Monday, July 31, 2017


Phone company pop-up
Sends user looking
For alternative provider

THANKS TO FRANCHISE laws that prevent open competition, in my area there are basically three options to access the internet:

    1.   Telephone company
    2.   Cable company
    3.   Satellite dish

While in theory there is competition and in theory that should mean competitive pricing, in truth any claim of competition is a farce.

My Internet service is via the telephone company, an 800 pound gorilla.

To be fair, the service is, for the most part, reliable and it “pretty much” provides the service for which I pay.

My problem with the service is the all-too-frequent pop-up questionnaire that takes over the Internet site I am viewing.

If the questionnaire was small and offered a way to close it when it popped up, I probably would not complain. I might even honestly complete the questionnaire.

But it is not small; it fills the monitor’s screen and substitutes itself for the material I called up.

It’s a virus that my Avast anti-virus program apparently has no power to block. (Avast does a fine job blocking most invaders.)

What the questionnaire HAS accomplished is that I am now looking at alternatives, even those that cost as much as the phone company, even if the alternative only matches the phone company’s speed and promised reliability.

I had another phone company’s service when I lived elsewhere. No pop-up questionnaires. I had a cable company’s service in yet another location (I was a consultant), and again, no pop-ups.

I admit I don’t like the 800 pound gorilla, mostly because I feel it runs roughshod on its customers. Raise the rates? The government falls in line and, consumer be damned, the rates are raised. (This is one benefit for utility franchisers.)

I eliminated the phone company’s residential telephone service, replacing it with Consumer Cellular’s ZTE cellular-to-home phone converter. This accomplished two things, one good and one not so good:

    1.   I drastically lowered my monthly phone bill.
    2.   I lost my fax capability. (ZTE does not accommodate facsimile transmissions.)

Even with two cell phones and a former landline cordless phone arrangement connected to the ZTE device, the total bill is less than the bill for the same service from the phone company.

The 800 pound gorilla offers me a “reward” for taking time to respond to the pop-up questionnaire. The “rewards” are things I never would buy and certainly do not want.

It is patiently obvious to this scrivener that the phone company’s questionnaire software developer failed to write code that states “If this computer was queried within the last n days, do not query again..” Two days in a row I suffered the interruption of the phone company’s invasive questionnaire.

The only way I know to end the phone company’s unwanted invasions is to cancel all business with the company.

Inertia kept me with the phone company until now, but the questionnaire is forcing me to get off my posterior and re-examine my options.

If the links fail to work, see to learn how to find/access them. It's a Google problem.

PLAGIARISM is the act of appropriating the literary composition of another, or parts or passages of his writings, or the ideas or language of the same, and passing them off as the product of one’s own mind.

Comments on Internet options

Thursday, July 27, 2017


Concealed weapons
And “no carry” zones
Do they make sense?

THE OTHER DAY I attended an interesting 2 ½ hour seminar on Florida concealed carry laws. The seminal, given by U.S. Law Shield, was sponsored by the Nexus Shooting in Davie FL.

The seminar was free to Nexus members.

WHILE MOST OF THE information should be known to most people with concealed carry permits, one thing did get my attention.

An attorney contracted by U.S. Law Shield raised the issue of use of a concealed weapon in a “no carry zone.”

In Florida, there are a number of places where weapons are prohibited, including:

Any place of nuisance as defined in s. FS 823.05;
Any police, sheriff, or highway patrol station;
Any detention facility, prison, or jail;
Any courthouse;
Any courtroom, except that nothing in this section would preclude a judge from carrying a concealed weapon or determining who will carry a concealed weapon in his or her courtroom;
Any polling place;
Any meeting of the governing body of a county, public school district, municipality, or special district;
Any meeting of the Legislature or a committee thereof;
Any school, college, or professional athletic event not related to firearms;
Any elementary or secondary school facility or administration building;
Any career center;
Any portion of an establishment licensed to dispense alcoholic beverages for consumption on the premises, which portion of the establishment is primarily devoted to such purpose;
Any college or university facility unless the licensee is a registered student, employee, or faculty member of such college or university and the weapon is a stun gun or nonlethal electric weapon or device designed solely for defensive purposes and the weapon does not fire a dart or projectile;
The inside of the passenger terminal and sterile area* of any airport, provided that no person shall be prohibited from carrying any legal firearm into the terminal, which firearm is encased for shipment for purposes of checking such firearm as baggage to be lawfully transported on any aircraft; or
Any place where the carrying of firearms is prohibited by federal law.

* The sterile area refers to portions of an airport defined in the airport security program that provides passengers access to boarding aircraft and to which the access generally is controlled by TSA, an aircraft operator, or a foreign air carrier; in other words, past TSA check points.

(The Florida House and Senate have bills (SB 908/HB 803) to consider that would permit holders of concealed carry licenses to in places they currently are prohibited with a few exceptions, e.g., where prohibited by federal law.)

Why allow concealed carry in airports, schools, hospitals, and other places?

