Archive for the ‘Miscellaneous’ Category.

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.

Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri

For a change of pace, I want to write about the movie Three Billboards starring Francis McDormand, Woody Harrelson, Sam Rockwell among others as the cast was a mile deep. My daughter Serena had seen the opening in London and gone to the cast party afterwards and met Ms. McDormand who told her to call her Fran. So I knew I was going to like it.

This is a movie you can’t put away. I saw it Thursday and I am still thinking about it. You all remember Ms. McDormand from Fargo if nothing else. In this one she plays a steely eyed woman bent on getting revenge for her daughters rape and murder by goading the police by erecting three billboards to remind them that nothing has happened. I won’t give you much more of the plot than that, because you have to experience it yourself. There are so many twist and turns, but the one constant is violence, anger, and hate on a certain level. If you think this is going to be a revenge flick, think again.

The first thing you think of as you get into it is police brutality and racism. There is a level of ignorance, and ignorant meanness. But instead of making you want to get even (although you will in parts), it makes you want to stop and think about what is going on and most importantly, does the anger, hatred, and violence just beget more anger, hatred, and violence? In today’s world does that not really ring close to home.?

Woody Harrelson, is absolutely stunning in the part he plays. I think the one thing you can say for his character is that he has accepted the reality around him and he makes accommodations. He really is connected to his reality and seems to embrace it. When you get right down to it, but you don’t think about it at the time, Sheriff Willoughby is probably more grounded in life than all the rest around him. Deputy Dixon is a son of a bitch and yet in the end, you may find him redeemable. It is a wonderful performance by Sam Rockwell. Throughout Francis McDormand as Mildred is tough as nails, but in the end, well, you will see. There are academy award performances from all of them but forgetting the awards, I got lost in their characters which is the highest compliment I can give an actor.

In the end you are left to work out the ending yourself. As a red blooded American, I like tidy endings with all things tied up. But it wasn’t and now I think I understand that that was the point. Hello reality, there are not tidy endings in life. Things are messy and some things are never going to get resolved. Are you going to go around angry begetting anger or are you going to accept the reality around you, and maybe forgive. There may be more return on your investment in that latter path than any other. I think that is what the movie was about, but like all good art, I am still thinking about it. You ought to also.

Watching the Republicans Rape America

The Republicans were in a feeding frenzy last night. All of a sudden they found themselves at an all night buffet where they could gorge themselves on all the goodies they ever wanted. I am talking about the Senate passage of the Tax Bill last night. I watched it on CSPAN and I am still sick this morning. Even if you did not know what was in it, and most Republicans or anybody else does not because they were writing it on the fly, it was a scene of pure chaos and bad government. One could not even read the hand written mark ups. And Republicans were adding their favorite pet project to a bill that will change everyone’s lives and not one hearing, not one real examination of the results. And make no mistake. It was a mass transfer of wealth to wealthy while gutting government.

But a feeding frenzy it was. I watch as Ted Cruz entered an amendment to expand tax free savings plans for college to a tax free savings plan for private schools. How is that paid for? By cutting money for public schools. Who benefits? Rich kids who go to private schools. Who suffers? Kids who can’t afford those schools. It took Mike Pence to come in and break a tie vote on the amendment (50-50) (even some Republicans could not stomach this one) to pass it. I watched as Democrats entered amendments to try to bring some sanity to the process by trying to take out the free pass to drill in the arctic wildlife refuge, reduce the reduction in corporate tax cuts to make it not cost $1.5 trillion, make the tax cuts for the middle class permanent, all to fail at the hands of the Republicans.

And now what they have nobody knows except it is dreadful. It rapes America. Republicans have been dying for years to cut Medicare and Medicaid and in this bill they got the tools to do just that, “Pay as you go” which when all the magic asterisks do not add up (and they won’t), they can gut the programs that help the old and poor to pay for their massive tax cuts. It was a brutal rape of everything America stands for and there is so much in this bill that has nothing to do with tax reform/cuts that nobody even knows is there yet. Now you can bet they will be in a rush for a reconciliation bill with the House Republicans so people don’t find out how bad it is until it is signed by the Moron in Chief. Gotta hurry because his days are numbered.

It was a sad, sad day for America. Republicans, except Bob Corker, showed they are nothing but bought fools. Don’t give me John McCain and his regular order. If he stood for anything, last night was a time for a no vote. Don’t give me Lindsey Graham, he is a kook to he is normal (comments about the President right after the election and now) or Susan Collins, who “cares about the sick” and then let them gut Obamacare (Yep that is in it too). They all voted to rape America and steal from the poor to pay off the wealthy. The party has no morals and what we saw was the very worst of America bought by capitalism. Government does not control capitalism, capitalism controls America. That is what Republican government now represent.

