Sunday, December 31, 2017

Good riddance 2017

A woman's pickup truck in Houston, Texas
The year of the rooster will go down as one of the worst, politically, in U.S. history.

If the rooster crows a wake-up call, let's hope that Americans were roused from their slumber over what constitutes a decent human being.

Donald Trump continues to debase the office of the presidency, not to mention manhood itself, on a daily basis. It should be enough to alarm most Americans.

Thankfully, Trump's approval ratings are the worst for a first-year president in modern American history.

Evidently, Americans don't credit Trump for the humming economy or the big jump in the stock market. President Obama handed Trump a rising economy and one of the longest sustained growths in the stock market's history.

With tweet after embarrassing tweet, along with his compulsive lying, Trump confounded most Americans. He obviously was pandering to his ever-shrinking base of sycophants who truly are deplorable. And, racist, too.

In a year of sexual harassment allegations that brought the firing of many high profile men, it's ironic that the worst sexual predator, "grab 'em-by-the-pussy" Trump, still prowls the Oval Office.

We can only hope that he ends up in jail by this time next year.

Robert Mueller's investigation so far paints a picture of collusion between Trump and Russia to subvert the American electoral process.

When Trump finally met the Russian despot, Vladimir Putin, it was considered his "six-month performance review," by Stephen Colbert.

That may be too kind.

Andrew Sullivan recently wrote a piece about Trump titled, "Putin's First Year in the White House."

Obviously, Trump is "Putin's Puppet."

Trump is also known as the "Mango Mussolini," "Commander in Tweet," and "Hair Fuhrer."

One thing he is definitely not: leader of the free world.

He's antagonized our allies to the point that they no longer look to the U.S. for any guidance or support.

The over-arching story, though, is Trump's ties to the gangsters running Russia.

Consider that Trump's former campaign chairman was indicted for "conspiracy against the United States," among other charges.

Other Trump associates have pleaded guilty to lying to the FBI and are cooperating with Mueller's investigation.

This hasn't stopped congressional Republicans from fawning over Trump like predators themselves.

It's one giant sleaze-fest.

This past year also brought us "alternative facts" from the Trump administration and its enablers at Fox News.

Ironically, the Republican-leaning Rasmussen Reports, revealed that the winner of Trump's "First Annual Fake News Trophy" was ... drum roll, please ... Fox News.

Of course, to anyone with a brain, Fox News is to news what Pravda is to truth.

In other words, we live in a world where wrong is right.

This year, thanks to Trump, "white supremacists" were given a platform to air their depraved grievances.

And, by claiming that he alone made it safe to say "Merry Christmas," Trump brought shame to the holiday season.

But, Trump's real first-year legacy was dismantling the progress the country made under President Obama.

Trump's Cabinet secretaries were tasked with destroying the departments they manage, from the environment to energy to education.

One bright spot of the year occurred when NBC was forced to clarify a report that Secretary of State Rex Tillerson called Trump "a moron."

NBC obliged and said Tillerson actually called Trump "a fucking moron."

Then, Trump's national security adviser referred to Trump as "an idiot" and "a dope."

This is what the Electoral College gave us.

Any country that puts an "idiot, dope and fucking moron" in the White House deserves whatever troubles it may face.

Trump is pining for a nuclear confrontation with North Korea.

He's provoking Muslims in the hopes that terrorists attack this country again.

Trump's contempt for Hispanics means that the most productive members of our society will be kicked out.

This year showed that what makes America "exceptional" is our tolerance for the lowest common denominator in Donald Trump.

Cock a doodle doo.

Thursday, December 21, 2017

Totality eclipsed expectations

Climber at Smith Rock. Check out this video
2017, a year considered deplorable in many ways, had one brief shining moment.

The total eclipse of the sun revealed, in stunning fashion, the relative insignificance of life on earth.

Like many in Central Oregon, I viewed the total eclipse on Aug. 21 as more hype than substance.

Who wanted to deal with the traffic, the crowds, the heat and the smoke to see totality up near Madras, about 45 miles north of Bend.

If my brother Mike and his wife Margot hadn't decided to come up from California, we would've been content with our 99.4 percent eclipse of the sun in Bend.

But we made the early morning drive to Smith Rock State Park. Our only traffic being the signals on the north end of Bend.

Miraculously, the smoke from month-long fires, cleared substantially for the only time that week.

It was chilly, about mid-50s. We found a spot along the western rim overlooking the Phoenix Buttress.

As the sun rose, the temps climbed and we could take off our light coats.

We chatted with a couple from London, Richard and Helen, who came specifically to Central Oregon to catch the eclipse. This was their third total eclipse, but the first one they could actually see because clouds obscured their other views of totality.

As the moon started to pass in front of the sun, we put on our special, welder's grade glasses and caught what looked like Pac-Man in the sky.

As totality neared, the temperature dropped dramatically and we had to put on our coats again.

It was getting dimmer by the minute.

Then, from atop Morning Glory Wall and Picnic Lunch Wall, hikers and climbers started a whooping sound and it echoed throughout the canyon.

Then we all whooped it up and it felt like a scene from Planet of the Apes.

The London couple laughed.

Richard told us to look west toward Mount Jefferson. When that goes dark, look back towards the sun and the total eclipse would be again.

Sure enough, that is exactly what happened.

