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Can We All Agree – 12/24/16 edition

December 24, 2016

This marks my 101st CWAA post. Probably should have noticed that last week was number 100 and had some sort of special ceremony, but better late than never. This will be my last of 2016 unless Mr. Trump unleashes another Tweet storm next week  – making policy via Twitter. But I’ll be back at it in January of 2017. I don’t want to be like Jon Stewart who deserted us all when we needed him most.

Thank you to all my faithful readers, I appreciate your comments and suggestions. Happy Holidays.

Can we all agree it was only a matter of time before the gulf between President Obama and Donald Trump became very public? I am rather surprised it surfaced over Israel, though.

Can we all agree the truck attack in Germany which left 12 dead is bad news for Angela Merkel’s immigration policies? Even though, they had very little to do with it.

The slain Russian ambassador to Turkey and his assailant. (NYTimes photo)

The slain Russian ambassador to Turkey and his assailant. (NYTimes photo)

Can we all agree it appears Vladimir Putin, is not done with his campaign to destabilize the West?

Can we all agree it seems rather odd that Mr. Putin has not made more of the murder of his ambassador in Turkey? Could it be he was more intent on declaring victory in Syria?

Can we all agree Donald Trump has managed to convince many voters, we are on the edge of a recession, when the evidence suggests the US economy is very healthy?

Can we all agree the relationship between the press and the new administration will be the most strained in recent memory, now that we have to read Twitter, then listen to his counselors explain what the new President really meant?

Can we all agree announcing a nuclear missile arms war via a Twitter is not what anyone would call presidential?

Can we all agree they US policy in Syria has failed and the people of Al;expo are just the first to suffer for it?

Can we all agree the folks in the midwest and Northeast probably take little solace in knowing the North Pole temperatures are 30 degrees above normal?

Can we all agree that Oprah’s interview with the First Lady was interesting, but it really just seemed like a way for her to give Michelle Obama a way to fight back against all the racist hate that exists in this country.

Can we all agree Mr. Obama seems intent on making it as difficult as possible for the new president elect to carry out some of his campaign promises? Not to mention some of his environmental goals.

Can we all agree Mr. Trump’s requests for information have made it pretty clear which policies he wants to end? First it was the environment and now it’s gender equality.

Can we all agree the new administration has no idea how embarrassing the hearings on their cabinet nominees will be, since they have done very little vetting of candidates beyond their interviews with Mr. Trump?

Can we all agree anyone who expected  North Carolina to change their infamous “bathroom bill’  was either dreaming or simply very naive?

Can we all agree we will be hearing more about how access to Mr. Trump was available to anyone who wanted to pay for it?

Can we all agree, it won’t change things, but Mrs. Clinton can take some solace from her 3-million vote ‘victory’? And what happened to all that voter fraud, we could never find?

Can we all agree the January inauguration will not be the star-studded party we are all used to? Unless your idea of top notch entertainment is the Rockettes.

Can we all agree the war of words between Mr. Trump and President Clinton does not put either of them in a very good light?

Can we all agree the increase in sign-ups for health care under the Affordable Care Act will could create quite a backlash if the GOP and Mr. Trump are dumb enough to follow through on their campaign pledges?

Oprah Winfrey (right) interviews the First Lady. (White House photo)

Oprah Winfrey (right) interviews the First Lady. (White House photo)

Can we all agree the United States doesn’t seem to have an exclusive on strange court decisions..just ask IMF chief Christine Lagarde who was apparently found guilty and not guilty at the same time?

Can we all agree the new word of the year  – surreal – was a great choice by the folks at Merriam Webster?

Can we all agree Mr. Trump’s little chat this week with Mexican millionaire Carlos Slim is just another example of the conflicts of interest inherent in the new administration?

Can we all agree Ben Utecht’s book should be required reading for every player in the NFL?

Can we all agree the reason the GOP has been able to get away with denying science, is studies like this?

and finally:

This week’s great read is from the New York Times – a  profile of basketball coach Steve Kerr. He’s not just your average spoiled jock.

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CWAA: Can We All Agree – 12/17/16 edition

December 17, 2016

Can we all agree anyone who has to tell you he is smart, probably is not?

Can we all agree, just by holding a press conference President Obama showed up Donald Trump, who has not held an organized press conference since July?

