Sunday, March 18, 2018

Trump's disgusting cruelty

Seems that every day Trump sets a new low in behavior.  A couple of days ago he fired former FBI deputy director Andrew McCabe 24 hours before his retirement, stripping him of his earned full pension.  Just a disgusting cruelty. Decency demands allowing the man his pension before firing him.  Decency? Trump? Two words that cannot fit side by side.

I understand that Trump wants to discredit the Mueller investigation by discrediting one of the investigators and witnesses, Mr. McCabe.  But this is just sadistic.  I suppose his fans see Mr Trump as being Strong by being cruel.  But I think he is just showing his weakness and sickness by being cruel.  

We have many examples of Trump's cruelty.  His endless humiliation and demeaning of almost all of his staff and cabinet, trying to drive them out rather than manning up and talking to them directly or firing them face to face.  He shows himself to be cowardly and very unmanly in my opinion.

The first time I was shocked by Trump's astonishingly personal cruelty was when The Daily Beast published an article reporting that his first wife had claimed he had raped her in a fury when he blamed her for a bad result on a hair transplant surgery.  His attack dog lawyer, Michael Cohen sent this unbelievable threat to the reporter:

“I will make sure that you and I meet one day while we’re in the courthouse. And I will take you for every penny you still don’t have. And I will come after your Daily Beast and everybody else that you possibly know,” Cohen said. “So I’m warning you, tread very fucking lightly, because what I’m going to do to you is going to be fucking disgusting. You understand me?”

“You write a story that has Mr. Trump’s name in it, with the word ‘rape,’ and I’m going to mess your life up… for as long as you’re on this frickin’ planet… you’re going to have judgments against you, so much money, you’ll never know how to get out from underneath it,” he added."

To add some credibility to this threat of personal destruction he also said:

"Trump’s lawyer Michael Cohen bragged to the Daily Beast about the time he “destroy[ed]” Monnin’s life. Attempting to intimidate a Beast reporter, Cohen said: “Do you want to destroy your life? It’s going to be my privilege to serve it to you on a silver platter like I did that idiot from Pennsylvania in Miss USA.”

Cohen was referring to a $5 million lawsuit against a beauty contestant that complained that the contest was rigged - an amount a normal person like her, Sheena Monnin, had no chance of paying in her lifetime.

This guy thinks he is in a Godfather movie - The Godfather Goes to Washington. 

Someday Republican lawmakers are going to have enough of this and throw him out - but they will first have to know that he is hurting them personally.  It can't come soon enough.

Friday, March 16, 2018

Russia hacks U.S. power plants

Homeland Security and the FBI report that Russia has hacked U.S. power plants and other critical infrastructure. 

In addition, Russia cyber warfare hacked the voting systems of seven states in 2016.

This is pretty serious stuff. Russia is simply waging war against the U.S. and the West.  

There is simply no doubt that Russia did its best to influence the presidential election to benefit Trump.  Every U.S. intelligence source affirms this.  Using their "active measures" on social media to attack candidates and enhance others, using social media to inflame the tensions of polarization, using cyber warfare to infiltrate and perhaps disable or destroy power plants - there are essentially acts of war.

Too bad our president is being controlled by Russia.  He is their best weapon against the United States of America.

I hope that Republicans start waking up to this obvious fact.

Sunday, March 4, 2018

Trade deficits explained by actual conservative economists

George Schultz, who served under Nixon and Reagan, and Martin Feldstein, notable conservative economist, explained everything you need to know about trade deficits a while back, before our ignorant president decided to do something stupid.  They explain it in 70 words.  Here it is in its entirety:

If a country consumes more than it produces, it must import more than it exports. That’s not a rip-off; that’s arithmetic.

If we manage to negotiate a reduction in the Chinese trade surplus with the United States, we will have an increased trade deficit with some other country.

Federal deficit spending, a massive and continuing act of dissaving, is the culprit. Control that spending and you will control trade deficits.

The only solution to trade deficits is to reduce the budget deficit.  But, of course, this president and his Republican Congress just massively increased the budget deficit with their tax bill which cut taxes on corporations and the plutocracy in order to be able to throw up their hands in alarm next year and claim they have no choice but to cut "entitlements" - i.e. medicaid, medicare, and social security - in order to reduce the budget deficit.  Their hostility toward the middle class and the poor is limitless, especially the people of color.

Thursday, March 1, 2018

Trade war?

