This all happened after the killing of 50 people at two mosques in New Zealand.  New Zealand is a country that holds the right to bear arms a very important freedom.

Compare that action with the United States which has the right to bear arms included in its constitution.

The following chart from the Los Angeles Times.

There has been no ban on ownership of assault weapons in the United States. 


Posted by: coastcontact | March 20, 2019

Mister Brave is Not a Hero!

John McCain was a war hero. He was in a prison in Vietnam for more than five years.  He could have left earlier but refused to leave without his companions.

Donald Trump avoided serving in Vietnam. He received four education deferments while he was a college student and a fifth deferment in 1968 for a medical exemption after he graduated. The medical deferment was for bone spurs.   Two daughters of a New York podiatrist that issue a letter resulting in the medical deferment say that 50 years ago their father, who is now deceased,  diagnosed President Donald Trump with bone spurs in his heels as a favor to the doctor’s landlord, Fred Trump (Donald Trump’s father).

Critics have noted that Trump was an athlete who enjoyed playing football, baseball, squash, tennis and golf in the years before his medical deferment.

Of course Trump hates McCain because he was a hero but he is all about standing up to killers like those who killed Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi. Trump said there is no reason for him to listen to a recording of the “very violent, very vicious” killing of the journalist.  “It’s a suffering tape, it’s a terrible tape. I’ve been fully briefed on it, there’s no reason for me to hear it,” Trump said in the interview with Fox News.  ″I know everything that went on in the tape without having to hear it.”

Posted by: coastcontact | March 15, 2019

Twelve Republican Senators who honored Their Pledge

The issue is do you support the United States Constitution, as you swore to do when you became a senator, or do you support a president who believes he has the power to do as he wishes?

Meet the 12 GOP senators who honor their allegiance to the Constitution and voted to terminate Trump’s national emergency:

Sen. Lamar Alexander of Tennessee
The retiring Tennessee lawmaker said that he supports the president on border security but that the emergency declaration sets a dangerous precedent. “His declaration to take an additional $3.6 billion that Congress has appropriated for military hospitals, barracks and schools is inconsistent with the U.S. Constitution that I swore an oath to support and defend,” Alexander said in a statement Thursday ahead of the vote.

The three-term senator, who is also a member of the Appropriations Committee, announced last December that he would not run for re-election in 2020.

Sen. Roy Blunt of Missouri
Blunt is a senior Appropriations member and the only one in Senate GOP leadership to support the termination measure. He has previously raised concern about the precedent it would set. Blunt was re-elected to a second Senate term in 2016. (He served several terms in the House before running for Senate in 2010.)

Sen. Susan Collins of Maine
Collins co-sponsored the resolution out of concern for the precedent an emergency declaration would set for the powers of executive branch. She’s known for bucking her party, splitting with leadership on efforts to repeal the 2010 health care law in 2017. That independent streak has become part of Collins’ brand in Maine, where she remains popular.

But the four-term senator is likely to face her toughest re-election next year, with Democrats raising millions of dollars for a yet-to-be-determined challenger after she voted for Supreme Court Justice Brett M. Kavanaugh. Collins is a top target in a state Hillary Clinton won in 2016, and Democrats will be arguing that she’s voted with her party much more often than not. Inside Elections with Nathan L. Gonzales rates her re-election Tilts Republican.

Sen. Mike Lee of Utah
The senior senator from Utah, first elected in 2010, announced his support for the resolution Wednesday. The announcement came after Trump rejected his last-ditch effort to curtail future national emergency declarations, which could have provided cover for GOP senators to support Trump’s declaration.

Lee is among the most conservative senators in the chamber who has been focused on restoring Congress’ power. “For decades, Congress has been giving far too much legislative power to the executive branch,” he said in a statement announcing his decision. Lee is up for re-election in 2022.

Sen. Jerry Moran of Kansas
The two-term senator announced on Twitter shortly before Thursday’s vote that he would support the resolution. “I share President Trump’s goal of securing our borders, but expanding the powers of the presidency beyond its constitutional limits is something I cannot support,” he tweeted. Moran also attached photos of his handwritten notes outlining his position. He’s up for re-election in 2022.

