a briefing report presented to him in the daily,  morning  intelligence briefing titled “Bin Laden Determined to Attack inside the United States”.   Add to this the fact that Al Queda had attempted to bring the buildings down with a large car bomb some time before,  and, it should have been a matter of concern.   However,  stupidity and poor judgement does not a Conspiracy make.Then..there are the claims about a controlled implosion bringing the buildings down.   Evidence for this mostly comes from news reel footage giving close ups of the windows blowing out as the building collapsed.   Let us look at the sequence of events, though.
  • Airplanes,  loaded with Jet Fuel,  impacted the towers well up towards the top of the structures.   This sprayed the fuel through several floors and coated TONS of flammable items with it.
  • Jet fuel is not gasoline.  It is more akin to OIL,  so it does not flash off and burn rapidly as gasoline does.   So,  when it did ignite from any of the sources of sparks that showed up at the time,  it burned slow and hot for quite some time before being consumed.   This ensured that a LOT of flammable material was on fire.
  • When the planes hit the towers,   the skeleton of the building consisted of steel beams,  coated with a spray on fire insulation.   This insulation was designed to resist a “normal” fire,  of the building’s contents igniting and producing a lot of heat.  It was NOT designed to resist the pressures of tons of aluminum scraping by it,  or, the pressure wave of air from the impact and subsequent ignition of the fuel.
  • Steel,  while it is very strong,  deforms at temperatures far below its melting point.  That is why Blacksmiths can take a half inch thick,  steel bar,  heat it to a bright,  red hot,  and twist it into a spiral.
  • The design of the WTC was unique,  in that it was, basically,  a cylinder of steel girders with cross beams riveted to them to provide support for the floors.  When those floor joists were damaged,  and the floor removed by the impact,  this turned quite a few floors of the tower into a chimney –  which pulled in air, and helped fan the flames.
  • Gravity does not pull at an angle.   The WTC towers were two,  very tall,  cylinders,  standing on end,  on a fairly tiny foundation.   They had been built just as perfectly vertical as possible,  to minimize stresses and ensure that they would not self-destruct.   So…when the support beams partway down the tower started to warp and bend,  as a result of softening from the heat,  gravity pulled the top floors straight down.  Once the process started,  there was no stopping it,  as each floor destroyed added to the weight of debris falling.
  • As the pile-driver piston that was the upper floors hit a lower floor,  it would cause a spike in the air pressure on that floor…This,  along with the impact of the debris,  which started the tempered glass windows shattering,  caused the glass to blow out and away from the tower.  This seems to be the main “evidence” that the towers were imploded.
  • I find the idea that our government could create an event like this,  and keep all evidence of their plotting from coming to light for this long to be so amusing as to be like watching the clowns at the circus.   The Government is just not that competent at keeping huge conspiracies like this as a secret,  and I have yet to see any evidence that they COULD do this.   Time and time again,  leaks by the hundreds of Elected Representatives have revealed events that we have been in control of,  and shown what foolishness we, as a Nation, have gotten into.
    I could go on,  and I certainly admit there were some puzzling things that happened on that day.   However,   the explanation that it was a disaster  caused by the madness of people driven to extreme action by America’s actions,  is far more reasonable than the theories  this this was a “False Flag” operation by our government,  to try and manipulate the American Public.   Frankly,  we were not a lot brighter 15 years ago than we are in 2016,  and look at where we have ended up!
The Conspiracy Theory claims about the WTC destruction,  how it happened, why it happened, and who benefitted are all extraordinary claims.   Therefore,  they require extraordinary proof  to justify moving beyond the simple fact that it was an attack by a few madmen,  programmed by fanatics who hate what America stands for, and what our Society provides.  So far,  I have yet to see any such proof.   I see much speculation,  and “What if” type questions raised,  and strongly worded opinion pieces, but nothing is ever provided to prove these claims.
Pleasant Dreams
Bee Man Dave.
Notes on Presidential briefing about Al Queda/Bin Laden to attack,   presented 2001/08/02 –
A Structural Analysis of the World Trade Center building failures –

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Reflections on Pearl Harbor Day

Greetings and Salutations;


