Monday, November 27, 2017

Trump Surrenders, Again

With the withdrawal of support to the  Kurds in Syria and Iraq, Trump has surrendered to Turkey, Iran, Russia, and of course Assad in Syria.

 This cedes control of that whole region of the Middle East to Russia and Iran.

Trump has now strengthened Iran, as well as Russia; all to appease Turkey, an erstwhile NATO ally.

How can GOP conservatives, Saudi Arabia and Israel be happy with this development ?

I said that Trump surrenders again because in my earlier posts I wrote about his surrender of Asia to China and Eastern Europe to Russia. 

 Western Europe stands alone. Of course, Trump has alienated Mexico and Canada, and taken shots at Australia.

At least he's beloved by dictators, autocrats, kings, thugs and ( sadly) Israel.

Pax Americana is over and the US is going it alone for now.  Trump only wants only bilateral trade agreements that no one else really wants.  They may have to trade with us since we are such big, rich bullies; but the resentment will fester and eventually hurt us.

 I always thought  that the goal of trade was "win-win". Not according to Trump. By the way, trade deficits are meaningless "red herrings". 

These developments can only harm America in the long run. 

Monday, November 13, 2017

Tax Cuts For Donald Trump Act

The Tax Cuts for Donald Trump Act: 

That should be the name of the recently announced GOP tax plan. The major beneficiary of this tax plan is not the American public broadly but, instead, Donald J Trump and his family, personally.
First of all not reducing the highest income tax rate for higher earners is not relevant to Trump. Virtually none of his income is taxable at ordinary income tax rates .

Almost all of Trump's income comes from pass-through entities which will now be given a windfall tax rate of 25%. It is grossly misleading to say this new rate benefits small business. Most truly small businesses already pay at a 25% rate. Rather the only pass entities that will receive this unjustified windfall are the kind in which Trump is invested, including, of course, The Trump Organization.

The second major windfall for Trump and his family is the eventual elimination of the estate tax. It is grossly misleading to present this as a benefit for family farms and small businesses because under current law estates of up to $11,000,000 are exempt from  paying estate taxes.  This change is exclusively for the benefit of the .1% . This change alone would save the Trump family billions.

 Finally,  the elimination of AMT, as Rachel Maddow revealed, is the only thing that resulted in Trump paying meaningful taxes for that year, or  any year for that matter. Eliminating it, rather than appropriately modifying it to not apply to upper middle class taxpayers, would save Trump tens of millions of dollars. AMT was intended to insure that the rich still paid taxes. While it has ensnared more than the rich;  just terminating it would once again allow some of the richness among us to avoid paying any federal income taxes. 

Even this simplistic analysis (of but a few salient provisions of the GOP tax plan) clearly shows that  Donald Trump and his family personally would be a very major beneficiary of this tax bill.

Thus , "The Tax Cuts for Donald Trump Act" seems the most honestly descriptive name for the GOP's tax plan.


Monday, October 2, 2017

ACA and Gerrymandering

When you consider how many are still uninsured, and how much of our elections have been distorted  and will continue to be distorted for quite a while, was the Affordable Care Act worth it? With almost 30 million still uninsured, is what it accomplished worth the consequences ? 

It seems that largely due to the passage of the ACA, a GOP tidal wave took place in the 2010 election. And since 2010 coincidentally  was a census year, the GOP controlled and gerrymandered both Congressional and state districts to lock in GOP majorities in the House of Representatives for at least 10 years. Those gerrymandered GOP majorities will stay in place at least until 2020, unless the Supreme Court acts and declared gerrymandering unconstitutional .  

With all of the havoc which the GOP controlled House has reeked , and will continue to , reek, was it worth it if almost  3/4 of the pre-ACA uninsured remain uninsured. In addition  many people who had insurance feel their insurance options are worse today than before ACA. 

Will we look back on this as a good beginning , as with social security or Medicare , or a political disaster with not enough positive impact?

 While many provisions of the ACA are beneficial, I just question whether the ACA is accomplishing it's core primary goal of eliminating the uninsured. The price  paid so far is sustained undemocratic GOP control of the House of Representatives.


Why No Country for Kurds

Why until recently does almost no one talk about a country for the Kurds, but constantly focus on a country for the Palestinians?

The Kurds has been a separate people for centuries. They live in a relatively compact contiguous area which today constitutes parts of Turkey, Iraq, Syria and Iran. They are treated badly everywhere. In Turkey they were not even allowed to speak their own language. At least Palestinians are Arabs and Arabs have many countries. Do the Arabs really need another country, while the Kurds have none and the Jews just one.
All things considered the Kurds have a stronger claim to a country of their own to most countries  in that region. 

Almost almost all countries , except Israel , are against a country for the Kurds . Their positions are based on geopolitical stability.

