The False Equivalency

This just in:  I saw a post the other day between a couple of guys; one was pro-Trump and the other was anti-Trump.  In the end, the pro-Trump guy tossed in the towel with “Hey, all of these politicians are incompetent.  We should throw them all out.”

In other words, he wanted to settle for a tie.

And this is the crux of the problem…

Trump supporters, unable to face the truth of who he really is, have given up (mostly) on “Hillary and Benghazi” and are now trying to call it a tie.  In other words, Trump is no better or worse than any other politician.

You won’t change their minds.  In fact, I have quit trying.  Now, I just post here to keep my head from exploding; knowing no Trumpster will read a word of this.

Let’s recap how “Great” Trump has made America after less than a year in office.

  1. Instead of charging to the front on renewable energy, Trump has, instead, opened up national parks for exploitation.  We will now drill for oil and dig for coal in the most pristine parts of our country…for a resource we don’t need.
  2. After promising “The best healthcare ever” Trump showed a gleeful willingness to pass a healthcare bill that would provide less coverage for more money while kicking about 20,000,000 off of their insurance.  Thankfully, this didn’t pass.
  3. After promising tax reform which would put money in the pockets of the middle class, Trump and the Republican Party rushed through a tax cut for the richest among us.  This, while creating a $1.5 trillion debt.
  4. The United States entered into the Trans-Pacific Partnership trade agreement which the main goal being to keep China a bay.  Trump dropped us out of that agreement and China stepped in our place.  Now China’s economy is expected to surpass that of the United States in just 14 years.
  5. Trump scolded NATO for its reliance on money from the United States; alienating all of Europe and immediately weakening our standing in the world…while gaining nothing in return.
  6. Trump announced a plan to move our Israeli embassy to Jerusalem; a move that angered the entire Arab world…while gaining nothing in return.
  7. The United Nations voted condemn the United States decision on Jerusalem.  We vetoed this but the score was 14-1 against us.  This makes us the bad guys in the eyes of the rest of the world.  Trump then made things worse by threatening to take money away from the U.N. and then doing so a couple of days later.
  8. Trump has alienated the United States’ largest trading partner, Canada; causing, among other things, Canada to cancel a multi-billion dollar deal with Boeing.
  9. Europe hates us. Canada hates us.  The UK doesn’t even want Trump to stop by for a visit.  Mexico hates us. We are running out of allies militarily and economically.
  10. Trump lies at a level never before seen by internet fact checkers.  Notably, many of his lies are designed to either hurt someone else or make himself look good.
  11. He has, at the very least, passively endorsed racism.
  12. He is a sexual predator by his own admission and loudly endorsed an accused pedophile because, “We don’t want another Democrat in the Senate.”
  13. He has surrounded himself with family members in complete defiance of nepotism laws.
  14. He is using his office to enrich himself in complete defiance of the Emoluments Clause of the Constitution.
  15. He has actively endorsed rogue regimes around the world including Turkey and the Philippines.
  16. Actively tries to prevent freedom of the press.
  17. Sees the court system as something that should be “loyal” to him, having little to do with actual justice.
  18. Tweets things like his accusation of a female congressman coming into his office “willing to do anything” for his support.

It’s not all bad news.  The stock market is up.  This is mostly because we relaxed regulations and in anticipation of lower corporate taxes.  The problem with this is that neither of these does anything for the middle class.

Notice, I’ve not yet mentioned his Russian ties.  I hesitate to bring this up as there is much about this that has yet to be proven.

However, I have noticed a strong pro-Russia stance, including a reluctance to impose sanctions passed by Congress.  At the same time, he has disparaged our National Intelligence Agencies and the FBI.

There is no equivalency here.  We have never had a president do so much to harm our country in so many ways in such a short time.

History will not judge this man well.

Up, up and away…

Jim

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The Republican Tax Plan Scam

This just in:  The entire world, via the UNITED NATIONS, just voted to condemn the United State’s decision to move our embassy for Israel to Jerusalem.  Our response was “Screw you guys, I’m going home; and I’m taking my money with me.”

Trump has pissed off the entire world once again, but…I don’t want to talk about that right now.  I want to talk about the tax bill.

