Choosing between Truth and Trash

Trash.   By a long shot.

Let me explain.   This is not the question of whether to throw out your comic collection, which is totally worthless, or telling your wife that you let poor little fluffy die, rather than pay some humongous vet bill.   No, far simpler question.

Do you go see the movie “Truth”  or “Trash”?   By the way, I haven’t seen these movies.


Newsroom drama detailing the 2004 CBS 60 Minutes report investigating then-President George W. Bush’s military service, and the subsequent firestorm of criticism that cost anchor Dan Rather and producer Mary Mapes their careers.

Truth (2015) Poster


Set in Brazil, three kids who make a discovery in a garbage dump soon find themselves running from the cops and trying to right a terrible wrong.

Trash (2014) Poster

Pretty cool cover.

The Truth film isn’t as truthy as you might expect (truthy doesn’t exist, I just made it up) and it certainly qualifies as a bucket item (or a word that rhymes with bucket,  to quote Obama) given this is an event that happened in 2004.   Truth based on possibly forged documents and CBS says that Truth is trash.    Trash, the film,  is still the original Trash.


Wikipedia – Truth

Stay tuned,


Debt ceiling increased – Yeah!!!!!

3:00 am, Oct 30, 2015.  The combined spending and debt ceiling package passed the Senate.   If it had failed, the morning news would have been, “Dow futures down 800 points, as default on debt  looms.”    It passed 63-35.  Republicans could have blocked it, but more reasonable minds prevailed.   Republicans voting for the measure were John McCain and Lindsey Graham.  The Nays were all Republicans,  including Cruz, Rubio and Paul.

Government will function a bit better today, relieved that this time around, the neo-conservatives did not push the US into sovereign default as a means to promote their own agenda.

Who not to vote for:  Cruz, Rubio and Paul.


Roll Call – US Senate


NAYs —35
Blunt (R-MO)
Boozman (R-AR)
Burr (R-NC)
Cassidy (R-LA)
Coats (R-IN)
Corker (R-TN)
Cotton (R-AR)
Crapo (R-ID)
Cruz (R-TX)
Daines (R-MT)
Enzi (R-WY)
Ernst (R-IA)
Fischer (R-NE)
Flake (R-AZ)
Gardner (R-CO)
Grassley (R-IA)
Heller (R-NV)
Hoeven (R-ND)
Inhofe (R-OK)
Isakson (R-GA)
Johnson (R-WI)
Lankford (R-OK)
Lee (R-UT)
Moran (R-KS)
Paul (R-KY)
Perdue (R-GA)
Portman (R-OH)
Risch (R-ID)
Rubio (R-FL)
Sasse (R-NE)
Scott (R-SC)
Sessions (R-AL)
Shelby (R-AL)
Sullivan (R-AK)
Toomey (R-PA)

Stay tuned,


Who lost the Republican debates?

The truth could get a word in edge-wise.  Fiorina, Trump, Carson, Rubio, Cruz and  Christie told lies during the debate.

But, among Republicans, Trump leads the group.  I guess it is particularly egregious when a candidate is asked why he said something, and the response is that it was never said, then continues on a different topic.  Or make a claim, when the opposite can be proven.  Trump: “I am the only person in either campaign that’s self-funding. I’m putting up 100 percent of my own money.”   Just not true.  “Trump denied ever criticizing Facebook founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg, as well as Marco Rubio, with regard to the H-1B visa program. But he actually did so — in his very own immigration plan on his own website.”  fact checking of Trump in categories of true, mostly true and half true is 15% in total.   Obama scores 75% and Hillary Clinton 81%.  Both Obama and Clinton had many more facts checked.

Fact checking the debates

Trump’s Record

Stay tuned,


Who definitely not to vote for

Rand Paul and Ted Cruz.  Probably Marco Rubio too.  They are not willing to pass a clean debt ceiling increase, which we need to avoid disaster.  We will see how the rest muddle through the question on Wednesday’s debate on whether to raise the debt ceiling.

We don’t want a president who lacks any government experience or who is so extreme that they would cause great harm to the US credit rating.

Stay tuned,

Dave Lord

Graham Ledger on the debt ceiling

Graham Ledger of OANN (One American News Network)  said that congressmen should look up the word “ceiling”  because if they keep raising it, it isn’t a ceiling.   And I agree that it is a misnomer.   I will call it “Economic self destruct time bomb.”

