Thursday, January 12, 2017

Vodka, Drug Addiction and Character. Will The Melting Pot Melt? Hanging Around To Protect 8 Misbegotten Years.

The location of your mailbox shows you how far from your house you can be in a robe before you start looking like a mental patient.

My therapist said my narcissism causes me to misread social situations. I’m pretty sure she was hitting on me.

The reason Mayberry was so peaceful and quiet was because nobody was married. Andy, Aunt Bea, Barney, Floyd, Howard, Goober, Gomer, Sam, Earnest T Bass, Helen, Thelma Lou, Clara and, of course, Opie were all single. The only married person was Otis, and he stayed drunk.
Trump campaigned on a great slogan about: "Making America Great Again"but what he cannot do is solve the issue of a society that is increasingly hooked on drugs and is divided politically because of hatred. 

Drug usage has to do with character and the life style of a society.  In Russia,Vodka is a serious problem but in America, opiods have reached crisis/epidemic proportions. More people died from overdoses than in car accidents, some 50,000 this past year alone. Hatred has much to do with lack of education, misplaced passion and a president who sought to divide us for political gain.

Now that Trump is about to become our 45th president and the opposition  is doing everything they can to de-legitimize him and his appointees this too will boomerang but it will also impose/extract a cost. (See 1 below.)

Obama told us climate change was the greatest threat to mankind. Millions of refugees were not caused by climate change.  It was caused by a brutal leader and vacuums caused by feckless and misguided American leadership that allowed Russia to gain a foothold in The Middle East after decades of exclusion.

Domestically speaking, the overuse of drugs, which leads to addiction, is burdening our society, crippling our youth and costing untold misery and money.  Trump does not imbibe, apparently takes no drugs and he and his wife and family can only set a positive tone. They cannot solve addiction, broken families and a society in rot.

It is one thing to be disappointed at losing, it is one thing to have conducted yourself in a manner that contributed to the loss over which you moan and groan but it is unconscionable and totally unpatriotic to engage in the kind of behaviour far too many Democrats have because their favorite blew it. 

I saw through Obama from the git go and have been consistent in my criticism of him and his policies and radical manipulation of our political structure. However, once he became president I accepted this fact and prayed he would prove me wrong.  He did not. In fact his presidency only proved my views were not strong enough but I accepted the fact that he was our president for better or worse. It is time the anti-Trumpers stop being wimps, sore losers and start showing some character. (See 1a below.)

America, if it falls, may do so because of some technology we did not defend against but more than likely it will be from within.  It will be because of a decline in education, a rise in addiction and an inability to live in harmony.  

Our Republic, after several hundred years, still remains an experiment in whether a melting pot does not melt.
This from a dear friend and fellow memo reader: "Dick,You are spot on about Booker, except you left out one important attribute; like Obama, a grandstanding empty suit! J---"

My reply:  I thought that was implied. Me
Tillerson, Kerry, Israel, Iran and Russia/Putin. (See 2 below.)
Obama intends to hang around for several years in order to protect his legacy as Republicans begin disassembling whatever little he accomplished mainly through Executive Orders.

The man's ego is monumental and he truly must believe his presidency justifies his approval standing in the polls which defies all logic and common sense.

What does Obama's approval rating signify? That he is likable, verbal, a good golfer and basketball shooter, a caring father.  What substantive matters is his high approval based on?   He said he wanted to transform America? He did but not for any good.  We are more divided, weaker diplomatically and militarily, less respected, less feared, even our allies are confused about our intentions and our word.  We have dissed our friends and flubbed when it comes to adversaries. China has expanded, Russia feels emboldened, Iran is going Nuclear and N Korea already has.  On what basis does Obama deserve a high rating? The fact that he was awarded a Nobel Peace prize yet presided over a world of tragedies and refugees much of which his feckless policies caused to occur.  Was it solely because he was the first black president and was protected by the mass media who dared to be objective?

If he cared about the nation he presided over for 8 turbulent and misbegotten years he would have the decency to go quietly. (See 3 below.)
1) How Quickly The Democrats Forget

