RED STATES AS IN RED INK

August 19, 2016

Kansas and four other red states have the slowest growth rate in the nation. Too much budget cutting at state level, too much dependence on fossil fuel exploitation (always an up and down business), too much fantasy economics, too many reasons educated people would rather live somewhere else.  Would anybody smart enough to start a new and successful business voluntarily do it in Oklahoma or Kansas or Wyoming?

These states do have wide open gun laws so maybe they’ll attract all those NRA members feelings abused in coastal blue state enclaves.  Not likely that ammo sales alone will help a state’s economy grow…

IS TRUMP AGAINST TRUMP’S CANDIDACY?

August 12, 2016

Is Trump trying to lose?  Or has he lost something mental that would inhibit him from making claims only a small fraction of the population can believe?  Now he’s saying Obama and Hillary Clinton co-founded ISIS.  That’s outside even the most whacko wing-nut conspiracy theories.

It may be he’s calibrating how to make money out of his notoriety after this campaign that’s been over a year long.  Here’s what he said on recent CNBC interview: “I’m a truth teller.  All I do is tell the truth. And if at the end of 90 days I fall short because I’m somewhat politically [incorrect] even though I’m supposed to be the smart one and even though I’m supposed to have a lot of good ideas, it’s OK. You know, I go back to a very good way of life.”

NOVEMBER 9, 2016

August 2, 2016

Trump may be setting the stage for a violent election aftermath like we’ve come to expect in wide swaths of the Southern Hemisphere…but this time right here in America.  In over 200 years of electoral politics we’ve never had post-election violence, people shot at the polls, etc.  These things are quite common in many other countries.  But some bluster from the Trumpists may be bringing it all back home.

He’s already claiming “rigged election” even though there is little evidence anywhere in America of rigged voting in any recent election…it’s been years since the elder Mayor Richard Daley ran Chicago precincts…Little evidence of exists in the U.S, of election tampering besides Republican attempts to disqualify the poor and the unlicensed.  We do have to worry about hacking of all-electronic voting in some states where machines are archaic and easily hacked.  But that’s likely to be done by Russia, and for Trump, right?

We should definitely expect Trump to be filing lots of lawsuits after the election, trying to get the decision into the 4-4 split Supreme Court. (Thanks to Republicans for an incomplete court destined to produce many tie votes). Can Trump manage to get his lawsuits into right-leaning District Courts so if the SCOTUS ties at 4-4, the lower court decision stands?  Can Trump truly precipitate the first constitutional crisis in American history since the Confederacy?  He will if he can find the lawyers to do it for him. We all know how Trump feels about “losers” and bankruptcies and divorces and lawsuits be damned, Trump ain’t never lost nuthin’.  That’s for weaklings.

“Bloodbath” is one word being bandied about by Trumpsters…if Hillary has the gall to claim she won this election.  Fortunately Trump is not a governor and he has no National Guard to call up to back up his words.  It would not be surprising as he continues to froth and make others froth (his crowds are now booing parents of American military!) if there’s some folks incited to try to take violent action and stop the supposed illegal Hillary campaign.   The one Brexit related assassination in England could be an example to the angry right here.  Finally, a chance to cash in on all those Second Amendment truths they take to be self-evident, the guns are for mlitia to resist federal tyranny.  Isn’t that the “reasonsing?”  Trumpsgters will not all go quietly.  After all, the Trumpists must truly believe Hillary is an unindicted felon who should be in prison right?  Rigged system. When things are this illegal it is time to invoke the right to revolt, it will be said. And the Republican “leaders” will follow on, but don’t expect McConnell or Ryan to be in the streets with AK-47s backing up the Trump Troops when push comes to revolt.

WHO’S GOT MORE MOJO–GUNS OR BUTTER?

July 30, 2016

In this land of money and power merging, where a self-proclaimed billionaire with unlimited talent for bullshit is hoping to become President so he can sell more steaks and t-shirts, where lobbyists often equal political blessings, now we are about to see if the ag biz (butter) has as much clout as the gun industry.  You cannot sue any gun maker no matter what the case no matter how people are killed by a great weapon with a huge clip, firing a round every two seconds.

Can you sue the ag business for polluting ground water that is needed by thousands of other humans for drinking?  Do farms get to flush their toxics into the ground water with impunity?  There is now a clear-cut case in Iowa, Des Moines drinking water comes from rivers full of nitrates…can’t imagine where those come from. It will be adjudicated sometime next year and if the city wins it will–for the first time–be a clear case of forcing big ag to pay its fair share.  Tantamount to having fossil fuel companies help pay for clmate change abatement.

WHAT AILES FOX?

July 21, 2016

Roger, over and out. Roger Ailes may not linger longer at Fox “News.” How this propaganda network will change is still to be determined but analysts say the younger generation of Murdochs are not as rabidly right-wing as Ailes or Murdoch pere.  Apparently Ailes’ departure could lead to the retirement of Bill O’Reilly when his current deal is up.

