Thursday, March 14, 2019

What sweethearts Trump and the Republicans are

The Trump proposed Budget is dead on arrival in Congress, of course, thank goodness. But his Budget reveals a lot about him and his Republican Party.  He breaks a number of promises that he made to his gullible Trump voters in 2016 - he said he wouldn't cut Social Security or Medicare.  Of course that was a lie.  Sorry his voters didn't see who he was when they voted to help the Russians install him in the White House.

Here are some of the cuts.  Over ten years:

  • Medicare - cut $845 billion - aren't most Trumpsters old white folk?
  • Social Security - cut $25 billion - again, old folks being hurt?
  • Medicaid - cut $1.5 trillion - these people really hate poor folks!
  • Food stamps - $220 billion - punish the poor for being poor?
  • Student loans  - $207 billion - we have a generation in debt, serves them right for not being rich!
  • Education - $8.5 billion - let them all go to private schools like good Republicans should!
Plus shots at Public Broadcasting (they say bad things about el Duce you know), and stop heating subsidies for low income people - just cruelty for the sake of cruelty, I guess.

Of course, these are the same folks who pull brown children from the arms of their parents - and then lose track of them.
What sweethearts these people are.....

Wednesday, March 6, 2019

Deficit grows as planned after Trump tax cut

The "good" Trump economy has a dark side - growing deficit spending.  Not a surprise, of course.  When Trump and the Republican controlled House and Senate passed their super wonderful tax cut to transfer money from the middle classes to the upper classes the economy improved because it was a good old fashioned Keynesian stimulus.  So, what's wrong with a Keynesian stimulus?  Well, it is something you do in a recession, not when the economy is going well, which it had been for years after the Great Recession of 2009.  It is a tool that you can't use all the time because when you use it up it has no room to be used again when it will actually be needed, during the next economic downturn.

So, Trump and the Republicans, blinded by the Supply Side Economics of Reagan, apply lower taxes to stimulate the economy and just forget about the fact that doing so will balloon the deficit.  How much?  an increase of 21% in fiscal 2018. 

"America’s deficit is rising sharply and will surpass $1 trillion per year by 2020, a gap that has grown since Congress cut taxes and increased spending, the Congressional Budget Office reported Monday.
The federal deficit — the gap between how much the government takes in and how much it spends — will hit $804 billion in fiscal 2018, up 21 percent from 2017, the CBO said".

This is simple mismanagement of the economy by the remarkably ignorant president, but it is quite a deliberate manipulation by his heartless Republicans in Congress - they want the deficit to grow so they can use it as an excuse to cut social programs, which they despise - helps poor folks you know, and they really don't like that.- kick 'em out into the streets, that'll show them for being poor! 

So, for my conservative friends who know that Trump is a monstrous fool but still support him because of the "good economy", it's a sugar high at best, and is a cynical ploy to attack the poor and middle classes.

Social Security and Medicare are on the chopping block.

Thursday, February 28, 2019

The worst thing and the saddest thing in Cohen's testimony against Trump

Michael Cohen testified to the House Oversight Committee yesterday.  What were some takeaways?

The worst thing he said was that based upon his knowledge of "Mr. Trump" there would be no peaceful transfer of power if he loses in 2020.  I am afraid I would expect the same thing. If he had lost in 2016 he said he would not concede the result.  It's just who he is.  He can't admit a loss.

The saddest thing about Trump that he said is that Trump directed him to write threatening letters to his schools to not release his SATs or grades.  We know that Trump has claimed to have a "very good brain" and "a very stable genius".  Nonsense of course, and he is desperate to keep evidence of his intellect out of the public record. Just for the record, by the way, William T Kelly, a former Wharton professor said, long before Trump entered politics and was just a TV reality show personality, "Trump was the Goddamned dumbest student I ever had".

How about felonies?  Max Boot listed at least five that Cohen outlined:

  • Conspiracy with the Russians during the campaign when he coordinated with Roger Stone to get Wikileaks' document dump from Clinton emails
  • Lying to the Justice Department and the FBI about coordinating with Stone
  • Suborning Perjury when he directed Cohen to lie about his ongoing efforts to build a Trump Tower in Moscow prior to his inauguration
  • Violating campaign finance laws by paying off mistresses to keep them quiet just before the election day
  • Bank and Tax Fraud when he inflated his assets in order to get underserved bank loans and deflating the same assets in order to pay less taxes
What was the most important outcome of these hearings? Other names to be called for testimony, especially Trump Organization CFO Allen Weisselberg.  Do you think Trump financial info might put Mr. Trump in jail?

Are these impeachable offenses?  Of course.  Will he be impeached for them? Probably not because only the Republicans can impeach him, and the only way Republicans are going to impeach Trump is if there is a sudden revelation that causes the entire county to gasp in horror and disbelief.  I gasp in horror and disbelief frequently, but I don't count and liberals and Democrats don't count.  Only conservatives and Republican Senators count.