This can be pretty dry so I’m going to do it using highly interesting bullet points:

  1. There are 2 million unfilled jobs in the United States right now.
  2. Companies exist to make a profit….period.
  3. Companies choose where to build their factories on things such as: (1) where the raw material is, (2) where the market is, (3) where the best transportation is, (4) where a skilled workforce is and (5) where the cheapest labor is.
  4. The tax code has virtually no impact on location unless it represents a boost big enough to overcome the five points above…which it never does.
  5. Apple will not move production to the United States to save millions on taxes when they save billions on labor.
  6. Apple will not move it’s headquarters to the United States when it can pretend it’s in Ireland and pay virtually no taxes.
  7. Companies NEVER make hiring decisions based on the corporate tax rate.  I don’t think I can stress NEVER quite enough.  (Source, for 30 years, I’ve helped corporations make expansion and hiring decisions).
  8. Jobs are created by consumers. If you buy stuff, companies will make more.
  9. Jobs are not created by companies.  If they hire more people to build more vacuum cleaners it DOES NOT follow that we will buy more vacuum cleaners.  So they wait for consumers to send the message that more vacuum cleaners are needed…then the company hires more workers.
  10. Trickle Down Economics has never worked and is the most solidly disproven theory of all time…and the Republican Party is gambling our entire economy on this very theory.
  11. The Republican talking point on the tax deal is that “everyone gets a tax break.”
  12. The rational talking point is, “I get $1,000 and a millionaire get’s $2 million.  Yes, everyone got money but it was not equally distributed and it creates a $1.5 trillion dollar debt.”
  13. The last thing American companies want is for other companies to create jobs.  I was at a plant in Wisconsin last week.  They are hiring people for $14 and hour and giving them $1,000 extra if they last 3 months.  They do this because unemployment is so low there are no qualified people to fill the jobs we have now.
  14. American companies don’t want more jobs to be created but they love this tax break.  Why?  Because it does not create more jobs.  It just gives them more money; money that goes to buy back stock or give CEO’s bonuses.  They will not benevolently give the money to their employees because that reduces profits.
  15. The tax plan gets rid of the requirement that everyone buy insurance.  None of us balked when we required everyone to buy car insurance because we understood that the uninsured were what was causing prices to go up so fast.  Healthcare is no different.   Now that you don’t have to buy health insurance, prices will go up faster.
  16. The increased cap on the Estate Tax and the decrease in the rate of the top income earners is evidence that this plan is about paying back to rich donors.
  17. This is a tax plan that makes no sense.  We don’t need the jobs.  Corporations don’t need the money.  We create a $1.5 trillion dollar deficit so the GOP can come back next year and say, “We need to cut medicare and Social Security because spending is out of control.”
  18. Buy the time the inevitable recession sets in it will be early 2019.  The Republican Party will be out of power.  They will then blame the Democrats for the states of affairs they created with their tax vote yesterday.

Time to save the world.

Up, up and away…

Jim

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Vocabulary for Today’s America

This just in:  For the last week, I have not posted political stuff on Facebook and have limited myself to a single paragraph of political stuff on this blog.  Man…this is really hard to do.  As a compromise, I may start putting more in my blog while still avoiding Facebook.  I have to do this to keep from exploding.

However, let’s start with this…The Entertainment Page

I watched the movie The Shape of Water last weekend.  I really enjoyed it.  I like movies that step outside of the conventional mold.

I also went to see Hard Nut; a semi-ballet version of the Nutcracker where almost no dancing role is gender specific.  You can see men in tutu’s as often as women.  It was a lot of fun!

On the life-hack page, here are a few things I found under the heading of “useful psychological facts or tricks“…

  1. When you give people a list, they are most likely to remember the first and last things on that list.
  2. People will be more attracted to you if you match their tone and pace of conversation.
  3. If someone has the hiccups, ask them, “Hey, what’s tofu made of.”
  4. When walking on a crowded sidewalk, keep looking at the path you want to take.  People will stay out of your way.

Now for some helpful vocabulary words and phrases (These are completely random words and have nothing to do with our current political system…probably):

Complicit: Involved with others in an illegal activity or wrongdoing.  “The Republican party is complicit in Trump’s undoing of America’s democracy.”

Narcissist: The pursuit of gratification from vanity or egotistic admiration of one’s own attributes.

Greed: Intense and selfish desire for something, especially wealth, power, or food.

Self Love: See Narcissist above

Pathological Lying: Falsification entirely disproportionate to any discernible end in view, may be extensive and very complicated, and may manifest over a period of years or even a lifetime.

Incompetent: Not having or showing the necessary skills to do something successfully.

Orange: A color between red and yellow

Childish: Of, like, or appropriate to a child.

Racist: A person who shows or feels discrimination or prejudice against people of other races, or who believes that a particular race is superior to another.

Misogynist: A person who dislikes, despises, or is strongly prejudiced against women.

Now for an oddly satisfying video…

Now for today’s quote:

“In a time of universal deceit, telling the truth is a revolutionary act.”

 George Orwell

Now for the political page

I once used to wonder how Hitler rose to power.  Didn’t people see it coming?  Didn’t someone try to stop him?  My guess is…not so much.  They may have seen it coming but there were too few willing to stand up and say anything.

