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CWAA: Can We All Agree™ – 7/29/17 edition

July 29, 2017

Can we all agree, John McCain saved the Republican party from itself, when he cast the deciding vote against the so called ‘skinny repeal’ of the Affordable Care Act?

Can we all agree, Senator McCain clearly never forgave the President for the slights he was forced to endure during the 2016 campaign and seemed to relish his role?

Can we all agree it was McCain who got the pivotal vote, but it was Senators Susan Collins and Lisa Murkowski who took most of the heat?

Senators McCain, Collins and Murkowski: This week's heroes

Senators McCain, Collins and Murkowski: This week’s healthcare heroes.

Can we all agree, Mr. Trump erred badly when he tried to bully Senator  Murkowski into supporting the measure?

Can we all agree, GOP lawmakers who turned to sexist rhetoric in an attempt to pressure the female senators were an embarrassment?

Can we all agree, someone in the GOP has to  grow up and make a concerted effort to ensure the existing health insurance system will continue to work?

Can we all agree, it was heartening to some degree to see the GOP stand up to the President this week by defending the attorney general, passing tougher Russian sanctions and rejecting calls to ban transgender Americans in the military ?

Can we all agree the White House didn’t have much choice but to sign the sanctions bill?

Can we all agree, Russia’s retaliation for the increased sanctions has been relatively mild so far?

Can we all agree, Reince Priebus, has been a dead man walking since he took the job as White House chief of staff?

Can we all agree, when the nation’s chief executive jokingly condones police violence of any type, he displays a profound disregard for civil rights and insults the majority of the nation’s law enforcement officers who observe professional standards?

Can we all agree, Anthony Scaramucci has no business running a communications team if he can’t even communicate without being vulgar?

Can we all agree, the White House announced policies on gay rights, is simply out of touch with the attitudes of most Americans?

Can we all agree, House passage of a budget bill that has no chance of winning Senate approval shows that Speaker Paul Ryan has no ability to deal with conservative ideologues in his caucus?

Can we all agree, North Korea’s test of a missile that could reach Denver, Colorado should make it clear that they are the number one threat to our country?

Can we all agree, the removal of the Pakistani Prime Minister by that nation’s highest court would normally leave us shaking our collective heads in disbelief, but these days we just wonder if the US is next?

Can we all agree, the Boy Scouts really had no control over what the President would say at their annual event, but at least they realized an apology was necessary?

Can we all agree, the Vice President’s voter fraud commission has no idea how to conduct a legitimate study of the alleged problem?

Can we all agree, the fact that Secretary of State Rex Tlllerson was forced to deny rumors that he wanted to quit, suggests he may be on his way out?

Can we all agree, now that both Britain and France have passed laws banning vehicles with internal combustion engines, we may have reached a tipping point?DF31rp1XkAA8Ala.jpg-large

Can we all agree, normally when a TV commentator has a private dinner at the White House, it would damage his credibility, but with Sean Hannity, no one even blinked an eye?

Can we all agree, allowing your employer to place a chip in your body for identification purposes sends chills down the spine of many people?

Can we all agree, translating Foxconn’s employment practices in China to the US could be difficult?

Can we all agree, the results of a study of deceased football player’s brains should make parents think twice before allowing their children to play football?

Can we all agree, it’s hard to believe that the only person the Department of Justice could find to run their criminal division was someone with ties to a Russian bank?

Can we all agree, the Democrats new image message was less than inspiring?

Can we all agree, the Polish President’s veto of legislation taking over that nation’s courts, avoided a European crises?

Can we all agree, Jared Kushner’s private testimony before a Senate panel, suggests he’s either stupid or involved in issues way over his head?

Can we all agree, another silver lining to California’s wet winter is a new gold rush?

Can we all agree, the new TSA rules for screening electronics are going to make security lines even longer?

Can we all agree, Kansas Governor Sam Brownback, who is taking a job as a religious ambassador, is a poster child for the dangers of refusing to compromise in politics?

and finally:

RIP:

June Foray–the voice of our youth from “Rocky and Bullwinkle” to “Dudley Do-Right,” “Bugs Bunny” and “The Flintstones.”

and

Now you can ask a psychologist to find out if the President really is crazy.