Consider is a person with a concealed carry permit had been at

and allowed to have a legally carried weapon and if the person was able to SAFELY (without endangering others) neutralize the assailant how many lives might have been saved and how many injured would not have suffered wounds.

Even with the law banning weapons in the places cited above, a person with a carry permit might have dared to break the law to save lives. Would the person be arrested for carrying in a prohibited area? Probably. Would the person spend time in jail? Possibly.

One thing the U.S. Law Shield presenters made very clear — perhaps to encourage membership — was that if a person shoots another person, even in what is clearly a self defense situation the shooter is going to be arrested.

(My experience in Florida — and I have lived here most of my life — is that if a person is arrested in an obviously self-defense situation, the prosecutor normally does not pursue charges.CAVEAT: Florida is NOT New York or Illinois or California so what is probable in Florida may not be probable in any other state.

Was the course worth my time. Yes.

Did I learn anything new? Yes.

Would I recommend the course? Yes.

Would I BELIEVE everything I was told? No; I’d do my own research.

If the links fail to work, see to learn how to find/access them. It's a Google problem.


PLAGIARISM is the act of appropriating the literary composition of another, or parts or passages of his writings, or the ideas or language of the same, and passing them off as the product of one’s own mind.

Comments on Concealed Carry laws

Wednesday, July 26, 2017


Mining company pays
Price for accommodating
Two workers but not third

The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) took Consol Energy, Inc. to court claiming discrimination against an employee who feared a hand scanner would place the “Mark of the Beast” on him.

The EEOC won initially and on appeal to the Court Of Appeals For The Fourth Circuit.

ACCORDING TO Employment Law Lookout, the EEOC claimed the West Virginia mining company failed to accommodate a worker’s request to use an alternative method to clock in and out.

The employee offered two alternate options, neither of which the company found acceptable. The company offered on option the employee rejected.

AT THE SAME TIME, the company DID accommodate two employees who had injured hands and were not physically able to place their hand on the scanner; it allowed them to key in their personnel numbers using a keypad attached to the system.

The Lesson

The lesson for Enterprise Risk Management practitioners and the organizations for which they work is simple: If an employee objects to a specific practice (e.g., hand scanners for checking in and logging out) yet provides options for others that would be acceptable to the offended employee , the company best find a way to offer the reluctant employee the same option(s).

Thinking about HR

As I was developing a risk list for a shipping company I wandered into the HR area. I asked the HR manager if he could identify any risks to the operation.

“The neighbors,” he said. Why neighbors? Turns out this company’s neighbor was a national insurance company with a great many retired military on its payroll. When the military is in disfavor, people picket such places — sometimes the picketing leads to violence than can spread to my then client.

Besides, picketing ties up traffic to and from my client’s facility.

That’s all, I asked. Yes, the HR manager answered.

About this his “assistant” walked in. The “assistant” was a lady with substantially more experience than the HR manager.

“What about I-9s,” she innocently asked the HR manager.

I-9s are the “proof of eligibility to work in the U.S.” forms; forms that any number of federal agencies can swoop down and demand to see.

Failure to have an I-9 for every employee — president to intern — can prove costly. How costly? According to , as of August 1, 2016
First offender fines ranged between $375 and $3,200 per individual; now they will extend from $539 to $4,313.
Repeat offender fines were previously between $4,300 and $16,000; they may now be anywhere from $6,469 to $21,563.

Just like Disk Martin of Laugh-in fame, I had to admit until then, "I didn't know that." (See 1:57 of linked video for sample.)

Good practitioners always are learning.

If the links fail to work, see to learn how to find/access them. It's a Google problem.


PLAGIARISM is the act of appropriating the literary composition of another, or parts or passages of his writings, or the ideas or language of the same, and passing them off as the product of one’s own mind.

Comments on Mining company pays

Sunday, July 23, 2017


Taurus warranty
Not worth paper
Used to print it

Repeated appeals ignored by Customer Support

I OWN A TAURUS M605 5-shot “snubbie.” It’s strictly a self-defense weapon, accurate to about 15 feet.

The 605 fires both .38 and .357 magnum cartridges. (NB). I bought mine second hand — now I know why.

Made in Brasil for Miami FL-based Taurus USA, the M605 has a less than 2-inch barrel and has a five-chamber cylinder. As a self-defense weapon, it should be a good choice, especially when loaded with .357 magnum rounds.

My first born, a police detective, took me to his favorite range when I visited him on Florida’s west coast. I shot about 30 rounds of .38 LRN (range) ammunition. Then, because I wanted him to experience a fast round, I loaded in 5 rounds of Liberty Civil Defense .357 magnum, 50 grain Copper, Monolithic, Hollow-Point. (Liberty’s words.) I fired four shots and he fired the fifth.

When I tried to extract the fired Liberty cartridge cases they wouldn’t budge. We tried to push them out with the snubbie’s extractor rod; no luck.

