Archive for December 2017

OMG, Republican Thinking

First we have Roy Moore’s wife who knows black people and one of their lawyers is a Jew explaining why they are neither anti-semitic or racist. No she actually said that and most of us who live in the real world know how offensive it is to say something like that and how racist it is. Welcome to Alabama

Even better is Andrea Mitchell had a woman from Alabama, Laura Payne, on her show who was a delegate for Trump during the campaign, and has been struggling with her vote. She asked her what she finally decided to do. She has been a Republican and cannot bring herself to vote for a Democrat and will write in someone because of the sexual allegations and his failure to follow the rule of law as a judge. But then she said she supported the Republican agenda of replacing Obamacare with lower cost health insurance and his policies on the economy.

Really? No one challenge her. On healthcare, how does lower costs happen unless we insure everyone? Why haven’t they been able to come up with a replacement plan, just wreck the current one? Why do we pay twice what other countries pay? Yada, yada, yada. On the economy, ask her what policies she is talking about and how those wild tax cuts in Kansas worked out and why this tax cut for the Middle Class is really for the wealthy? How does increased economic inequality help the economy. But no, facts and data don’t matter, that is just a difference of opinion…horse shit.

Finally we have President DFF’s tweet this morning after Senator Kirsten Gillibrand asked him to step down as President over the sexual assault charges. Here is the tweet:

Remember when Obama was have trouble with compromise with the Republicans and the media got on this narrative about how if he just sat down and socialized with them, it would all get better. So where is that when the shoe is on the other foot. It tells you what we are up against in ignorance is misogyny.

Finally, if you did not see the poor father outside a Roy Moore event whose daughter had committed suicide after she was ostracized for being a lesbian, it is all you need to know about Republicans, The poor man apparently reviled from his daughter’s sexuality and said he badly regrets what he said to her, now understands how wrong he was and he could not vote for someone who calls people like his daughter preeverts (sic). Sadly they live in a bubble and do not have that one thing so necessary with understanding your fellow-man, empathy. Once they experience it, they get it. For him, way too late. It really kind of explains Alabama.

To Alabama, I have to just quote Charles Barkley, a fellow Alabamian, “We got to stop looking like idiots.” I am afraid that tonight they may not just look like idiots, but be idiots.

Miscellaneous News and Hamilton

Where to start? I guess you saw where Trump makes this big announcement about the space program, which I could not support more, but then as the old frame goes, show me the money (or where’s the beef?). Like Social Security and Medicare, NASA will be on the chopping block as the nation goes into debt with the tax cuts for the wealthy. But the proclamation will look good over the mantel.

On the NYC bombing front, one has to wonder how a kid could become such a nut job to think killing people who have done nothing to him or to Islam are targets to make a point. Of course if his parents are to be believed, our justice system has been watching too much television and may be alienating just the people who could help solve this:

Today we have seen our children, as young as 4 years old, held out in the cold, detained as their parents were questioned. One teenage relative was pulled out of high school classes and interrogated without a lawyer, without his parents. These are not the actions that we expect from our justice system.

France is handing out grants to scientists who want to study climate science. Remember when we were the leader of the world in science and research?

In a world where everyone else is no longer executing criminals, our boys and girls have this brilliant idea to give them an overdose of opioids. No, I am not making this up. Since these drugs are readily available and are already killing thousands, hey, why not a few more?

Did you know there is a group of 21 school kids who are suing the Trump Administration over climate change as they will bear the burden of the irreparable harm caused by ignoring this problem. It is the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals so there is hope. Leave it to brave kids when the rest of you won’t get out in the street. The Trumpets are arguing that this is a burdensome and frivolous law suit. I guess so since they will be so busy dealing with sexual assault suits.

Remember a few days ago when I wrote a blog about the fire storms in California and the hurricanes in the East and how maybe we ought to rethink how we build things in a changing climate? Well, I came across this great story about how an insurance company is actually testing better ways to build and resist damage. If the government won’t act, the losses in the insurance industry may force the rest of us to act as our rates go out of sight. The cost of insurance in the future just may force us to build smarter in the future assuming there is a future.

Okay, now that I have regaled you with news of the day, I have a couple of other thoughts banging around in my head. The first one is how do I know that the economy is going to get very bad under Trump? I mean, after all, right now it seems to be growing, right?

Well the answer to that is that first we are seeing growth that is a continuation of the growth in the Obama Administration. So there is nothing he is doing to spur that growth. See how we have some of the lowest unemployment numbers in a long time and yet wages are not going up? And there is still a small part of the economy that has dropped out of the jobs market. So what gives? Economic inequality. As more and more money is concentrated in fewer and fewer hands, it drives up prices (see the housing market in San Francisco) and fewer and fewer can afford to buy. It is about demand. With less money in the economy, there is less demand.

But don’t believe me. There is a new book out, The Captured Economy: How the Powerful Enrich Themselves, Slow Down Growth, and Increase Inequality, that details this process and what it means for us. It is not good.

