Living Large in Carson City: The Emperor’s Stats Are Suspect Edition

Trump tweets CPAC straw poll showing favorable approval rating

© Greg Nash
Uh, what did Trump expect? This is his Republican Party. Not the party of Lincoln or sane Republicans (Are there really any left?), but the 33 percent of the American voters branded as incorrigible who supported him from day one. Trump’s performance at the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) was to be expected, but how blind does a person have to be to understand that this is no longer something to brag about.
Take a look at the highlights of this week-long dredging of the American political swamp to understand just who these people are today. First, there was the Wayne LaPierre’s speech (see that sounded the false alarm that socialist, America haters and liberals were storming the ramparts of American democracy; all in a vain effort to bolster the waning NRA’s stronghold on Congress and the gun lobby’s shrinking political influence. Or LaPierre’s “mini me”, Dana Loesch’s, outlandish speech where she attacked the media establishment proclaiming they love crying mothers because of the ratings they provide.
Then there was this jerk, CPAC Communications Director Ian Walters, who spoke of former Republican National Committee chairman, Michael Steele, in less than an exemplary light. Walters stated in 2009 that
. . . we had just elected the first African American president and that was a big deal and that was a hill that we got over and that was something that we were all proud of and we [conservatives] weren’t sure what to do. And in a little bit of cynicism, what did we do? This is a terrible thing: We elected Mike Steele to be the RNC chair because he’s a black guy and that was the wrong thing to do.
Regardless of anyone’s political affiliation, it is hard not to see Steele as a moderate voice in American politics today. His frequent appearance on cable news programs demonstrates his befuddlement of how the Republican Party has found its way into the quandary that is Trump’s America. Still, for a person in a leadership position like Walters to pull the race card in a negative manner is both shocking and utterly stupid.
But it only got worse. The apology by CPAC, chair Matt Schlapp, went off the rails fairly quickly. Schlapp, an obsequiousness barking head and unrepentant Trump supporter (why else would he be the chair of CPAC?), starts out early trying to spin Walter’s comment as a critique on Steele’s lack of unequivocal  support of the Trump’s agenda and his (Steele’s) lack of grace in not giving Walters the benefit of the doubt that he made a mistake in his speech. In the end, Schlapp continued diggings and Steele, justifiably, repeatedly had to ask why the color of his skin had anything to do with the issue in the first place. Not CPAC’s finest hour to say the least.
Then there was thisMona Charen is no card carrying liberal hell-bent on destroying the Republican Party. Her bona fides are both impressive and steeped in old-time Republican values. She wrote for the National Review early on in her career, joined Nancy Reagan’s staff as a speech writer, and later served on Ronald Reagan’s communication staff. She is a New York’s Time’s best-selling author and enjoys the esteem of many within her party. Yet when she said,
I am disappointed in people on our side for being hypocrites about sexual harassers and abusers of women, who are in our party, who are sitting in the White House, who brag about their extramarital affairs, who brag about mistreating women—and because he happens to have an ‘R’ after his name we look the other way…This is a party that endorsed Roy Moore for the Senate in the state of Alabama even though he was a credibly accused child molester. You cannot claim that you stand for women and put up with that…Speaking of bad guys, there was quite an interesting person who was on this stage the other day. Her name is Marion Le Pen. Now, why was she here? Why was she here? She’s a young, no-longer-in-office politician from France. I think the only reason she was here is because she’s named Le Pen. And the Le Pen name is a disgrace. Her grandfather is a racist and a Nazi. She claims that she stands for him. And the fact that CPAC invited her is a disgrace. Wikipedia
She was booed and called out by the audience as little more than a traitor, especially on the topic of Roy Moore, and had to be escorted out of the room. It appears that the right wing of the Republican Party has no qualms about destroying anyone who disagrees with their hard-line stance on anything that offends their wacked out political agenda.
Back to Trump’s crowing about CPAC attendees giving him high marks and approval of his dismal first year in office. Out today were also these polls. With legitimate polling showing Trump’s approval rating falling to match the lowest they have ever been, one can only surmise that he sees the CPAC poll for what it is: The rats rallying around the commander of a sinking ship. For Trump, this may be as good as it gets.

