Who is this Devin Nunes, And Why Is He So Sketchy?

Nunes    When it comes to the Republican party, it seems that there is always someone involved who marches to the beat of a different drum.  I cringe every time I hear Representative Nunes’s name in the media.  If you go to the Library of Congress site, or Wikepedia (make sure you verify the information on the site), you can see what his activities are in the House including his activities with respect to his home district.  His core positions in congress are identical to the President’s.

He dismisses global climate change.  He is for the deregulation of several laws related to environmental protections.  He is for major regulation repeal, including the provisions of the clean air act.  He supports wholesale deregulation, especially when it benefits groups such as the fossil fuel industry.    He supports in some fashion the Tax bill which overwhelmingley benefits the wealthy.  He supports Trump’s ban on muslim travel to the US.  He supported the Benghazi investigation and has maintained the position that their was a cover up by Secretary Clinton, even though all parties were eventually cleared of wrong doing.  He supports major changes to Medicare and Social Security including rasing the plan’s rates which negatively affects the growing elderly population.  He voted in favor of the 2013 government shut down which furlowed 800,000 federal workers.  In his district, he has not done a whole lot to represent central California.  With any substance, he has been active in introducing legislation related to water and irregation managemt in the San Joaquin valley.  He is also involved in highway infrastructure within the state including legislation to improve state highway 99.  It is worth pointing out that the Governor of California has played a more significant role.  Incidentaly, most of the legislation that he has been involed in may get the support of the House, but rarely does he and the committees he is associated with garner discussion or even a vote in the Senate.

Representative Nunes is an advocate of undoing any legislation or laws that President Obama passed.  He is very party biased and most of his federal efforts reflect support for the defiant GOP membership.

He has recently garnered attention because of his behavior in the house relative to the Russia investigation.  He is becoming well known for embracing and spreading conspiracy theories.  He has leaked classified information many times during his time in Congress.  He repeatedly runs to the White house to share any information he has garnered relative to the President’s involvement in the Russian meddling in our electoral process.  My sketchy label for him is because he is always very sneaky and continually leaves the democrats on the house Russia investigation out of the loop.  For a guy who says he has recused himself, he sure spends a lot of time being intimately involved.

One reason why I am sharing my thoughts about the Representative, is to point out that for the administration’s claim that they are draining the swamp, they sure support a serpent and revere him as a significant player in the GOP’s efforts to manipulate and hamper the investigation into the President’s involvement with regard to the Russian meddling.

Just look at him, he even presents himself as being shifty.  To me, it is disgusting that he and others have become lap dogs for the President.


The Truth About Chain Migration. It is Really About Family Reunification.

diverse images

First off, let me say that the term “chain migration” is a terrible way to describe family reunification.  To me, chain migration is a term better suited to describe the migration of slaves.

President Trump is hell-bent on eliminating the family reunification program because he believes that people who migrate to the US to be with their families are murderers, ignorant and in no way contribute positively to the success of the United States.

Family reunification is simple.  When a foreigner migrates to the US and is issued a green card, they can petition the government to allow them to bring a member of their family to the US to be with them.  The program is limited to spouses, grandparents and immediate siblings.  The application and vetting process takes many years and does not guarantee that the family member will be allowed to come to America.

The system is not perfect and has been exposed to abuse and fraud.  To me, the program needs more oversite and enforcement rather than dismantling.  Remember, we are talking about legal immigrants.

Also, the family reunification program applies to all countries.  Trump is focused on the Hispanic population and he purposely avoids bringing up participants from other countries.  For example, what about European migration, what about the Asian and Indian communities.  Ironically, some people from these countries can also be “Bad Hombres”.  Trump’s comments about welcoming more people from Norway shows that he does not have a grasp on the world labor market.  In the case of Norwegians, a majority have no interest in coming to the US.  Actually, the same applies to Canada. If I am not mistaken, with regard to the imigration of the criminal eliment, the Pilgrims didn’t always include the best citizens of the countries that they migrated from.

