monitoring Trump and relevant contemporary events

Finn dAbuzz
Mon 22 May, 2017 03:55 pm
If the cancer is truly inoperable, the patient will die.

Perhaps before that happens the patient will divide itself so that at least one half of it will live on.

That the US is beset by a terminal disease is a possibility, but I think it's too early to give up hope for recovery. We haven't even gotten to the radical apricot pit remedies.

The excessive power bestowed by wealth is a subset of crony capitalism and "etc." I don't dispute that it's a problem. It's exceedingly rare to find anyone who has significant power who is not wealthy. Whether they began with wealth and developed power or they used the power they accrued to become wealthy is immaterial in my view. Two sides of the same coin.

I should note that I very definitely do not have a problem with individuals or families having great wealth and being able to afford luxuries that most people cannot, or passing that wealth from generation to generation. I do have a problem with people who buy power or immunity from authority with great wealth and people who use power bestowed upon them by the people to accumulate great wealth.

I also don't have any problem with policies that safeguard personal wealth as long as they work equally well for those of meager wealth as they do for those with great wealth. Assuming one obtains wealth from largely legal and ethical means (There are too many grey areas where definitions can be argued ad infinitum to make absolutist statements like "entirely through legal and ethical means') whether that wealth is modest or fabulous, I don't believe the government or anyone without wealth is entitled to arbitrarily seize it or exact payment for common services that are disproportionate and unfair. Wealthy people don't, proportionately, owe any more to society than do poor people.

Wealth is not evidence of guilt and great wealth is not evidence of great guilt. No one is entitled to the fruits of someone else's labor. Those who have labored greatly to gather great wealth for themselves are to be honored if they decide to voluntarily share that wealth with those who have great need. Those who simply inherit great wealth thanks to the good fortune of being the progeny of men and women who labored greatly and wished to feather the nests of their children, grandchildren, great-grandchildren and so on, would seem to have a greater onus to share their good fortune with the unfortunate, but that it is a matter of individual character and perspective, not justice.

My father was a an aeronautical engineer who worked in the aerospace industry on Long Island. He was a brilliant man and damned good at what he did, but he wanted no part of supervising others and so never took a shot at rising above his comfortable middle class status. However, by virtue of his being a Depression Era kid raised by a single, working mother (my grandfather died when my dad was only seven years old) he was somewhat obsessive about saving money. We didn't live deprived lives by any means, but we also didn't live up to the standards we might have reasonably afforded (and which a great many people with my father's income would have frivolously exceeded). Since I didn't feel at all deprived, and only one set of cousins in a very large extended family seemed to have more family money that us, it never bothered me and only came to mind when my harpy of a mother would carp at my father for being a cheapskate (which was several times a week and twice on Sunday after multiple rounds of cocktails).

Because my father saved money to satisfy an insecurity driven obsession, once the money went into the bank, it was as if it no longer existed. Almost nothing could pry it loose. My wife and I once asked my father for a loan of $10,000 so that we could pad our bank account while our county adoption services investigated our suitability as adoptive parents. The loan was only to last as long as the screening process and once we received approval I was to return the $10,000 and any interest it might have earned to my father. The process was anticipated to take no more than six months (it took two). His initial reaction was refusal, and it wasn't until it became clear to him that this refusal was likely to seriously and possibly irreparably damage his relationship with me, did he relent and loan us the money.

Obviously it bothered me that he balked at all, but I realized that his doing so was born of a psychological affliction that he found almost impossible to control. The fact that he relented at all, in a very strange way, was a measure of how much he cared for me.

My younger sister, being far more susceptible to the bitter influence of my mother and her even more significant psychological wounds, adopted the theory of my father as horrible miser. I don't know how many times I heard her utter a particular phrase that infuriated me, but it seemed like about as often as my mother called my father a cheapskate. Whenever my sister would complain about how my father would not give her money for something or the other she would say, with dripping contempt: "He's got the money!"

One day after I had moved from NY I returned to Long Island for a visit. My sister picked me up at the airport and with her in her car were her two kids who were probably ages 6 and 8. At one point the conversation turned to home life for my sister who was divorced and living, along with her kids, under my father's roof. Despite the fact that she was totally dependent on my father for financial support she eventually started to grouse about what a cheapskate he was. From the back seat my young nephew and niece shouted in unison: "He's got the money!"

I despise the attitude that this phrase reflects, and I see it over and over in American society. Someone has the money and I want some. He has the money and he should give me some. It doesn't matter how he got the money or what plans he might have for it, he has it, it's more than I think he needs, and I want some of it! I don't need it enough to get a job and earn it myself, but why should I? He has the money!

Again you won't get any argument from me that our nation is falling short of the Founders' vision if people of great wealth can expect treatment under the law that is more favorable than what everyone else can expect. It clearly happens and it is clearly wrong.

However, this is a totally different matter that the Citizens United decision to which I believe you referred.

Under Citizens United the free speech right of corporate entities, regardless of their size or wealth, was recognized. That certain individuals with great wealth provided by their financial interest in corporations might abuse this right, doesn't vitiate the right. Poor, benighted individuals abuse their constitutional rights on a daily basis and it doesn't render those rights void for all.

Mon 22 May, 2017 04:27 pm
More hypocrisy. Every single thing he criticized Hillary of doing, Of course that was before the King gave him something shiny, now its all good!

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Mon 22 May, 2017 05:20 pm
Trump asked intelligence chiefs to push back against FBI collusion probe
President Trump asked two of the nation’s top intelligence officials in March to help him push back against an FBI investigation into possible coordination between his campaign and the Russian government, according to current and former officials.

Trump made separate appeals to the director of national intelligence, Daniel Coats, and to Adm. Michael S. Rogers, the director of the National Security Agency, urging them to publicly deny the existence of any evidence of collusion during the 2016 election.

Coats and Rogers refused to comply with the requests, which they both deemed to be inappropriate, according to two current and two former officials, who spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss private communications with the president.

Trump sought the assistance of Coats and Rogers after FBI Director James B. Comey told the House Intelligence Committee on March 20 that the FBI was investigating “the nature of any links between individuals associated with the Trump campaign and the Russian government and whether there was any coordination between the campaign and Russia’s efforts.

Trump’s conversation with Rogers was documented contemporaneously in an internal memo written by a senior NSA official, according to the officials. It is unclear if a similar memo was prepared by the Office of the Director of National Intelligence to document Trump’s conversation with Coats.

Officials said such memos could be made available to both the special counsel now overseeing the Russia investigation and congressional investigators, who might explore whether Trump sought to impede the FBI’s work.

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Mon 22 May, 2017 05:34 pm
And one of them can talk about quantum computers! Razz

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Mon 22 May, 2017 08:38 pm
The flip side of that is Donald isn't doing anything you didn't let Hillary get away with before.
Mon 22 May, 2017 08:39 pm
I hope so.
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Walter Hinteler
Mon 22 May, 2017 10:04 pm
layman wrote:
Wrong, Walt, effectively they did, in pieces, as I have already explained.
Tell it the Israel media, here the quoted Haaretz.
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