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Archive for the ‘Economics’ Category

Day 166. 

Today Congress returns from their break.  They have until Friday night to pass legislation to keep the government funded.  As I wrote, it should be a simple thing to do.  Simply pass a clean bill that funds the government through the end of the year at current levels.

That is not a hard thing to do.  Then, they can finish a new budget plan for next year, and hold their hearings and come to some kind of bi-partisan budget to keep the government being a government.

But, beloved leader and his minions don’t seem to get this simple fact.  In typical Republican fashion they are bound to put what are called “poison pills” into the bill that cannot pass both houses of Congress.  We have seen this before from Republicans and I am sure we will see it again this time around.

Beloved leader has stepped into the trap as well.  He keeps saying that his Berlin Wall must be funded in this bill.  According to his own words and those of his minions, he is willing to shut down the government just to get some money for his wall.

This bill is supposed to be a “continuing resolution” that keeps the government running.  It is not intended to increase spending beyond what has already been agreed to.  But, Republicans always try to increase spending or cut spending for pet projects rather than look out for the overall good of the country.

Except, this time around, they are the party in full control of the government.  They are the ones who have been bitching about the deficit, and yet they are apparently willing to raise the deficit in order to build a wall that is not needed.

As a result, beloved leader is starting to walk back from his wall thing.  At least, he is willing to play semantics games to make it look like it isn’t for a “wall” but rather for “security”.  This administration just doesn’t understand the problems at the border.

They have been arguing that the wall is needed to “stop the flow of illegal drugs into the country”.  But, the drugs are not coming into the country through those “holes” in the border.  They are coming through at border crossings.

The vast majority of drugs coming into the country are coming in through normal border crossings on the bottom of cars and trucks.  These vehicles get “special” tags or passes so they can use special lanes to cross across the border more easily.  The drugs are not coming in being carried by undocumented immigrants.  So, this “beautiful” wall that beloved leader loves so much would do nothing to even slow down the flow of drugs.

The only way to slow down and stop the flow of drugs is for Americans to stop using the drugs.  If there is no demand for them, there won’t be any need to stop the flow.  If the administration is really interested in stopping the flow of drugs, they need to support programs that will educate and help people get off of drugs.  That way the money will dry up and the cartels will also dry up.

The trump administration has proven over and over that they have no clue about the real world.  They have proven their love for the oligarchs and corporation profits, but they don’t have clue about anything else.  We have had a drug problem for as long as I can remember.  There are ways to cut that problem, but a wall is not the way to do it.

Walls do not stop anything.  If walls and fences were so effective, how do you explain the people who managed to get onto the White House grounds?  It has gotten so bad that the Secret Service has permanently closed down the sidewalk on the south side of the White House.  The Communists built a wall in Berlin and still people were able to escape.  So, what is the value of a wall?  It is simply a symbol of fear that you are in the wrong and need to show how “strong” you are against your fear.

We are facing a bunch of problems.  The Republicans are trying again to pass their Americans Without Health Car Act.  Beloved leader wants to cut taxes for corporations and the wealthy.  The infrastructure “promise” seems to be on the back burner.  The only bill that could possibly help the average person.  I say potentially because how that bill is written will determine if it is a real infrastructure bill or another give away to companies.

Beloved leader said he would release his tax reform bill tomorrow.  We will see just how much the deficit will explode with his proposed bill.  But, more importantly, we wait and watch to see if we will have another Republican caused government shutdown.

Stephan Bannon and his right-wing wackos want trump to “stand firm” on funding for his wall.  Even if it means the government will shut down.  The funny thing, and not a ha, ha funny thing, is that most of the government doesn’t even have enough workers right now.

The West Wing, the State Department, the Department of Defense, and every single District Attorney office are like ghost towns.  This administration hasn’t filled important positions that are necessary for a smoothly running government.  They fired all of the District Attorneys but haven’t hired one new one.  They haven’t even nominated a single one.

The State Department is missing people who generally advise the president and the Secretary on key issues around the world.  No one has even been nominated to fill those positions.  Same thing applies at the DOD and just about every single government agency.

A lot of people are wondering what this administration is really up to.  Are they deliberately trying to shut down the government for real and permanently?  Are they trying to limit the number of people who disagree with their analysis of the world?  Or are they trying to establish such a small government that it will be easier to establish an authoritarian government?

We may get our answer by Friday night.  If trump and his administration allows the government shutdown over his stupid wall, that could be a signal that he wants total control.  Even Chuck Schumer said that a continuing resolution can be reached by Friday if trump stays out of it.  But, trump being trump, immediately stepped into it.

The first 100 days of the trump administration has shown us just how bad and how incompetent he really is.  He has no clue how to run a country.  Rather than setting up a working government with qualified people to fill key roles, he has tried to establish a new Romanov dynasty in America.

Rules mean nothing to him.  Laws mean nothing to him.  Governing means nothing to him.  This mess about a possible government shutdown over a stupid wall that won’t do a damn thing, is just another indication of his incompetence.

So far trump has accomplished absolutely nothing.  And, from what he is saying now, he isn’t about to accomplish anything for the foreseeable future either.  This clown is making Millard Fillmore look like an accomplished problem solver.