Democrats fought a noble battle, offering amendment after amendment to show the hypocrisy and depravity of the Republicans and those Republicans rose to the bait voting each one down. They now have the sledge hammer they need to bring down the Republicans. They need to wield it. I am sure I am one of the few who watched the debacle last night. People in America have forgotten that freedom, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness is hard work. But I can guarantee you one thing. This one will hurt and hurt badly. There is no flow down, and as the fools that voted this Republican nightmare into office start to suffer (it will be a slow burn), maybe for once, they will see the problem. Voting third party when they don’t have a chance, has consequences.

Last night I watched the verification of what I have been saying for years. The Republican Party of “old” does not exist and the one we have left is evil. I watched the failure of democracy as the majority of Americans are against this bill. I watch the greed of capitalism at its very worst where government became its tool. And now there is no doubt in my mind any more, Republicans and those who vote for them are evil. We must root this evil out of our country if we have any hope for the future.

He is Batshit Crazy

Yes, I am talking about you know who, President Dumb Fat Fuck (DFF). In case you are on a news blackout, the President is acting strangely and the news media is nervous, asking why he is now becoming more unstable. So let’s clear the air, and note I have written this before, he is the same DFF we elected back in 2016 and nothing has changed. He has always been unstable and unsuited for the Presidency. So what’s he doing now?

Well to begin with, there was the release of videos that are hit pieces on Muslims by an anti-Muslim right wing group in England, totally unsubstantiated, and even England severely criticized President DFF for their release. The piece was pure racism. Then there is the fact that he regrets disavowing his claim that President Obama was not born in this country (he was). Then even more bizarre, he has been making statements according to reports from the White House, that that was not his voice on the bus when he admitted to sexual assault (grab their ….). Roll the tape where he admits to it and apologizes. In Missouri today he issued one lie after another about his tax plan and rambled on forever. Oh and brought up the non-existent war on Christmas. Bat shit crazy.

So the media is asking why the decompensation now? I have told you why. Mueller is getting close and Trump knows it. And he is panicking. Remember he is telling everyone the investigation will be over by the end of the year and he will be fully exonerated, and it sounds like a giant desperate lie. But remember that whatever Mueller finds, we still have to have Republicans step up and do the right thing, and so far, they have not shown they will. Trump gets that and he knows why. It is not just their agenda that could go down, but their re-election in the next election is at risk. Republicans are terrified of further challenges from the right, and their future is in the hands of the wing nuts that Trump appealed to in the election.

So Trump is going home. He is coming up with the lies and hate stuff that so appealed to his base before, hoping he can leverage them to terrify Republicans into not impeaching him when the truth comes out. That is what you are seeing going on. As I said in this blog on the 25 of November, “Can’t wait to see how he reacts as he sees Finley talking to the Feds and knows the jig is up.” Or said more directly, we are moving into really dangerous times and Republicans still have not stepped up to the plate.

Why Trump Won

Fareed Zakaria, who I think is one of the best journalist out there, and there are a lot of good ones, reporting on CNN in a special, Why Trump Won, I think nailed it. This is not a new show and I think it aired back in August, but I finally saw it last night. So I will cut to the chase on this one. As Fareed pointed out Donald Trump was the perfect storm when the circumstances were perfect for the perfect storm.

And for you Hillary fans, an interview with Nate Silvers basically pointed out that Comey cost her the election. Her lead was 6 points and then a week before the election he comes out with his letter, and her lead was cut to 3 points, then in the margin of allowing the electoral college to elected the one with a smaller vote count. So it certainly cost her the election. But, and here is the thing, it should have never been that close. As we entered the 2016 election, Hillary was not a good choice and Fareed makes that point by showing how Democrats had lost the working middle class as they had become the party that represented the professional class. Hillary was also the perfect storm in that she epitomized the Democrats aloof view of the working class.

The head of the Democratic Party in Ohio was sending memos to the Hillary campaign about the pain and anger out there in Ohio and they were being ignored. Meanwhile Trump was filling that vacuum with vague promises of bringing their jobs back and representing them as an outsider and it was selling like hotcakes. All lies of course, but that seem to have made little difference. In middle America’s state of anger and frustration. Race and blaming was working well and Trump was the master salesman as Hillary made his point of the out of touch aloof politician. Fareed even made the point that Hillary actually had policies that would help them, but they were throwing over establishment Washington, clearly a Washington they no longer trusted.