It wasn't totally dark, but it was unlike anything I've seen. It was eerie, like a live sci-fi movie scene.

The totality, though, was spectacular. We had to take off our glasses to see it.

Unfortunately, no images I've seen captured what we saw. It looked like a multi-colored aurora borealis dancing around the corona. Even this YouTube video failed to capture our experience at Smith Rock.

When the sun peaked out again, we were nearly blinded by the light and rushed to put on our glasses. It also got warmer again and life slowly returned to normal.

It was sad to see the eclipse end as people started leaving immediately, to beat the traffic.

It didn't seem right to just dash off after witnessing such an astonishing celestial event, so we hung around and heard others say it was better than they thought it would be.


Some see what they want to in cosmic coincidences. Could recent disasters like hurricanes, fires, flooding, earthquakes and Trump be linked to the total eclipse of the sun?


During totality, it was easy to see how inconsequential we all are. Our problems, no matter how big or small, don't amount to a hill of beans in this galaxy. Rather, this globe is just a speck of dust in the universe.

It's something worth pondering at Christmastime.

Wednesday, December 20, 2017

A rerun that's one too many

Now that Republicans have struggled to do the one thing that they're capable of doing, cut taxes for the rich, it is time for the rest of us to ignore the taxman, too.

We've seen this movie too many times before.

How does slashing your income while escalating your spending lead to financial solvency.

It doesn't. It leads to the massive deficits we enjoy today.

When Reagan cleaved income taxes for the rich in the early 80s, he also jacked up spending on the military to ridiculous levels.

It failed then to do much for the economy. Stable oil prices by the mid-80s resurrected the economy of the U.S. and much of the world. Still, we had the worst drop in the stock market's history under Reagan.

When George W. Bush hacked taxes for the rich earlier this millennium, while also starting two unfunded wars, the economy did not go through the roof.

In fact, it collapsed in 2008.

Now, Trump and congressional Republicans have rushed through another massive tax cut for the rich while increasing spending for never-ending wars.

The "tax holiday" granted to corporations who stash trillions overseas will likely do what the last tax holiday did in 2004. Corporations used their cash to buy out competitors, which resulted in 20,000 jobs lost.

Republicans do not care about jobs. They don't really give a damn about this country.

Republicans care about winning elections, cutting taxes, satisfying their donor base and enraging Democrats. That's it.

Oh, and contrary to their constant whining when Obama was president, Republicans do not give a shit about the deficit.

And, they want free stuff. They want constant war, Social Security and Medicare while not having to pay for them.

What Reagan, Bush, Trump and congressional Republicans have taught the average American is that you, too, can increase your spending beyond your ability to ever pay it back.

Who cares. Just declare bankruptcy like Trump did multiple times and everything will be good.

The lesson learned in 2017 is this: You're a fool to pay off your debts. Also, don't file your taxes unless you're getting money back.

The government has no intention of ever meeting its debt obligations. Why should you.

Tuesday, November 28, 2017

State has no money to sink into OSU-Cascades

The Residential District is housing for faculty
More than a year after it opened with three buildings on a 10-acre campus, OSU-Cascades finally released a master plan this month.

Talk about putting the cart before the horse. Or in this case, the dam before the beaver.

It's no wonder the state legislature rejected the OSU leadership's request for $69 million earlier this year. Instead it offered $9 million in bonds for the branch campus on Bend's westside. At this rate of funding, it will be decades before it is even partially built out.

Now, the OSU brain trust wants just $38 million to partially fill a pumice pit and turn a demolition dump into a full-fledged university.

The state doesn't have the money OSU-Cascades wants.

Like other states, Oregon is getting out of the business of funding higher education. It's been a long-time goal of conservatives to de-fund higher education because they few most schools as swamps of liberalism. 

Oregon, though, does offer free tuition to some community college students.

But, the state's flagship universities, Oregon and OSU, who already have their own boards of trustees, will likely become completely privately funded by 2025, if not sooner.

The University of Oregon and OSU are planning on becoming private institutions by seeking multi-billion dollar endowments. Of course, they're also raising tuition and accepting more out-of-state students who pay significantly more than in-state students.

Meanwhile, high rollers in Central Oregon have raised $10 million for OSU-Cascades. While impressive, that sum won't buy many buildings, let alone much-needed parking spaces.

As enumerated before, OSU-Cascades allowed no public vote on the location of the campus. It chose the most-congested and most expensive area of town in which to build the school. Students can't afford to live anywhere near the campus. In fact, the new master plan shows housing for faculty.

If professors can't afford to live near the school, how can students?

As we embrace the era of privatization, fewer in-state students will be able to attend in-state "public" colleges or universities.

In the 1980s, the state contributed more than 70 percent toward the cost of running the state's colleges and universities. Today, it is less than 7 percent, thanks in large part to tax-cutting measures voted by Oregonians.

That's the spirit of our times: Cut taxes and expect money to still flow to public institutions. Having your cake and eating it, too.

It's like saying, "Okay, let's all take a pay cut and we'll all have more money at the end of the month!"

Isn't that insane?

Kansans destroyed their state with tax cuts and now Republicans are hell-bent on destroying the country with their current tax proposal.

Once it passes, and corporations get their big fat tax cuts, maybe they'll turn around and fund higher education. Uh, not really.

And yet, it won't be long before UO is re-named Nike University.

