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Archive for the ‘Economics’ Category

Day 193. 

The upcoming budget from our beloved leader’s administration is a perfect example of fantasy in the real world.  This budget is the worst budget I have ever seen.  And, the arguments behind it are even more weird than the budget itself.

As is usual in a Republican budget, the poor and the working poor in our country are expected to take huge cuts to their benefits in order to give the rich huge tax cuts.  It is planning to remove billions of dollars from food stamps, WIC, Children’s health care, welfare, Pell Grants, Student Loans and a lot more.

It is also calling for huge increases in the defense spending and money for his stupid Berlin Wall.  The very wall that he claimed Mexico would pay for.   Then there is the trillions of dollars being given to the very rich in massive tax cuts.  And, of course don’t forget the trillions of dollars being handed out to corporations.

Some people are claiming that the elderly are not going to be hurt.  But, if you consider the fact that a lot of people in nursing homes get their money from Medicaid, they will be hurt by the massive cuts in that program.  How many will actually be thrown out of the nursing home they are in?  Medicaid is about to lose an estimated 800 Billion Dollars.

But, the argument they are using is pure fiction.  It is the usual Republican argument that people need to be removed from the social net and put back to work.  Yet, even though that sounds admirable, where are the jobs going to come from?

Beloved leader believes that his budget will grow the economy by over 3 percent.  That is also a fantasy.  And here is why.

We heard a lot of talk during the campaign about jobs being shipped overseas.  That was true.  However, what you didn’t hear was how many jobs have been lost due to automation of those jobs.  Most of the manufacturing jobs in this country have been lost to robots.  And, as the manufacturing industry grows, fewer people are being hired because the new factories are being automated as well.

That is really old news.  We have discussed automation before.  But, it is just beginning to ramp up.  The next industry to be hit with massive layoffs because of automation is the retail industry.  We are already losing massive amounts of jobs in that industry because of the internet.  More and more brick-and-mortar retail outlets are closing and losing business to the internet.

And, it is going to get much worse in the very near future.   According to a 56-page report by the investment advisory firm Cornerstone Capital Group roughly 6 million to 7.5 million retail jobs “likely will be automated out of existence in the coming years, leaving a large portion of the retail workforce at risk of becoming ‘stranded workers'”.

Retail cashiers will be hit the hardest with an estimated 73 percent of them being laid off due to automation.  Most cashiers in this country are women. The losses will also disproportionately affect the working poor, since most hourly retail workers live below the poverty line. About 16 million people, or one in 10 American workers, are employed in the retail industry.

“This in-depth examination of retail automation gives investors insights as they consider investment risks and opportunities,” Lukomnik of Cornerstone Capital Group said in a news release. “While the findings are important to investors, they should sound the alarm for economists and political leaders. The shrinking of retail jobs in many ways threatens to mirror the decline in manufacturing in the US. Moreover, in this case, workers at risk are already disproportionately working poor, so any disruption may cause strains in the social safety net and stresses on local tax revenues.”

The automation services that are disrupting retail employment can range from tablets where customers can check out without the help of a cashier to more complicated technologies like the robot that Lowe’s is testing that can interact with customers in stores and help them find the items they need.

Automation is also impacting the restaurant industry. The CEO of Taco Bell’s parent company said in March that machines could replace human workers in 10 years.

“I don’t think it is going to happen next year or the year after, but I do believe that probably by the mid ’20s to the late ’20s, you’ll start to see a dramatic change in sort of how machines run the world,” Greg Creed, CEO of Yum Brands, told CNBC. Yum owns a handful of fast-food companies including KFC, Taco Bell, and Pizza Hut.

Between the growth of the internet and the automation of jobs in the retail and restaurant industries, jobs will be lost in the millions.  Most of these workers are paid at or just above the minimum wage and the employees are considered the “working poor”.

Many others are working in the industry because they need more flexible hours to care for their families.  And, many are older people.  The retail industry employs lots of people across all spectrums of society.  And, they are all at risk of being “automated” out of work.

And, this is not their fault.  They are not sitting at home waiting for a government check, yet.  These people are hard-working people trying to support their families and trying to just survive in today’s world.

They are the very people that Republicans claim are eating up government money because they are lazy and don’t want to work.  Worst, these are also the very people who keep voting Republican and voted for trump because they promised more jobs.  Looks like that was just another empty promise unless you consider giving a robot a job as creating jobs.

That also brings us to the fantasy that the economy will grow over 3 percent.  How can the economy grow if fewer people are working?  Who is going to spend money and help the economy grow?  The fewer people working, the less money they will spend simply because they don’t have any money.

Using simple basic economics, that means there will be less demand for products.  Less demand means more supply and a downturn or recession in the economy.  Meaning the economy will not grow by 3 percent.  It won’t even grow by 1 percent.

Couple that with the massive spending increases in defense and border protection along with the massive tax cuts, the deficit has nowhere to go but up.  Meaning that the economy will probably slow down even more than by the simple rules of supply and demand.  We may even be looking at another crash of the economy.

Through its actions so far, this administration has proven itself to be a friend of the very rich and the enemy of everyone else.  They are trying very hard to eliminate the poor.  Not through actions that will help them get training they need to compete in today’s economy, but through blaming them for the economic problems.

People who need assistance have been demonized for generations by this Republican Party.  There are more and more Republican controlled states that want to drug test everyone who gets assistance because as we all know, people on the social safety nets are simply lazy drug users who don’t want to work.  They are placing all kinds of obstacles on the poor to get the money they need to just survive.

