Saturday, March 25, 2017

Lessons From the Tragic/Comic Ryan-Trump Reality Show

Lessons The Don should have learned---
1.  He's not the big, bad, tough deal maker he thinks he is.
2.  Talking about riding a bronc and doing it are two different things.
3.  Like everyone else, sometimes he's a failure at executing a task.
4.  Many people don't respond well to bullying and/or ultimatums.
5.  Politics can be complicated.
6.  He's not the Boss of the Congress.
7.  It takes time to craft a decent piece of legislation.
8.  Running the Executive Branch is not the same as running a corporation.
9.  He has no popular mandate.
10.  He doesn't know as much as he says he does.

Lessons We the People (especially Trump supporters) should have learned---
1.  All ten points above, plus...
2.  The Don is in over his head.
3.  For the most part, he's full of hot air.
4.  He's not an effective politician, not even an effective rebel politician.
5.  His style & manner do not command respect.
6.  He displays either ignorance or naivete regarding crucial subjects/topics.
7.  When he says things such as, "Nobody knew that healthcare is so complicated...", that suggests he's not fit to be President.
8.  He makes promises he can't keep...and he knows that.
9.  He'll be a disaster on the international stage.
10.  He's not a genuine Populist.
With The Don & his Crew in office, we're all in deep trouble...nearly everyone in the entire world.  In fact, the most recent election cycle has demonstrated that the so-called Two-Party System in USA politics (which is NOT mandated in the U.S. Constitution or anywhere else) is working against common people and fostering Elitism.  In other words, this problem is way beyond just Trump.  Until that System is peacefully changed, our country will continue to experience SSDD... in politics, economics, finance, and almost all social matters.

Not only my opinion.  Be Well

Tuesday, March 7, 2017

Let's All Take Our Heads Out of the Sand and Stop Drinking the...

Edward Bernays style Propaganda Kool Aid.  In addition to the National Debt numbers, the online "U.S. National Debt Clock" (in real time) has a wealth of other information.  [A small portion of it is listed below.]  As opposed to what Janet Yellen and many politicians are saying, that info gives us a genuine dose of reality...instead of propaganda.

Since the end (sometime in the early 1960's) of the Golden Age of American Capitalism, here's what Republican & Democratic politicians, the Fed Reserve, Financialization, Globalization (of a certain type), Crony Capitalism, and Corporatism have all brought us to---

1.  Our public National Debt is almost $20 trillion.  [We are now among the world's top debtor nations.]
2.  U.S. Total Debt (public & private) is now a bit over $67 trillion.
3.  42.6 million Americans are living in poverty.
4.  31.4 million Americans are without insurance (the Debt Clock doesn't specify whether that's health insurance or all types of insurance).
5.  The U.S. Gross Domestic Product (GDP) is about one trillion dollars less than the public National Debt.
6.  The Median Income in the U.S. is now $30,123.
7.  The Median New Home Price in the U.S. is now $311,015.
8.  The "Official Unemployed" number is 7.616 million.
9.  The "Actual Unemployed" number is 14.949 million.
All the above is only a tiny fraction of the valuable info found on the Debt Clock.
Glenn Greenwald, who was on a Team that shared a Pulitzer Prize, has pointed out that the Financial Sector in the USA essentially has captured our government.  Financialization and the revolving door between Mega Banks and high Gov't positions have contributed greatly to the hollowing out of the Middle Class in this Land.  We now have a President & Executive Branch Administration who want to roll back the paltry regulatory protections of Dodd-Frank, thus giving the Financial Sector even more freedom to practice Casino Capitalism... which will further put our financial and economic systems at risk.

The rationalization for such action is that jobs will be created.  History says otherwise.  Starting with the elimination of the Glass-Steagall Act during the Bill Clinton Era and right through to the lack of prosecution of crooked bankers during the Obama Era, it's clear that:  banking needs strict regulation (enforcement and prosecution); and the Mega Banks need to be broken up.  Casino Capitalism does not create jobs for the Lower & Middle Classes; it simply enriches the Super-Rich.  That's what Trump is pushing/peddling.

Not only my opinion.  Be Well

Sunday, March 5, 2017

Trump Orders Wiretaps on World Leaders :), AND a Correction

Relative to the first part of the title above, I'm just saying that.  I have absolutely no proof to present as to its authenticity.  None whatsoever.  I'm following the lead of our Tweety-Bird President, who claims that Obama wiretapped Trump Tower...but then the Don failed to offer even a shred of evidence.  IF Obama actually did do the deed, that's a major scandal and it should be exposed.  What's more likely, though, is that President Trump made up the story in order to distract from the many problems facing him & his staff... especially those involving Russia.  If that's the case, it's also a major scandal...and should be exposed.  I have no idea which scandal is true, but I hope we find out.