Maybe OSU in Corvallis can be called Reser Salsa University.

OSU-Cascades needs a local sugar daddy like Les Schwab Tires or Brooks Resources.

If it's Les Schwab, we can call OSU-Cascades, LSU.

The school's slogan could be: We Tread on You.

Wednesday, November 8, 2017

Trump won't be impeached

Trump greeted in Hawaii on his way to the Far East
Of course, I will always hope that Donald Trump is removed from office in total disgrace.

But, it's not likely to happen.

The Republican-dominated Congress will never impeach Trump no matter what he has done, may have done or will do that breaks any and all laws.

As Trump said during the presidential campaign last year, he could shoot somebody on Fifth Avenue and his poll numbers would go up.

In other words, no matter the outrage that Trump provokes, it simply does not matter.

Trump demonstrated during the campaign and continues to demonstrate in his Russian-tainted presidency that he is racist, immoral and the epitome of sleaze.

Oh, and Trump is a "fucking moron," according to his own secretary of state.

We're living in an upside-down world where there are alternative facts, constant lies and no leadership.

Reality, with its well-known liberal bias, is getting harder to grasp.

Yet, Trump's poll numbers continue to drop to unprecedented levels.

The infamous Steele dossier, with it's pee-pee tape revelations, has largely been corroborated.

Trump's cabinet is woefully inept. His political appointees are not interested in the departments they oversee.

At least nine of his associates have ties to Russia that they failed to disclose.

There are two indictments, one guilty plea and rumbles of more to come.

But, it will all be for naught.

Even if special counsel Robert Mueller proves that Trump himself colluded with the Russians to win the election, the GOP Congress will gnash its collective teeth and move on to raiding government coffers, destroying the environment and denying health care to millions.

Will it cause a constitutional crisis? Maybe, but Republicans do not care about the Constitution.

There is nothing anyone can do about it until the next presidential election. Next year's midterm elections aren't likely to give Democrats a working majority in Congress.

Unfortunately, even if Trump's approval rating is below 20 percent he could still win re-election, thanks to the Electoral College, the legacy from our slavery era.

Let's say the stock market crashes, the economy tanks and another major terrorist attack whacks the U.S.

Trump will just blame Barack Obama or Hillary Clinton and Trump's "deplorables" will nod in agreement like bobble-head dolls. Check out this story from Politico. The ending says it all.

In fact, Trump only caters to the "deplorables" in a rhetorical sense while shafting them through executive orders.

Trump is our "reality TV" president for a nation of streaming couch potatoes and video gamers.

Our only solace is that Trump will quit.

Hopefully sooner, rather than later.

Thursday, October 19, 2017

The Price We Pay

If ...

... using an assault rifle to kill 58 and wound 500 concertgoers in Las Vegas, or using an assault rifle to kill 49 and injure 58 in a nightclub in Orlando, or using an assault rifle to murder 20 first graders and 6 educators in Newtown, or using any type of gun to kill a family in a domestic violence case is the price we pay for the right bear arms ...

Then ...

... isn't a football player kneeling for the national anthem, in a peaceful protest against police brutality, the price we pay for the right of free speech?

Which is worse?

Wednesday, October 11, 2017

What we learned from the Vietnam War

Apocalypse then ...

"We learn from history that we learn nothing from history."

-- George Bernard Shaw

That's not entirely true about the Vietnam War.

After our defeat, the military developed the ability to fight at night through night-vision goggles and infrared optics. 

The military also dramatically improved the accuracy of its bombs through satellite-guided missiles that turn unguided bombs
 ... Apocalypse now
into "smart" bombs.

We now have drones flying into battle.

In other words, we learned to kill much more efficiently and effectively.

Also, the advances in battlefield medical care during the Vietnam conflict substantially improved the rate of survival in subsequent conflicts. Granted, many of those lives are seriously compromised today.

After watching much of the Ken Burns/Lynn Novick 10-day, 18-hour documentary, "The Vietnam War," it's clear that we learned little else from Vietnam.

In fact, we duplicated the fraudulent start of the Vietnam War in the Iraq War.

The Tonkin Gulf "attacks" gave President Johnson the pretext to dramatically escalate our involvement in Vietnam even though he and his advisers knew there were slim chances of ever winning the war. Our bombing in neighboring Cambodia helped destabilize the region and led to the murderous Khmer Rouge.

Likewise, George W. Bush used the mythical "weapons of mass destruction" to invade Iraq that ushered in unending war and destabilized the region further than it has been since World War II.

More importantly, we didn't care about the Vietnamese people then and we don't care about foreigners today.

Also, this country is as divided today as it was during the Vietnam War.

And, the Sixties were a tumultuous decade.

Predictably, the documentary has its detractors on the left and the right, from Americans and South Vietnamese.

This is what happens when you lose a war, particularly one where you won all the major battles.

The Vietnam War, though, was the culmination of our terribly misguided reaction to communism.

In the 1940s and '50s, Americans turned on each other over communism. We had so little faith in our own institutions that we jailed or ostracized people for having different points of view.

Now, communism needs no defense. It has failed as often as any corrupt, oppressive form of government.

The Korean War, the first test of the "domino theory," never truly ended and we're living with the consequences today. We had a chance to liberate the north, but we went too far and antagonized the Chinese who joined the conflict and pushed the UN forces back to the 38th parallel.

