Government

Donald Trump comes to Ypsilanti, MI

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What an unexpected treat! No, I’m not talking about the heavily redacted tax forms that were leaked from the White House…no, I’m talking about our Commander-In-Queef in the orange flesh! In my city! About 5 miles from my house, at the old Willow Run auto plant that has recently been converted to an autonomous car testing facility.

Will he use the word “bigly”? Will he take credit for the economic upturn, despite being a President for less than a financial quarter? Will he accidentally get run over by an autonomous car?

Well, 2 out of 3 isn’t bad.

Here is definitive proof that Donald Trump is a traitor

If this doesn’t convince you, I don’t know what will.

To clarify: The ONLY thing that our President Of The United States has liked on Twitter so far in 2017, is a Fox News article where Al Franken “thinks (Jeff) Sessions committed perjury”.

It seriously blows my mind that Trump continues to expose himself on Twitter. To this day, you can go on his Twitter page and find dozens of seriously suspect tweets from years ago where he directly contradicts himself or makes himself look like an insecure idiot. 

Now, it can’t be called “fake news” if he writes it himself, can it? Here’s another fun one:

What’s so funny, you might ask? Well, the fact that Donald Trump wrote this in 2012, and the fact that he has now apparently decided to appoint Jon Huntsman as Ambassador to Russia. Trump must not care if Huntsman were to “give our country” to Russia; in fact, it completely goes along with the Russian complicity narrative that his administration has been surrounded in.

For all of the talk about “extreme vetting”, someone needs to vet Trump’s Twitter feed (and Sean Spicer’s Twitter feed too, he is possibly the most incompetent user of social media that I have ever seen). Or not…it is all quite amusing, I suppose…

HUD: Hypocrisy Under Donald

Ben Carson is reportedly in line to join Donald Trump’s cabinet, as HUD (Housing and Urban Development) secretary. In fact, Trump said just as much on his Twitter page, which is the only consistent form of communication from the president-elect thus far.

This, despite Carson saying just a week ago that he wouldn’t join Trump’s cabinet because he felt that he didn’t have the experience needed for it. Of course, Carson obviously felt he had enough experience to run for president earlier this year. But, hey, who needs political experience to become president, anyway? Not Donald Trump, who had never worked in politics in any capacity before getting elected as president.

If Carson, as an African American, does actually become HUD secretary, it would be interesting. The only qualification for this job — which would predominantly consist of overseeing federally subsidized housing for low income people — that Trump seemingly sees in Carson, is his race. Why would Trump want Carson as Housing and Urban Development secretary? There is only one logical reason: attempting to redeem himself for discriminating against African-Americans and other minorities at his rental properties in the 1970’s.

Back in 1973, Trump was actually sued by the Department Of Justice for discriminating against minority tenants. 

This wasn’t a one time thing, but a systematic and blatant discrimination that went on for a few years, against hundreds of potential tenants. Back then, Trump was still working with his father Fred, who was infamously arrested at a KKK rally in the 1920’s, and whose money and credit lines were the sole reason that “self-made” Donald Trump was able to start his real estate career.

Donald Trump settled with the DOJ in 1975, but he was charged again in 1978 for non-compliance of the DOJ terms imposed on him. After millions of dollars in fines and years of federal oversight, Trump would decide to get out of the low income housing rental market for good and start making his way into Manhattan, where he would see much higher profits and notoriety in the 1980’s with his mixed-use office buildings and condos.

As a man who worked in the medical field his entire life, Ben Carson is seemingly unqualified to oversee federally subsidized housing in this country. But, Donald Trump is obviously unqualified to be president, so maybe it will be a perfect match. Hey, it could be worse: at least Carson isn’t being touted to become the Secretary of Education…

The Trump transition: the first 60 days

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Well, this past week has certainly been crazy. Donald Trump pulled the biggest political coup of the 21st century thus far by winning the 2016 U.S. presidential election. As shocked as you may be about it, keep in mind that no one is more shocked than Trump himself. He initially ran for president just to see how successful he could be in the primaries, with no expectation of actually securing a nomination. Trump was basically in a win-win situation: if he lost the election, which for much of his campaign he expected to, he would still have secured a lot of political capital and he would have leveraged his presidential run into more Trump-related business, such as the so-called Trump TV media venture.