The throes of change at Fox are a chimera of what’s happening in the Republican Party.  Fox is in a virtual world, while Republican office holders actually go about mucking with people’s lives.  Stopping women from getting abortions; refusing to let same-sex scruples marry; trying to keep dark-skinned citizens from voting; wanting to deport kids who’ve been raised and educated in America; declaring open-carry for guns so that the majority of Americans (who own no gun) must go about worried about their gunnutter neighbors armed with automatic weapons and lots of ammo.

The Fox network has been crucial in spreading the Republican message that America is in decline, that more guns mean more freedom and security, that non-white humans are a danger and are causing the decline with their evil enablers in the liberal Democratic party. So macho is Fox that most American militarty bases find it convenient to show only Fox “News” on their office TV sets.  The Clintons, of course in the Fox political faith, are the spawn of some devil, Obama can’t possibly be an American Christian–look at that skin. And then there all those freedoms we’ve lost since Obama became President, and his secret plan to confiscate all the Republicans’ weapons of mass murder, all those very necessary assault rifles that make America free.  All part of the fact-free faith.

How stark are the changes happening among the angry right white fringe this election season?  Ailes’ career goes back to when he was a media expert on Richard Nixon’s team.  His is a long record of highly sophisticated media manipulation and cynical use of public opinion by targeting “the other.”  Remember Nixon’s courtship of the Neo-Confederacy?  So now a whole generation of right-wing courtiers courting southern racism is passing away.

Now we have the Republicans’ official platform calling for re-regulation of the biggest banks!  That sure smacks of big government if not actual soft-fingered socialistic tendencies.  This is not the same Republican Party and conservative adherents that have depended on older white rural, southern and suburban voters. It is a party in crisis, searching for a way forward.  Senator Cruz sets the tone, very angry and very unwilling to bend.  How many Republican Parties are needed to represent the various faiths involved now? Government haters and anit-federalists, Christian America, anti-feminists, same sex love haters, abortion is murder so first let’s kill all the doctors, overseas interveners because America is always right with its might, various types of race-war promoters and neo-Nazis, rabid de-regulators, corporate capitalists who worship economic growth and just want government to do what they tell it and nothing more, the blamers–of black men shot by cops or people on welfare or people addicted to some prescription med or heroin or some kid whose parents  brought him to America when he has two years old, and even the isolationists who can’t like the interveners.  Naturally the libertarians who prize individual freedom and the Christian crusaders who want all regs to match their own version of the scriptures can’t really even understand one another…oh, it is all so garbled and mad and maddening. No wonder so many nominal Republicans want violent action and radical change.  Just do something already, we don’t care what the consequences are.   These are people who know nothing of the history of revolutions, including recent ones in the Mideast, do not know that most radical changes end up being bad news for a lot of people.  Once set in motion revolutions most often spin out of control.  The United States’ own revolution was a marvelous exception because it was so closely managed by a brilliant and small elite of smart white men when they could easily control most power in an isolated region.  That world is dead.  The recent histories of the 2008 Recession, Brexit, Yugoslavia, Soviet Union, Iraq, Turkey, Syria, Afghanistan, Somalia, Sudan, Libya, Yemen, Myanmar, Columbia, El Salvador, Venezuela, ebola, zika, climate change and regional drought, continued rampant population growth in poor nations–these are the stories that pertain in today’s world.  You bury your head in the sand today and some unregulated triple-trailer truck will run you over on the way to the next profitable cargo stop.

We now see a Republican Party that cannot deal with globalization, the Internet, the young adults moving back from suburbs to central cities, the widespread recognition that we humans are destroying the planet’s livability. How far away from its Eisenhower/Nixon roots this party has gone?  Well, don’t you dare mention that the stock market has been setting records in recent weeks.  Even the anti-government types now have to admit that Reaganomics don’t work and nothing trickles down, it all floats to the top.  It’s the shit floats law of capitalism.  That reminds me, Ailes will leave Fox a very wealthy old man.

What will happen after the election, how Fox changes, how the angry Trumpsters react with their fury and guns when they are denied the revenge they demand–these are all interesting and troubling questions to be answered after the November election.

 

 

AMERICA’S ARAB SPRING

July 20, 2016

This week’s Republican Conventioneers are taking part in our homeland’s own version of the Arab Spring revolts.  Plenty of anger at the system, no idea what would happen next or even what SHOULD happen next.  It’s all about tearing down, stopping what’s going on.

Gotta put gays back in the closet.  Stop women from getting birth control or abortions.  Have every adult carry assault weapons at all times.  More guns gonna make us safe, right?  Get back all those freedoms that somebody took away in the past eight years…those freedoms that were so precious back when Dick Cheney strode the corridors of power.  Back when we blasted out those weapons of mass destruction in Iraq, remember?  Bring back all-American torture.  We’re special, we should be able to torture whomever and wherever we want.

In a brutal dictatorship where nobody gets to vote (Syria, Egypt, Libya, etc.) you need to take to the streets.  But don’t expect it to make anything better, ok? Just trade one patriarchy for the next.

