Saturday, October 21, 2017

Think Gen. Kelly Isn't Just Another Politician Who Ignores Facts

False Attack Because He Didn't Know the Facts (Or Didn't Care)

In the midst of the lionization of Gen. John Kelly, Chief of Staff in the White House comes a true story which shows just what kind of man he is. From the AP is a report that completely contradicts Kelly's depiction of an event a Democratic Congresswoman who had the temerity to criticize Trump on his call to a Gold Star family.

John Kelly said she stunned the audience at the somber ceremony by recounting how she had been the driving force behind raising money for the building, the FBI's South Florida headquarters. But a video of her remarks at the dedication shows she never took credit for getting the government to come up with the money for the project. Indeed, the building was approved several years before she entered Congress.

Now people make mistakes. A decent person would apologize and move on. But that cannot be done by anyone associated with Trump. The Trumpie corrupts everyone around him. And in this case there is no spin, just the facts and the video to back them up.

KELLY: "And a congresswoman stood up, and in a long tradition of empty barrels making the most noise, stood up there in all of that and talked about how she was instrumental in getting the funding for that building, and how she took care of her constituents because she got the money, and she just called up President Obama, and on that phone call, he gave the money, the $20 million, to build the building, and she sat down. And we were stunned, stunned that she'd done it. Even for someone that is that empty a barrel, we were stunned."
THE FACTS: Kelly's recollection is incorrect. In her nine-minute speech at the April 10, 2015, dedication ceremony, a video of which was found by the South Florida Sun-Sentinel, Wilson never mentions the building's financing.
She did, though, spend up to three minutes talking about an effort she did lead — to have the building named after the special agents, Ben Grogan and Jerry Dove, who were killed in a 1986 gun battle in Miami. She recounted how she was asked by the FBI four weeks earlier to expedite a bill through Congress to name the building after Grogan and Dove. She said the process normally takes eight months to a year.
"I went into attack mode," she told the audience. She said she approached then-Speaker John Boehner, telling him "the FBI needs your help and our country needs your help." She said Boehner got the bill to the House floor for a vote in two days. She said she then rushed the bill to Florida Sens. Bill Nelson and Marco Rubio, who got the bill passed by that chamber two days later. President Barack Obama signed the bill three days before the dedication ceremony. The audience responded with loud applause.
"It's a miracle but it speaks to the respect that our Congress has for the Federal Bureau of Investigation," she said.
She then asked all first responders to stand so they could receive applause.

Friday, October 20, 2017

Justice in Virginia Like It's 1955

Just a Regular Headline from the Washington Post

Time travel is alive and well. For example, one can go back to mid 20th century bigotry and hatred in Virginia and find this headline.

Black man attacked by white supremacists in Charlottesville faces felony charge

Yes, it seems that inVirginia anyone an file a police report and then go to a magistrate and get a warrant issued. This particularly applies to white men who attack African Americans and then want the victim prosecuted for, well you know, getting in the way of a fist or a club or a gun.

The black man beaten in a Charlottesville parking garage by white supremacists after a “Unite the Right” rally has been charged with a crime in connection with the incident, even as police continue searching for some of the people who kicked him to the ground and pummeled him.
A local magistrate issued an arrest warrant Monday for DeAndre Harris on a charge of unlawful wounding after a man, identified by Harris’s attorney as Harold Ray Crews, reported that he was injured by the 20-year-old during the August brawl. Crews, who describes himself as a “Southern Nationalist” and an attorney on Twitter, did not return phone calls seeking comment.

But not to worry, Pence and Trumpie will be right on this as soon as they deal with the terrible problem of football players kneeling when the national anthem is played.

Trump's “Administration of Lies” Spreads to Economic Theory

Cutting Corporate Taxes Will Raise Employee Compensation – Huh?

One result of the election of an individual totally unqualified to be dogcatcher, much less President is that public officials are no longer held to the truth in supporting their policy proposals. So it is not really a surprise that the economic advisers in the administration go out and lie about the effect of cutting corporate taxes will have on employee compensation.

In a sign of how heavily the administration will lean on the argument, the president said last week in a speech in Pennsylvania that the proposal would “likely give the typical American household a $4,000 pay raise,” citing his Council of Economic Advisers.

The council is led by Kevin Hassett, an economist whose academic work has argued that high corporate tax rates hurt workers, and that when those tax rates fall, worker incomes rise sharply. The Monday report is the council’s first published study on the potential effects of the tax proposal.

How exactly does that happen? Maybe like this. When corporate taxes go down CEO's all around the country gather and say things like “You know, we have all this extra money now. Instead of increasing our pay or giving it to shareholders let's raise hourly rates and salaries of our middle managers. They deserve it and besides we have a lot of money anyway and the increased profits are just a windfall.” Yep, that's sure to be what happens.

The interesting thing is that the report this garbage is based on contradicts it in its first sentence.

The report begins with a declaration that “wage growth in America has stagnated,” even as corporate profits have soared, because “the relationship between corporate profits and worker compensation broke down in the late 1980s.”

That's right, for the last several decades corporate profits have sharply increased while real wages have been stagnant. So increasing corporate profits will increase wages? Right.  As for the economics, take a look at any college text on the subject and try to find this idiocy.