Our president has decided to do all that he can to hurt the American economy. He is putting tariffs on steel and aluminum. Will this spark a trade war?  Will other countries retaliate?  Smoot-Hawley?  Plunge the country into recession?  Depression?

Does he think there are steel and aluminum plants just ready to start producing? What happens to the price of goods made of steel and aluminum?  

Which exports will be killed in retaliation?  How many jobs will be lost?

Ignorant man does an ignorant thing in order to keep an ignorant campaign promise made to ignorant people. 

Oh well. he and his base will just blame liberals, or Obama, or Hillary.

Wednesday, February 28, 2018

Four sensible gun laws that would have an effect

Scientific American published an article that research shows actually reduces gun violence.  Here is a summary of the article:
  1. Require permits to purchase - rather than background checks, which are done by sellers and aren't really complied with, this would require in person applications for a permit with local law enforcement.  10 states do this and it resulted in a 68% reduced risk of guns being diverted to criminals.
  2. Ban individuals convicted of any violent crime from gun purchase.  Not just domestic abuse convictions, but all violent crime convictions would ban you from buying guns for life.
  3. Make all serious domestic violence offenders surrender firearms.  Apparently, the current law only asks offenders to voluntarily surrender their guns.  A study showed that relinquishment laws are 50% more effective than non-relinquishment laws.  Tempers flare in domestic situations, and if guns are available...
  4. Temporarily ban active alcohol abusers from firearms.  Research says that DUI offenders are 4 - 5 times more likely to violent crime than those with no criminal record.  The suggestion is no guns allowed for those with two or more DUIs in the last five years.
These are specific and targeted gun laws that would focus on high risk gun buyers and be of no threat to Second Amendment advocates who are afraid that a tyrannical government is out to confiscate their guns and establish a totalitarian police state.

I think these are well thought out.  Too bad they won't be considered by the NRA and their Republicans elected officials afraid of NRA condemnation.

Saturday, February 17, 2018

Mueller indicts the Russians

Friday was a very important day in the history of American democracy. Robert Mueller and the Justice Department indicted Russians for interfering with United States elections, including the 2016 presidential election in opposition to Hillary, and in favor of Trump and Sanders. 

This confirms what our intelligence agencies have been saying for well over a year. This is a very big step toward stopping Russian interference in our democracy. 

Our president immediately tweeted that he was vindicated and that there was no collusion between him and Russia. 


Wouldn’t it be nice if our administration was actually leading the efforts to stop Russian influence on our elections rather than helping cover up Russia’s attack on America?

Friday, February 9, 2018

By his actions you shall know him...

Donald Trump is apparently refusing to release the Democratic rebuttal to the Nunes memo.  The Nunes memo was supposed to totally discredit the Mueller investigation into Russian interference in our 2016 election, but failed pathetically.  The notion of that memo was that the investigation was based upon former MI5 intelligence officer Steel's dosier, which was paid for by the Hillary campaign, was actually initiated by anti-Trump conservatives during the primary season.  But, the memo itself recounted that the investigation had started earlier when Trump foreign policy advisor George Papadopoulos drunkenly told an Australian diplomat that the Russians had dirt on Hillary.  That diplomat was so distressed at the interference into the U.S. election process that they informed U.S. intelligence.  And the investigation began into Russian interference.  

So - Nunes memo - dud.

The outraged Democrats claimed that the Nunes memo was cherry picked and distorted and just a political hit job to protect Trump.  So, they called for a vote to release a Democratic memo rebuttal.  Trump won't release it.  Why? Forget the silly, transparent excuses.  It is obvious why.  Trump wants only one story out there, his story that the Mueller probe is a political hit job against him.

An innocent president would have immediately been outraged when all 14 intelligence agencies concluded that a hostile foreign power, Russia, had interfered with the American election.  An innocent president would have done everything in his or her power to investigate the Russian interference and prosecute the guilty regardless of who would fall.  An innocent president would have put in place a very formidable governmental effort to stop them from doing it again, and from doing it now - which they are doing now. 

A guilty president would have denied that there was any interference from the Russians.  A guilty president would have done everything he could to stop the investigation into Russian interference.  A guilty president would have obstructed justice by firing the head of the FBI in charge of that investigation. A guilty president would have the same party committee chairman issue a false memo to invalidate the investigation.  A guilty president would fire the man at the FBI that is in charge of the Mueller investigation.  A guilty president would fire Mueller.

A guilty president would force his own impeachment.