Living Large in Carson City: Elites, the Media and Democrats Will Eat Your Children Edition

NRA Leader Warns Conservatives Of ‘Socialist Wave’ In Wake Of Shooting

The National Rifle Association’s executive vice president and CEO, Wayne LaPierre, speaks during the 2018 Conservative Political Action Conference at National Harbor in Oxen Hill, Md., on Thursday. Jim Watson/AFP/Getty Images

Trying to listen to the Wayne LaPierre speech delivered on 2/22/2018 at the Conservative Political Action Conference is an exercise in futility, pain and exasperation. Add to that incredulity, “no, he didn’t say that” moments, lies and outright mean-spirited propaganda and readers will get a sense of the idiocy that grips the conservatives of America and the Republican Party. It is frightening to hear LaPierre, NRA national spokeswoman Dana Loesch Youtube start .39, and “Grand Pa Munster”, Ted Cruz R Texas, opine about how liberals, European socialists and the “elite” (whoever that might be) are the real reasons for mass shootings.

Listening to LaPierre rant about European socialists, arming school teachers, and failure of security and the nuclear family is akin to listening Joe McCarty on steroids. He attacked just about everyone not associated with the far-right conservatism that has become the banner of the NRA and gun nuts everywhere. But LaPierre was not there to just promote gun rights; no, he was there to sound the false claim that the American government, the Democratic party, socialist (read non-conservatives), and oddly enough, the American “elite” are out to destroy America. To listen to LaPierre, the “elites” are coming to, not only take guns away from hard working American citizens, but they don’t give a damn about the 2nd Amendment, individual freedoms, national security or school children. At one point early on in the speech, he states,

In the midst of genuine grief, and a very understandable passion as millions of Americans searched for meaningful solutions, what do we find? Chris Murphy, Nancy Pelosi, and more, cheered on by the national media, eager to blame the NRA and call for even more government control. They hate the NRA. They hate the Second Amendment. They hate individual freedom. In the rush of calls for more government, they have also revealed their true selves. The elites do not care about America’s schoolchildren. If they truly cared, they would protect them. For them, it is not a safety issue. It is a political issue. They care more about control and more of it. Their goal is to eliminate the Second Amendment and our firearms freedoms, so they can eradicate all individual freedoms. What they want are more restrictions on the law-abiding. Think about that. Their solution is to make you, all of you, less free. They want to sweep right under the carpet the failure of a school security, the failure of family, the failure of America’s mental health system, and even the unbelievable failure of the FBI.

This is line of reasoning runs throughout the speech, which sets up a disconnect to what is really the reality of the American social and political system. In the very beginning of the speech, he trolls American “opportunists” who quickly called for stricter gun regulation.  Without a beat, he segues to an attack on conservative’s favorite punching bag in the form of “the father of modern community organizing”, Saul Alinksy. LaPierre didn’t miss a beat as he then took on one of the main themes of the day, the American national press, and their culpability in its destruction of everything from family values, the NRA and the very fabric of the American democracy.

The reference to American “elites” was the most curious attack of many such attacks during his speech. Anyone above ground and living in America today understands that the elites of this country are the backbone of the Trump administration. From the numerous Wall Street graduates from Goldman Sachs who serve in Trump’s cabinet to wealthy family members like Secretary of Education, Betsy DeVos and her brother and Trump confidant, Erik Prince founder of Blackwater USA, and of course, the Trump extended family who hold themselves above the average American toiling away in the middle and lower class trenches. To say his speech was surreal is an understatement.