We waited about 5 minutes. The cases cooled and, apparently, “shrunk” back to their original diameter. We managed to extract the cases.

I complained to Taurus USA in Miami on

    June 17
    June 25
    and July 4.

I tried contacting Taurus USA Customer Support via snail mail (June 17) and via the company web site (June 25 and July 4).

Same result each time: No response. Not by snail mail, not by email.

On July 9th I took my son-in-law to a local range. I fired 20 rounds of .38 LRN and 30 rounds of .357 magnum 158 grain JSP. When I tried to fire the 31st round of .357 magnum the gun’s cylinder locked and the gun would not fire.

A gun that will not fire, or one from which fired cartridge cases cannot be extracted, is useless.

While I never intend to be in a gun fight and need to fire round after round, I would like to be able to shoot as much as I want at the range. (My shooting beyond 15 feet needs much improvement, and the only way to get that improvement is to spend time on the range.)

On July 10th I contacted Taurus USA Customer Support once again via snail mail, with a response deadline of July 21st — plenty of time for my letter to travel the few miles to Miami, be read, an answer composed, and the reply returned via snail mail. (Customer Support also has my email.)

    This is posted at 11 p.m. on July 22; still no ressponse from Taurus.

I discovered that Taurus USA has a bad — and getting worse — reputation when it comes to Customer Support.

The complaints range from no response to customer communications to unconscionably long delays in repairing and returning a Taurus firearm. There are, to be fair, a few people satisfied with Taurus USA’s Customer Support.

There is a lot to be said for Taurus USA products; sadly, there is too much to be said about Taurus USA’s absolute lack of customer support.

Would I buy another Taurus product? Not a chance. The product may be good, but without support, it is not worth my money.

Recapping contact attempts

DateContact MethodResponse
July 17Snail mailNone
June 25Web siteNone
July 4Web siteNone
July 9Snail mailNone

If the links fail to work, see to learn how to find/access them. It's a Google problem.

NB: “Bullets” are the small bit of material at the end of a cartridge. See the illustration (and article) at I learned this when I ordered bullets on line. I should have known better; I’ve been shooting guns since I was 6 years old. “Pistols” generally are one of the following: revolver, semi-automatic/automatic, and Derringer. Semi-autos and many rifles and some shotguns have magazines which feed cartridges to the weapon’s chamber. Clips feed cartridges to magazines.

LRN=Lead Round Nose bullet type
JSP=Jacketed Soft Point
JHP=Jacketed Hollow Point


PLAGIARISM is the act of appropriating the literary composition of another, or parts or passages of his writings, or the ideas or language of the same, and passing them off as the product of one’s own mind.

Comments on Taurus warranty

Tuesday, July 18, 2017


Simple plan
To replace

FIXING “OBAMACARE” (the Affordable Care Act Congress passed without reading) should be bi-partisan and include the people who USE the program, but not insurance companies, medical professionals, hospitals and clinics, and “ethical” pharmaceuticals. (I’ll explain shortly.)

First of all, scrap everything that has transpired since President Trump took office,

While Obamacare was passed for a Democratic president when the Democrats controlled Congress, look at the push back by the people forced to use the program.


It probably seems a novel idea to many in Congress, but ASK THE USERS what they like and what they don’t like about Obamacare. Use the franking privilege, use the internet, and send the office staffs to hold town meetings.

Send out a letter to every adult in the Congressional district with a two-column questionnaire:

What's good about ACAWhat's bad about ACA

Explain that “ACA” is “Obamacare” but do nothing to influence the thinking of the person filling out the questionnaire. “We want your opinion. Please take time to answer the questions and mail the questionnaire back, postage paid, when complete. Thank you.

    Having been in the “quiz” business I know that how a question is worded can pre-determine what the answer almost always will be. Are you still beating your spouse?

Take the same two-column questionnaire to the town hall meetings. Have an amanuensis record what the people at the meeting say, preferably in large letters on a white board or chalk board. (The ideal is to use a “smart” board that can capture the input to a computer or copy machine.)

    Just to give the constituents a “warm and fuzzy” feeling that their voices were heard, ask the local media to disseminate the results of the meeting. A notation that “n” comments were for ABA and “n” comments were against will not suffice; the recorded comments must be listed. Beside the “warm, fuzzy,” it will help keep the congressperson honest when a vote comes to the floor.

State by State

After a reasonable opinion-gathering period — say two months — have each state’s senators and representatives meet to compare notes and create a new, albeit similar table.

What's good about ACA%What's bad about ACA%

Look at the negative comments — for example requiring everyone to pay for pregnancy coverage; is it fair to the add additional cost to an octogenarian man’s coverage? It might be — the octogenarian also pays school taxes and he’s long past his school days.

Now the senators and representatives will know what their constituents consider the good and the bad about the ACA.

How does it compare to the “Romney plan?”