But trump has a lot in common with Fillmore.  Fillmore was backed by the Know Nothing Party and finished third in the election of 1852.  One can only hope that this version of the Know Nothing Party Candidate faces the same fate.

In the meantime, the shirts keep marching along.

 

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Day 163. 

We are quickly approaching the 100 day mark in beloved leader’s presidency.  All through the campaign and at the very beginning of his presidency, he has said over and over that he will accomplish so much in the first 100 days.  He even had something called his contract with America on what will be accomplished during his first 100 days.  I believe there were something like 10 legislative bills he said would be passed.

Well, so far, nothing has been passed.  He made a very feeble attempt at passing a replacement for the ACA, and it crashed and burned even before it could get to the floor of the House and have a vote.  He hasn’t released any information on his tax reforms which he claimed would be passed by now.

He ordered a 90 day review on cybersecurity and promised we would all be very pleased with the results.  No results have come forward, and no one seems to know who is even supposed to conduct this review.  So, one hasn’t even started yet.

Beloved leader claims to have “done more in my first 100 days than anyone in history”.  Which is a blatant lie.  Now he claims that the “first 100 days” thing is a bunch of bullshit.  Maybe because he hasn’t done anything yet.

About the only thing he has accomplished so far is to destroy the EPA and our environmental protections.  He has made it much easier for coal companies to pollute rivers and streams but not at producing more coal.  He has tried to implement his Muslim Ban but has failed at that as well since it was blocked in the courts more than once.

Yes, he did get his terrible nomination to the Supreme Court.  But, as usual, the Republicans had to change and break the rules to get it done.  They proved once again that “they don’t need no stinking rules”.  Something trump loves to hear.

Oh, he launched some missiles at Syria after saying that the dictator could stay as far as trump was concerned.  The damage was so minimal that the Syrian Air Force was carrying out air strikes against the rebels the very next day from that airfield.  Maybe that is because he warned the Russians and therefore the Syrians we were coming.

And, of course, we cannot forget that his administration is under FBI investigation for possibly colluding with the Russians hacking during our elections last year.  I guess that is something he is real proud of as well.

So, as we approach his first 100 day mark, we need to ask what will be his first major “victory” of his administration.  Here are my choices.

First, will he start a war with North Korea?  All of the signs are leaning in that direction.  Only, he doesn’t seem to understand that a war with North Korea would probably include nuclear weapons.  That could cause a global catastrophe.  I really doubt if he fully understands that threat.  I am more inclined to believe that he thinks that would be okay since the nuclear weapons would only be used on Asians anyway.

Second, will he manage to start a war with Iran.  Republicans and trump have been itching for a war with Iran for a very long time.  He want’s to “review” the nuclear deal with Iran even though his own State Department put in writing that Iran is complying with the accord.  Since when does this country pull out of an agreement that is being followed?  Does our word mean nothing anymore?

He claims that Iran isn’t complying with the “spirit” of the accord.  What he really means is they aren’t complying with his “spirit” of the accord.  So, he can just pull out and let Iran get the nuclear weapons this accord has prevented them from getting.  Does that mean that if we pull out of the accord, are we then going to invade Iran on the premise of them wanting nuclear weapons and we are just trying to stop them?  Doesn’t that sound a lot like the second Iraq War that W. got us into and trump blasted during the campaign?

Third, will he finally manage to toss 24 million people from their health care coverage.  He and Republicans are going to try again to pass the Americans Without Health Care Act.  Only this time, because the have allowed the so-called Freedom Caucus to name the conditions, more than 24 million people will lose their coverage.

The Freedom Caucus wants a provision that allows states to opt out of the coverage part for people with pre-existing conditions.  The provision says they must have a “High-Risk Pool” for these people.  But, it doesn’t say how it is to be funded.  Meaning, when a state opts out, insurance companies will have license to price pre-existing conditions out of the market.  So instead of just 24 million people losing their coverage, the number will most likely double.

But don’t worry, trump calls this a “wonderful bill” that will make coverage cheaper for everyone.  People with pre-existing conditions, and those who will lose Medicaid coverage are not considered as part of the “everyone” trump keeps talking about.  Or he believes that having no insurance is “cheaper” since you don’t have to pay premiums.  So what if you get sick.

Fourth, will the administration allow those retired miners to lose their coverage and pensions as we talked about the other day?  Is he going to step up to the plate and ensure they keep their retirement benefits or just throw them to the side of the road like everyone else who isn’t rich?  Can we consider that a “major victory” for trump because it will save a whopping 200 million dollars per year?

Fifth, will he cause a government shutdown at the end of next week.  As of midnight next Friday night, the government money will run out.  If there isn’t a continuing resolution, the government will shutdown again.  And, if it does shutdown it will be trump and the Republicans fault full stop.

The only thing that needs to be done is a continuing resolution that funds the government through the end of the fiscal year.  That is all.  But, Republicans and now trump love to throw in “poison pills” that hurt people just to say they are “standing on principle”.  They simply cannot allow a continuing resolution to pass cleanly and try to get their pet projects through normal channels.