Sadly for our democracy, LaPierre’s unhinged attack on anyone who disagrees with him and the NRA is far more frightening than just about any enemy of the American democratic system afoot today. It is a bit ironic that his charges against America’s elite (i.e. read non-wacko conservatives) sounds like he is attacking Trump and the Republican Party. Consider where he was going with this:

And anyone who attempts to resist is smeared right into submission. Yep. You know it.  Yes, the art of the smear. We live in the socialistic age of the art of the smear. It does not have to be true. It just has to stick somewhere, anywhere. It is designed to degrade, destroy, and it is all over the national media to serve their agenda. And socialism is a movement that loves the smear. racist, misogynist, sexist, xenophobe, and more. These are the weapons and vitriol these character assassinations scream to permanently hang on their targets and create a growing segment of victims. Because socialism feeds off manipulated victims. You name the group, and they will find a way to turn them into victims. They keep their movement growing by finding someone to be offended by something every minute of every day. From the Occupy Movement, to Black Lives Matter, to Antifa, they agitate the offended, promote uncivil discourse, and ignore any sense of due process and fairness to destroy their enemies. The elimination of due process is the very gold standard of the socialist state.

Honestly, the same themes are repeated over and over again. It is a rallying call for the NRA and those disaffected Americans who see their lifestyle and grip on the American way of life slipping away. America is changing. One thing remains evident, especially in light of the text of this speech: the NRA and Wayne LaPierre want only one thing . . . to sell more guns. It has nothing to do with patriotism or internal threats to our democracy. Arming teachers to make classrooms safe and secure is a NRA false flag. Simply put, LaPierre is a salesman pure and simple. This speech proves that fear and disaffected people can be sold a line of bullshit if it is wrapped in a thin veneer of hate and us against them verbiage. If LaPierre can make his audience feel like self-righteous patriots, all is right in his world.

 

Living Large in Carson City: A. He’s a convicted criminal, B. A scoff law, C. Racist, D. All the Above Edition

Image result for joe arpaio images

Attribution

Arapio KKK  

What’s up with Douglas County? Over the weekend, the Douglas County Republican Central Committee hosted convicted felon and dubious Arizona senate candidate Joe Arpaio as the main speaker for their Lincoln Reagan Dinner and Fund Raiser. Sheriff “make em’ wear pink panties” Joe, seems on the surface as an odd choice for the “law and order party” of Douglas County Republicans. Convicted of racial profiling, “Carry ’em High and Proud” Arapio was pardoned by Trump under controversy shortly after Trump took office. A factor that may play heavily into Arapio’s obsequiousness support of the equally morally and ethically challenged president.

What seems offensive by most law abiding Americans seems to be the perfect resume for Douglas County Republicans. His abusive style of law enforcement, a throw back to early 20th century tactics in the American south and racists views on immigration, endeared him to those present at the fund raiser this weekend.

Politics truly does make for strange bed fellows.

 

 

 

Living Large in Carson City: The Truth Is Out There Edition

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An interview with Jeremy Scahill on YouTube titled, Fear and Loathing in Trump’s America: A Deep Well of Anger, the moderator  makes a great point about journalism and the responsibility to tell the truth by quoting a 1997 article from The Atlantic. The interview was with Hunter S. Thompson where he presented his view on the state of American journalism. Thompson stated,

If you consider the great journalists in history, you don’t see too many objective journalists on that list. H. L. Mencken was not objective. Mike Royko, who just died. I. F. Stone was not objective. Mark Twain was not objective. I don’t quite understand this worship of objectivity in journalism. Now, just flat-out lying is different from being subjective.

When teaching English composition to college students, the formal essay is sold as depending on objective analysis of the material, especially the argumentative essay, the Cadillac of college English writing. The use of first person (I, me, mine, my) and second person (you, you, you) are discouraged. The first can give the impression of an ego driven screed and the second simply offensive (i.e. You will agree abortion should be banned.) The latter is fine if you are writing to the moral majority audience, not so much to supporters of Planned Parenthood. These two approaches are seen as subjective and not proper for professional writing.

But that is academia. Composition, especially in the freshman and sophomore years, is more about teaching recalcitrant young people how not to make fools of themselves in their future work environments. Objective analysis is rooted in what is observable, fact- based and measurable. In the quasi-empirical world of academia, this is understandable. When most freshman and sophomores approach a topic, first person is the order of the day. Their sense of self-worth is at once endearing as they struggle to find their voices, yet decidedly disturbing in the manner in which they think their ideas are unassailable   . . . facts, observation and measurable data be damned.

