Archive for the 'Uncategorized' Category

Apr 18 2014

Another domino falls……..

Published by under Navy,Uncategorized

They seem to be going after every one. Officers, civilians, CPO's and now Petty Officers:   

SAN DIEGO — A fourth member of the Navy has been charged with conspiracy to commit bribery in a multimillion-dollar scheme involving a Singapore-based defense contractor accused of providing cash, vacations, electronics and prostitutes in exchange for classified information.

“The camera is awesome bro!” Japan-based Petty Officer Dan Layug wrote in an email to the vice president of a military contractor that is included in a complaint unsealed Thursday. “Thanks a lot! Been a while since I had a new gadget!”

In another email, Layug asks, “What are the chances of getting the new iPad 3?” according to the complaint. Layug made his initial court appearance Thursday, a day after he was arrested in San Diego. A judge set bail at $100,000 and ordered GPS monitoring if Layug is released, according to a U.S. attorney’s statement. He hasn’t entered a plea, and messages seeking comment from his attorney were not immediately returned.  

"And every time you send me my shipment its just a few cases short!"

"Carrying charges, my boy, carrying charges."

 

2 responses so far

Mar 15 2014

Rumors of my demise have been greatly exaggerated.

Published by under Uncategorized

Greetings from the lounge in Chicago. Sitting here waiting for the jump back across the Atlantic.

Should have posted more-but just didn't feel like it. This week was my birthday-so it put in kind of a funk. I still am in a funk-or at the least a bit depressed. This week had me doing a lot of thinking, and being at my old digs in Shopping Mall gave me an acute sense of the one way flow of time. And wondering about decisions made a decisions yet to make.

I hated Shopping Mall-but I did like my house. I liked being able to drive to work with little difficulty. And I liked being paid and valued for my work. Being back was like slipping on comfortable clothes again. Even though I did not do much at night-except watch TV-and maybe shoot out of a beer or two.

I did a lot of thinking-with no conclusions arrived at.

More to follow in the week to come.

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Mar 05 2014

News you can use

Published by under Uncategorized

Sorry for the lack of postings of late. I am going through a triple whammy of trying to get ready for a trip, dealing with the day to day fun at work, and also starting an online class, which is going to cut into my time even more.

However it is this last item I thought I would pass on. If you are a post 9-11 Veteran, the Syracuse University is running a program paid for by JP Morgan Chase that allows one to get certifications and training-WITHOUT having to use your GI Bill. It is called the Syracuse Veterans Career Transition Program. And what it offers is:

The Veterans Career Transition Program, operated by the Institute for Veterans and Military Families at Syracuse University, is delivered at no cost to post-9/11 veterans, their spouses, and spouses of active duty military. Paid for in entirety by a grant from JPMorgan Chase & Co, VCTP offers solutions to the above challenges, as well as connections to specific education and training programs, business/industry coalitions focused on veteran employment and information about national and state-level opportunities and benefits for veterans and their families. The Professional Skills Track and the Tech Track are offered through an advisor-led group admitted quarterly, and the Independent Study Track is available for start at any time. Each track is described below.

Through online courses—accessible from any location, at any time–participants have the opportunity to gain an understanding and insight into the corporate culture of civilian business/industry, government and other civilian sector employment opportunities.




Read more at http://vets.syr.edu/education/employment-programs/#k5l82GR6LSBCm13y.99

The program has three tracks. A professional skills track, a tech track and an independent study track. The Professional skills track helps you burnish your resume, the Tech track offers IT certifications and the independent study track offers  veterans and spouses who are currently employed and need to achieve industry certifications in order to advance or maintain their current employment. That is the one I am pursuing-in the hopes of getting a PMP certification.

So it may bring a hiatus to my blogging-although I hope not-but it will hopefully give me some way to overcome the deficit of attract ability to new employers.

Check out the details here: http://vets.syr.edu/education/employment-programs/

 

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Feb 27 2014

Dresden ( and a bit of Poland).