Sen. Lisa Murkowski of Alaska
Murkowski, who is not up for re-election until 2022, is among the more moderate senators and has proved that she is not afraid to break with her party and Trump. She explained her support for the resolution on the Senate floor earlier this month, saying, “Congress is a co-equal branch of government and as such Congress should stand up for itself.”

Sen. Rand Paul of Kentucky
Paul announced at a GOP Lincoln Day dinner earlier this month that he would support the resolution, noting that Congress did not appropriate the funds Trump was looking to use for the border wall. “If we take away those checks and balances, it’s a dangerous thing,” the two-term senator said.

Paul has described his political views as libertarian, and has been known to break with his party on foreign policy and surveillance issues. He was re-elected to the Senate in 2016 after a failed White House bid, and he will not face voters again until 2022.

Sen. Rob Portman of Ohio
The two-term senator announced in a floor speech Thursday that he would support the resolution. He had been working with Lee on legislation relating to national emergency powers, which hit a roadblock when Trump rejected the deal. Portman said Thursday that he supported Trump’s request for border wall funding, but that an emergency declaration was not necessary to secure those funds. Portman said the declaration would set a “dangerous precedent” and “opens the door for future presidents to implement just about any policy they want.”

Portman won re-election by more than 20 points in 2016 and won’t face voters again until 2022.

Sen. Mitt Romney of Utah
Although Romney is a freshman senator, he entered the chamber with a high profile as his party’s 2012 presidential nominee and the former governor of Massachusetts. Romney has been critical of Trump in the past, and said before Thursday’s vote that he would support the resolution.

Before Trump officially made his move, Romney said that he did not believe declaring a national emergency was the right approach, and that he “would also expect the president stay within statutory and constitutional limits.”

Romney won the open Utah Senate race in 2018 by 32 points, and he is not up for re-election again until 2024

Sen. Marco Rubio of Florida
Like many others, Rubio warned of the precedent set by Trump’s national emergency. He said in a February statement that while he agreed there was a crisis at the southern border, “a future president may use this exact same tactic to impose the Green New Deal.” Rubio won re-election by 8 points in 2016 after an unsuccessful run for the GOP nomination for president. Trump carried Florida by just 1 point that year.

Sen. Patrick J. Toomey of Pennsylvania
The conservative Pennsylvania Republican has occasionally broken with the president in the past, particularly on Trump’s use of tariffs. Toomey told the Philadelphia Inquirer on Thursday that he supports Trump’s effort to build a border wall, but the declaration of a national emergency was “a very important separation of powers issue.”

Toomey narrowly won re-election in 2016 when Trump won Pennsylvania by less than a point.

Sen. Roger Wicker of Mississippi
The two-term senator, who’s the chairman of the Commerce Committee and the second-highest-ranked Republican on the Armed Services panel, had “serious reservations” about what an emergency declaration would do to the separation of powers. “The precedent we set this year might empower a future liberal President to declare emergencies to enact gun control or to address ‘climate emergencies,’ or even to tear down the wall we are building today,” he said in a statement earlier this week.

Posted by: coastcontact | March 13, 2019

The Power to Pardon

Paul Manafort is what I call a “smart ass” who thinks he can do as he pleases. His imprisonment was something he did not see coming.

Donald Trump has the power to pardon anyone for a crime. Article 2 Section 2 “The President … shall have power to grant reprieves and pardons for offenses against the United States, except in cases of impeachment.”.

The likelihood that Paul Manafort will spend the next 7½ years in prison is small.

Manafort, “I accept responsibility for the actions that led me to be here today, and I want to apologize for all I contributed to the effects on people and institutions.”

“I stand here today to assure the court that I am a different person who stood before you in October of 2017,” he said.

Judge Jackson listened to Manafort and then imbued, “Saying ‘I’m sorry I got caught is not an inspiring plea for leniency,” and reminded him that the court “is one of those places where facts still matter.”

Pleas for a pardon will not be public but I am betting that they are already being prepared and will be made very soon.

The Trump pardon will happen quietly while other news events will the focus of most of the media.

A series of photos featuring a group of teenagers crowded around a swastika made of red plastic cups – laughing, toasting and Sieg Heiling over the Nazi symbol – is shaking swaths of predominantly white and affluent communities across Orange County, Calif., where at least some of the teens are enrolled in high school.