Sen. Lindsey Graham Sheds The Last Remnants of His Dignity

Not That He Had Much to Lose

Lindsey Graham, the senior senator from South Carolina has sometimes, not always but sometimes been an honest critic of the administration. In the campaign he called out Trumper for what he was. This summer he stated that he would not vote for health care reform that was just pushed through the Senate with no hearings or debate.

But apparently enthralled by being close to the Presidency he has completely caved. He urged the Senate to pass a bill without any consideration solely because his name was now on the bill. And instead of telling it like it is on the President he is now his golf buddy.

Graham may well be afraid that Bannon the Destroyer will support a primary campaign against him. But it was once thought craven political ambition was less a part of his DNA than it is in his fellows. But Lindsey has now gone out of his way to show that he is just as bad as the rest of them.   

Thursday, October 19, 2017

General Kelly Allows the Death of His Son in Combat to Become a Political Talking Point for Trumpie

Gen. Kelly Joins Others Who Give Up All of Their Self-Respect

Update:  Gen. Kelly has just come out with a strong defense of Trump and his call to the family of a fallen soldier.  This is just sad, just terribly sad.  This man has let a disrespectful President use the death of General Kelly's son for political purposes and has dishonored himself.  It is hard to believe that the pursuit of influence in the White House would lead a man to humiliate himself in this way.

The General also talked about how women used to be 'sacred'.  Turn around General, look at the man you are currently defending and enabling

Anger evolves into sadness when people like Gen. John Kelly, current Chief of Staff in the White House so adore their political positions that they will accept any humiliation and any injection into their personal lives. General Kelly's son died in Afghanistan. It was a horrific loss, as horrific as every other loss of life by the military in a situation that is not tenable in the long run. General Kelly has kept this very private, as is his right.

But Trumpie, who cannot touch anything without it turning to shit, used Gen. Kelly's son to make a political point. To build himself up Trump constantly tears down Obama, and in this case his strategy was to claim that Obama had no outreach to the families of fallen soldiers. And so he invited reporters to talk to Gen. Kelly and ask him what Obama had done. Of course it turned out Obama had Gen. Kelly seated next to him at a memorial meeting for families who had lost sons and daughters and spouses.

For Gen. Kelly now is the time to show courage and leave Trump. For the nation it is just another reason to recognize what the nation has placed in its highest office. And we say 'what', not 'whom' deliberately.

The Ultimate Word on the Stupidity of Suspending Cost Sharing Payments for Health Insurance

From Nicholas Bagley at TIE

When Someone Else Says It Better Than We Can We Print Them

Over at The Incidental Economist, a great health care forum, law professor Nicholas Bagley explans the idiocy of the administration's decision to end cost reduction payment to insurance companies. Here is his summary.

So taxpayers will have to pay increased premium subsidies at the front end. Then they’ll also pay the cost-sharing money through litigation at the back end. It’s a financial bath, and for no good reason other than sheer political cussedness.
What a stupid, profligate, and unnecessary mess.

The issue straight forward legally is this. Congress required the payments by law. Because Congress did not appropriate money for the payments the President could and did suspend them. But because we live in a nation of laws the insurance companies can go to court, get their payments and the appropriations issue will not stand in the way of a court ordered payment.

All we are left with is higher costs for everybody, and less health care for low and middle income families. That second thing, of course is what the Republicans always wanted.

Wednesday, October 18, 2017

Believe It or Not – A Cretin Even Bigger Than Donald Trump in Treatment of Women

Vindication for All Those Who Said Trumpie Was Not the Worst; Terrible But Not the Worst

No comments needed on this story from the WaPo.

Movie mogul Harvey Weinstein, already suspected of decades of sexual harassment, came under withering fire Tuesday with a new report accusing him of raping three women he had worked with during his long tenure as one of Hollywood’s most powerful figures.

The new report in the New Yorker magazine was followed within hours by a second article in the New York Times that included accounts from actresses Gwyneth Paltrow and Angelina Jolie about Weinstein’s harassment of them early in their careers.

The World is Beginning to Understand – The U. S. Will Not Fight Other Nation's Battles

Even If It Wanted To – Which It Does Not

It is no longer 1941. It is no longer 1945. The world military situation is shaped by events since then. And that situation is that despite the fact that the United States has a far more powerful armed forces than any other nation, or even a bunch of nations combined, the United States is not going to fight global wars.

The Saudi's are considering not taking their state oil company, Saudi Aramco, public. A major reason for the change in stated in a Financial Times blog.

In common with many other countries traditionally dependent on the superpower role of the US, the Saudis are beginning to realise that the United States simply cannot be relied upon as their ultimate defender. The realisation started under President Obama who made clear that the US did not want any further involvement in foreign wars. In Libya after the fall of Colonel Gaddafi the US said it would do no more than “lead from behind”. Under President Trump that sense of disengagement has been compounded by the realisation that US decision making is erratic and unreliable. Even a warm embrace can turn out to be meaningless.

There are many reasons why the U. S. is not and will not be a global military power. Nuclear weapons is one, the aging of the U. S. population is another. A third is the politics, the nation no longer has a stomach for massive foreign intervention and instead operates on the stealth in many countries.