Let me me clear…

Donald Trump is the single worst thing to happen to the United States, ever.  He is worse than Pearl Harbor.  He is worse than the Great Depression.  In one year, he has managed to dethrone the United States as the leader of the free world.   His coming tax plan is nothing short of Reverse Robin Hood – taking from the poor and giving to the rich.  He’s bad on healthcare.  He’s bad on international relations.  He’s bad on climate.  He’s bad on military matters.  His behavior is an embarrassment.

If we survive this madman; I hope that history remembers a few things.  First, let’s remember those that supported him.  Let’s point our fingers at the complicit and say, “You too were to blame.”  Specifically, look at the current Republican  party.  Secondly, let’s not forget that we elected this man.  It’s our fear and hatred that gave birth to a fascist president along with a congress that supports him.  And finally, let’s fix those flaws in ourselves and in our Constitution that allowed this to happen. Fix them in a way that this can never happen again.

Trump is as Owellian as they come.  He is a picture of a dark future filled with hate, fear and isolation.

On top of all this, James Clapper, a highly respected and former director of National Intelligence says, “Putin is playing Trump like an asset.”  In other words, if you want to see a relationship between Russian and an American working for Russia…look to Putin and Trump.

Time to save the world.

Up, up and away…

Jim

 

 

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The Loss of Net Neutrality

This just in: The FCC who has governorship over internet regulations has just voted, along party lines, to eliminate Net Neutrality.

What is Net Neutrality?  In it’s simplest form, Net Neutrality means that Internet Service Providers (ISPs)must treat all traffic that passes through their system equally.

This sounds kind of like “So what?” until you consider what eliminating it means.

Without Net Neutrality, your ISP can charge you different rates for different types of data.  Want to watch Netflix?  Pay more.  Want to watch commercials by Comcast…those will be free and provided at the highest speeds.

Suppose an evangelical organization purchases Comcast, (an Internet Service Provider).  Now, they may not allow you to watch porn or movies they view as contrary to what they believe.  They could only allow shows with staunch Christian values or prohibit international fare where English is not spoken.

In short, your ISP will be able to decide what you get to see and they can charge you more for that data that has the highest value for you.

Imagine Rupert Murdoch purchasing an ISP that may be the sole provider in your area.  You could watch all of the conservative news you wanted at a very high speed while CNN or MSNBC would be throttled back so far as to make them unwatchable.

There is an argument in favor of getting rid of Net Neutrality.  It is as follows, “By eliminating all regulation on ISPs, they will be free to innovate and offer better products at a much lower price.”

This, of course, is complete bullshit.

They are not prevented from innovating or competing today!

Now for a cute video…

Quote of the Day: “Censorship reflects society’s lack of confidence in itself. It is a hallmark of an authoritarian regime.” ~Potter Stewart, United States v. Ginzburg, 1965

On the Political Page…

There are five members of the FCC that voted on the Net Neutrality issue; 3 Republicans and 2 Democrats.  The vote was 3:2 along party lines.  On a completely unrelated note, here is a link to a list of members of Congress that were paid by Internet Service Providers to push for the elimination of Net Neutrality.

Time to save the world.

Up, up and away…

Jim

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Economic Tug-O-War

This just in:  I want to be clear…this post is NOT about politics.  It might feel that way but it’s not.  It’s about economics.

There are two basic ways to control the pace of growth, or fight off a recession: (1) fiscal policies – government spending or (2) monetary policies – the Federal Reserve raising or lowering interest rates.

Over the last year, including last week, the Federal Reserve has been raising the interest rate.  They do this for two basic reasons: (1) keep the economy from growing too fast – overheating and (2) prevent inflation.

Raising the rates encourages saving instead of borrowing.  This is true for companies and individuals.  By saving, like in a bank, we take money out of circulation and make it more scarce.  The more scarce it is, the more valuable it is and thus, stops inflation (the devaluation of money).

The fact that the Fed is doing this now is their way of saying “The economy has too much cash and is growing too fast.”

Let’s also add a bit of other current information: (1) There are 6 million unfilled jobs in the United States today, (2) American companies are sitting on $2 trillion in cash and (3) the last time their was this much income inequity between the rich and the poor was the months leading up to the Great Depression in 1929.

Now, let’s consider the current tax plan.

It’s stated goals are to create jobs and to give companies more cash so they can create even more jobs.  All of this is supposed to put more money in the hands of consumers and to stimulate the economy.

In short…it’s stated intent is to do THE EXACT OPPOSITE OF WHAT THE FEDERAL RESERVE IS TRYING TO ACCOMPLISH.

We don’t need the jobs and the economy is flush with cash as it is.

The economy is growing at a borderline “too fast” rate as it is.