This time, trump seems to be the trigger.  He wants his money to build his damn Berlin Wall.  He is even threatening to stop paying the subsidies in the ACA if he doesn’t get the money.  That would mean that millions of poor people, working poor people, and middle-class people would immediately lose their health care coverage because they wouldn’t be able to afford their premiums.

I mean really?  Beloved leader hates Latinos so much that he is willing to let you lose your health care coverage?  There are ways to fund projects, but holding hostage half of America is not the way it is supposed to be done.  You simply put together a plan and a bill, take it down to Congress, and fight like hell to get what you want.

The problem with this simple legislative way the government is supposed to work is that Republicans abandoned that principle 40 years ago.  Now, they simply want to hold America hostage and hold their breath until they get what they want.  They think it is much easier that way.  And, the only people who will be hurt by their tactics are the “little people”, not themselves.

Those are my five favorites of what would be trump’s “major victory” during his first 100 days in office.  He hasn’t proposed any meaningful legislation.  He hasn’t issued any Executive Orders that does anything except help pollute the planet and make the rich richer.

He has made sure that the “swamp” he promised to drain is overflowing its banks right now.  Corruption and unethical behavior are running rampant in his administration.  So, maybe he is right when he says that he has done more than anyone else in history.  I haven’t seen so much corruption and unethical behavior surface so fast in an administration in my lifetime.

I have said before that the first 100 days thing doesn’t mean much to me.  I am more interested in being shown that the person in the White House has some kind of plan and is ready with some real legislation to push the plan forward.  Beloved leader doesn’t seem to have a plan, and he has no legislation to put forward.

His backers say he is “learning on the job”.  I say it shows his incompetence.  He has shown me only that he is interested in making the rich, like himself, richer.  He is interested in destroying our planet by tearing down environmental protections that have taken decades to implement.  He is interested in allowing a foreign oil company take land away from private farmers in America to build a pipeline that will produce not one drop of gasoline for our country.  It is all going to be exported.

He has shown disdain for the Average American by trying to take away their Health Care Coverage and polluting their drinking water and poison the air they breath all in the name of profits for the insurance companies and the polluters.

I seriously doubt that trump will manage to accomplish even one of these five options.  He doesn’t have the competence to accomplish anything and he is proving that day-by-day.  Which could be a good thing for us.  Because any one of the five options above would be disastrous for the American People.  Especially to most of the very people who voted for him.

And, the shirts keep marching along.

 

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Day 160. 

As coal mines began to close down, they began showing up in bankruptcy court.  The victims of those bankruptcies were the retired miners who were about to lose their health benefits.  And, since most retired miners suffer from very debilitating diseases like black lung, something had to be done.

Those health benefits began to head towards the Federal Government.  The government took over those health benefits for the retired miners.  After all, it wasn’t their fault they were losing them.  Last fall Congress voted to finance health benefits for a large swath of retired miners for several months.  However, they have been unable to pass any long-term plan.

This brings up a real problem for these retired miners.  If nothing is done by the end of the month, about 20,000 retired miners will lose their health benefits.  These miners are all in states that went for trump in the last election.

Yet, beloved leader has said nothing about how much he wants Congress to come up with a long-term solution.  He has given coal mine owners breaks in several ways including Executive Orders, but has done nothing for the workers or these retired miners.

The health benefits are critical to these miners.  What is at stake is not only the ability to maintain a middle-class retirement, but in a lot of cases, their lives.  For example, Norm Skinner worked for more than 20 years as a miner in eastern Ohio and had triple bypass surgery in 2010. Without the retiree health plan, he said, the surgery “would have broke me,” even with Medicare picking up much of the bill.

Another miner Mr. Van Sickle, who lost parts of two fingers on the job, said his doctor advised him to retire two years ago, at 59, because he suffers from black lung, a condition associated with long-term exposure to coal dust.

He manages the illness by attaching himself to a breathing machine that essentially props open the airway to his lungs while he sleeps. “My oxygen content would drop so low without it,” he said.

Last fall, Mr. Van Sickle priced out a private insurance plan that would provide roughly comparable benefits for him and his wife, who takes about a dozen separate medications to treat lupus and rheumatoid arthritis. The estimates came in at $1,500 to $1,800 per month.

“I always wanted to be a person who would leave a little legacy for my children,” he said. “If I lose these benefits and my pension, there will not be enough for me, let alone for my children.”

The other odd part of this story is that Mr. Van Sickle and his wife might be eligible for thousands of dollars in subsidies if they were able to purchase their insurance from the ACA.  However, that plan would be less generous and trump and the Republicans want to kill the ACA which would leave him with nothing.

The other thing you need to realize is that miners, like many other union workers over the last 20 years, took lower pay raises in new contacts in order to ensure health benefits and retirement pensions were never hurt.

Beloved leader made all kinds of promises to the miners during his campaign.  He talked about how those mines were going to be digging more coal than ever under his administration.  He made promises that even miners knew in their hearts was untrue, but they were hopeful that at least some of the promises would come true.