But now we’re seeing Americans who claim to support the very same party that they helped vote into a Congressional majority for half of President Obama’s two terms…and they feel that they are dismissed, ignored and down-trodden by…their own Republican Party?  No, they can’t admit that so they blame it all on Obama and that she-devil, Hillary.  Nihilism has never been a wise political ideology but it certainly has served Der Trump-fuhrer well so far.

So now the Republican Party, that has spent four decades licking the boots of Wall Street, Big Oil and Big Pharma is suddenly angry that the stock market is setting records but little folks have meager wages?  What party has been dead-set against raising the minimum wage for those four decades?  Remember that mantra that tax cuts for the rich means more jobs because we are all just waiting breathlessly for the super-rich to decide to hire you and me?  And how can anybody look at The Trumpster’s real business record and think he would help any worker make more money or even get a job?  The man whose record is rife with lay-offs, bankruptcies and prevarications about money and value and worth?   Don’t show me the money, just show me the tax returns.

Trump was a rabid birther about Obama.  Well, I’ve become a rabid taxer about Trump.  I don’t think he’s half as rich as he pretends and I want to see evidence that he’s a billionaire, not just a clever borrower of other people’s money. More than a shrewd player of the bankruptcy sham.  Donald, show me the tax returns to prove you’re a red-blooded billionaire.

 

 

THE PARTY OF BIG BUSINESS GOES AFTER BIG BANKS

July 19, 2016

Gets this–the Republican platform adopted today calls for re-instituting Glass- Steagall, which would break up the largest banks in the U.S.  Wow, not sure even Bernie Sanders could get that into the Dems platform!  After how many years of Republicans bending over backward to save Big Money from Big Regulation?

Can’t wait for the first reporter to confront Republicans in Congress with their own party’s platform.  How long do you think it will take a Democrat to introduce legislation in keeping with this startling Republican platform, 180-degrees away from the party’s policies going back to Greed-is-good Reagan?

LOOKING UNDER ROCKS

July 16, 2016

When there is a mass killing anywhere in the world these days, the first suspicion is some form of Islamic terrorist, and then there is a frantic effort to find the links between the killer and some recognized group promoting mass killings in the name of that group and its program of tribal violence against those who don’t agree with them.

Sure there are issues of gun control in the US.  But truck control in the aftermath of Nice?  Huge, truck-repelling barriers around every pedestrian rich environment?

There are other stones we must turn over.  Newton, Columbine, the attempted Giffords assassination, killings at abortion clinics, Oklahoma City bombings, the South Carolina church massacre, the Norway massacre of liberlas and many others all done by white, non-Muslim males–not related to Mideast politics or some proclaimed “religious” jihad.  But in most of these cases there is a seriously mentally disturbed male killer, usually less than forty years old.  And there is often a history of domestic violence or at least hatred of women.

The Nice massacre was committed by a man with a violent record of domestic abuse and yet he was not even considered a public threat.  Crazy people do crazy things…it seems nobody wants to revisit our nearly global abandonment of mental health treatment and even forced incarceration.  We don’t have to go back to 19th Century loony bins, but we do need to stop pretending the unhinged open and close like most of humanity. Crazy is an crazy does.  Until we start spending the energy and money to treat and try to help we will continue to see insane things perpetrated by the insane.

We also need a serious  cross-cultural study of places where these killings do not happen.  Does Balinese or Inuit culture or dolphin society have something to tell us that we are too “civilized” to note?

 

 

FOSSIL FUELS DOWN TO SKELETON FORCE?

July 9, 2016

Lay-offs continue in the once-booming oil industry as lay-offs and bankruptcies continue.  If you’ve always hankered after a home in Oklahoma or North Dakota, this may be the time.  The fossil fuel industry is like most extraction industries from rice farming to gold mining–highs and lows, booms and crashes.  At least we won’t hear any Texas governor going around crowing about his state’s great economy … even though we all know that wealth is based on trashing the planet.  I would aver that for environmental damage cattle and oil rank pretty close to coal mining and fracking…way to go, Texas.

JUST ONE QUESTION

July 8, 2016

 

Can we now finally walk away from the pro-gun trope that a “good guy with a gun is the answer to a bad guy with a gun?”

There were plenty of good guys with guns last night in Dallas.  And those good guys, Dallas Police officers, were the target of a bad guy with the best of the gun industry’s killing machines.  The shooter apparently had American military training.  Bad guys intent on killing large numbers of humans don’t use hunting rifles or target pistols, they get really serious weapons with lots of ammo in the clips.  Thus they can inflict significant carnage, even when facing good guys with guns. The shootout lasted for hours until finally a robot delivered bomb ended it.  Arming all American adults and putting them into Kevlar is not going to stop mass killings as long as efficient man-killing weapons and unlimited ammo are widely available in the United States.  Technology matters.  It took a robot to do what many armed police couldn’t do.   End the killing.  And it is unleashed efficient gun technology that allows such mass killing in the first place.

One mass killing led Australia a few years back to remove most of the dangerous military style weapons from people there.  But Australia had the political will and didn’t have to face down a huge pile of lobbying money from gun makers.

So does anybody still pretend that a good guy with a gun is the answer to a bad guy with a gun?