It is the college professor’s task of harnessing that youthful zeal and mold it into a work of composition that takes into account that there are a multitude of opinions afoot in the world, and the only way to get their message across without alienating a huge swath of the population is through objective analysis of the topic. Tell the reader what you can prove. Keep the tone one of enlightenment, rather than adversarial. And always remember, academic argumentation is never about winning. It is about sharing one’s ideas with the opposition, if not convince them, to make them understand the writer values their stance, while effectively communicating their own diametrically opposite position.

Facts, measurable data, and observation art the roots of objectivity. In journalism the objective approach was the tender of the realm for years until the 1960s when writers like Thompson, Joan Didion and Tom Wolfe (among others) arrived on the scene and changed the course of journalism forever. No longer was non-fiction mired in unassailable dry facts, measured data and observation. It was still those things with the added element of the writer becoming a distinct part of the story itself. Here is the final page of Thompson’s wicked little book, Hell’s Angels: A Strange and Terrible Saga:

With the throttle screwed on, there is only the barest margin, and no room at all for mistakes. It has to be done right… and that’s when the strange music starts, when you stretch your luck so far that fear becomes exhilaration and vibrates along your arms. You can barely see at a hundred; the tears blow back so fast that they vaporize before they get to your ears. The only sounds are the wind and a dull roar floating back from the mufflers. You watch the white line and try to lean with it… howling through a turn to the right, then to the left, and down the long hill to Pacifica… letting off now, watching for cops, but only until the next dark stretch and another few seconds on the edge… The Edge… There is no honest way to explain it because the only people who really know where it is are the ones who have gone over. The others- the living- are those who pushed their luck as far as they felt they could handle it, and then pulled back, or slowed down, or did whatever they had to when it came time to choose between Now and Later. But the edge is still Out there. Or maybe it’s In. The association of motorcycles with LSD is no accident of publicity. They are both a means to an end, to the place of definitions.

This is vintage Thompson. The facts are there. The observable is there. The measure of the experience is there, yet, Thompson has become a part of the storyline. Does truth suffer for his presence? Is the objectivity of the experience in some way sullied by placing himself in the narrative? Not really, the key is keeping subjectivity in line with the factual, observable and measurable. In other words no matter how a writer approaches a topic, the truth is always the foundation of the narrative.

Getting back to the objective versus subjective approach to writing, subjective writing can no longer be seen as not being a valid approach to journalistic writing. Certainly, subjectivity is dependent on one’s personal feelings, sensitivities, and interpretation of the situation being observed, measured or the facts that surround the topic. However, as Thompson states above “just flat-out lying is different from being subjective.”  This one truism is what differentiates subjective writing from conservative outlets that skew their content, if not to lie outright, but present the facts in a way that might be misleading or slanted. Think Trump’s tweets.

So, why does this matter? First, many people digest the information thrown at them simply out of lack of motivation to question their beliefs. For example, if a person has always listened to Fox News because their immediate family or co-workers do, they are prone to continue doing so. This is not just a conservative malady, but one that liberals also suffer from in their choice of news outlets. Both objective and subjective writing suffers when people accept without questioning if the truth is being represented fairly. Not to single out Fox News as the only culprit, but when commentators spew hate, misinformation and subjective viewpoints not based in reality, how can a huge swatch of the public not come away without being adversely influenced?

Second, in the world that Trump created, journalists cannot help but write in a subjective voice. The crisis that our democracy faces is not one that can be approached strictly through objective analysis. Truth, in this case, is hard not to filter through a subjective perspective. What Trump has done is demean the reality of American democracy to an Us and Them class warfare. America is no longer a place where equality is the prism to view the hopes and dreams of the lower class, or increasingly, the lower and middle-class citizens. What is in place now is the wealthy ruling 1 percent of Americans control the lives, future and happiness of the rest of the country.

Facts, observations, and measurable incidents are important, however, how those objective elements subjectively change the American Democracy is what is important.