According to Wikipedia: The Commonwealth of Massachusetts passed a health care reform law in 2006 with the aim of providing health insurance to nearly all of its residents. The law mandated that nearly every resident of Massachusetts obtain a minimum level of insurance coverage, provided free health care insurance for residents earning less than 150% of the federal poverty level (FPL) and mandated employers with more than 10 "full-time" employees to provide healthcare insurance.

The senators and representatives from the other 49 states should send delegates to a meeting of Massachusetts senators and representatives to find out what they discovered from their constituents about the Massachusetts plan — a/k/a the Romneycare Plan — before the Massachusetts’ plan was massaged to conform to Obamacare.

Now, compare notes

Now that the politicians have input from the majority of their constituents, let them put all the acquired comments into a single and simple document — perhaps using a format such as the second table in this effort — so all politicians from all states can review the input. An outsider -- perhaps the Government Printing Office (GPO) could assemble the data since it has no direct interest in the plan's contents.

With the voters’ input in front of them, they should be able to reach an agreement on what the voters want. I suspect it will not be “clear cut,” and compromises will be necessary, but in the end, all parties and independents should be satisfied that they have met most constituent expectations.

This no longer is a “conservative” vs. “liberal” politician combat. It is the result of taking the matter to the citizens.

Disseminate the results of the joint senate and house exercise.

Bring in the lobbyists

Until this point, no one has asked the lobbyists from the healthcare, insurance, and “ethical” pharmaceuticals. (“Ethical” pharmaceuticals are prescription drugs vs. OTC (over-the-counter) medications. The word “ethical” may or may not apply to all such pharmaceutical companies; its use is solely to differentiate one from the other.)

Over the years I have found lobbyists — vendor representatives — to be a wealth of information, especially when they are competitors. That may not be the case with Washington (and state capital) lobbyists, but their insight should be sought. There is no rule that states their advice must be followed.

Build a plan

Even with all the inter-party meeting, disagreement is inevitable, but — hopefully, and assuming all parties are open-minded — compromises in line with constituents’ expectations can be reached. Extremists from all sides need to be banished from these compromise sessions; there is too much far left and far right in Congress now and the pendulum needs to swing in a small arc near the center.

Once a plan has been formulated, make it available to “the world.” Put it online so that the general public can read the entire plan, not just what a biased (liberal or conservative) media wants the public to know. Politicians in Congress should be prepared to send simplified — albeit honest — “Reader’s Digest” versions of the bi-partisan bill to their constituents … with reference to the complete bill’s location and availability.

One of the primary complaints with the Obama bill was the way it was presented to Congress: “Here is a 2,000-plus page bill; read it overnight and vote tomorrow” (or words to that effect). President Trump, to his credit, is demanding transparency. Unfortunately, it is abundantly transparent that there is zero bi-partisan cooperation on developing a replacement program.

If there are parts of the plan constituents might find objectionable — again, let’s use pregnancy coverage for an octogenarian male — the plan should offer a reasonable explanation that the octogenarian can understand, if not appreciate.

    When American was “young,” we used to take care of one another. Communities pulled together to raise barns, to care for the sick, and to provide loans for newcomers to get on their (financial) feet. We seem to have lost the feeling of “community” somewhere along the way that may account for the octogenarian male objecting to paying for pregnancy coverage. Then again, perhaps not.

Bottom line

If the liberal and conservative extremists will honor the will of the majority — once again, the “silent” majority” — rather than encouraging their followers to riot and commit mayhem against their own neighbors, then America can have affordable health care for all individuals.

Even the former president acknowledges that his plan can be improved upon. (Why he failed to improve upon the plan while he was in office is beyond my ken.)

President Trump promised to replace the ACA with a better plan; the ACA cannot be cancelled sans a replacement plan; that was the president’s promise.

Getting a replacement plan is the problem, and the problem is caused by political division and a total disregard of the citizens who will be blessed — or cursed — with the plan.

If Congress — and the president — really want Americans to support the plan, Congress (and its employees) and the president must be insured by the plan. Anything less and Americans will know the new plan is a farce as was the old plan.

Replacing ACA should have been simple

If the GOP had gone about the task differently, and had the Democrats been willing to work with the GOP, and had all Congresspeople had their constituents in mind, a replacement plan could already be on its way to implementation.

Congress must start with their citizen constituents. It failed us by ignoring us.

It’s time to start over.

If the links fail to work, see to learn how to find/access them. It's a Google problem.


PLAGIARISM is the act of appropriating the literary composition of another, or parts or passages of his writings, or the ideas or language of the same, and passing them off as the product of one’s own mind.


Comments on Replacing Obamacare

Sunday, July 16, 2017


Inside info:
Ignore it?

OTHER THAN “INSIDER trading” there is nothing illegal about acquiring information about your competitor, be the competitor business or politics.

So what’s the big deal about Trump Junior agreeing to meet with someone who might provide new information about Hillary Clinton?

Certainly there was plenty of anti-Clinton information already out there:

    Her illegal email server on which there were, according to the FBI, many “sensitive” emails

    Her handling of Benghazi where a well-planned “spontaneous” attack on the consulate ended with the death of four Americans — simply because she was too slow to act.

