EppsNet Archive: Politics

$15 Trillion for “Free” Healthcare

$300K = free healthcare for 60 people?! $50K per person?! Multiply by 300 million Americans . . . check me on the math but isn’t that $15 trillion? For “free” healthcare?!?!?! Here’s what it looks like if you write it out: $15,000,000,000,000. Is this guy insane?!?!?! Read more →

Teaching Computer Science: Why Was I Not Consulted?

I’m volunteering in a high school computer science class a couple mornings a week . . . If you’re going to work with computers, you need to be able to move around between different number systems, most commonly base 10, base 2 and base 16. As a warm-up, I asked students how many ways they could represent the quantity 7. Answers included the word “seven,” roman numerals, seven dots, a septagon, a Chinese symbol, and so on. “Quantities exist naturally,” I said, “but number systems are man-made. They’re just a set of symbols along with an agreement about how to order them. Why do we use the number system that we do? Who decided that?” Because I phrased it in a provocative way, some students realized that they hadn’t been consulted. “Yeah, no one asked me,” one student said. “Raise your hand in math class,” I suggested, “and ask ‘Why… Read more →

“Why Do I Believe What I Believe?”

My fellow Americans – About 20 people showed up for Unite the Right last weekend. That would be a disappointing turnout for a pancake breakfast sponsored by the local softball league, let alone a national rally in Washington, DC. White supremacy is like the Flat Earth Society, not non-existent, but extremely marginal. It’s a boogeyman to scare people about things that are not real. A good question to ask is “Why do I believe what I believe?” For example, “Why do I believe in a resurgence of white supremacy when only 20 people in a nation of 300 million can be persuaded to show up at a rally?” Possible answers include “I saw it on the internet” or “I heard it on TV.” These are perhaps not good answers, in that they open us up to manipulation for political gain, financial gain, and increased readership and viewership. Read more →

Was Jim Acosta’s Life in Danger?

It doesn’t look that way to me: Taking selfies with Trump supporters in Tampa. Really enjoyed talking to some of the folks at the rally and hearing their concerns. As I told many of them.. we can’t do the news just for the Republicans and Trump supporters. We have to do the news for all Americans. pic.twitter.com/onOOM6q9l8 — Jim Acosta (@Acosta) August 4, 2018 Read more →

Thomas Jefferson: Jim Acosta vs. Ernie Pyle

My fellow Americans – I see that journalists are now positioning themselves as putting their lives on the line for America. Some poor fool at CNN was afraid of being murdered when he showed up at a Trump rally and people chanted “CNN sucks!” He’s not exactly Ernie Pyle, is he? A CNN reporter at a Trump rally is like a guy wearing a Yankees jersey to a Red Sox game. “You suck” doesn’t mean “I want to murder you.” I have never heard anyone advocating violence against journalists except other journalists. It’s all they talk about. There’s going to be violence against journalists! Our lives are in jeopardy! In the event of violence against journalists, no one will happier than journalists, because they will blame it on President Trump. Meanwhile, in a journalistic spirit of peace and rapprochement, the New York Times has just added a woman to its… Read more →

“You’re Too Hard on Yourself”

“He has suffered enough” meant if we investigate this matter any further, it will turn out our friends are in it, too. A sufficiency of suffering, in public life, consisted in a loss of face perhaps, or office, or, earlier, in getting caught, or in committing crimes, or having wanted to commit them. And if the real sufferer was the public man in violation of the criminal law, and a sufficiency of suffering lay in his various states of mind, then it was perhaps everyone else who got off too easily. . . . Intelligent people, caught at anything, denied it. Faced with evidence of having denied it falsely, people said they had not done it and had not lied about it, and didn’t remember it, but if they had done it or lied about it, they would have done it and misspoken themselves about it in an interest so… Read more →

And That’s the Truth: Held Back by History

[And That’s the Truth is a feature by our guest blogger, Sojourner Truth– PE] Black folks been treated very poorly over the years. Jews been killed and run out of almost every country on earth. Asians been slave labor, ostracized, put into prison camps. Now Jews and Asians are doing all right for theirselves. Why are black folks held back by history and other folks aren’t? Never been a Jewish president, never been an Asian president, maybe never will be. Politicians never helped nobody. They promise to give you this or that, or such and such a privilege, if you will give ’em your vote and your money, and when the time comes, they recollect nothing of the kind. Don’t wait for people to do things for you. Keep your families together and make sure your kids get a good education in school. And that’s the Truth! Read more →