Because of a combination of slowing growth and rising inequality, the prospect of upward mobility and a brighter future is now receding out of reach for more and more of our fellow citizens. As a result, American democracy is weakening as well, as pessimism and frustration have smashed public trust in established institutions and opened the path to power populist demogoguery.

Sound familiar? And what was the last thing the Republicans just did? Tax cut for the wealthy increasing economic inequality. If you look closely at everything they are doing it is to favor the “haves” and disadvantage the “have nots”. We are screwed with this bunch.

Okay, one last shot across the bow. I watched the PBS special on Hamilton, the Lin-Manuel Miranda Musical. I wish I could see the play, but that is for the 1% (tickets in London are reportedly going for $6000). The whole thing started with Lin-Manuel reading the biography and was captured. He saw a wonderful musical that brought these complex Founders of our country to life. It started as one song he performed at the White House in 2009 and ended with the Broadway opening in 2015.

The PBS special was especially good because you got to not only see the intricacies of the dialogue and rap, but the historical context of the story. Now I am a Shakespeare fan and I have to say, this was Shakespeare. You have to carefully listen to the dialogue/songs because there is so much packed in there. What you got were very complex characters, the good, the bad, the ugly, in our founding, packaged in amazing rhyme and song (rap). Think about why when Jefferson comes back from France missing the whole war and is singing in Jazz and everyone else is singing rap.

What I found interesting is the PBS special also interviewed present day politicians including George W Bush, Elizabeth Warren, Paul Ryan, and Barrack Obama. They all put their own political spin on the play and in doing that, missed the complexity of the characters, except for maybe Elizabeth Warren. In those segments, I think, you got the point of what Lin-Manuel was trying to overcome. To see these people as real human beings, brilliant and flawed, not political caricatures to make a political point, building a nation of the fly reconnects us to what is possible.

But the best part of the show came when Lin-Manuel and the whole cast returned to the Obama White House after their successes to spend the day performing and talking with the staff about the play. Here are these amazingly talented and intelligent artists sharing their art with the White House who was intellectually able to absorb and grow from this experience. See that happening today? Happy Tuesday.

Two Reflections of the Country that Tells Us Everything

There were two stories this morning that tell you really where we are and all you need to know about why America does not work anymore. The first is a story about the upcoming election in Alabama where the real issues got lost in the Roy Moore saga. But the real issues show what a mess “Red” Alabama is. Here are a few facts from the article:

  • In Halleyville Alabama the one and only hospital in the country is set to close for lack of funds
  • 17 percent of Alabamians live in poverty — the fifth-highest rate in the country
  • The state’s violence-wracked prisons are jammed to 159 percent of their intended capacity.
  • With budget troubles a chronic fact of life, spending on Medicaid, which has not been expanded, lags.
  • Standardized test scores are among the nation’s lowest.
  • Heart disease and diabetes are endemic.
  • Last year, Marion, a rural city in central Alabama, suffered a tuberculosis outbreak so severe that its incidence rate was worse than that of many developing countries
  • The infant mortality rate for 2016 rose to 9.1 deaths per 1,000 live births, the highest rate the state has seen since 2008. (The national rate was 5.9 deaths per 1,000 live births in 2015, the most recent year for which federal data is available.)
  • The mortality rate was more than twice as high for black infants as white ones, and in some parts of the state, like Perry or Pickens Counties, the rate was 25.6 and 30.3.
  • Minimum wage is $7.25/hour, not enough to pay rent or feed a family
  • Areas like Huntsville depend on federal spending for our rocket and missile programs yet they support Republicans slashing the budget
  • Even with major companies like Airbus, Mercedes-Benz, Hyundia, and Honda relocating there for low wages and few regulations, Alabama’s median household income lagged the national median by about $7,800. Today, Alabama lags behind the national median by more than $11,000.

Yep, a Red state paradise and yet these issues went undiscussed and they are leaning to voting for someone who will continue that trend above, making America great again. What a cesspool. Yeah, I pay high taxes in California. It is worth every penny.

The second on is the story of how Susan Collins got duped into voting for the tax bill by Republicans “willing to compromise.” As the NYT tells us:

A couple of weeks ago, Collins made a classic Collins deal. It tried to split the difference between Democratic and Republican positions….Collins said that she would vote for the recent Senate tax bill so long as Republicans leaders promised to pass other legislation — in the near future — that would reduce the bill’s knock-on damage to health care programs.

She laid out three conditions. She wanted her colleagues to pass two separate bills that would shore up insurance markets for people who weren’t covered through their job. And she wanted congressional leaders to promise to undo the Medicare cuts automatically triggered by the deficit increase from the tax cut.

Her colleagues assured her they would pass the bills she wanted — not immediately but soon after the tax bill had passed. Collins decided that was good enough, and on Dec. 2, she became one of 51 yes votes on the tax bill.

