In Case You Haven’t Heard

Today’s is another one of those catch up articles that I seem to write several times a month. The most challenging aspect of writing this blog is deciding what items not to cover; there is simply too much material. The second most difficult may well be what to title so many articles with the same theme. With that in mind let’s explore the past fortnight or so.

I’ll start with a rare piece of great news. Friday morning the German government announced that it was taking measures to effectively make train travel less expensive. To finance the move it was making airplane and automobile transportation a bit more expensive. The timing was in coordination with the world’s young people demonstrating to bring attention to the problem of climate change. This is a rare example of government policy being good public policy. The Trump administration could learn from this.

In July Trump’s current Interior Secretary, David Bernhardt, began the process of moving the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) out of Washington. What could work better to weaken a federal agency than to move it away from the seat of federal power? It was announced that the Interior Department had selected a new headquarters in that seat of federal power, Grand Junction, Colorado. It will share a building that also houses a Chevron corporate office, the state oil and gas association and a natural gas exploration company. I wonder who will have easy access to the ears of Interior’s people. No I don’t!

One of the places Trump is stealing money from to pay for his vanity wall is the rebuilding fund for Camp Santiago, a National Guard base in Puerto Rico that was all but destroyed by Hurricane Maria. That is a slap in the face to the military and the people of Puerto Rico who are American citizens. Remember, Trump has never cared about non-white people, doesn’t believe that Puerto Ricans are Americans and thinks that military personnel are pawns in his self-enrichment game.

The Saudi royals talk and Trump jumps. Trump and his Defense Secretary, Mark Esper, announced that American troops and air defense assets were being deployed to Saudi Arabia. Money talks, especially if you are lending it to the Trump family. The Saudis seem to have no problem killing journalist on foreign soil; can’t they defend their own soil?

Last week the Senate Foreign Relations Committee postponed a hearing for former Republican Representative and staunch Trump defender Darrell Issa to become the leader of the U.S. Trade and Development Agency. It seems there was a glitch in Issa’s FBI background check. To think that a Trump nominee would have a background issue – that is about as rare as sunshine in Florida.

The House passed a short-term spending bill last week, the Senate is expected to follow suit this week and the President is expected to sign it. The bill funds the federal government through Thursday, November 21st. Thanksgiving is Thursday, November 28th. Am I the only one who sees a coming problem here?

How do North Carolina Republicans celebrate 9/11? They lie to the Democrats and then ambush them with a surprise vote in the North Carolina House of Representatives to override the Democratic Governor’s veto of the state budget. The state Senate is yet to take action so the stalemate continues. The sticking point is the Republicans’ continued campaign to deny health insurance to poorer North Carolinians. As I’ve long said, Republicans are hazardous to your health. I live in North Carolina and have health insurance, but I breathe the same air as those who don’t.

I do not claim to be a very stable genius and despite the fact that I graduated from a world class management school I did not have the opportunity to graduate from Penn, but could someone please explain to me why the Fed has to cut interest rates if we are experiencing the best economy in the history of the United States.

It took a long time for my friends to convince me of the merits of “non-partisan” redistricting commissions. They are not a panacea but they are an improvement over having elected officials determine who their voters will be and the people prefer them. In New Hampshire the state legislature approved such a commission only to have Republican Governor Chris Sununu veto the bipartisan passed bill. You connect those dots.

In what is either a continued act of ignorance or an effort to provoke a war, Trump announced increased sanctions on Iran last week. Starting with his unilateral withdrawal from the Iran Nuclear Agreement, Trump has been doing all he can to provoke Iran into a war of desperation. If you keep poking a stick at a tied up dog eventually it is going to break free and bite you. If America goes to war with Iran there is one person to blame: Donald Trump.

Trump also appears to be declaring war on California because that state’s government and people are trying to save the planet and make their state’s major cities more habitable. I, like most Californians like to breathe air. Interestingly most major automakers agree with California’s more stringent than federal pollution regulations. Perhaps the automakers realize that future sales will be negatively impacted if they produce dirtier automobiles. Whatever happened to the Republicans being defenders of states’ rights?

Another reason to be against Trump’s vanity wall along the Mexican border is because the National Parks Service has determined that it would destroy at least 22 archaeological sites. One way to make decisions is to take a sheet of paper, draw a line down the middle, list reasons to say “yes” on one side and reasons to say “no” on the other. All decisions in life should be this clear cut.

There are many more items in my notes but you have other things to do today. At least I started off on a positive note. Too bad it was from Germany and not America.

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