President Obama at his final press conference of 2016 (NYT Photo)

President Obama at his final press conference of 2016 (NYT Photo)

Can we all agree it can’t be a coincidence the Presidential press conference was held on the same day Mr. Trump promised he would detail his plans to clarify his business dealings while in office? Did Mr. Trump think we would forget?

Can we all agree Mr. Obama’s ‘measured but firm’ response to the Russian’s hack of the election process is far better than Mr. Trump’s false tweets attacking the President?

Can we all agree Attorney General Loretta Lynch’s speech on race relations should be required reading?

Can we all agree, it’s about time Hillary Clinton rejoined the debate?

Can we all agree it’s telling that James Comey’s FBI took months to come to the same conclusion the CIA did, about Russia’s involvement in our electoral process?

Can we all agree China’s capture of a Navy drone cannot be a coincidence after Mr. Trump’s ill timed communication with the president of Taiwan?

Can we all agree it’s also possible the Chinese are just trying to divert attention from new reports that they have installed weapons on the artificial islands they created in the South China Sea?

Can we all agree the GOP establishment must really want Rex Tillerson to be Secretary of State, since they are pulling out all the stops to convince key senators that his clear conflict of interest will not sway his judgement?

Can we all agree, new rumors that it may take Britain 10 years to negotiate an exit from the European Union make a mockery of the whole process?

Can we all agree the British kerfuffle over Theresa May’s wardrobe would be funny, if it were not based on sexism?

Can we all agree that Ivanka Trump as first lady seems to be a foregone conclusion, although it’s hard to understand why she is sitting in meetings with her father  – unless she will have a voice in policy?

Can we all agree it’s remarkable that Mr. Trump’s security advisor, who has released classified information will be allowed to serve in the government, while Mrs. Clinton who has never released government secrets, will not?

Can we all agree it make no difference what Mr. Trump tells the people who are summoned to Trump Tower to pay homage to him? His overall policy will be made by the  people he is appointing to key positions – like the ambassador to Israel or the oil and gas company interests who will have unequalled influence over the next four years?

Can we all agree the irony of Rick Perry heading the Department of Energy, is just too obvious?

Can we all agree, the thought of the President-elect facing a deposition in a court case, just two weeks before his inauguration is a clear embarrassment to the office and every citizen?

Can we all agree that Mr. Trump seems to realize he went too far in trying to  argue with the CIA over Russian interference in the election?

Can we all agree, it was a surprise to hear the Senate Majority leader break with Trump and agree to hold hearings on the Russian interference in our election?

Can we all agree it’s nice to see the Democrats are planning to use the same strategy to slow drown Mr. Trump, as the GOP has used to prevent Mr. Obama’s policies  – lawsuits?

Can we all agree it is tragic that scientists feel the need to copy all their research and statistics to protect them from the incoming administration?

Can we all agree that we never thought divide and conquer would apply to the United States on so many levels?

Can we all agree California’s Governor has the right idea about resistance to the Trump administration’s climate change agenda?

Can we all agree the Minnesota football team’s threat to boycott a bowl game over sexual assault charges against teammates, makes you think twice about what’s happening on college  campuses?

Can we all agree Mark Zuckerberg should be ashamed of his attitude toward fake news that influenced the election through Facebook? Especially now that he’s making it the responsibility of his users to stop it.

Can we all agree, speaking of fake news and college, it seems clear that if adults cannot figure out what’s fake, young people have no chance?

Can we all agree, it wasn’t that long ago that generic drug makers were supposed to be a force to keep drug prices low? Now they are being accused of price collusion to inflate prices.

Can we all agree the reaction of the North Carolina legislature and sitting governor are  wrong on so many levels, it’s hard to believe they are not taking place in some third world country?

Map of Syria, confirms that the fighting will not end even after Aleppo falls.

Map of Syria, confirms that the fighting will not end even after Aleppo falls.

Can we all agree the Federal Reserve’s action to raise interest rates, just proves what a remarkable job President Obama has done over the last 8 years?

Can we all agree the world has failed the people of Aleppo?

Can we all agree Uber did itself no PR favors by ignoring state law and trying to start using driverless cars before getting the correct permits? Their contention that there will be someone sitting in the driver’s seat, does not hold water.

Can we all agree The EPA is trying to make fracking more difficult for the incoming administration by concluding that the process can damage drinking water?