Animal House Tax Policy

ALBANY, N.Y. (AP) — New York, New Jersey, Connecticut and Maryland sued the federal government over the Republican-led tax overhaul Tuesday, alleging the new law championed by President Donald Trump unfairly singles out high-tax blue states. — wsaz.com I thought this was noteworthy in that I can’t remember ever in my life hearing a Democrat say anything about people in high tax brackets other than they are not paying their “fair share.” If a Democrat has ever before said that people in high tax brackets are being singled out unfairly, I can’t remember it. The new federal tax law passed last year caps the deduction for state and local taxes at $10,000, meaning that residents of high-tax states like New York, New Jersey, Connecticut and Maryland — and California, where I currently live — will see big increases in their federal tax bill. It reminds me of a scene from… Read more →

We’ll All Go Together When We Go

NORTH KOREA DEAL IS OFFFICIALLY A BUST. Media owes it to the American people to cover this as much as they covered the initial meeting. They covered the original summmit very irresponsibly, implying a level of success despite nothing achieved & lots lost. At least follow-up. — Kaivan Shroff (@KaivanShroff) July 7, 2018 I’m afraid that there are people who, given a choice between a Trump success story and a nuclear war, would choose the war. Read more →

Thomas Jefferson: Why I Don’t Wear a MAGA Hat

Folks mad that I said kid who lost his MAGA cap and a drink thrown on him got off easy. I just think he learned a valuable lesson in personal responsibility. You want to offend, be prepared to face the consequences. — Mike Stuchbery ?? (@MikeStuchbery_) July 6, 2018 My fellow Americans — This is why we fought a war to get away from the goddamn Brits. I would personally not wear a MAGA hat in public for the reason cited, i.e., Trump opponents seem to be violent and easily triggered. That said, if your idea of a good time is to steal a kid’s hat and throw a soda in his face, you should probably shut up about the tolerance and mental stability of others until you get your own shit together. As for lessons in personal responsibility, the drink thrower is now in jail. He who laughs last,… Read more →

Thomas Jefferson: Separating Babies and Mothers

My fellow Americans — Separation of families at the border was going to be a great election issue for Democrats until fate intervened in the form of Justice Kennedy announcing his retirement from the Supreme Court. Most of the people outraged by border separations are also afraid of losing a key Supreme Court swing vote, particularly on the issue of abortion. Unfortunately, Democrats have standardized on a needlessly violent metaphor — “ripping” — to talk about family separations. A representative example: As a career prosecutor, I actually went after gangs and transnational criminal organizations. That's being a leader on public safety. What is not, is ripping babies from their mothers. pic.twitter.com/WyyHU3U7jE — Kamala Harris (@KamalaHarris) July 2, 2018 Now that abortion has again become a leading national issue, the Republican talking points re “ripping babies from their mother” write themselves. Footnote: In apprehending and prosecuting people who committed crimes, one… Read more →

Thomas Jefferson Explains Family Separations

My fellow Americans — The reason families are separated at the border is that the United States, like many countries, has laws governing border crossings by non-residents. When an adult is apprehended crossing our border illegally, they go into the criminal justice system and are placed in a detention center. Keep in mind that an American citizen apprehended in the commission of a crime is not processed any differently. If you are placed in a detention center, I assure you that your children will not be in there with you. A note on rhetoric: A strong line of argument should not require violent metaphors and manufactured hysteria — families “ripped apart,” children “torn from their mother’s arms” — to be persuasive. Read the Declaration of Independence, for example. Read more →

You Can’t Tell the Nazis Without a Scorecard

If you see anybody from that Cabinet in a restaurant, in a department store, at a gasoline station, you get out and you create a crowd and you push back on them, and you tell them they’re not welcome anymore, anywhere. — Maxine Waters And they should be made to wear armbands so they’re easier to identify! It’s getting to where you can’t tell the Nazis without a scorecard. Read more →

Separation of Families Considered Harmful?