Shortly before the 2016 election, Democrats had an epiphany. They had cried wolf so often that now, with the wolf at the door, no one believed them anymore. Bill Maher, in a heavily circulated HBO clip could not have been more plain.
I know liberals made a big mistake because we attacked your boy Bush like he was the end of the world. And he wasn’t. And Mitt Romney we attacked that way. I gave Obama a million dollars because I was so afraid of Mitt Romney. Mitt Romney wouldn’t have changed my life that much or yours. Or John McCain.
They were honorable men who we disagreed with and we should have kept it that way. So we cried wolf and that was wrong. But this is real. This is going to be way different.
Maher was not alone. A New York Times columnist made the same point. Other Democrats did as well. They confessed that they really had amped up the histrionics against Republicans for so long that now, with Donald Trump as the GOP nominee, nobody believed them about his racism, misogyny, etc.
How quickly the Democrats forget.
Since Election Day, every Trump supporter is a racist. Every person who works for Trump is a racist. Every idea put forward by Trump and his team is racist. People who have never met Jeff Sessions are experts on his racism. Jared Kushner is a racist. Ivanka is a racist. Donald, Jr. and Eric are racists. Mike Pence is a racist. The GOP is racist.
The party of slavery and the KKK who gave their own Robert Byrd a pass on his KKK membership is adamant that all proposals by the GOP, all Trump nominees for the Cabinet, and all legislative proposals start from a racist factory of bigoted racists.
There is real racism in the world. There is real bigotry. I have real concerns about an emboldened alt-right that thrives in white nationalism and thinks Trump is one of them. But the Democrats’ constant cry against Trump and all his supporters, however, dilutes real racism, makes people tune out real injustice, and normalizes the alt-right as a political player by lumping all comers under the same “racism” label whether or not it is merited.
Disagree with Donald Trump all you want on policy. But labeling Trump and all his supporters as racist because you have policy and political disagreements is the best way to have a large chunk of the nation stop taking you seriously.

1a) Tillerson for State

Trump and his nominee show more realism on Russia.

Over several hours before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee on Wednesday, Rex Tillerson presented a largely clear-eyed view of Russia and American interests. Though the Secretary of State nominee had tense exchanges—with Marco Rubio over whether Vladimir Putin is a “war criminal,” with Tim Kaine on climate change, with others about his claim that Exxon had never “directly lobbied” against Russian sanctions—on the whole it was a sober, informed performance.
This sobriety was in marked contrast to the circus provoked by the publication of allegations—completely unsubstantiated—that the Russians hold compromising information about Donald Trump and worked with his surrogates to influence the 2016 election.

Among the allegations is that Mr. Trump hired prostitutes to perform degrading acts on a bed at the Ritz-Carlton in Moscow that had been slept in by President and Mrs. Obama. Another is that Mr. Trump’s lawyer, Michael Cohen, held a “clandestine meeting” with “Kremlin representatives” in Prague last August. These are two items drawn from 35 pages of memos prepared by a former British MI6 officer who was formerly stationed in Russia and who was paid first by Republican opponents of Mr. Trump and then by Democrats.

The memos had been circulating in press and political circles for some time. Yet even many publications that were vociferously anti-Trump declined to publish the material because they couldn’t substantiate the claims.

This changed Tuesday. First CNN published a dispatch noting that a summary of the memos had been attached to a report by the U.S. intelligence community on Russian hacking—though CNN did not include the uncorroborated details. The BuzzFeed website then published the 35 pages of memos even as its editor admitted “there is serious reason to doubt the allegations.”

The response was predictable. Mr. Trump took to Twitter to deny everything and ask with his familiar restraint if the U.S. is now “Nazi Germany.” Mr. Cohen said he’d never been to Prague. Amid Wednesday’s press conference brawl, it was easy to miss that Mr. Trump conceded for the first time that Russia was behind the hacks on the Democrats last year. Mr. Trump’s vehement denials also mean that if we learn in the future that Russia does have compromising details about him, his Presidency could be over.

All of this is a reminder—as if we need it—that the Trump Administration will be unlike any we’ve experienced. But when you look past the salacious, there’s been some healthy movement even on Russia. Mr. Tillerson showed that he’s nobody’s fool, that he has a good sense of the challenges America faces, and that the U.S. has paid a price for the Obama Administration’s retreat from leadership.

Notably he said that Russia “poses a danger,” that “there should have been a show of force” when the Russians invaded Crimea, and that the U.S. ought to give Ukrainians the arms they need to defend themselves against Russia. He had similar messages about how we have to “send China a clear signal” about its military buildup on contested islands in the South China Sea.

We wish Mr. Trump would handle these media frenzies with more presidential composure, but that’s all the more reason for the Senate to confirm Mr. Tillerson to advise him.
2)Tillerson criticizes Kerry's approach to Israel, vowing a different path

President-elect Donald Trump's choice for secretary of state, Rex Tillerson also warned of weaknesses in the Iran nuclear deal.

WASHINGTON -- President-elect Donald Trump's choice for secretary of state, Rex Tillerson, criticized the outgoing Obama administration for its handling of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict in recent days, answering questions before a Senate confirmation hearing on Wednesday.
Amid hours of questioning over his ties to Russian President Vladimir Putin and his attitudes toward Moscow's role in the world, Tillerson briefly offered his perspective on the question of a two-state solution. Direct talks between Israelis and Palestinians are possible, and still the goal, Tillerson said. But a UN Security Council resolution condemning Israel over its settlement enterprise last month made those talks less likely.

