Most people do not believe that, even when denying climate change or the age of the earth, that they are 'denying facts'. The problem is that they think that the word 'fact' refers to information consistent with their emotional preconceptions instead of consistent with provable reality.
Trump (source material HERE)
appoint a good head of veteran affairs
discipline employees who have failed to carry out duties
investigate fraud and wrong-doing
promote honest employees
create a hotline
stop giving bonuses
reform visa system (?)
add mental health professionalsl
allow veterans to use private providers
Hillary (source material HERE)
emphasize service-connected conditions especially prosthetics and brain injury
coordinate VHA care with other programs
encourage use of specialty medical service providers
create VHA oversight board
ask Secretaries of Defense and VA to devise a new system
coordinate Dept of Defense and VA health delivery
joint DoD and VA procurement to reduce costs for veterans
cause the integration of DoD and VA IT systems
upgrade gender specific services
cover all reproductive services needed by female veterans
better childcare for veteran children
increase funding and add programs for mental health care
better pain management treatment to avoid opioid problems
include military sexual trauma as a valid for of PTS
add legal assistance to veterans with other than honorable discharges
maintain presumption of service connection for toxic exposure problems
"expand the current VA burn pit registry" (?)
add research funds and other collaboration for mental health and other invisible wounds
streamline and simplify claims process
integrate DoD and VA so DoD can inform VA of future needs
work to entirely revise the claims process to make it more effective
create a standing President's Council on veterans
end to end evaluation of all benefits to find new areas of investment
personally and regularly meet with "Summit of Veterans" to insure that needs are addressed
work with private and philanthropic organizations to add resources to veterans
make the post 9/11 GI bill permanent and expanded
additional tax credits for veterans employment
increase funds available to state and local governments to transfer military credentials to private sector
expand efforts to train, counsel and fund veteran entrepreneurs
work to prevent ripoff of vets by private schools
use federal contracting to punish companies that overcharge, defraud or otherwise ripoff vets
add veteran status to the Fair Housing Act
work to reduce veteran homelessness by supporting community based organizations
expand outreach programs to find and help homeless vets
clarify Fair Housing Act to eliminate gender specific language that harms veterans and families
offer space to communicate legal organizations in VHA clinics to help veterans with minor offenses, mental health and substance abuse issues
retroactively review LGBT veterans discharge status
empower supervisors to discipline underperforming employees
revise employee evaluation process to improve performance culture
increase whistleblower protections
prioritize VA in budgetary processes
clean up problems with veteran burials
Recently I was asked "what harm can Trump really do?"
I think he could work to sell more military equipment to local police departments. He could press for more charter and other privatized schools. He could work to expand the ‘religious freedom’ charade to abuse gay people more. He could help criminalize abortion.
He could increase the abuse of Moslems and thereby increase the likelihood that Moslem citizens become enemies. He could encourage more ‘castle doctrine’ laws and increase availability of guns.
he could implement ideology tests for immigration. He could implement drug testing for welfare people. He could encourage the reinstatement of stop and frisk laws.
He could try to put Hillary in jail. He could use the Justice department to harass and jail ‘enemies’ of all sorts. He could work to allow corporations to discriminate against women because “pregnancy is an inconvenience”.
He could increase Russia’s ability to annex more land adjacent to its borders. He could turn the Middle East into a war of total destruction. He could start a trade war with China.
He could expand the availability of nuclear weapons around the world.
He could use our military to express his impetuosity and anger.
President Donald Trump could do a lot.
I had occasion to read an article in Foreign Policy magazine about Hillary Clinton (HERE). It was no encomium. However, it painted a picture of a smart, reasonable and principled Secretary of State. The article is an education on recent international history but, since the article is long, I offer these few excerpts for your edification.
"'The test of a strategic dialogue,' Burns notes, 'is how it can weather unexpected events.' The fact that the Chinese chose not to blow up the talks was itself a vindication of Clinton's tactics.'