The Mexican and South American populations are made up of people and their families who want the opportunity to live the American dream.  Some misinformed Americans including the President and his advisors don’t understand or desregard the positive impact that a majority of the Hispanic population have on our culture and economy. Statistically, this group of immigrants, along with DACA recipients are or become some of the most productive people in our country.

For as long as I have been on this earth (a long time),  there has always been the argument that immigrants are taking American jobs away from American people.  What jobs are they taking?  There are over two million jobs in this country that remain unfilled.  What this administration needs to focus on is training a population of people to fill these jobs, many of which are in the technical and renewable energy industries.

Bill and Melinda Gates are doing what the country should be doing.  They epitomize the concept of the free enterprise and capitalistic systems that make up the fabric of our society.  The ability of employees to grow and prosper is fundemental.  This includes the cultivation of our immigrant population.

Border security, the practice of Russian women coming to America to stay in Trump hotels and have babies; the opioid and drug crisis; the gang crisis; the education crisis; the womans movement among other topics are for future posts.

I just wanted to way in on the important issue of our president’s plan to reduce the legal immigrant population.

Excellent Health, Not Surprising. President Trump’s Physical Results

There is no reason why Doctor Ronny wouldn’t find Trump to be in good health.  He doesn’t drink, he doesn’t smoke and he doesn’t take drugs.  Also, as we know, he gets his exercise on the golf course.  Maybe he should use his health as an excuse to play golf so often.  High cholesterol is common in older people, yet we have to remember that high blood pressure and cholesterol are the main cause of heart attack.  I think his high cholesterol may be effected by the carbs and calories that he gets from fast food.

The cognitive screening test or worksheet is not that comprehensive but it does give a doctor a good idea of whether the patient is showing signs of cognition problems.  Mental disorders are a whole different ball game.  A majority of people who suffer mental disorders would be deemed healthy except when self-treatment is involved (alcohol, pills etc.)  Certain health deficiencies can also be caused by the symptoms of a mental illness. Insomnia, diet, lack of engagement (motivation), even grooming can pose some significant health problems.

Below is an example (and link for full size image) of a standard mental health screening form.  The form covers basic identifiers that can tip off say a psychiatrist to any possible mental health issues.  When you look at the form you will notice that it is filled out by the patient.  I guess a person can answer the questions any way that they want.



It is possible that President Trump does not suffer from any traditional mental condition. It is quite possible that his odd behavior could be a result of the culture he grew up in.

Fusion GPS Transcript, Some Takeaways

I have had the opportunity to read the entire transcript of the Glenn Simpson Senate hearings.  With my usual unorthodox viewpoint, I came away with some observations.

Mr. Simpson indicated that not all campaigns can afford GPS’s services, which would explain why the Clinton campagne engaged them rather than the DNC.  This also explains to me why the Sanders campaign was not in the loop.  Not just because Clinton was running against him, but because his party couldn’t afford to pay for it.

It appears that the research project started with the conservative group the Washington Free Beacon originally retaining them to do the research on Trump.  The plan was to gain information that would be helpful to several candidates in the 2016 election.  At some point, they ended their agreement with GPS.

If it was me, given the substantial amount of information that had already been collected by Fusion GPS, I would jump at the chance to get them to help me, which the Clinton campaign did.

Interestingly, a lot of what Fusion GPS found in the beginning of their process focused on Trump dealings in countries other than Russia.  Also, I understand that the first thing that pointed them into the direction of ongoing improper business dealings, was Trump’s connection to the Russian mob.

In my opinion, it would make sense to focus a significant amount of intellectual resources to uncover issues related to the financial health and practices of Trump’s organization.  It is apparent that everywhere Fusion GPS was digging for information, Trumps name and involvement popped up.

