Monday, November 14, 2016
Elections determine power, not truth.
First things first: Donald Pussygrabber Trump will become president in January. Between now and then the media will be full of frightening news stories and alarming analysis of what lies ahead -some of them will even be mostly true. But more won't be and most will overlook some basic principles that will moderate Trump's rush to ruin. A lot of his crap was just said to get attention, to get elected. What he does in office could be quite different. Not better, just different. Remember when hopey-changey Obama met the bankers and bondsmen? Winning the election isn't the same as governing.
Politicians' first job is to get re-elected. Thankfully most of the Republicans in Congress understand this. So there will be fiscal and legislative brakes on much of what Trump thinks he can do. Full repeal of the Affordable Care Act would result in at least 18 million Americans losing health care coverage. Republican lawmakers from states that have expanded Medicaid coverage will not vote to take that politically popular program away. Ditto Medicare and Social Security cannibalization, although there will be attempts to 'modernize' Medicare and “restore health care freedom to patients and doctors” while turning Medicaid into a block grant program for politicians to loot at the state level.
But Trump's range of options for executive action are sufficient to scare the sane. He remains a dangerous man, indifferent to facts, unbalanced, inexperienced and deeply racist. 60 million Americans have acted stupidly, siding with xenophobia, racism and nationalism, hoping to end equal rights for those they do not know or understand, urging a return to an imagined America unencumbered by treaties and no longer threatened by climate change.
He can, and most likely will, take some actions on immigration – but if he becomes too extreme (say by deporting 2 or 3 million people) the US economy will suffer. He can stop the current round of trade agreements – if the rich corporations will let him. Undoing NAFTA and NATO would take longer and be more complex – and again step on important industrial and Wall Street toes. And his transition team is full is of corporate lobbyists.
He will do the most harm – with the joyful support of the Republican Congress – in the energy/global warming area. (They are inseparable topics.) Trump will encourage oil and gas extraction, along with their pipelines. He will talk a good game about coal, but coal is not competitive with cheap oil and gas. He will repeal all of Obama's EPA regulations aimed at slowing our rush to hell on earth, repudiate the Paris Accord and welsh on the nation's commitment provide funds to help poor countries deal with their coming climate based disasters while withdrawing from the U.N. Framework Convention on Climate Change (the organization behind the IPCC reports) and stopping all US funding for UN global warming programs.
Even if he were do abstain from all the other godawful things he has promised, denying global warming/climate change will secure his place in history as the worst leader in
Posted by Charles Kingsley Michaelson, III at 7:26 AM
Friday, November 11, 2016
'Now' is not permanent, we just think it is.
Last week's vacation found us in Philadelphia, at Independence Hall, on the first morning of the transit strike. We had tickets for the 10:40 entry and were disappointed when we arrived at 10:25 and found the group queuing up had 9:20 tickets.
An extremely helpful volunteer who was handling the head of the line recommended a couple of things we could profitably do and suggested we come back at our scheduled time. We did, amid a sea of middle schoolers with frantic teachers being assured by our helpful volunteer that all would be well, that there was enough slack in the schedule and enough people delayed by the strike that everyone would get in just fine.
So we stood there, a couple of old white folks among multi-colored, multi-cultural groups of middle-schoolers all anxious to learn about our nation's founding and the compromises that made it possible.. At first I thought 'this looks just like the UN,' and then my partner corrected me by pointing out that in fact those kids looked just like the real United States – the one Trump and his supporters do not like.
Drop by next week, we're working on an announcement.
Wednesday, November 9, 2016
Tuesday, November 8, 2016
Monday, November 7, 2016
Numbers are just numbers... except when they're not.
Faint Praise: “I do not believe that most of the people who are thinking about voting for Mr. Trump are racist or sexist.” Bernie Sanders
Keeping Score: The average working-class US resident loses about $1,800 a year because sweatshops in Bangladesh and China pay so little so our global masters can make even more money. TPP is set to make this even worse, with Obama cheering the process on.
Illegal Alien: Records show that Melania Trump was paid over $20,000 for working in the US without a valid work visa – a violation of federal law.
Miraculous Conception: According to Gov. Christie, he is not guilty of anything, he knew nothing (and continues to know nothing) even though the man who claims to have masterminded the GW Bridge Backup claims that Christie laughed when he was told about the plan and participated in the cover-up that also involved NY Gov. Cuomo. Christie's man at the Port Authority and a top Christie aide have both been found guilty and face up to 20 years in prison. Christie faces life without politics.
Freedom Isn't Free: It costs $50 to ask the Baltimore PD for information under the Freedom of Information Act, only to discover that “BPD emailes have a limited retrieval time frame.” Leon Podestra they ain't gonna be, but if you are lucky and BPD has trashed the emails, then they will charge you more. And more and more, until you go away.
Surprise, Surprise: Beginning in August the US carried out 367 airstrikes in Libya, with no public notice, no briefings and no public accountability. Naturally the US is sorry if there were collateral casualties among civilians, but ISIS recruiting was down, so ... Note that US/NATO forces killed more than 30 civilians in a single airstrike in Afghanistan last week. Sha-zam!
The Matter, Forme and Power of a Common Wealth: According to Joseph Stiglitz, Paul Krugman and now some European friends, the future of the Euro will be – to use Hobbs' term - nasty, brutish and short. The violence of the dissolution will depend on the abundance of unicorns.
Ups and Downs: Half a million people stopped standing around on streetcorners last month, according to the BLS; 161,000 found new jobs and 425,000 left the labor force. So alrighty then.
Porn O'Graph: A dollar here, a dollar there...
A Parting Shot:
Posted by Charles Kingsley Michaelson, III at 6:28 AM