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CWAA: Can We All Agree™ – 7/22/17 edition

July 22, 2017

Can we all agree, promising Presidential pardons before charges are filed, only serves to convince people that Mr. Trump knows that he, his relatives and their associates have committed crimes?

Can we all agree, the same could be said for reports from his legal team, that their legal case will be built on trying to undermine Robert Mueller’s credibility?

Can we all agree, someone in a position of power really wants to get rid of Attorney General Jeff Sessions – unless you think reports from secret intelligence cables are available freely from Washington newsstands?

A detailed look at the President's threat to fire Special Counsel Robert Mueller (Washington Post)

A detailed look at the President’s threat to fire Special Counsel Robert Mueller (Washington Post)

Can we all agree, it is unconscionable that a week after an Australian woman who called 911, was shot to death by police we still have no information on how the tragedy happened.

Can we all agree, Sean Spicer’s resignation is not the last high-level change coming at the White House?

Can we all agree, we will miss Melissa McCarthy’s Spicer impersonations on SNL?

Can we all agree, the real impact of Mr. Trump’s visit to Poland was his unofficial encouragement to the right-wing government?

Can we all agree, it’s hard to believe the secret life of the former head of the USC medical school, was unknown to the school’s administration?

Can we all agree, no one seems to know what will happen next week when the Senate votes on an unknown healthcare plan?

Can we all agree, the President fails to understand that no one – ‘not even congressional pages’ – are afraid of his threats?

Can we all agree, the real question for the GOP is will they let the healthcare markets collapse and risk taking heat from voters who would lose their insurance coverage?

Can we all agree, the Senate’s attempt to repeal the ACA got harder yesterday when their parliamentarian ruled against several key provisions on the bill?

Can we all agree, the record low ratings for Mr. Trump, may have something to do with his inability to get congress to bend to his will?

Can we all agree, Jared Kushner might as well resign now since he has lost all credibility with both his boss and the American people?

Can we all agree, it’s probably not conducive to good government when two federal agencies sue each other?

Can we all agree, it’s not surprising that former Trump campaign chief owed money to Russian banks, since many Americans believe Mr. Trump’s taxes will show that he owed even more?

Can we all agree, the high level voter-fraud panel, investigating non-existant voter fraud, is grasping at straws as it seeks more personal data on Americans, so the panel can make it harder to vote?

Can we all agree, even those who disagreed with Senator John McCain, were saddened by news that he has a brain tumor? At times he seemed to be one of the few sane voices in the Senate.

Can we all agree, in hindsight, it was pretty clear that the Supreme Court, with an average age of 68, would come down on the side of grandparents being excluded from the administration’s Muslim travel ban?

Can we all agree, it really doesn’t matter how many meetings Mr. Putin and Mr. Trump have had recently, their bromance has been going on for years?

Can we all agree, the Putin-Trump relationship has tainted virtually any decision that might have an impact on Russia?

Can we all agree, the big news of the week was the firing of the long-time voice of Kermit the frog?

Can we all agree, the public barely noticed when the administration turned its back on two more campaign promises this week, certifying Iranian compliance with the nuclear agreement and bringing terrorists to the US to face charges?

Can we all agree, each week seems to bring new and novel ways for the administration’s cabinet secretaries to deny climate change and global warming?

Can we all agree, the reaction to O.J. Simpson’s parole, suggests the country just doesn’t care about a crime committed over 20 years ago?

Can we all agree, the White House ‘Made in America’ campaign this week  underscored the fact that the President and his daughter have their signature products made out of the country?

Can we all agree, it’s tough to feel any sympathy for Ann Coulter in her battle with Delta Airlines?

and:

The only good news this week was a story about Israeli soldiers providing assistance to Syrian refugees. There must be other better news, but it was tough to find.

 

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CWAA: Can We All Agree™ – 7/15/17 edition

July 15, 2017

Can we all agree, there are many Americans (about 65%) who agree with JPMorgan Chase CEO Jamie Dimon’s assessment of the current political climate?

Can we all agree, expanding the powers  of the Department of Homeland Security to speed up deportations, will not make our country safer?

Can we all agree, it appears Republican governors may have the final say on the fate of the GOP healthcare bill?Photos from 2017 roses

Can we all agree, a Federal judge in Hawaii made the right choice when he expanded the President’s  immigration order to include grandparents and other family members?