When Cuba, 90 miles from the USA, went communist, Americans started freaking out. Communism was going to take over the world!

Communism would take over in places that had no viable alternative.

North Vietnam and Ho Chi Minh embraced communism because the U.S. didn't side with them in their war of independence from the French.

We picked the wrong side. We backed a corrupt regime in South Vietnam that did not have the full support of its people.

Vietnam War apologists claim that the military could have won if the politicians had let them.

Not exactly. Even the U.S. military has concluded that the defeat in Vietnam was substantially due to our military's mistakes. Add in the atrocities committed by American forces in My Lai and elsewhere, and you have the recipe for disaster.

The American military record speaks for itself. Since World War II, the U.S. military, in spite of the trillions spent and thousands of lives lost, has not had a clear-cut victory in any major conflict.

Some still maintain that the Vietnam War was a worthy cause.

No, it wasn't.

Vietnam, like Korea, was a proxy war that pitted the U.S. against the Soviets at first.

We fought in these far-flung places so that we, rather than the Soviets, could exploit these countries.

At the same time we were fighting totalitarian communism in Asia, we were supporting totalitarian dictatorships throughout the world.

The hypocrisy did not go unnoticed by many in this country or others abroad.

In the end, the dreaded communists won.

Did they treat the South Vietnamese people well? No, they didn't.

But, when two million people died in Cambodia under Pol Pot, it wasn't the Americans who came to their rescue, but the communist Vietnamese army that saved the day.

And, how do we treat Vietnam today? We get a lot of our clothes and shoes from there that are produced by their exploited workforce.

After the USSR imploded in 1989, China became the last major communist country. Naturally, we get most of our goods from China that are manufactured by ridiculously cheap labor.

If we truly detested communists, why do we import so much from them, which ends up supporting  their regimes?

Since at least the 1940s, the GOP has been the most strident anti-communist political party.

Ironically, due to the interference of the Russians and their despotic leader, Vladimir Putin,
we have the former KGB operative's hand-picked president, a Republican, in the White House today.

Rank-and-file Republicans do not care that former Soviets rigged our election. In fact, they are grateful to Putin that Hillary Clinton lost.

That's how far we have fallen from the days of the Vietnam War.

Monday, October 2, 2017

When will we ever learn

Sadly, we won't.

In took a little over a year for a new mass shooting to be crowned the worst ever in American history.

As always, the only voice that made any sense of the massacre in Las Vegas was The Onion, a satirical news website.

They trotted out their well-worn headline: 'No Way To Prevent This,' Says Only Nation Where This Regularly Happens.

If fact, it occurs so frequently that it is astonishing that it attracts so much media coverage.

Guess it's a slow Monday.

This will be hot news for a few days and then it will die down as it always does, not with a bang, but with a whimper.

The White House says this is no time to talk about gun control in America. Obviously, to Republicans and the firearm-fetish crowd, there is no time to talk about gun control.

Not that it matters.

No laws on guns will pass unless it is to expand the use of firearms so that everyone has a gun at all times to thwart any other mass shooting. It wouldn't be surprising to see a motor-shooter law passed where, in order to get a driver's license, the applicant must show proof of gun ownership.

Evidently, more than 300 million guns in the hands of Americans are not enough.

The shooter in his Las Vegas hotel room "had at least 20 rifles, two on tripods at the windows, and hundreds of rounds of ammunition," an official told the New York Times.

Leave it to The Onion, again, to put this in perspective:

"NRA Says Mass Shootings Just The Unfortunate Price Of Protecting People's Freedom To Commit Mass Shootings"

In fact, the Supreme Court made such a ruling in District of Columbia v. Heller. Of course, it wasn't worded that way but the end result is the same. The right to kill with guns supersedes the right to not be killed by guns.

For now, as they say, all we can do is pray for the victims.

And, count the days until the next mass shooting becomes the worst in American history.

Monday, September 25, 2017

Trump salutes Russian flag

Jacksonville Jaguars on Sunday. Nobody was fired. 
Okay, that headline is a bit of a stretch, but Donald Trump's foul words and disregard for the Constitution on display this past weekend mirrored a Russian tyrant rather than an American president.

Take a knee, Donald, you're obviously not in shape.

You were beaten badly over the weekend by NFL players, coaches, owners and fans.

Instead of one player kneeling during the National Anthem, hundreds did.

And, no player was fired.

You lost, bigly, Trump.

I haven't paid attention to the NFL for decades because I find the pro game boring, compared to college, and the games seem "fixed" much of the time because of all the gambling that goes on.

But, I tuned in Sunday to see what the response would be to Trump's trash-talking of NFL players and the NBA's Steph Curry.

Yes, there were some boos for players who knelt during the playing of the National Anthem, but overall, the fans showed up, cheered and the games went on as usual.

It was great, though, to see that Trump, the Great Divider, could actually unite black and white players along with the owners, who are mostly Republicans, against his tyrannical leadership.

Trump claims that race has nothing to do with it. Of course, like everything he says, that's a lie.

He's not just a white supremacist, as an ESPN personality said last week, he is a racist.

He's an equal opportunity offender, however, because he's also a sexist slob and goes out of his way to antagonize most Americans and people around the world.

Yes, Trump was playing to his dwindling base of mostly white supporters, many of whom are racist.

