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Centrist Discussions for the 60% in the Middle

How Conservatives Learned To Love Big Government

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      Big government, heavy-handed state power, anti-libertarian policies, imperial presidencies--of course that describes the goals and efforts of liberal, left-wing, progressive Democrats, right? Not so fast or so facile. While they pretend otherwise, that actually describes conservative/GOP efforts quite often.

      All of this is somewhat similar to the repeated efforts of many to claim Adam Smith (Wealth of Nations, etc.) for narrow notions of political economy (I've just started reading Adam Smith: Father of Economics by Jesse Norman (Basic Books, 2018). There is some hypocrisy on my side (progressives/left) on these matters, but the hypocrisy is rampant on the right.

      Worth reading (from a day or three ago in WaPo) --

      https://www.washingtonpost.com/outlook/2019/01/25/how-conservatives-learned-love-big-government/?

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      Trump Meets With Hard-Right Group Led By Ginni Thomas

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          How much political influence should the spouse of a US Sup Ct Justice wield? How outrageous are attempts at influence peddling (heavy with conflicts of interest) at the highest levels?

          A bizarre and (IMNHO) disgusting meeting at the White House sheds light--

          https://www.nytimes.com/2019/01/26/us/politics/tru...

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          Opinion | The Insulin Wars

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              I have heard, even quite recently, from people who still want to claim that free enterprise capitalism is ultimately an obvious good, inevitably a vast mechanism that solves all problems, innovates, and creates human progress. I've also known many who still do not mistrust big pharma, who are fine with the insurance industry as an effective spreader of risk, etc.

              THE best example of how misguided all such pollyanna-ish ideas are is explained in the article linked to below. I'd sacrifice some serious advantages in life to get the likes of Mitch McConnell to actually read and understand this:

              https://www.nytimes.com/2019/01/18/opinion/cost-in...

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              The Art Of The Deal Is Bad For America -- Bloomberg

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                  Quote of the Day.

                  "the art of the deal is simply cheating people and not caring about how badly they get hurt and now he's doing it to the American people."

                  ~Michael Bloomberg

                  https://www.aol.com/article/news/2019/01/25/bloomb...

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                  The SANE60 And #TheResistanceGOP Are Working To Make South Dakota Purple

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                      The joy of being a part of Indivisible 605 is the observing of connections that have been made among a number of fine and passionate minds, complete with empathetic and compassionate souls.

                      It is a difficult period in our lives to witness the wanton destruction of our nation's resources, physical and spiritual, by a vocal and woefully misguided minority. To know that some of our fellow citizens are made to cope with economic pressures well beyond the norm, medical concerns that have been blindly pushed aside and the prospect of food insecurity for those most vulnerable, weighs heavy.

                      For myself, personally, I have found hope in the voices here that are raised in unity - if not full unison, for every solid family has its own valid concerns and belief sets - in support of fairness, balance and justice. It is the expressing of the strength of our convictions in conjunction with the evidence that our actions exhibit that both encourages and engages those with like hearts.

                      So I am reminded of my teenage years when the last time these United States struggled with the strain of a harsh and divisive war combined with the harness of a disreputable Presidential Administration. Even though she took her sweet time, Justice eventually prevailed, and mostly because she was helped along the way.

                      When citizens do what they can, whether it be meeting, writing, reading, sharing, speaking or perhaps even running for office, good things generally happen.

                      With gratitude for all of you,

                      Geoffrey S. Jade Barrett
                      Chairman SANE60 and committed member of #TheResistanceGOP

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                      Pundit Post

                      Hammering Nails In The Trump Administration Coffin

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                          If this is true, somebody better not be leaving the country anytime soon. Aeroflot? Next flight to Moscow? Have a family rate....

                          https://www.marketwatch.com/story/trump-told-cohen...

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                          Pundit Post

                          As DespoticDonnie Loses His Grip, #TheResistance Challenges The GOP Senate

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                              If we are not vigilant, the RightWing Press would have us hating the people who are being oppressed, and loving the people who are doing the oppressing. (A paraphrasing of Malcolm X).

                              Let us be clear:

                              Every single person alive today residing within our borders has been intentionally placed in a precarious position by those elected to represent us. The federal workers forced to return to their labors, promised to be made whole by a man who has spent his entire life paying pennies on the dollar to erase his debts, are being subjected to nothing less than indentured servitude.

                              Every Republican member of the US Senate is complicit in this act of capricious callousness, in the vain hope that all will be forgotten in the due course of time.

                              Keep in mind, Senators in the majority, every single person who comes to harm, succumbs to their illness, loses their home, fails to be able to provide food for their families or educate themselves or their children is as blood on your hands.


                              The sin of arrogance from your leaders McConnell and Trump is rending asunder the fabric of the nation as you stand by, intimidated by the fear of losing an election while your constituents suffer.

                              You are complicit in threatening the nation.

                              #TheResistanceGOP is growing and we will not forget your antipathy towards the nation you are sworn to serve.

                              Chairman Geoffrey S. Jade Barrett #SANE60 #Indivisible
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                              Pundit Post

                              Hand Writing With A Fountain Pen?