There’s nothing constructive about the debt ceiling.   It doesn’t limit spending.  It doesn’t limit our debt.  It  empowers the government to pay its bills.  It doesn’t exist in other countries.  It is an anachronism.  It really  should be eliminated because it is being used by minority groups to try to extort from government what they couldn’t do by the democratic process in Congress- like defund Obamacare.

The day after Congress refuses to increase the debt ceiling,  the US debt will be just the same and  be over the debt ceiling limit.  Debt increases when spending exceeds revenue.  The cure to debt is to cut spending or increase revenue, not plunge the country into economic chaos.

If the President continues to pay bills after Nov 3,  he  and the Secretary of the Treasury are in defiance of Congress and subject to impeachment.  If he does not pay the bills, the US is in sovereign default.

What have other President’s done in similar situations?   Nothing, because Congress has always raised the debt ceiling. It used to be automatically attached to spending bills.

“Economic self destruct time bomb” is more appropriate.   It has been at the door of congress since March  together with the instructions to defuse this bomb – pass the clean debt ceiling increase.

Stay tuned,

David Lord

Like I have been saying ….

Debt ceiling

From Politico:

Now, House Republican leadership is saying Democrats need to give up something in order to convince a “minimum number” of GOP lawmakers to avoid a lapse in the borrowing limit.

House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) bashed Republicans for their disarray on the debt ceiling during a news conference on Thursday.

“It’s only a matter of hours until we have to act in the House. We have to act really by tomorrow. This calendar of chaos … is really coming down to hours, days, weeks,” Pelosi told reporters.
Read more:

Trump wants a “pound of flesh”  in exchange for a debt ceiling increase.

Stay tuned,

Dave Lord

Buckle up- Nov 3

We will not have money to pay our bills on Nov 3.

Please write this 1,000 times.  Failure to pass the debt ceiling increase doesn’t mean a government shutdown.  Failure to pass the debt ceiling increase means defaulting on our debts.  It has never occurred before.  It should never occur.

The effects will be long lasting.  US  credit rating will be lowered.  The stock market will crash.  Those with retirement accounts will be severely impacted.

If I was a congressman,  I would just pull out my rubber stamp, saying Yes and be done with it. All Democrats will vote for the increase.

But that isn’t enough.   Ask a Republican if they would pass a clean debt ceiling increase, and they’ll change the subject in a minute.   They’ll  talk about how bad things are, we spend too  much on this and that.

Rubio,  Cruz and all the rest of them.

Stay tuned,

Dave Lord

Benghazi- A Libyan Perspective

Not many folks in Miami have been to Libya. I have been there twice, once in 2011 just before the civil war, and again in 2013, after the war was over. I was a petroleum engineer consultant to oil companies run by Libya, so I interacted with Libyans everyday. I was there when the civil war first erupted in February 2011 and came back in 2013, after the war was over By mid 2013, peaceful conditions had been established

In 2013, I worked in Tripoli, Libya. Frequently, I would walk to Martyrs’ square for shopping or a meal. There, in the Plaza, would be plywood replicas of coffins, each with photo of a Libyan who died in the 2011 civil war. An end of a civil war is both joyous and terribly sad. Streets leading up to Plaza were filled with the new flag of Libya. Books critical of Gaddafi were shown in front of many stores. No one would have dared display such books in 2011. Libyans could enjoy the freedom of expression which we take for granted.

I was very interested in how Libyans viewed President Obama. I never had to ask, the Libyans told me soon after I told them I was an American. From taxi cab drivers to people in restaurants, and those Libyans I worked with, I heard the same message, “Obama saved us.” Or sometimes, it was “Sarkozy and Obama saved us and the people of Benghazi.” The French President Sarkozy was just as much a hero to the Libyan people as Obama. It never went much beyond this, and I heard little praise for Secretary Hillary Clinton. Perhaps, because they did not know the role she had played in defending the Libyan opposition.

Gaddafi was a violent and ruthless dictator. Protesters gathered in Martyrs’ square to protest his government in February 2011. Soldiers with machine guns sprayed bullets from helicopters into the square to disperse the crowds.