But…here we are, with Donald Trump as commander-in-chief of the most powerful nation of the free world. A man who would randomly grab a woman’s genitals and not think anything of it will now grab onto the presidential suitcase with the nuclear codes in case all hell breaks loose. As much controversy as Trump received over his sexually explicit comments, they are minor compared to the other baggage that he brings into the White House. Here are some of the things that Donald Trump will be concentrating on in the first 60 days, instead of remedial American History and World History 101 lessons:

Lawsuits, lawsuits, lawsuits: The king of business litigation still has 75 pending lawsuits open against him, most prominently the one against his former for-profit college Trump University.¬†This wasn’t a hands-off business venture: Trump owned almost 100% of Trump U, and his likeness figured prominently in the “university” advertising, recruiting literature, and coursework. It is in Trump’s best interest to get this federal lawsuit settled as quickly as possible, and he will.

There is also a New York state investigation of the Trump Foundation. Donald Trump spent a good portion of his campaign railing against what he sees as illicit practices by the Clinton Foundation, but at least the Clinton Foundation actually gives to charitable causes on a regular basis. Out of all of Trump’s despicable acts, one of the most despicable was promising to pay $6 million to veterans charities during a press conference, but not paying any of them until the media pressured him months later. What DOES the Trump Foundation do? Well, besides laundering money, there’s this: in 2007, $10,000 of foundation money was used to buy a painting of Trump, and in 2014, $20,000 of foundation money was used to buy another painting of Trump. This violates IRS rules against using charity money for personal interests.

One lawsuit that evidently went away was the pending civil suit that accused Trump of raping and beating up a 13 year old child. To be clear, this was a lawsuit that had been pending for quite some time, and was scheduled for a status conference in December. For unknown reasons, the plaintiff decided to cancel the lawsuit last week. Trump has been accused of walking into a locker room while teenage beauty contestants were changing clothes, and a recently released video from 1992 shows Trump telling a 10 year old girl that he would be dating her as soon as she became an adult.

Money, money, money: The O’Jays famous song “For The Love Of Money” took on new life as the theme song for Donald Trump’s reality show The Apprentice. Now, as Trump makes the transition from business owner to U.S. president, there will be lots of money moving around within his family. Trump plans to hand over managerial oversight of the Trump Organization (a conglomerate that controls all of Trump’s various business ventures) to his children Eric, Donald Jr., and Ivanka. The three children will have their hands full: along with handling these business ventures, they are also on Trump’s presidential transition team.

Advisers, yes-men, and cabinet members: One of Donald Trump’s most famous phrases during the election was “Drain The Swamp”, which referred to his intentions of getting rid of political insiders in Washington. This is ironic, because the list of Trump’s proposed candidates for his cabinet is as fetid and disgusting, and as full of political insiders, as any swamp imaginable. Here’s who is on Trump’s shortlist (some names are listed twice, as this is just speculation):

Chief Of Staff: Steve Bannon, of Brietbart.com; Jared Kushner, Trump’s son-in-law; Reince Preibus, RNC chairman; Corey Lewandowski, former campaign manager

Secretary Of State: John Bolton, former ambassador in the George W. Bush administration; Newt Gingrich, former Speaker of the House; Rudy Giuliani, former New York City mayor

Attorney General: Rudy Giuliani; Trey Gowdy, U.S. representative; Chris Christie, governor of New Jersey

Secretary Of The Interior: Newt Gingrich

Secretary Of Health And Human Services: Ben Carson, former 2016 presidential candidate

Secretary Of Energy: Sarah Palin, former governor of Alaska

Secretary Of Homeland Security: Joe Arpaio, Maricopa County sheriff, Arizona

Adviser or spokesperson: Omarosa Manigault, reality TV star

Does that list send shivers down your spine as it does mine? If it weren’t so frighteningly real, it would make one hell of a reality show.