 

 

Living Large in Carson City: The “My Yacht is Bigger than Your Tiny Boat” Edition

 Image result for medicaid cartoons

When it comes to Trump and his administration, it’s easy to overlook an important news items among the mine field of political missteps these people so deftly make. Sure, his wacky endorsements (Judge Roy Moore), outrageous pronouncements (I would love to see a shutdown) and overall obtuseness (We wish him (Rob Porter) well . . . he did a good job) are attention grabbing and incendiary, but all too predictable with what has become the Trump reality.

It’s all and elaborate smoke and mirrors game calculated to take the public’s attention off the bread and butter issues under attack by Trump and his administrators on a daily basis. Take any major topic from climate change to the environment to tax laws to deregulation of Wall Street to countless other vitally important topics to the American electorate; all are under seige. His policies are literally destroying the fabric of what really makes America great.   

Here is a case in point:

After approving Medicaid work requirements, Trump’s HHS aims for lifetime coverage limits

February 05, 2018 06:58 PM

Say what?  “Life time coverage limits” should read “lifetime coverage ‘Caps'”. Tony Pugh wrote,

After allowing states to impose work requirements for Medicaid enrollees, the Trump administration is now pondering lifetime limits on adults’ access to coverage.

Capping health care benefits — like federal welfare benefits — would be a first for Medicaid, the joint state-and-federal health plan for low-income and disabled Americans.

If approved, the dramatic policy change would recast government-subsidized health coverage as temporary assistance by placing a limit on the number of months adults  have access to Medicaid benefits. 

Granted, there can be confusion about the difference between Medicaid and Medicare. Medicare is a federal program attached to Social Security and is available to all Americans over the age of 65 and some people with disabilities There are no income restrictions attached to Medicare. It has become the go to “base” insurance asset for most elderly Americans but limited in its coverage. Generally, most seniors have to carry a supplemental insurance policy to help cover out of pocket costs, but still, it is a life saver when it comes to insurance for the vast majority of Americans over the age of 65. 

Medicaid is different. Medicaid is a state and federally run program that targets low income individuals, children and the elderly to aid in medical and long-term care expenses. The federal government pays states up to 50 percent of of the states’ Medicaid costs. The program is on a sliding scale so that wealthier states receive less federal dollars as opposed to states with fewer dollars to contribute to the fund.  Unlike Medicare which is offered to all Americans, Medicaid has strict income requirements that individuals cannot exceed. Since not all states are created equal, and given the sliding scale used by the federal government, essentially, each state has its own unique Medicaid program. Red states have their rules; blue states have theirs. 

This is where it gets tricky and where the Trump administrations sees a window of opportunity by capping benefits. 

The move would continue the Trump administration’s push to inject conservative policies into the Medicaid program through the use of federal waivers, which allow states more flexibility to create policies designed to promote personal and financial responsibility among enrollees.

However, advocates say capping Medicaid benefits would amount to a massive breach of the nation’s social safety net designed to protect children, the elderly and the impoverished.

In January, the Trump administration approved waiver requests from Kentucky and Indiana to terminate Medicaid coverage for able-bodied enrollees who do not meet new program work requirements. Ten other states have asked to do the same.

Need it be stated that the vast majority of these petitioners are deep red states who supported Trump in the 2016 election. What is disturbing is the attempt to target “able-bodied enrollees” who fall outside the new requirements with no regard to their income or ability to pay for medical care on their own. Frankly, if a person is able-bodied and fit to work, they should if circumstances allow. However, the problem is who is defining what able-bodied means. These are states like Arkansas, Utah and Kansas, notoriously tight-fisted when it comes to monetary concerns and governance.

All of this smacks of a lack of empathy. Not to single out the above three states, but more to the overall Republican quasi Tea Party mentality that comes with small government. It is understandable to strive for fiscal responsibility and elimination of waste. All Americans think these are good ideas regardless of their political affiliation. But one has to wonder at what costs? Trimming the military budget to make it more efficient or reeling in out of hand spending is one thing, but on the backs of those less fortunate seems cruel and petty. 