Now she is being screwed. They got their bill and now Ryan is making attacks on Medicare to fund the shortfalls in funding for the tax bill (the goal all along), and the house Republicans are thumbing their nose at her other conditions. She looks like an idiot and may pay a very heavy price for that vote at the polls. But that is not the point. The point is that is what compromise with Republicans looks like. It took President Obama eight long years to figure that out as he tried to work with them and the foolish press kept calling for them to have drinks together. That is the lesson to all those who claim we just need a middle road and both sides need to work together. There is no both sides and this is what compromise looks like with one of their own.

So there in two stories tells you everything about a Red America. It is headed for the dumper, and yet so many Americans listening to Fox news or talk radio are clueless. But there it is exposed in all its glory. Alabama, the armpit of the nation, and Republican values on full display. Will anyone notice? But hey, Alabama has football. That counts for something, right? Oh wait, more brain-damaged kids, the perfect voter for Republican politics.

Make America Great Again!

And apparently the way to do that according to President DFF and his followers is to make “America First”. So what does that all mean? Democrats tried the line we were already great, but it did not really sell in the election. People know we are in trouble. President DFF said this:

“From this day forward, it’s going to be only America first. America first.”

What does that mean? How does that make us great? Well in Trumpese and to the hoards of blamers, it means we won’t be ripped off by the rest of the world, which is an easy target for our economic woes. So if you understand that meaning, making America great again means restoring economic wealth to the middle class, who by the way, were never wealthy, but better off with more opportunities in past years, and rich in terms of the rest of the world. So making America great again is measured in dollars. How do we use America’s power and influence to accumulate more wealth is really what this means (and this assumes that this wealth will flow down to the middle class). Remember colonialism? Same goal.

Rex Tillerson has further defined this in terms of other countries:

“We just kind of lost track of how we were doing, and I think things have gotten out of balance,… If we condition too heavily that others must adopt this value that we’ve come to over a long history of our own, it really creates obstacles to our ability to advance our national security interests, our economic interests.”

Again in Trumpese this means we will happily deal with the devil to advance our national interests defined as short-term economic interests. This is what will make America great again if we quit caring about freedom, democracy, human rights, minority and women’s rights, and just focus on making ourselves wealthy. It would be springtime in America according to President DFF and the Trumpets.

I understand how and why President DFF would believe this. He ran a business that was based on screwing the interests of others to make his money (if he is not in debt up to his eyeballs with the Russians). He was never into win-win, but win-lose. So he defines success as being the king of win-lose. So do the Trumpets that follow him. They want their piece of the pie and screw everyone else. That is how you succeed in their little minds. Is that how you make America Great Again?

Now, we are assuming, or they are, that their view of the economic pie and how economics works is correct and if you follow President DFF’s economic policies, things will get better. Stiff other countries, build a wall, give tax cuts to the wealthy, cancel trade agreements, ignore the environment, on our debt, get rid of regulations that rein in corporations and businesses, and we will be back on top. Oh and let’s not forget re-establishing white people as the dominant force in America. I would argue just the opposite, but that is not what this blog is about. It is about what makes America Great and how Trump and the Trumpets have it disastrously wrong.

What makes America great is not our money, but our values and our struggle to get those values right. When one stops and really thinks (something too rare these days) about our basic values, you are forced to read what our Founders struggled with. They weren’t just writing a document to lay out a government, they were making a basic statement about the nature of man, humanity, and what are our most precious goals, life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. Governments primary purpose was to secure those rights for each and every one of us.

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness. That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed.

There it is. That is what makes America great, that we have a government and a people who are trying to achieve that lofty ideal. We had a civil war to correct a major problem with the compromise of those ideals, and it wasn’t until the 20th century that we gave women the right to vote. We are still struggling with race and misogyny as we see in todays events, but we are struggling to get it right. We have finally recognized gays are people too with rights. Yeah, it is messy, but what makes America great is our melting pot, and trying to understand all people have “certain unalienable rights”, to achieve their potential.

Even Ronald Reagan got this one. Remember the “Shinning City on a hill?”

‘I’ve spoken of the Shining City all my political life. …In my mind it was a tall, proud city built on rocks stronger than oceans, windswept, God-blessed, and teeming with people of all kinds living in harmony and peace; a city with free ports that hummed with commerce and creativity. And if there had to be city walls, the walls had doors and the doors were open to anyone with the will and the heart to get here. That’s how I saw it, and see it still.'”

It was the gated community of the Trumps and the Trumpets. What he got wrong was that “government is not the solution to our problem; government is the problem,” which Republicans have run wild with in actually stifling the rights of the middle class to enhance the rights of corporations and the market place. He missed entirely that the Founders established governmentfor the sole purpose to protect those rights of individuals. That life means economic security, that liberty means a level playing field for all of us, and freedom means our right to choose without infringing on the rights of others.