They believed their wish was a modest one. The price tag for their benefits averages a little under $200 million per year over the next 10 years, which can be partly offset through interest that accrues in a federal fund for reclaiming abandoned mines. Because no new miners would become eligible for the health benefits awarded to this group, the cost would eventually dwindle to zero.

But, Mitch McConnell is reluctant to expedite a vote on a permanent fix of this problem.  And, Paul Ryan says he may be open but not for more than 20 months at which point the benefits would either end or have to be reapproved.  Gee, how generous of the bastard.

In the last few days, the House Republican leadership has suggested that it, too, might support a permanent fix, according to Phil Smith, the chief lobbyist for the miners union, but only if it can settle on a revenue source to offset the full cost. “It leaves the door wide open to ‘Well, we couldn’t find one,’” Mr. Smith said.

Here we go again.  If something benefits average people, especially their health, it must be paid for by cutting something else.  If it benefits banks and/or billionaires, it doesn’t have to be paid for by anything.  You can always count on Republicans to screw over the “little people” with stupid arguments about the “deficit”.

And, while all of this is going on, beloved leader, who used coal miners to win his election is saying nothing about their plight.  He isn’t calling McConnell and Ryan and demanding these retired miners be taken care of like they were promised.  No, he is off playing golf and spending tax payer’s money, like from these retired miners, on lavish vacations at his own resort, thus putting money into his own pocket.

As far as he is concerned, the retired miners can just shut up and die.  He doesn’t care about them.  They are a burden on coal mine owners and the Government because the mine owners are pawning off their responsibilities on the tax payers.  Talk about the “takers”.

Working is a mine is a very dirty and dangerous job.  These people literally risked their lives to get out that coal the powered our power plants for generations.  They don’t deserve to be thrown to the side of the road by Republicans or trump.

Ever since beloved leader took the oath of office, he has shit all over the average American with his policies, executive orders, and silence.  He has shown that we don’t matter.  You only matter if you are in the top 1 percent of the economic ladder.

His Secretary of Commerce, Wilbur Ross founded the International Coal Group, which was formed after several coal companies went bankrupt. The United Mine Workers of America protested the bankruptcy reorganization as it led to changes in health care and pensions for the existing employees.  Arch Coal purchased International Coal Group for $3.4 billion in 2011.

But before that, in 2006 there was an explosion in the Sago Mine owned by Ross’ company that killed 12 workers.  In a report from the New York Post, Ross apparently knew all about the mine’s safety violations.  The article also reported that the mine had 12 roof collapses in 2005, and that the U.S. Department of Labor data showed 208 citations for safety violations in that same period, including 21 times for build-up of toxic gasses.

So, is there any wonder why trump is not saying anything about protecting these retired miners?  Ross didn’t give a shit about the miners when they worked for him.  He certainly doesn’t care about them now either.  So, why would trump?

This administration should be called the “billionaires club”.  Because it seems that if you aren’t a billionaire you cannot work in the administration.  And, when the “little people” need something, the common answer from the billionaires club is “screw you”.  Those are words Republicans have been telling us for years.  We are unused to hearing an administration use them so blatantly by their actions before.

Hell, I bet Exxon/Mobile gets their waiver to return to the oil contract they signed with Putin to drill oil there.  They applied for a waiver today.  If that goes through, there will be no question whose side trump is on.

And, the shirts keep marching along.

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Day 160. 

As usual, there are a lot of things to talk about this morning.  We have beloved leader calling Erdogan to “congratulate” him on his referendum victory.  Only, his referendum victory is going to demolish their parliamentary democracy and establish Erdogan as a dictator.  Even trump’s own State Department said the vote was not fair and the victory should be overturned, but trump loves seeing democracy disappear, apparently.

Then we have the issue of just where in the world the aircraft carrier group that is supposed to be off Korea really is.  It turns out that while trump was declaring this “powerful armada” was heading to Korea, it was off the coast of Australia participating in exercises with the Australian Navy.  It was nowhere near the Korean Peninsula.  Which means the administration lied, or they had no idea what they were talking about.  Neither is very good if you are the leader of a country.

But, while all this stupidity is on full display, there are a lot of things that are not only stupid, but actually dangerous to the American public.  Americans are being made more unsafe by trump and his administration, but no one in the media is talking about them.

Remember when trump said he launched his attack on Syria because he saw those pictures “of those beautiful babies” and decided he had to act?  Sounds very commendable.  Only, American babies all across the nation are at threat of being victims of chemical deaths, and trump is willing to allow it to happen.

This threat comes from hazardous chemical facilities ― from oil refineries to water treatment plants. An accident, natural disaster, or deliberate attack could trigger an explosion or chemical release that could kill thousands of people. Millions of our citizens live and work near these dangerous facilities.

This problem has been with us for generations.  The EPA is supposed to protect us from these dangers, but trump has pulled back.  First after three years of intensive discussions with chemical companies, plant workers, affected communities, first responders and others, the Environmental Protection Agency on January 13 issued a rule to help protect the American people from these dangers. The rule strengthens the federal Risk Management Program (RMP), which addresses some 12,500 facilities that use or store large quantities of highly toxic or highly flammable chemicals.