Reality, there will be no more Vietnam's, no more Iraqi type wars. This will be tragic in many cases because of massive human rights violations that will take place. But World, you're on your own.

Tuesday, October 17, 2017

Justice Department Investigating Reverse Discrimination at the College Level

White Folks Must be the Victims – Just Look at Any Big College Campus

Since the 1960's the Justice Department has pursued, well, justice. The institutions in the United States had openly discriminated against minorities, primarily African Americans. All of us are proud of what the government did to correct what in effect was segregated higher education.

Now the Sessions Justice Department lead by a man so bigoted that he could not be confirmed as a federal judge because of his bigotry is continuing the tradition of confronting discrimination. Well, maybe not.

A Federal Investigation Into ‘Reverse-Discrimination’ at Harvard

The Justice Department appears to be looking into whether the Ivy League institution discriminates against certain applicants based on their race.

Okay, that sounds good. Finally the horrific bias against white folks will be corrected. That's right, the Attorney General is terribly concerned that white people suffer discrimination. How could he get such an impression. Well we presume the AG watches Alabama football and concludes that the racial make up of the football team reflects that of the University.

No People – Bob Corker is Not a Hero – Just Another Hard Right Wing Senator

Who Doesn't Care How Many People His Positions Harm

Under the rubric “the enemy of my enemy is my friend” a lot of folks are praising retiring Senator Bob Corker (R, Tn) for his attacks on the Trumpster. These people have just disregarded Corker's voting record. Far from being an independent thinker, Corker just parrots and votes the straight right wing way.

The man has no accomplishments in the Senate, he will soon leave and not even be a footnote in history. His legacy will be mixed in with those who think government should help the wealthy and harm the rest of the population. He is Trump with a southern accent.

Trump and Republicans Flat Out Blatantly Lie on Cost Sharing Reduction Payments

GOP Goes Beyond Spin

Health care and health insurance is complicated, as Trumpie found out once he started paying slight attention to the area. Here, as simply as possible, is the truth on Cost Sharing Reduction Payments (CSR).

When the ACA was adopted it provided for reduced deductibles and co-pays for low to middle income families for their insurance policies. The mechanism was for their insurance company to fund the reductions and then for the insurance company to be reimbursed by the government. This reimbursement requirement is law, nothing unclear about it.

But Congress, in their usual ineptitude did not provide for permanent appropriations to make the payments. So a judge ruled they could not be made. But they are still a legal obligation of the government.

So basically the insurance companies will have to go to court, which they will, to get their money. And they will get their money, the law is clear. So no, this is not subsidization of insurance companies, this is not a bail out. This is simply the government paying what it owes.

As for what the Republicans are saying on this issue, it just confirms that their strategy is that when they are wrong they just lie, lie, lie. 

Monday, October 16, 2017

Football Player Russel Okung Shows Courage, Humility and Grace

Calls for Players to Be an Active, Positive Force

Some NFL players were silently, peacefully and gracefully protesting the killing of unarmed African Americans by police. The start was made by a San Francisco player named Colin Kaepernick, who was blacklisted from the NFL for his efforts.

Russell Okung of the Los Angeles Chargers before an exhibition game in August. CreditJohn Hefti/Associated Press

Now another player has spoken up. Russel Okung is a Los Angeles Charger who has written an open letter to his fellow players. The first thing he did, the thing that gives him credibility is that he admists to being wrong.

Things have clearly gotten out of control. As a pragmatist, I will admit, I initially doubted the merits of Colin Kaepernick’s protest and questioned his strategy.

I was wrong.

There is now no doubt in my mind that what he did last season was a courageous, prophetic, self-sacrificial act that has captivated a nation and inspired a powerful movement.

If I had his cellphone number, I would tell him that.

That makes his message powerful. And the message is for the players to act as Americans, to communicate as one in a peaceful and powerful voice. Would that Trump and Pence learn from his quiet dignity.

Is There Still a Democratic Party?

Near Total Absence on the National Media Would Suggest Maybe Not

One of the most important things a political party can do is to be visible, to make itself and its positions known to the American voter. Republicans and their media lapdog Fox News do a great job of this. Democrats don't even both to show up.  It's not that so many people watch the shows, it that they get reported on Monday and get publicity for the people that speak.

On the Sunday morning news shows Republicans dominate. Is the problem that there are no leaders of Democrats to show up and defend their policies, or that there are just no policies to defend?  Democrats are certainly invited but just fail to show up. If they lose in 2018 and 2020, they have only themselves to blame.   

Sunday, October 15, 2017

A Courageous Letter to the NYT From Amy Farah Fowler

Otherwise Known as the Wonderful Actress Mayim Bialik

In the midst of the chaos that is the revelation that Harvey Weinstein is the biggest pig in Hollywood, a designation not easily achieved is a great piece in the NYT from an actress who portrays a character on The Big Bang Theory.

Mayim Bialik is a real person. She looks like a real person. After a successful career as a child actor she left the entertainment business to obtain a Ph D. in a difficult science area. She returned to acting to great acclaim as the girlfriend of Sheldon Cooper in a hit TV series. She writes of the pain of not being one of the glamorous people.