Don’t you find it funny that there is never a proposed drug test before the rich can receive those massive tax cuts?  That is because we all know that inherited fortunes means the inheritor is a good person and never uses drugs.  Yeah, right.

Ever since at least 1968, the Republican Party has been waging a war against the poor.  They believe that the poor should just be happy to live in the gutters and watch how the rich live.  They don’t believe in fair pay for workers, hence their hatred of the minimum wage.  They believe that if you cannot afford health coverage, you don’t deserve it.  They believe that only the wealthy deserve a college education and that the poor should just be servants to the rich.  Servants don’t need a college education.

The budget that will be rolled out today is a blueprint of this agenda of the Republican Party.  Beloved leader has taken it even further.  We have had all kinds of presidents in my lifetime, but this one is the most anti-poor president I have seen.

Of course, if this horrible budget does manage to get through Congress, and Republicans are itching to change the rules to insure their agenda goes through, then maybe it will be good for America.  Beloved Leader’s voters will be hit extremely hard by this budget.  Maybe, just maybe, they will finally see the light and realize just how horrible he is.

The down side is that we need the Clown in Chief to crash the economy which he seems hell-bent to do.  In that case, we all lose, again.  There is an old saying in this country that goes back years and years.  That saying is:”  “If you want to live like a Republican, vote Democratic”.  The economy has done much better under a Democratic President than a Republican President.

As the economy continues its steady growth under the policies and regulations the Obama Administration put in place after the crash of 2008, beloved leader and his administration is doing everything in its power to return to 2008 and a bad economy.  This proposed budget is a step in that direction.

And, the shirts keep marching along.

 

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Day 189. 

Later today our beloved leader is heading overseas on his first foreign trip.  He plans to visits places like Saudi Arabia, Israel, the Vatican, Belgium and Italy.  What could possible go wrong?

Just look at the wonderful week he has just completed.  He fired his FBI Director and had his surrogates lie about the reason.  He then told us why he fired him.  It was because of that “Russian thing”.

The next day he gave away highly classified information to the Russians.  Then he had McMasters go out and lie about that by saying it never happened.  Only the next day admitting that he did give them the information and McMasters then trying to say it was okay to do so.

He met with the Turkish strongman at the White House, then watched as the strongman’s body guards attacked protesters in front of the Turkish Ambassadors residence.  The action he took after this incident was his usual nothing.  Oh, he called the Ambassador to the State Department, but no one was thrown out of the country for the attack.

There is video showing the strongman talking to his body guards before the attack, and then him standing there watching with approval as they attacked the protesters.  Beloved leader must have approved of the attack since he didn’t do anything of consequence in response.

Now he is off on his first foreign trip.  He claims that he is going to try to bridge the differences between the “three great religions”.  Yeah, like that will happen.  He is even going to give a speech about Islam in Saudi Arabia.  And, that speech is being written by one of his advisors who said the Muslim Ban was the best accomplishment of trump’s administration.  He has also said that Islam is not a religion, but rather a disease.  And, he is the one writing the speech on Islam beloved leader is going to give in Saudi Arabia.  What could go wrong?

He is going to visit Israel right after he gave the Russians that highly classified information which NBC News is reporting came from, you guessed it, Israel.  Then, one of his top advisors claimed that the West Wall was not “in Israel it was in the West Bank”.  How’s that for greasing the skids before you visit the country that claims the West Wall as their holiest place on earth.

We also learned that beloved leader wanted to visit Masada.  However, he had to cancel the trip because it turns out that you cannot land his helicopter at the “historical heritage site”.  Why would anyone who knows anything about historical sites and religious sites even contemplate using a helicopter to get there?

While in Italy, beloved leader is going to meet with Pope Francis.  The very Pope that trump doesn’t like and the very Pope that has said some real unflattering things about trump.  What could possibly go wrong?

He is also going to meet with our NATO allies.  Yes, the very alliance that he claims is antiquated and thinks owes us lots and lots of money because he doesn’t understand the alliance agreement.  Additionally, they are going to hammer him on the Paris Accord that is set up to fight climate change.

Our European allies are not thrilled with trump’s plan to “pull out” of the agreement.  As a matter of fact, they are really pissed off at the suggestion of our pulling out.

I also wonder just how he tends to explain that little faux pas about giving the Russians that highly classified information.  How does he explain his willingness to share with the Russians information that we didn’t even share with all of our allies?  That one little thing could spell doom for beloved leader and his attempt to tell NATO how great America is at “leading” the free world.

Since he took office, beloved leader has pissed off our German allies.  He backed the Fascist candidate in the French election.  And, he even managed to piss off our Australian allies.  So, what could possibly go wrong?

It seems funny to me that about the only time I see trump really smiling and having a great time is when he is meeting with dictators.  He smiled broadly when he met with the Turkish strongman.  He really had a great time when he met with the Russians.

But, when he met with the Australians he didn’t smile.  When he met with Angela Merkel, he wouldn’t even shake her hand for the pictures.  And, he never smiled when he was with her.

So, we have a president about to leave on a nine-day, five country trip overseas whose campaign is under criminal and counter espionage investigation for possible collusion with the Russian Hacking.  He is damaged at home over these investigations and his poor handling of the Comey firing.  His lack of care with highly classified information.  And, a legislative record of absolutely no accomplishments.

We are about to be represented by a president who has accomplished nothing, knows nothing, and is totally incompetent.  He has heaped praise on our adversaries and pissed off our allies.