"'Clintonism properly understood, he asserts, is 'nesting a hard-power approach into a broader smart-power strategy — development, diplomacy, public-private partnerships, rule of law.'
"''Dennis Ross observes, 'President Obama's view was that we had to work with our adversaries and seek to change their behavior by looking at their grievances. I think that Hillary looks at adversaries through the lens of how they define their interests. A focus on interests means recognizing the reality of power relationships, and the need to use power in defense of your interests.'
"'[Regarding Libya] Gates, Biden, and others opposed American military involvement, since even a mass killing would not seriously impinge on national interests. Clinton, like Obama himself, was in the middle. She was coming under great pressure from France and Britain, both of which favored an aerial campaign to stop Qaddafi from taking Benghazi. Only when she won agreement from the Arab League to support and engage in such an effort, which would include Arab as well as European fighter planes, did Clinton join the advocates.
"But America is no longer in recovery from George W. Bush, and it is no longer in urgent need of a new face. What it needs is a fresh source of inspiration, a sense that the world matters and that American leadership matters, a recognition that power is not a bad thing so long as it is accompanied by humility and restraint."
Really, though. Read the article. It's very interesting. You can find it HERE.
So, yesterdays criticism of Hillary is that she supposedly has said the word "fuck", including in the context of "fuck you". Obviously, if this were a problem, no one on Earth would be qualified for the Presidency but, the Trumpsters are desperate. As you might imagine, my comment on the matter included reference to Donny Sniff and Snort's bragging that he had grabbed women by the pussy. To me, this seems a more important obscenity than the use of "fuck" in conversation.
Fortunately, one of their dim bulbs raised his hand to participate in the conversation. It was a master class in stupid, so I thought I would record the conversation for posterity. You can judge my evaluation by looking at his Facebook (HERE). It tells us that the Constitution is at risk if Hillary gets elected so you won't be disappointed.
Following is the conversation. You will note that he never actually disputes things I say in reply. (I hope you will note that each of my replies is entirely guided by his assertions.) It ends, as usual, with the guy just ignoring the whole conversation.
Greg Grimes I think TQ might want to see a plumber...he has a bit of a case of public pottymouth...so, we'll send foulmouthed Trump packing and get stuck with foulmouthed HRC...a pathological liar, egotist, elitist and panderer to the stars and Wall Street... I can only imagine what the Founding Fathers are saying about the sad state of the Union today...
TQ White II What is wrong with you people? Liar, egotist, elitist and panderer? Do you know the meaning of the word, Projection?
Your DJT is caught in lies every day. I mean, he said "there was no sex tape" when he had said there was days earlier. What is that other than a direct lie?
DJT doesn't talk about anything other than himself. He actually claims to have a big ego. He puts his name on *everything*. Why is it bad for Hillary but good for him?
Elitist? The guy has gold plated bathroom fixtures, three trophy wives, lives on the top floor of a fabulous Manhattan building. What on earth could be more elite than that?
And, pandering? Can you really imagine that his sudden affection for evangelical religion is anything other than the most extreme example of pandering ever?
But what's most hilarious is talking about Hillary being foul mouthed when we are still in disbelief about DJT talking to Billy Bush. Of course, it's ok for a man to have a foul mouth. Not a woman.
I guess that tells us why you really hate Hillary so much because it sure isn't the things you say that DJT does in spades.