Benghazi to Americans is where four Americans died as a result of the attack of their Embassy. Benghazi to Libyans is a city that the Americans and French saved from destruction. There was no city that Gaddafi hated more than Benghazi. In February 2011, groups opposed to Gaddafi had over run an armory, and now the protesters had weapons and would shoot back. Everyone in Libya knew Gaddafi’s next step would be a massive aerial bombing of Benghazi.

If the US did not push through the “no fly” policy in the UN in early 2011, Gaddafi would have leveled Benghazi, first from the air and then with ground soldiers. I remember how he shouted from Martyrs’ square how the protesters had committed treason and the punishment for treason was death. How many of the 670,000 Libyans would have died in early 2011, if Americans and French planes had not prevented the Gaddafi’s armored division and mercenary soldiers as they approached Benghazi?

I do not want to belittle the deaths of four Americans, nor the numerous warning signs of violence. The group responsible for the destruction of our Embassy is not representative of the Libyan people.
When the Embassy fell, there was a genuine feeling among the Libyans that they were to blame, and they had let their dear friends die. After the attack, I received emails from my Libyan friends, showing the flowers Libyans had placed at the Embassy. One posting from a Libyan summed it up perfectly, “Sorry, Sorry, Sorry.”

Stay tuned,

Dave Lord

A pound of flesh for Republicans??? Gross stupidity

We have until Nov 3 to avoid defaulting on our debt.   Trump wants Republicans to “extract a pound of flesh” in return to approving a debt ceiling increase.  Exactly what the pound of flesh would be,  Trump wouldn’t say, but it’s obvious that there has to be something there for Trump to say that the Republicans won on the debt issue.

Jack Lew talks about self inflicted wounds on the American economy.   Trump gets a bit more graphic,  but no substance.

Republicans +1,  US  -100.

There is no issue. Or perhaps I should say that there is no issue of substance.     We spent the money, now we have to pay up.

If you attach conditions to a debt ceiling bill,  you are destroying the democratic process by letting a small minority extort demands in return for doing what we have to do to avoid sovereign default.

Trump likes that as it draws attention to him.  Saying how stupid the Obama government because they keep increasing the debt gets higher ratings.   Blaming Obama for the national debt is really dumb, as it has been grew under both Republican and Democrat Presidents.

Sovereign default  is, unfortunately,  highly destructive to our economy and businesses.  And unnecessary.

We have never defaulted on our debt payment,  counter to the nonsense coming out of  Fox news,

The Tea Party could care less about the ramifications of not paying our debt.   It  just wants more Fox news  air time on the  trillion dollar debt.

Stay tuned,

Dave Lord





Don’t Vote

You have the right to vote.  Nobody says you have to vote.  Yes, I know both Republicans and Democrats are saying all Americans should vote.  I’m suggesting just the opposite- this country would be a lot better off if some people just sat home and didn’t vote.

If you haven’t bought a read a newspaper in two years-  don’t vote.   If you can’t remember if Obama is a Republican or Democrat – don’t vote.  If you can’t name one of the justices on the Supreme Court – don’t vote.  If you can’t name two branches of government (I mean any 2 of the 3 branches) don’t vote.   Hint: the US Post Office is not a branch.  If you think Syria is next to Kuwait or Malaysia- don’t vote.

If you think of electing a president because you are mad at some decision made by the Supreme Court- forget it.  It isn’t going to happen.  Not the Obamacare, abortion or the right of gays to marry on the liberal side, or ruling unconstitutional gun control and campaign finance on the conservative side.  Not going to be heard again and decided differently.

If you don’t care about politics, you have every right (see: Pursuit of Happiness clause) not to vote.  If you do vote, and the person you voted for wins,  it is partially your fault.  I mean a very small fraction, but do you want this responsibility?

Stay tuned,

Dave Lord



Commie Sanders

Bernie Sanders, commie.   Or commie lover.  Or commie sympathizer.  Ok, this is from Trump, who is still explaining how he’s going to get the Mexican government to pay for a 2,000 mile wall.   More on that later.

Of course,  New York Republicans can be outdone by Texas Republicans any day of the week, even if they are competing in the area of stupidity.  Rep Jason Villalba accused Bernie Sanders of being a Nazi,  pretty nutsy given Sanders is Jewish.