 But what about the Left and academia? They passionately demonstrate for a Palestinian State, but seem to have no interest in the Kurds. Maybe if they were fighting Jews the Left would act differently. 

Monday, September 25, 2017

Just who is disrespecting the American Flag

Aren't those Trump supporters who carry around and waive Confederate Flags disrespecting and dishonoring those who fought and died to preserve our country? Isn't that dishonoring the American Flag?

Trump hasn't attacked them, nor has the media picked up on this issue. 

Also no one has asked why Trump even brought up this issue now in Alabama.  Kaepernick is not even in the league now. What brought on his tirade; perhaps his failing policies. 

Monday, September 18, 2017

A Return to Normalcy

Fake News from fringe Internet sites, abetted by Russian hacks etc. will  lead to a return of wide spread recognition of the legitimacy and reliability of established media.  

Most people will begin to recognize that you can't rely on the Internet for any credible information. Social media and fringe Internet sites are like the "Wild West". 

 In addition, foreign interference taints all but the most secure and reliable sources.

Of course, there will still be confirmation bias; but there is a big difference between political points of view from right and left, and outright phony agenda driven stories on the Internet. 

Standards, and the reliance on credible facts from reliable sources, will be viewed as important again.

People will largely return to trusting only objective, well researched articles etc. from decent widely respected credible people and organizations. 

Those sources will include: Network TV, including PBS;  Cable News such as CNN,  Fox News and MSNBC; and Major circulation Newspapers , Magazines and Periodicals.

The mania of Fake News will abate and a semblance of  Normalcy will Return. 


Tuesday, September 12, 2017

The Big Cleanse

If we can survive the next 3 ½ years without too much long term damage,
the Trump debacle may be just the thing this country needs to cleanse
itself of the madness released by Trump's candidacy and election. .

People will realize just how wrong and destructive Trump's behavior and
ideas are. They'll see there is a proper and important role for government
within a free and fair dynamic capitalist economic system.

The hatred, racism and anti-Semitism will be exposed for the cancer that
it is. Trump will be exposed for the fraud he is.

Maybe the Democrats will even see that the positions of the far left are
wrong headed and perhaps equally destructive.

We need trade, successful businesses and strong private sector unions to promote good paying jobs.
The tax code can be reformed without a vendetta to soak the rich in a
counterproductive way. We can provide for the poor, and better still,
provide opportunities so they don't have to remain poor and dependent

Cultural differences don't have to devolve into culture wars. As the Pope
once said "Who am I to judge?"

Competence and integrity will once again be important criteria for
high office. An appreciation for decency will return. Policies of
divisiveness will be rejected.

The dark side of Trumpism will be exposed and rejected. This couldn't have
happen without the fever that is Donald J. Trump.

Many have said that I'm too optimistic; but while not every Trump supporter will be convinced,  enough voters may come to  understand what a disaster Trump is to change future election results.


Wednesday, August 2, 2017

Voter Paradox

 In following the health care debate and reading about the proposed Trump tax cuts, among other issues, the following thought occurred to me:

 Why do so many of the very people who the Democrats care about the most-- the working class - hate them so much?

 While those same people love Trump, even though his policies don't help them, nor does he or the Republicans really care about them.

 For the Democrats to start winning over those working class voters and resume winning elections , they'll have to figure out how to over come this seeming paradox.

Monday, July 10, 2017

How to reverse a trend

I  was distressed to read about Sinclair Broadcast Group buying WGN and other Tribune local stations around the country.

This is  especially troubling since Sinclair requires that their local stations to adhere to their right wing party line propaganda.  This is unlike Fox which allowed it's local affiliates to be non-political.

That means Channel 9 here in Chicago will become a local version of Fox Cable News.

The only way out of this is for Democrats  to start winning elections.

As a good friend pointed out to me, for the Democrats to start winning ( at a minimum) they need to do the following:

1. Stop being so hostile to business ( where do they think the jobs come from).  

2. Hammer home Trump's love of tyrants and his cowardliness in defending our country from them.

I'm guessing many progressives won't agree with #1 above; but as long as we view ourselves as a capitalist country, hostility to business can only hurt the party.

Regarding the first point above, I just finished a book, The Mandibles: A Family, by Lionel Shriver. It was a near future dystopian novel set in an America in which a total financial and market meltdown had just happened. Many people were thrilled that the wealthy had lost all their money when the market and businesses collapsed.

That euphoria ended  when the government and people realized there were no incomes to tax because the rich had lost everything, and therefor there was no money to be generated from taxes for social services and the like.

 The government had to print more money, but of course, the dollar soon became worthless.

As to my second point, how can can conservatives and other patriotic Americans continue to tolerate President Trump's embrace of dictators and autocrats while insulting our democratic allies? His defense of Russian subversion of our democracy is down right cowardly. Why doesn't he have the courage to stand up to Putin, but has no trouble dumping on our allies. 