Photograph taken from a Japanese plane during the torpedo attack on ships moored on both sides of Ford Island shortly after the beginning of the Pearl Harbor attack. View looks about east, with the supply depot, submarine base and fuel tank farm in the right center distance. A torpedo has just hit USS West Virginia on the far side of Ford Island (center). Other battleships moored nearby are (from left): Nevada, Arizona, Tennessee (inboard of West Virginia), Oklahoma (torpedoed and listing) alongside Maryland, and California. On the near side of Ford Island, to the left, are light cruisers Detroit and Raleigh, target and training ship Utah and seaplane tender Tangier. Raleigh and Utah have been torpedoed, and Utah is listing sharply to port. Japanese planes are visible in the right center (over Ford Island) and over the Navy Yard at right. U.S. Navy planes on the seaplane ramp are on fire. Japanese writing in the lower right states that the photograph was reproduced by authorization of the Navy Ministry.

75 years ago,  the Japanese Air Force attacked Pearl Harbor  in Hawaii.  The attack was by 352 aircraft, in two waves, and, was amazingly successful.  Their goals were to destroy as many of the warships in the harbor as was possible,  kill as many military personnel as possible,  and demonstrate to America that we were not the superior force in the Pacific.  They were partially successful,  in that the attack damaged or destroyed 20 ships,  killed a couple thousand military folks,  and wounded another 1000 folks.   However,   the end result was NOT successful.  By demonstrating their military prowess,  the Japanese hoped to keep America from joining in the growing World War.   Their attack did just the opposite,  as it generated enough support for Roosevelt that it was trivial for him to get a declaration of war through Congress in short order.
This attack lead,  directly,  to a curtain of chaos and madness engulfing the world,  killing millions of youth,  destroying everything from simple cottages that were the homes of good people,  to archeological treasures,  to great cities,  culminating in the ONE time that Nuclear weapons have been used in conflict.

The USS Arizona (BB-39) burning after the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, 7 December 1941. USS Arizona sunk at en:Pearl Harbor. The ship is resting on the harbor bottom. The supporting structure of the forward tripod mast has collapsed after the forward magazine exploded.

The scars of this event persist today, 75 years later.   The U.S.S. Arizona is a permanent memorial in the waters of Pearl Harbor.  It is visited by millions every year.

Some of those visitors are there because it is a classic tourist destination, and their tour group is scheduled to stand on the bridge over the resting place of the great ship and its crew.
Some of those visitors are there to crow over the success of one side inflicting terrible wounds on the other side.
Some of these visitors are there because their family members went down with the ship, and it is their final resting place.  They have come to weep over the loss,  and to remember the grandfather who never came home.
Some are  on the bridge to contemplate the evils of war,  and, of the bigotry,  racism, hate, and greed that drives mankind to it…and to ask the question “What can we do to keep this from happening again?”.

If you were standing on the bridge over the Arizona,  what would YOU be thinking about?

Earlier today,  I heard a short interview with a survivor of the attack on Pearl Harbor.   He was a Navy man,  and,  ended up near the Oklahoma (which had taken several bomb hits and rolled during the attack).   He told of being near the hull of the ship,  and hearing the survivors inside,  banging on the hull.  They were trying to get attention,  so they could be located and rescued.   The chaos was so overwhelming, though,  that it took several days for crews with cutting torches to get to the ship.   During that time,  the banging got weaker and weaker,  and there were fewer and fewer hits echoing out,  as the trapped survivors succumbed to CO2  poisoning and died.   By the time the rescuers were able to cut into the hull,  and make an entrance, most,  if not all,  of the crew trapped in these compartments were dead.   They had spend their final hours in total darkness,  partially submerged in water,  breathing air that slowly became death,  not life.   This man,  who is 93 years old this year,  was heading back to Pearl Harbor, perhaps for one last time,  to take part in memorial services.   His family said that he had carried those dark images with him for decades, and never spoken of them,  until last year when he finally opened up and started talking about the attack and its aftermath.
We all have events in our lives that leave deep scars – the loss of a companion animal,  the death of a friend,  the death of a parent, and the like.  I am sure that there are nights when we lay in bed, surrounded by darkness,  and relive that moment when the trauma happened…Those moments are hard to revisit, but,  I cannot comprehend living with memories such as were left by the attack on Pearl Harbor,  and remaining sane.   I am very glad that he, and the other old guard who are finally talking about their dark experiences with others are able to do so.  I hope it will bring them some peace, and heal some of the old wounds that they have carried for so long.
In closing,   I hope everyone that reads this will take a minute or two,  and contemplate the evils that mankind is prone to engage in.   Learn from this moment in history.   Be vigilant about how we are treating each other…and work to focus on respect for others, not demonization.   Honor those who have fallen while fighting for principles they believed in.  If YOU are a veteran with dark memories,  do not repress them forever.  You have friends,  from both the civilian and military worlds,  who can and will share your burden.  They will not condemn or judge…but will support and help you deal with those festering wounds.
Pleasant Dreams???
Bee Man Dave