Well Hitler’s party was the National Socialist Workers Party.  Actually,  the Nazi’s greatest enemy was the Democratic Socialist Party, which he destroyed by brute force.   But who  cares. This is just more dumb zingers –    Sanders is a Commie by day, Nazi by night.   I wish the election could be next week.

But Trumps zingers are just name calling, and are particularly  embarrassing. Of course Jason’s are laughable.      Laissez faire capitalism is a dead concept.   Yes, government has been regulating industry since the early 1940’s.   The child labor laws and  health and safety regulations for workers were all considered government encroaching on the rights of private industry, or communism.   The most contentious laws, the right of workers to unionize and go on strike, was held in the 1950’s as a communist plot.

Undemocratic socialism is what has been practiced in Cuba, Russia and Eastern Europe,  with disastrous results.  If anything Bernie has done, is to promote reforms in campaign finance- thus  increasing the  democratic process.

I guess since the Democrats had their attention grabbing debate and  Trump really feels out of the limelight.   There is a time to speak, and a time to sit down and shut up.

Stay tuned,

Dave Lord




More frightening developments

Moderate Democrats and Republicans have found common ground for decades to pass legislation.  For example, the core environmental laws which enhanced governmental powers of the EPA (Clean Air and Clean Water Act) were signed into law by Richard Nixon.

But, the tea party republicans are threatening to really bring ruin to the US by failure to raise the debt ceiling and action is needed within 3 weeks.

Kevin McCarthy pulled out of the race for House Speaker, because he would have to cut a deal with the Freedom Caucus to refuse to pass a clean debt ceiling bill.  Shep Smith of Fox News, got the story first:

Stay tuned,

David Lord


Syria – Part 3 Long term solution

Syria is a horrible mess.  It is no longer an asymmetrical war.  It has drawn in Iran, Russia, Iraq and Egypt on one side, and the US, France, Jordan and a host of other countries on the other side.  Not much will be left of Syria after the conflict is over.

All good options, are impractical.  Victory by the opposition and a non-secular democratic government is a fantasy.  We have the military power to  defeat ISIL but we can not occupy and run Syria.  We can not put Americans into a war between Sunnis and Shi’ites in Syria.

The cornerstone of US policy is first Assad has to leave.   We must let go of this.   While the opposition  is committed to a non-secular government,  even if they hold to their promise, it will be an enormous loss of power to the Shi’ites or one can say a major victory to Sunnis.  Assad and his Shi’ite minority will never give up, even if Syria is completely leveled.

We must reverse course, and fast.   Conceptually, the policy change is to treat ISIL and the other jihadist groups as foreign invaders, who occupy Syria. We can accept Russia’s presence as a fight against terrorism.   Through negotiations, Russia presence can be short.  They really don’t want a long term involvement in Syria.   If there can be peace (or at least some stability) in Syria, even under the tyrant Assad, then  hopefully Russia’s military presence is not longer needed.   The end to bombing by  US, Russia  and Syria (of their own people) should be the new goal.   Thus, instead of making Assad the number 1 enemy of the US, we have to work to keep Syria independent of Iran and the more radical Shi’ite groups like Iran’s revolutionary guard.

I believe non-interference agreements between the US and Russia are the highest priority.  This is tough as the US will have to stop supporting the opposition forces  In turn, Russia will not use its air force to bomb cities held by the opposition forces.   This would be a truce or standstill agreement in the civil war.  It does not require us to acknowledge the legitimacy of Assad.   It does tell the opposition groups, that they better make peace with Assad and fast, because they can no longer count on US support.  Since the common enemy is ISIL, then we support Iraq’s effort to fight ISIL and allow Russia to fight ISIL in Syria. ‘

We have to keep Israel at bay also, as their involvement will be counterproductive to de-escalation efforts, and result in intensifying support for radical Islamic groups.  It is a real juggling act for Obama.

This is a major change in concept and unfortunately, allows Assad to continue to treat his own people, hoping for change, as terrorists. We can not be the policemen nor the nurse maids of the world (Fulbright’s famous quote).   Disengagement is not a mainstream Democrat or Republican idea.   Many of the conservative Republicans see us increasing support to the opposition, as if we are on a holy crusade to spread democracy and wipe out tyrannical (illegitimate)  governments.  Bomb Damascus,  Tehran or Moscow or parachute a million Americans into Syria.   Higher ideals do not translate into workable solutions.