Published by under Uncategorized

A couple of weekends ago we went to Dresden. I found the trip remarkable for a couple of reasons. 1) I never imagined in my youth, that I would ever be in what was once "East" Germany, and 2) I was surprised at how charming and well developed the city was. They put a lot of thought into rebuilding the center of the city.

Considering, after all, we bombed the living s**t out of it.

And an simple examination of the history shows that Communists did not do very much to fix it up after the war. But man o man-look at the place now:

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This is the Frauekirche- which was utterly destroyed during the bombing. The Russians left it in ruins as a way to rub the German's noses in the fact that they lost the war. After reunification, plans were made to rebuild it. It opened again in 2005. If you look to the left you can still see some of the bricks that were "smoke checked".

There is a lot of beauty in the city however:

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This the Semperoper,  the Dresden state opera house.  It was destroyed during the bombing, and was rebuilt in 1985. It opened exactly 40 years after the bombing on 13 February with the same opera that was last performed before its destruction.

We spent the first day just exploring the city. Once you get out of the center of the town-it becomes like many former Soviet territories, row upon row of blocks of apartments. But the river Elbe is glorious:

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And so the "Parade of Heroes" , which somehow miraculously survived the bombing:

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The mural is made entirely of Meissen porcelain. How the S.O. knows that is beyond me………..

And of course there was a Winter Market:

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There is also the Zwinger Palace

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The next day the S.O. dragged me over to Bolesweicz Poland for her real objective-shopping for Polish Pottery. We had lunch at a bit of a tourist trap restaurant -but still fun, nonetheless:

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Yes it was a tourist place-but Poles gotta make money too, don't they. And besides the food was pretty good. Being from Pittsburgh, there was only one right thing to order-The Pierogi Sampler! Quite tasty!

I was surprised at the big difference in the way Poland looked and Germany did. It was quickly evident when you crossed the border. I did not expect that-especially since Bolesweicz was in what used to be German territory.

All in all though, if you come to Germany-Dresden is worth your time to visit. In the downtown they have put a lot of new and trendy restaurants with all kinds of cuisine. We discovered a really great Vietnamese restaurant.  Possibly the best one we have eaten in Germany. Now that's a plus.

 

 

 

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Feb 08 2014

A big difference

Published by under Uncategorized

Time for this one to go home! Sitting here in the lounge-having visited my father for the last few days, and headed back across the Atlantic and , sadly, back to work. Which I am confident will be unappreciated by our new Zombie masters.

The lounge here is packed, which is more than a little frustrating. Could not get a seat with a view to a TV so I could watch the Olympics.So I am drinking a beer ( or 2) and making up for my feeble lack of posting this week.

One thing about airline lounges in the US is that they highlight well, how shitty service on US air carriers is. Consider:

Lufthansa lounge Z-terminal Frankfurt:

No bar, not required. All the fixings are right there on a long countertop that has been thoughtfully engineered to provide a quick flow through the drinks which you can pour for yourself. Food, readily available and actually of some substance. Soft drinks easily obtainable-and there are plenty of business desks for those who need to work and or print.

United Airlines lounge IAD: One of two lounges in the C&D terminal is closed for some indeterminate reason. Thus EVERYONE is here-making it an ordeal to crawl to the bar and fight your way through to flag down the bar tender for a drink that may or may  not cost you money.

Food? What's that?  Except for carrots and nuts-there is not a bit of substantial eats. Desks and power outlets to charge phones? Not near enough.

What the US air carriers keep failing to realize is that these perks are part of building customer loyalty. Like also enabling courtesy upgrades and other things. A plane flying with an empty first or business class seat is a crime.

Fortunately I was able to get upgraded-but I had to laugh when I checked in on line. It offered me an upgrade to first class-on an airplane that did not have a First Class, just Business and Cattle Car. All for a mere 1000 dollars.

This reinforces for me why, if I have to be in Economy, it will not be on an American flag carrier.

I still maintain my theory that US air carriers could compete-if they would just bother to try. But, sadly, they don't.

Time to board.