I ask again, what could possibly go wrong?  Maybe those huge cheering crowds when he leaves in the cartoon above are hoping he will never return.

And, the shirts keep marching along.

 

 

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Day 188. 

Yesterday the Department of Justice announced that they have ordered a Special Counsel to oversea the Russian Hacking and any possible collusion between them and any member of the trump campaign.  That announcement was met with hails of praise about the decision.

I agree that we do need a special counsel or special prosecutor because it is time we actually find out what happened, who may have been involved, and how we are going to make sure it doesn’t happen again.  And, quite frankly, the Congressional investigations are running at a snail’s pace with no sign they will pick up anytime soon.

We also had a report that Mike Flynn told the trump transition team that he was under investigation by the FBI before he took the position of National Security Advisor.  According to the report, Flynn told the now White House Counsel about the investigation on January 4.  Before the inauguration.

Which begs the question of how could trump still name him as National Security Advisor when he knew Flynn was under investigation for his time as an unregistered foreign agent for Turkey?

We also had a report that Kevin McCarthy, the second in command in the House Republican Caucus told a group of Republicans in 2016 that he thought trump was on Putin’s payroll.

On June 15, 2016 McCarthy said:  “There’s two people I think Putin pays: Rohrabacher and Trump.”   Some of the Republicans laughed but McCarthy quickly added “swear to God”.  These comments were actually taped by someone, and the tape was listened to and verified by The Washington Post. Rep. Dana Rohrabacher is a Californian Republican known in Congress as a fervent defender of Putin and Russia.

When the story first broke both Ryan and McCarthy claimed the conversation “never happened”.  But, when the Post told them they had the tape, they changed their story.  Instead of it never happening, they said it was a “bad attempt at humor”.

This took place exactly one day after the news broke about the hacking of the DNC.  And, right after Ryan and McCarthy came out of a meeting with Ukrainian Prime Minister Volodymyr Groysman, who had described a Kremlin tactic of financing populist politicians to undercut Eastern European democratic institutions.

Getting back to yesterday, when the news of the special counsel was first announced, trump seemed to be happy and claimed it would end in total clearance for him and then he could move on with his agenda.  In a written statement he said “A thorough investigation will confirm what we already know — there was no collusion between my campaign and any foreign entity.  I look forward to this matter concluding quickly.”

That story changed big time today.  In his usual Cowardly Lion manner, he tweeted this morning:  “it is the single greatest witch hunt of a politician in American history!”  Then just to make sure he threw red meat to his base he tweeted:  “With all of the illegal acts that took place in the Clinton campaign & Obama Administration, there was never a special councel (sic) appointed!”

Naturally he gave no indication of any of the so-called “illegal acts” by either Clinton or Obama.  The one thing you can say about the Obama administration is that they were not involved in anything “illegal”.  You may not like the man.  You may even hate his guts.  But, he was never at the center of any scandal nor did he get involved in any illegal acts.  Even Republicans called him “no drama Obama”.

But trump can’t stand the fact that his “team” appears to be neck-deep in Russian scandals.  His former Campaign Manager had dealings with “Russian backed Ukrainian government that was ousted by the people.  There are reports of his money laundering for Russians.  And then we learned that somehow he received a $3 Million mortgage that was mysteriously paid off for him.

Mike Flynn went to Moscow to sit next to Putin at a dinner for RT and was paid
$35,000 for his speech without reporting it.  He was a paid foreign agent for the Turkish government during the campaign and did not register as one.  He reportedly told trump team that he was under investigation before the inauguration.  Then he took the position of National Security Advisor and sat in on highly classified briefings that could have affected his client, and Russia.

As reported, there have been at least 18 undisclosed meeting between the trump transition team and Russian officials including ones involving Kushner, Sessions, and that infamous “phone call” about sanctions Flynn made.  Beloved leader call this a witch-hunt.  He calls this a hoax.  He calls this “fake news”.

To add insult to injury, beloved leader was as the Coast Guard Academy’s graduation ceremony yesterday.  During his speech he complained about how the media was out to get him.  He then bragged, again, about his victory.  He tried to tell the graduates to “fight, fight even when thing are against them”.

That is good advice since his administration wants to slash the Coast Guard’s budget.  They want to cut about $25 billion form the Coast Guard.  Including cutting all of the funding for new equipment the Coast Guard desperately needs.  Yet he had the audacity to claim that the Coast Guard was “necessary to help him fight to keep America Safe”.  Hard to do when you cannot afford the very operations that do that now.

And, all the while, we don’t hear anything of consequence from the Republicans.  Both Ryan and McConnell are fuming over the special counsel appointment because they didn’t want one named.  They both said so many times so they cannot be happy right now.  Still we hear the usual silence from them and their party.

Then we come to the final point.  Mike Pence.  As I wrote the other day, I believe Mike Pence is a co-conspirator in all of this.  I do not believe that Pence was lied to by Flynn but Pence was trying to cover for Flynn.  I believe he knew all along about Flynn’s actions and his not being registered as a foreign agent all the while working for trump and Pence’s campaign.

I further believe that in terms of domestic policy Mike Pence is far more dangerous than trump.  With the way trump behaves, we cannot be sure that he will rubber-stamp anything that Republicans in Congress put in front of him.  We know for certain that Pence will.