For Glenn Simpson, It is a good thing he subcontracted or associated with people he has been dealing with for years who have significant expertise or ongoing relationships with certain groups.  Not only does that mean he can trust them, he is also able to utilize their expertise effectively.  A great example is the retaining of the Russian diplomatic interpreter.  If you don’t speak Russian and were trying to gain information from Russians, it would be imperative that you worked with a translator you can trust to properly convey or gather relative information.

It also sounds like his projects are not based on party affiliation which is supported by the make up of his group.  As an aside, I am sure that Mr. Simpson has run across some real flakes over the years, especially when he was an investigative reporter working for the Wall Street Journal.

When he first started his investigation, he testified that he was very familiar with Trump, his slimy business practices and his association with unsavory characters well before he was commissioned to take on this project.  He also said that during the most recent investigation, he discovered through public records that Trump is a horrible business man with many properties that didn’t make any money and are always embroiled in lawsuits related to his practices including his failure to pay his bills.  He also revealed that Trump’s ability to get money for places like the building in SOHO could only happen with the help of Russian financeurs.  If you remember anything from the old mob movies, you should remember that when you get into bed with the mob, you usually end up with a debt so large that you have to give them major control over what you do.  Can you say money laundering?

Fusion GPS didn’t commission Christopher Steele to do his research until long into the project.  Simpson testified that Steele was brought into the fold because of his ability to do extensive “human” research.  By the time he was commissioned, Fusion GPS had basically come to the end of their ability to gain information using their traditional methods.

Simpson testified that Mr. Steele was not given anything specific to investigate.  Instead, he was instructed to see what he could find out about Trump without any real expectations of what he was going to dig up.

The Dossier, actually a series of memorandums was the form of communication used by Simpson and Steele.  Given the content and chronology of the memos, it supports Simpson’s contention that he was not looking for anything specific.  As an aside, both Simpson and Steele were cognisent of the fact that they were, along the way, being given misinformation designed to effect their findings.  To me, that may be why there are some events in the dossier that may not be factual.

As Steele’s research unfolded, it became apparent that he and Simpson uncovered that Trump was involved in just about everything Russia.  They discovered relationships with oligarchs, banks controlled by the Russian government and so on.  He also discovered that the Russian government was playing Trump for a fool and had in fact among other things, set him up to be blackmailed.  When Steele discovered this happening he insisted on informing the government.  After settling a disagreement with Simpson on whether or not they should contact law enforcement, Steele met with his FBI contact in Paris.

Simpson testified that at the time, Steele’s information was considered credible by the FBI based on information they already had knowledge of through their own investigaion.  When the FBI was going public with information about Hillary’s email, they apeared to ignore the Dossier that Steele had been working with them on, so he quit cooperating with them.

Fusion GPS had no idea that the Russian government was hacking into the Clinton’s emails and were going to dump them on the American public.  The timing of their investigation proves that.

As far as Mr. Simpson’s testimony,  after 10 hours of grilling which generated 312 pages of testimony,  I can’t see how anyone would not take him at his word.  I believe that even though there was a lot of “I don’t recall” and “won’t answer” responses to the panel, his overall testimony supported the truth.  You would have to be pretty misanthropic to think otherwise.

You would have to be in denial if you can’t see the obvious connection between Trump’s Russian relationships and the meddling in our election brokered by Putin.

I personally am of the opinion that if any of the information gleaned by Fusion GPS were to have been shared with the American people during the campaign rather than six months later, we would possibly have had a totally different outcome to the election.  I am also of the opinion that the attacks on Hillary’s campaign were more a product of Putin’s hate and distane for her, not some overwhelming admiration of Trump.

It is my opinion that Mueller has a ton information that is not related to the Fusion GPS investigation and that the overall Fusion GPS/Steele findings are just one piece of a much larger puzzle for Mueller’s group.

To me the testimony was fascinating, informative and sometimes confusing.  Anyway, that is just a few of my thoughts on the latest news.  I could go on for hours, so I will spare you.

Popular Political Talking Points. In My Opinion.