And here is my other argument. We were economically wealthy because we did secure those rights as government played an active role in leveling the playing field for everyone. And we were a beacon to the world where a man or woman, according to his/her abilities could achieve their potential. We have lost that edge because corporations and business now are more important than the people. We now measure ourselves by economic gain, not in how we treat humanity.

And here is what I see of the Shining City on the Hill: It is being bypassed by most of Europe because we thought that the freedom of the market place over people s rights would secure life, liberty, and justice through wealth, but for most of us it just enslaves us. Capitalism is merely a tool of our economic system, not a god. We have sacrificed the good of the people in the false belief that unfettered capitalism  will make us great. We live in a complex world where rights of the individual are now competing with the common good. It is a delicate balance tilted bady to corporations. It’s messy, but that is what made us great, understanding that balance and working hard to get there. We threw all that away with Donald Trump and the Republicans.

Not only will the selfish desire to only consider our financial interests in every interaction we conduct, whether within the United States or internationally backfire in terms of our economic interests, but it burns down the Shining City on the Hill. It will dim and become a cinder, burned out by greed. The world will no longer look to America as the noble experiment where there is hope, but the noble experiment that failed. If great is defined in terms of short-term gains and wealth, the 1% of America is not just great, but fantastic. So faired the aristocracy of old.

But if it defined in terms of equal opportunity for all, tolerance, and equality, or said as the Founders did, life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness for all of us, we have fallen on our asses. To “Make America Great Again” will not be achieved by being selfish, but by being magnanimous as a beacon for mankind. See President DFF or the Trumpets being magnanimous?

Thinking Outside the Box

Let’s forget about Trump or how the Republicans are doing their best to undermine our constitutional democracy for a few minutes. Let’s forget that for the average citizen, who does not read or inform themselves, conservatives are trying to make the Mueller investigation look like a partisan witch hunt, which the last time I looked we have a Republican House, Senate, Supreme Court, and Presidency, and Mueller himself and a lot of the FBI were strongly Republican. Let’s forget that the Republican Party is now supporting a pedophile for the Senate in Alabama because that would be better than a Democrat*. Let’s forget that the President looks and acts deranged, lies continuously, and is attacking the one thing democracy depends upon, the free press and its institutions.

Let’s just all take a deep breath and turn our gaze to the fires in Southern California. America burning. Oh, wait! It is just Southern California so who cares, right? I mean after all the tax bill the Senate passed made sure those left leaning, gay embracing, global warming nuts could not deduct their losses from their tax bill in the future. Who do we think that was aimed at? Gives a whole new meaning to partisanship*. And remember these new fires are right after the devastating ones in wine country last month. The question I have here after I finally quit shooting political arrows at Republicans, is simply this: How doe we adjust to this new climate reality?

This is where the engineer in me takes over and politics falls aside. It is how most of us wished government would work. Money, special and vested interests will never let that happen, but lets just pretend for a second that this is a problem we need to solve. In my life as an engineer, project and program manager, that was the job. Find solutions and get buy in. So let’s just assume for a minute that there are not Democrats and Republicans and we are just about finding solutions and getting buy in. In my little engineer brain I see devastating fires in the west, and hurricanes in the east, and you know what? No one has suggested we should build smarter.

Our whole system of doing business and vested interests say replace in kind. But those structures just blew down (Puerto Rico or went up in flames (California). What if we said stick houses (timber construction) is foolish in these high threat areas? What if we said centralized power systems and overhead power lines are too fragile? One thing you see in burned out areas is destruction and yet a standing fireplace chimney. Hmm. What if we limited building in high fire threat areas to concrete, masonry, and stone that is much more fire resistant? Sure you still have extremely high heat fires, but the structure might be able to stand it. What if we made power distribution underground and more local through alternate energy sources? What if we made new developments include fire standoff distances (fire breaks) as part of the development, to be able to isolate neighborhoods and allow firemen to set up defendable lines?

No, I do not know what I am talking about and I am brainstorming, but solutions are out there, and the job is to start the conversation and get knowledgeable people together like firemen, engineers, insurers, and scientists. Note I did not say politicians, but in the end, that is inevitable because the timber industry would mobilize their lobbyists, and developers would be appalled at the regulations that increase their costs, and oh my god, big government is taking away our rights, yada, yada, yada.

But if we want to survive and adapt, that is what is necessary. Now in this discussion, do you see any parallels to every other thing that is a mess today? The solutions are out there and in many cases we know what they are, but dogma, ignorance, vested interested, and big money hold us back. I will ask you this though, before you launch with both sides do it or I just wish they would stop their partisan bickering, which side is trying to stop the flow of information and taint science?

Conservatives have a real problem here, because they don’t want to solve the problem, they want to restore what was. For them the problem is change. But Mother Nature and what we have done to her isn’t going to let that happen. Restoring in kind and getting back to the good old days when white people ruled isn’t going to work. Let’s go back to me as an engineer. My job was always go fix it, make it happen, figure it out. Our problem today is we haven’t decided to fix anything and that is what the fight is about. One side wants to hold on to the old, another side wants to move forward. And we are at a stalemate because voters are not paying attention. Funny how Mother Nature can get your attention though. Holding still is not an option, and to do so is to ensure our demise.