Can we all agree, the inclusion of a suspected Russian spy in the meeting with Donald Trump, Jr. makes a mockery of the  excuses he wants us to believe?

Can we all agree it’s Ok for a father to defend his son, but when neither of them have a moral compass it really doesn’t have much impact? Especially since political operatives on both sides of the aisle say that even taking the meeting with wrong.

Can we all agree, the only reason Mr. Trump went to France was to see a military parade?

Can we all agree, Mr. Trump’s off-the-record then on-the-record comments aboard Air Force One on his way to Europe, prove once again how ill-informed he is on a wide range of issues?

Can we all agree, Mr. Trump doesn’t even realize when he’s being sexist – like when he commented on the figure of France’s Frst Lady Brigitte Macron?

Can we all agree, this administration has no concept of basic privacy norms – the actions of the bogus election commission just proves the point?

Can we all agree, it looks doubtful the Republicans can pass their healthcare bill – but many pundits  said that about the same measure when it was being considered by the House?

Can we all agree, 37-year old Venus Williams is just remarkable despite her loss today?

Can we all agree, if statistical analysis is correct, there were three planes full of passengers who were 11 seconds from disaster at San Francisco Airport this week?

Can we all agree, Chistopher Wray said all the right things at his Senate confirmation hearing, but he didn’t really face the same issues as his predecessor – FBI chief James Comey?

Can we all agree, very few Republicans fear Mr. Trump’s wrath if they do not pass a healthcare bill?

Can we all agree, President Obama would have faced merciless crticism if pastors were seen “laying on of hands” while in the Oval Office, but for Mr. Trump it just generates shrugs?

Can we all agree, we’ve entered a new medical era if the FDA approves gene therapy?

Can we all agree, when Joe Scarborough announced he was leaving the GOP, it sounded a lot like President Lyndon Johnson’s alleged comments when Walter Cronkite voiced disapproval of the Vietnam War?

Can we all agree, the International Olympic Committee really didn’t have too much choice in awarding the next two Olympics to Paris and Los Angeles,  since no one else wanted them?

Can we all agree, Idaho’s new law, which strengthens enforcement of non-compete clauses,  will make it harder for them to attract new tech workers to the state?

Can we all agree, stories of Mr. Trump fuming as his administration crumbles are becoming all too common?

Can we all agree, Senate President Mitch McConnell’s decision to delay the annual recess by two weeks, is an admission that the GOP simply cannot govern?

Can we all agree, we’re all getting used to Mr. Trump’s shifting position on a wide range of issues, but his latest admission that his wall with Mexico can be shorter and transparent is  a non-starter?

Can we all agree the Articles of Impeachment filed by a California Congressman, are a pretty good publicity stunt?

Can we all agree, ISIS may have been pushed out of Mosul but it will be decades before the city returns to anything approaching normal?

Can we all agree, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau deserve credit for at least temporarily trying to reinstate class action lawsuits, to level the playing field between big banks and the average consumer?

Can we all agree, Mr. Trump’s plan to form a cyber-security task force with the Russians was the dumbest idea any president has proposed since World War II? It just shows how easy our President is to manipulate.

and:

If you want a look at how the rest of the world sees our President, take a look at this Australian reporter’s take on Mr. Trump?

or:

If you want your faith in humanity restored read this story about the rescue of 6 swimmers from a Florida riptide.

and finally:

As you sit home in your pajamas contemplating another pastry, take a look at what some folks go through in the name of sport.

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CWAA: Can We All Agree™ – 7/8/17 edition

July 8, 2017

Can we all agree, as long as Mr. Trump and Mr. Putin release their claims of what they discussed through biased mouthpieces we should be skeptical of anything they say?

Can we all agree it’s hard to believe Mr. Trump pressed Mr. Putin very hard on election tampering, one day after claiming he still wasn’t sure the Russians hacked our election system?

A friend recently published her photos of the Milky Way. (Photo by Annie Lu)

A friend recently published her photos of the Milky Way. (Photo by Annie Lu)

Can we all agree, there is no denying Mr. Trump’s policies are leaving the US on the sidelines of global trade and  isolated on most major issues?

Can we all agree, the robust jobs report may have very little to do with Trump’s economic policies, since no one is sure what they are ?