I grew up constantly being teased about my appearance, even from members of my family; my nose and chin were the main objects of discussion. As a teenager I started obsessing over the possibility of a nose job so that I would look more like Danica McKellar, with a chin job to balance things out. Soon I wondered if I should get breast implants to look more like Christina Applegate, who got so much attention for her curves. I consistently felt like a troll compared to many of my contemporaries. A “TV Guide” critic described me, in a review of the pilot episode of “Blossom,” as having a “shield-shaped” face of “mismatched features.” I never recovered from seeing myself that way.

A beautiful young actress

This should never happen in America. The nation is built on the principal of the supremacy of the individual and personal appearance has no place in the evaluation of a person, Trumpie be damned. Ms Bialik rightfully condemns Hollywood and more rightly calls on the nation to change.

I believe that we can change our culture, but it won’t be something that happens overnight. We live in a society that has treated women as disposable playmates for far longer than Mr. Weinstein has been meeting ingĂ©nues in luxury hotel rooms.
One major bright spot: We are seeing more women taking on prominent roles behind the camera. Women like Jenji Kohan and Jill Soloway are showing the kinds of female characters on their shows that we all know in real life but never got to see on TV. And more women and men are waking up to the fact that it is on us all to sound the alarm on unacceptable behavior.

In the meantime, I plan to continue to work hard to encourage young women to cultivate the parts of themselves that may not garner them money and fame. If you are beautiful and sexy, terrific. But having others celebrate your physical beauty is not the way to lead a meaningful life.

And a beautiful young lady in red

Saturday, October 14, 2017

How Stupid is the Decision to Eliminate CSR Payments?

Stupid to the Tune of $31 Billion in Additional Taxpayer Costs

The idiocracy that is the current Presidency is stopping the cost reduction payments required under ACA.  These payments reimburse insurance companies for lower the co-pays and deductibles required for low and middle income families.  They are required by law but since Congress has not appropriated the money to pay them a Federal judge has ruled they cannot be made if the President doesn't want to make them.  And now he says he don't.

But instead of saving money the move will be highly expensive.  From a forum by Charles Gaba.

Thanks to David Anderson of Balloon Juice for calling my attention to this analysis done by the Kaiser Family Foundation back in April which took a different methodolgical approach to this very scenario...and came to the following conclusion:
Any systematic increase in premiums for silver marketplace plans (including the benchmark plan) would increase the size of premium tax credits. The increased tax credits would completely cover the increased premium for subsidized enrollees covered through the benchmark plan and cushion the effect for enrollees signed up for more expensive silver plans. Enrollees who apply their tax credits to other tiers of plans (i.e., bronze, gold, and platinum) would also receive increased premium tax credits even though they do not qualify for reduced cost-sharing and the underlying premiums in their plans might not increase at all.
We estimate that the increased cost to the federal government of higher premium tax credits would actually be 23% more than the savings from eliminating cost-sharing reduction payments. For fiscal year 2018, that would result in a net increase in federal costs of $2.3 billion. Extrapolating to the 10-year budget window (2018-2027) using CBO’s projection of CSR payments, the federal government would end up spending $31 billion more if the payments end.
This assumes that insurers would be willing to stay in the market if CSR payments are eliminated.

Friday, October 13, 2017

Democrats Moving From Reality to Fantasy Land Think They Can Take the Senate in 2018

Think They Can Take the Senate in 2018

Dems Are the Child Left Behind at School; Just Cannot Do Math

In 2018 the math for the U. S. Senate is strongly in favor of the Republicans. Only a few are up for re-election while there are a huge number of Democratic Senators who will face tough fights. Victory for the Democrats would not be taking control of the Senate, it would be limiting losses to 2 or 3 seats.

But Politico is reporting delusions of grandeur by the Democratic party. Consider this headline from their site.

Democrats see path to Senate majority in 2018

The odds remain long for a takeover, but Republicans are still growing concerned.

Sorry Dems, there is no path, there is no yellow brook road, there is only a road to nowhere as far as winning the Senate is concerned. See to win elections you need good candidates, money and a favorable electorate. In all the Republican states none of this is apparent.

WTF -From the WaPo

The decision to charge DeAndre Harris in the Charlottesville parking garage attack that left him badly wounded is just the latest sign of how crazy our world has become.

Thursday, October 12, 2017

The United States is Not Good at Soccer – And That's OK

Let Other Folks Compete Once in a While

The sporting news is aghast that America has not qualified for the World Cup Soccer Championship.

Trinidad and Tobago, whose World Cup dreams ended months ago, stunned the United States, 2-1, on Tuesday night. The result, combined with just-as-shocking outcomes in two simultaneous games in Honduras and Panama on the final day of qualifying for the Concacaf region, ushered in the unthinkable: The American men, mainstays of the World Cup for more than a generation, are out of next summer’s tournament in Russia.
Instead, Panama, which rallied from a one-goal deficit for a 2-1 win over Costa Rica, will join the Ticos and Mexico in Russia. It will be Panama’s first trip to the World Cup.

So no big deal, really no big deal. Soccer is popular in the U. S. but it is not a dominant sport. It is a great sport for young boys and girls because it is relatively safe, does not require expensive equipment, is easy to learn and everybody can play and contribute. But that doesn't mean the nation must dominate the sport, or even be able to compete in international competition.