Here’s a photo showing two girls in a “cage” watching a World Cup match, amongst dozens of other kids who are for some reason wrapped in foil. I’ve seen this photo and others widely circulated online recently as evidence of the Trumpenfuhrer’s crimes against humanity. But guess what? The photos were taken in 2014, when some other guy was president. Many people have a single standard for evaluating political activity: Is it being carried out by Team Red or Team Blue. Nothing is good or bad on its own merits. I don’t remember anyone on Team Blue being outraged about kids in “cages” in 2014, but in 2018 it’s a humanitarian crisis has to be denounced mercilessly, even if the evidence has to be faked. I haven’t heard anyone propose a viable alternative to separating parents and children at the border. I’m not sure Team Blue wants to find a… Read more →

Those Weren’t Burglars, They Were “Confidential Informants”

F.B.I. Used Informant to Investigate Russia Ties to Campaign, Not to Spy, as Trump Claims — New York Times It’s too bad for Richard Nixon that he wasn’t able to come up with a similarly quick-witted explanation for Watergate. It reminded me of a joke: A man sees one of his neighbors scattering crumbs all around his house. “Why are you doing that?” he asked. “I’m keeping the tigers away.” “But there aren’t any tigers around here.” “That’s right. You see how well it works?” Read more →

The Last Four U.S. Presidents on Jerusalem

Jerusalem is still the capital of Israel and must remain an undivided city. — Bill Clinton As soon as I take office, I will begin the process of moving the United States ambassador to the city Israel has chosen as its capital. — George W. Bush Jerusalem will remain the capital, and I have said that before and I will say it again. — Barack Obama I have decided that it is time to officially recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel. — Donald Trump Today we officially open the United States embassy in Jerusalem. Congratulations, it’s been a long time coming. — Donald Trump Read more →

Thomas Jefferson: Animals, Not People

My fellow Americans — I heard or read the Trump sound bite — “These are not people. These are animals.” — several times this week, always with no context to clarify who or what the pronoun “these” refers to. I plan to use that line next time I visit the National Zoo. It’s going to be hilarious. Listeners and readers were invited to apply the broadest possible interpretation, i.e., Trump said immigrants are animals. He was reviled by people who relied on the short, skewed attention span of the American public to avoid facing the regrettable fact that they use the same “dehumanizing” language themselves. This doesn’t work as well as it did before Twitter became an online memory bank for better or worse. For example, here is CNN “journalist” Ana Navarro: Once it became widely known that Trump was referring specifically to MS-13 gang members, Nancy Pelosi and other… Read more →

Fact Checking the Fact Checkers

PolitiFact has a article headlined “Donald Trump’s NRA speech, fact-checked”. Here’s a sample: “African-American unemployment has reached another all-time, in history, record low … And the same thing with Hispanic American unemployment, which is also at the lowest level in history — unemployment, lowest level in history. And women’s unemployment — women, many women — is at the lowest level in almost 20 years. Think of that.” The “fact check” starts out like this: As far as the numbers go, Trump is correct. It then goes on for another five paragraphs to say that Barack Obama deserves “at least as much” credit as Trump for low unemployment. That’s a fact check?! Trump didn’t even say anything about who deserves the credit, although the listener is invited to make a favorable inference. Had he added “. . . and I deserve all the credit,” it would be fair in that case… Read more →

Thomas Jefferson on Hillary Clinton

My fellow Americans — Hillary Clinton is still rattling off all the “reasons” she lost the 2016 presidential election: misogyny, the FBI, sexism, the NRA, Russia . . . To my knowledge, she has never correctly identified the actual culprits: the patriotic men and women of this country. Read more →

Was Nikolas Cruz Bullied?

In 2018, being accused of bullying is not on a par with being accused of murder, but it’s close. Emma Gonzalez, one of the Parkland shooting survivors, said this about Nikolas Cruz at the anti-gun march in Washington, D.C.: Since he was in middle school, it was no surprise to anyone who knew him that he was the shooter. Those talking about how we should have not ostracized him? You don’t know this kid. OK? We did! I can’t see anything unusual about that. The popular kids sneer at the geeks, the nerds and the weirdos. Because they deserve it. You don’t know this kid. We did. But when the kid in this case goes off the rails, which “was no surprise to anyone who knew him,” some self-reflection seems to be in order before blaming the usual suspects. I don’t understand the strategy of gun control proponents. Every tragedy… Read more →

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