Posted by: coastcontact | September 18, 2018

A Change of Seasons and Perhaps a New Purpose

It has been a long hot summer in southern California.  Maybe I am getting older but the humidity dripping off my face is something I do not remember in any past summer.  I cut the dogs’ walk to just going to the corner and back.  Freddy seemed to understand when we arrived at the far corner and would cross the street for a return down the block.  Princess, a ten pound malti-poo, wants to take the regular two block walk no matter how hot it is.          

 To my surprise my daughter turned on the heater this morning.  I understood Fall is here.  Now at least the petunias and marigolds won’t wilt if they are watered every two or three days.

 The never ending political soap opera has become boring as the reporters and commentators repeat the same information over and over.

 It’s time for me to focus more time on my photography.

 

Praying Mantis on the window

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Posted by: coastcontact | September 11, 2018

Can there be a Coup in the United States?

The answer based on an anonymous Op-Ed in the New York Times is YES!

Democrats should not be clapping their hands with delight over this situation. The same insider behavior could have occurred during the Obama administration.

The single person that all Americans elect to lead the country is the president. Members of the House of Representatives and Senate are elected by the district or the state. We rely on the president to lead the entire nation regardless of political party or other affiliations.

There is nothing in the Constitution that gives anyone authority to countermand the president’s decisions except laws passed by the congress or rulings by the Supreme Court.

When other people attempt to undermine or delay the president’s decisions they are interfering with the process of government that has been the basis of the American democracy since its inception.

While I view Donald Trump as a bad leader who could cause a war or an economic catastrophe he is the person that our system of elections has chosen to be president. Unfortunately his faults are many. Trump has been a supporter of groups that sew hate and he has made many nations that were considered allies into enemies.

Despite his obvious failings, I am not comfortable with an inner circle of people in the White House who are attempting to control the decision making process in the White House. They may say their actions are to protect our country but they are unanswerable to the American people.

We do have three ways of removing president. 1) Not re-elect him for a second term, 2) Action taken by the Vice President and “principal officers of the executive departments” to remove the president from power, 3) Impeachment. All of those choices are better than undermining our system of governing.

Posted by: coastcontact | September 6, 2018

Pointless Hearings to Approve a New Supreme Court Justice

Yes the hearings are vacuous. We all know what the outcome will be. Judge Kavanaugh will be confirmed.  The judge is given the opportunity to tell us what the various articles and amendments are saying and to add to the drama he refers to the Federalist papers.  So we know he is no dummy. The irony is that Senator Harry Reid, the former leader of a Democratic Party controlled Senate, can be blamed for today’s lack of bi-partisan support to consent for any Supreme Court nominee.  He led the decision to change a Senate rule requiring a 60 vote for approval of a Supreme Court justice appointment.

 

This sad situation is the result of a two party political system where everyone and every idea of the opposing party is by definition wrong.

Posted by: coastcontact | September 2, 2018

“America was always great.”

Meghan McCain said during her father’s memorial service that “America was always great.” She also said. “The America of John McCain has no need to be made great again because America was always great.”

I would have added the words “and is still great today.” These have been my words from the beginning of the Trump candidacy for president. I just don’t have the same following as Meghan McCain.

Looking at some facts supports the contention that the United States continues to be the greatest country the world has ever known.

Our country’s GDP is over $19.3 trillion dollars. In second place is China at $12 trillion. Japan is 3rd at $4.5 trillion. Then Germany at $3.6 trillion

Note: This list is based IMF’s World Economic Outlook Database, April 2018.

Military strength? Global Firepower’s 2017 Military Strength Ranking uses more than 50 factors to assign a Power Index score to 133 countries.
The finalized Global Firepower ranking relies on over 55 individual factors to determine a given nation’s PowerIndex (‘PwrIndx’) score. Ranked number 1 is the United States. Number 2 is Russia and number three is China.

The country with the most billionaires? It is estimated there are 680 in the United States worth $3.2 billion. Second place is China with a wealth of $1.1 trillion.

The American dollar is recognized as the reserve currency of the world. Many countries use the US dollar exclusively: Ecuador, East Timor, El Salvador, Marshall Islands, Micronesia, Palau, Turks and Caicos, British Virgin Islands, Zimbabwe. Many countries employ it as an accepted alternative to their own currency.

We have the universities people want to attend. The number of international students in the U.S. reached an all-time high – 1,078,822 students – during the 2016-2017 school year.

The American constitution and our capitalist enterprise system has made the United States the envy of the world. Our constitution guarantees freedom of religion, a free press, and a judicial system that protects the innocent. Immigrants migrate to the United States because they know that this is a country that rewards hard working people and helps the downtrodden.

We are great and we have always been great!

Posted by: coastcontact | August 28, 2018

Venice Skatepark in Venice Beach, California



Not far from my home the boardwalk at Venice Beach was known more for bodybuilding than skateboarding, but since 2009 the thrashers have been giving the weightlifters some real competition. People-watchers looking for a little high-speed drama congregate at the Venice Skatepark, a large concrete plaza set right into the beach. Skateboarders maneuver through two swimming pool-like bowls, a twisting and turning snake run, and a section replicating an urban street with steps, platforms, and metal railings. The city-owned property is free to use, but mastering the skills to tackle this flow takes time, practice, and a lot of nerve.