I think these talking points that are common in our daily lives deserve some of my onorthodox input and opinion.

Congress:  Currently, our government’s legislative branches are generally not working the way that they are supposed to.  The Republican party is advancing flawed legislation, repealing sensible regulations and obstructing and dismissing any Democratic party efforts to advance their agenda.  The Democratic side of government does not have a clear and productive agenda.  Instead, some Democratic law makers spend most of their time expressing their dissatisfaction and disdain for the Republicans.  In all fairness, there are members of both parties who take their roles seriously and work towards the best interests of their constituents as well as their role to work for citizens of this country as a whole.  For those that don’t, they need to step down or face a certain demand for their replacement.  This includes party leadership.  It is as simple as that.

The President:  The role of the President is to represent the best interest of all Americans.

Our president is expected to behave in a manner that reflects strong leadership, statesmanship, compassion and common sense.  While in office, the President is to focus all of his energy and efforts to this end.

The basic requirements for the job include a solid knowledge of the mechanics of government, the rules and processes of the legislative bodies and the necessary structure of the executive administration.  Another requirement is the ability to champion causes that improve American’s quality of life, safety and security.  He is required to represent our country abroad through solid relationships with our allies and on the flip side effectively manage relationships with our enemies.  As with all branches of government, the President is required to provide oversight and interaction with state and local governments including providing needed resources of the federal government.

If the President is unable to fulfil his responsibilities and job requirements, he should step down or be terminated and replaced by a qualified candidate.  As a business man, he should know this.  Again, it should be as simple as that.

The First Amendment:  This common and well publicized provision of our constitution affords all americans the right to speak freely without reprisal from our government or any group or individual that opposes us.  With this right comes responsibility.  The first amendment does not provide protection for individuals who purposely propagate malicious, defamatory or libelous statements against another,  This includes making accusations of wrong doing towards any person that are not supported by facts which could be recognized by a “reasonable” person.  The processes with in our system of justice would be the place to make such claims or statements.  Once again it seems pretty simple to me.

Free Press:  Put simply, our forefathers made provisions for the Free Press to have access to all branches of government in order to inform the public.  The first amendment, however, does not protect activities of any member of the press that includes any form of media to purposely report false information designed to damage or defame any individual in government through unsupported and non factual claims of wrong doing.  Ultimately, the free press establishes a form of checks and balances by playing a role to hold government accountable.

Russia:  Russia is an adversary of the United States, not a friend.  Any efforts by our government to recognize them differently, would not be in the best interest of the security and principles of the United States.  Any relationship, whether political or business related must be measured and reflective of the fundamental values of our country.  We need to remember that Russia does not value human life and global civility. This is contrary to the principles of the United States and our Friends.   As far as mutual agreements, Ronald Reagan used to say, extending any trust between the two countries must be verified.  It is ill advised to treat any relationships with Russia and other adversaries differently.

North Korea:  The North Korean government is an example of an authoritarian society that has little regard for the health and well-being of their population or actually, anyone else in the world.  Through propaganda, the government is able to garner allegiance even when their citizens suffer sometimes unbearable living conditions.  Kim Jong Un is one of the most dangerous and immature leaders of any country we are subjected to.  He couldn’t care less who he kills in order to establish himself and his country as a nuclear world power (or at least he thinks so).  Interestingly, Russia and China are a couple of his allies.

The Environment:  Sensible people of the United States expect our country leaders to do whatever they can to improve and preserve or environmental health.  Pollution in many forms needs to be addressed with appropriate consequences.  The only way this can be accomplished is through sensible regulations and enforcement with regard to the practices of our citizens and businesses.  The same priority is evident in the commitments of many other countries.  It is probably a stretch however, to believe that all countries will live up to their commitments.  The administrative office of the Environmental Protection Agency is tasked with enforcement as well as corrective actions and established activities administered by scientific and real world expertise.  If the Secretary can’t or doesn’t want to do his job…he should be replaced.  That is pretty simple to me.