During his term as Governor of Indiana, Mike Pence was atrocious.  His poll numbers were at rock bottom which is why most people believe he even took the position as the running mate for trump.  He was the driving force behind the anti-LGBT laws passed in the state.  His track record of voter restriction, anti-LGBT laws and anti-civil rights are well-known.

He is a strong believer that rich people should pay less in taxes than you do.  He believes that health care is a privilege not a right and is in full support of the Americans Without Health Care Act.  If we wind up with a president pence after all of this, we can be sure that our country, domestically at least, will be far worse off than it is now.

As Grover Norquist once said, Mike Pence would be that President with “enough digits to hold a pen and sign everything Republicans put in front of him”.  Some are hoping that Pence will get caught up in all of this as well, and will be forced out.  But, that isn’t all that great either.  Remember the next one in line is none other than that unintelligent wank Paul Ryan.

When Richard Nixon was forced out over the Watergate Scandal, our country had one hope.  We had Gerald Ford sitting as the Vice President.  Ford was a moderate and there was hope that the nation would survive the scandal and get back to normal.  With Pence the sitting Vice President, I  don’t have that same hope for the country.

In the year 2017 we face a real problem.  We have an administration that has tried to “run things” like a dictatorship.  We have a political party, the Republicans, who want to dismantle our democracy.  We have another political party, the Democrats, that react to events rather than planning a real resistance that could put a stop to all of this.

What we really need is some people with cool heads and a plan to fight back.  What we need to have is people who love this country more than they love their party and power.  There are some Democrats who are remaining cool-headed and wanting to get to all of the facts no matter where they lead.  There are beginning to be cracks in the Republican side who want the same thing.

The problem is that there aren’t enough of them yet.  The leadership of the Republican Congress is still hiding their heads in the sand.  Or, should I say they have their heads up their asses.  As a result, we won’t know the extent of this problem for months if not years.

Only, it really doesn’t matter how this all plays out.  If trump is exonerated, he will remain in power and continue his authoritarian form of government.  He will be able to pass laws to “jail” journalists that write things against him, which is what he wants.  He will be able to destroy the country we all love.

If he is found to be involved in this mess, he will be forced out of office, if Republicans have the guts to impeach him and hold a trial in the Senate, and we will end up with president pence.  Which would be no better than having president trump.

Because the 2016 presidential election was a disgusting soap opera instead of a real campaign, we wound up with president trump and vice president mike pence.  As a result, we find ourselves in totally uncharted waters.  There is a major scandal hanging over the White House, and there are no heroes who will ride to our salvation.

To put it very bluntly, no matter what happens from here, we the American People are fucked.  We lose no matter how this plays out.  All of this played out in full during the campaign.  The very fact that trump refused to agree with out intelligence community that is was the Russians who hacked the DNC showed just where his loyalties lay.  His comment about hoping the “Russians would hack Clinton’s emails” showed that he liked the idea Russia was involved.  So, this was all foretold.

The best lesson to take from all of this is how important it is to actually participate in our election process.  Maybe if Americans took their responsibility to get out and vote seriously, we wouldn’t be where we are today.  If you didn’t vote last year and are looking for the real blame, look in the mirror.

And, the shirts keep marching along.

 

 

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Day 187. 

If you think that everything swirling around our beloved leader is finally going to split him from the Republican Party, think again.  The last few weeks are living proof that Republicans are far more interested in screwing non-rich Americans than they are in protecting our country.

In the last few weeks our beloved leader fired the Director of the FBI.  He had his surrogates tell us that it was because of his sloppy handling of the Hillary Clinton scandal.  Then 24 hours later he announced that it was more because of the ‘Russia thing” that he was thinking about when he made up his mind to fire Comey.

The very next day, he met with the very people that the Russia thing was all about.  He met with the Foreign Minister of Russia.  And, without saying ahead of time, he had the Russian Ambassador, the one who is behind all the Flynn thing, in the meeting as well.  We only found out that Kislyak was in the meeting because the only news organization allowed in the meeting, TASS took pictures of the meeting and there was the Ambassador laughing it up with our beloved leader.

Later we discovered that beloved leader shared highly classified information with the Russians.  Problem was that the information came from one of our partners, and they had not given trump permission to share it with the Russians.  Nor, did trump even bother to talk about sharing the information with his own intelligence team.  Maybe that is why our journalists were not allowed into the meeting.

Additionally, the information he shared could be very hazardous to the people who gathered it in the first place.  Meaning they could be found out and even possibly killed because beloved leader likes to brag about what he knows.

When this story broke, trump hauled out McMaster, his National Security Advisor, to denounce the story as being false.  But, McMaster did not say the part of him sharing highly classified information was false.  A sort of non-denial denial.

Then the next day, trump tweeted and said that maybe he did share the information, but as president he has the right to do so.  Even McMaster defended the “passing” of the information to the Russians.  That is quite different from what McMaster said during his very brief news conference.

Then yesterday, the New York Times revealed that Comey had sent himself a memo concerning a meeting he had with trump in February.  He claimed that trump said “I hope you can let this thing with Flynn go.  He is a good man and I hope you can see clear to let it go.”  In they eyes of most sane people, trump was asking Comey to drop the Russia Investigation and the Investigation into Flynn.

Naturally, the White House denies this latest from Comey.  However, his sidekicks don’t seem too quick to question the authenticity of the memo, just how bad it was for Comey to even write it in the first place.  The memo also states that trump suggested that journalists who print “leaked” information should be put in jail.  Something that goes against the First Amendment especially the part of a free press.  It also goes against that little troubling thing for trump called “due process”.  But, what the hell, if you are tying to be a dictator, laws don’t matter to you.