That should have been the message loud and clear when Bernie came so close. Many said it was not rigged (this is me not Fareed), but of course it was. They had already anointed Hillary and the Democratic Party was lined up against that upstart Bernie when he was actually the only one with a message that resonated. It was noted that many discouraged Democrats turned to Trump after Bernie was finally beaten. There is another statistic that Fareed pointed out that should have told Democrats they were in big trouble. In a usual election the undecided voters are around 6%. In 2016 it was double that. Again, looking at who Donald Trump was, it should not have been close and that tells you that Democrats had lost their message and their messenger was the wrong person.

Now no one (who is rational) will argue that Hillary would not have made an excellent President, but in a way her defeat, while devastating to the short-term interests of the country, was probably inevitable as the Democrats had lost touch with the people it most needs to help. Even with good intentions, we would have seen more gridlock and both sides do it instead of a clear distinction between the two parties we are getting now (although establishment Democrats still seem to have not got the message). Sooner or later Democrats were going to have this “come to Jesus” moment and maybe sooner is better. It would appear at the grass-roots at least they are regrouping and refocusing.

So in a nutshell, Trump was the perfect lynch mob leader as establishment politics have failed middle America, but have worked fine for those of us in the professional class, and the banking class, the professional class represented by establishment Democrats, the banking class represented by establishment Republicans. Trump came along and lied through his teeth that he was an outsider who represented them when in fact, if they ever figure it out, he was all in with Wall Street. Hillary sadly, came across as just what the working middle class was mutinying against, establishment elitism, or “let me explain it to you Alice” (Jacky Gleason from the Honeymooners). The fact that she actually had policies to help them was irrelevant.

My own personal observation at Trump rallies was an America I found despicable. Hillary’s deplorables, which of course they were. They had thrown out their brains and the level of anger and hate was palpable. As Fareed pointed out they were the part of America most disenfranchised by the world economy and their reaction was anger, blame, racism, and hate. And Trump was the master at stoking that. It is no coincidence that this was dominate by those without a college education. They were the losers in the economy we have built. Sadly when the elected Trump, they doubled down on their losing. In case they haven’t noticed, there are no jobs, and Wall Street is back big time.

Having said that, we do have to pull them up, not by false lies Donald Trump pumped out there, but with a real plan to get them back into the economy and give them jobs and a future. Unless you haven’t figured that out, it is not by giving more tax cuts to the wealthy, or quite frankly to most of us. It will be by creating jobs by investing in infrastructure, alternate energy, helping middle America get off their addiction to opioids, making college affordable, and making fundamental changes to the economy that let’s them share in the bounty. Oh, and give them a safety net they can depend on until we can restore the middle class. FDR did it, and now we have to, because middle America really is in a depression that led to the rise of a moron like Donald Trump.

Fareed ended his program by saying we are waiting for a leader that can cross the divide between the two tribes. But Fareed is one of those too invested in the way the economy works today, instead of the reality that capitalism has to be brought to heel for all of us to share. To my ear, Bernie got closest to that ideal. Let’s not lose that momentum. Progressivism is the only way forward and only government working with industry is going to solve the problem of the declining middle class. It is time to bring back ideas again instead of blame and hate. It has not worked out well so far and maybe middle America is starting to figure that out. Now we need to get out there with a plan that gives them hope, not the same old, same old or from Stephen King’s Dreamcatcher, SSDD, Same Shit, Different Day. That is how middle America saw the establishment in 2016. The Democrats failed to head the message and ran an establishment candidate, and all the rest is history.

San Diego

Another wonderful Thanksgiving week with my son and daughter in San Diego, which is no small fete because my daughter flies in from London. For me it is a time to rekindle my love for the Pacific Ocean. My surf boarding days are mostly over, but you would be amazed what you can spend on a good boogie (body) board. It is just reinvigorating to get in the ocean, taste the salt, and be a kid again. Of course when you have incurable cancer, you do tend to enjoy the moment. And before I go any further, the meds I am taking make me fairly symptom free, so I am one very lucky man.

First, restaurants. I will just give you a few. There are so many good places to eat down here. I will just give you two. One is Puesto in La Jolla. It’s tacos and Margaritas take Mexican food to a whole other level. Lobster tacos is a favorite. Then there is Eddie V’s where my little family and some of our extended family met for the famous Thanksgiving feast. I cannot recommend this place enough. Super fresh seafood cooked to perfection. A side called crab fried rice was a meal in itself. Wine list is excellent and reasonable. No it is not cheap feeding four, but isn’t that why we work in the first place?