Education; Energy; Urban Developement; Health and Human Services and Treasury:  In previous posts, I detailed my take on specific administrative departments and the functions of their leaders.  These departments are currently being run by people who have no clue of what their responsibilities are.  It is not worth trying to explain them.  If I were their boss, I would get rid of all of them.

The State Department:  The State Department is one of two of the most important departments in our government.  The other is our defense related departments.  With out the functions of this department,  we would be at war with many countries.  Our allies will be unable to understand any substantive activities, supportive positions and mutual expectations.  Appropriate diplomatic relationships relative to our enemies is almost non-existent.  We have a president who maintains that he can represent us better than anyone else in government.  Representing diplomacy through Twitter and interviews with hard right individuals in conservative media will most likely not end well.  It is imperative that he allows our Secretary of State to do his job and build an effective organization to accomplish our goals.

The Russian Election Meddling Investigations:  The Mueller investigation has a purpose and is happening as a result of the concerns of the American people surrounding the circumstances of Russia’s meddling in our free elections.  The investigation as it has evolved now includes the possibility that a group or individuals involved with Trump’s businesses or election campaign are complicit in the activities of the Russian government.  The Mueller investigation is the most comprehensive and effective of any of the legislative bodies and their specific investigations.  I strongly believe that it is in the bests interest of the American people to support the special counsel, accept their findings whether crimes were committed by Americans or not.

The President and Republican Efforts to criticize and undermine the counsel’s investigation by suggesting that there is political bias that is influencing the investigation of the FBI is self-serving and dangerous.  The principles and missions of the FBI is fundamentally and overwhelmingly bi-partisan.  Trying to get the country to turn on them really points out the possibility of  sinister motives by the accuser.  Ironically, Imagine a person who lives in a community that believes they can’t trust law enforcement.  (remember the fuzz and pigs of the late sixties).  The vast majority of them will still call 911 when a crime involving them is committed.  Who are a misinformed and misanthropic group of republican’s and some media going to call when they are subjected to a major crime.  It won’t be their cousin, it will be law enforcement including the FBI.  The services of law enforcement including medical assistance are not pre qualified based on an evaluation of party affiliation as some might suggest.  There is a very interesting component to particular groups insistence of a scandal.  It has been recently revealed by the media that a very small group of republican representatives have been meeting secretly to put together a plan to derail the Mueller investigation.  Is it just me or wouldn’t this group represent the most hideous example of political bias?

On this topic and as an aside, have you ever noticed that when one of your kids have done something wrong, you know it, even though they unleash a plan to cover it up.  The tells are obvious and usually include them attaching themselves to you and over and over denying any involvement even when you don’t ask them.  They also blame shift.  Is this happening in our government?

Personally, I think that our government needs to clean up their act.  Those who do effectively function in their positions need to expose and neutralize those who don’t.  I still have faith in our institutions.  It may just take a while for them to get grounded again.

My Unorthodox Take on America


As we come to the end of another year, we need to stop and take stock of where we are as a free and prosperous society.

At times, our faith in our system of government is tested, even though it never should be. Since 1776, we have aspired to be the greatest and strongest country in the world.

Our constitution and financial standing has survived every test that could be thrown at us.  Our form of government is the most durable form of government on the globe.

Our freedoms are backed up by a constitution and laws designed to protect our livelihood, safety, opportunity and to afford us the right to live without fear.

Our form of government can not be undermined by anyone who seeks to compromise or destroy us.  We are strong and face conflict head on and we will always prevail.

We value life and in doing so, we accept our role as stewards of democracy around the world protecting whose who can not protect themselves.  We partner with our friends whenever they need our help.  Since we are all the product of immigration, we welcome those who seek the freedoms and opportunities that our country can provide.