Freshman Democrat Rep. Ilhan Omar is once again facing criticism and charges of anti-Semitism from her own party’s leadership for comments about the political influence of Israel. She is supported by another Muslim, Rashida Tlaib (D-Mich.). Ocasio-Cortez together with fellow Democrats Ayanna Pressley of Massachusetts and Rashida Tlaib of Michigan, have called themselves a “squad” in social media posts and have publicly come to each other’s defense.

Bernie Sanders, Kamala Harris and Elizabeth Warren each came to the defense of Rep. Ilhan Omar on Wednesday for remarks that critics have called anti-Semitic.

Meghan McCain gets emotional on ‘The View’ “With the rise of anti-Semitism in this country, is it more important to defend party politics, or is it more important to defend anti-Semitism?” she asked the rest of the panel, referring to Omar, a Democrat.

From USA Today “The now trendy Democratic Socialists of America have even called for Israel to be eliminated.”

Hate is in the air!

Jewish people are major contributors to the Democratic Party but maybe not any more.

Posted by: coastcontact | March 3, 2019

Are print displays of photography part of the past?

Like film, prints of the photos we take seems to be part of the past.  It’s no wonder.  Thanks to memory cards that hold thousands of pictures there really is no way we can print all of those images.

Costco is discontinuing its photo printing services at most of its stores due to slow demand.

I have a Canon inkjet printer that does a fabulous job of printing.  I just do not use it very often.  And that is the issue.

Just how many people are collecting prints of the photos they have taken? Thanks to our ability to take thousands of photos and show the best on line just who is scrapbooking anymore?  My 64K memory card can hold over 11,000 pictures.  The camera is set to take all photos as JPEGs at the highest megapixel count.

We have twenty albums that are rarely viewed.  There is no more room for more albums.  I get far more attention for my snaps showing them on-line.  How about you?

It seems most people are displaying their photos on line on websites like Flickr and WordPress. I asked two avid amateur photographers if they create prints and their answer was rarely.

That bring me to the next question.  If you can obtain outstanding photos for display on line with a smartphone what value is a $3,000 camera?

My photos get attention on this website and Facebook. They were taken with cameras that cost $300 to $500 and smartphones.  Can you tell the difference? I cannot.  

Oh, there are twelve photos that were printed and I proudly display at my house.

Balboa Park in the San Fernando Valley

Bonaventure Hotel

Posted by: coastcontact | February 26, 2019

An Agenda for Moderates

By David Brooks New York Times Opinion Columnist

The policy implications of love your neighbor.

Ideas drive history. But not just any ideas, magnetic ideas. Ideas so charismatic that people devote their lives to them.

In his 1999 book, “The Real American Dream,” Andrew Delbanco described the different ideas that, at different stages, drove American history. The first stage in our history was driven by a belief in God. The Pilgrims came because God called them to do so. God’s plans for humanity were to be completed on this continent.

The second phase, through the 19th century, was organized around Nation. The pioneers were settling the West. It was the age of American exceptionalism. America was to be a universal nation, a home and model for all humankind, the last best hope of earth.

The third phase, from 1960 to today, was organized around Self. Each individual should throw off constraints. The best life was the life of maximum self-expression, self-actualization and maximum personal freedom, economic as well as lifestyle.

We are now leaving the era of Self. The right and left now offer two different magnetic ideas. The Trumpian right offers Tribe. “Our” kind of people are under threat from “their” kind of people. We need to erect walls, build barriers and fight. The earlier American nationalism was about frontier; this is about the fortress. Tribalism is a magnetic idea that has mobilized people from time immemorial.

The left offers the idea of Social Justice. The left tells stories of oppression. The story of America is the story of class, racial and gender oppression. The mission now is to rise up and destroy the systems of oppression. This, too, is an electric idea.

The problem with today’s left-wing and right-wing ideas is that they are both based on a scarcity mind-set. They are based upon us/them, friend/enemy, politics is war, life is conflict.

They are both based on the fantasy that the other half of America can be conquered, and when it disappears we can get everything we want. They are both based on the idea that if we can just concentrate enough power in the centralized authoritarian state, then we can ram through the changes we seek.