THERE IS A BIG DIFFERENCE between “Russia” — Putin, his followers, or simply Wiki leaks copycats — offering competitive information about a political candidate and the “Russians” trying to tamper with American voting machines — s situation, according to the FBI, that did NOT happen.

Looking g at Clinton — an Obama follower — and Trump — a known hardnosed negotiator — WHY would the Russians want Trump to be president?

Compared to Trump, Clinton is an indecisive pussy cat just like her former boss. SHE never said she wanted to make America great again. Not on her agenda.

Trump, on the other hand, made it clear that he would not let other nations dictate to America; his promise was to “Make America Great Again.”

Industrial espionage is legal as long as there are no B&Es. Paying an insider for information about a developing product is not nice, but neither is it illegal.

In any event, real spies will admit that most of their intelligence gathering is from the media and public records and, not surprisingly, the internet. Not exciting “007” stuff, but the facts of spy life.

OK. Trump Junior owned up to meeting with Russian agents who claimed to have more “dirt” on Hillary — not that there wasn’t enough already (ibid.). He would be remiss if he rejected the Russian overture. (There apparently is zero evidence any Trump associate initiated a contact.) True, there had been talks with the Russian ambassador to the U.S. — hardly illegal. Perhaps the Trump people were apprising the ambassador of what to expect in the event The Donald won the election. I’m certain his “Make America Great Again” promise was not well received in the Kremlin.

Of course the United States NEVER would interfere in another county’s politics.

If anyone believes that, there is a bridge in New York for sale; give me a call.

The last time America tried — and failed — to influence an election was when Trump’s predecessor sent U.S. taxpayer dollars to Israel in an attempt to defeat the incumbent prime minister with whom he had an obvious dislike. (The prime minister didn’t like the president, either.) It was money ill-spent; the incumbent PM won handily.

Under Trump’s predecessor, the U.S. was caught bugging the phones of leaders of allied nations. Not the phones of suspected Islamic extremists, but heads of state.

President Trump calls the media attacks a “witch hunt,” and indeed they are. Although Salem MA murdered a number of “witches,” there really were no witches then, so “witch hunt” has to be an empty exercise. No witches then and nothing in Trump’s contacts with the Russians that is illegal.

I once had a brief correspondence with an Iranian. Does that make me an “enemy of the state”? The subject was risk management, not then and not now a controlled subject. I also once was invited to speak on risk management in an African nation not an especial friend of the U.S. I did not accept, but even if I had, no violation of any U.S. laws.

It is a pity that today’s “journalists” don’t know history beyond yesterday’s headlines (never mind the copy beneath the heads) and are too lazy to consult — or, hard to believe — look up Constitutional law before attacking the president.


If the links fail to work, see to learn how to find/access them. It's a Google problem.


PLAGIARISM is the act of appropriating the literary composition of another, or parts or passages of his writings, or the ideas or language of the same, and passing them off as the product of one’s own mind.

Comments on Inside Info

Friday, July 14, 2017


Why don’t Dems
Attack Trump
For Clinton’s crimes

I HAVE TO WONDER ABOUT Democrat mentality.

When Trump took office he did two things:

    One, he told the fibbies to lay off Hillary and her illegal email servers

    Two, he fired Obama appointee flip-flopping fibbie director James Comey

Actually, there was one other “first days” action that riled the Democrats: Trump fired U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara. Bharara, thumbing his nose at long-established protocol, refused to submit his resignation when the new president took office as all presidential appointees who serve at the president’s pleasure are expected to do. (This rolls downhill all the way to the municipal level. Usually the resignations are refused, but the formality remains.)

Now, whatever Trump – or his supporters – do is a grievous sin to be headlined in the media. Good grief, if Ivanka Trump stands in the same way the former first lady stood, that’s worthy of media contempt.

I’m not a “Trump can do no wrong” person; he can, and has, and assuredly will do things to which I take exception.

    His knee-jerk reaction tweets (that seem to be more thoughtful lately)

    His push to replace the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act without input from (a) Democrats who might have some good ideas – assuming they can actually think without attacking, and (b) the people who use the Affordable Care Act: patients and practitioners. I suppose he also must kowtow to the courts that seem to be making America’s laws.

The PROBLEM with replacing the Affordable Care Act is that Americans quickly became accustomed to the benefits. Once a benefit program is in place, it is very hard to cancel or modify.

Social Security, which the former president raped along with Medicare, was supposed to be “phased out” and replaced with – what?

We did not always have Social Security, the Railroad Retirement, of even the Federal employees’ retirement plan, (FERS) and when it was instituted – when Eleanor Roosevelt was first lady – it was not intended as a retirement fund. It became a retirement fund – for which I am grateful – but that was not its intent. Still, akin to Medicare, every working American paid into Social Security, sometimes willingly, sometimes not. How much depended on how much the covered American made; how much a covered American receives in his or her dotage depends on what they paid in. (There was a period when employers rewarded their loyal employees with pensions, but most pensions are gone now.)