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Wisdom from Jason Kander

Greetings and Salutations;

I ran across the following,  penned by Jason Kander of Missouri,  after he was narrowly defeated in a bid for a Senate seat in last Tuesday’s election.   It is a strong and true call to all Liberals to not give up…to not surrender.   We may be mourning still,  but,  let us focus on the future,  and work to overcome this setback.   Let us make America BETTER!

This is the message where I’m supposed to thank you for all you’ve done for me, tell you how much it meant to me, and then say my goodbyes and wish you luck on your journey. I’m supposed to say something like, “Perhaps our paths will cross again.”

But that’s not how I roll. Of course, I am thankful to you and I’m forever grateful for this experience. But why wouldn’t I be? Let’s talk about something important.

We’re all disappointed about Tuesday night’s results. We lost an election. In fact, we – the Democrats – lost a whole mess of elections on Tuesday.
But please know that I’m going to be fine. My wife is gorgeous and brilliant and my son True is my best little buddy in the world. We are not the people who will be hurt by these election results. So please don’t spend any time being sad for me. If you’re going to be sad for someone, make it the single mom who has cancer and is scared to death about being unable to keep her insurance to continue treatments without Obamacare. Worry about the undocumented student who has only ever known this country and is worried about what happens to her now. Worry about the minimum wage worker trying to stretch $30 into a full grocery trip. Let your heart go out to the college student saddled with enormous debt and unable to get help from a parent whose own graduate degree has forced him into bankruptcy.
I met each of those people, in real life, during this campaign. And it fueled me the whole way. But here’s the thing, that fuel is still in my tank. Why? I love this country and I won’t let losing an election force me away from the process.

Pick yourself up. Dust yourself off. Yes, Donald Trump is going to be President and the Republicans control the House and the Senate, but I need that to double your resolve, not cause you to give up on our politics.

Be proud of the campaign we ran. In a “red” state that Donald Trump won by 19%, we came within 3% of turning the Senate seat blue. And we didn’t do it by hugging the middle and pretending to be moderate Republicans.

I wouldn’t change a single day on this campaign. I’m proud that we took on some of the biggest names in Republican politics and darn near shocked the world. We fought for smart environmental policies, for unions, for LGBT equality, for commonsense gun safety, and a host of other important causes. I’m proud that we didn’t back down and that we demonstrated that the most important thing Democrats can do is make their argument.

If you were a part of this campaign in even the smallest way, you might feel like stepping away from it all to lick your wounds. Maybe you think you’re done with volunteering or donating or even believing in anything changing. Well, you won’t get a pass from me. Staying engaged has become more important than ever.
And this is the time to maintain that engagement. A new generation is stepping forward in America. Don’t let anyone tell you that this generation is selfish. This is a generation that cares more about ideas than ideology and measures patriotism not by a politician’s eagerness to go to war but by their willingness to do what’s right no matter the political cost. And this generation knows better than to let any politician – even a President – tell them that a changing country is a declining country.

I don’t know what I’m going to do next or even whether I’ll ever place my name on a ballot again, but I know I’m not leaving this cause behind. To truly care about this country is to demonstrate that you care about her politics the same when you’re winning as when you’re losing.

America needs you now more than ever. So don’t quit! This generation is patriotic, creative, selfless, and – most importantly – numerous. My campaign might no longer be the vehicle for your activism, but that doesn’t mean you’re excused from standing up and making your voice heard.

Take some time off…

Ok, was that enough time?

We have work to do. You in?