See other countries matter, and if they are more dedicated to the sport let them enjoy their success. Beside the critical issue in sports in America is not winning, it is whether or not employers can force their employees to stand for the national anthem. Forced patriotism, that's what it's all about now.

Problems Accelerate in Europe

While Americans Obsess Over the Petty

This post does not denigrate the protests by professional athletes who are concerned over racial justice and other issues in the nation. Those protests are legal, appropriate and heartfelt. But the President has made them into an issue of division in his attempt to divide America into Us and Them. And in doing so he has elevated the protests into being a greater issue than is appropriate without creating the focus on the issues, which are the really important things.

And even worse, America's infatuation with the fatuous is obscuring the nation's focus on where it should be, which among other things is the growing concern about Europe. That area is becoming a serious mess.

Britain is struggling with an ill advised decision by the electorate to leave the EU. The Prime Minister is weak and ineffective. Scotland is still talking about leaving and the Conservative party is so bad that it is elevating an offensive and myopic Labour leader to prominence.

France elected a young dynamic leader, and then when he tried to implement the policies he ran on the electorate deserted him.

Germany is split, and for the first time in the post war era neo-Nazi hard line right wingers will enter the national legislature. It is not clear yet how Merkel will be able to form a coalition government.

Poland is falling further under the sway of right wing nationalists who are destroying some democratic norms in the country.

Hungary has for several years been controlled by xenophobic right wing leaders who also are enemies of democracy.

Turkey, which could have been a great member of Europe, a democratic Muslim majority nation, is now subject to a sectarian dictator who has destroyed any hope that Turkey would be a constructive member of the EU. That Turkey could join the EU is now just a fantasy.

Finally, Spain's government reacted in the worst way possible to the effort in Catalonia to hold a referendum on independence. Instead of just ignoring the voting the Spanish government violently attacked its own citizens and probably intensified the crisis.

But in the U. S, focus is on a stunt driven VP who thinks the American people are so stupid that they can be fooled by a pre-planned drama. Ok, maybe his followers are that stupid.

Wednesday, October 11, 2017

Something is Rotten in the Manhattan's D. A. Office

They let Ivanka Trump and siblings escape prosecution.

They let Harvey Weinstein off after there was tape of his sexually assaulting a woman.

This needs to be investigated.

Rapist Granted Joint Custody of Child He Fathered

Today in Outrage

Reliable news sources are reporting that a local judge in Michigan awarded parental rights to a twice convicted sex offender who was charged with rape that produced a child.

A Sanilac County Circuit judge has granted parenting time and joint legal custody of an 8-year-old boy to a convicted sex offender who allegedly raped the child’s mother nine years ago.
Christopher Mirasolo, 27, of Brown City was awarded joint legal custody by Judge Gregory S. Ross after DNA testing established paternity of the child, according to the victim’s attorney, Rebecca Kiessling, who is seeking protection under the federal Rape Survivor Child Custody Act. A hearing is scheduled for Oct. 25.

Gosh, what about the father. Well there is this.

According to Kiessling, Mirasolo forcibly raped and threatened to kill her client, now 21, nine years ago when the woman was 12. Mirasolo was 18 when the incident occurred in September 2008.
. . .
While the assault potentially carried a penalty of life or any term of years but not less than 25 years, Mirasolo was given a plea deal by the Sanilac County Prosecutor’s Office for attempted third-degree criminal sexual conduct.
Mirasolo was sentenced to one year in the county jail but only served six and a half months before early release so he could care for his sick mother, Kiessling said.
She (client) and her family was told first-time sex offenders weren’t sent to prison because people come out worse after they go there,” said Kiessling.
In March 2010, Mirasolo committed a sex assault on a victim between the ages of 13 and 15 years old. He served only four years for that second offense, Kiessling said.

The judge is not commenting, and yes the judge is male.

Conservatives who believe in father's rights and the sanctity of life are noticeable silent, focusing instead on football players kneeling during the national anthem. In their minds, a much more important issue than mother/child welfare.

Tuesday, October 10, 2017

Nuclear Energy is Spiraling Downward – Huge Costs of Building a Plant Are Dooming Industry

And Duke Energy Wants Ratepayers to Pay for Failure

Nuclear reactors to produce electricity is a dying industry. The industry always had a limited future because it generates killer waste and there is no place to put it. But in the last few years it has faced a new killer threat, costs. The amount of money it takes to build a nuclear plant is huge, and there have been massive cost over-runs on plants under construction. So much so that plants are being abandoned left and right and Toshiba who builds plants may well go under.

Duke Power has stopped working on a nuclear facility. And they want rate payers to pay for the mistake of management in starting it in the first place.

Duke Energy Carolinas wants to cancel its planned Lee Nuclear Station and will ask regulators to allow it to recover at least $368 million in planning and pre-construction costs from N.C. customers.

Duke notes its plan for Lee as part of its request for a 13.9% rate increase filed Friday with the N.C. Utilities Commission. And it filed a separate proposal specifically on canceling the project. Duke filed both with the commission shortly after 10 a.m. Friday.