We are compassionate, generous and we truly do love our neighbors as we do ourselves. Generally, we live our daily lives with optimism and civility.  We generally spend our lives confident that our government represents us and functions in our best interests. We are not afraid to challenge those who don’t.  We can demand change and support those in government who recognize the importance of our principles.

We will at times get discouraged.  Sometimes we are faced with enormous personal challenges, social inequities, ignorance and evil.  We have faith that as a society, we will eventually overcome all obstacles to achieve our common goals and reinforce our core values.

We have the right to disagree.  We have the right to speak freely.

Remember, yesterday is today’s history, today will be tomorrow’s history and our young are our future.

Remember America is already great…the Greatest.  We can’t and won’t let anyone try to tell us differently.


Train Derailment Tragedy and Infrastructure

train derailment photo

The train derailment in Washington State, regardless of the cause is a terrible tragedy.   In simple terms, those whose lives were taken as well as the numerous number of passengers that were seriously injured should give us pause to think about how fragile life is.

Soon, the story and the broad discussion will disappear from the headlines and only those effected will continue to live the effects of this disaster.

There will be the investigations, there will be the lawsuits, there will be the reality for many of those who were injured that they will be facing ongoing physical and emotional challenges.

Incidentally, myself and members of my family live within a few miles of the accident site and if not daily, frequently drive under the overpass where the accident happened.  As with everyone else, I never, in my wildest dreams would have thought this would happen there.  For me, over the last forty years, whenever I see a train crossing over the freeway, it is barely moving.

Hopefully, we will learn from this incident and implement remedies that will ensure that this doesn’t happen again.  As a result of the lack our federal government’s timely enforcement of a regulation that should have already been put in place to protect the passengers, they will have to assume their role as being complicit in this particular event.

I really do appreciate the President’s comments yesterday regarding this tragedy and his condolences to the families of those who lost their lives.

Instead of adding  self serving political remarks including disparaging comments about the terrible shape of our infrastructure, he unknowingly passed up an opportunity to point out the positive and ongoing infrastructure work that is being done in Washington State (including the local and statewide railroads).

As of right now, Interstate Five is undergoing several major improvement projects.  Interestingly, the most current construction basically starts in the Nisqually Valley where the train derailment happened and stretches all the way north to Seattle.  It seems like the largest freeway improvement project is on a stretch of the highway that runs through the city of Tacoma which is the largest metropolitan city In the state behind Seattle.  There are new bridges, overpasses, on ramps, off ramps, collector distributor lanes etc. that are being constructed.  Some of these projects are nearing completion and are having a major positive impact on the traffic needs brought on by the massive growth in and around the city.

The Seattle area is also undergoing major development and highway improvements. They would in part reflect an investment in the future to alleviate the effects of an almost certain catastrophe caused by a likely, massive earthquake.  A couple of these improvements include the replacement of a floating bridge that spans a large lake connecting Seattle to the communities located east of the city.  There is also a major project happening to remove and replace a very old and seriously deteriorated and crumbling elevated highway that runs through the heart of the city.

These and many other highway improvements are heavily funded by the tax payers of the state along with modest federal financial support.

As I see it, Washington state, as with the rest of the country needs to prioritize and fund the replacement of old substandard and dangerous bridges and roadways.  Also, there are so many infrastructure issues we are now facing from utilities to roads to airports to maritime and many more that will require massive dollars to complete.  Personally, I don’t understand why we waited until now to do anything about it.  Rather than investing in these projects over time, most of the country has to face a significant crisis before the appropriate attention rises to the surface forcing action.

At the end of the day, the train wreck in Nisqually is not reflective of a deteriorating infrastructure.  Although the specific cause has not been determined, it would seem that one human’s actions and negligence changed the lives of all those who were involved.  As far as the companies that own and operate this railroad, why would they put business before the safety of the public when it comes to applying safeguards to avoid these situations?  Since this particular train is just one of many constantly in operation around the country that rely on individuals to be at the controls, I think quick and effective changes need to be put in place immediately.