This is where the Republican party comes in.  As well as those idiots at Fox news who live and die for trump and would love nothing more than for trump to lock up their competition so they can become the formal propaganda machine for trump and his administration.

Dave Weigel tweeted this:  Rep. James Comer, a member of the Oversight Committee, says Trump may well have been joking to Comey. “It looks different on paper.”

John Bresnahan tweeted:  Heard this last night from some Rs on Hill. “Trump was just spouting off, wasn’t serious attempt at obstruction.”

Marianna Sotomayor tweeted:  A senior WH official tells @PeterAlexander that POTUS wasn’t telling Comey to end Flynn investigation and suggest this is the way he speaks.

Avi Asher-Schapiro tweeted:  Meanwhile, on Fox, @BretBaier responds to reports that Trump asked Comey to consider imprisoning reporters by saying “maybe he was joking”.

Then we have Paul Ryan saying “we should look at the facts”.  But then added, just to give cover to his fascist friend: “Some people are out to harm the president.”

Yeah, but not as much as you and your president is out to harm the American People.  You are actually willing to put lives at risk by taking away people’s health care in order to give a huge tax cut to the rich.

Then there is Rep. Barry Loudermilk (R-Ga.) attempting to mount a legal defense of the president. He claimed the Comey memo qualified as “hearsay”, and that therefore it is inadmissible. According to past precident in court cases, an FBI agent’s contemporaneous notes are widely held up in court as credible evidence.

But, in order to make Comey the villain, Jason Miller, a former Trump campaign spokesman who backed out of a White House job after allegations surfaced he had an affair with another transition official, argued Comey’s habit of writing down conversations ― standard practice among law enforcement and in the business world ― was “weird and vindictive.”

“It’s absolutely absurd the president supposedly made such a comment and director Comey sat on it for three months,” Miller said Tuesday on CNN.

He added: “It’s a little bit weird and vindictive on Comey’s part that he had a little diary that he could play gotcha with.”

But Hugh Hewitt led the real conspiracy theory topic and tried to make Comey look like he was the criminal.  On his radio show Wednesday, Hewitt ridiculously compared Comey to one of his infamous predecessors ― J. Edgar Hoover, who “kept files on everyone, and that as a result he was untouchable.”

“And so if Comey has a vast trove of notes, I want to know when did they begin, about whom and what subjects are they on?” he said, while speaking with Sen. Ben Sasse (R-Neb.), who sits on the Judiciary Committee. “Yes, I want to know whether President Trump obstructed justice, and that’s an open question. But I want to know about what was the FBI director noting and not telling you, because I read that hearing. He should have brought this up to you then.”

The point is obvious.  The Republican wacko fringe has their puppet in the White House.  Yet, they are willing to say and do anything to defend someone who is acting like someone who presents a “clean and present danger” to our country and our democracy.  You may ask “why would they do that?

The answer comes in their policies.  First they want to take away health care from millions of people because obviously the real problem in America is too many people have health care.  And, if they can give the rich a tax cut at the same time, even better.  Hence, the Americans Without Health Care Act.

Secondly, they want to give themselves, their donors, and the very rich a huge tax cut.  Although taxes are lower than they have ever been in our country, except when there was no income tax, they still claim it is too damn much.  Well, it too damn much for rich people to pay.  You can pay more, that is okay.

Third, they believe that corporations should pay even less taxes than they do.  About half of the S&P top 500 corporations don’t pay a dime in corporate taxes now.  But, Republicans say that is too much and all companies deserve to have their taxes slashed “hugely”.

They want you to keep believing their lies about how tax cuts to the rich and corporations creates jobs.  We already know that is a lie because they have tried that gimmick before, more than once, and no jobs were created.  Only the rich got richer and we all paid the price.

Finally, and I know this one is stretching things, but I do believe it, they want the economy to collapse again.  They want all of the regulations that are in place to protect us from another economic collapse eliminated and allow financial industry to run roughshod over us.

If you are asking why, you aren’t alone.  But let me explain.  See they are totally against the minimum wage.  They believe that companies should be able to pay whatever they think is “reasonable” wages to their workers.  If the economy totally collapses, they believe that the surviving companies will take over the market and pay wages well below today’s minimum wage.

Today’ Republicans will even change the law to make it legal for that to happen.  They want to return to the days when companies made all of the rules.  Made all of the profits, and paid slave wages to their workers.  They also created “towns” that workers had to live in, for a huge rent, and purchase all of their goods at the company store.  In other words they want to return to the days when the company owned you.

For these reasons, don’t expect Republicans to split with trump anytime soon regardless of the havoc he creates.  They have the very person in the White House that will sign the legislation to make this all come true.  If Republicans need to rubberstamp everything trump wants, including destroying our democracy, that is the price they are willing to pay for their anti-American agenda.

Today’s Republicans look over to Russia and see how Putin has made his cronies billionaires and think trump will do the same for them.  That is the Republican agenda.  You and I don’t count now, and never did to these buffoons.

And, the shirts keep marching along.

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Day 185. 

We are going through another round of smokescreens from our beloved leader.  The latest is all about firing Comey as the Director of the FBI.  He admitted, though not using exact words, that he actually fired Comey because of the Russia investigation that is driving trump to the point of madness.  But, with all that going on, we are missing key points that prove that trump has no intentions of keeping his promises from the campaign.  Which means that the Average American will be badly hurt by his policies.