It looks like President-elect Trump has a busy few weeks ahead of him. Let’s hope that he can get all of this straightened out so that he can have a smooth transition into the presidency.

Donald Trump: President of the United States

As many Americans anxiously watched the presidential voting results, I went to bed. I figured that Hillary Clinton would win, although it would be extremely close in the popular votes. I woke up this morning and turned on the news, to find out that Donald Trump actually won. So I was right…and wrong.

In a historic election where a female was projected by many to become our first female president, Hillary still lost. I had argued before the election to not underestimate Trump’s support with women, specifically middle-aged white women. I never would think that women would vote for Hillary primarily because she was a woman, although some surely did. However, Hillary was and is an unlikeable candidate in many ways, and it is a strong statement when many women vote for a man who has had dozens of sexual assault lawsuits and accusations (before the election, and at least one involving a child), rather than a woman who has done a lot for woman’s and children’s rights in this country.

What does this mean for us? For better or for worse, things are not going to fundamentally change no matter who is president. There are too many checks and balances between Congress, the House of Representatives, and the Supreme Court to allow any form of a dictatorship to take effect. Sure, there are presidential vetos and executive orders, but we would have a political insurrection or impeachment before that ever got out of hand.

Donald Trump is, above all, a negotiator. He looks out for himself and the people who take care of him first. He isn’t going to fundamentally change things, because his interests are the same as any president or leading politician. The working class that helped to put him into office would be the first to suffer, due to his proposed tax reforms. The Republican Party’s most brilliant accomplishment was to make working class people somehow think that rich politicians and businessmen would be the only people that would be able to take care of them. Unfortunately for the GOP, as they’ve already realized, Trump is a RINO (Republican In Name Only), and he will switch loyalties if it will benefit him. It happened before, and it will happen again.

The thing I am most concerned about is the prospect of civil war. That will happen before a World War 3, I guarantee it. For all of the NRA and gun lobby rhetoric, I wouldn’t be surprised if Trump eventually attempted to place restrictions on firearm ownership. If there is ever a point where rioting and protesting becomes dangerous to the establishment, private gun ownership will be the first thing to go. There is so much racial and class division in this country that a civil war could eventually happen. 

I voted third party in this election out of principle. Until we get to a point where third-party candidates can be invited to presidential debates and be treated like legitimate candidates, we will more or less only have two-party elections. We need better options than “Dumb And Dumber”, and we need better third party candidates as well. Hopefully in my lifetime, we will.

Donald Trump is aware, and you should be too, that being the U.S. President is basically being in a figurehead type of position. Trump had an astounding lack of knowledge when it came to basic domestic and foreign policies, and he couldn’t have learned too much during this election since he spent more time on Twitter than anything else. He will rely on his advisers probably more than any previous president. With that being said, the more relevant question would be who he appoints as his advisers and members of his Cabinet. If he sticks with people like Rudy Giuliani, Ben Carson, and Chris Christie, then there is good reason to be pessimistic. 

Trump won the election in large part by doing things his way, but he will quickly learn that such independence won’t work as president. He will largely defer to his vice president Mike Pence, who has a considerable amount of political experience, most recently as governor of Indiana. Trump may represent our country, but he will not unilaterally run it, although he will probably attempt to do it at times. It will be an interesting next few months, though…

Breaking recycling myths like glass bottles

It is generally assumed that glass is a large part of any recycling program. In Ann Arbor, Michigan, however, glass apparently isn’t being recycled, nor has it been for some time.

In a MLive article from July 25th, an Ann Arbor city spokesperson admits that glass hasn’t been recycled for a few years, due to market conditions and cost-effectiveness.

So what happens to the glass? Well, instead of getting recycled, it gets tossed on top of the waste landfills like the rest of the trash. The convenient explanation, of course, is that glass provides an excellent landfill cover.

If you live in Ypsilanti, your glass isn’t getting recycled either, as your recyclables get sent to the same MRF (materials recovery facility) that Ann Arbor operates.

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This revelation comes at a time when Ann Arbor terminated long-time MRF operator ReCommunity’s contract. As in true Ann Arbor tradition, the city government is currently paying a consultant around $150K to research recycling market conditions and to find out the most cost effective way to run the recycling program.