Greg Grimes No TQ, it's not the foul language...that is almost a given in today's course culture...I don't even know if I'll vote for him... I cannot in good conscience vote for a woman who, at every turn and with every legal manuever possible, has thwarted our legal system...lied when our citizens died...basically sold her office to the highest bidder for access...left a line of bodies, figuatively and literally back over decades to Arkansas...accomplished little more in her tenure as Sec. of State than help to destabilize an already shaky area...We have lived with the Clintons in some form or fashion since the 70s...wherever they go corruption follows...Is Trump perfect? No, absolutely not, but he has struck a chord that government is broken and people are angry like they haven't been in decades...the public servants that we elect and pay now have become our masters...that the bureaucratic world of DC never sees justice when injustice is done...lives are crushed by over taxation and regulation while our money, your money and mine, is squandrered and when the culprits are caught they are given a pension and sent on their merry way...and HRC is the embodiment of that culture of corruption...and when she attains what she has coveted for so long, the White House, she will consolidate even more power in the executive office and throw the balance of power, set forth in the Constitution, more out of whack...Hate Trump if you must but understand it was politicians excactly like Hillary that created him and though he will likely not win the WH the anger he represents will not go away
TQ White II Greg, I can't imagine that you can be this deluded.
Greg Grimes Hmmm, no...just cannot abide a career criminal in the WH...maybe I'll vote Johnson...America, I fear, will end, as we know it, if HRC gets the nod
Donald Trump's isn't very articulate. He has a hard time finding ways to criticize things he doesn't like. Consequently, he has to rely on his favorite word: Disaster.
Donald Trump said that things were a disaster fourteen times in his second Presidential debate. He said it about these things:
Hillary's tax plan
Hillary's Senate record
Hillary's Secretary of State record
Hillary's Senate record
Here are the points I want to discuss:
- Her judgment about Syria as a reason not to vote for Hillary
- That she should be in jail because she feels she is above the law
- That she won’t do anything good
Hillary was the prime mover in the implementation of SCHIP. That program has, since the nineties kept about 8 million kids in health insurance and thereby given them access to doctors. What does her determination to create that say about her judgement?
Syria is an insanely difficult problem. The alliances and consequences are complicated beyond explanation. As I understand it, the main flaw imputed to Hillary is that she preferred a policy of helping Syrian rebels in their effort to overthrow their dictator, Bashir al Assad. This guy has been a horrible problem forever. Among many other things, he used chemical weapons on his own citizens. He is a monster and a serious impediment to peace in the region.
Now, it’s apparent that 1) those rebels failed to overthrow Assad, and 2) absolutely no one has any idea how to actually solve the problem there. With a half dozen governments actively causing trouble, it is very difficult for me to see how Hillary could hold singular responsibility for any of it. This is a chess game with a lot of players.
Perhaps, only ‘perhaps’, she was wrong to choose the path of eliminating Assad. However, there were a lot of paths tried. She did, in fact, try to work with Syria to bring it to the table. She did, in fact, work with Iran to try to quell Assad’s violence. She did a lot of stuff and none of it worked. I have never actually read (and I just spent twenty minutes reminding myself) of anyone who had a solid alternative that she rejected.
But, more to the point. If one is going to pick an issue on which to base a decision about Hillary, why choose Syria over SCHIP? In Syria, 400k people have been killed. In America, at any moment, eight million kids have access to health care. In Syria, she was presented with an intractable problem that no one has been able to solve, including her. For health care, she was presented with an intractable problem and she found a way to help millions of children.
While I don’t think anyone should be judged on the outcome of a single project, choosing the most impossible one doesn’t seem like the right thing to do. I prefer to look at the overall person. In this case, suppressing Iran’s nuclear program, international women’s rights and climate change, a lifetime of devotion to moving the ball forward on many women’s and social issues seem to paint a more complete picture that is a more approbate basis for a decision.
The notion that Hillary is a criminal that would be in jail if the government was not corrupt is a favorite trope on the right. The basic premise is that she has, for the last twenty five years (!) cheated the system by somehow slipping past indictment after indictment. While I would, were it true, sincerely believe that this represents a level of cunning genius and capability that increases my desire for her to be running the show, it’s simply not true.
To begin with, she hasn’t committed any crimes. None. Nada. Not one. She has been at the brutal end of investigation for all those twenty five years, usually with highly biased investigators. None of them has ever found evidence of any crimes.