Can we all agree, speaking of fracking, it seems there are some times when Mr. Tillerson actually opposes it – like when it gets too close to his home?

Can we all agree General Motors went way too far in advertising for neo-nazi’s to appear in their next commercial?

and finally:

This week’s  heartbreaking great read comes to us courtesy of Alex Trebeck and Jeopardy.

and RIP, TNT basketball reporter Craig Sager and former TV dad Alan Thicke.

 

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CWAA: Can We All Agree – 12/10/16 edition

December 10, 2016

Can we all agree the question is not whether the Russians tried to influence our election, but rather, what  Donald Trump promised them in exchange?

Can we all agree investigating the Russians may the first time the President and GOP have agreed on anything in 8 years?

Can we all agree any country who thinks it’s OK to force athletes to take illegal drugs, just to win Olympic medals is capable of most anything?

Can we all agree that starting January 20th, the White House will  be a satellite office of Goldman Sachs?

John Glenn and his wife, Anna

John Glenn and his wife, Anna

Can we all agree that we want to believe there is a connection between people who voted for Trump and the rates of drug and alcohol addiction, especially since heroin deaths have now surpassed gun deaths in the US?

Can we all agree we’re thankful we’re not in the middle of an impeachment controversy like South Korea? Oh wait, that will start January 21st, 2017.

Can we all agree Sen. John Glenn, who died this week, was a true American hero but his wife’s story is remarkable?

Can we all agree no-one should be allowed talk on their phone while flying…period? It was a bad idea when it was proposed 2 years ago, and it’s a bad idea now.

Can we all agree we have no reason to believe Mr. Trump has sold all his stock?

Can we all agree that each new cabinet pick by  Mr. Tump is like the old radio show “Can You Top This?”  We will have an EPA chief who denies climate change, a Homeland Security chief who believes in fake news,  a pro-wrestling billionaire to run the Small Business Administration, a housing chief  who doesn’t understand why people need public assistance, and a labor secretary who opposes raising the minimum wage and thinks it’s fine to use sex to sell hamburgers? And that’s just this week’s picks.

Can we all agree, it might be good that our average life expectancy has decreased? Who really wants to be around to see the impact of Trump’s 4-years of chaos.

Can we all agree, it’s nice to know that at least the Pope understands the value of real news – even if large segments of the US apparently don’t?

Can we all agree it’s great Mr. Trump will continue to be executive producer of his TV show? Maybe he’ll forget that he’s President.

Can we all agree it’s good to know Mr. Trump will take office with the lowest approval rating in the last 30 years?

Can we all agree that Mr. Trump does not understand how he damages the office, when he picks a twitter fight with an individual or rants about an issuelike a new Air Force One –  without all the facts?

Can we all agree GOP leaders, especially House Speaker Paul Ryan need to grow some backbone, and start speaking out, about Mr. Trump’s actions?

Can we all agree that, like everyone else, Al Gore, swallowed Mr. Trump’s bogus promises hook-line and sinker?

Can we all agree that among the real losers in our preoccupation with Mr. Trump are the people of Aleppo, Syria, who are being forced to flee their homes and no-one seems to care – except John Kerry?

Can we all agree the departing GOP Governor of North Carolina showed us all how not to concede an election?

Can we all agree we are not surprised there is waste in the Pentagon budget, but it’s incredible h0w much it costs to cover it up?

Can we all agree it’s pretty surprising that the Oakland building where 36 people died last weekend had never been inspected by the City?

Can we all agree West Virginia coal minors will be the first to test Mr. Trump’s ability to keep his promises when they face losing their health benefits in April, now that a short-term spending package was approved?

Can we all agree its heartening to know there are some heavy hitters who realize our gun laws need to be changed?

Can we all agree that blue collar workers who supported Mr. Trump and hospital administrators who objected to government regulation, will be the hardest hit when the GOP tries to repeal the Affordable Care Act?

Can we all agree the South Carolina jury’s failure to convict a police office of murder, just proves that it’s impossible for black Americans to get justice in some parts of the country?

Can we all agree, it’s tough to take any solace from the fact that a right-wing candidate was defeated in Austria? The results in Italy have more to do with internal politics than a right wing uprising.

Donald Trump and Alec Baldwin. Which is which?

Donald Trump and Alec Baldwin. Which is which?

Can we all agree Mr. Trump has made Saturday Night Live ‘must see TV’ once again?