But ratepayers are not the ones who made the decision to start a nuclear plant. That was done by management who is put in place by the Board of Directors who represent the shareholders. This one should be on them, the shareholders, and not the customers.

Lower Middle Income Americans Had Large Gains Under Obama – And Voted for Trump

Because a Lot of Them are, Sorry to Say, Misogynistic Bigots

One of the many myths of America is that those hardworking non-college educated voters did not gain anything from the Obama years and in reaction they voted for Trump. Now new data says that is just not so.

Americans who were left behind as the country pulled out of the Great Recession — African Americans, Hispanics and people without college degrees — saw large gains in net worth over the past three years, the Federal Reserve reported Wednesday.

So why did these people go for Trump? Because, as we now know, Trump personified their intolerance towards non-white racial groups. The economics was just conventional wisdom that was wrong.

Of course, as everyone knows the gap between very wealthy Americans and the rest of us has not gotten better because yes, the system is rigged.

 The share of America’s income held by the top 1 percent of households reached 24 percent in 2016, a record high, and the median net worth of white households, at $171,000, was nearly 10 times larger than for black households.

The findings suggest that while a robust economy has benefited all economic groups, the wealthiest and most educated have been in a position to benefit even more because they began with such a significant advantage.

If the Dems were not so inept they could win elections on making the system fairer. But as we say, if the Dems were not so inept . . . .

Monday, October 9, 2017

Like Senator Cassidy Lied to Jimmy Kimmel; Trump Lies About Tax Relief for the Wealthy Disguised as Tax Reform

Government by the Rich, Of the Rich, For the Rich

The Republicans have succeeded in fooling the media into calling tax cuts for wealthy American tax reform. And of course none of them will point out this lie by Donnie the Trump.

My plan is for the working people and my plan is for jobs,” President Trump said Wednesday. “No, I don’t benefit, I don’t benefit. In fact, very, very strongly, as you see, I think there’s very little benefit for people of wealth.”

Well, let's see. First of all the proposal reduces the top rate. Assuming Trump is actually as rich as he brags, this is a huge benefit for him. But wait, there's more. Much of Trump's income comes from pass through entities like partnerships. That rate will be only 25%, down from 39%. Another Trump bennie.

And what else? Well the Estate Tax is eliminated, something that will benefit only multi-millionaires. And the Alternative Minimum Tax which is something that kept Trump from paying about zero tax in the one year we have tax info on him for is gone.

Of course, for middle income taxpayers who, gasp, live in Democratic states they will lose the deduction for state and local taxes.

So yes, tax fraud Republican style. Exactly what did you expect, a big tax cut for wealthy high profit corporations?  Oh, right, there's that too.

Trumpie Tells Lapdog Pence to Leave Football Game if Players Protest

If You Can't Stand the Heat Get Out of the Stadium

The sniveling coward known as the Vice President of the United States made a statement Sunday by walking out of a football game because some of the players had the temerity, the outright gall to protest. That is they exercised their rights as American citizens by expressing their displeasure about the state of racial relation in the nation.

The statement of course is that nobody has the right to question the government or to go against what Trumpie and his sycophantic VP have determined is how people should act. When Pence was asked what he said to Trumpie after Donnie told him how to act Pence did not say “Yes, master”.

Sunday, October 8, 2017

Ah, the Wonderful World of Billionaires

$5 Million is Chump Change to State Street - The Chumps Being Their Women Employees

Calling all cynics. Remember the Fearless Girl statue staring down Wall Street’s Charging Bull? It attracted enormous amounts of publicity and praise for its feminist message. Meanwhile, the $2.6 billion asset manager behind the public artwork, State Street, agreed today to pay $5 million to settle a discrimination dispute after a U.S. Labor Department audit found hundreds of female executives were allegedly being paid less than their male colleagues... —Katie Robertson

Saturday, October 7, 2017

This one Sentence on the Tillerson – Trump Issue Sums Up What is Wrong with Trump

Every American Should be Outraged

Every now and then a single statement in a news report says everything that needs to be said about what a person the U. S. now has as head of its government. From the WaPo reporting on the estrangement between Donnie and his hand picked, totally inexperienced Secretary of State.

And as Tillerson has traveled the globe, Trump believes his top diplomat often seems more concerned with what the world thinks of the United States than with tending to the president’s personal image.

Donnie Trump, the anti-Patriot, puts what is good for himself completely above what is good for the nation.

But then we all knew that, didn't we.

Friday, October 6, 2017

Think Bernie Sanders Big Government, Free Healthcare, Free College Might be the Right Way to Go?

Take a Look at Cuba

Those of us who are highly critical of the U. S. economic system are sometimes mistaken for people who would like more government intervention like socialism or communism. This is not true. Regulated capitalism is the best system. It's just that in America the regulators have been co-opted by the regulated.

As for government control of the economy, there is Cuba to consider. From The Economist.

Bound by a socialist straitjacket, Cuba produces little else that other countries or its own people want to buy. Farming, for example, is constrained by the absence of markets for land, machinery and other inputs, by government-set prices, which are often below the market price, and by bad transport. Cuba imports 80% of its food.