The conservatives see solutions of old, tax cutting for the economy, restoring religious (their religious) morals to family and marriage, holding on to power structures and entitlements (white people) of old. But those ideas are increasing economic inequality, denying science, the rights to our fellow citizens, and not recognizing the melting pot we are today that is our strength. If we don’t evolve and start to “brainstorm” for a new way forward, we really are going to fail as a species or at least get passed by by those that do. Things are happening very fast now and conservatives are no longer viable in a world in which we need to adapt to reality very quickly. Isn’t it interesting that climate and nature instead of science and rational thought had to rub our noses in change to maybe wake us up to all the other things we have not been adapting to?

*One of my favorite bullshit arguments or platitudes you hear all the time is that both sides do it and partisanship just needs to be reigned in so we can get solutions. The implicit assumption here is there is parity on both sides for the partisanship. Take a look at Alabama where a pedophile is more acceptable than a Democrat (see the Governor’s support of Roy Moore), and you realize that Republicans have taken partisanship off the deep end. Morality can be sacrifice to the ends of power. Al Franken is pushed out and Roy Moore is blessed. Where exactly is the parity there?

There is another side to this argument and that is that religion destroys your brain. These are “moral evangelical Christians” and yet this has nothing to do with the teachings of Jesus. This is a crass ends justify the means argument that doesn’t stand the test of examination, and that is why religion eats your brain. You see Roy’s opponent, Doug Jones is a “baby killer”. Let’s see, the government can own women’s bodies, and their god aborts more babies (miscarriages, god’s abortions) than ever done in a clinic, and a rational discussion might reduce the need for abortions, but Doug Jones is a “baby killer”. But they can’t have that rational discussion because they check their brains at the door of blind faith. Maybe that is the whole point of religion, or at least theirs, they don’t have to think. See Jim Jones on how that one works out.

What If They Do Nothing and Other Friday WTF Topics

Let’s start with Eugene Robinson’s thoughts this morning on what if we find out what most of us already know (Trump and family colluded with the Russians) and Congress (Republicans) does nothing? We are certainly seeing the Senate and House investigations breaking down as Republicans are basically rushing through or trying to shut it down. Don Jr. claims a bogus attorney-client privilege and the Republicans do nothing. We see Republicans trying to defame a Republican, Bob Mueller, to head off what they know is coming. We see Republicans throw morality and ethics in the trash to hold on to the Senate and elect Roy Moore. So would not suspect they will get the indictments, and say flawed process and do nothing?

I am not sanguine here. Eugene isn’t either, but holds out for 2018 and removing Republicans from Congress*. I sit here watching what is going on in Alabama and I wonder if that would really happen. The Republicans tried to kill Obamacare, a wildly unpopular idea, and it was only prevented by one vote. The Republicans just passed a wildly unpopular tax cut and still Republicans hold sway in states like Alabama. Senior Senators like Orrin Hatch and Chuck Grassley state their distaste for middle class workers, and nothing changes.  You have to say WTF!

Meanwhile in global warming La La Land, the latest studies (who cares about science?) show that if you include conditions in the upper atmosphere, the models are way too optimistic.  It is going to be much, much worse.  California is burning down and the pictures are devastating.  Where do Republicans think this is going?  God’s will?  Good thing the Dutch didn’t think their floods were God’s will and the same can be said for the Corps of Engineers and the flood protection measures installed throughout the nation.  Maybe a monster storm will hit Alabama. Maybe then they might wake up. Based upon the latest from there, the storm is more likely to be blamed on homosexuals.

On the economy, yes it is humming along, but no different than in the Obama era and the most you can say for the Trump administration is that they have not screwed it up yet, but they are trying.  David Ignatius, wrote an interesting piece this morning on how the world is surging, and asks the question, why a tax cut now?  This is the time to pay down the deficit and invest in infrastructure.

Reading all this good news, one has a nagging sense that “we should not let a good recovery go to waste,” as IMF Managing Director Christine Lagarde put it in a recent speech at Harvard. “Repair the roof while the sun is shining,” she urged….

U.S. companies aren’t investing in new plants and equipment at the same levels as some Asian and European competitors, and few economists think that’s because of high taxes. One telling statistic: The United States has been the worst at reducing inequality of all high-income countries, a recent Peterson Institute report noted. The new tax bill could make that problem worse.

Boosting U.S. demand by increasing workers’ real wages would make this recovery as powerful at home as it seems to be abroad. If we’re really talking about making America great again, rebuilding middle-class incomes is where to start.

So a tax cut is going to do that?  Never has, yet if we take Alabama as an example, we need more religion in our government and then things will just be fine.  I don’t remember the Bible mentioned in Econ 101.  As David noted above, giving people good jobs (think infrastructure and projects to protect us from global warming would bring all those underemployed out of the shadows and provide the demand necessary to goad business to invest.  But we get a tax cut. And people vote Republican.