But, please media, this isn't populism, it's fascism. Call it what it is.

Some have suggested Trump was just trying to distract the press and public away from damaging disclosures from the Russia investigation.

I don't think he's that smart. He just likes to be the center of attention, no matter what is going on.

Puerto Rico is devastated by hurricane Maria. Trump says, what about me?

North Korea continues to threaten the world. Trump tweets insults that get headlines.

It's all about the Donald and no one else.

His so-called defense of the flag and National Anthem is as shallow as he is.

He doesn't give a damn about this country. That's why his campaign colluded with Russia. He's a traitor.

Sadly, many Americans don't care that he is.

Friday, May 19, 2017

Fear Ailes Trump

Trump and Ailes, a pair of sexual predators
It's mid-May and Donald Trump is still president in spite of his "bigly" efforts to get himself ousted.

If a Democrat acted as crazily as Trump has, he or she would have been jailed by now or dragged off to the funny farm in a strait-jacket.

Yet, thanks to Roger Ailes, the former Fox News fascist who croaked Thursday, Trump is still president.

Ailes' legacy is that Trump and other Republicans will always have staunch defenders at Fox News.

Ailes started Fox News in the mid-1990s for those intolerant, aging, white Americans who could no longer face the reality that the country was changing to something less white and more tolerant.

Fox News was created as the official channel of the Republican Party that felt all other media were biased against them.

Nevermind that most of this other media are owned by conservative corporations whose only goal is to make money. Many of the CEOs of these entities are Republicans themselves.

Fox News pitched their dubious narrative to older, white Americans that minorities, feminists, gays, Hollywood elites, non-Christians (who are all Democrats, by the way) were destroying their view of America.

Fox News peddles this political pornography and they have an audience addicted to it.

Trump tapped into that addiction to claim the electoral college victory in November.

Trump and Ailes had another thing in common: sexual predators. Ailes lost his job because of it, while Trump was elected in spite of it.

Ailes did such a masterful job in dividing this country that Trump supporters are completely blind to his outrageous behavior and actions of the past few weeks.

While listening to NPR shows that have Americans call in their opinions, it is absolutely astounding that so many of these people still defend Trump.

As Trump said during the presidential campaign, he could shoot somebody on Fifth Avenue and he wouldn't lose any voters.

Fox News made it easy for many Americans to not believe the mainstream media. Yet, it's called mainstream because it represents a consensus of reality. But, as Stephen Colbert once noted, "reality has a well-known liberal bias."

Fox News and Trump supporters don't buy the reality of his chaotic presidency because they consider it pushed by liberals.

Trump has lowered the bar of competency and decency so low that his supporters are willing to accept any behavior from him.

Well, that's not going to end well.

Ailes pathetic life ended in disgrace.

Trump faces the same fate.

Friday, March 24, 2017

Epic GOP fail: TrumpDon'tCare

Health care? Who needs it?
After winning the House, the Senate and the presidency, and, after whining for seven years about the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare), Republicans showed today how they would fix health care once and for all.

They did nothing.

Not even a floor vote.

No repeal. No replacement. No nothing.

Don "The Con" Trump, said last year that “from day one I’ve been talking about we’re going to repeal and replace Obamacare from day one, we’re going to do it.”

Sixty-four days after "day one," he couldn't even get close to making a deal with fellow Republicans.

Call it "The Fart of the Deal."

What a stinker.

House Speaker Paul Ryan shoulders much of the blame, but Oregon's 2nd District congressman, Greg Walden, did his part to show how ineffective he can be.

The Republican House caucus is so diverse that it contains the tea-bagging faction and those slightly less extreme.

Such comity.

One side said the plan went too far and the other said it didn't go far enough.

In other words, the GOP bill didn't enrich the wealthy enough and it didn't screw over everyone else enough either.

Apparently, only 17 percent of Americans thought the GOP's R&R effort was worthwhile before Republicans decided not to vote on it.

What is truly shocking is that even with a huge tax cut for the rich included in the bill, Republicans still couldn't stomach it. They entered a Twilight Zone of their own creation.

Over the past half-dozen years, House Republicans spent their majority in Congress by voting more than 50 times to repeal Obamacare. They knew full well that their votes wouldn't matter because President Obama would never sign their bills.

Now that their votes matter, they said, "uh, nevermind, we were just kidding."

That is called Republican governance.

GOPers don't believe in the federal government and they run for office to prove it.

Meanwhile, they collect their paychecks and enjoy their deluxe health care coverage.

Thursday, March 16, 2017

Don't throw money down OSU-Cascades' pits

OSU-Cascades aims to make its campus inaccessible to most students
Now that OSU-Cascades owns the former pumice pit next to its micro 10-acre campus and is on the verge of taking over a former demolition landfill, it now wants taxpayers to cough up $70 million to fill these holes in the ground.

That request doesn't include any buildings, professors or parking places.

The ex-pumice mine needs massive infill to make the land stable for building. The ex-landfill needs $50 million just for reclamation.

Oh, and the state budget deficit is approximately $1.6 billion for the current biennium, due mostly to health care and about 20 percent to the public employees retirement system.

Unlike the federal government, Oregon has to balance its budget every two years.

And, of course, raising taxes is impossible. There is no greater evil on the planet, according to Republicans.