Should Trump be impeached?  I am afraid that if he his impeached people will die by the hands of extremist white supremacist militia style crazies who will only see such as a coup.

Better that Congress just run the county and ignore this nitwit, and have both Republican and Democrat candidates run against him and defeat him in 2020.

Watching Trump is like watching a PBS docudrama about tyrannical kings of yore, but the roles are being played by the Three Stooges (actually Many Stooges)

Thursday, February 14, 2019

Constitution? What Constitution?

I understand that Donald Trump campaigned on building a big, beautiful wall across the southern border of America to keep brown people out. And he got elected.  So, what about today?  Today, the House of Representatives and the Senate have voted overwhelmingly to keep the government open and provide about $1.4 billion for the president's wall.  He wanted $5.7 billion and wanted it so badly that he shut the government down for over a month. 

But he didn't get his wall funding.

So, what is he promising to do?  Sign the funding bill which will keep the government open, which he has finally figured out he must do since he caught the bulk of the blame for his heartless closing of the government. 

But, of course, since he is Donald Trump, he can't allow himself to lose a news cycle - he must give in to the real bosses of the Republican Party, Ann Coulter and Sean Hannity - he has to still prove what a magnificently masculine man man man he is. He has to Be Tough.

So, the solution?  He promises to sign the bill (where he looks like a loser even though it is a rational thing to do) and simultaneously declare a national emergency to fund The Wall.  Silly man.

Presidential nominees promise things all the time on the campaign trail and often actually try to get those things into law.  But, the genius of the Constitution is that nobody gets to be a king.  Presidential candidates promise, and then they get elected, and then they try to get the votes to deliver on their promises. 

Trump couldn't get the votes to build his wall.

He had two years to get votes to build his wall when he had both the House and the Senate in Republican hands.  But, he didn't.

Now that he lost the House to the Democrats he tried to get the votes.  Silly man.

The House of Representatives controls the purse strings - they are the ones to assign spending, not the president.  I don't see the Democratic controlled House letting this unconstitutional power grab by the president to go unchallenged.  I expect the House to pass a bill preventing the president from arbitrarily declaring an obvious false state of emergency (presidents declare states of emergency during actual emergencies - floods, hurricanes, massive fires, etc - not for keeping political promises)

I expect that many Republicans will vote to overturn the president's false claim of emergency.  The power of the Congress is being foolishly challenged by the man who wants to be king - the man who continuously pushes to become an authoritarian dictator and turn the country into Rule by Man rather than Rule by Constitution or Rule by Law.

It is appropriate that Trump's come-uppance could be over his signature inane campaign promise - The Wall.

He didn't get the votes, so he doesn't get The Wall.

Dems are fine with increased border security in exchange for Dreamer citizenship.  Dems are fine with increased border security that includes humane treatment of refugees.  Dems loathe The Wall.  As do I.

There is only one rule when going for a Power Play - don't lose.  He is going to lose.  I deeply hope.  Constitutional Separation of Powers is at stake.

Friday, January 25, 2019

Massive income inequality leads to massive political disruption

America's massive income inequality, a fairly recent development, can become very dangerous - to the wealthy.  What has happened in the past when the income inequality got too big?

1790s - The French Revolution. The impoverished revolted and cut of the heads (guillotine) off the aristocracy.  Marie Antoinette, the Queen of France, was supposed to have said "Let them eat cake (brioche)" in response to hearing that the impoverished could not afford bread.  They revolted crying out for Liberty, Equality, and Fraternity. And chopped off their heads.

In an odd parallel, the U.S. Secretary of Commerce, billionaire Wilbur Ross, said that those who were unemployed or unpaid during the current shutdown of the government by President Trump should just go get a temporary loan until the government reopened.  He was unaware that some people do not qualify for a loan (other than perhaps usurious despicable Payday Loans); nor did he understand that loans take longer than many workers can wait for in order to eat either bread or brioche.

1917 - The Russian Revolution.  A bit more than 100 years later, the Russian impoverished rose up and killed the Russian Tsar Nicholas and his family and established the disastrous Communist Revolution. 

2019 - Now, after another 100 years, the inequality in America has reached shocking levels.  Today, the top 1% own as much as the bottom 95%! 

How does that compare to the past? 
  • 1960 - top 1% had about 28%, bottom 95% had about 42%.
  • 1970 - top 1% had about 27%, bottom 95% had about 45%
  • 1980 - top 1% had about 23%, bottom 95% had about 49%
Then Reagan happened with Supply Side Economics and deregulation
  • 1990 - top 1% had about 27%, bottom 95% had about 49%
  • 2000 - top 1% had about 33%, bottom 95% had about 43%
  • 2010 - top 1% had about 39%, bottom 95% had about 37%
  • 2016 - top 1% had about 39%, bottom 95% had about 38%
So Obama flattened the curve some, but the damage was done.  See chart below.