While it is true that they continued to talk as if they had found proof, they are lying. James Comey, Republican head of the FBI and well-known Clinton hater, said it best, “Nothing she has done rises to the level of a crime.” “No prosecutor would bring a case.” “No crime was committed.” (These are paraphrases. I don’t have the patience to look up the exact language.)
And that’s just the latest. Do you really think she killed Vince Foster? Do you really think that she stole money but somehow the years of Whitewater investigations never found it? Read THIS article for a review of the viciousness and falseness of these attacks.
All of which is to say, if Hillary deserved to be in jail, she would be or, at least, I would know about it. Instead, what I have learned in my decades of following her and being a hobbyist interested in politics and political controversy is that the truth is literally the opposite. Contrary to being a shady character, Hillary is a person of such high integrity and rectitude that decades of effort by her enemies to prove her a criminal has failed.
It’s true, though, that we live in hopeless times. Lately, I’ve been thinking that one of the weirdest things is that having the biggest army no longer really gets us anything. It makes me think of antibiotic resistance. In the first half of the last century, both our military and antibiotics literally changed the world in every way imaginable. Now, it is frequent that people die because they are attacked by something for which antibiotics do not work. Now, it is frequent that people are killed by political violence for which our army does not work.
It hits America at its very core. This country is defined by two things: Money and Violence. Sure, people like to talk about the rule of law but not when it’s black kids getting shot by police. They like to talk about the resilience of the population but that’s utter bullshit. America knows how to make money and it knows how to defeat Hitler.
So, we find ourselves in an era when the real problems (in addition antibiotic resistance) are climate change, international economic inequality (also known as terrorism), the growth of religious fundamentalism (also known as the American political system), and a bunch of other things that are simply not solved by either guns or money. There is a broad and deep sense of pessimistic ennui among our fellow citizens.
So, they say that Hillary is not Bernie. She’s not an agent of change. She’s a pawn of the banks. She’s part of the power structure. She’s not going to do anything good. But there is absolutely no factual basis for believing such a thing. When I say “absolutely”, I’m not being rhetorical.
Certainly Hillary will face tough obstacles to accomplishment. But, so did Barack Obama. As everyone knows, the Republican leadership of Congress met on the day of his inauguration to make an agreement that they would never cooperate with anything he wanted to do, regardless of its virtue. Regardless, it turned out, if it was a plan that they had, themselves, proposed.
Yet, health care is available to tens of millions of people and America is measurable healthier because of it. We have an international agreement to control carbon emissions that includes both the other big countries and those in the third world. We have record job and economic growth. He was a prime mover in equality for gay people. He reopened relations with Cuba. He did a bunch of things to improve education. He got banks out of the student loan business. He got financial regulation (Dodd Frank) implemented. (You can read about this HERE.)
Barack Obama was a newcomer on the political scene when he was elected. While he said a lot of nice stuff, he had no real record of doing anything novel. We just believed him. And, it was easy. He is a preternaturally charismatic person and he is truly brilliant.
It’s a little harder with Hillary because she is a nerd, and not just a regular nerd, but an ultra-nerd. A nerd who always invests whatever time it takes to make sure that she knows more than anyone else. (Not 'appears' to know more, but actually knows more. She was famous in the State Department for knowing more than her briefers about almost everything.)
Unfortunately, nerds are aware of the complexity of everything. So, when Hillary speaks, she has to choose her words very, very carefully to find just the right phrasing that connects the insane amount of information correctly. This makes her less fluid and therefore less believable than both of the brilliant but non-nerdy men who preceded her, Bill and Barack. They are able to elide the details. She is not.
Hillary, on the other hand, does have a real record of doing stuff. SCHIP is one thing. Sanctions that brought Iraq to the table are another. She invented health care reform when it was a forgotten history lesson. She coined the phrase “Women’s rights are human rights” and, had the insight to force her way to China to say it at a time when the notion of a woman doing such a thing was an innovation in itself.