A third option is that Trump was misinformed about the Obama story.  If that's the case, it reinforces why it's crucially important for anyone to obtain hard, irrefutable evidence before babbling in public about some particular supposed action.  As far as I can see, Trump failed to do that.

Mr. President:  you FAILED to present any evidence (at least, as of this writing)... and perhaps you also failed to even obtain any evidence.  Your credibility just keeps getting worse.  Why should world leaders (or anyone) believe anything you say???
In the piece immediately previous to this one, posted a couple nights ago, I mistakenly stated that the National Debt was $19.981 trillion.  At that time, it was $19.961 trillion... As of tonight, it's $19.963 trillion.  The Debt Ceiling "Holiday" is almost over.
Not only my opinion.  Be Well

Friday, March 3, 2017

What Our Tweety-Bird President & His Administration Don't Seem to Grasp

During his Address to Congress at least, King Donald did almost zero whining.  Thank Heaven for that.  I'm guessing the primary reason for that blessing was the fact that the speech was 100% scripted, and Trump pretty much read it word for word.  The content (and other statements), however, revealed some genuine flaws in the thinking of this Corporatist Administration.  Here's what they don't appear to grasp...or they do and they're simply presenting a fraud.  It's hard to know which one.

1.  Trump and some of his staff claim that the budget increases for the Defense Dept. (which should go back to its original name, War Dept.) and for Homeland Security will be offset by cuts in other Depts./Agencies.  Since they claim that, they must already have the numbers.  Let's see those numbers.  I very seriously doubt their claim to be true.  My guess is that all the cuts won't amount to even 10% of the billions in increases.  Furthermore, the proposed cuts undoubtedly will be in social programs and environmental/health/safety (EHS) programs... you know, those programs that improve the lives of common people.  The combined budgets of all those programs already are dwarfed by the Defense Dept. budget before the increase (never mind Homeland Security's budget).  In addition, our "Defense" Budget already is larger than the next seven largest in the world COMBINED.

2.  Along those same lines, Trump & staff are proposing a TRILLION Dollar infrastructure re-building program.  At the same time, they're proposing a massive tax cut.  Supposedly, the economy will boom so greatly that the trillion dollar expenditure will be covered by tax revenue generated by all the unemployed we have now, those who soon will have full-time permanent jobs.  The Don appears to believe that tax cuts and regulation reduction will result in Mega & Mid-Size Corporations making capital investments and thus creating many new jobs.  Fairly recent history suggests otherwise.  In this sorry Age of Financialization, mega & mid-size companies no longer need to hire more people in order to increase company profits.  Instead, they downsize, or ship facilities overseas (cheaper labor there), or invest in Hedge Funds, or become a bank (General Motors makes just as much money on car loans as it does on car production), or invest in foreign factories or real estate, or invest in foreign currencies or bonds, or become corporate raiders buying up companies and then downsizing or dismantling them, or simply bank the extra cash...usually offshore.

3.  As David Stockman (formerly of the Reagan Administration) wisely points out, a crucial date is looming--- March 15, 2017.  That's the day when the Debt Ceiling "Holiday" (developed by Obama & Boehner) ends.  After that, the National Debt by law cannot exceed $20 trillion unless a Republican Congress raises that Ceiling and thus kicks the can down the road again.  By summer, the Fed Gov't will be out of cash for everything but absolutely essential services.  According to Stockman, tax cuts will not yet be in place, ObamaCare will not yet be replaced, and any job-producing Infrastructure activities will have to be postponed.  As of tonight, the National Debt is $19.981 trillion dollars and increasing at a phenomenal rate.  It won't be long at all before it hits $20 trillion.

4.  To avoid the Mother of all Fiscal Crises, it seems to me the Congress will be forced to raise the Debt Ceiling yet again.  [They always do.]  Most likely, that will result in foreign governments and banks dumping the Dollar even faster than they are now.  That will bring the demise of the Dollar ever closer.  The Petro-Dollar already is on its last legs.  These events will hasten the culmination of the worldwide economic crisis already in progress... and will render Trump's vague economic plan useless.

5.  Trump's proposed slashing of the EPA will freeze the SuperFund Toxic Waste Cleanup Program (that's already happened), the Radon Program, the Brownfields Redevelopment Program, and several other programs that greatly contribute to clean air, clean water, and unpolluted land.  The result will be a poorer quality of life for everyone.  Trump mistakenly believes that any money saved by companies being able to avoid EHS regulatory compliance will be used to create jobs.  That's the great myth.  See the second half of number 2. above for the reality.