Yes that mountain horizon is on the masthead of this blog.

Posted by: coastcontact | August 26, 2018

John McCain, The Man Who Should Have Been President

The article posted by John Avlon of the Daily Beast does a far better job of telling the story of John McCain’s life than anything I could write.  Or if you want another take on John McCain read the article posted by the New York Times titled John McCain, a Last Lion of the Senate.

John McCain will be missed as a voice for America’s greatness.

Posted by: coastcontact | August 20, 2018

Trolls, Ogres, and Trolling

In days gone by a troll was some kind of monster who threatened people and communities.

Trolls are considered to be supernatural creatures in Scandinavian folklore and Norse mythology. They are depicted as dangerous, cunning, and capable of magically cursing people and also eating them up when it suited them. They are considered to be more reasonable than ogres and could be reasoned with unlike ogres. It is believed that they would turn to stone in the sunlight, so they lived in dark caves in isolation in mountains in small family-like units. They are depicted to be living far away from any human population. Their appearance is more varied than ogres. Trolls could either be very ugly creatures and slow witted or could look like humans and could be very cunning and intelligent.

Do not mix trolls with ogres. Ogres were considered unreasonable and murderous; trolls could be reasoned with and may or may not feed on humans.

Shrek, the cartoon character, was an ogre. Obviously he was the reasonable exception.  Donald Trump should be viewed as an unreasonable ogre.

Today in Internet slang, a troll is a person who sows discord on the Internet by starting arguments or upsetting people, by posting inflammatory, extraneous, or off-topic messages in an online community (such as a newsgroup, forum, chat room, or blog) with the deliberate intent of provoking readers into an emotional response or of otherwise disrupting normal on-topic discussion.

Facebook is filled with trolls and significant trolling.

Posted by: coastcontact | August 19, 2018

John Brennan doubles down

It is the chaos president versus America’s security apparatus. This fight will not end soon.

@JohnBrennan

John Brennan tweet

Donald Trump’s press conference performance in Helsinki rises to & exceeds the threshold of “high crimes & misdemeanors.” It was nothing short of treasonous. Not onlywere Trump’s comments imbecilic, he is wholly in the pocket of Putin.
Republican Patriots: Where are you???

8:52 AM – Jul 16, 2018

During NBC’s “Meet the Press” Sunday, host Chuck Todd asked if Brennan regretted accusing the president of treason.

“I called his behavior treasonous, which is to betray one’s trust and to aid and abet the enemy,” Brennan responded. “And I stand very much by that claim.”

Posted by: coastcontact | August 16, 2018

Trump’s Enemies are America’s Enemies?

Donald Trump sees enemies everywhere. In his view all of them have just one goal. It is apparent that he sees their goal is to remove him from the presidency by any means possible.

Thus Trump claims that the press is “the enemy of the people.” It is not just the print press. It is all media. His banning of CNN and NBC at news events has become routine.

John Brennan, Former CIA director, called the US President’s performance at Helsinki “nothing short of treasonous.” Trump has fired back by revoking Brennan’s security clearance.

Trump has compiled a list of at least ten people who are all likely to be denied security clearance.

Richard Nixon also had an enemy list of more than 200 people.

It all reminds me of The Caine Mutiny. In that movie Captain Queeg loses it in a court hearing.

The similarities between Queeg and Trump are remarkable.

Posted by: coastcontact | August 14, 2018

What is the Robert Mueller Investigation?

For those of you outside the United States the question is what is going on in the USA?

The original Robert Mueller investigation, motivated by the firing of FBI director James Comey,  was at the direction of Mr Rod Rosenstein, the deputy attorney general appointing Mr Mueller to look into:

  • The Russian government’s efforts to interfere in the election
  • Any links or co-ordination between Russia and Trump campaign-linked individuals
  • Any matters that arose or may arise directly from the investigation

That last point gives him quite a broad authority to also determine if the president himself has committed any wrongdoing.

The president’s words and behavior towards Russia and Vladimir Putin since taking office have only heightened the suspicion that his election was tainted and he has committed treasonous acts. The Helsinki summit between Trump and Putin only exacerbates that suspicion.

Donald Trump’s extraordinary performance in Helsinki alongside Russian leader Vladimir Putin may have crossed a red line with his fellow Republicans.

Former Republican Representative David Jolly said Congress was at “an inflection point.”

“This will be one of those moments the long lens of history remembers,” Jolly, who represented a Florida district from 2014 to 2017, said in an interview. “We’ve never had reason to question a president’s patriotism. We question their competence, their judgment, their self-interest, their partisan motivations. Even with Richard Nixon we never had questions of patriotism like we are seeing today.”

Jolly said that for the first time he believes impeachment of Trump — or removal under the 25th Amendment by declaring him unfit — should be on the table. But, he said, “The fates of Republicans on the Hill are too tied to the president. I’m not optimistic that they will be independent.”

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