In both the Senate and the State Department, she was known for being a remarkably effective person at getting things done. She was known for being able to apply her superpower nerdiness to figure out ways to change plans to appeal to more people and thereby bring more support to bear. She was known for being friendly and effective in converting enemies into supporters of the causes she pursued. She is, in short, known for being a person who, first and foremost, is able to get things done.
The only question then is whether she wants to do anything good. For that, you have to decide if working to extend free public education through local college is a good thing. Or, if you think that trying to make it so that every home in America can be powered by clean energy is a good thing or that adding a half a billion (!) solar panels to the economy counts as good. (Her energy program is amazing. You can read about it HERE.) Or criminal justice reform, or revising the tax code so that employers are encouraged to have profit sharing, or improvements in child care options, or, well, let’s just say, she has a lot of ideas for things that, in my opinion, are really good things.
Combined with her lifelong commitment to things that are consistent with my values and her proven record of accomplishing such things, it seems to me a little too easy to join the pessimistic zeitgeist and to apply it to this remarkable, brilliant woman.
I will conclude by noting one other thing about Hillary that makes me want her to be my President. She is known, in actual, personal fact, to be a lovely person. She is said to, by everyone who knows her, to be a very warm and caring person with a good sense of humor and a sincere interest in the people around her. As Secretary of State, she often brought the cake to celebrate co-workers’ birthdays. (Name another chief executive who does that.) The people that know her love her. The reason is that she’s a person whose fundamental personality includes taking care of the people around her, caring about their opinions and wanting to nurture them. That is, the reason is that she exhibits some of the best virtues that exemplify the feminine perspective.
There are many reasons that I support Hillary with a fervor and love that I have applied to none of the other candidates that I have supported in the past. Her experience is unparalleled. Her brilliance is unmatched. Her knowledge and ability to turn that into productive plans and strategies is as good or better than any public figure I’ve ever known.
But the biggest reason is that she is a woman. I am tired of aggression as the primary public cause. I’m tired of a country lead by testosterone and an inclination toward dominance. I am tired of leaders who consider caring to be weakness. I am tired of competition and quick solutions.
I know Hillary has flaws. I know that she is more of a power-broker than she appears. I know that she will have to kick ass, probably do more war and do a lot of things that I wish she didn’t. But I also know that her fundamental view is different than even the second loveliest President of my life, Barack Obama. She is a woman. She collaborates first.
I want that with a deeply held emotional need that is hard to express. It’s not true that our problems are all caused by men. But enough of them are that I want to give a woman a chance. That is change I can believe in.
Because Republicans don't care if people starve while working full time. I would absolutely raise the minimum wage to a level that a person can live a decent life.
Don't you finally see that he is just using you now that he revealed that he was playing you for a fool by pretending to be a birther?
I mean, he had you and your friends saying really goofy stuff about Obama's heritage, fighting vociferously against the Kenyan threat, and he didn't really believe it. He must have been laughing at how sincerely the rubes bought that bit of social manipulation. I know I was.
How did it feel when, with absolutely no new evidence, he said, "He's an American. I was just jerking you around." And then everyone on Earth laughed and wrote articles about the use of the word "lie" in the media.
Hillary never humiliated me like that. Never treated me like a fool.
A Supporter of the Decent Candidate
"This all idea is upsetting to me.
"I grew up in Germany during a time when we did have a wall to keep people in! Any wall works both way...
"But we must have people respect the laws that will protected them once they are in the country.
"From my perspective the reason for illegal immigration is a lack of opportunity in their own countries.
"The best answer would be to create more jobs in Central America.
"I am involved in a project in Tanzania where we provide loans to farmers and educate them in financial management and farming techniques.
"The project has been going on for 10 years and has grown to 40 villages now.
"Most exciting to me is that we have save several thousand children from malnutrition and death and that the life expectancy of people in villages we are active in has grown from 51 to over 60 years!! That is bring in hope and a future for people.