Most of the tax cut goes to the ultra wealthy, thus increasing the already gross amount of income inequality.

So…This current tax proposal is not something an economist would consider “well thought out.”

Just sayin…

Cute clip of the day…

Quote of the day: “Don’t walk behind me; I may not lead. Don’t walk in front of me; I may not follow. Just walk beside me and be my friend.”— Albert Camus

On politics…If I had voted for a politician because they promised to Repeal and Replace Obamacare, I would not consider replacing it with something “worse” to be keeping that promise.  If I had voted for a politician because they promised Tax Reform, I would not have considered Tax Cuts that increase the deficit by $1.5 trillion be be keeping that promise.   But hey…that’s just me.

Time to save the world.

Up, up and away…

Jim

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Shenanigans

This just in:  There is an episode in South Park where the boys discover a game at a carnival is rigged.  They declare “Shenanigans!” and the cop shows up.  Here is a link to it.

Basically, they are faced with a situation that they highly doubt is legitimate and they are claiming “Bull Shit.”

So, I’m going to claim Shenanigans and a few things…

  1. La La Land is a great movie – Shenanigans!
  2. Corporations will use tax cuts to raise wages – Shenanigans!
  3. People, any people, know the will of God – Shenanigans!
  4. Brussel Sprouts taste good – Double Shenanigans!
  5. Trickle-Down economics is sound economic theory – Shenanigans!
  6. Atlas Shrugged is more than just a story – Shenanigans!
  7. Poor people are lazy – Shenanigans!
  8. The United States has the best healthcare in the world – Shenanigans!
  9. Pork Bellies in Mac and Cheese is not a legitimate meal – Shenanigans!
  10. You should trust anyone that says, “Believe me” – Shenanigans!
  11. LGBT warriors are not as effective as straight ones – Shenanigans!
  12. “Locomotive Breath” is only an average tune – Shenanigans!
  13. Fox News, CNN and MSNBC are unbiased – Shenanigans!
  14. A Bouvier de Flanders is not an awesome dog – Shenanigans!
  15. Gun deaths are not related to gun proliferation – Shenanigans!
  16. Some types of pizza are not delicious – Shenanigans!
  17. I don’t need a winch for my Jeep Wrangler – Shenanigans!

Now its time for a cute video…

Quote of the day: “Democracy is the worst form of government, except for all  the others.” – Winston Churchill

On the political page..

Am I the only one that has noticed that the GOP is trying to pass a tax bill that accomplishes the following: (1) hundreds of dollars go back to middle class families, (2) tens of millions of dollars go back to the ultra rich, (3) Billions go back to corporations that are already sitting on $2 trillion in cash and (4) creates a $1.5 trillion dollar deficit for our children and their children.  Just sayin…

I have a world to save.

Up, up and away…

Jim
 

 

 

 

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Back from the dead

This just in: After a couple of weeks off, I’m back.

A couple of things took place.  First, I finally dropped Godaddy as the host for this site.  Secondly, I think I want to stop being so 100% political.  I can’t help myself in this regard but I think a compromise may work.  I will only allow a single paragraph at the end that will pertain to politics.  Otherwise…I have other soapboxes to stand on.

On the Entertainment Page…

My wife and I have been binging on Game of Thrones.  The sheer scope of this production is overwhelming.

Movies:  Three Billboards is an excellent movie.  It’s a bit darker than I expected but that just means my expectations were off.  I recommend this.  Also, we loved Murder on the Orient Express; even though I knew the outcome.  This is a visually stunning movie.

Books:  Misbehaving by Richard Thaler is outstanding.  He won the Nobel Prize this year in Economics.  His specialty is behavioral economics – why people behave differently that classic economics says they will.

On the Self Improvement Page…

I was with a group of people the other day and the concept of “EGO” came up.  What is this?  Is it good or bad?  Can it be controlled?  There is a lot here to think about.  Does our ego cause us to be overly self interested?  Does our ego make us better people?  I would welcome the formation of a group that meets weekly or monthly just to dive into this issue.  I have this feeling that this is a bottomless pit.  We would be unlikely to say, “And there is the answer!”  There is always more to learn about ourselves.  Life is like math; just because you can add and subtract does not mean you know math…you have only scratched the surface.

The cute video of the day…

Quote of the Day…

“If you change the way you look at things, the things you look at change.” – Wayne Dyer.

On the Politics page…

Moving the American Embassy to Jerusalem is the single worst foreign policy in the history of the United States. It is already causing trouble in the Middle East, pitting the Arab world against the United States and Israel.  The United Nations and every other nation, except Israel, is denouncing the move.  And this is the worse part…it’s all for nothing.  It accomplished nothing while making things worse.

Time for me to save the world.

Up, up and away…

Jim

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