So to prove that you do not matter more than the bottom liner of companies, Scott Pruitt, the EPA director acted on a petition from the chemical industry and placed a stay on the rule until June.  Now that has happened, the chemical lobbyists are busy trying to kill the rule altogether.  And, to give them more time, Pruitt is proposing to keep the rule on hold until 2019.

In 2006, then Senator Barak Obama said that chemical plants are basically stationary chemical weapons.  And time and time again, we have seen this observation to be true.

It was just in 2013 that a plant in West, TX had an ammonia nitrate explosion.  It was even suspected that the explosion was caused by sabotage.  15 people were killed and 160 were injured.  But you probably don’t know this part because it is never reported as it should be.  From 2004 to 2013 there were some 1,500 chemical releases or explosions in this country causing 17,000 injuries and 58 deaths. There have been hundreds more incidents since then, with more casualties.

In 1984 a United Carbide company in Bhopal India suffered an accident that caused the deaths of 20,000 people.  Don’t think that type of accident cannot happen here.  What would happen if a terrorist attacked a large chemical plant?  How many people in the surrounding area be killed by release of these toxic chemicals?  Our beloved leader says he wants to keep Americans safe, but from what?  Obviously he isn’t trying to keep us safe from chemical companies.

The EPA has identified 466 chemical facilities that each put 100,000 or more people at risk of a poison gas disaster. In 2004, the Homeland Security Council projected that a major attack would kill 17,500 people and injure tens of thousands.

The Risk Management Program (RMP) that this rule would have strengthened was not perfect.  Chemical industry lobbying already has kept important protections out of the RMP rule. In particular, community, labor and environmental groups had strongly urged that plants be required to move to safer technologies where feasible, as some responsible companies, such as Clorox, have already done voluntarily.

But the final RMP rule does provide for some critical, common-sense reforms: enhancing emergency preparedness; improving investigations of near-miss incidents; increasing public access to chemical hazard information; and, for three industries with the most serious accident records ― refineries, chemical manufacturers, and pulp and paper mills ― requiring safer technology analyses.

I worked for a long time in disaster preparedness planning.  One of the biggest concerns I always had was about chemical accidents.  This country has had way too many accidents that have led to deaths and injuries.  And, not very much has been done to stop or even reduce such accidents.  This rule was definitely a step in the right direction.  It was intended to protect the American public from suffering more deaths from accidents in refineries, chemical plants, and a lot more.

But, like other rules that protect people, this rule would cost the manufacturers money to implement them properly.  And, that would affect their bottom line.  And, that is something totally unacceptable to the trump administration.  The health and safety of the American people comes in second to company profits.  The stay on this rule is a perfect example of that philosophy.

It is no accident that people like the Koch brothers are such strong supporters of the Republican party.  It is no accident that Republicans are very willing to save profits and not save lives.  The only thing that matters to Republicans is money and power.  They believe that money leads to power, and they will do nothing that will affect the donations from people like the Koch brothers even at the expense of the lives of their own constituents.

There are refineries, chemical plants, and other hazardous sites all across the country.  Millions of people live in the shadow of these facilities and Republicans say their lives are “expendable” because doing something to protect them would cost the facility owners “too much money”.

The idea of a terrorist attack against one of these facilities is not out of the question either.  In 2003, the government’s National Infrastructure Protection Center warned that U.S. chemical plants could be terrorist targets. Security experts have warned of the relative ease with which determined attackers could thwart plant security. The potential for cyber attacks makes the challenge even more serious.

So, as you can see, you are more at risk than you think.  But, trump and his administration just doesn’t care if you are hurt or die if such an attack should happen.  The rule was too “costly” for the company owners, so it must be killed.  And, since it might cause blowback from voters, it must be killed very quietly and very secretly.

I dare any conservative out there to defend this stay of the rule without using money as an excuse.  I cannot think of a single reason other than money why this rule should not be in effect right now.  I seriously warn America to wake up and see what trump is doing to you.  It isn’t getting you new jobs.  It isn’t making your life better.  It isn’t making you safer.

This administration only has one real goal.  To make the rich richer and everyone else poorer.  If making the rich richer means you need to be placed at risk, then that is perfect for them.  If you happen to live near one of these facilities, you better be prepared to run like hell if an accident happens.  Because trump and his administration really don’t care about you.

And, the shirts keep marching along.

 

 

 

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Day 159. 

From now on, April 18 will be known as the real April Fools Day.  Our beloved leader has decided that today would be a good day to show his total lack of integrity by signing an Executive Order to “Review Buy American, Hire American” policy.

If you think that beloved leader is really interested in enforcing such a policy, you have not paid attention to his family’s own businesses.  Oh, I know that he is talking about Buying American and Hiring American when it comes to government contracts, but he even lied about that.

When he said he would approve the Keystone XL pipeline and the Dakota Access Pipeline he said both would have to use American Steel.  Only, they aren’t using American Steel.  As a matter of fact, the entire Keystone XL Pipeline will be made using German Steel.  And, he said that was okay with him.

As you know, the day above is the count of days since he was elected president and still has not moved his own business manufacturing to the U.S.   All of his products are made overseas.  Including his family’s products.  Except Junior’s wine business.