 

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Jan 25 2014

Two gentlemen from Verona

Published by under Travel,Uncategorized

We got back in the middle of last week, but it's been a busy week at work and other items. Preparing to crank up my 2014 travel program next week with a trip back to the land of my birth. So posting has been abysmal and for that, my apologies.

After our two rain soaked days in Venice, which were compensated by the fact we had great dinners each and every night, we got back on the road and headed up to Innsbruck. Along the way we stopped for lunch in Verona ( click to embiggen):

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That's the arena the Romans built. It dates from 45 BC as does this gate:

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Some more shots of the arena:

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To see more pix , look below the fold

Continue Reading »

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Jan 06 2014

Countdown to catastrophe-January 6th 1914

Published by under Uncategorized

Today in 1914:

 Stock brokerage firm of Merrill Lynch founded. After almost a 100 years of existence and avoiding the fate of Lehman brothers-the firm was merged into Bank of America in 2013. ( The evil empire wins again!)

Arnold Richardson, composer was born. So too was, Danny Thomas-later of television fame in the 1950's.  Also born this day was David Bruce, an actor.

In the Ottoman Empire, Enver Pasha-one of the leaders of the Young Turk movement had become the central leader of the Empire. He " he helped orchestrate a coup d'état, with which he introduced a military triumvirate that came to be called the "Three Pashas" (Enver Pasha, Talaat Pasha, and Djemal Pasha). In 1914, he was again Minister of War in the cabinet of Said Halim Pasha, and married HIH Princess Emine Naciye Sultan (1898–1957), the daughter of Prince Süleyman, thus entering the royal family as a damat ("bridesgroom" to the ruling House of Osman). His power grew steadily while Europe marched towards total war."

The Ottoman Empire, known as the sick man of Europe had LOTS of problems. For one thing, a growing Zionist movement in Palestine was making the Arab residents of the region quite upset and more land fell into their hands. Secondly there were nationalistic movements stirring in Mesopotamia and what is now Syria. Later on during the war -Britain and France would seek to capitalize on these movements. By 1914 the Ottoman Empire had been driven out of nearly all of Europe and North Africa. It still controlled 28 million people, of whom 15.5 million were in modern-day Turkey, 4.5 million in Syria, Lebanon, Palestine and Jordan, and 2.5 million in Iraq. Another 5.5 million people were under nominal Ottoman rule in the Arabian peninsula

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Dec 05 2013

And I’m back

Published by under Uncategorized

It has been a busy month for me. I just got back from the 4th of 4 trips in a month.

Lots of observations from my trips. More to follow tomorrow.

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Nov 14 2013

I shall not go quietly into that great good night.

Well at least if they are going to fuck me over, they are going to pay for it up front first.

Sitting in the lounge here at Stuttgart airport, enjoy a quiet cup of coffee and preparing to board a flight to Istanbul and then onward to points elsewhere. Great thing about going through Istanbul is the Star Alliance lounge there. I planned a three hour layover so I can stuff my self on their free food and beer. Its an huge spread of kabob, pasta, and soups and salads. And beer. Did I mention beer? After all, if what is left of my so called "career" is going into hibernation, one ought to damn well fatten up for it. ;-)

This will be the second of four trips in about as many weeks. My kind of month. Problem is-with the current lunacy that passes for governance these days-its feast or famine, and when I get back the long travel drought will begin. Its even going to be touch and go as to whether I maintain my elite status this year-something that pisses me off to no end.

C'est le guerre.

On the way over to shopping mall, I flew on Lufthansa, which actually was not too bad. If you have to be trapped in economy, its always better to be so on a recognized foreign flag carrier than an American one. As I was nursing my post dinner Warsteiner, I happened to stumble on this movie in the entertainment queue: the English title is Chorus of Angels. Its a recent Japanese movie having come out just last year. The Japanese title is Kita no canaria tachi. ( Canaries of the North). Don't know why they did not translate the title exactly since it is more appropriate to the subject of the film.

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The movie is set in a village on an island that is just north of Hokkaido-one of several that are around the Northernmost Island of the Japanese Islands. Its a small village with a small school. The main actress, now living in Tokyo and retired ( I cannot remember her name) is visited by the Tokyo police. The suspect is one of her former students. The boy as a student had been unruly and the teacher had made contact with him through songs-and the group got really good. The teacher revisits the island to find out what has happened to each of her six students from 20 years ago.