So, most programs, agencies and services face varying degrees of cutbacks.

In this environment, of a booming state economy and the inability to raise taxes, the brain trust at OSU-C expects $70 million in non-existent state dollars to fill in holes in the ground.

Actually, they need to fill the holes in their heads first before begging others for money.

As noted before, OSU-C decided to build their campus without a master plan in the most expensive area of Bend, where there is no affordable housing for even OSU-C professors, let alone students.

The school was given land at Juniper Ridge where $70 million could go a long way towards fixing the traffic problems that a university would create on Bend's north end.

No, OSU-C wanted a 10-acre university where even students who are lucky enough to live on campus, can't park their cars on campus. The nearest the school wants students to park is about 3/4 miles away in an industrial area.

OSU-C better set aside a huge sum of money to build student housing on the edge of town and bus the students to school.

In essence, OSU-C doesn't really want students since they built the campus in the most inaccessible area of Bend and Central Oregon. Like most entities today, from Netflix to Amazon, they just want the student's, or their parent's, credit card number.

Stay home, just pay us, the university brain trust says. We want to live, work and play on the west side, and we want you to pay for it.

Monday, March 13, 2017

Trumpcare: Only losers get sick

Trumpcare for all
With the numbers showing that 24 million Americans will lose health coverage under the new Republican health plan called Trumpcare, many rational Americans may think this isn't so great.

To Rep. Paul Ryan, though, they would be wrong. 

Ryan, one of the architects of Trumpcare, said "I'm pretty encouraged by it (the CBO report). It actually exceeded my expectations."

Yes, 24 million is a low number to Ryan. He expected more to lose health insurance.

That's the point. 

Instead of having to pay for comprehensive coverage, Americans won't have to pay any for health insurance at all. They'll be free to go bankrupt from unpaid hospital bills.

According to Ryan and other Republicans, the freedom to not have what he and other lawmakers have is the beauty of this country. 

Central Oregon's Republican representative in Congress, Greg Walden, is one of the authors of Trumpcare.

He said, "Unlike Obamacare, we will not mandate Americans buy insurance plans they don't want and can't afford."

Walden is quite aware that many in his sprawling rural district will bear the brunt of cuts to health care coverage under Trumpcare. He's also fully aware that they'll still vote for him even if they're on their death beds from having no health care.

An added benefit to freeing people from health care coverage is the estimated savings of $337 billion over the next 10 years. With that dough, we can pay for about a third of the wall on the Mexico border. That's assuming Mexico won't pay for the entire wall, which if it does, means the tax cut for the 1 percent in this country can be even greater.

Of course, if there is too much blowback over Trumpcare, Republicans may just do what they've threatened over the past seven years and just repeal Obamacare with no replacement.

That's what the diehard Obama-haters have always wanted anyway. 

The only legislation that Republicans care about passing is cutting taxes to their donor class. 

With Republicans controlling the entire federal government, they should be able to cut taxes early and often.

Afterall, deficits don't matter when Republicans are in charge.

Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Trump takes hypocrisy to new lows

Making golf great again?
Donald Trump made his mark by trashing President Obama six ways to Sunday.

Yes, President did golf on occasion. His first outing came four months after first setting foot in the White House.

Well, Trump has hit the links six times in his first month.

Trump and other Republican mouthpieces whined and whined about how much President Obama was wasting taxpayer dollars by traveling to Hawaii and elsewhere.

Well, Trump has spent more tax dollars in a month than President Obama did in a year.

Trump's three trips to his winter White House in Florida have cost $10 million so far. President Obama spent an estimated $90 million in eight years. 

Trump will break that bank by October, long before his first year in office is over.

Also, keeping Melania holed up in New York is costing taxpayers up to a $1 million per day.

Or, consider how taxpayers are footing the bill for Trump's kids' business trips around the globe.

And, finally, candidate Trump railed against President Obama's use of executive orders. Check out this video.

Of course, none of this troubles Trump's supporters who are even more hypocritical than he is.

National debt? Who cares, they now say.

What's next?

Has anyone seen Trump's birth certificate?

Friday, February 17, 2017

Is Trump a traitor?

Apparently, that is what some in the U.S. intelligent community believe.

That is unprecedented for a sitting president, but not all that surprising.

Donald Trump came into office trashing the intelligence community because they concluded that the Russians and Vladimir Putin interfered with the election on Trump's behalf.

Not a smart move.

Trump was further upset that a leaked dossier revealed the Russians have compromising information about Trump and he is vulnerable to blackmail.

So far, some of the material in the dossier has been corroborated.

It's likely the rest of the salacious details will be supported by evidence as well.

The U.S. spies are so concerned about Trump's ties to Russia before and after the election that they're withholding information from the White House for fear it will fall into the wrong hands.

Check out these pieces from a New York Observer reporter, a former NSA analyst, who's been all over this story for a few months now. Ironically, the Observer's owner is Jared Kushner, Trump's cabana boy and son-in-law.

The reporter, John Schindler, tweets like Trump.

Here are a couple of tweets:

"IC (intelligence community) thinks Trump is a traitor. I'll leave to actual lawyers to assess that, but it's quite a day in any democracy when the spies think such."


"Now we go nuclear. IC war going to new levels. Just got an EM fm senior IC friend, it began: "He will die in jail."

We can only hope.