In the scheme of things, this is not a monumental issue that is going to excite a huge amount of concern for most Americans. It is, however, indicative of the new Republican Party that is afoot in America under Trump’s leadership. America is losing an essential sense of equality that has been the guiding principle that has made this a great country. Historically, as Americans, the rule, as JFK was so fond of saying, was, “A rising tide lifts all the boats.”

No longer it seems in Trump’s America. 

Living Large in Carson City: The “Everything You Say Bounces Off Me and Sticks to You Edition

The White House has a favorite excuse to explain away some of Trump’s most controversial statements

Donald TrumpDonald Trump. Jonathan Ernst/Reuter

“When the White House is asked about some of President Donald Trump’s more controversial comments, they’ve frequently returned to one favorite excuse:

He’s just joking.

Both White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders and deputy press secretary Hogan Gidley said the president made the remark in jest. Sanders said the president was “clearly joking,” while Gidley said the comment was “tongue-in-cheek.”

At first it was funny then a little pathetic. Trump apologists were everywhere. Now, it’s become a dangerous obsession. It boggles the mind how Republicans can go on national television and make obscene claims that are meant to justify Trump’s daily outbursts. Of course, the Republican primary and presidential race should have been warning enough that a storm of half-baked, utterly insane Trump justification by his army of sycophants was on the horizon. Remember this?

“I could stand in the middle of Fifth Avenue and shoot somebody, okay, and I wouldn’t lose any voters, okay? It’s, like, incredible.”

He was talking about his supporters, both hired and from his 33 percent basket of deplorables. America laughed at him then and thought surely this will sink any chance he has of taking the top post in our American democracy.  It didn’t. Still, there was the hope that his base and hirelings would some day come around and see him for the blowhard that he is in a gesture of American solidarity. They haven’t.

This week, Trump accused Democrats who didn’t clap for him in the State of the Union address as treasonous. Just so it is crystal clear, treasonous means betraying one’s country or being guilty in an attempt thereof. Besides being ludicrous, self-serving and just down right wrong, it sets a dangerous precedent for the days ahead.

A true statesman’s job is not to point out the differences between the people, but their job is to find a way to unite disparate beliefs in spite of their differences. Trump’s take no prisoners who disagree with him attitude and his often-incomprehensible antics and snide statements are divisive and beneath the office he seems bent on destroying.

One could argue this is just the ugly side of political infighting. Shit happens, but not to the degree or the regularity that Trump seems to think is acceptable. Paid advisers and talking heads of the media earn their living doing this day in and day out. It is what American politics is about, whether we like it or not.

What is most disturbing is how Trump supporters are beginning to react. Get involved in any online debate on Facebook or other social media outlets. The level of vitriol has ratcheted up to a degree that is both disturbing and a bit darkly comical. There is no reasoning with these supporters. Facts mean zip. They have swallowed the lies and innuendos as the truth. And it is spreading to the absurd.

The Trump administration’s attack on American free press is especially disturbing. Every totalitarian regime begins by attacking and trying to control the press. Trump has been at this task since the presidential campaign. Next, they begin attacking the opposition party like he did his week by labeling Democrats treasonous for having the courage to show their displeasure with his actions. What comes next? Obviously firing Mueller and/or Rosenstein in an attempt to shut down the Russia investigation seems logical.

Logic, however, has never been a synonym applied to Trump’s thought process. What he does next is anyone’s guess.

 

Living Large in Carson City: The “Here take my wages” edition

This won’t work out well.