There also was a time when employers funded the majority of the employees’ health and medical insurance – that was a time when insurance was more reasonably priced. Insurance is a business, lest we forget, and the cost of getting sick has risen greatly – faster than inflation.

I am not writing that “all Democrats are dummies and all Republicans are brilliant.” That is absurd. There ARE Democrats who should be tossed out on their ears and there are Republicans who should end up with them.

Trump and the GOP in congress should write off the “media” and focus on the jobs at hand – and that means working with the Democrats who use their brains. A better-than-Obamacare plan is possible, but it must be crafted with input from the Democrats and the end users – both patients and practitioners. A good start would be to force all those in government — elected and appointed — to depend on Obamacare and its replacement; THEN improvements would be made in short order.

While they are at it, those in Congress should vote to convert their Federal Employees Retirement System (FERS) to Social Security.

Back to Hillary and her illegal server

When, shortly after Mrs. Clinton conceded the election, Trump said he would, as president, order the Justice Department not to pursue allegations that Mrs. Clinton violated a number of Federal laws when, as Secretary of State, she sent and received emails – some at least “sensitive” and bearing on national security – via her personal and private server, and there was no farther discussion of her role in the deaths of four Americans at the Benghazi consulate in Libya during a well-planned “spontaneous” uprising. Nor did Trump ask the fibbies to investigate the defeated candidate over her incendiary post-election comments that urged her followers to hit the streets; some of her fans making their point by destroying their own neighborhoods in Hillary’s name.

Interestingly, no Democrats objected to Trump’s decisions regarding Mrs. Clinton and there were no riots in the streets.

The media made little mention of Mrs. Clinton’s illegal and improper behavior, and quickly moved onto “Dump Trump” news as soon as the pressure on Mrs. Clinton was removed.

Almost everything the president or his associates – or even his family – do is scrutinized by the media in an effort to find fault. When there is no fault to be found, the media invents it – hence “fake news.”

TO BE FAIR, lately some “journalists” have been caught writing news they want to be heard/read, regardless of its veracity. A few have been fired. More interesting, some cartoonists – editorial and otherwise – are, it seems, trying to be more balanced; to admit maybe Trump has his moments. (I have no problems with editorials and cartoons that attack issues regardless of the party behind the issue.)

President Trump and his associates are fair game for criticism, but the media should treat all politicians – regardless of party – equally. So far, the media has been strictly in “Attack the President” mode.

Mrs. Clinton lost the election. Although Obama assured Americans that he could win, like FDR, a third and maybe a fourth term in the White House, the country was spared that threat.

The U.S. suffered through eight years of Obama; it can suffer through 4 to 8 years of Trump. Perhaps by then, the pendulum swinging from far left to far right will have settled someplace near the middle and we can elect people who will listen to the opposition and make – or unmake – laws that benefit all Americans, laws that won’t automatically be struck down by the courts.

Or perhaps that’s just wishful thinking.

If the links fail to work, see to learn how to find/access them. It's a Google problem.


PLAGIARISM is the act of appropriating the literary composition of another, or parts or passages of his writings, or the ideas or language of the same, and passing them off as the product of one’s own mind.


Comments: Comments on Attacking Trump.

Tuesday, July 4, 2017


Time to stop
Being PC
With N. Korea

North Korea — likes its mid-east twin Iran — is testing missiles designed to strike anywhere in the world.

As with Nero and his fiddle, President Trump tweets while North Korea test fires what it claims are ICBMs — missiles capable, in theory at least, of reaching any U.S. city.

‘Course other “world leaders” are doing even less.

The U.S. has a recovering military, including a less than full strength Navy, that could, if it was “politically correct” put an end to North Korea’s missile testing without putting any Americans in harm’s way.


When North Korea test fires a missile, shoot it down.

The U.S. spends “big bucks” firing missiles so that anti-missile defenses can use it to test their accuracy.

If the U.S. wanted to play a diplomatic game with the Supreme Leader, it could fire a target missile paralleling the path of North Korea’s ICBM and, in a test of the U.S.’ anti-missile defense, miss the target missile and accidently down the North Korean ICBM.

Israel might do the same thing as Iran tests its missiles — except it probably already is doing that in Syria.

Who is to say that the U.S. deliberately targeted North Korea’s missile? The UN? Who believes or has any confidence in the UN? The UN is as effective as the League of Nations before it.

Would North Korea risk a real war with the U.S.? Even with China’s support it is doubtful that its apparently crazy Supreme Leader would endanger himself; he might be willing to sacrifice his people, but not himself. Therein lies the problem of war with North Korea and Iran — not all North Koreans and Iranians willingly support their political — and in Iran’s case, religious — masters. Still, “collateral damage” is the price of war. Ask anyone who survived the London blitz or the Dresden fire bombings … or Hiroshima and Nagasaki.