Can we all agree it’s hard to believe the Pentagon really wants to have our fighter planes made in India?

Can we all agree that, despite all the explanations, it’s doubtful Mr. Trump knew what he was doing when he called the president of Taiwan?

and finally:

If you’re not depressed enough about the future of the environment, pity the soon-to-be extinct giraffe or take a look at how big banks are helping to destroy the planet.

or

Take a look at this week’s good read to mark the day that still ‘lives in infamy’ for many people.

plus:

Read the story of co-joined twins who were separated by doctors at Stanford Medical Center.

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CWAA: Can We All Agree – 12/3/16 edition

December 3, 2016

Can we all agree the 178,000 jobs created last month proves, once again, that the economy created by Mr. Obama is the strongest in the world?

Can we all agree, most Americans have been too preoccupied to notice the troubles brewing in France and Italy?

World chess champion, Magnus Carlsen (Getty Images)

World chess champion, Magnus Carlsen (Getty Images)

Can we all agree it’s great to have a rock-star chess champion?

Can we all agree Vladimir Putin is already trying to take advantage of the change in US leadership?

Can we all agree we hope Howard Schultz made a better choice for his replacement this time, than he did when he retired from his post at Starbucks a few years ago?

Can we all agree the Colombian government did the right thing in quickly approving a new peace agreement with FARC rebels?

Can we all agree OPEC will have to cut production a lot more than 4% if they really want to impact oil prices? The fact that they got Russia to agree to cut output is significant.

Can we all agree the re-election of Rep. Nancy Pelosi to her role as House Minority leader is a win for  Democratic Party unity, but also a win for the GOP?

Can we all agree The Princess Cruise Lines and their parent, Carnival, deserve more than a fine for polluting the oceans they travel and then lying about it?

Can we all agree, that despite the cost ($108Billion), tying student loan repayment to income is the right way to help graduates manage their loans?

Can we all agree Mr. Obama’s strategy of trying to finalize as many rules as possible before he leaves office might help slow the reversals everyone knows are coming?

Can we all agree James Deligatti should be saluted for his contribution to McDonald’s bottom line, but nutritionists everywhere hold him at least partially responsible for the world’s obesity epidemic? Second place might go to the inventor of General Tso’s chicken.

Can we all agree the Dakota pipeline protest does not look like it will end well for the protestors?

Can we all agree Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau might have been a bit off base in his rosy assessment of Fidel Castro’s contributions to Cuban education and health care?

OK, now on to Mr. Trump:

Can we all agree Donald Trump gets more credit for saving 700 jobs (at a cost of $7 million) than Mr. Obama does for creating 178,000?

Can we all agree that, based on his phone calls to the leaders in Pakistan and now Taiwan, Donald Trump has no idea what diplomacy is all about?imrs-php

Can we all agree the list of possible conflicts of interest with the Trump presidency, in both real estate and stocks, are almost too long to list?

Can we all agree the silence from the GOP leaders on the obvious conflicts is deafening?

Can we all agree we will have a cabinet of Goldman Sachs, by Goldman Sachs and for Goldman Sachs?

Can we all agree it’s mind boggling that a man who was unfit to be a federal judge will now be attorney general?

Can we all agree it’s still an open question on whether the deal with Carrier actually saved any jobs, although it’s clear the company made $7 million?

Can we all agree, nominating someone who is legally unable to take the post of defense secretary is the definition of hubris?

Can we all agree the clash between the Clinton and Trump campaigns is a microcosm of conversations going on across the nation? Well, maybe a bit more heated…

Can we all agree that a cabinet with 4 billionaires, 3 millionaires and the wife of the Senate majority leader, doesn’t sound like a blue-collar administration that will ‘drain the swamp’?

Can we all agree everyone is trying to figure out which campaign promises Trump will actually keep?

Can we all agree, it’s a bit mystifying that Trump would try to stop the recounts in Michigan, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin?

Can we all agree a twitter Presidency is one thing, a lying President is another, but a lying-tweeting President is an entirely new animal?

Can we all agree, at least all of us in California, are proud that our state university system has stepped up to oppose Trump and help protect students who may face deportation?

Can we ll agree, given the  backlog in immigration courts, adding an additional 3 million cases could delay any deporations until 2020 anyway?

and finally:

Take a look at the secret life of bees.

and ultimately, a story of hope, from the Boston Globe.

 

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