The Americans Without Health Care Act is set, if passed by the Senate, to cut $880 Billion from Medicaid.  You will remember there were three things that trump promised would never be cut under his administration.  Those three were Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid.  Only he lied.  That became obvious the other day, when his campaign economic advisor, Stephen Moore told the American People exactly that.

On May 8, Moore was on CNN’s Newsroom.  He was joined by the University of Chicago economist Austan Goolsbee to discuss the merits of billionaire businessman and philanthropist Warren Buffett’s argument that the Trump health care agenda amounts to little more than a tax cut for the rich funded by cuts to health care subsidies for low-income Americans. Goolsbee pointed out that Trump’s health care legislation “cuts taxes for high-income people by hundreds of billions of dollars” at the expense of Medicare and Medicaid, which Trump promised “he would never cut.” Moore interjected falsely: “He never said that we weren’t going to reform Medicaid,” arguing, “That was central to our plan all along”.

There you have it.  Moore simply told the American People that trump planned to cut Medicaid all along and that it was “central to his plan all along”.  The talking heads mostly ignored the statement.  But co-hosts John Berman and Poppy Harlow, as well as Goolsbee, did cite trump’s tweets and public statements as proof that he had broken his promise to protect Medicaid.

According to a September article from HuffPost political reporter Christina Wilkie, Moore had outlined Trump’s often contradictory economic plans during a “question-and-answer session” at a private July 14 meeting of the conservative Council for National Policy (CNP) in Cleveland, OH. During the event, Moore suggested that Trump planned to pay for his costly economic agenda by removing supposedly onerous public protections imposed by the federal government and enacting “draconian public assistance reforms and cuts in social services.” Since taking office, Trump has proposed a budget and health care agenda that would fulfill those promises. As the article noted, Moore’s zeal for tearing down anti-poverty programs, including Medicaid, seems to undermine Trump’s claim that he would focus on “looking out for the downtrodden.” It also confirms that imposing this harsh agenda — and lying about it — was indeed “central to” the Trump team’s economic plan “all along.”

This also means that Social Security and Medicare are not under trump’s protection.  The Republicans have been wanting to gut those program for years.  They want to privatize Social Security and hand out “vouchers” for Medicare.  They are not interested in saving or protecting either of those programs.  Meaning that trump is not interested in saving or protecting them like he said either.

That is what the trump agenda is all about.  He wants all of the social safety nets eliminated in order to give his rich pals a bigger tax cut.  He wants to lead the Republican sick eugenics program.  Only, Republicans and trump aren’t interested in the normal eugenics program of saving the best genes.  They are only interested in creating a safe rich class.  If that means the “downtrodden” are hurt more and more, so be it.

This goes along with the Republican view that America is supposed to be a haven for the rich.  They don’t care about saving your jobs.  They don’t care about you at all.  They know that they can make their products overseas for a lot less money and benefits than they need to pay out here.  So, if the poor and the middle class are forced to leave the country to find work, that is perfectly fine with them.

See, if you eliminate all those poor working class slobs by sending their jobs overseas, you can live a life of luxury and ignore the problems of “little people” like us.  The Americans Without Health Care is the first step in trump’s plan to get rid of anyone who isn’t rich.  You take away their health care and you eliminate those “problems.  When the workforce declines, you simply start shipping more of the jobs overseas to low-income countries.

Oh, they will make exceptions so there are enough “little people” to man their military and clean their houses or fix their cars.  But other than that, the rest of us should just leave.  How else do you explain cutting the medical care for millions upon millions of people just to give the very rich a huge tax break?

If you believe that trump will keep his promise when it comes to Social Security and Medicare, just remember that Medicare is also being cut in the Americans Without Health Care Act.  Under the ACA the CBO said Medicare’s finances were strengthened.  Under the Americans Without Health Care Act up to a trillion dollars will be cut from Medicare.  Another lie from our beloved leader.

Republicans finally have a puppet in the White House that thinks like they do.  Someone who believes that the Average American isn’t worth helping.  The Average American simply costs too much for corporations to actually hire.  That is why they haven’t done a damn thing to stop the outflow of American Jobs.

Unfortunately, if you believe their nonsense that huge tax cuts for corporations will magically bring back jobs, you are making a huge mistake.  They will get their tax cuts, and they will continue to ship your job overseas.  But, that is the point.  By getting both huge tax cuts and protection to ship out your jobs, their profits will go up and they will get richer.  That is the Republican agenda.  That is trump’s agenda.

I have urged you before, and I continue to urge you to keep up with what is going on behind the smokescreen.  We are getting screwed by Republicans in Congress and by our beloved leader.  We have to raise our voices and make the damage stop.  Otherwise, we won’t have a country anymore.  We will have the United Corporations of America.

That is what Republicans want.  If you don’t pay attention, that is what they will get.

And, the shirts keep marching along.

 

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Day 181. 

Am I the only one who sees this mess for what it is?  I watch what is going on with this administration and how Republicans are handling themselves, and I keep believing I am watching a reel of Looney Tunes cartoons.  The plots are so similar, that it cannot be overlooked.

Republicans are still trying to tell us how great their Americans Without Health Care Act is.  The brave ones, and there are few of them, even go through town hall meetings and really don’t listen to what their own constituents are telling them.  They simply stand there and repeat the party line.  The problem is that they don’t even listen to what they are saying.