Oh, if  the Tunisian officials had  given  Mohamed Bouazizi back his scale (see my prior post).  There is no rewind button on history.

The long term solution of disengagement requires a huge swallowing of pride and compromise of our ideal.  Syrians who gave their lives for a better future without Assad will feel betrayed.   Mutual disengagement (US and Russia) is the trade off needed for a hope for stability.  Otherwise, we end up with a colossal proxy war  of our own making.

Stay tuned,

David Lord

Syrian Crisis – Part 1 (Jihadists, ISIL, the good guys, Mohamed Bouazizi and others)

I thought instead of describing how the Syria crisis began, I would only talk about when.  I have been to Damascus in 1999, and I considered it a far safer place than Miami, Florida where I live.  I did not see Syria as a hotbed of Islamic extremism.  I still don’t.

When did the mess in Syria begin?  It began on December 17, 2010.  Could you be more precise, possibly?  Yes,  11:30 am. There are a couple of events prior to this, so we can say 8:00 am when Mohamed Bouazizi began his day to 11:30, when the incident occurred.

There are so many groups, subgroups, super-groups (coalitions), it is difficult to keep track of them.  Wikipedia has done a fantastic job, as usual:

I believe rebuilding a transmission is easier than solving the Syrian crisis- because there are fewer moving parts!

In the category of Jihadists on Wikipedia, are the Al-Qaeda affiliated groups (Al-Nusra and others), whose origins date back to 1986- 1989,  as Osama bin Laden was fighting against the Russians in Afghanistan with the military assistance of the  CIA (thank you President Reagan).

In the category of the most vile and dangerous group of terrorists, namely ISIL or ISIS,  they are relatively new kids on the block, with their roots dating back to the invasion of Iraq in 2003 (thank you President Bush),  and the repression of the Sunni’s in Iraq.  Former President of Iraq, Maliki, bears responsibility for much of this repression.  The idea that ISIL and Al Qaeda moved in when Obama pulled the US troops out of Iraq is really overly simplistic.  Our presence also encourages terrorist recruitment. I will not attempt to enter in the debate of who contributed  to the growth of ISIL, Bush or Obama,  as I believe neither could fully anticipate what was emerging from the end of the Iraqi conflict.  It is a bit like sailing in turbulent winds, very difficult to steer.

Let’s move on.

— Good guys

The so-called “good guys” or the opposition groups (moderate, non-sectarian, groups)  seeking the ouster of Bashir Assad did not exist until 2011 after the tragic death of Mohamed Bouazizi of Tunisia.    It used to be called the Free Syrian Army (FSA),  but with merger of other groups, now it is the Syrian Revolutionary Command Council (SRCC) of which incudes FSA.  We can just call them good guys. But our good guys are at conflict with Jihadists, ISIL and the  Syrian military and associated supporting groups.

But our enemies, ISIL and Jihadists are also at war with the Syrian government.  So the enemy of our enemy is also our enemy.  ISIL holds a large portion of central Syria, which is sparsely populated, so it isn’t as bad as it looks.    Our friends, the Iraq government supports the Assad.  The  friend of our enemy is our friend.   I mean Americans have died, and billions of dollars spent for our friend, Iraq,  Thank you very much.

Of course, Syria and associated allies, see things completely opposite.  The SRCC or good guys are called “terrorists” by the Syrian government.   Hezbollah, which we consider as a dangerous group with a long history of threatening the security of Israel, is allied with Syria. So,  they are the “good guys” to the Syrians.   It can be argued that the establishment of  Hezbollah was a response to the Israel’s invasion of South Lebanon.

This makes the conflict in Syria unbelievably complicated. It is why Netanyahu visited Putin very recently.  Israel is very worried about Russia weapons going to Hezbollah for attacks on Israel.   Israel can certainly retaliate against Hezbollah if the attacks are launched from southern Lebanon.  But they are worried if Hezbollah launches missiles from Syria, would that draw Russia into a Syria-Israel conflict?   Putin has no interest in widening the Syria conflict- only doing what is needed to keep Assad in power.    But diversion of military equipment is always possible.