The two other nights were good, but unremarkable. Jambalaya, and beers for me in a pub that was nowhere as good as I can cook at home. The other night was Sushi for 9 take out and I have no idea what I ate, but it was good. When we get down here we always spend one day shopping because the stores are close and where I live in Northern California, the stores are far away and less well supplied. Time to get the discount new belt at Marshals and new shoes at DSW. Oh, and did I mention a new boogie board to be left with my son for future visits?

It was nice to be with 2 of my 3 children and talk with them about my cancer. There are some many things that go unsaid that should not and we had a chance to talk about how we were all feeling. I am fairly fatalistic here, life will be what it will be and it has been a great ride. There is no choice but to take it one day at a time and enjoy the moment, and right now the moment is great. I hope I can pass that on to my kids. I myself have been a fairly type A person, called the “planning Nazi,” and I guess I still am. But when things do not work out, it does not bother me near as much anymore. I don’t yell at drivers anymore, just note their interesting perspectives on driving. It is the things you can’t control (just about everything) that you just can’t worry about. You can plan for the worst and take steps to ameliorate what happens, but you still have to roll with it.

I remember a book I read way back when, written by a psychiatrist about surviving in the death camps (Viktor Frankl’s Man Search for Meaning) and he made an observation about those who did not give up in circumstances too terrible to describe. It went something like this: They can take almost everything away from you except your freedom to chose your attitude. You can choose to survive. You can choose to smile. You can choose to not get angry. You can choose to do good and you can choose to be kind. It is what makes us human and what makes kindness and forgiveness the truly noble human aspirations. It is so much easier to get angry and blame, so when you see kindness and forgiveness, understand you are seeing transcendence.

Now we are all going our separate ways again, as I write this on the plane going home, my daughter Serena heads back to London, and my son Andrew gets back into the routine of his San Diego existence. I will miss them dearly, but we will find ways to connect and it was an absolutely wonderful 5 days. Oh, and did I mention all the truly interesting and nice Lyft drivers we met going here and there, even to the beach. Unload that rental car. It is one more stress producer you don’t need.

I will leave you with one final thought. When the pilot leaves the seatbelt light on the whole flight because there is some very light burble, people just start to ignore the seatbelt sign because when you got to go, you got to go. Puts the whole flight crew versus passengers in a bad situation because they have to warn people to stay in their seats, and of course they can’t. Why they can’t just say we would prefer that you stay in your seat with your seatbelt fastened, but if you need to use the restroom, you do it at your own risk? I mean, after all, we check our bag at our own risk. And another thing, how many people actually put their phones in airplane mode? We set ourselves up for people to ignore the rules and we make it easy for them to justify it.

The Tax Gut

Well guess what! “The nonpartisan Tax Policy Center is the third outside group to conclude that the bill would add to the deficit, contradicting Republicans’ claim that the bill would effectively pay for itself via a surge in economic growth.” And actually it would cost $1.34 trillion, But all you good Republicans cast stones once again at the “tax and spend” Democrats, who actually tax to spend so we don’t crater. There is no free ride. Now conservative Republicans used to push discipline and moral character and now they go neither.

Here is the thing I have been banging away at, the Republicans, when it comes to economic policy for our future, got nothing. Their free ride schemes of flow down (supply side economics) and the market place will solve all problems is a fantasy sold like snake oil to the gullible who want theirs now and fuck the future. This is discipline and fiscal responsibility? And as much as I dislike President Clinton, let’s remember when he raised taxes and the Republicans screamed the sky is falling they did not, and the economy grew.

I don’t doubt that many Republicans who spout their spiel about the tax gut believe what they are saying, but it is a religion based upon faith in a miracle that the real world tells us, does not happen. Think about it as a drug. You take this drug and all of a sudden the world is so simple. Hell, cut taxes and the miracle economy will take off. Hell, just leave the market place alone and it will solve health care,. Global warming? Balderdash! Just minor fluctuations in the weather no different than in our past. Hell, just build a a Wall because we would have high wages if all those “others” weren’t coming in! Trade agreements? Who needs trade agreements! Infrastructure? The market place will take care of that!

The drug takes the complexity out of the world and everything is simple. The world was meant to be Christian and we just need a Christian government led by Roy Moore. Remember Jim Jones? Republicans and many in the middle are drinking the Kool Aid and will soon find that when you have destroyed the planet and the economy, death isn’t so bad.

I like to think that our problems are not hard, but they are complex. We already know the solutions to most of them. And they are not free. We have dug a hole and now some of us are going to have to sacrifice. Health care has to be universal. Global warming is here and we have to invest both in ameliorating its effects and harden our infrastructure for what we can stop. Immigrants of all education and economic backgrounds are vital to our economy. Tax reform? We have to figure out what we want, and then restructure the tax code to pay for it with a manageable debt. Corporations don’t pay too much in taxes, but some small businesses do so lets find parity. And guess what? People like me might actually have to pay more. It is called investing in our country for our children.