Pleasant Dreams…
Bee Man Dave


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The Aftermath

Greetings and Salutations;
It is now the second day since the election,  and,  while my mind is in a very dark place still,  I am sane enough to consider some questions and thoughts about the next four years.    
Right now,  though,  the emotions are very raw.  The huge percentage of the voting public that voted for Secretary Clinton  are in mourning,  both for that loss, and for what it will mean for our country in the future.   That future looks pretty dark right now. 
The Social Media is full of Right-Wing Trolls,   gloating about their “Victory’  and telling those of us who are Liberal  that we should get out of of the country,  or stop being babies,  or any of a dozen other contemptuous things.    
In what might be an amusing turn of events,   the Right-Wingers have already started saying that we need to pull together as a people,  and give the Donald the respect he “deserves” having won the office of the President.   The irony here is strong,  considering that this is coming from a group of people who have spent eight years disrespecting President Obama  in some of the most foul and childish ways.   Many of us have sworn to give the donald exactly the same amount of respect that he and his party have given the past two Democratic administrations…that is..none at all.   If the donald works very hard,  in four years he might earn enough respect to keep people from spitting on the ground when his name is mentioned.   However,  his path is very narrow.
Another disappointing aspect of this election is the fact that,  in spite of the apparent interest in it,   according to statistics gathered on Tuesday,  some 45% of Americans did not vote,  in spite of being eligible to do so.  The fact that almost half of the electorate had so little respect and care about their nation,  their fellow citizens and themselves to take the time to vote is, alas,  not surprising,  but it is so sad that it brings me to weep for all of us.    Out of the remaining 55% that DID vote,   the donald got 25.5% of the votes.   Secretary Clinton got 25.7% of the votes.  The remainder went to the spoilers and wanna-bes of the Libertarian and Green Parties.   Now… this is the second time in the last five elections that the winner of the popular vote has LOST the Electoral College.  There is little else to say about this, alas,  as that will never change.  The Republicans are the ones that benefit the most from this scheme,  so they will put up roadblocks to any attempts to change it.
After some contemplation,   I have posted variations of the following statement to various social media: “For y’all who voted for the donald.   Remember that whatever happens in the next four years,  YOU deserve it;  YOU asked for it”.  Of course many of the Right-Wingers are happy about this…others,  who think a bit more deeply,  are not. 
So..the reality is that the country has elected a man to the Presidency who has shown himself to be a racist for decades.  Starting with his anti-black renting policies from the 1970s that got him a Federal Civil Rights case,  to today,  when the official newspaper of the KKK rejoiced at his election,  and a large percentage of his voter base are White Supremacists of some stripe.   The country has elected a man who has been recorded time and time again bragging about engaging in sexual assault on women.   The country elected a man who has said,  several times,  not only how much he admires dictators in the world,  including Putin  and Kim Jong Un,  but,  has stated that he believes that the First Amendment needs to be changed to weaken it and make it easier to suppress dissent.  The country elected a man who is documented as lying some 95% of the time!   The list of reasons that the donald is bad for Democracy goes on and on and on.   And yet,  the voting public,  by a slim margin,  elected him President.
One of the reasons that a large percentage of his minions  stated for electing him was (essentially) that they were tired of the status quo in the Federal Government,  and wanted to burn the house down to get a change.   They also said that they supported the donald  because he was not afraid to speak his mind.   Well,   having said all that,  one of the facets of last Tuesday’s election was that almost EVERY incumbent Congress person was returned to office!   Again…the irony here is amazing and,  I fear, speaks to the lack of ability to engage in critical thinking that Americans suffer from.    Also…I have tried asking the minions over the past year…which thing is it that the donald says do they support.   He has a continual track record of saying two contradictory things – often within hours of each other – and claiming that is what he believes.  Most of the time,   I get no reply.  Sometimes I get insults and purile name calling.  Sometimes I get excuses that what he says is not what he really means.   Usually,  if I get a response that addresses the question,   they,  like the donald,  pick one stance and claim that the other one did not exist.