So a lot of us reject these two ideas. A lot of us don’t want to live in a war society, whether it’s a tribal war or a class war. If the 2020 choice is between Donald Trump and a Democrat who supports the Green New Deal, I’d vote for any moderate alternative.

It doesn’t have to be that way.

What is the core problem facing America today? It is division: The growing gaps between rich and poor, rural and urban, educated and less educated, black and white, left and right.

What big idea counteracts division, fragmentation, alienation? It is found in Leviticus and Matthew: Love your neighbor. Today’s left and right are fueled by anger and seek conflict. The big idea for moderates should be solidarity, fraternity, conversation across difference. A moderate agenda should magnify our affections for one another.

There are four affections that bind our society, and moderates could champion a policy agenda for each:

We are bound together by our love of our children. The first mission is to promote policies to make sure children are enmeshed in webs of warm relationships: child tax credits, early childhood education, parental leave, schools that emphasize social and emotional learning.

We are bound to society by our work. The second mission is to help people find vocations through which they can serve the community: wage subsidies, apprenticeship tracks, subsidies to help people move to opportunity, work councils, which are clubs that would offer workers lifelong training and representation.

We are bound together by our affection for our place. The third mission is to devolve power out of Washington to the local level. Out-radicalize the left and right by offering a different system of power, a system in which power is wielded by neighbors, who know their local context and trust one another. Create a national service program so that young people are paid to serve organizations in their community.

We are bound together by our shared humanity. The fourth mission is to embrace an immigration policy that balances welcome with cultural integration. It’s to champion housing and education policies that encourage racial integration. Neither left nor right talks much about racial integration anymore. But it is the prerequisite for national unity.

Moderation is not an ideology; it is a way of being. It stands for humility of the head and ardor in the heart. When you listen to your neighbor, you see how many perspectives there are and you’re intellectually humble in the face of that pluralism. When you listen to your neighbor, you see that deep down we’re the same and you hunger to deepen that connection.

Let the left and right stand for endless political war. The moderate seeks the beloved community. That, too, is a magnetic idea.


David Brooks has been a columnist with The Times since 2003. He is the author of “The Road to Character” and the forthcoming book, “The Second Mountain.”


A version of this article appears in print on , on Page A23 of the New York edition with the headline: An Agenda For Moderates. Order Reprints |
Posted by: coastcontact | February 24, 2019

What part of politics don’t you understand?

New York Times reporter Eric Lipton explains the value of a $2 million donation to Donald Trump.  I am sure this is going on at all levels and in both political parties.  

Posted by: coastcontact | February 18, 2019

US Bank Building in Los Angeles

US US Bank Bldg from 5th and Figueroa Street

US Bank Bldg from 5th and Figueroa Street

Standing 72 stories on Bunker Hill, the building holds a prominent position in business and in popular culture. It has appeared in numerous movies and even been fictionally destroyed for dramatic effect in such films as “Independence Day,” which saw aliens blow up the tower as they began their invasion of Earth.

The building was the tallest west of the Mississippi River until another building the Wilshire Grand Center competed on June 23, 2017 opened with one more floor.

Still, going to the top of the US Bank Building is fun to do and besides the views there is a glass slide from the 70th floor to the 69th floor that is mounted to the outside.

The views from the those two floors are spectacular.

City at sundown (Photo taken by a friend)

Westin Bonaventure Hotel (numbers indicate the weight the roof will support in thousands of pounds)

Hollywood sign and Griffith Park Observatory in the distance

Snowcapped Mount Gorgonio and Mount Baldy.


Posted by: coastcontact | February 17, 2019

A wave building on Oahu’s North Shore, Hawaii

This photo was on my computer when I restarted the processor.

The North Shore on Oahu is a great place for photographers to capture vivid images of the Pacific in motion, as the beach’s legendary monster waves rise up before breaking on the beach. This long-exposure photograph, shot early in the morning, shows off the power and motion of the water as it rises to form a curled wave. These waves make the North Shore one of Hawaii’s prime surfing destinations. When his ship, the HMS Discovery, was navigating the South Pacific in 1778, British explorer Captain James Cook noted the locals out in the waves riding on boards. Surfboards date back to at least 500 CE and possibly much further back in history.

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