The movie's plot is a little off kilter-but it provides an interesting venue for telling the story. Over abut 90 minutes it unfolds the story of each of the students and of the teacher and the events that drove them together and eventually apart. The movie was fascinating for me-and it was a great chance to hear the language I miss so dearly, and I was happy I could understand most of it, without the subtitles to help. The movie is very interesting once you accept the plot improbabilities-but it is also very sad. I found my self tearing up near the end. My next door neighbor in the adjoining seat probably thought I was crazy. But it was a movie that tugged on you heart strings.

Here is a trailer from the movie (sorry about the lack of subtitles):

 

Its worth the time if you can find it in English-or Japanese for that matter. I liked it.

Time board the plane. Onward!

One response so far

Nov 07 2013

Always blaming the wrong people.

Published by under Uncategorized

Personal day today. Taking care of the S.O.'s shopping list-she always has one when I come to the US. Going out to the house and checking on it-especially since I will probably be coming back to it. As a drive around here-I am reminding myself of the fact that every place has good things about it, and I will need to come to terms with that if I do end up moving back here. If I can find a job that will allow me to pay down my bills, and build equity in the house, and give me the benefits I need-then that's a good thing. Life is about compromises.

I've been watching all the political coverage of the last two days. It is kind of scary how Chris Christie is being annointed as the next Ronald Reagan. The guy is a plain speaker and I can see him riding , just like Reagan, on white horse up Pennsylvania Ave. My big fear is that, just like Reagan, Christie will lay the seeds of our own destruction. Its only now in the view of hindsight-we can see what a disaster Reagan's policies were for America. Remember he is the guy who got the GOP to worship at the supply side altar. Go back and carefully read the history of the era-it was not the tax cuts that jump started the economy. It was a technological revolution combined with huge defense spending. But the Reagan era awakened the worst instincts of Americans and 20 years later led to the worthless people who make up teabagger land.

As for the Virginia race, I refer you to Mr. Pierce:

Face facts. In a sane political world. Ken Cuccinelli should have lost by 12 points. Bishop Jackson should have lost by 98. These are two guys who have to dial 1 just to place a call to "extreme." Instead, this morning, Cuccinelli can argue fairly convincingly that he got sold out by his national party, that his ideas were not rejected, and that the destruction of the Affordable Care Act is a winning issue, provided the moneymen get behind it and push. McAuliffe even acknowledged this in his looonnnnnng acceptance speech last night, where he spent a lot of time thanking the Republicans who supported his campaign, as if most of them won't go back to the business of undermining him by, at the latest, Friday afternoon. In all of this, Ken Cuccinelli won.



That it was a close race at all is a testament to the stupidity of both the Virginia voter and the Democratic party. And yes, Virginia, a lot of you are stupid.

And I have been watching the national blame game about the health care law. Just like with the wars-no one ever puts the blame where it belongs. In Iraq the blame lay with the Iraqi people, who proved and continue to prove every stereotype I ever had about Arabs. In the case of the health care law-so  many people refuse to blame the people deserve the blame. The insurance companies who created the current mess we have-and by their recent actions-remind us again why they are greedy and way, way, too rich. "You can keep you policy" was based on an expectation that insurance companies would do what the law required, and upgrade the policies to where they should have been. Juan Williams finally had the gumption to point it out:

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Time to get moving. 

 

14 responses so far

Nov 05 2013

Busy week.

Published by under Uncategorized

We had a good couple of days of meetings-but here it is 10pm and I am back in my room getting ready for bed. And this with a 1 hour nap  I took from 5:30 to 6:30. I am getting old. :-(

I suspect too, being in three cities over the last few days has taken its toll. A lot of traveling this month and I need to conserve my strength for the joys of Tel Aviv.This is shopping mall after all-there is not much to do after 9pm.

One response so far

Nov 02 2013

Always look on the bright side.