Now, I have always thought that not all Republicans are evil (they are), and some are just fiscal conservatives and want to be careful (not the balance the budget nuts, but reasonable debt).  There is a gene that makes some of us fearful and that has help us survive as a species when those who want to leap off a cliff to see if they can fly have been held back by their conservatism.  But that conservatism is now eschewing science and try to go backwards, not be careful.  They are creating doubt in science and the free press to dumb down the nation (See Alabama).  They are pushing voter suppression in the false claim of voter fraud, to turn us into a single party nation.  We do need to be one, just not Republican.

Okay, but what happened to those fiscal conservatives as the latest tax bill blows up the deficit.  Don’t they believe the data.  Don’t they hear Republicans already queuing up to cut Social Security and Medicare?  Really? WTF. Meanwhile the President is starting to slur his speech and making less sense than he ever made with reports from the White House that he is losing the little grip he has on reality, and his lying is increasing.  So we need to protect him even more and enable him?

I think we have gone mad.  You see evil irresponsible actions from the Republicans, the party of family values.  You see obvious bumps in the road ahead, some deadly drop offs, and the nation ignores them.  Puerto Rico is still starving and dying and we, supposedly the strongest and wealthiest nation in the world do nothing.  And now you can’t blame Democrats.  How this Republican government stuff working out for you.  Corporations need not respond.  Until pain is felt across the nation, sanity will reign.  I am a guy with advance stage prostate cancer, meaning it is not curable.  I am just hoping in my life time I see the evilness around us, Donald Trump and the Republicans pulled out of power.  That could keep me going for years.

*Have the Democrats learned anything?  No.  Nancy Pelosi knee jerk reaction to protect Congressman Conyers from sexual harassment allegations had to be walked back showing she doesn’t get it.  She and her buddy Steny Hoyer were against the vote for impeachment in the House this week, and almost 60 Congressmen voted for impeachment.  “Now is not the time to consider articles of impeachment”  If not now, when?  It is just a sign that the old guard has to go and that is hope in 2018 and 2020, that new young progressive minds will push out the old guard.  Then it will be a long road back to repair all the damage.

The Delegitimization of the American Government

Remember back in 2016 when the election was really about a loss of faith in establishment politics and our government. Democrats foolishly ignored all the signs and picked a candidate that did not excite the general public as another establishment hack. Still she would have been far better than the disaster-in-charge we have today. When Bernie got submarine by the Democratic establishment, people either stupidly voted third-party (stupidly because your vote did not count) or super stupidly switch to Trump because they thought Trump represent real change, not a misogynist, lying, racist, ignorant fool, which he was and is.

But the point here is that America had lost their faith in American institutions and the political process. With President DFF, they are getting a double dose of that, at least for those who still have not had their brains fried by Sean Hannity and Fox News. The latest blunder with Jerusalem will undoubtably result in the death of many people, and quite possibly a terrorist attack on America. Just a drop in the bucket of his misdeeds and destruction of this country. But we can get through President DFF if and only if Congress remains a strong advocate for our Constitution. That is in question as Republicans cravenly defend President DFF and undermine the investigation into his Russian connections. Oh, and dare I mention supporting the election of a pedophile to Congress. What’s one more pervert if he votes Republican?

But don’t take my word for it. See the WaPo:

Republican activists and lawmakers are engaged in a multi-front attack on special counsel Robert S. Mueller III’s probe of possible connections between associates of President Trump and Russian agents, trying to stop or curtail the investigation as it moves further into Trump’s inner circle….Fox News Channel personality Sean Hannity, one of the president’s informal advisers as well as one of his most vociferous defenders, on Tuesday night called Mueller “a disgrace to the American justice system’’ and said his team is “corrupt, abusively biased and political.’’…Accusations of bias against Mueller from conservatives have become commonplace in the public debate about the president and the Russia probe, and Republicans are expected to grill FBI Director Christopher A. Wray about those matters when he testifies Thursday before the House Judiciary Committee.

It is clear that instead of following the investigation, they are trying to delegitimize the FBI. It solves the short-term goal of protecting a sexual pervert in the highest office, but further destroys American’s faith in their government. And of course they are pushing false narratives which further erodes democracy.

Several conservative lawmakers held a news conference Wednesday demanding more details of how the FBI proceeded last year in its probes of Hillary Clinton’s use of personal email and Russian election interference.

It is misdirection and bull shit. We know Hillary mishandled emails, but there was no criminal intent to aid and abet anyone. Not so with President DFF. If the massive evidence we have already seen of lies, changing stories, and interactions with Russians is a giant flashing light, nothing is. Consider if the shoe where on the other foot and Hillary was President and all this came out. She would have been impeached by now. But the hypocrisy and craven desire to expand their power and agenda, damn their moral responsibilities (See Roy Moore), t is the real danger.