6.  Except for bashing immigrants & refugees and beating the Perpetual War drums, Trump & Crew seem to have no focus.  Rarely resolving anything, they jump from one item to the next.  That's especially true of the Don.  Yes, it's early yet in his Kingship; however, if the first forty or so days are any indication, the man won't accomplish much at all that's positive and good for We the People.  On top of that, the Executive staff slots still aren't all filled.  Plus, with seemingly sincere & consistent---but incompetent & narrow-minded---people like Jefferson Beauregard Sessions in place, the whole Reality Show of an Administration becomes a circus.
Finally, a few closing observations (and reminders)---
1.  During the Golden Age of American Capitalism (from the end of WW II through the 1950's & into the early 1960's), the greatest economic expansion in our history as a nation, with few exceptions corporations were taxed at a 90% rate.  They now pay (if at all) 35%.
2.  Politically speaking, I'm not Red or Blue; I prefer Purple.  So do 41% of American adults.  25% are Red and 31% are Blue.  3% don't give a damn, and given our recent history (30-40 years), can't say that I blame them much for that view.  :)
3.  Trump & Company are either incompetent, ignorant, or devious fraudsters... or some combination of those.  In any case, they are wrong for this country and the world.

Not only my opinion.  Be Well

Thursday, February 16, 2017

Trump is a Mess, Dangerous, & in a Mess, AND More on the Deep State

The Deep State has hit Trump at least twice at this juncture.  The first time involved the Judicial Branch and his "travel ban" Executive Order.  The second time was regarding Flynn and the Russian Ambassador.  "Officials" in our Gov't brought the whistleblowing leaks (concerning Flynn) to the attention of the Acting Attorney General.  Weeks before, Trump apparently knew about Flynn's lies to the V.P. and the public.  So much for transparency in government.

King Donald is so thin-skinned and insecure that after about a hundred more hits by the Deep State, he'll probably have a nervous breakdown.  If and when that happens, let's hope his finger isn't on the nuclear button.  [This is the guy who asked, "If we have them (nukes), why can't we use them?".]  Good grief.

His press/news conference today was one for the books.  Whining, whining, and more whining.  He's an embarrassment to this country.  On top of that, he's still dwelling on the election...and still thinks he had some sort of massive landslide victory.  It's as though he's trying to convince himself, not us.  The man appears to be emotionally retarded.  The piece on Frontline a short while ago (sorry, I forget the title...maybe, The Choice) about his childhood and upbringing gives insight into that.  Trump always has to see himself as winning and as a success, even if he loses and/or fails.  When criticized, he either attacks with lies... or whines... or both.

I'm certainly not in favor of The Establishment in American politics, but Trump is not the solution to that.  This is the Buffoon Administration, and it's extremely dangerous.  It's filled with Corporatists, Elitists, Militarists, and worse.  The Don makes promises he cannot possibly keep, but he'll violate the Constitution, the Natural Rights of commoners, International Law, and any measure of common sense trying to fulfill those promises.  He thinks he's the greatest thing since sliced bread... and can't stop talking about how great he is.  When he comes up against the wall of Reality, he'll crack.  Before he cracks up, he'll probably double or triple the National Debt (which already is obscene), get us into another major, unconstitutional war, and destroy what's left of our economy.  On top of that, he'll generate more terrorism than did Bush & Obama combined and make enemies of allies around the world.  This President is an unmitigated disaster.  All he'll do is make the Super-Rich richer, poor people poorer, encourage the prejudiced, further hollow out the Middle Class, increase the pollution of the planet, continue Perpetual War, and in general, destroy America.  Of course, he says he'll do the opposite of all that... but then, the guy is a Con Man.  [And no, I'm not a Democrat...or a Republican.]

So, how many Americans really do support and/or approve of him?  The polls I've seen indicate that the number is 1/3rd of all adults in this Land.  One-third.  As paltry as it is, look for that number to shrink before long.  Why?  The guy doesn't have a clue about American Government.  I probably know more about the subject... and that's not saying much.  Plus, as written above, the man appears to be emotionally retarded.  That does not bode well for coping with the stresses and strains of the Presidency... or for making wise decisions.  Finally, he's choosing people to fill his Administration whose actions are going to piss off the vast majority of Americans, never mind the world.

Not only my opinion.  Be Well

Monday, February 13, 2017

A Blistering Critique of Democrats, Republicans, Trump, and the Deep State

Chris Hedges is recognized as a genuine "Progressive" and well respected as a Pulitzer Prize winning journalist.

This clip (below), only about 12 minutes long, is on a site deemed by the Democrats & Republicans to be a source  of "fake news"...and also deemed by them to be a place where "supporters of Russian Propaganda" pontificate.  It's RT, formerly "Russia Today".  There are a few (very few) sites that really do put out fake news.  The stories are complete fabrications.  From what I've seen over the past two years, RT is NOT one of those sites.  They do, however, have a certain "slant" to many of their presentations.  That's easy to recognize and filter out...just as it is with any other news site. 