So…while there is so much more that I could address here,  I am going to leave some of it for future postings…
I want to end by asking the question “What can we do to mitigate  the destruction looming over the country?”   Much to my frustration,  I have no magic wand that I can wave to make everything better.   However,  there are some things that we can do.
  • Get your Congress-Critter’s email and snail mail addresses,  and their phone numbers.   Put them in your contact list,  and use them on a regular basis.   When you see a news article that reports of anyone attacking the Constitutional rights and protections of you or your fellow citizens,   take five minutes and contact your Federal Representatives.   Let them know that this is unacceptable.   Also,  urge your friends to do the same thing.   There are two forces that will move a politician.   These are checks from lobbyists,  and a tall stack of letters and messages from constituents.   Make sure that there is a tall stack on their desks.  If you find out about a company supporting a policy you do not agree with,  contact your Representatives to let them know this is unacceptable,  and taking funds from that company will have negative feedback.   Let the corporate offices know that you will not patronize their shops because of this attitude of theirs.    Again…urge your friends to do the same thing.
  • Vote.   The fact of the matter is that the donald took the Presidency by the slimmest of margins.  In some states,  it was just a few thousand votes out of millions of votes cast.  This means that if a small percentage of those 45% of voters who gave up had come out and voted,  today would be a different day.   We Democrats  have a problem with being easily dissuaded,  because,  I suppose, we are – at heart – pessimists.   We have to fight against this demon whispering in our ears, and vote.   Every Vote Matters.  On that point…do not skip any election.  Vote with the same enthusiasm in the mid-term elections that one would vote in the Presidential Election.   The state and local elections are closer to each of us, and have far more of an influence on our lives.
  •  “All that Evil Needs to succeed  is for good people to do nothing”.   This does echo the topic of despair that I touched upon above.  Now, though,  I am looking at the non-political part of our lives.   One of the truly sad things that I have seen over the past 16 months is a flood of out and out lies from the Right-Wing  on the Social Media, and in life.   I do not advocate seeking out conflict,   but,  to remain silent when lies are posted is betraying ourselves and our principles.   I asked,  in a blog entry a bit ago,  when it was that lying became OK in today’s world?   I was reared by my parents to be a tolerant, patient,  TRUTHFUL  citizen.  Yet everywhere I turn these days,  I see politicians and business owners producing the most obvious lies,  and having the people swallow them as if they are the sweetest truth in the world.   This, to be up front about it,  makes me a little crazy.   I have been blocked by a number of Right-Wingers on Facebook,  for example,  because I have called them on their pushing lies.  I have posted the truth, and, provided links to back up my statements.  When I ask the Right-Wingers to do the same,  I get insults, name calling,  and blocked.   However, if we are going to claim that we are ethical humans (and I do not care if you are Atheist, Agnostic, Buddhist,  Christian,  Hindu, or whatever) then,  we MUST NOT condone and accept lies as acceptable.
  • 4)  Let us not demonize our opponents.  President Obama,  yesterday,  made a very good point.  He said:   “Now, everybody is sad when their side loses an election, but the day after we have to remember that we’re actually all on one team. This is an intramural scrimmage. We’re not Democrats first. We’re not Republicans first. We are Americans first. We’re patriots first. “
Over the past decade,  the tendency for one side to demonize the other has grown, and today, we are reaping the whirlwind from that evil seed.  Democrats are not demons.  Republicans are not demons.  The fact that we have treated each other as such for so long is a big reason that the negative issues of society are so bad right now.   It is very easy to push people into a little box  and define what they are.  However,  as I have asked before…who believes that, when the election is over,  and the Democrats and Republicans meet in their offices,  that looking at each other as demons set on destroying the country is going to create an environment where the Nation will be improved?   I am well aware that this is such an ingrained part of the scene that it will take years – if not decades – to change.  However,  if we want America to exist long enough to celebrate its third centennial,  we had better get to working on it.
Pleasant dreams…
Bee Man Dave