Can we all agree the slowdown in auto sales, and the resulting loss of jobs, may be  tough for the White House to explain?

Can we all agree, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell seems ready to admit defeat on repealing the Affordable Care Act, although the White House seems to be preparing one last push?

Can we all agree, any cease fire is good news, but we’ve been down this road many times in Syria?

Can we all agree, the GOP seems to having problems dealing with social media? First their attack on Hillary Clinton backfires and then the Indiana GOP asks for Obamacare horror stories and is flooded with positive comments.

Can we all agree, the departure of the head of the federal ethics office is a sad day for all of us, since  it will allow the White House to appoint someone who ignores their nonexistent ethics?

Can we all agree, the two year delay in approving an Illinois budget should be a warning to the GOP – if they ever get around to voting on an increase to the federal debt ceiling?

Can we all agree, the revelations about the ‘successful’ interception of a test missile aimed at California, will not make  West Coast residents sleep any easier

Can we all agree, Mr. Trump’s latest bizarre tweet has to worry even his most ardent supporters?

Can we all agree, it’s hard to believe, he could top his retweet of a doctored video showing him wrestling with a CNN logo?

Can we all agree, if the GOP has lost a solid red state. such as Kansas, they really should rethink their attempts to repeal Obamacare?

Can we all agree, California Governor Jerry Brown really seems to like his new role as ‘Democratic President of the United States.’

Can we all agree, the move to all electric cars may happen faster than anyone expected as France and Volvo jumped on the Tesla technology bandwagon?

Can we all agree, The Presidential voting commission needs to be dissolved  now that 44 states have turned down their request for voter data?

Can we all agree, US oil producers don’t seem to understand that the more they sell the lower the price will be and the sooner the oil boom will turn into a bust?

Can we all agree, Mr. Trump’s portrayal, in Poland, of the war against ISIS, as a battle against all Muslims, is counter-productive and needlessly raises the stature of that terrorist organization?

Can we all agree, Louisiana Congressman Clay Higgins’ use of a Nazi gas chamber as a backdrop for a campaign ad, has left everyone speechless?

Can we all agree, United Airlines just doesn’t seem to understand that customer service and common sense, need to come before profits?

Can we all agree, no one seems to believe the White House story line that Obamacare is a failure?

Can we all agree, it does not appear that the July Fourth break was particularly pleasant for lawmakers supporting repeal of The Affordable Care Act?

Can we all agree, the recent headline noting that ‘self restraint’ is the only thing standing in the way of war with North Korea should make everyone from Barrow, Alaska, to San Diego, California very nervous?

Can we all agree, that, given the number of executives who have now been fired for sexual harassment, the corporate culture at Fox News must have been terrible for any woman who tried to make a career there?

Can we all agree, NJ Governor Chris Christie, photographed sunbathing this week on a beach closed by a budget impasse gives new meaning to the word chutzpah?

Can we all agree, it appears once again, that the only thing standing in the way of a complete climate meltdown in the US, may be the judicial system?

Can we all agree, it looks like the courts may have to be the last line of defense against Betsy Devoss and her Department of Education also?

and finally:

We should all pause to remember Ms Sheila Michaels.

and

A former member of Congress who now needs the ACA to survive.

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Our Population Future

My good friend Joe Aaron is an economic futurist – someone who gets paid to explain trends and what the future will hold.

I asked him about the recent report that the United States fertility rate had hit a new low, since it features prominently in his  conclusion that the country is headed for real trouble if we, as a nation of immigrants, don’t change our policies.immigrants

I asked if the news changed his opinion. This is his response:

The short answer is no. It does not change my thinking on demographics here in the U.S. If you read between the lines, the article describes a part of our population, the Millennials, who are putting off having children and marriage. 

“The number one reason child birth is dropping in the civilized world today is economic. Young people can’t afford children anymore or are unwilling to make the financial sacrifices. It cost half a million to raise a kid and send them to college. That explains why 20% of our population decides to stay childless.

“The more educated you are, the less likely you are to have an unwanted pregnancy. Women can now get birth control with ease.

Finally, a woman with a good education can have a career and financial independence. If she decides she wants to have a baby she can. She no longer needs a man.