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                                  At my request, for Christmastide I received what I do consider to be a singularly significant gift: a fountain pen. The story behind my request is a bit long, so I will save it for a future post. Anyway, I am a writer. I have been for nearly sixty years now. I received, as the only gift Santa left for me under the tree just prior to my eighth birthday, a Journal. I have been writing ever since.

                                  From the beginning of the 70's however, I found myself having to spend most of my writing efforts at a keyboard. I laid down my fountain pen and forgot about it. Of late, however a thought has made itself a permanent resident of my brain. The thought has been so prevalent that I have decided to again take up the fountain pen. It is a reality I have found to be a positive one, even as I first must again remember how to write in cursive script. Talk about a chore! In fact, mine is a journey you can follow and share with a rather surprisingly large community here.

                                  The thought?

                                  "What happens to our ability to communicate one with another if, for some presently unknown reason, we lose the electricity grid?"

                                  Should the Internet go down where I live, how will the discourse continue? How will facts be known? This is the final reality of a loss of the electricity grid for mankind. Who will understand what they see on parchment, or papyrus? A few decades ago, it was determined by surely well-meaning folk that cursive writing was antiquated and no longer of any value in the educational systems of our land. This was absolutely NOT a determination in most other countries, to be sure.

                                  Recently, however the art of cursive writing has been (and is now being) re-introduced to the American education system. For instance, consider the Honor Code statements which must be made, and confirmed by signature, to be written in cursive writing by students in both Secondary and Higher education. It is as personal and identifiable as a finger print--which was one of the more important realities that led to it's attempted demise decades ago.

                                  But the capabilities of cursive writing to provide communicative reality cannot be denied. Students have been working on making their cursive writing not only legible, but elegant for a very long time, indeed.

                                  Okay. I'll admit, the possibilities for conspiracy theories could have a field day with this ever-present thought in my brain. However, there are thoughts running around in my brain that many folk would find discomforting out of hand. They would not choose to even look at or consider such outlandish possibilities as being simply too wild to imagine.

                                  I have never been known for my willingness to be, in any way a conformist. It's much too late for this tiger to change those particular stripes. Friends, family members, and colleagues across the ages of my life have looked ascance at my thought processes, yet have often at least entertained my sometimes elusive considerations. There have even been a few such wild imaginings that have brought about realistic changes in their thinking, and their actions.

                                  For, you see it is not my intent to have your agreement and/or consent. What you think about what I think is absolutely none of my concern. It is none of my business, in fact. But, I do occasionally entertain such hallucinatory imaginings and bring them to light for but one important reason. I do not wish to change what or how you think.

                                  I want to change what you do. Your thoughts are yours alone, unless or until you share them with others. At that point, you are on your own to apologize for, or defend them. Or change them. But what you do with those thoughts is the stuff of which change is made, from the Courthouse to the White House, and beyond.

                                  Should we lose the electricity grid in America, there must be those capable and willing to continue the documentation of world history, as there has been for many thousands of years. The American story must continue to be told, no matter how desperate or uncomfortable it may be. Without a present, there can be no future.

                                  So, I have designed for myself a solution to the unquenchable question that takes up some terrifically significant space in my brain.

                                  I am, as I type these words, heavily involved in following the debates in the UK House of Commons regarding Brexit. Is it even possible that the UK could threaten the loss of its Union with both Northern Ireland and Scotland by leaving the EU, and most especially in the light of that absolute chaos surrounding all that entails? Is this nothing more than a visible clarification of the absolute chaos within the Conservative party which could bring the UK down for generations? Is there any evidence that the discourse of division currently being experienced in front of the British people has anything at all to do with the future welfare of the constituents of the members of the UK Parliament?

                                  What if it isn't? What if that is a purposeful reality by those who would prefer the UK do, in fact, resolve its union? Now that would be one of those "interesting thoughts" that take up space in my brain? It is a less than mainstream path to take, in light of the debate I am observing. Yet, like the electricity grid conundrum it is there. Looking at what seems to be from the viewpoint of what could possibly be is my way; it is why I write.

                                  Who would have such nefarious intentions for such chaos, loss of Union, loss of Commonwealth, loss of identity? Why?

                                  Why is it that there seems to be no reasonable, honorable way out of this particular morass for the people of the United Kingdom with no possibility of a positive outcome for Great Britain, their target-ridden Prime Minister, and a government seemingly at an intractable impasse to do anything at all in the interests of the people they represent--some eighty million souls? I believe the Prime Minister's "deal" is absolutely dead. Some say that would leave only a "no deal" Brexit or no Brexit at all. I do believe there are several other possibilities, but none under the present government. She took the shot. She missed. Next.

                                  Who would possibly feel encouraged by such a reality? Why? It is truly a bizarre thought...for me. It may well not be such an impossible plan for others.

                                  Here's another wild imagining for your careful consideration.

                                  Is it possible that someone would design to become the sitting President of the United States of America in order to provide access, and comfort to an admitted hostile foreign nation-state in order to not merely destablize, but eliminate the democracy this nation has enjoyed for such a time as we have existed as a nation state? Could it even be possible to so create that puppet that the entire world could, in as little as two years become as simple as a bowl of spaghetti to the benefit of said hostile nation state? To not merely disrupt democracy itself, but remove it from the playing field?