— Mohamed Bouazizi

Let’s get back to WHEN the sh*t hit the fan.  Dec 17, 2010 11:30 am and the very sad protest and death of Mohamad Bouazizi.

Mohamed who?

On December 17, 2010 all was calm throughout Syria.

In the small country of Tunisia,  the simple protest of a  street vendor was about to ignite the Arab Spring.  It is an incredible story.  Mohamed sold fruit and vegetables in the plaza from a cart. He was harassed by the police who confiscated his scale.  He unsuccessfully tried to get his scale back from authorities. Following this, he lit himself on fire and died on Jan 4, 2011.

The origins of the SRCC or “good guys”  occurred in April 2011, after civil wars had begun in Tunisia, Libya, and Egypt.

—  Long wars in small countries

Wars are a bit like forest fires, sooner or later they should run out of fuel.  But,  ISIL has been very resourceful in finding funding through the capturing of oilfields, and demanding ransom for captured civilians.  Plus, they recruit others on the basis this is a fight for the survival of Sunni Muslims around the world.  The other groups involved, such as the SRCC have backers, namely the US and European allies.

It is a horrible, horrible situation.  Fareed Zacharia got it right, that Russia has a much more straight forward strategy than ours:

It is one colossal proxy war,  5 countries supplying weapons to Syria,  and 8 countries conducting air strikes against ISIL, mixed in with terrorist organizations (ISIL and Nusra against Assad, Hezbollah for Assad).

All of a sudden,  Bashir Assad is not looking that bad.  Of course, in extreme relative terms.  In the US, he would qualify as a mass murderer.  But so would about a dozen leaders around the globe.

This is just part 1, and I’ve got a lot to add.  But, this has gotten pretty long so far.

Stay tuned,

David Lord




Debt ceiling again – and the white knight republicans

Yes, the government spends too much, it borrows too much, it spends money on stupid things.  But just stop right there. PLEASE.

Nov 5, 2015 is when the debt ceiling has to be raised.  At least, it is now the best estimate of Sec’y Lew.

Debt ceiling has nothing to do with how much the government can spend or borrow.  It is not like your credit card limit. It is called a debt ceiling, but it should be called “Permission to pay what the US Government has already spent.” It is like permission to pay your credit card bill when it arrives.  But it’s worse, because if the US Government fails to pay, they have now defaulted on their obligations.

The US has never, ever defaulted.  Companies who fail to pay their obligations find their credit ratings cut very quickly, and soon they are facing bankruptcy.

A temporary debt ceiling “patch”  was passed in 2014, which temporarily suspended the debt ceiling  to March 15, 2015.

So,  the alarms at the Treasury have been sounding since March 6, 2015 that Congress has to take action.   Eight times, Lew sent letters to Congress.  Obama has stated the same thing countless times.  This is the economic nuclear bomb.

If a debt ceiling bill is passed with demands that Obamacare or Planned Parenthood are to be defunded (which has nothing to do with the debt ceiling)  you basically destroy the power of the President to execute those laws passed by Congress.  Obamacare is in effect because was passed into law by Congress.  Now Congress can defund Obamacare, they can defund Planned Parenthood, but not as a condition to prevent an economic crisis.

Secretary Jack Lew sent letters on March 6, 13, 16 and 17 warning that he was forced to take emergency step (extraordinary measures) to avoid default.  He then sent letters on 7/29, 7/30, 9/10 and two days ago (Oct 1, 2015) with the Treasury’s best estimate of when the funds used during this period would be exhausted.  Each letter stated the exact date could not be predicted, because it would depend on the money coming in and out of the Treasury every day.

There was a nice way to deal with this.  Congress used to pass budgets,  and when the budget passed, automatically the debt ceiling was raised.  This is why during the Bush administration, nobody was concerned with debt ceilings.  But, this was done away and the rest is an awful mess.

Republicans have the chance to make a major and permanent change in our economy, by pushing our country into default for refusing to pass a simple clean debt ceiling increase.  Ted Cruz, Marco Rubio, and Rand Paul may lead the charge. Why not, they are behind in the polls.

Republicans will try to put the blame on Obama, as crisis hits, and they will get plenty of air time on Fox news, by emphasizing that we are trillions in debt and they are some kind of white knights to save the day.  All they really do, is slay the princess and let the dragon loose.

Is it worth it?

Stay tuned,

David Lord