"Israel is, has always been and remains our most important ally in the region," he said. "The UN resolution that was passed, in my view, is not helpful. It actually undermines a good set of conditions for talks to continue."

Tillerson characterized the Security Council vote, on Resolution 2334, as an attempt to "coerce" Israel to change course. "That will not lead to a solution," he said.

Directly criticizing his likely predecessor, John Kerry, Tillerson then said that he found "quite troubling" the sitting secretary's decision to give a speech devoted to the conflict shortly after the vote. The speech focused heavily on Israel's construction activity in the West Bank and east Jerusalem.

"The president-elect has already made it clear that we're going to meet our obligations to Israel as the most important ally in the region," Tillerson said, vowing to make a "clear statement" to that effect through policy actions should he be confirmed by the Senate.

Questioned by one Democratic senator, Tim Kaine of Virginia, over whether he supported a two-state solution, Tillerson said that such an outcome to the conflict is "the dream that everyone is in pursuit of."

"Whether it could ever be a reality remains to be seen," he added. "I don't think anyone would take a position that they don't hope for peace in that area." And he vowed support for congressional action that combats a growing movement to boycott, divest and sanction Israel, both in the United States and abroad. His view of foreign governments supporting the campaign would be "shaded," he added, unless they changed course.

"Sometimes it takes another generation that's not carrying all that baggage of the past," he said. "The Palestinian people have suffered a lot, under their own leadership in many cases."

He questioned whether Israel could feasibly negotiate with a Palestinian Authority that refuses to recognize its right to exist as a Jewish state, and charged that, while the PA has renounced violence, "it's one thing to renounce it and another thing to take serious actions to prevent it."

Palestinian leadership has a duty to do "something to at least interrupt it or prevent it," he said, referring to attacks by Palestinians against Israeli civilians. Such actions, he added, must occur before there can be "any productive discussion around settlements."

Tillerson also spoke of his plans to advise President-elect Trump on the Iran nuclear deal, which he characterized as concerning in several specific respects. He will firstly recommend "a full review of that agreement," said the former ExxonMobil chief, "as well as any side agreements that I understand are a part of that agreement."

He expressed concern that the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action– which was negotiated by Kerry and his counterparts from Iran, the United Kingdom, France, Russia, China and Germany over two years– does not prevent Iran from purchasing nuclear weapons.

And "the real important question is what comes at the end of this agreement," Tillerson said, calling for the US to return to a policy that calls for "no uranium enrichment in Iran." The JCPOA, as it stands, tolerates low-grade enrichment of the material in Iran– a primary path to nuclear weapons, if enriched to a high grade– and under expansive monitoring.

At Exxon, Tillerson spoke out against sanctions as a diplomatic tool of exertion, characterizing them as harmful to American businesses. But on Wednesday he defended that tool as vital.

"Sanctions are a powerful tool, and they're an important tool," he said. "The Iran sanctions were extraordinarily effective because others joined in."

When senators questioned him on whether he had ever lobbied on behalf of Exxon against sanctions– on either Iran or on Russia, after its annexation of Ukraine's Crimean peninsula– Tillerson said he had not.

But "when sanctions are imposed, they by their design are going to disrupt American business," he noted.

Tillerson also highlighted the prospect of a wider Israeli-Arab peace governed by an alignment of interests against Iran. "Because of Iran and the threat that Iran poses, we now find that Israel, the US and the Arab nations in the region all share the same enemy," he said.

The bulk of his engagement with senators was over Russia, amid swirling controversy over Moscow's influence campaign targeting the 2016 US presidential elections. Tillerson offered a tough line, characterizing the former Soviet Union as eager to reclaim a position of prominence on the world stage.

While he said he had not yet spoken with Trump extensively on the issue of Russia– a remark that Senator Bob Menendez of New Jersey called "pretty amazing," given the public interest– Tillerson, over several hours, expressed a consistent view that the Russian government speaks in a language of strength. He suggested that American strength toward Moscow has been lacking under the Obama administration, and that Trump would redirect course.

He said he would have recommended NATO air surveillance and US military assets for Ukraine after Russia annexed Crimea– an act he said the US, under Trump's leadership, would never recognize as legal– and would encourage a strong response to its hacking of US democratic institutions. He characterized Russia as an "unfriendly adversary" and a nation where there is "no respect for the rule of law."

Trump has previously said he plans to "look at" recognizing Russia's annexation.

As America's top diplomat, the most important question he would ask his Russian counterpart is simple, Tillerson told the Senate Foreign Relations Committee: Do you want this to get worse?

"Russia today poses a danger, but it is not unpredictable in advancing its own interests," he said. "NATO allies are right to be alarmed."

Some Republicans expressed satisfaction with Tillerson's hearing, including the committee's chairman, Bob Corker of Tennessee. But some others were skeptical.