Paying for it is becoming harder. In July the economy minister, Ricardo Cabrisas, told the national assembly that the financial squeeze would reduce imports by $1.5bn in 2017. What appears in shops often depends on which of Cuba’s suppliers are willing to wait for payment. GDP shrank by 0.9% in real terms in 2016. Irma and the drop in imports condemn the economy to another bad year in 2017.

The government does not know what to do.

Now the United States is no Cuba. But state socialism may well take over the Democratic party. If it does they will lose, and they will deserve to lose.

Business Activity in Cuba

Secretary of State Rex Tillerson's Statement on Caling Trump a Moron

Real Fake News

This not what Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said in response to NBC reports that he called Trumpster a moron. But it is likely what he wanted to say.

Washington (APU) The Secretary of State came out from behind whatever place he goes to rue his ever having joined the current administration and read the following statement.

“There have been reports by NBC that I called Trump a moron. I cannot tell you how much I would like to say that it never happened, but I cannot say it never happened because first of all he is a moron and second of all that's what I called him. I am just sorry the moron had to find out from news reports instead of hearing it directly from the people.

Now there are those of you who think I should quit being Secretary of State because of this, but I ask you, have you ever been Secretary of State? The perks in the job are tremendous. I get to fly around the world and live the life of luxury, all provided by U. S. taxpayers who, thankfully, have no idea how much of their tax dollars I am wasting. People show me respect, and you cannot imagine how much abuse I got as head of a giant oil company whose products pollute the air, sea and ground.

While there are some negatives here, like having to outfit my wife in those atrocious Ivanka clothes there is nothing I would not do to grovel at the feet of Donnie, and he knows it. And if I have to sacrifice my dignity, so what, I never had that much to begin with so what's the loss.

I know that Trumpie wants Nikki Haley to take over my job, but unlike me she does not have vast foreign policy experience. Although we both are unqualified for any foreign policy job I have at least five days, maybe a whole week more time on the foreign policy job than she does. So I am going to punish Trumpie by making him keep me on, and if the whole country has to suffer,so be it.

Thursday, October 5, 2017

Republican Senator Says Health Care is a Privilege, Not an Entitlement

How Do These People Get Elected?

Every now and then a politician spills the beans and says what he and his party really stand for. Such is the case with Wisconsin Republican Senator Ron Johnson. He slipped his leash at a local school.

"Do you personally consider healthcare as a privilege or a right?" one student inquired.
Wisconsin's junior senator did not hesitate: "I think it's probably more of a privilege."
Now we don't know what kind of health care Sen. Johnson has, but it's a pretty good bet that since he is on the federal payroll he is probably getting good old government subsidized health insurance. And in return Sen. Johnson is working day and night to take health care away from low income people and give tax breaks to high income people. What a gent!

Sec. Of State Tillerson Called Trump a 'Moron'

But the Real Moron is Tillerson for Staying

Snarky Comments on the News.

  1. NBC is reporting on the strain between Secretary of State Rex Tillerson and the administration. Tillerson reportedly called Trump a moron in a public meeting. But given the lack of support and downright abuse that Trump has heaped on Tillerson it is Tillerson who is the moron for staying on. So we now have Tillerson and Trump as co-morons in the government.

  1. Zero. That is the number of deaths and injuries that would have been prevented had every person in the Las Vegas crowd that was fired upon by the one man army that killed 58 people and injured hundreds more. The gun folks like to say that arming people will prevent violence and death. In this situation it would have caused more deaths as the armed folks would have shot one another in the confusion.

  1. Fox News must be beside itself at Jimmy Kimmel. Imagine how upset they must be that someone is using his or her position on television to spout political opinions. Oh wait. That's what Fox News does, under the guise of 'news'. But we imagine they thought they had a monopoly on the practice.

  1. Even in the age of disgusting news has there been anything more offensive than video of Trump tossing paper towels to a crowd in Puerto Rico?

  1. Trump did not say something like “Why couldn't the LV shooter have been a Muslim? What a great opportunity that would have been.” No he didn't say that, probably thought it but for once his brain must have overruled his mouth.

  1. Exactly why does Melania accompany Trumpie on these disaster trips? Her body language screams that she would rather be somewhere else, any place else.

  1. Anyone else notice the disappearance of Ivanka and Jared from the scene. Jared, we are sure, is working night and day on Middle East peace and Ivanka is likely picking vacation spots where the couple wants to be when the next Trump embarrassment takes place.

Wednesday, October 4, 2017

Yeah But . . .

His Head is Up His Ass

From Taegan Goddard's Wonderful Site

Political Wire

Bonus Quote of the Day

“He’s learning. I know his heart’s in the right place.”
— Speaker Paul Ryan, quoted by The Hill, on President Trump and racial issues.

Trump to Add Cowardice to His Policy Towards Iran

Will Kill Deal But Not Kill Deal – Huh

Politico is reporting that the Trumpian strategy towards the Iranian deal is one that upon close examination is so stupid, so naive, so misguided and so ineffective that the result will be the rest of the world laughing at Trumpie. Trump wants to kill the deal, but the consequences are so large that he can't kill the deal. So here is what he is going to do.

Donald Trump’s national security team has unanimously recommended that he decertify the Iran nuclear deal – but that he stop short of pushing Congress to reimpose sanctions on Tehran that could unravel the agreement.