His gold-plated headstone should read: Here lies Twump, the tweeter twaitor.

Friday, January 27, 2017

A disastrous first week for Trump

Trump's response to his detractors and supporters
At least for rational people in America and abroad.

For the Trumpettes, though, it was magical.

That's because they live in the world of "alternative facts" of Fox News and Breitbart where reality has a well-known liberal bias.

Trump issued his executive orders on ending Obamacare, building the wall with Mexico, banning refugees except Christians, expanding the military, imposing the abortion "gag rule," ending the U.S. participation in the Trans-Pacific Partnership or free trade, reviving Keystone XL and Dakota Access pipelines and freezing federal hiring.

None were surprising and most were just the usual posturing, signifying little.

For the last eight years, Republicans called President Obama a "dictator."

Well, now that they have a real dictator, Republicans won't put up a fight. They won't even whimper. They'll grovel at his feet and wait patiently for Trump to put a collar around their necks and drag their asses around Washington.

And, they will love it.

For the past eight years, GOP lawmakers have railed against the increase in the national deficit, but will eagerly double it or triple it under Trump.

Ever since Obamacare passed, Republicans have tried to repeal it. Now that they can, they have no idea what to replace it with. All talk, no action.

Trump's first act was to make housing less affordable for millions of Americans. It was his way of giving new home buyers the middle finger.

The anti-abortion march today in Washington had Trump's full support even though Trump has likely paid for more abortions of pregnancies the he is personally responsible for than anti-abortionists could possibly imagine.

And, on the International Holocaust Remembrance Day, when the Soviets liberated Auschwitz in Poland, Trump issued his edict about banning refugees, particularly Muslims, from America. This will help ensure current and future holocausts.

At the end of Trump's first week, the level of incompetence was true to form.

Trump was more concerned with the size of the crowd at his inauguration than anything else.

And, he realized how illegitimate of a president he is because he pushed the bogus voter fraud conspiracy again. He lost the election by nearly three million votes.

Also this week, Trump managed to offend not just Mexico, but the CIA as well.

Trump sought to divide, rather than unite during the easiest week of his presidency.

Whatever happens to this country during Trump's reign, we will deserve it for putting such an asshole in the Oval Office.

In fact, Trump is not the POTUS, a wire service slugline that is now part of the vernacular.

No, he is the POSOTUS: Piece of Shit of the United States.


Monday, January 23, 2017

Trump's new reality show: 'American Carnage'

Like the vast majority of Americans, I did not watch or listen to Donald Trump's inauguration.

But, I did read about it and perused some of his speech.

Evidently, I didn't miss much.

George Will, the ultra-conservative columnist, wrote that it was "the most dreadful inaugural address in history."

Apparently, the turnout was far lower than what the Donald wanted and a drop in the bucket compared to the Women's March the next day.

That led to Trump's attack on the media for reporting what happened.

Even Doonesbury saw this coming weeks ago. The comic strip in Sunday's paper shows the Donald complaining about the media's low numbers for his inauguration.

The Donald is such an easy mark.

So are his acolytes who ate up his inaugural address.

It's easy to see why Trump's phrase "America First" would thrill many of his supporters.

To most of them, the phrase means: Me first and to hell with you, even if that "you" is fellow Americans.

To others, like white supremacist David Duke, the phrase rekindles the days when it was associated with anti-Semitism before America's entry into World War II.

But, the headline phrase that screamed on most sites, including the Wall Street Journal's, was "American carnage."

Did Trump mean he was going to take on the easy access to high-powered firearms in this country?

Uh, no.

Did the phrase reference the thousands of Americans who lost their lives in the unjustified war in Iraq?

No, again.

I guess he was referring to violence in the inner cities, which Trump said would stop on his inauguration day.

Well, it hasn't stopped yet. It's not likely to end anytime soon.

So, "American Carnage" is really the name of Trump's presidency.

Instead of saying "You're Fired" on Celebrity Apprentice, he can now say with glee on American Carnage, "You're Dead."

His first enemies in this carnage, of course, are the press and the spy agencies.

This piece from the New Yorker shows that Trump's visit to the CIA headquarters wasn't well received. And CBS notes that the relationship with the CIA was made worse after the visit.

And then there's "alternative facts," which we should see plenty of during Trump's "presidency." Much of the media will report facts and Trump's minions will dispute them.

Even a Russian journalist compares Trump's pressers to Putin's. In fact, Trump is now known as Putin's Puppet or Putin's Pussy.

Talk about carnage. The truth is the first casualty under a fascist like Trump. And fascist is one of the kindest things to say about him.

It was comforting to read today that Earl Blumenauer, a congressman from Portland, referred to Trump as "Liar in Chief."

Well said, and factual, too.

Fox News, though, has always represented the alternate reality to what was actually happening and now they get to present "alternative facts" along with the truth.

You decide.

Well, I have decided. I won't be captivated by Trump's "American Carnage."

Saturday, January 21, 2017

Bend shows solidarity against Trump

Drake Park was packed with protesters
On a snowy, cold Saturday morning, about 5,000 men, women and children of all ages gathered at Drake Park to protest the presidency of Donald J. Trump.

It was move of solidarity for the Women's March in Washington today where the crowd of more than a million marchers dwarfed the crowd at the inauguration on Friday.

The size of the Bend protest was remarkable and likely unprecedented in Bend's history.