The review will also look at the H-1B visa process.  You know, the very same process that Junior has hired over 1600 people using at his winery.  Meaning the majority of his winery is made up of immigrants, not American Workers.  Then we have trump himself hiring foreign workers for his resorts, specifically his Mar A Lago resort where he spends more time than just about anywhere else.

How is junior going to keep his winery stocked with employees if he can’t use the H-1B visa program?  How is trump going to keep his resort stocked with employees if he can’t use the program.  You can bet it will either not be changed, or it won’t affect certain industries.  That way, he can exempt himself and his family from any changes on the horizon.

It has also been reported that Ivanka got her three trade marks approved in China the very same day she was sitting next to the Chinese President at dinner at Mar A Lago.  Her and hubby Jared were both there and surprise surprise the trade marks were approved right then and there.

Beloved leader says that he is exempt from “conflict of interests” but his family isn’t.  Ivanka could seriously be suspected of conflict of interest when she sat in at the dinner and miraculously she gets her trade marks in China.

The problem is that everyone is falling for this shit.  The media, the people, and especially the trump supporters are all falling for this shit.  They think that he really means what he says.  But, he doesn’t mean a damn word.  He simply says what he thinks they want to hear and then does something different that will benefit himself.

One of the craziest things I heard at a press briefing the other day was when the propaganda minister, Sean Spicer, said that the White House will keep the visitor logs secret and not be transparent.  The reason that the trump White House will not be transparent at all is because Obama wasn’t transparent enough.

President Obama put the visitor log online so everyone could see it.  He was the first president to do so.  But, he did block out certain names if it meant national security or other potential secret work.  This president who claimed to be even more transparent says that gives him the right to just not follow his predecessor’s lead.  He claims that no other president made the visitor log public, and he is right.  Only, the other Presidents did not claim to be so open and transparent.  Or in trump’s own words “this will be the most transparent presidency in history”.  Another lie.

There is nothing transparent about trump’s presidency.  He won’t release the White House visitor’s log.  He won’t release his own tax returns on the bogus excuse that they are under audit.  He doesn’t do anything to make his presidency “transparent”.

Now, in what will probably be a wonderful photo-op, he will sign an Executive Order about Buying American, Hiring American.  Only it won’t be anything that will affect his own businesses.  Why?  Simply because his is a brazen liar!

While Congress is on break, trump is hiding out in the White House or at Mar A Lago doing nothing, as usual.  Republicans are being battered at town hall meetings across the country, and trump is trying to look presidential at an Easter Egg Roll on the White House Lawn.  While Vice President Pence is trying to look “stern” at the North Korean border, and trump is playing golf.

Oh, he launched missiles at Syria that didn’t take out the military airbase like he said.  It destroyed about 20 planes while his administration tried to claim that it took out 20 percent of the Syrian Air Force.  A lie.  Then he decided to show off and dropped a huge bomb in Afghanistan on ISIS.  His followers all hailed him as being “presidential”.  But, he hasn’t said what he will do next or what he even thinks should happen next.  That would entail some real thought.  Something that is really foreign to trump.

No, singing this Executive Order will be another empty photo-op that won’t do a damn thing to help the American People.  It won’t help make sure that contractors use and hire Americans when working on government contracts, because if they cry it will cost too much, trump and the Republicans will give them a pass and let them use whatever material and whatever workers they think will be cheaper.  That is how they have handled everything so far.

The man is such a fool his foreign-born wife even had to remind him to place his hand over his heart during the national anthem at the start of the Easter Egg Roll yesterday.  Where are all the conservatives slamming him for being anti-American like they tried to do with President Obama?  But, as usual, there is not a peep from the right-wing wackos.  Which only proves to me they are the ones who are anti-American.

So, go ahead and mark your calendars.  April 18 will now officially be known as April Fools Day.  It has been declared so by the number one American Fool, our beloved leader.

And, the shirts keep marching along.

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Day 158. 

All through the campaign and ever since he took office, our beloved leader has promised to create millions of new jobs.  If you were watching very closely, you will have noticed that his promise is not just a pipe dream.  He really will create those jobs.  Well, it may seem like that at first glance.

What he is really going to do is cull the workforce from those lazy bastards that already fill up employment rolls and replace them with new workers who will be overjoyed to finally have a “good paying” job.  And, he has already taken the first steps to make all of that happen.

While you were watching him stumble and bumble his way through these first three months, our beloved leader was quietly signing bills placed in front of him by his politburo Republican Congress and his Department of Labor was quietly changing rules.  These bills and rule changes only affected simple things like workplace safety.

See, if you do away with all of those expensive workplace safety rules, then people will get injured to the point of permanent disability and maybe even die.  That will open up millions of jobs over the next four years for anyone who wants them.  New job creation accomplished.

The first thing he did was to sign two bills from Republicans that make it harder to track workplace injuries, illnesses, and deaths.  The first one undoes a rule requiring federal contractors to fully report all labor violations.    The second one undoes a rule to strengthen employer’s workplace illness and injury record-keeping requirements.  The Republicans call these regulations – job killers.