Where demographics are changing in the in the U.S. is at the state level. For example, Maine’s population is actually shrinking each year. Vermont is flat. New Hampshire’s population is flat. But they will both join Maine in the dying category this decade.

These three states have a medium age of 42, the highest in the country. The medium age for the U.S. is 37. This means they are an ageing society. This means their citizens are aging out of the work force. If this trend continues, and I have no doubt it will, in 15 years this will impact the state gov’t’s credit rating.

These three states have an unemployment rates below 3%. This is too low. It puts upward pressure on wages. This in turn puts pressure on a business to consider leaving the state.

If you are a technology company, where are you going to find employees with technology skills? Imagine a recession caused by a lack of workers. It is possible there.

The glass is half empty for small towns and rural area. The kids are all leaving for the bigger cities. It is a brain drain. Manufacturing plants will have jobs that go unfilled. Schools will close.

I find little to be happy about when it comes to our nation’s demographics. We better embrace immigration while people still want to come here.”

 

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CWAA: Can We All Agree™ – 7/2/17 edition

July 2, 2017

A day late, but hopefully, not a pound short.

Can we all agree, we should all be nervous about the administration’s request for voter data from the states and appalled that they don’t seem to understand why state officials are declining the demand?

Can we all agree, as the nation’s fertility rate declines any rational person realizes we need to change our attitude toward immigration?

Can we all agree, the GOP’s latest failure to pass a health care reform bill has left many Americans in the worst possible position – unable to plan for the future?

Can we all agree it's hard to understand why these opponents of Mr. trump's health care plan would agree to this picture? (AP photo)

Can we all agree it’s hard to understand why these opponents of Mr. Trump’s health care plan would agree to this picture? (AP photo)

Can we all agree, Mr. Trump has not been any help to Mitch McConnell?

Can we all agree Mr. Trump’s about face on health care shows his desperation and makes passage even more remote?

Can we all agree most voters don’t really understand ‘CBO scores,’ and don’t really care since they know what the impact of the Republican bill would be?

Can we all agree, Mr. Trump’s needless fight with two cable TV commentators has revealed the alternative universe inside the White House?

Can we all agree, the National Rifle Association’s latest ad campaign should outrage every American as it incites violence, simply to encourage gun ownership?

Can we all agree, anyone who doesn’t think a grandparent  constitutes a ‘bona fide’ relationship should ask one?

Can we all agree, next week’s G-20 summit should be quite the show for Mr. Trump, Germany’s Angela Merkel and Russia’s Vladimir Putin?

Can we all agree, Mr. Trump is oblivious to the fact that most of the world is laughing at him?

Can we all agree, Hong Kong is at pivotal crossroads as it celebrates 20 years since the British relinquished control?

Can we all agree, each week EPA administrator Scott Pruitt is allowed to stay in office we get closer to environmental disaster?

Can we all agree, Paul Manafort never should have been allowed to run any political campaign?

Can we all agree, it’s not the  $2.7 billion fine from the EU that worries Google, but the threat to their business model?

Can we all agree, the NSA, needs to admit they have screwed up and start helping people combat the hacking tools the agency created?

Can we all agree, the newfound friendship between Mr. Trump and Indian Prime Minister Modi will only last as long as Mr. Modi bows to all Mr. Trump’s demands?

Can we all agree, Germany’s rejection of visas for the body-guards/thugs who wanted to accompany Turkey’s dictator on a state visit, suggest the criminal charges brought in the US may have an impact after all?

Can we all agree, the latest report on the rise in sea level caused by increased carbon emissions makes our government’s position on the environment increasingly absurd?

Can we all agree, Mr. Trump has created his own echo chamber to support his egomaniacal positions?

Can we all agree, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson has become a non-entity on the world stage?

Can we all agree, Serena Williams had a near perfect return for John Mcenroe’s sexist serve?

Can we all agree, gun control supporters were left a bit confused this week as the Supreme Court allowed a California law on ammunition to stand but a lower court issued an injunction preventing the law from going into effect?

Can we all agree, no one is looking forward to stricter airport security rules ?

Can we all agree,  the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences should be congratulated for their bid to diversify their membership, even if it’s a few years late?

and finally:

A good news story about the heroic actions of a major league umpire.

and

An airline story that might restore your faith in the industry.

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