Many wore pink pussy hats and hundreds carried signs with sayings that captured the moment:

"We shall Overcomb"

"Respect our Existence or Expect our Resistance"

"Now You've Pissed off Grandma"

"Don't Make America Sick Again"

"Finally a Solution to Global Warming, Nuclear Winter"


"Super Callous Fascist Racist Extra Braggadocious"

"If my uterus shot bullets, it wouldn't be regulated"

At one point, some in the crowd starting singing We Shall Overcome, but the words were We Shall Overcomb ... someday.

It was wonderful.

Clearly, organizers were overwhelmed by the size of the crowd because it extended from the gathering spot at the grandstand all the way to the march's end in downtown Bend. We spilled out into the roadway and blocked traffic.

You couldn't hear any instructions from organizers, but it didn't matter.

I think everyone was impressed that there were so many like-minded people in a region that voted for Trump.

There were people from all over Central Oregon tromping through the two-foot snowpack in Drake Park and sliding on the icy sidewalks.

Bend was one of nearly 700 cities worldwide that participated today. Nearly 5 million around the globe rallied against Trump.

Now, the challenge is how to channel that energy into something meaningful.

Certainly, boycotting corporations that contributed to Trump is one way.  Check out website for a list or corporations to boycott. And, boycott anything with Trump's name on it.

Find out which companies in Central Oregon supported Trump and boycott them, too.

Also, stay involved and participate. Make your voices heard.

And vote.

Thursday, January 19, 2017

Trump an illegitimate president

The Twilight Zone was never this scary
And, Donald J. Trump deserves zero respect.

First, he lost the election by nearly 3 million votes.

Second, he publicly asked the Russians to hack Hillary Clinton's account and the Russians complied.

In fact, it appears that Trump's collusion with Russians is quite deep.

When Trump stiffed American banks over his failed ventures, he turned to Russia for money.

We now know that the Russians have compromising video and audio of Trump and can blackmail him in to doing what the Russians, or Vladimir Putin, want. It appears to be working since Trump says he'll probably end sanctions against Russia while weakening the NATO alliance.

Third, he has no moral compass. He has been married three times and openly cheated, and still cheats, on all of his wives. He's an admitted sexual predator and likely raped a 13 year old girl. Plus, the dossier reveals the sordid, depraved world that Trump travels in.

Fourth, his political career is based on the racist birther claim that President Obama wasn't born in America and therefore was an illegitimate president.

Fifth, his tweets could start World War III.

Sixth, if he can't handle Alec Baldwin or Meryl Streep, he has no business being president.

Seventh, Trump frequently spreads fake news.

Eighth, he doesn't pay federal taxes. If the president doesn't pay taxes, why should anyone else?

Ninth, with his deplorable rhetoric about Mexicans, Muslims, China and now our allies, he's obliterating what's left of "American exceptionalism."

Tenth, his cabinet picks are tasked with destroying the departments they're in charge of.

Eleventh, his numerous conflicts of interest over his business "empire" make him impeachable on day one. As Stephen Colbert says, removing Trump's name off of his buildings and putting his sons' name up there doesn't really solve the problems.

Twelfth, what's with the fake hair?

On the positive side, Trump makes it easier than ever to not listen to or watch the news. He is so repulsive in sight and sound that my time is no longer wasted on the radio or TV news.

Also, since he's picking a fight with the CIA, FBI and NSA, he'll get his comeuppance sooner than we realize.

The real downside to a Trump presidency is that anything goes. He has no sense of decency. If he can say and do anything with impunity, there isn't much hope for this country. Sad.

Monday, January 16, 2017

Obama: Best president in my lifetime

Washington Post

President Obama gave hope to those who rarely had it
It's not even close, really.

And, I go back to the Eisenhower era.

For a nation founded on the principal of slavery, the fact that President Obama, a true African-American, twice won substantial margins of victory is an achievement no other president can claim.

And, that's just the beginning of his accomplishments.

He calmly guided the country through the greatest economic crisis since the Great Depression.

He did so well that the unemployment rate is near historic lows and more jobs were created under President Obama than any other president.  Oregon's jobless rate is the lowest since modern records began more than 40 years ago. Bend is at full employment.

The stock market is at record highs.

President Obama expanded access to health care to more than 20 million Americans.

He led the world to finalize negotiations of the International Climate Agreement to combat climate change.

Solar and wind energy production boomed under President Obama. Auto fuel standards were raised and cars get better mileage than ever.

Gas prices have stayed low and stable for a few years now.

President Obama kept America safe in a world made increasingly unsafe by the policies of the previous administration. He made the killing of Osama bin Laden a priority.

His administration was scandal free.

Oh, and he also won the Nobel Peace Prize.

There are other accomplishments, which you can read about here and here.

The only comparable president in the past 100 years is FDR, who guided the country out of the Great Depression and to victory in World War II.

President Obama's achievements wouldn't seem so great if weren't preceded by one of the worst presidents in American history or if he weren't succeeded by the most unpopular president in U.S. history. 

But, they are substantial, nonetheless.

On the day we celebrate the birth of Martin Luther King Jr., it is fitting to note President Obama led this country with grace, class and intelligence. We won't see another president of his caliber for years. He is a role model for generations, not only in this country, but  also throughout the world.

Well done, sir.