 December 7, 2017 

Wait staff may be forced to share their tips with cooks and dishwashers under a new Labor Department proposal. (Jahi Chikwendiu/The Washington Post)
Anyone who has ever worked in a restaurant as a wait person, cook or dishwasher will understand just how unfair this proposal is to the hard-working men and women who serve the American populace. The fact is that this is a money grab backed by the food industry in the guise of helping out the “back of the house” personnel who often work for minimum wage.
The issue isn’t that wait people make so much more money than those who work behind the scenes. In reality, they often do. But this isn’t about “parity”. Many wait people on slow days across the industry go home with far less money than the average dishwasher, who are at least paid the minimum wage,  Wikipedia states,  “The American federal government requires a wage of at least $2.13 per hour be paid to employees that receive at least $30 per month in tips.”
Sure, high end wait staff make tremendous tips on a good day. Not so much for a mom and pop operations in downtown Reno or or Carson City.  Prestigious eateries and greasy spoons would be lumped into one large basket with the latter suffering far more than the former.
Allowing any owner of any food establishment to get their hands on tips would be a disaster of biblical proportions. Even if every owner was above board, honest and looking out for their employees, this would still be a bad idea. The crux of the problem is that the employers would be justified in lowering the wages of the behind the scene workers (like is already done to the wait staff) and supplement their pay with “shared tips” from the front of the house. It’s easy to see why this would appeal to the owners. It would lower their overhead by reducing the amount of out of pocket salaries they would be required to pay.
It is hard to understand how the Trump administration can see this as a good idea. Wait people are not stupid. They will either quit or look for other employment where salaries are more stable and can be relied upon. The issue is that wait people are generally good people who work hard for their money. There is no way that splitting tips with the back of the house will help out minimum wage employees. Far from it, more likely, it will only create more wage inequity in an already hardscrapple industry where nearly everyone lives from paycheck to paycheck.
The one redeeming factor here is that wait people, despite their predicament of being at the mercy of their owners and now the government, can and will vote. Alienating the vast pool of American wait people is the equivalent of the government and owners shooting themselves in the proverbial foot. Only in the era of Trumpism could this be seen as a good move.
A word to all of the owners out there: Lock and load . . .

Living Large in Carson City: Will it ever end? Edition

Crazy days. Ashley Parker summed up the American dilemma nicely in her Washington Post article, “The month of January felt like a year and the pilot episode for the 12-part series to come”. She wrote:

The Debrief: An occasional series offering a reporter’s insights


President Trump delivers the State of the Union address on Tuesday. (Toni L. Sandys/The Washington Post)
 January 31 at 8:17 PM 
And on the 31st day of January, the news gods gave us: a train crash involving Republican lawmakers, the unexpected retirement of a powerful House chairman, dropped federal corruption charges against a sitting Democratic senator, the resignation of a top federal health official amid reports she purchased tobacco stock, and an FBI statement expressing “grave concerns” with President Trump’s expected decision to allow the release of a controversial classified memo slamming the agency.And that was just the first half of the day.   WAPO                                                                
          There has been much talk in the media that Americans may be feeling a little overwhelmed by the onslaught of media coverage of the circus that has become the Trump administration’s modus operandi. The constant lying, the ungodly onslaught of one crisis after another and the complicity that the Republican Party seems willing to stoop to in defense of their tainted standard bearer is shameful and pitifully obtuse on their part. People long ago stopped asking where is the Republican moral outrage and outright disgust that normally sane people experience when the Donald opens his mouth, or rather, tweets his trash talk and innuendos about real and imagined detractors of his presidency. They are the enablers of this president, and for what gains, one has to ask.
        Trump sticker shock is real and growing everyday as the president continues his twisted and silly dance of innocence. It is hard not to feel a depressing sense of doom and gloom when he and his minions work ever day to dismantle the true gains the country made under Obama (and Bush) in regard to education, clean air and water, the environment, global climate change, trade and a whole host of other fronts. Despite his flaws, Obama’s accomplishments makes Trump look like Adolf Hitler, Charles Manson and Larry Nassar rolled into one tight little package of corruption, hypocrisy and unpatriotic hoopla.
         Then there is the Russia thing. It is baffling how Trump can dismiss out of hand the growing evidence that seems to have no end in sight that demonstrates, yes, indeed, he and his political organization, family and friends were in in bed  with the Russians in his winning the presidency. How far is still an unanswered question. Special Prosecutor Mueller has his hands full just trying to keep up with Trump’s antics that resemble a man in a hole who cannot stop digging.
         And it is only February.
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