America the Beautiful

Alan Zendell, February 10, 2018

Sherlock Holmes (aka, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle) famously said, “…when you have eliminated the impossible, whatever remains, however improbable, must be the truth.” Consider the sordid case of Rob Porter’s temporary security clearance.

It’s impossible that while the FBI has been aware of the very credible allegations of spousal (and now girlfriend) abuse for more than a year, no one on the White House Staff found out until this week. It’s impossible that Chief of Staff John Kelly, given his well-known concern for order and security would not have wondered why the FBI hadn’t granted Rob Porter a security clearance in over a year. It’s also impossible that General Kelly wouldn’t have been seriously concerned about that considering Porter’s daily access to highly sensitive information.

Holmes would have approached the issue logically. Members of the White House staff were surely aware of Porter’s checkered past. John Kelly…

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America the Beautiful

Alan Zendell, February 2, 2018

The President has recently been touting the booming economy, and of course taking full credit for it. Trump points to the roaring stock market and the low unemployment rates as evidence. But is he right?

Let’s look at unemployment first. The following chart is taken directly from the Bureau of Labor Statistics for people over sixteen years old in percent of available full-time workers for the last ten years:

Unemployment

The sharp rise in unemployment in 2008 reflects the massive banking crisis that nearly toppled the world economy. The increase continued through the first few months of the Obama administration, but as the chart clearly shows, unemployment peaked at around ten percent at the end of the summer of 2009. After leveling off for six months, the unemployment rate began a steady decline that has persisted for eight years, that is, almost seven years of the…

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Gronda Morin

Image result for photos cartoons of devin nunes

Republicans over promised the value of this controversial Nunes Anti-FBI memo and they under delivered. The memo is such a DUD from the start before investigative journalists even begin their job to analyse it with a fine tooth comb.

The memo does prove that the FBI began its formal investigation into the Trump campaign in July 2016 because of foreign policy aide George Papadopoulos.

Here’s the quote, “The Papadopoulos information triggered the opening of an FBI counterintelligence investigation in late July 2016 by FBI agent Peter Strzok.”

What this tells me is that the FBI’s Trump-Russia probe led by the Special Counsel Robert Mueller III would have gone forward even without the republicans’ bogeyman the Christopher Steele dossier. That’s the end of the discussion,. CHECKMATE…

I am wondering if the democrats on the House Intelligence Committee even have to submit a counter memo. At least if they do, their memo will…

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America the Beautiful

Alan Zendell, February 1, 2018

Populist candidates for president often like to cast themselves as outsiders who will ride in on a white horse and clean up the Washington swamp. Donald Trump did it, and he managed to energize the anger of enough people frustrated by lobbyists and Congressional gridlock to win the election. Portraying himself as an outsider is probably the only thing he’s said since announcing his candidacy that was consistently true.

The problem is that he also described himself as a Conservative. Unfortunately, the meanings of political ideologies have blurred over time, and the definition of a Conservative depends on whom you ask.  Disciples of Barry Goldwater like Jeff Flake will tell you a Conservative believes in the Constitution, has a sound moral center, and respects truth and integrity.

Definitions of Conservatism in English language dictionaries vary but have a few things in common: traditional values, stability…

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Great article. Don’t forget to check out STAR TOUCHED when you finish reading it.

America the Beautiful

Alan Zendell, January 28, 2018

If you believe Stephen Hawking, Neil deGrasse Tyson, the late Carl Sagan, and countless other scientists, space exploration may be the only thing that guarantees the survival of the human race. Two events coming up in the next couple of weeks bring the dire predictions that led to that conclusion to mind.

Next Sunday, during Super Bowl 52, an asteroid large enough to cause a total extinction event, were it to collide with our planet, will pass by the Earth’s orbit. It won’t come closer than 2.5 million miles, more than ten times further than the Moon – not a near miss even in astronomical terms – but the next one might be a lot closer. The astrophysics and astronomy communities consider such an extinction event a statistical certainty. The only uncertainty is when it will happen.

It has happened before, after all. Sixty-five million…

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America the Beautiful

Alan Zendell, January 25, 2018

The Trump White House offered what they described as a significant compromise on immigration today. On its face it looks like that’s true. It not only offers the three quarters of a million DACA kids a path to legal residence and citizenship, but it offers provisions that include another million such individuals.

In exchange it asks for a $25 billion trust fund for future border infrastructure and technology, some vague provisions that would enable the government to deport an unspecified number of presumably illegal immigrants, and an end to what they refer to as chain migration. That latter specifically would not apply to spouses or minor children.

It doesn’t specifically say that a border wall will be built, but we really don’t know the details yet. In principle it sounds like the centrist proposal the White House claims it is. Like any good centrist plan…

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America the Beautiful

Alan Zendell, January 15, 2018

Donald Trump is not a racist. In fact, the term racist is an oversimplification that simply doesn’t apply to someone like him. The things that drive him have little or no relation to what most of us think of as basic moral values. So let’s stop muddying the waters by throwing terms like that around and then polling everyone in sight to find out if they agree.

Whether or not our president is a racist should not be the subject of a poll or referendum. That’s the kind of distraction we need to learn to avoid. It’s exactly the sort of thing Trump loves because it takes our attention away from the things that are really important.

Racists generally come in two flavors: ideologues and ignorant, uneducated people. Whether or not he is a stable genius, it’s fair to say that Donald Trump is neither…

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America the Beautiful

Alan Zendell, January 13, 2018

Since the end of the second world war, we’ve had a succession of presidents who, regardless of their overall political philosophies, all believed that increased trade and friendly, cooperative interaction with other nations were the best recipe for peace and prosperity, not to mention their personal legacies. But in the Age of Trump, governing the country the way he ran his businesses means changing that. In the Trump business world, things like fairness, mutual respect, morality, and law were sidestepped any time they got in the way of profit. All that mattered was size and money, and it’s clear that if Mr. Trump has his way that’s how our government will be run.

One can only wonder how many smaller firms, customers, and business associates he trampled for the sake of convenience, and why not? In Trump’s terms there was no reason to be fair…

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America the Beautiful

Alan Zendell, January 5, 2018

The investigation of possible collusion with Russia by the Trump campaign and renewed scrutiny of the circumstances that led to the president firing FBI Director James Comey are once again dominating the news media and talk shows. Reports that Special Counsel Robert Mueller is aware that the president ordered White House Counsel Donald McGahn to persuade Attorney General Jeff Sessions’ not to recuse himself surfaced on the heels of the president’s assertion that he has the absolute right to control how the Justice Department conducts investigations.

The White House compares Trump’s positions with President Nixon’s attempts to influence the Watergate investigations. On one hand, that seems odd, since Nixon’s actions ultimately caused him to resign under threat of impeachment. On another, the issue of using the White House Counsel as the president’s personal fixer was addressed yesterday by John Dean, who served in the same…

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America the Beautiful

Alan Zendell, December 30, 2017

Civility – That’s the motto of the county I live in. You see it everywhere, on bumper stickers, lawn signs, government letterheads: “CHOOSE CIVILITY.” It sounds corny, almost naïve, but it works. While my state is traditionally blue, my suburban/rural county is as purple as it can be. So the quest for civility isn’t a red or blue thing, it’s the voice of the community.

We aren’t merely tolerant here, we thrive on our diversity. Immigrants from all over the world make up almost a quarter of our population, and our very purple county has designated itself a place of sanctuary. We have dozens of Christian churches of every denomination, more than ten synagogues, a mosque, two Hindu temples, a variety of interfaith centers, and large number of people who choose not to affiliate with any organized religion. We all get along and live in…

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