Published by under Uncategorized

I am writing this post from a seat on a crowded ICE train heading northwards to begin the first part of a trip for me. Back to Shopping Mall for a series of meetings and to do some things on the house. I will also do some medical tourism-in the interest of making someone else file an insurance claim for a change.

Think about that. I am writing this post from the inside of a train going 190 km /hr. And this can be done all over Germany-and elsewhere in Europe. In the US? Not so much.

So I am trying to console myself. If you have to be stuck in the middle of a worthless reorganization instituted by a worthless piece of shit   selfish man, at least its nice to have good things to do during one's own time. I guess things could be worse. A lot worse.

Where this is going and how it it is going to play out,  I am not sure. I have now been witness to two conversations where leadership is slowly waking up to what a disaster this move is. But will they rise up and speak out against the abomination of personal aggrandizement and empire building? Not a chance. 

And that my friends is why American flag officers just suck.

In the meantime-there is the joy of the train.

 

7 responses so far

Oct 07 2013

Well so much for that plan.

Published by under Uncategorized

Of reducing my handicap by 5 strokes this week. I get to go back to work tomorrow! It seems the powers that be finally realized I was right about havng the authority to keep us at work. It just took a week to realize it.

So much for Plan B of becoming a PGA caddie.

You should notice somethng missing from the top of this post. This is due to the promise of being paid-still waiting to see if its actually true, but they claim we will.

Sorry to dissapoint you Curtis.

2 responses so far

Sep 29 2013

A nice Sunday overseas.

Published by under Uncategorized

My paychecks stop on Tuesday.

The House GOP has proven they are among the most evil men in human history. 

In all the talk about defunding or delaying Obamacare, there’s one thing that hasn’t been discussed  much, certainly not by the media.  That would be what  delaying Obamacare would actually mean in the real world. That, we’re looking at dead Americans, needlessly and avoidably cut down before their time.

But they don't care-all they care about is appeasing the worthless souls who inhabit the teabagger world.

So as I contemplate having to explain to my German landlord how to pay next month's rent, what is one to do? Play Golf. Buy Groceries. Watch the Steelers on British TV.

As I write this-the Vikings are punching the stuffing out the Steelers with 8:00 minutes left in the 2nd quarter. Big Ben is looking pretty wobbly.

Golf was pretty good. We could only play nine due to a German tournament. Shot a 48. Good for me-considering. Had a "shot that brings you back" moment on the 7th hole when I put a 145 meter shot on the green and then putted in for par. :-)

A tasty Hefe-weizen and a burger for lunch then on to the commissary. Which was pretty well cleaned out of food-and crowded. Every one was stocking up on food before the paychecks stop.

For all of us anyway. Mo Brooks, my Congressman, for whose demise I pray for weekly, will still get paid.

And now I get to watch the Steelers. On British soil. This is great!

So my life will suck come Tuesday-but I really pray Obama actually sticks to what he says and does not negotiate with these worthless assholes. Jerks like Mark Halperin try to put the blame on the administration. He's an asshole too. W and James Baker could negotiate whatever they wanted, the Cruzers and teabaggers wouldn’t accept it. W and James Baker are RINOs. QED.

And Big Ben just got sacked.

Seems typical of my life these days. I was supposed to be in Naples this evening-having added a few FF miles to my total. None to be had I am afraid. If they fuck up my trips next month-this will mean war.

And the Steelers just had to settle for a field goal.

Happy Sunday.

 

2 responses so far

Sep 28 2013

The reasonable man is an endangered species……

Published by under Uncategorized

This is a guest post although the author does not know he is posting here.

I came across this discussion on another board I monitor, but no longer participate in-primarily due to the fact that too many of its participants have descended into that intellectual hell known as "conservative and / or evangelical thinking". Shorter term: F*cked in the head teabaggers.

So its kind of refreshing to see someone have the continued courage to engage with these folks when its quite clear that nothing short of heads hitting concrete will get any opinion through to them. Nonetheless, I offer this to you -especially those who fear the ACA is a harbinger of the coming of the anti-Christ, to sit down and STFU.