The impact of this action, zero. Nothing will change, it is just that instead of certifying that Iran is in compliance Trump will not certify that Iran is in compliance. But nothing else is expected to change. Congress will not reimpose sanctions, trade with Iran will not stop, Europe will not change its actions with respect to Iran and everyone stays the same.

So why do it? Well Trump's base is, to be polite, ignorant and can be easily fooled. So Trump will be able to tell his gullibles that he killed the deal when in fact he did nothing. And being as gullible as they are, the base will cheer and cheer. The rest of us, well we will just be astounded at how easy it is to fool the conservatives.

Tuesday, October 3, 2017

How Bad is Politics of Guns in America – Late Night Comedian Jimmy Kimmel Makes More Sense Than the House and Senate

Go Ahead Gun Lobby – Refute This

The Washington Post reports on the unfunny, deliberately so, comments of Jimmy Kimmel on the gun violence in Las Vegas. Here are some excerpts.

The Second Amendment, I guess, our forefathers wanted us to have AK-47s is the argument, I assume. Orlando, Newtown, Aurora, San Bernardino, every one of these shootings the murderer used automatic or semiautomatic rifles, which are not weapons you use for self-defense. They’re weapons designed to kill large numbers of people in the shortest possible amount of time. And this guy, reportedly he had 10 of them in his room, apparently legally. At least some of them were there legally. Why is that allowed? I don’t know why our so-called leaders continue to allow this to happen. Or, better question, why do we continue to let them allow it to happen?

Well we allow it to happen because a group of people care so much about the false issue that the government wants to take away all guns that they are willing to let the public have any gun.

President Trump is visiting Las Vegas on Wednesday, he spoke this morning, said he’s praying for those who lost their lives. In February, he also signed a bill that made it easier for people with severe mental illness to buy guns legally. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, Speaker of the House Paul Ryan, a number of other lawmakers who won’t do anything about this because the NRA has their balls in a money clip, also sent their thoughts and their prayers today, which is good. They should be praying. They should be praying for God to forgive them for letting the gun lobby run this country, because it’s so crazy.

And as we all know, the Congress is debating a bill to allow silencers on guns and the gun lobby would like to pass laws that make it much easier to buy armor piercing bullets.   

Attempting the Impossible – Trying to Defend Judge Roy Moore, GOP Senate Candidate

And Failing, Of Course

No conservative is too extreme for the WSJ opinion pages. No Republican should ever be condemned. Every candidate who espouses bigotry and hatred and racism, i.e., the GOP line is to be rehabilitated. And so we have an 'inside' look at Alabama's Roy Moore, you know, the man twice removed as head of the Alabama Supreme Court for gross violations of his duty.  A close associate of Judge Moore's reveals his good qualities.

What are his virtues? Well there is this.

In a case about contractual jury waivers, Chief traced civil juries to their Dutch and Frankish origins.

Wow, impressive, pretty useless and irrelevant, but still better than this.

He’d eat expired food and use what he called “Indian mud” (a k a “Black salve”) to heal ailments. He once put it on his leg, which he bared every morning so I could monitor its progress.

Don't remember that in the Constitution as a Senate qualification, what's wrong with you. But what about this.

A few weeks into the job, I was meeting with Chief to discuss a tort case regarding one party’s disputed “duty” toward another. Reasoning out loud, he passionately repeated the word “duty”—which of course sounds like “doody.” I succumbed to sophomoric snickering, the kind of laughter that only gets worse when you try to suppress it. A sterner judge would’ve reprimanded me. Chief simply shook his head, let me get my giggles out, and then proceeded as though nothing had happened.

Impressed yet? Maybe this will help.

But his critics don’t know the man who would buy his staff attorneys dinner if he noticed they were working late.

Yep, that's the best they can do. Pretty pathetic.

Puerto Rico Was Devastated by a Hurricane – That's Fake News

Direct From Trumpie Here's the Real Story

Despite the reporting and the video footage it turns out the Puerto Rico did not suffer a terrible destructive storm, and contrary to reports the Island is doing just fine. All that news about suffering is just the media's method of trying to attack Donnie.

Here's what really is going on, directly from the White House.

  1. The wind from the hurricane did not only not do any damage, it made the surfing and sailing great. Flocks of tourists are now flocking to the Island to surf and sail.

  1. Puerto Rico does not need any federal assistance, that's just what those people are saying to try and get benefits they don't deserve. It's not like they are rich people in Texas and Florida who really deserve federal government handouts.

  1. Instead of having to drink treated water, the people of Puerto Rico are now enjoying the pure taste of rain water collected in barrels.

  1. Any problems in Puerto Rico is the fact that its residents chose to be an island, you know, in the ocean rather than being part of the United States.

  1. Attorney General Sessions has formed a group to determine just how people on the Island became citizens and what can be done about an obvious mistake in making them citizens.

  1. The mayor of San Juan may be named Cruz but she's no Ted Cruz.

  1. A group called Pastors for Trump has the right idea. Lead by Alabama Senate candidate Ray Moore they rightly determined that Puerto Rico was punished for supporting those gangs in West Side Story.