South Korea would have to beef up its defenses against North Korean aggression, but it has enough (U.S. supplied) military power to defend itself, assuming the new South Koreans army will fight. (Its reputation during the UN’s “Korean police action” was less than sterling.)

Meanwhile, Admiral Harry Harris, CO of the U.S. Pacific operations said that “Continued provocative actions by North Korea, to include yesterday’s launch of multiple missiles, only confirm the prudence of our alliance decision last year to deploy THAAD to South Korea,” The system is meant to intercept and destroy short and medium-range ballistic missiles during their final phase of flight which suggests that the THAAD would be useless against a North Korean ICBM test. (Source:

However, there ARE Navy surface and submarine resources that could bring a North Korean missile test to a quick end.

Assuming, of course, that President Trump can stop tweeting long enough to order the action.

If the links fail to work, see to learn how to find/access them. It's a Google problem.


PLAGIARISM is the act of appropriating the literary composition of another, or parts or passages of his writings, or the ideas or language of the same, and passing them off as the product of one’s own mind.

Comments: Comments on Korean Missiles

Sunday, July 2, 2017


Good for goose
But not gander?

Of power change pots and kettles

Did Russia attempt to sway American voters in the 2016 presidential election?

Very likely.

Why Putin would support Trump — who despite doing business in Russia is an American Firster — rather than Clinton, never known for being tough on anything is beyond my ken.

Trump’s predecessor in the White House claims this is so, and he now admits he and his staff knew about the Russian attempted interference long before the November election … he just didn’t DO anything, or reveal anything, to the American public.

For all that, Americans should not feel used and abused by Putin & Company; the U.S. government is an old hand at manipulating elections in other countries … as well as invading countries and kidnapping leaders it deems unsuitable for the job. —

The graphic above lists 41 countries — actually 44 if no-longer-extant countries are counted — in which the U.S. government has been caught interfering in foreign elections.

There are many reasons why a foreign government would want to interfere in U.S. elections; there are an equal number of reasons — valid or perceived necessary — why the U.S. government interferes in foreign elections.

While this may shock some “innocent” Americans, they also should know that the U.S. spies on its friends and foes alike; likewise it has plans to invade both friends and foes. It is not only foreign leaders phones that are tapped — legally or otherwise — the government evesdrops on calls made by/to U.S. citizens. — legally or othersies. It’s the way of governments of all types.

A sampling of America’s interference

Beneath the rule are article titles and URLs that describe some of America’s involvement in the affairs of other countries.


What defines an “invasion?” Politifact provides a definition of “invasion”:

  • It violated the U.N. Charter, which says in Article 2, Paragraph 4 that member countries shall refrain "from the threat or use of force against the territorial integrity or political independence of any state."
  • • It didn’t qualify as a permitted exception for the use of force under the U.N. Charter. The charter permits military action in the case of "self-defense if an armed attack occurs" or if the U.N. Security Council authorizes armed force.

  • It involves ground troops entering another country.

A Facebook meme says, "22 Countries Invaded by the U.S. in 20 Years. Russia Does It and Everyone Loses Their Mind." In face, Politifact continues, here were 23 nations invaded over not 20 but 30 years. (The Facebook entry doesn’t go back to the U.S.’ invasion of Mexico in 1846 (Mexican-American War).

After bashing President Trump, Owen Jones, writing for the UK’s Guardian, notes that while Americans feel justifiably angry at alleged interference with their political process, they have also been handed a mirror, and the reflection should disturb them.

For the US is a world leader in the field of intervening in the internal affairs of other countries. The alleged interference is far more extensive than hacking into emails belonging to unfavoured political parties. According to research by political scientist Dov Levin, the US and the USSR/Russia together intervened no less than 117 times in foreign elections between 1946 and 2000, or “one out of every nine competitive, national-level executive elections”.

Noam Chomsky, another Trump basher who, according to Wikipedia is " is an American linguist, philosopher, cognitive scientist, historian, social critic, and political activist, " told an interviewer Much of the world must be astonished -- if they are not collapsing in laughter -- while watching the performances in high places and in media concerning Russian efforts to influence an American election, a familiar US government specialty as far back as we choose to trace the practice. There is, however, merit in the claim that this case is different in character: By US standards, the Russian efforts are so meager as to barely elicit notice.

The history of US foreign policy, especially after World War II, is pretty much defined by the subversion and overthrow of foreign regimes, including parliamentary regimes, and the resort to violence to destroy popular organizations that might offer the majority of the population an opportunity to enter the political arena.

Chomsky then goes on to detail some of America's meddling in foreign affairs.

The LA Times headlines "The U.S. is no stranger to interfering in the elections of other countries" and reports that The U.S. has a long history of attempting to influence presidential elections in other countries – it’s done so as many as 81 times between 1946 and 2000, according to a database amassed by political scientist Dov Levin of Carnegie Mellon University.

That number doesn’t include military coups and regime change efforts following the election of candidates the U.S. didn’t like, notably those in Iran, Guatemala and Chile. Nor does it include general assistance with the electoral process, such as election monitoring.