People were, back in 2016, either revolting by voting for a moron, or not voting at all (that includes all you third-party fools*). But if the facts and the credibility of the FBI are politicized for the benefit of the Republicans, they may find that there could be more than just a revolt at the polls, which they are already engaged in trying to rig through voter suppression. We are entering dangerous times where the arrogance of power may be the seeds of real revolution and violence. Unless Republicans finally recognize their responsibility under the Constitution to find the facts, they may be sowing the seeds of a real revolution in America. The anger is palatable.

*Why are third party voters fools?  Afterall they were voting their conscience right?  It is quite simple.  One of two people was going to be President of the United States in the last election and to not make a choice was the ultimate in irresponsibility as a citizen.  It would be different if a third party candidate is polling 20-30%, but in this case, the choice was clear and by not making it, third party voters abrogatted their responsiblity as an American citizen.  We are living with that abrogation today.

Of Course it is About the Money

This has been the no brainer all along. While the press inappropriately goaded President DFF into a red line if the special counsel went after his finances, and now are trying to make news by asking if Mueller has crossed it (bad journalism at its worst), this was always where the investigation had to end up. While collusion has not been proven yet, at least in public, there is so much smoke the fire will break through shortly. But like any good detective story, you cannot understand the actions and really narrow down the suspects until you know the motive.

We know what Russia’s motives are, that is fairly simple, but if (and I am sure they did) the Trump campaign colluded with the Russians, why? Why all the lying on things that were not illegal? Why, why, why?

Well, I think it is about the money. It is always about the money. Going after Deutsche Bank was always going to happen and of course this is about money laundering and loans to Trump and sons. How do you explain when Trump was defaulting on everything he owned, Deutsche Bank kept lending to him? Here is who he owes money to.

I cannot help but think he has been running a giant Ponzi scheme and it became a big Russian money laundering scheme. Why else collude with the Russians. So it always had to go there. I wonder why it took so long to get here. Or maybe it didn’t. My guess is Mueller is now tying up the details. Tick, tick, tick.

Oh, and Deutsche Bank was being investigated and has paid fines for money laundering of Russian money, but the investigation wasn’t complete.  President DFF fired Preet Bharara, the U.S. Attorney who was conducting those investigations and the investigation has gone cold.  Hmm. What would they say if this were Hillary?

I am Just Without Words

Ever have a morning where you just are overcome by our stupidity and cruelty? That would be me this morning. There is no excuse for President Trump. He is a liar, sexual abuser, ignorant fool and he is the President who is doing untold damage to the country and democracy itself. The Republican Party has become a shill for him as long as they can destroy America with their misbegotten policies. Hey, lets throw money at the child abuser Roy Moore who thinks the Bible trumps the Constitution.

I listened to one Republican shill refuse to answers questions about the Russian collusion as the evidence mounts, but wants to go after Hillary for seeking information on Trump from a political consulting firm. Um, you can’t see the difference? One is tit for tat with a foreign government, illegal hacking and targeted use of that information to influence an election, and the other is buying negative information, and through a non-government source. They are not the same. So we have all this false outrage at Hillary clearly as an attempt to not get to the bottom of why in the Russia connection with Trump. How could all this happen? How can we be so blind and partisan on national defense?

In 2008 we elected a black man President and we thought the disastrous ways of the Republicans were behind us. The Republicans were thrown totally out of power. “Yes we can.” And then came Republican obstructionism in the form of the filibuster, a failure to recognize that they were never going to compromise with anything, and a failure to set an aggressive agenda and fight fire with fire. In 2010 they came roaring back and where we are today is because the Democrats let that happen. In 2017 in one short year, Trump has turned over everything Obama did in 8 years, on the climate, on immigration, even on healthcare.

But there was something else going on, and I believe now it played a bigger part than anything else. Oh, we can talk about the unfair representation of conservatives in our government (gerrymandering, 2-Senators from each state, the Electoral College, the use of the filibuster giving the minority control, or the elites in the Democratic Party not recognizing that middle America was being left behind and told them to get educated.

But the other thing was what we see in the support of Donald Trump today, bold racism and cultural wars. Having a black president terrified many Americans. They blamed everything on the upsetting of what they saw as cultural norms, and so out of ignorance and stupidity they voted for and stick with the man who is destroying the country and democracy as we know it.

Republican complicity in this is an astounding recognition that they have an ideology that has become a theology and they have no principles except to stay in power in order to advance their theology. The latest backing of the RNC for Roy Moore makes that point. The tax cut bill that balloons the deficit is just a rouse for increasing economic inequality and an excuse to then gut entitlements like social security and medicare.

We thought the election of Trump signaled the winning of a populist approach to politics where policies would be about helping the working man although most of Trumps policies had no meat and were based upon racism and nativism. You know, cancelling trade agreements (stupid) and bringing back coal jobs (he never said how). But the Saturday Morning Massacre (Passing the Tax Cut Bill) ended that decisively. It was Republican economics of old favoring the wealthy and further rigging the system in their favor.