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“The World Turned Upside Down”

Greetings and Salutations;
In the wee hours of this morning,   November 9th,  2016,  the  Presidential election  produced an unexpected, and (for many)  a chilling result.   As the above map shows,   the donald was voted in to the Presidency.    It is difficult to know what effects this will have in the long term.   Many Americans,  on both sides of the contest,  are whistling by the graveyard,  saying such things as “he will  not really do ?????”  or “America needed a reboot,  and Donald Trump was the perfect person to do this”    I wish I could be that optimistic.   This election has been marred by unending lies;  violence by the donald’s minions,  and some amazingly hate-filled speech.   I fear that the brush fire of anger and bigotry that the donald has ignited will continue to grow and will make our society worse than it is now.
May God have mercy on us.
Pleasant dreams;
Bee Man Dave

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America – Great? Or not?

 Greetings and salutations;
I do not know about y’all,  but, as a Citizen of America,  who loves my country,  I am getting pretty damn tired of the Donald saying it is a pile of shit,  and we would be lucky for him to come in and clean it up for us.   That, to me,  is a combination of living in a beau monde’/Fantasy World and,  a painfully strong level of hubris  – allowing him and his minions to buy into this lies about America,  and the idea that The Donald is likely to “clean it up for us”.
America has its problems;  No one argues about that.   Over the decades,  we, as a society have supported our government’s engagement in illegal,  secret wars in Southeast Asia,  the Middle East, and other places around the world.   We have supported our government imprisoning civilians on foreign soil,  and torturing them on a daily basis,  in a vain attempt to extract information about terrorist activities around the world.   This in spite of the facts that many of these civilians were swept up by their own country,  in order to cash in on the bounties offered by our armed forces;  that they were, in most cases,  totally in the dark about terrorists,  because they were often the target of said terrorists;  We have supported our government in participating in illegal activities ranging from drug running to arms sales to anyone,  friend and enemy alike;  We have supported our police turning into a pseudo military force,  with the toys,  but not the training or understanding to avoid treating the citizenry as if they were enemies on the battlefield;   We have allowed the powerful in our society to luxuriate in their riches,  and leave people in need (the poverty stricken,  the folks with mental or physical health issues,  the Veterans we have created by our wars) to rot in the street;  We have allowed our governments to oppress subgroups of our society for no sane reason.   I could go on for a LOT longer,  but, this hits the high points.
Too many of these problems come from the intolerant and hateful speech of the Right-Wing,  although we Left-Winger’s can hop in that cesspool too.   Too many of these problems stem from the contempt for education and rational thought that has been growing in America for the past 30+ years.   There are many facets to this sad state of affairs,  but these are big ones.
    That having been said…in a larger sense,  America is STILL a great country.   Every day,  when I skim my Face-book connection,   I see stories of police and firefighters putting their lives on the line to go the extra mile and save citizens or their companion animals from disaster.   I see stories of citizens who go out of their way to rescue abused animals,  and try to get them healthy and into a good home.  I see stories of random acts of kindness to strangers.  I see postings from friends and strangers,  including pictures,  of experiences and lovely places in this great country that they have enjoyed.   I even have had the opportunity to debate, in a civil,  rational way,  the pros and cons of both Presidential Candidates.   So, it is my claim that for the Donald to claim that America needs to be made great again is an insult to every citizen of this country.   As noted before, we have problems.   However,  fixing those problems does not mean taking a wrecking ball to the country’s government, and world-wide reputation,  and rebuilding from scratch.   That is not the view of a negotiator,  but it certainly is the view of a fairly bad developer.
This election cycle is, with no doubt,  the slimiest and ugliest Presidential election I have seen in my 60+ years of life.   As the time grows short to November 8th,  when the election actually happens and the questions are resolved about who will occupy the White House for the next four years,  the Donald’s level of rhetoric is getting increasingly insane.   Just the other day,  at  a rally of his minions,   he claimed that if he loses the election it will be because of a world-wide conspiracy involving President Obama,  HRC,  and the vast ocean of uber-rich Commies  and Muslims out there that want to destroy America.    If this election were not so outrageously important, it would be a great TV Reality Show…   Should we, as a society,  accept and reward this kind of hateful rhetoric that is so obviously a lie?    The donald claims that he is the only one that can clean up the problems.   This is foolish,  and impossible.  If America is to improve, then, it will take the efforts of ALL of us…not one person.
How can we go about this?   We, citizens,  must focus on supporting the President,  and demanding of our elected Representatives that they take actions that DO move America forwards.  The petty tantrums and obstructionism of the past eight years have got to end.   The Right-Wingers need to look up and incorporate the definition of the word “Compromise” into their lives,  and remember that if they want to keep their cushy, well paid jobs,  they must GOVERN…not simply engage in infighting.
Pleasant Dreams
Bee Man Dave
(oh, yes,  the picture of sleeping kittens is just to give you a moment of lightness in this annoyed post)

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