"That is what we need to do an a larger scale in Central America.
"That will stop the problem.
"The terror issue to me is an issue of the conflict of civilizations - there is a book by that same title by a navy strategic think tank guy from back in the late nineties.
"He predicted the great powers to be the christian north west and the islamic east.
"Turkey being the leading power in the islamic bloc.
"I have spend a good deal of time in the middle east and Africa and done a fair amount of business in with Muslims and people of other religious groups.
"You have to understand that as a Christian in the Middle East, you are at fault, regardless of what happened, because you should not be here and if you were not here, what ever happened would not have happened.
"Logical! These civilizations are not compatible and living in the same place is very difficult, because you do need a common set of laws and that means you need to have a common set of fundamental values - and we don't.
"Singapore does a good job of creating a multi religious environment, but they are brutal enforces of law and order; the rest of the world is not good at making this work.
"And as long as we have a competition between the believes living in the same country will lead to conflict.
"Don't get me wrong, I have gained a number of very good friends in the Arab world who are muslims, but the best way for us to live is that they live where they live and I live where I live and we get to gather every so often and enjoy each other and discuss our differences.
"It would be foolish to live in the same place, because we would not be able to agree on who's rules to follow.
"I like them they like me, but let's not move in together."
To which I replied.
"I deeply appreciate your notes here. It is, I think, the first time a person from the right has actually responded to the idea, rather than calling me names. THank you.
"We agree on immigration, at least I think we do. I would expand on your observation to include legal immigration as well. People rarely leave their home if they are comfortable there.
"Your perspective on terrorism is illuminating. I suppose the difference between us is that I do not accept the notion that people with different values cannot live together. I don't disagree entirely. I cannot share space with an ax murderer. But, I am inclined to think that there are values that are intrinsic to being human that can serve as a foundation for sharing a society.
"I note, for example, that the American melting pot easily contains lots of Moslems, Jews and Christians in close proximity. In many places, environmentalists living next to oil barens. Here in Minnesota, we have a large contingent of Hmong people mostly living comfortably among big, blond people of Scandinavian descent. (The office suite next to mine at work has just such a group of tiny people. No problems at all.)
"But there certainly are value systems that seek to dominate in ways that make it difficult for others to cohabit. Fundamentally, our disagreement lies in the response to that fact. Yours is that "it would be foolish to live in the same place". Mine is that we must live in the same place and find a way. This is, at its foundation, where you and I differ.
"But I do not to disagree with the problems of unlike value systems sharing a society. In France, they are having terrible problems, substantially, in my opinion, because their value system requires submission to French culture. But in America, the problem is different and it doesn't have anything to do with Moslems. Moslems in America live with the American value system perfectly well. In American, the value system that is aggressive and intolerant is Christianity.
"And that brings me back around to the topic of immigration. America is not troubled by immigrants. Mexican immigrants, with and without papers, are great people. In general, they work hard, take care of their families, and contribute to society in a thousand ways. I literally do not know of an immigrant population that, generally speaking, fits your concern about disparate values.
"The one group that I argue is causing a problem in your context comprises native born Americans, the Christian right-wing. They are the people who want to pass laws based on their religion, who want to ignore the American value of inclusiveness by refusing to do business with people that see things differently, etc. The problem that you worry about is not immigration or borders, it is people with different values and they show up without immigrating.
"So, what do borders do for this problem. We started, after all, with my claim that borders are a way to decide who to hate. I think you have made a good case that I overgeneralize about right-wing people. Clearly your view of borders is to protect you from those nasty, middle-eastern Moslems based on a legitimate theory that their value system and ours cannot share the same society, not because you hate them.
"But, I also think that I am right for many (I believe almost all) of your co-right-wingers. Almost always, the conversation about immigration on the right starts with Mexicans and they do not, in any way, fit your theory. Their value systems are 100% compatible with ours. Without you theory of incompatible cultures, I cannot see any reason except racial hatred."