So here we are, living out a nightmare in a world that is insane. For President we have quite possibly a mentally ill president spewing hate, and distrust of the very institutions that make democracy possible. His America First is really isolationism and a rejection of the ideals of democracy and freedom projected outward in the world. He lies incessantly and displays sheer ignorance on most topics. His speech patterns suggest a brain that is not firing on all cylinders (Billy Bush described it best when he said he continually repeats himself in hopes that his brain can catch up with his mouth), and his provocative style could get us in a nuclear war.

We have a Russian interference scandal where we have seen the White House repeatedly lie about and change their story so many times, that there clearly is something they are hiding. For Congress we have a party so craven to power that they are all throwing their support behind this dangerously flawed president and a candidate whose sexual perversions and history of violating the Constitution make him as unfit as the President, much less as a human being. Then they just pasted the most anti-populist tax bill probably ever passed in a procedure that was so cloaked in secrecy we still don’t know what is in the bill. In one short year they have erased President Obama.

Clearly the only hope for the country is for the people to rise up in 2018. I am not sanguine on this. The level of ignorance and denial in the general population is astounding. People don’t read, and they don’t do the hard thinking required to be citizens of a democracy. When I have discussions (rare) with people on policy, they are ignorant of what is going on and of the basic facts around the issue. You have nowhere to even start.

I had a discussion with a friend the other day on how to fix the unfairness of the system we are now in favoring conservatives. He had a solution that was good if we had a rational system, but he missed the root cause, Republicans. The evidence is all laid out before us that until we remove them completely from power, nothing will change. There are not two sides here and we just need them to talk. That failed a long time ago. Now we need to sweep Republicans out of power so the way is clear to start fixing things. No, we don’t need a balance because unless you have been asleep, balance doesn’t exist anymore. See Mitch McConnell. Will we wake up and save this country and its Constitution by ridding ourselves of these modern day Republicans? Only time will tell, but so far I haven’t seen it. It may take a failure of our economy which is coming my friends. Hold on to your hat (and ass).

Two Senior Republicans Tell Us What They Think of the Bob Cratchits of the World

In my last blog I made a point that Ebenezer Scrooge was a Republican in that he really did not give a wit about anything but money. Well a couple of Republicans accidentally made my point. “Over the weekend, Sen. Charles E. Grassley (R-Iowa) hashed over the plan [tax cut] with his home state’s largest newspaper, the Des Moines Register. Turning to the party’s idea of doing away with the estate tax, Grassley framed the current law as a hindrance to responsible saving.”

“I think not having the estate tax recognizes the people that are investing,” Grassley told the Register in a story published Saturday. “As opposed to those that are just spending every darn penny they have, whether it’s on booze or women or movies.”

So see, people with money to invest, investors are the right people and the rest of us are up to eyeballs in booze, women, or movies. Now just to raise an interesting point, say hard working people really were spending every penny on whatever the hell they want? Isn’t that the point? Instead of giving money to people who bank it, wouldn’t you want them to spend every cent to stimulate the economy? But it shows as I have argued over and over, Republicans think you are poor because you deserve it. The same guys who are now turning to support Roy Moore, a pervert, see value in him, but not a hard working middle class family. That is not hyperbole, Google it and watch the video on Grassley. Watch Trump now endorse Roy Moore. Watch how Mitch McConnell is stepping back from his tough talk and talking about letting Alabama decide. If morality is what Alabama decides, we are all fucked.

Oh and the other walking scum, Utah Senator Orrin Hatch:

On the Senate floor Thursday, Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-Utah) responded to a question from Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio) about the future of the Children’s Health Insurance Program, a low-cost health insurance plan for children from low-income families that Congress has yet to review since it expired Oct. 1.

The question came during a debate on the Republican tax bill, which Hatch presided over as chairman of the Senate Finance Committee.

In response, Hatch claimed the health insurance program had not yet been renewed due to a lack of funds.

“The reason CHIP’s having trouble is because we don’t have money anymore,” Hatch said.

And then explained why, despite his support of a bill offering trillions of dollars in tax breaks to the wealthy and corporations, we absolutely must start slashing the social safety net immediately:

“I have a rough time wanting to spend billions and billions and trillions of dollars to help people who won’t help themselves, won’t lift a finger, and expect the federal government to do everything.”

See millionaires need tax cuts, poor kids deserve to die, lazy bastards. Oh, and the RNC has decided to back Roy Moore. This is who we put in power in this country and if you don’t think they are evil, there is something wrong with you.

Mitt Romney stood up with this sadly out of touch tweet:

Here is the problem, your party lost its honor years ago and the GOP he is talking about does not exist any more. When Mitt and his fellow fools finally wake up they will find they have no party any more. Again, the Republican Party has become a party of no values but power, and that is the very definition of evil. There is no going back.