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As you can see from the screenshots I took, Ann Arbor is still claiming that they recycle glass. On the first screenshot, it states that glass is still being accepted as a recyclable product. And on the second screenshot, it says that recyclables will not be landfilled. Obviously, they just updated their recycling website that I took the screenshots from with news of the MRF changes, so there is no excuse for still lying about the glass being tossed into landfills.

Ann Arbor is widely known as being a trend setter in recycling. Hell, I remember taking recyclables to the curb when I was a kid. They were one of the first in the U.S. to implement such a program. To find out that they’ve been lying about glass recycling is shocking…but not too shocking, in the land of “road diets” and “safe spaces”.

The attempted coup in Turkey: what we know

100 Turkish Soldiers Surrender on Bosphorus , Erdogan Vowing Revenge

A man lays in front of a tank, at the Ataturk airport in Istanbul, Turkey.

Turkey is a country that has been politically unstable for some time now. The events of July 15th 2016 are proof of that. The most recent coup in Turkey was a decidedly non-violent one in 1997, but this one was very violent indeed. Here are the facts as we know them:

-A faction in the Turkish Army initiated a coup. Hundreds of soldiers commandeered helicopters, tanks, and fighter jets, and flew to seal off the bridges in the Bosphorus Strait, which connect Europe with Asia.

-The soldiers commandeered the television stations in Ankara, including CNN Turk (the Turkish affiliate of CNN America). In the meanwhile, Turkish President Recep Erdogan took to the Internet, live-streaming messages of resistance and threats against those who plotted the coup.

-There were many bombings and shootings, including an F-16 fighter jet shooting down a Sikorsky helicopter in mid-air that was being used in the coup uprising. A hotel that President Erdogan was at was also bombed, but he narrowly escaped with his life since he left shortly before the bomb went off.

-As of the morning of July 16th, there have been 161 people killed, 1,440 wounded, and 2,839 soldiers arrested. The coup is, for all intents, over.

Recep Erdogan is known as a populist president with authoritarian leanings. He has gradually imposed Islamic-based legislation in Turkey, which has historically been a secular country. He has also cracked down on the media, with many journalists being censored or arrested. Erdogan is, however, probably most infamous for his Presidential Palace, which was inaugurated by Erdogan as the official presidential living quarters. It reportedly cost well over $1 billion USD to build.

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The Presidential Palace of Ankara, Turkey.

During the coup, Erdogan was able to rally support, and thousands of people came out to protest the attempted coup, and to support him when he showed up at the Ataturk Airport. There were clashes between soldiers backing the coup and civilians backing Erdogan, and there were many shootings and bombings in Ankara, Turkey’s capital.

How is this relevant to the United States? Well…

-Recep Erdogan has already blamed “parallel factions” for the attempted coup, which is widely believed to mean Fedullah Gulen, who is a Muslim cleric that lives in the U.S. The U.S. government, however, backs the Erdogan government in Turkey, and denounced the coup attempt.

-Erdogan has attempted to create a “cult of personality” similar to Stalin, Mussolini, and Hitler. There have been parallels made in the state media comparing him to a religious prophet, and there are pictures and posters of him throughout Turkey. He has his strongest support from the uneducated, rural working class.

-Turkey is a very important country geopolitically, since it borders Eastern Europe, the former Soviet SSR’s Georgia and Azerbijan, and the Middle East, including the entire northern border of Syria.

-Turkey is allies with the U.S. in the fight against IS (Islamic State) terrorism, and is a NATO member country. They have shakier relations with Russia, especially since Turkish armed forces shot down a Russian jet that was in Turkish airspace in 2015.

It appears that, while there are still isolated reports of fights in the Ankara area, President Erdogan has reclaimed power. The instability is far from over, however. The coup failed because it didn’t have enough popular support, but the fact that one was even attempted clearly shows the instability in Turkey.

Erdogan says “they will pay a heavy price for this,” who also defended mass public protests against him in 2013. “This uprising is a gift from God to us because this will be a reason to cleanse our army.”