Let's Fix This Country
endless war

Still Obsessed with Obama, Trump Tells a Whopper

Unending fake charges against the first black president go unchallenged

In his talk the morning after the Iran missile strike at U.S. bases in Iraq, President Trump continued his psychodrama with Barack Obama with a compound lie that may have come from Sean Hannity, who recites it almost nightly in his tirades on the Fox network. Trump said:

"Iran's hostilities substantially increased after the foolish Iran nuclear deal was signed in 2013 and they were given $150 billion not to mention $1.8 billion in cash. The missiles fired last night at us and our allies were paid for with the funds made available by the last administration".

Indeed, that same night Hannity spoke of Obama and Biden…

"shipping the radical Islamic mullahs of Iran $150 billion in bribes to try and get them to like us and appease the world's number one state sponsor of terrorism".

Trump's constant attacks on Obama are repugnant. They are made worse by lies that need to be shredded.

First, we follow the money.

The Obama administration did not "give" $150 billion to Iran. (How could that have cleared Congress?). However much they received was Iran's own money. Perhaps that bears repeating, given the lies. It was their money frozen in banking systems around the world by sanctions penalizing their nuclear activities. As part of the deal whereby Iran ceased enriching uranium and forswore development of nuclear weapons, their money was to be released by the United States and other countries once inspectors verified, as they did in January 2016 six months…


Social Security: A Year Closer to Crisis and Still No Fix

Over 40% of millennials think they'll get nothing

"Nobody in politics wants to deal with Social Security a second before they have to", quipped Alan Simpson, the towering former Republican senator from Wyoming. That again held true in 2019 even though the money coming in from payroll taxes is no longer sufficient to pay benefits. Starting in 2018 the administration had to begin recalling the surplus tax collections it has loaned to

the federal government over the years, but that so-called trust fund will run out in 2034. From that point forward the SSA won't have enough and will have to cut benefits to all retirees by by 21%.

The country was faced with this same threat in 1983, but Congress raised the payroll tax and the eligibility age, sending revenues into surplus enough to keep the system healthy for over three decades. Congress shows no sign of taking action this time. Fourteen years will go by quickly. Where will that leave you?

Let's first take the measure of the crushing demands the Social Security program faces in coming years. As it is, in fiscal 2019 it paid $1.1 trillion in benefits to 69 million recipients, assisted 43 million visitors at its offices, and fielded 75 million calls to its toll-free line. The population bulge of those born between 1946 and 1964 — the Baby Boomers — define its future. They have been turning 65 at a rate of 8,000 to 10,000 every day and they are living longer with life expectancy steadily increasing. In 1970, the median American age was 28.1 years. In the half century since, the median age by 2016 became 37.9 years. By 2035, the number of Americans 65 and older will exceed those under age 18 for the first time in our history, and by 2060 this cohort will nearly double…


His Strange Obsession: Trump Says Ukraine Did It

Here's what that's about

Here and there Donald Trump had wondered aloud about Ukraine's involvement in the 2016 election. In an April 2017 interview with The Associated Press, he began talking about the hack of the Democratic National Committee (DNC) a year
Just after its revolution in 2014, political scientists from Dartmouth, Harvard, and Princeton asked 2,066 Americans to locate Ukraine on a map. Each dot is an individual's answer.

earlier, asking why the FBI had not taken possession of the server. “They brought in another company that I hear is Ukrainian-based”, the president said. “CrowdStrike?” the surprised reporter asked, referring to the California cybersecurity company that did the investigative work to determine how Russian government hackers had broken into the server and stolen Democratic emails. “That’s what I heard”, Mr. Trump affirmed. “I heard it’s owned by a very rich Ukrainian; that’s what I heard.”

As early as October of 2016, Homeland Security and the Director of National Intelligence stated their confidence…

"that the Russian Government directed the recent compromises of e-mails from US persons and institutions, including from US political organizations consistent with the methods and motivations…

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All roads lead to Putin

One of the nuggets of the report, two years in the making, of The Senate Intelligence Committee $#0151; a truly bipartisan work by Chair North Carolina Republican Richard Burr and Ranking Member Virginia Democrat Mark Warner — was the discovery that, on learning of Trump's victpry over Clinton, the Kremlin-directed operatives of the St. Petersburg-based Internet Research Agency, which had flooded this country with social media Trump-leaning propaganda, popped the cork on a "tiny bottle of champagne...took one gulp and looked into each others' eyes...We uttered almost in unison: 'We made America great'". Comment?

Congress Does Next to Nothing in 2019

Complaints that impeachment has blocked the Congress from useful work on behalf of the nation are made without reference to facts, which are that the House of Representatives has been passing bills all along — almost 400 since the Democrats became the majority at the beginning of 2019 — and that it is the Republican-controlled Senate — only about to be involved in impeachment for the first time — that has done nothing. Majority Leader McConnell has kept bills from even receiving a vote. Compared to its usual output of 150 to 250 bills a year, Congress has passed only 70 in 2019, and 10 of those were for renaming federal facilities. Comment?

You Can Now Exhale, People of Earth

The Defense Department finally advanced into the 21st Century this past year. Management of the nation's nuclear arsenal by a system called the Strategic Automated Command and Control System or SACCS will no longer rely on the 8-inch floppy discs it has been using until just months ago. You remember those, don't you? Maybe you had a TRS-80 Model II with 64k of memory and a separate disc holder the size of a toaster. Under a modernization program begun by President Obama and, uniquely, not cancelled by President Trump, SACCS says it has converted to "a highly secure solid-state digital storage solution". Comment?

 national security

Underreported: Grounding Our Eyes in the Sky »

President Trump has, quite on his own and without consultation with Congress, much less the public, signaled his intent to withdraw from yet another international agreement, this one very much at risk to national security.

Immediately on taking office, he announced we would not go forward with the Trans-Pacific Partnership, the trade alliance knitting together twelve nations bordering on that ocean as a bulwark against China, which was not invited. That was largely an initiative of President Obama, so it had to go. So was the Paris climate accord, so Trump announced the U.S. would drop out as the only nation that would not at least take the pledge of reducing emissions. So was the nuclear accord with Iran an Obama achievement, which meant it had to be
This is the SR-71 Blackbird spy plane, which is not
in use in Open Skies but, retired in 1999, deserves
to be remembered as the fastest of all aircraft
with a top speed of 2,193mph.

cancelled, brusquely double-crossing five partner nations while sanctioning Iran for living up to the agreement.

And now Trump has announced that he is considering asking Congress to void the Open Skies Treaty, a move that makes no sense, and creates alarming vulnerabilities by blinding us to threats around the world.

It was President Dwight Eisenhower's idea, a stunningly imaginative idea presented at the 1955 Geneva summit meeting, but not until 1992 accepted and signed as the Open Skies Treaty. It allows its 34 signatory nations to conduct surveillance flights in unarmed aircraft over any other member country's territory. It provides a means to spot military buildups and thereby thwart the secret moves by countries to launch surprise cross-border attacks. Correspondingly, for these decades it has dampened the paranoia of the unknown that could cause a country to ramp up its military and perhaps even counter an imagined threat with an attack on a neighbor.

Eyes in the skies let us see changes on the ground for appraisal by the intelligence services. Obviously, collaboration with Russia is our top priority use of the pact, and in fact we use it more than they. The U.S. flew over Russia 196 times between 2002 and 2016 while Russian observation planes flew only 71 trips over the U.S.. We even land at each others' air force bases for re-fueling.

There are rules: 72 hours notice must be given and a flight plan filed. Cameras are unclassified, subject to inspection, and… Read More »

Lighten Up »

Matt Davis, Newsday

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