They keep saying that it is okay to charge people with pre-existing conditions twice or three times as much for health care as long as “healthy” people pay less.  One bozo even said “I had my staff talk to an insurance company who is planning to raise premiums 53 percent next year under the ACA.  They told my staff that if the AHCA passes, they will reduce premiums by 10 percent”.  Think about that statement for just one minute.

This clown is trying to tell you that you will see a 10 percent DECREASE in your premiums if the AHCA becomes law.  Simple logic tells us that you can only decrease premiums if you decrease coverage.  That means that if the AHCA becomes law, you will see a decrease in premiums if you accept less coverage for your money.

Republicans are acting more like Wiley Coyote making his plans to catch the road runner.  Problem is, he never catches the road runner and usually winds up the victim of his own plans by having a boulder fall on him instead of the road runner.  Their so-called health care plan is so full of holes that it couldn’t hold water if the water was first placed in plastic bags.  The only real problem is that the bolder is about to land on Americans this time.

Then we have our beloved leader.  He reminds me too much of Elmer Fudd “huntin wabbits”.  This version of Elmer Fudd keeps looking down holes in the ground thinking he will find a wabbit to catch and put on display.  That is his idea of how to extricate himself from his horrible decisions, and his lies, and his connections with an enemy of our country.

If you keep chasing wabbits, and get the media to look down the holes with you, they won’t see what is really going on.  That became really apparent with the Comey firing.  The explanations that he has put forth for the reason for the firing are even worse than the Republicans plan to catch the road runner.

This version of Elmer Fudd has no idea of how to catch a wabbit than the original did.  He keeps plodding along throwing accusations around like candy at a children’s party and hoping one will actually stick.

From all reports, including one that had over 30 informants from the governmens say openly that Comey was fired because he was getting too close on the Russia investigation.  The reports say that Comey was fired simply because trump was furious that Comey would not defend the president and shield beloved leader from the investigation.

The hunting party that trump has surrounded himself with couldn’t give one complete reason for the firing.  I counted at least five different versions of why Comey was fired.  The firing was handled so ineptly, even his propaganda minister, Sean Spicer, had to huddle with his staff behind bushes to figure out what happened.  Then he held a brief “news conference” that wasn’t a news conference on the lawn to explain why Comey was fired.

He held his news conference in the dark without any cameras rolling because he didn’t want his boss see him on television.  The next morning, he was contradicted more than once by others in the administration.

I believe we finally heard the exact reason why Comey was fired.  That came from Foghorn Leghorn, Kellyanne Conway, who clearly stated that “the president expects people in his administration to be loyal to him”.  That sums up all of the bullshit that the administration has been pumping out.  Comey was fired because trump was furious that in trump’s warped mind, Comey was not being loyal to trump.  That is the only reason he was fired.

Finally we have Elmer Fudd meeting with the Russian Foreign Minister and with the very ambassador who is behind the Russian investigation in the Oval Office yesterday.  That in itself wasn’t something that bothered me.  However, when trump banned U.S. Journalists from the meeting but let Russian journalists in is something that is troublesome.

The only photos of the meeting are provided by TASS.  If you are not old enough to understand, TASS was the official news propaganda machine for the Old Soviet Union.  They were allowed into the meeting and our journalists were not.  What is wrong with that picture?  You can bet your ass that if the meeting was held in the Kremlin, there is no way trump’s hero Putin would allow American press into the meeting and not his own press.

Additionally, the Foreign Minister actually made a joke over the Comey firing.  When asked about it he said “He was fired?” then smiled as he and our empty suit Secretary of State walked away.  The photos also showed that the three of them, two Russians and trump were having a great time back slapping and laughing.  We can only guess what they were so happy about.

But, Elmer Fudd did it again.  He got the news media to look down another empty hole in the ground looking for that damn wabbit, and they fell for it, again.

We are going to be asked to look down more empty holes in an attempt to get Elmer Fudd to catch that waskily wabbit.  The next will be his commission he wants to name to look into the phantom “massive voter fraud” problem in our country, which doesn’t exist.

If we are going to have to watch old Looney Tunes cartoons with this administration, what we need is someone in the media and someone in Congress at least as smart as Bugs Bunny to foil Elmer’s attempts to catch him and shine the light on Elmer’s goofyness.

The biggest problem with having to watch this new version of Looney Tunes is that it isn’t funny.  It is downright scary and dangerous.

And, the shirts keep marching along.

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Day 178. 

This administration is very good at exercising conflict of interest in order to line their own pockets.  We have seen instances of one advisor advertising Ivanka’s products on air.  And, we have seen a U.S. department advertising for Mar A Lago on its website.

However, Jared Kushner and his family have gone even further.  They are actively “selling visas” in China in order to get more money for their projects and line their own pockets.  There is something called the EB-5 visa program.  This program awards foreign investors the right to live in the United States for two years and a path to permanent residency, in exchange for investments of at least $500,000 in American development projects.

This program was instituted in order to finance projects in economically troubled neighborhoods.  It has instead turned into a form of cheap financing for luxury real estate developers.  Applicants are primarily seeking the visa, so they do not seek a significant return on their investment.

The United States Government Accountability Office, the investigative branch of Congress, has criticized the visa program for its lax safeguards against illicit sources of money.  It is informally known as the “Visas For Sale Program”.

The Kushner family has used this program in the past as well.  They raised about $50 million from Chinese investors in EB-5 funding for another project in Jersey City, a Trump-branded luxury apartment tower that opened in late 2016.