In case you may be wondering why these are important rules, it is simply because they allow OSHA to monitor what is going on in the workplace, find out what is really behind workplace safety, and help to fix the problem to protect workers.  So, you can see how much the industries would hate such bills and/or rules.  They just might be required to protect their employees while at work.

Then we have the Department of Labor delaying two very important rules.  The first one deals with silica dust.  Silica dust is a very hazardous carcinogen that causes lung cancer and death.  There has been an outcry about Silica since the 1930s.  A rule was passed in the 70s, but it was called inefficient.  Then last year the Obama Administration placed more restrictive rules on the amount of Silica dust that could be present.

The industry howled about the administration being intrusive in their businesses.  The new rule would force employers to install new ventilation systems and provide better respiratory protection devices for their employees who work in that environment.  And, in fairness, it would cost a lot of money.

So, hearing his buddies cry about the new rule, the DOL placed a three-month hold on the rule.  The industry is gearing up for a lobbying attack to make sure they kill the rule completely.  But, even if it were put in place after the three-month delay, it is estimated by health experts that up to 600 people will be affected to the point of getting lung cancer and even dying from breathing in the Silica Dust in that three-month period.

The Department of Labor (DOL) has also twice postponed implementation of its rule updating standards for workers’ protection from carcinogenic beryllium dust.  Like silica, exposure to beryllium, used in construction, shipyards, foundries and industries that use the metal to make electronics, aerospace, defense and other components, causes incurable lung disease and lung cancer.

“OSHA estimates that when fully implemented it [the rule] will save 94 lives a year. Every four days of delay in the implementation dates costs the life of one American worker,” wrote Michael Wright, director of health, safety and environment at United Steelworkers, in comments submitted to the DOL.

Of course Republicans hate the rule and want it killed as well.  They call this rule a “midnight rule”.  They claim that it was rushed through at the last-minute.  However, in fact, the rule results from actions that go back to 2002.

Also delayed are Environmental Protection Agency rules to prevent emissions of formaldehyde, a carcinogen and serious respiratory hazard, from manufactured wood products, to increase safety at industrial plants that use and store highly hazardous chemicals and to increase protections for pesticide applicators.

Then we have beloved leader’s proposed budget which will all but eliminate OSHA.  One of the things being eliminated under his budget is something called the Susan B. Harwood training grants. “The Harwood grants include very important training programs to reduce occupational illnesses, like grants that go out to train workers in nail salons and beauty parlors,” on exposure to hazardous chemicals, explained David Michaels, George Washington University professor of environmental and occupational health and Obama administration Assistant Secretary of Labor for OSHA.

The budget to OSHA to enforce workplace safety laws will be slashed dramatically as well.  OSHA is really an enforcement agency.  It is tasked to investigate injuries at the workplace, make recommendations to see it doesn’t happen again, and even levy fines to the company if warranted.

Not only that, but the cuts will hamper the agency from updating things like their outdated chemical safety standards.  This may all seem obscure, but these standards do not just affect those working at chemical plants, but the surrounding area as well.  It puts everyone’s life in jeopardy.

So, as you see can beloved leader really does have plan to create millions of jobs.  What he isn’t telling you is that won’t be “new” jobs, you will simply be filling jobs of people who were made disabled or killed due to poor workplace safety.  But, what the hell, a job is a job according to beloved leader.

This administration wants to take us back in time when corporations controlled our entire lives.  They want to see “company towns” where you were forced to live and purchase everything from the “company store”.  The administration believes just like the employers that “workers are a dime a dozen so if someone is hurt, disabled, or killed no big deal.  We can replace him easy enough.”

Remember, if you don’t pay attention to the little things that go under the trump stupidity meter in the media, you will find yourself on the outside looking in just like your grandfathers.  If you think trump cares about the average person, just look at what he is doing to your safety in the workplace.  If that is caring for me, please start to hate me instead.  At least I would know your true intentions were to get rid of me.

And, the shirts keep marching along.

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Day 155. 

All of a sudden, our beloved leader has fallen love with our depleted military and our stupid generals.  That is what he has said about our military for almost 2 years now.  Suddenly, the military isn’t so depleted that he can’t use it as a toy, and our generals are all really smart and “outstanding”.

But, that also leads us to potential “big time” trouble as trump would say.  Now that he has fallen love with our military, the next possible target would be North Korea.  And, that is where the big time trouble would be.

North Korea is not Syria.  North Korea is not Iraq.  North Korea already has nuclear weapons.  And, they have a child version of trump as their beloved leader who has killed his own family members because he thought they were a threat to his power.

That means that all of the talk about “taking care of North Korea” that trump has been uttering is even more dangerous.  We have a carrier group near the peninsula.  What if their child killer decides to make a preemptive strike against that group with nuclear weapons?  We have thousands of our sailors in harm’s way like we haven’t since the cold war ended.

And a preemptive strike if North Korea should test nuclear bomb places the entire peninsula in danger.  Ever since the Korean war ended with its cease-fire, we have treaded carefully there.  The leaders of that country have been belligerent for years.  They continuously bluster about how great their military is and how wonderful they are.  They tell their people that means they would win any war against the south and the U.S.

North Korea has one of the largest standing armies in the world.  They are willing and many of the hard-liners are eager to fight.  Yes, it is most likely that a war in Korea would result in a win for us and our allies, but at what cost?

Is it worth starting a war because of the behavior of North Korea?  You must remember, Seoul is just 35 miles from the North Korean border.  There are about 20 million people who live in and around Seoul.  That means the city is in range of North Korea’s massive artillery. That means even using conventional weapons, the North could kill millions of South Koreans.

Don’t forget our forces stationed in South Korea either or the American business people who live and work in Seoul.  On top of that, South Korea is the 11th largest economy in the world.  If there is a war, the country would be devastated and need to rebuild again costing billions of dollars.

Every year the U.S. and South Korea holds exercises in the country.  One of the objectives is to determine what would happen if a war did break out on the peninsula.  All of the exercises so far has shown there is no good option for a war.

Something does need to be done about getting North Korea to get rid of their nuclear weapons.  But, is war the answer?  It may come to that point.  But are we there yet?  For the first time, China is starting to put pressure on North Korea where it hurts.  North Korea gets most of their money from selling coal to China.  China just sent back all of their coal shipments and told North Korea to keep them.

China is not looking forward to a war in Korea either.  Assuming that the U.S. and its allies would eventually win such a war, do you really think that China wants a border with a unified Korea that is backed by the U.S. with possibly U.S. troops on its border?  Which means, would China decide to send troops in if North Korea is on the brink of defeat as they did in the 1950s?

Then we have the agreement with South Korea.  In that agreement we are not supposed to use any military force against North Korea without consulting South Korea first.  The people in South Korea are getting very nervous as tensions on the peninsula rise.

Even if we do consult with South Korea, what if they say they don’t want the U.S. to use a preemptive attack on the North?  Do we ignore our ally and do it anyway?  Will our beloved leader play chicken with the lives of millions of our ally’s people?

And, what about Japan?  Japan is already in reach of North Korea’s missiles.  What happens if the North decides to attack Japan as well?  There is no doubt that Japan will retaliate, and we will have no choice but support our ally there as well.

Finally, what about our own Congress?  Any attack against North Korea would be considered an act of war against a foreign country.  Only Congress has the authority to declare such action.  So, an unannounced preemptive attack by the administration against North Korea would be unConstitutional.

So I hope beloved leader is consulting with the leaders of Congress right now and letting them know what he is planning on doing.  Otherwise, he will break the law if he goes ahead with a preemptive strike.

But, more than that, we need to look at and understand what other enemies might do if we attack North Korea.  What might Russia do?  What might Iran do?  Will Russia take a preemptive strike against North Korea as a sign they can go ahead and invade Ukraine?  Maybe Iran will decide it is a good time to invade Iraq to take over that country?

Maybe Iran would think it is a good time to actually attack Israel.  What then?  That could totally destabilize the mid-east.  Then we would be looking at war across the board.

Handling North Korea is not the same as bullying your political opponents.  It is not the same as sending missiles into Syria after telling the Russians and Syrians to leave the area.  It isn’t the same as dropping a huge bomb on ISIS.

We are talking about striking a country that has a large and competent army.  We are talking about striking a country with a leader even more unstable than our leader.  We are talking about a real war with potentially tens of millions of people being killed.

All of the talking heads, especially on the right are talking about how trump is learning on job and getting better.  I wrote yesterday I don’t agree with that analysis.  I still don’t.  We will get a real understanding what trump has learned and whether or not he has any idea of what his job is when we see how he handles North Korea.

If he continues with his “gut” and makes a rash decision concerning this situation, it cold spell disaster for the Korean peninsula and for the world.  If it is true that trump only listens to and does what the last person he speaks to says, we better hope a sane person is that last one.

This weekend Christians are celebrating Easter. Jews are celebrating Passover.  North Korea is celebrating the 105th birthday of the country’s founder.  The first two celebrations are celebrations of peace.  The third is a celebration of dictatorship.  The third could be the only one worth watching.  Will North Korea simply hold their parade and go home, or will they do something like test another nuclear weapon, launch test missiles, or launch a preemptive attack on our carrier group or South Korea?

The first two scenarios would be bad, but not something to start a war over.  The last two would mean war.  And, how trump reacts to one of the first two scenarios could also mean war.  We can only hope that cooler saner heads prevail.  Unfortunately, the actions so far from these two leaders don’t give us too much confidence.

We can only watch and wait.  Despite all of the stupidity in the world over the last 70 years, this is the closest we have come to worldwide disaster since the Cuban Missile Crisis.  We averted that disaster because there were two leaders who understood the consequences.  Both leaders were able to overrule their hawkish military leaders.  Does trump have the guts to say no to his Generals like Kennedy did?  Will he even order them to get clearance from him before launching any attack against North Korea?

This issue is way beyond politics or trying to look and talk tough.  This is a situation that could lead to life and death for millions of people.  This is when real leaders stand up and resist primal instincts to simply attack.  Rational thought needs to be used.  That is where our problem is.  We haven’t seen a lot of rational thought from trump so far.  If he really is learning his job, now is the time to show that he has learned to rationally think.

 

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