So there is no trickle down pill to take. There are no “others” that cause all our problems. Global warming is not going away. Economic inequality will not stop growing until we restructure out economy, not make the wealthy wealthier. We are all going to have to pitch in and invest in our future. Snake oil won’t work. Republicans got nothing and neither does anyone else if you think this is easy or we can just look the other way. Time to dig in and do the hard work. Remember that old cliché, No pain, no gain? Yep, it’s true.

Climate Change, Automobiles, and Other Random Thoughts

Climate change is up there with my big two issues that is threatening life as we know it. The other is economic inequality. And they are related. I have frequently said that capitalism is what pulled us and most country’s standard of living up, but unregulated it is an unmitigated disaster. The comes this thoughtful essay from the Stone basically looking at climate change as the result of capitalism itself:

The real culprit of the climate crisis is not any particular form of consumption, production or regulation but rather the very way in which we globally produce, which is for profit rather than for sustainability. So long as this order is in place, the crisis will continue and, given its progressive nature, worsen. This is a hard fact to confront. But averting our eyes from a seemingly intractable problem does not make it any less a problem. It should be stated plainly: It’s capitalism that is at fault.

I have no argument with his statement. These people who control our corporations and industries are making decisions that are neither stupid or evil, but based upon the rules of their game. The essay goes on to suggest that the problem is not technical, but political. Capitalism itself has to be tamed. Now you know why Republicans deny Global Warming.

Next up is cars, and in particular driverless cars. Did you know that we now kill more people in cars than we do with guns? Speed, texting, and plain stupidity are killing people. So some are hoping that driverless cars can be our salvation. I personally would love to get in my car, dial in the destination, and catch up on emails. But here is what I worry about, and not a failure of the technology, but the failure of my fellow human beings. Won’t there be at least one nut job who is in a hurray and is swerving in an out of all the driverless cars doing the speed limit? Won’t they in their fog of superiority try to check their texts? As with driving on a two lane highway, we are always at the mercy of the lowest common denominator.

Finally, on my flight to San Diego, why do I always get the seat behind the nut job who has to put his seat back? We are already crammed into the seats and then clueless, the nut in front of you reduces the space more, The world is full of careless thoughtless people.

Okay, I lied, there is one more thing I want to talk about. D.J. Dione wrote this morning about the Democrats having to quit waring with themselves (Beltway politicians) and see what is going on out in the country.

And what do leading Washington Democrats want to do? They would have us engage in the “move left” vs. “move to the center” squabbles that have obsessed the party for at least three decades. Old arguments feel comfortable, but they’re inadequate for the moment. And new research is finding that this bickering does not match the mood of local anti-Trump activists.

And I would say yes and no. He sees new activism where Trump won and gives us this:

This activism, as Skocpol sees it, is motivated by a simple but powerful civic sense that Trump is violating basic norms and principles of American life. The troops on the ground don’t need programs or litmus tests imposed from on high, she adds. They need practical support and the freedom to act as they see fit in their own areas….Virginia voters who “were looking for a calm and strong leader in the midst of chaos in Washington.” Moderates have a point when they say that voters nationally are similarly seeking steady and reliable leadership.

But progressives, in turn, are right to argue for clear, compelling and comprehensible policies to deal with the economic inequalities that are hurting many in the ranks of Clinton and Trump voters alike. Bold, not bland, is the way to go.

For now, the imperative is to check Trump’s abuses and to stop the truly radical agenda that Republicans are advancing, including their continuing efforts to wreck Obamacare and to pass an unpopular, budget-busting corporate tax cut that redistributes large sums of money to society’s wealthiest.

I think he wants to have it both ways. And maybe we can. We can certainly be against Trump, but we also have to have policies that attempt to replace what Trump is bringing. And here is where I truly want to raise the issue that we have moved so far right that what seems wild-eyed lefty, is really common sense solutions. No Democrats do not have to be all for full funding of higher education, but we want to make it affordable to all those that can, and not by loans that suck them dry for years. No we don’t have to be for a single payer health care system, but we have to be for universal healthcare so that all of us make it affordable for each other. Abortion is a litmus test. It is about a woman’s right to control her body. It’s about getting government out of those most personal and truly hard decisions.

So Democrats need to get in at the grassroots with ideas to improve people’s lives, but at the heart of it, is that the market place must be controlled so it does not crater the planet, and more of us share in its benefits. If that is left-wing crazy, then so is the survival of all of us.