Take it away guest poster: Outlandish statements from deranged tea party sympathizer in red.

Let me ask some questions about your statements below, since you did not provide details:

1. "I don't disagree with the concept of everyone having insurance.  That is not what Obamacare does."

Really?  Seems to me this is exactly what the law is designed to do – and affords those who wish not to purchase insurance the freedom to pay for the privilege of not purchasing insurance while placing everyone else at risk these individuals will get sick and we all have to pay to care for them.

2. "Obamacare is over-reach in government and it is designed to take control of just about every aspect of our lives."

Really?  Every aspect of our lives?  Perhaps you can explain exactly how does this law control every aspect if my life – your life?  it seems to me, unless you are a rich hospital executive making $ Million plus compensation gouging patients for $50 boxes of Kleenex or $500 walkers, its just another payment you make a month – only from now on, you will have more choices.


3.  "It reduces free markets ability to reduce costs, not improve it.  It is intrusive into personal information and is a control tool."
 

Really?  How?  "Free markets" right now allow the food chain of greedy hospitals, pharmaceutical companies, "providers" of just about every item in the hospital to over charge for everything – and you and I have no practical way to stop the escalation of price gouging.

4. "I have laid out many times,  a logical means of making sure everyone is covered or is responsible for their own medical costs and it uses economic incentives, not governmental tyranny."

At this point a request was made to expand on exactly what he meant. No rational reply was forthcoming.

In other words, I take your response to mean that having repeated the meaningless rantings heard on cable networks (from the typical gang of hate mongers) when pressed to provide details, you are at a loss to provide even a single supporting fact why the new – yet to be implemented law – is causing the "sky to fall, " why we are losing our freedoms, or other explanation of your rhetoric calling out the dogs of war to oppose this law.  OK – but I will wait and see just what happens. 

The last question and response is critical. Changing America's health care insurance system is long overdue. The ACA , in my opinion does not go far enough in this regard-but at least it is doing something. To hold the government-and by extension the US and world economy hostage to objections that were settled in the last election, truly makes me ashamed to be an American. In Britain right now they are having many similar discussions. The S.O. and I see them on TV every day. But Parliament has never not passed a budget.  Only America. This is not something any American should be proud of…….or advocate. Those who do-are, as I have stated many times, more than a little selfish.

I'll Let Jon Chait explain it for you:

Most of us expected, at some level, that the election would cool the right’s apocalyptic fervor. Instead, the opposite has occurred. Paul Ryan candidly explained the calculation: “The reason this debt limit fight is different is, we don’t have an election around the corner where we feel we are going to win and fix it ourselves. We are stuck with this government another three years.” This is a remarkable confession. Republicans need to compel Obama to accept their agenda, not in spite of the fact that the voters rejected it at the polls but precisely for that reason.

The exhaustion of electoral channels against Obama has spurred the party to seize power through non-electoral channels. Their opening demand that Obama sign Mitt Romney’s entire economic plan into law in return for avoiding a debt default, while historically bizarre, followed perfectly from their legislative strategy this year…

Their aversion to compromise has been accepted as settled fact in Washington, reimagined not only as a new normal but as the way it’s always been. Republican Dana Rohrabacher defended the use of debt-ceiling threats to pry concessions from Obama like so: “People have to recognize there’s never any compromise until the stakes are high. In our society, that’s the nature of democratic government.” That is completely false. American political parties have forged compromises for decades without high-stakes threats to bring them to the table. Not to mention the fact that, by “compromise,” Rohrabacher means unilateral concessions by the president…

The hostage dynamic of the debt-ceiling fight has created a dangerous, historically unusual set of circumstances. One aspect of it is to set up a precarious, high-stakes negotiation, the failure of which could set off large, immediate, and irreversible damage. The second is to reset the balance of power between the president and Congress, allowing the latter to compel the former to submit to its agenda without concessions. Both these changes would permanently and dangerously alter the character of American government…

The only proper word for this is disgusting. And if you share Ryan's views, then you too are aiding and abetting the decline of your nation.

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