So, what is happening now? 

In 2016, amazingly, a billionaire Real Estate mogul and television star convinced those suffering from the job dislocations due to technology and globalism that he could get their jobs back by building a wall to keep brown people out, and he would deregulate finances and industry and that would create jobs for them.  And they bought it!  Those suffering from the inequality in the country turned to a 1%-er to save them.  They are going to notice that it didn't work.

What else is happening now?  Democrats are looking at major reshaping of the economic landscape.  Presidential candidate Elizabeth Warren wants to place a wealth tax on the top 0.1% of the richest in America.

And young freshman House member, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, is proposing a top marginal tax rate of 70% on the ten millionth dollar earned.

Seems to me that taxes are better than guillotines or Communist Revolutions.

Wednesday, January 23, 2019

Hilarious solution for fat president with small hands problem

What occupies our current president's mind?  Government shutdown which is slowing the economy and hurting the lackluster stock market?  Russian interference in democracies in America and the world?  Anything other than his poll numbers amongst this fervid base?  Well, there is something - his fat body and small hands, or rather, photos of himself revealing his fat body and small hands.  From columnist Dana Milbank:

"The longest government shutdown in U.S. history shows no sign of resolving, and Americans wonder what President Trump and his team are doing.
Now we know. They are doing the important work the people sent them to do. They are elongating Trump’s fingers.

The tech website Gizmodo reported this week that it found at least three retouched photographs on Trump’s social media pages since October, including two in the past few days, in which his body and face have been slimmed, his face and neck wrinkles tightened, his hair cleaned up — “and in one of the strangest alterations, Trump’s fingers have been made slightly longer.”

Comparing the original photographs to the doctored ones, Gizmodo speculates that Trump aides have been using Photoshop or Facetune and finds it “especially weird that his fingers have been made longer, which might lead one to believe that the president has had some input in these alterations.”"

I feel sorry for my conservative friends who feel that they need to defend this silly person.  How did they ever decide that this is the person they wanted to represent them?

Monday, January 21, 2019

The basic rule in dealing with hostage ransom tweets

I think the basic rule in dealing with ransom demands is never pay the ransom since it will only guarantee future hostage taking.  This is the what is happening with Trump's capricious decision to close down a large parts of the government in order to please his anti immigrant base.  He has taken the Federal Government hostage and is demanding a ransom. 

This is not a negotiating tactic. Negotiations are successful attempts to find a solution where both sides have some kind of a win, especially if you are negotiating with a party that you want to or need to continue to work with in the future.  Very, very unfortunately, our current president only sees "negotiating" in terms of a "winner" and a "loser" - and his pathological ego cannot allow himself to be seen as the "loser".  He is the worst negotiator I have ever seen. When you negotiate you make sure the other side wins as well as yourself because you will be back at the table with them again, and again, and again. 

As a reminder, the Senate approved the Continuing Resolution to fund the government with a unanimous voice vote.  Trump refused to sign the authorization to fund the government, even though he and his administration had earlier said he would. 

He betrayed his word because he was criticized by Ann Coulter and Rush Limabaugh, for goodness sake! These are media personalities whose responsibility is to build and keep an audience.  They do so by simplifying their message to get a small segment of the populace - which is a big enough media audience to make them a lot of money. 

But he is a president whose responsibility is to govern a complicated country, and he is supposed to do so by juggling complicated needs of that diverse country.  He acts like a radio talk show host, not the head of the executive branch of government.  He is ever simplifying his message, like a radio talk show host, to attract and keep his audience, which is a relatively small segment of interests in a vastly more complicated country than he is aware of.

Which leads us to the first rule of negotiating - you must be trustworthy.  If nobody can trust your promises then you can't be negotiated with.  Nobody in their right mind could ever trust anything that our current president says or promises.  He just says whatever his current audience wants to hear. So people learn that what this deeply flawed person says is meaningless.

Which leads us to the second rule of negotiating - you must find the decision maker.  Who on earth would that be?  Rush Limbaugh?  Laura Ingraham?  Ann Coulter?  Sean Hannity?  It is certainly not the current president as he has proven that his decisions are made of jelly if he is criticized by the Right Wing Media.

Which leads us to what is really going on here - our current president is not negotiating.  Our current president is not governing.  Our current president is doing the only thing he knows how to do - campaigning - Building his Brand.  And he is campaigning by doing what he thought got him elected in 2016 - by speaking only to and for his base - the hard right wing of the Republican Party.

To bad we don't have an actual president rather than a media personality.