Now the company is at it again in China.  They held one “investor program” in Beijing, and one in Shanghai.  In both instances, there was a very clear mention of the EB-5 Visa program to lure in more investors.  The Kushner company claimed is was just an investor program and not political.

But, to Bi Ting, who attended the event, part of the appeal was political: Jared Kushner is the son-in-law of — and a powerful adviser to — President Trump. Virtually unheard-of in China just months ago, he is now known here as a deeply influential figure in American politics.

When they held the event in Beijing, reporters for the Washington Post and the New York Times were escorted out of the gathering.  In Shanghai, the press was kept out of the event and kept in an elevator lobby.  I guess the Kushners didn’t want the press to know what they were up to.

Still, leaks come out anyway.  Some who attended described an investor pitch similar to the one in Beijing, and Mr. Trump’s political power was palpable at the Shanghai event even if his name went unsaid. As on Saturday in Beijing, one slide presented to the Shanghai audience on Sunday showed a photograph of Mr. Trump when describing who will decide the future of the visa program for foreign investors, according to a snapshot taken by an audience member.

As you can see, this is not something that is totally unusual.  And, you will also note that Jared Kushner claims to have stepped away from the day-to-day control of the family’s businesses.  But, it still gives off a very dark optic at the very least.

While Kushner’s star keeps rising in the administration, his family is trying to sell visas to rich Chinese who want to come to the U.S. anyway.  This is also at a time when Kushner’s father-in-law is supposedly trying to close our borders to immigrants.

With all of the screaming about Latino immigration, what you are not hearing is that about three-quarters of the 10,000 investor visas were issued to Chinese.  So, it shows that if you have money to invest in this country, you can purchase your visa along with your investment.

If you are a family like the trumps or the Kushners, you simply need to go to China and sell U.S. visas in order to get money to build your projects.  If you are president, or a very powerful advisor to the president, it is much easier to get your money by selling visas.  And, then you claim that you aren’t personally involved in the day-to-day operations of the company.

That way you can claim, falsely in my opinion, that you are not involved in a conflict of interest.  Even though you are still receiving huge profits from the company into your personal pockets.  How convenient.

Of course Jared is not the only Kushner doing business with China from the White House.  His wife Ivanka has also done deals with China from the White House.  She was miraculously granted a shit-load of branding trade marks in China the very day she sat next to the Chinese President at dinner at Mar A Lago.

Jared’s power in the West Wing is growing each day.  One of the things that he is supposedly responsible for is matters dealing with China.  How convenient.  I wonder, if the fact that his daddy-in-law refused to name China a “currency manipulator” as he promised relentlessly on the campaign trail was really the result of Jared’s instance.  Especially in light of these “investor events” selling visas to Chinese for money to finance Kushner projects.

If anyone is wondering why there is a big hoopla over the conflicts of interest this administration has, this is a good example of why that hoopla is necessary.  How is it possible for us to believe that any decisions on China is in the best interest of the nation and not in the best interest of Kushner businesses?  Or, trump’s businesses for that matter.

These types of actions are becoming all too common for the president’s family and other members of his administration.  The head of the HHS has been shown to be guilty of insider trading when he was a Congressman.  No, he wasn’t convicted in court, but he was convicted in the court of public opinion.  Buying stock and then passing laws to benefit the company you just bought stock in is considered insider trading by any definition.

We are not even at the four-month mark of this administration.  And, yet, we seem to be saddled with the most corrupt administration in my living memory.  Yet, no one really seems to care and that is the real problem.

Beloved leader will tell you that he cannot be accused of conflict of interest because he is president.  The Republicans will tell you that people like the Kushners are just using they system and “doing nothing illegal”.  The Kushners will tell you that they are not doing anything that other businesses aren’t doing.

In technical terms they are all correct.  But, in the reality of politics and proper ethics, they are all wrong.  When I was teaching at a Community College in Security Management, I told my students that “integrity is all we have to ensure we do our jobs properly.  If we lose our integrity, we lose our ability to do our jobs correctly”.

The same can be said for politicians, especially the president.  If the president has no integrity, how can the American People trust him to make any decisions that are in their best interests.  How can we believe him if he says we need to attack another country because they have nuclear weapons?  How can we believe him when he says “believe me”?

The answer to all of those questions is that we cannot believe him.  We cannot believe that decisions are made in our interests and not his own financial interests.  We cannot believe him when he says he “cares about us” and wants to make our lives better.  Especially when his actions, and those of his administration, have been to use the office of the president to line their own pockets at our loss.

Beloved leader proved one of his statements correct.  He said “I am probably the only person who can run for president and make money off of the campaign”.  His companies raked in money from his own campaign, so he was right in that aspect.  Now, he is proving that he can also make lots of money off of being president.  And, he doesn’t care if you know it or not.  All that matter to this maniac is his bottom line, not your bottom line.

That is why we see things like the Americans Without Health Care Act pass the House with his blessings.  That is why we see agencies like the EPA being gutted both financially and personal matters so polluters can pollute our water, air and land even more than they already do.  That is why we see his draconian budget that tears apart every program that is intended to make your lives better.

As you can see, conflict of interest comes in many forms.  This administration is openly and blatantly using the office of the president to line their own pockets.  And, like all of the Goldman Sachs former employees who head up our all of finance agencies after causing the economic meltdown 11 years ago, no one will be held accountable.

Ethics and Integrity.  Two essential items necessary to properly govern a country are sorely lacking in this administration.  As a result, they keep getting richer and we keep getting poorer.

And, the shirts keep marching along.

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