Analysts on both the American "Right" and "Left" often appear there as guests.  As one of many alternatives to Mainstream American Media, I've found it to be a very good source of analysis.  All news sites are "slanted" to one degree or another, & this one is no more so than Fox, CNN, MSNBC, NBC, CBS, ABC, Democracy Now, PBS News Hour, The Washington Post, New York Times, etc., etc.

Democrats and Republicans have failed...utterly.  The result is King Donald the First.  He won the election because people were justifiably angry, desperate, & wanting change.  [As a friend pointed out, there also was manipulation of the voter rolls by the Repubs with a program called "Crosscheck"; however, that does not explain why a lot of people voted for Trump.]  Unfortunately, Trump is a Corporatist and a Con Man.  He will violate the Constitution even more than Bill Clinton, Dubya Bush, & Obama.  The Police State here will grow, more money will be sucked away from the Lower & Middle Classes, and once again, the Deep State/Shadow Gov't will prevail.  The Super-Rich will get richer, and the economy will crash...more than it has already.  The 7-10-year Boom-Bust Cycle, which benefits the Upper Crust & has been ongoing for about 45 years, will continue.  

The good news is that it's likely we'll survive...and finally wake up & see through the Edward Bernays style Propaganda coming from the so-called "Right", the so-called "Left", and other Corporatists such as Trump.

This clip is a must-see; it's a brilliant critique---

Not only my opinion.  Be Well

Friday, February 10, 2017

Trump Already is Imploding AND Unitary Executive Power

King Donald appears to think he's still a CEO, or worse, the owner of the American Gov't.  This is somewhat understandable because there are few (if any) institutions more dictatorial than a Mega Corporation...and that's the atmosphere our President is used to.  He appears to believe that he's the Boss of the entire Fed Gov't., and that being Commander-in-Chief entitles him to ignore Immigration Laws passed by Congress and other laws such as the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) passed into Law during the Nixon Era.  [Just the other day, the Army cancelled/terminated the NEPA requirement for an Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) on the Dakota Access Pipeline (DAPL).  That's a direct violation of NEPA.]

The Don appears to be ignorant of the fact that we have a government composed of three separate branches---all co-equal.  He apparently doesn't believe in the concepts of Checks and Balances and Separation of Powers.  This also is somewhat understandable.  That's because going back at least to the Bill Clinton Era, the Executive Branch has pretty much embraced the concept of Unitary Executive Power (especially promulgated during the Dubya Bush Era).  This concept purports that the President is allowed to set aside any laws that conflict with the Executive's view of actions necessary to preserve "National Security".  It was honed into a weapon (against democracy) primarily by John Yoo and David Addington in the Bush Administration.  In essence, it places the President above the law.  Clinton, Bush, Obama, and it looks like Trump as well all believe in it.  This is a big part of the reason for Presidential violations of statutory law and the Supreme Law of the Land, the U.S. Constitution.

This is the reason that recent Presidents believed they could spy on Americans without obtaining individual warrants signed by a judge.  It's the reason that recent Presidents thought they could go to war without the approval of Congress.  It's the reason they believed that people (U.S. citizens) can be arrested and held incommunicado without a warrant.  It's the reason they all still believe that the President can order weaponized drone attacks whenever and wherever the Executive Branch so chooses...even if the target country says NO.  This is the reason that FBI Agents now can write their own Search Warrants (called "National Security Letters"), and if you're served with one, you cannot reveal that to anyone (not even an attorney) or you're subject to five years in prison.  That's a prime example of Fascism in action.

Trump's implosion is evidenced by his continual whining about judges, about "fake news", about Nordstrom dropping his daughter's clothing line (!), about lawmakers who wish to alter Asset Forfeiture laws, about anyone who criticizes or opposes him, and by his continual use of Twitter as a vehicle for all his woes & complaints.  [He's acting like a teenager.]

King Donald, like all recent Presidents, appears to believe that no one in the Judicial Branch or the Legislative Branch has the right or duty to oppose him.  He seems to think that he's the Head Honcho of the whole Shebang.  He thinks he's the CEO of the Fed Gov't.  Like the Presidents of our recent past, apparently he believes that being Commander-in-Chief of the military means that he's entitled to be above the law.  Being the Head Honcho of the military does not entitle any President to ignore any part of the Constitution or any Law passed by Congress.  There are limits on the Presidency...a lot of limits.  Without strict observance of those limits, we have a Fascist government.

Not only my opinion.  Be Well