Levin defines intervention as “a costly act which is designed to determine the election results [in favor of] one of the two sides.” These acts, carried out in secret two-thirds of the time, include funding the election campaigns of specific parties, disseminating misinformation or propaganda, training locals of only one side in various campaigning or get-out-the-vote techniques, helping one side design their campaign materials, making public pronouncements or threats in favor of or against a candidate, and providing or withdrawing foreign aid.

According to the Foreign Policy site, The era of CIA-supported coups dawned in dramatic fashion: An American general flies to Iran and meets with “old friends”; days later, the Shah orders Prime Minister Mohammed Mossadegh to step down. When the Iranian military hesitates, millions of dollars are funneled into Tehran to buy off Mossadegh’s supporters and finance street protests. The military, recognizing that the balance of power has shifted, seizes the prime minister, who will live the rest of his life under house arrest. It was, as one CIA history puts it, “an American operation from beginning to end,” and one of many U.S.-backed coups to take place around the world during the second half of the 20th century.

Several national leaders, both dictators and democratically elected figures, were caught in the middle of the U.S.-Soviet Cold War — a position that ultimately cost them their office (and, for some, their life) as the CIA tried to install “their man” as head of state. The U.S. government has since publicly acknowledged some of these covert actions; in fact, the CIA’s role in the 1953 coup was just declassified this week. In other cases, the CIA’s involvement is still only suspected.

According to Wikipedia, the U.S.’ first attempt to intervene on foreign shores was to put down pirate attacks eminating from the Barbary coast. There were two “Barbary Wars,” the first from 1801 to 1805,and the second from 1815 to 1817.

The U.S. largely stayed out of European squabbles due to the Monroe Doctrine that said, in general, that the Europeans would leave the Americas alone and the U.S. would keep its troops at home. The Barbary wars were the exception ssince the pirates preyed on U.S. flagged ships, much as the pirates along Africa’s coasts do today.

Foreign Policy’s site includes a headline reading “Mapped: The 7 Governments the U.S. Has Overthrown" In the associated article, Foreign Policy lists

    Iran, 1953 Guatemala, 1954 Congo, 1960 Dominican Republic, 1961 South Vietnam, 1963 Brazil, 1964 Chile, 1973

The article fails to include Granada nor does it include the failed attempt to invade Castro's Cuba (Bay of Pigs).

Dr. Zoltan Grossman lists on a *.edu page U.S. military interventions dating back to 1890 when U.S. troops salaughtered at least 300 Lakota Indians at Wounded Knee. He also lists a number of times U.S. troops have been used to put down strikes (silver mines, rail) and Indian revolts against Washington rule, the Veterans' March on Washington, and more than a few times to put down black rioters.

The bottom line

The brouhaha over Russian meddling in U.S. politics is, for both governments, “busines as usual” and should not be fodder for the liberal media (of the conservative media, either). It harks back to Mad Magazine’s Spy v. Spy cartoons. If anyone thinks only “the other guys” meddle in our business, there is plenty of evidence to prove the U.S. is a big time player.

Trump’s predecessor knew the Russians were meddling in the U.S. elections but was unable to decide what acton, if any, to take. (Imagine a Commander in Chief who can’t make up his — or her — mind how to respond to an attack on Am,erica’s interests.)

The URLs that follow (beneath the rule) all focus on U.S. interference in other nations’ business. The are the result of a “quick and dirty” Internet search. Many are biased; a few are blatantly one sided opinions. Readers may be able to sort the wheat from the chafe.

The following titles and URLs are NOT “all inclusive”

Internet sites about U.S. interference in foreign elections

Election meddling

Americans can spot election meddling because they’ve been doing it for years (UK Guardian) Tiny URL:

Noam Chomsky on the Long History of US Meddling in Foreign Elections (Truth Out) Tiny URL:

The U.S. is no stranger to interfering in the elections of other countries (LA Times) Tiny URL:

Election Interference? The U.S. Has Done It In 45 Countries Worldwide (Vocativ) Tiny URL:

Invasions and Dispositions

Overseas interventions of the United States (Wiki) Tiny URL:

Author Kinzer Charts 'Century of Regime Change (NPR) Tiny URL:

Mapped: The 7 Governments the U.S. Has Overthrown (Foreign Policy) Tiny URL:

From Wounded Knee to Syria: A Century of U.S. Military Interventions (.edu) Tiny URL:

Viral meme says United States has 'invaded' 22 countries in the past 20 years (Politifact) Tiny URL:


About Tiny URL ( – this application “shrinks” long URLs to managable size. It’s free and very handy, especially when blog software works as it should.

If the links in the body fail to work, see to learn how to find/access them. It's a Google problem.


PLAGIARISM is the act of appropriating the literary composition of another, or parts or passages of his writings, or the ideas or language of the same, and passing them off as the product of one’s own mind.

Comments: Comments on Goose & Gander