                                  I can assure you I have never in my life EVER examined such a wild imagining.

                                  Today, I must.

                                  And, I would submit, so must you. And herein lies the exception which does prove the rule. I really do care what you think, how you think, and how you dare to remove your illusions of what should be, and imagine what could possibly be a reality hiding in plain sight before you. I care very much about what and how you think. And, have absolutely no doubt. I absolutely do care about what you choose to do about it.

                                  I've never been in this particular place before. I would imagine that you haven't either. Yet, here we are. All I can do is to urge you to look, and think, and demand the proof to either confirm or deny such an absolutely impossible possibility. It is absolutely the case that democracy depends upon it.

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                                  The Pilots Take To The Pen Instead Of The Skies To Slam The Trump Shutdown

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                                      "While air traffic control will continue to operate during the shutdown, the FAA Academy in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, where controllers go for training, is closed. The National Air Traffic Controllers Association, the union that represents controllers, said its members are already facing a staffing shortage and the shutdown will only make the situation worse." 3 Jan 2019 Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association.

                                      So the Air Traffic Control School in Oklahoma has been shuttered. It also means that along with TSA and many other people who work for the taxpayers - and not for the apparently non-taxpaying Donald Trump - the ATC personnel that keep American skies safe are currently performing their tasks with no guarantees of compensation for the same. Donald Trump wants to call his Christmas Shutdown a "strike". With any luck at all, he will find himself on the receiving end of one, as well as the coordinated outcry of millions of people, starting with the 61000 members mentioned in the letter from Captain Joe Depete reprinted below from the organization he leads.



                                      January 2, 2019
                                      President Donald J. Trump
                                      The White House
                                      1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW
                                      Washington, D.C. 20500
                                      Dear President Trump:
                                      On behalf of the 61,000 pilots of the Air Line Pilots Association, International (ALPA), I
                                      am writing to urge you to take the necessary steps to immediately end the shutdown of government agencies that is adversely affecting the safety, security and efficiency of our national airspace system.
                                      The nation’s airspace system is a complex transportation network that involves
                                      government and industry partnerships to function properly, and the disruptions being
                                      caused by the shutdown are threatening the safe operations of this network. The
                                      government agency partners in the Department of Transportation (DOT) and
                                      Department of Homeland Security (DHS) have dual roles. They are both regulators and
                                      service providers. When any of their responsibilities are placed on pause due to a
                                      shutdown there are safety, security and efficiency gaps that immediately emerge.
                                      For example, at the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) there are fewer safety
                                      inspectors than are needed in order to ensure the air traffic control infrastructure is
                                      performing at its peak levels of performance. There are also airline and aircraft
                                      manufacturing oversight activities that either stop or are significantly reduced. These
                                      safety and oversight inspections will potentially allow for the introduction of safety
                                      issues that put passengers and airline crews at risk. Although the 2018 holiday season is now behind us, the number of recreational drones, or unmanned aircraft systems
                                      (UAS), has likely grown significantly in the past several weeks. The shutdown is a
                                      significant stumbling block in the FAA’s efforts to ensure the safety of the airspace from those drone operators who may be operating in an unsafe manner.
                                      In addition to the safety oversight role, the FAA air traffic control organization is in the
                                      midst of implementing a new communications capability, called Data Communications
                                      (Data Comm). The Data Comm program has not yet reached its full implementation
                                      capability, and due to the shutdown there will be significant delays to the program. If
                                      the shutdown continues, air traffic controllers and pilots previously trained on the
                                      system will lose their proficiency due to a lack of use, and re-training will likely be
                                      required. The need to re-train will add costs and will no doubt delay the progress of
                                      this important airspace system upgrade.
                                      Finally, at both the FAA and at the Transportation Security Administration (TSA), the
                                      air traffic controllers, airspace system maintenance personnel, and the airline passenger
                                      security workforce are being asked to work unpaid. They are dutifully providing safety
                                      of life services while facing increasingly difficult financial pressures to provide for those
                                      dependent on their paycheck. The pressure these civil servants are facing at home
                                      should not be ignored. At some point, these dedicated federal employees will
                                      encounter personal financial damages that will take a long time from which to recover,
                                      if at all.
                                      Based on the impacts to the aviation industry including the ALPA membership, we
                                      urge you to take the necessary steps to immediately end the shutdown of government
                                      agencies that is affecting the safety, security and efficiency of our national airspace
                                      system.
                                      Sincerely,
                                      Captain Joe DePete
                                      President
                                      Air Line Pilots Association, International


                                      cc: The Honorable Nancy Pelosi
                                      The Honorable Mitch McConnell
                                      The Honorable Charles E. Schumer
                                      The Honorable Kevin McCarthy

                                      We appreciate the letter, Captain.

                                      Geoffrey S Jade Barrett, Chairman SANE60

                                      Organizer of #TheResistanceGOP

                                      #TheResistance #Indivisible #Resist

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