When Marco Rubio of Florida asked him whether Putin's actions in the Syrian city of Aleppo this year or in the Chechen city of Grozny in 1999 amounted to war crimes, Tillerson declined to adopt the term. And when the senator further pressed him to support legislation that would compel the president-elect to support sanctions on Russia for its hacking campaign, Tillerson replied: "I would have some concerns."

Republican senators Lindsey Graham of South Carolina and John McCain of Arizona have also expressed reservations over Tillerson, specifically over his ties to Russia, including his acceptance of the nation's highest honor for foreign nationals, the Russian Order of Friendship, in 2009.
3)How Can We Miss a President Who Won’t Go Away?

Obama plans to stay in Washington. The capital city’s namesake took a different approach.


Why did President Obama deliver his farewell address in Chicago? Maybe because he has no plans to leave Washington. He’ll stick around at least until his younger daughter, 15-year-old Sasha, finishes high school in 2½ years. He’s leasing an 8,200-square-foot, eight-bedroom gray stone mansion in the posh Kalorama neighborhood, about 2 miles from the White House.
Most former presidents return to where they came from and fade into the background, re-emerging in the capital mostly for ceremonial occasions. If they’ve served two full terms, the norm is to express relief, at least publicly, at the lifting of the office’s great burdens after eight long years.
George Washington put it this way in his 1796 Farewell Address: “Not unconscious in the outset of the inferiority of my qualifications . . . every day the increasing weight of years admonishes me more and more that the shade of retirement is as necessary to me as it will be welcome.”

Mr. Obama is different. If the Constitution allowed it, he most certainly would have sought a third term. In a year-end interview with his former aide David Axelrod, the president said he thought he would have beaten Donald Trump. At the top of his Tuesday farewell speech, the audience chanted “Four more years! Four more years!” His response: “I can’t do that”—not eight is enough. Almost an hour later, near the end of his soliloquy, Mr. Obama declared: “I won’t stop. In fact, I will be right there with you, as a citizen, for all my remaining days.”
If Mr. Obama is not at peace, his worries are well-founded. The achievement he considers most important, ObamaCare, is likely to be dismantled by a Republican-led Congress that never voted for it and has no stake in it, with the consent of a new president who has already signaled he’ll make some changes right away through executive action.
Mr. Obama also fears his aggressive climate-change policies are in danger. His education reforms, trade and defense policies, nuclear pact with Iran, and management of wars in Iraq, Afghanistan and Syria—or lack thereof—are all about to face severe scrutiny and serious revision.
So while the explanation for his staying in Washington is Sasha’s schooling, the real reason is probably to fight for the preservation of his legacy. And there is no more effective way of doing so than to remain on the battlefield and position himself not only as the de facto head of the Democratic Party, but also the main media voice of opposition to the policies of Mr. Trump.
His presence in Washington will invite news reporters to seek his commentary and criticism of every move Mr. Trump makes. True, he told Mr. Axelrod he agreed with President Washington “that at a certain point, you make room for new voices and fresh legs.”
But he added a huge qualification: “Now, that doesn’t mean that if a year from now or a year and a half from now or two years from now, there is an issue of such moment, such import, that isn’t just a debate about a particular tax bill or a particular policy, but goes to some foundational issues about our democracy that I might not weigh in.”
It’s a safe bet that many of the challenges the Trump administration presents to the Obama legacy will come under Mr. Obama’s heading of “foundational issues of our democracy.” His presence in Washington, not some faraway place like Chicago, will make it difficult to remain above the fray even if he wanted to. As his party’s most admired and most skilled politician, he will receive calls to join the battle early and often.
One must go back nearly a century, to Woodrow Wilson, to find another president who stayed in Washington after leaving office. But Wilson was too ill to become a political force.
In recent years, Dwight Eisenhower, a career Army officer, retired to his farm in Gettysburg, Pa. Ronald Reagan went back to California, and George W. Bush returned to Texas. Even defeated one-termers didn’t stay around: Jimmy Carter returned to Plains, Ga., and George H.W. Bush to Houston and Kennebunkport, Maine. Richard Nixon fled to San Clemente, Calif., after resigning in 1974. Lyndon Johnson took to his ranch on Texas’ Pedernales River. Harry Truman went home to Missouri.
Bill Clinton, of course, was an exception because his wife entered politics and had presidential aspirations of her own. But even as Hillary Clinton served in Washington, Mr. Clinton spent, and continues to spend, most of his time in the New York area, where he maintains his postpresidential office and oversees his family’s charitable foundation.
Every former president probably believes in his heart that he can do the job better than the guy in there now. But living in Washington, Mr. Obama is likely to think those thoughts more often than his distant counterparts have. That’s why it is unlikely he will stay silent for long once he departs the White House on next week.

No comments: