Sunday, March 13, 2016

Donald Trump thinks he is going to be President. He is wrong.



Look. The political battle going on today is between generations who have a very different life style and most importantly, a very different idea of who should by rights run America. The conservatives are the older generation who grew up in an America dominated mostly by small towns and in farming communities. Those communities were last seen as really dominant on TV in the 1950's with White families living in houses behind white picket fences.

That older America was a caste society in which if you were born White you were superior and you got handed the things that non-whites had to fight and struggle for. It was a caste society because you were born to a social level and could not leave it. But check the population figures for America. Since WW II the population has more than doubled and ALL of that increase has moved into large cities. Worse, most of those farms from before WW II are now abandoned in the countryside. The jobs people perform in the cities require more education and are a lot more specialized.

The cities are also largely populated by minorities, and to a greater extent are now run by minorities. White Privilege is now mostly gone in the cities! White Privilege got Paul Ryan his current job in the House of Representatives, but only because the Constitution gives greater weight to rural agricultural-economy votes than it does to city votes - and the writers of the Constitution specifically said that was the reason they created our government structure. They trusted the yeoman farmer more than the city "mob."

Now, in spite of the remaining dregs of White Supremacy, an African-American has occupied the White House. Mexicans are leaving the subsistence farms killed by NAFTA and moving to the U.S. (because Mexico has no ability to create industrial jobs - no water, no ports or cheap transportation especially.) Interracial marriage is totally acceptable and not especially unusual - in the cities. The rare individuals born as gay, lesbian, or even transgender are now accepted in society.

One result is that older White workers are killing themselves off through drugs and alcohol because they cannot adapt to the changes. The angry older whites are fighting as conservatives now. That's what the current politics is all about. The skinheads Trump is inciting want the U.S. to return to the old days where they did not have to get educated to find a good job, but those days are over and good riddance!

Trump is emotionally appealing to the last of the White Supremacists, and if he tries to move away from him they will drop him. Trump's reaction has been to ramp up the violence he incites. There will be more violence, and Trump is going to fail as he tries to move to a kinder, gentler general election position. He has nowhere to go but more violence.

When Trump gets the nomination he is probably going to take the GOP down worse than Goldwater did. Unfortunately, Ted Cruz is worse - and much smarter- than Trump, and Cruz has set himself to pick up the pieces if Trump collapses before the General Election. Cruz is a dominionist. He fervently believes his father when his father says God has anointed Ted Cruz as America's next leader. He is going to try to pick up the pieces left by Trump and recreate America as a so-called Christian Nation.

I think the American politics in the next nine months are going to be truly frightening and quite violent. Trump thinks he can control the violence so that it mostly just shows up on TV. He's wrong.

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Several News Items of Interest Posted today.


Published polls from NBC and the Wall street Journal indicate that Center-Left economic Ideas dominate with the voting public.

The Obama administration has taken a major step towards permitting state experimentation into the medical properties of Marijuana.

A number of Republican governors who are running for President (Christi, Jindal, and O'Malley) are finding that voters in their own respective states have generally decided not to support their home governors for President.

The 21 year old White racist who murdered 9 parishioners is the landmark Black Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church in Charlottesville, SC wanted to spark a race war. He failed to set off the war he wanted. Instead we are seeing the beginning of bipartisan political actions to remove the racist symbol of the Confederate battle flag from South Carolina and Mississippi, and WalMart has announced that it will stop selling all confederate flag merchandise in its stores.

Friday, January 02, 2015

The Post Great Recession Failed Recovery

As of today it is 2015 and the world economy has not recovered from the Wall Street-induced financial collapse of 2008. The governments around the world replaced the money the banks lost (using taxpayer funds) because the economies of the world could never recover without functioning banks. But the economies of the world are running like my pickup truck did when one of the four cylinders would not work the piston.

The issue with my truck engine was clear. I had to get all four cylinders working again. Joseph Stiglitz points out that the weak growth has left wages essentially stagnant. Six years after the financial collapse of the Wall Street Mega Banks the recovery has not gotten under way. Why? From LiveMint:
The malaise afflicting today’s global economy might be best reflected in two simple slogans: “It’s the politics, stupid” and “Demand, demand, demand.” The near-global stagnation witnessed in 2014 is man-made. It is the result of politics and policies in several major economies—politics and policies that choked off demand. In the absence of demand, investment and jobs will fail to materialize. It is that simple.

Nowhere is this clearer than in the euro zone, which has officially adopted a policy of austerity—cuts in government spending that augment weaknesses in private spending.

The euro zone’s structure is partly to blame for impeding adjustment to the shock generated by the crisis; in the absence of a banking union, it was no surprise that money fled the hardest-hit countries, weakening their financial systems and constraining lending and investment.

In Japan, one of the three “arrows” of Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s programme for economic revival was launched in the wrong direction. The fall in gross domestic product that followed the increase in the consumption tax in April provided further evidence in support of Keynesian economics—as if there was not enough already.

The US introduced the smallest dose of austerity, and it has enjoyed the best economic performance. But even in the US, there are roughly 650,000 fewer public-sector employees than there were before the crisis; normally, we would have expected some two million more. As a result, the US, too, is suffering, with growth so anaemic that wages remain basically stagnant.
So the problem is that the bankers and holders of wealth do not want more economic activity funded by government borrowed money.

When you have more money than you need, then you use your wealth to gain social control instead of building more wealth. You use the power conferred by your wealth to suck up the wealth from the middle and working class. This is reflected in the anemic wages since 2008 together with the new records of the stock market as were announced last week.

The power of the very wealthy (corporations, Wall Street Banks, and wealthy families who make up the 0.01%) is permitting them to create a neofeudal system of powerful families supported by their retainers and living off the work of the middle and working classes.

It is not the case that no one knows how to get the economy operating on all cylinders again. It is the case that the 0.01% generally are recreating the society of the French Aristocracy prior to the French Revolution. They want to live on the work of the productive middle and working classes and avoid all taxes and responsibility. Why not? They inherited their social positions so they deserve it.

Saturday, January 26, 2013

Beyonce - the Star Spangled Banner

I don't keep up with current popular music, so when I heard Beyonce sing the Star Spangled Banner and President Obama's inauguration I did not know to expect such a fantastic performance. Here is her performance.

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Saturday, November 17, 2012

How is debt shaping modern society?

What are the incentives to behavior that are being caused by our debt society? Chris Hayes presented a really illuminating discussion of that this morning.

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And it continues:

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And the last segment:

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Think about it. Humans can plan their future lives and behavior. But what factors shape those plans and the resulting behavior? More and more the answer to that question is that we plan and organize our behavior - not towards what we as individuals believe would be best for us, our families or our society but for what the bankers will pay for and how we will have to pay them back.

And why to the bankers lend us the money we need to invest in our own futures? Because it will make them richer.

The first motivation of much of our modern society is to make bankers richer. Do they try to loan towards the best possible lives and society? Yeah, if it will make them richer and if they can predict the payoff they will get!

So are bankers evil?

Not in my opinion. But they are human. They are motivated by their own personal wealth, and they look back to the propaganda of Adam Smith's "Invisible Hand." And it's not in their personal advantage to question Adam Smith. Instead they read financial statements and credit reports while ignoring the human cost of their behavior. They are quick to see the human benefit, but blind to the human cost.

Friday, October 19, 2012

Barack Obama has defined the disease Romney suffers from . It's Romnesia!

I've been trying to get a decent description of what Romney has been doing for well over a year. Here it is, just in time.



I got this from Steve Benen. His additional comments are very much worth reading.

Friday, September 28, 2012

Chris Hayes describes the power of Plutocrats.

Chris Hayes presented his view of the plutocracy in America as shown in the video-tape where Romney made his now famous "I can't reach 47% of Americans so I will just ignore them." speech. Chris (in his Sunday show on September 23, 2012) analyzes the problems of plutocracy and the power of money to spread the ignorance and fears of the plutocrats who control that wealth.

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Plutocrats have power, but the power they have is a power they use primarily to maintain the wealth that gives them their social position and power. They tend to make rotten politicians and worse government officials because they are blinded to the needs of the nation by their own needs to maintain themselves. That's what Romney's description of the 47% as moochers really means.

Saturday, September 22, 2012

How did Mitt win the Republican nomination? He's horibble!

Mitt was always going to win the Republican primary. So why did he have to endure it?

First he had to prove to the wealthy powerful funders of the today's Republican Party that he could pull the various wings of the party together, and second it was necessary to give the evangelicals and Neocons the belief they still belonged to the Party. Then there was the need of the wealthy funders of the modern Republican Party to demonstrate their control on Romney.Mitt was always going to win the Republican primary. So why did he have to endure it? First he had to prove to the wealthy powerful funders of the today's Republican Party that he could pull the various wings of the party together, and second it was necessary to give the evangelicals and Neocons the belief they still belonged to the Party. Then there was the need of the wealthy funders of the modern Republican Party to demonstrate their control on Romney.Mitt was always going to win the Republican primary. So why did he have to endure it? First he had to prove to the wealthy powerful funders of the today's Republican Party that he could pull the various wings of the party together, and second it was necessary to give the evangelicals and Neocons the belief they still belonged to the Party. Then there was the need of the wealthy funders of the modern Republican Party to demonstrate their control on Romney. My suspicion is that the wealthy funders of the conservative Republican Party funded the crazy-clown-candidates primarily in order to trap Mitt into committing to the ideology they wanted. The primary was also a test of whether he could possibly get the unified Republicans to vote for him. G. W. Bush passed this latter test first, and was already one of the money Republicans because of who his father and grandfather were. None of the clowns in the primary were going to actually win the primary. That was one of the major goals of having the primary. The other candidates represented factions to whom it had to be demonstrated that they could not go it alone politically. The other candidates were all in the contest either because of the money they had access to (Perry and also Gingrich and Cain) or because they represented the evangelicals (Bachman, Santorum.) The primary was Mitt's to lose and he didn't. But the minority Republicans were sucked in and given the feeling they had a chance and that they had some influence in the Republican Party. The Ron Paul Republicans were the only ones not similarly suckered into supporting the national party. Even they were given the clear understanding that they had no other place to go. The Republican Primary gave the Libertarian Republicans a clear understanding that while the Republicans were not ideal for them the Democrats were much worse. In the end they were led to understand that the Republicans were more amenable to their message than the Democrats were. From the point of view of the Romney campaign the primary was a near thing. He won it, but without demonstrating that he could deal with the current very new political situation in America. Mitt only won the primary because he had no real competition. My suspicion is that the wealthy funders of the conservative Republican Party funded the crazy-clown-candidates primarily in order to trap Mitt into committing to the ideology they wanted. The primary was also a test of whether he could possibly get the unified Republicans to vote for him. G. W. Bush passed this latter test first, and was already one of the money Republicans because of who his father and grandfather were. None of the clowns in the primary were going to actually win the primary. That was one of the major goals of having the primary. The other candidates represented factions to whom it had to be demonstrated that they could not go it alone politically. The other candidates were all in the contest either because of the money they had access to (Perry and also Gingrich and Cain) or because they represented the evangelicals (Bachman, Santorum.) The primary was Mitt's to lose and he didn't. But the minority Republicans were sucked in and given the feeling they had a chance and that they had some influence in the Republican Party. The Ron Paul Republicans were the only ones not similarly suckered into supporting the national party. Even they were given the clear understanding that they had no other place to go. The Republican Primary gave the Libertarian Republicans a clear understanding that while the Republicans were not ideal for them the Democrats were much worse. In the end they were led to understand that the Republicans were more amenable to their message than the Democrats were. From the point of view of the Romney campaign the primary was a near thing. He won it, but without demonstrating that he could deal with the current very new political situation in America. Mitt only won the primary because he had no real competition. My suspicion is that the wealthy funders of the conservative Republican Party funded the crazy-clown-candidates primarily in order to trap Mitt into committing to the ideology they wanted. The primary was also a test of whether he could possibly get the unified Republicans to vote for him. G. W. Bush passed this latter test first, and was already one of the money Republicans because of who his father and grandfather were. None of the clowns in the primary were going to actually win the primary. That was one of the major goals of having the primary. The other candidates represented factions to whom it had to be demonstrated that they could not go it alone politically. The other candidates were all in the contest either because of the money they had access to (Perry and also Gingrich and Cain) or because they represented the evangelicals (Bachman, Santorum.) The primary was Mitt's to lose and he didn't. But the minority Republicans were sucked in and given the feeling they had a chance and that they had some influence in the Republican Party. The Ron Paul Republicans were the only ones not similarly suckered into supporting the national party. Even they were given the clear understanding that they had no other place to go. The Republican Primary gave the Libertarian Republicans a clear understanding that while the Republicans were not ideal for them the Democrats were much worse. In the end they were led to understand that the Republicans were more amenable to their message than the Democrats were. From the point of view of the Romney campaign the primary was a near thing. He won it, but without demonstrating that he could deal with the current very new political situation in America. Mitt only won the primary because he had no real competition.

What really matters politically?

The problems of Latin nations losing government control of the drugs moving into the U.S. are politically more important than Islamic nations who object to economic modernization and world trade. But that's just the current problems. Global warming will swamp both of those problems within a few very short years.

Clip this statement out. I promise. It will guide you to what is really important for the next decade and probably the next fifty years.

Sunday, May 06, 2012

How people make real decisons

This is really an interesting discussion. Jonathon Haidt, a social psychologist, has written The Righteous Mind and Chris Mooney, a linguist, has written The Republican Brain. Chris Hayes interviewed them May 5th.

The discussion is around the idea of how we think and argue politically. It begins with Jonathon Haidt describing how humans do not take an idea in, rationally analyze it and decide whether to accept it or not, then explain the rational decision to others. Psychology has established that we make our decisions for reasons other than rational ones, then develop a rationale which we present to others to convince them we are right.

That sounds like it throws rational science into a cocked hat, but it doesn't. What happens is that others take the rational idea presented, analyze that, then others make a decision which is probably more rational than the first person's decision was. It sounds to me as though rational decision making is more of a group process than an individual process.

Watch this clip and see if they don't offer a convincing argument.

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Sunday, April 22, 2012

Cats and Engineers

This is an engineer's guide to cats. I guess engineers have to do something with their spare time.


Saturday, April 21, 2012

Torture, Romney and the Republican Radical Right-wing

More American torture and its connection to Romney

This is a story posted by Mother Jones last Tuesday. (Hat Tip Digby this morning.)

On the world stage, Guantanamo may well stand as the epitome of American human rights abuses. But when it comes to torture on US soil, that grim distinction is held by two aging African American men. As of today, Herman Wallace and Albert Woodfox have spent 40 years in near-continuous solitary confinement in the bowels of the Louisiana prison system. Most of those years were spent at the notorious Angola Prison, which is why Wallace and Woodfox are still known as members of the Angola 3. The third man, Robert King, was released in 2001; his conviction was overturned after he'd spent 29 years in solitary.

Wallace and Woodfox were first thrown into the hole on April 17, 1972, following the killing of Brent Miller, a young prison guard. The men contend that they were targeted by prison authorities and convicted of murder not based on the actual evidence—which was dubious at best—but because they were members of the Black Panther Party's prison chapter, which was organizing against horrendous conditions at Angola. This political affiliation, they say, also accounted for their seemingly permanent stay in solitary.

For four decades, the men have spent at least 23 hours a day in cells measuring 6 feet by 9 feet. These days, they are allowed out one hour a day to take a shower or a stroll along the cellblock. Three days a week, they may use that hour to exercise alone in a fenced yard. Wallace is now 70; Woodfox is 65. Their lawyers argue that both have endured physical injury and "severe mental anguish and other psychological damage" from living most of their adult lives in lockdown. According to medical reports submitted to the court, the men suffer from arthritis, hypertension, and kidney failure, as well as memory impairment, insomnia, claustrophobia, anxiety, and depression. Even the psychologist brought in by the state confirmed these findings.

Consider this in light of this revelation from Slate By Larry Siems (author of the website www.thetorturereport.org and then of the book The Torture Report: What the Documents Say About America’s Post-9/11 Torture Program.) yesterday. Larry read nearly 140,000 formerly classified documents about America’s abuse of prisoners since 2001 to extract this summary:
On Sept. 17, 2001, six days after the terrorist attacks in Washington, D.C., President George W. Bush sent a 12-page Memorandum of Notification to his National Security Council. That memorandum, we know now, authorized the Central Intelligence Agency to set up and run secret prisons. We still don’t know exactly what it says: CIA attorneys have told a judge the document is so off-limits to the courts and the American people that even the font is classified. But we do know what it did: It literally opened a space for torture.

[...]

Here is what I learned.

Our highest government officials up to and including President Bush, broke international and U.S. laws banning torture and cruel, inhuman, and degrading treatment. Worse, they made their subordinates in the military and civilian intelligence services break those laws for them.

When the men and women they asked to break those laws protested, knowing they could be prosecuted for torture, they pretended to rewrite the law. They commissioned legal opinions they said would shield those who carried out the abuses from being hauled into court, as the torture ban requires. “The law has been changed,” detainees around the world were told. “No rules apply.”

Then they tortured. They tortured men at military bases and detention centers in Afghanistan and Iraq, in Guantánamo, and in U.S. Navy bases on American soil; they tortured men in secret CIA prisons set up across the globe specifically to terrorize and torture prisoners; they sent many more to countries with notoriously abusive regimes and asked them to do the torturing. At least twice, after the torturers themselves concluded there was no point to further abuse, Washington ordered that the prisoners be tortured some more.

They tortured innocent people. They tortured people who may have been guilty of terrorism-related crimes, but they ruined any chance of prosecuting them because of the torture. They tortured people when the torture had nothing to do with imminent threats: They tortured based on bad information they had extracted from others through torture; they tortured to hide their mistakes and to get confessions; they tortured sometimes just to break people, pure and simple.

And they conspired to cover up their crimes. They did this from the start, by creating secret facilities and secrecy regimes to keep what they were doing from the American people and the world. They did it by suppressing and then destroying evidence, including videotapes of the torture. They did it by denying detainees legal process because, as the CIA’s Inspector General put it in a 2004 report, when you torture someone you create an “Endgame” problem: You end up with detainees who, “if not kept in isolation, would likely divulge information about the circumstances of their detention.”

Like Digby I was angry at the torture of the Black Panthers in Louisiana's Angola prison. Digby points out that the Angola Warden Burl Cain is responsible for keeping the two men in solitary for four decades and intends to keep them there until they die for fear that releasing them from solitary will let them "infect" the younger Black prisoners with their Black Pantherism. But Cain also runs the prison to convert criminals to fundamentalist religion. Convert and you live well. Don't convert and you get the well-known Angola Hell. Needless to say the radical religious right-wing in America knows Cain well and applauds his actions to bring the criminals to God.

But Cain has been Warden since 1995. He was simply an early warning of the radical christianists well before they got George W. Bush close enough to election that the Supreme Court Federalist Catholics appointed him President over the rightful President, Al Gore. This is the culture the tea party Republicans and the religious right want to inflict on America with the election of Mitt Romney.

I have already concluded that the Bush Cheney administration will be one of the darkest recorded periods of American history, similar to Andrew Jackson's Trail of Tears. Just look at the Mother Jones article. Where has this come from? Andrew Jackson was a slave-holding frontiersman. Burl Cain is a Southern plantation master Louisiana Prison Farm Warden. The Republican Party today is the party of Louisiana, South Carolina and the rest of the Confederate South.

Mitt Romney is not simply a flip-flopper. He is the man the Republican Party has long ago selected to be the Presidential nominee they wanted to put up against Barack Obama in 2012, and he is a conservative Bishop of an extremely right-wing evangelical religious denomination. He is also a Zelig with a strong aristocratic set of core beliefs. Why did Romney react so harshly to Obama's mere comment that he and Michele were not born with a silver Spoon in their mouths?

Because it hit too close to home. Like Shrub, Romney was born on third base and thinks he hit a triple. And like Shrub, Romney is the representative of the very wealthy, very conservative radical right-wing Republicans who want to take America back from the Black/Muslim/Communist/Democratic usurper who might actually just rebuild the American economy from the very low level the Bush/Cheney administration left it.

Romney has been practicing his life-long talent for being a zelig in order to obtain the Presidency. Once he has done that he will hand this nation over to the militarists, the evangelical right-wing, and to the Wall Street free traders who make their money whether America prospers or declines as long as they remain unregulated.

Cat - The Existential Crisis

This says it all. Ask your cat.

Saturday, March 24, 2012

Romney is running to become Liar-in_Chief

Rachel Maddow has called Romney out. Romney is not just a flip-flopper. He is a liar, who when called on his lies, then lies about them. Mitt Romney cannot be trusted. Nothing he says seems to be based on anything other than whether it will fool someone into giving him something he, personally, wants.

Here's Rachel Maddow's description of the lies Romney has been telling over and over again.

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That's not enough to convince you? Here is his flip-flop on Climate Science.

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Homophobic politician? Probably Gay.

This is too good. Good music with a message.



By Katie Goodman.

This Presidential election is really going to be a culture clash between the agricultural rural conservative Republicans and the industrial urban Democrats, and the Republicans are in panic mode.

Saturday, February 25, 2012

How to rebuild American cities and suburbs

Here is a superb discussion of how the American suburb needs to be redesigned. Michael Bell starts at about minute 2.0

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Friday, January 27, 2012

Conservatives and Liberals experience the world differently

When someone reacts to something conservatives say by asking what universe they exist in, the question may make sense beyond just being snark. Science is beginning to determine that liberals and conservatives really do live in different universes. This is a quick report from Wired.

Research has already shown that, compared to liberals, conservatives display heightened responses to threatening images. Michael Dodd of the University of Nebraska wanted to explore this in finer detail: He showed 46 left- or right-leaning Nebraskans a series of images alternately disgusting (spiders on faces, open wounds) and appealing (smiling children, cute rabbits.) Dodd's team found that conservatives reacted most strongly to negative images, and liberals most strongly to positive photographs.

Then he showed them pictures of well-known politicians. The same patterns held: Conservatives displayed more distaste than liberals for politicians they disliked, while liberals felt more positive than conservatives about politicians they liked. Given these and other findings, wrote Dodd's team, "those on the political right and those on the political left may simply experience the world differently."

That sounds pessimistic, but it doesn't have to be. It can be a healthy reminder that people with whom we disagree aren't stupid or irrational; they just have different perspectives.
""
Image: Each graph depicts the arousal response of conservatives (triangle dots) and liberals (square dots) to images that are disgusting or appealing (left set) and pictures of opposing politicians (right set). (Dodd et al./Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B)

Citation: "The political left rolls with the good and the political right confronts the bad: connecting physiology and cognition to preferences." By Michael D. Dodd, Amanda Balzer, Carly M. Jacobs, Michael W. Gruszczynski, Kevin B. Smith and John R. Hibbing. Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B, Vol. 367 No. 1589, March 5, 2012.