The Democrats can reverse this Trumpian trend if they can be identified as supporting the American economic system and exposing Trump's patriotism and his lack of courage in the face of our foes. 


Monday, June 19, 2017

Jobs, jobs, jobs?

Help me out here with the following :

1. Trump, as well as Sanders, and all politicians for that matter, promise
they will put Americans back to work by creating millions of new jobs.

2. The unemployment rate is at 4.3%

3. Many stories abound lamenting the number of unfilled job openings.

For example, Governor Walker, at a recent Trump rally, talked about the all
time high number of job openings in Wisconsin . Most were not high tech.

This morning I read a story in a real estate publication about a near
crisis of a labor shortage in the construction industry ( no advanced
education needed I assume). Projects may not be built due to shortage of

How do we reconcile 1 with 2 and 3 above?

Notwithstanding what we're otherwise told, apparently the jobs are already out there
and they don't all require advanced education.

I'd like to see a thoughtful, well researched analysis on this apparent

Monday, June 5, 2017

Trump Surrenders

Donald Trump has essentially surrendered America's geopolitical,  military and economic leadership, influence and  prominence in the world; all to the detriment of our country's security and prosperity.

While this harkens back to old fashioned  "America First " and "Know Nothing" doctrines of the past, it won't work in today's global economy and geopolitical world. While some may call this "Splendid Isolationism", it seems more like "Belligerent Isolationism"; given his propensity to throw bombs and missiles around at will.

The United States will be diminished.

How can this be allowed to stand ? Where is  the traditional GOP and real Conservatives?  Sadly many Progressives may not object to certain this aspects of  Trump's strategy.

We can't allow the Trumpkins, the Greedy and the GOP job holders to harm our country unchecked.

Yes, Trump is  the "Disrupter" his supporters have longed for, but be careful what you wish for:  The climate change and health care debacles and coming tax "reform" ( with ballooning deficits and debt) will overwhelmingly benefit the rich to the real detriment of everyone else, including most true believer Trump supporters.

As I've written before, with the rejection of the TPP and our withdrawal from the world stage, Trump will have ceded world dominance to China and Russia and leadership of the "Free World " to perhaps Germany, or no one at all.

Russia will be the primary beneficiary of all this , along with China. Trump has given Russia the green light in Europe and the northern Middle East, and China a free hand in Asia and everywhere else.

As to Germany, after Trump has disparaged their country and its leader, there are hints that Germany may have no choice other than to re-arm. Do we really want that?

He has alienated both Canada and Mexico, among others. To what end?
The only allies of ours that are happy with Trump are Israel ( sadly), kings  and autocrats.
Presumably he's doing this to put America First, but in fact loss of American global dominance and free world leadership actually will make  America less prosperous and secure, and consequently not as great.

For example, every knowledgeable person I know says the US almost always gets what it wants in all international  trade agreements, and our NATO and other military presence globally underpins and sustains much of our economic dominance and prosperity.  If you don't believe me, just ask any Leftist.

America First, anti-trade and isolationism will actually hurt America, both morally and economically,  and will  make America less secure.

Unless there is an about-face after the next election or two, things will start to go in the wrong direction for our country. 

Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Iran Reality

I do not believe Iran is the existential nuclear threat to Israel  that has been portrayed by the Israeli right or the other opponents of the nuclear deal with Iran for the following reasons:

  1. Does Iran hate Israel enough to set off a nuclear attack that would result in :
             a. The death of millions of Iranians when Israel retaliates.
             b.  The deaths of millions of Palestinians who live in Israel and the West Bank.
             c. Radioactive fallout and death all over the Levant, depending on which way the wind blows
             d. US attack destroying what's  left of their military arsenal and much more.

 Iranians won't tolerate it when millions of their own people die and their economy is destroyed.

 2. This is especially true given that  Iran: 
             a. Is not even an Arab state ,
             b. Is not Sunni Muslim , and
             c. Does not even  border Israel.

 Why does Iran hate Israel so much that it would bring about # 1 above?

The answer is, it doesn't. Iran's leaders' threats are solely for domestic consumption to deflect away from their own internal problems.

 For all of the reasons stated above, Iran would never attack Israel with nuclear weapons, even if they could.

Yes,  I know it's easy for me to say, and I understand the  genuine fear Israelis have;  but it will never happen. The  Iranians are not that stupid, no matter how fanatical some of their leaders may appear.

 Unlike the "Arab street" , in  the not too distant past, the Iranian people enjoyed warm relations with Israel. My guess is they don't really care all that much about the Palestinians;  certainly not enough to risk the catastrophic consequences of nuclear war.

 Given this reality, Israel and the US must be careful  not overplay its opposition to Iran . That could be a greater threat to peace than an Iranian nuclear program.

We should continue to pressure and oppose Iran, and hope for change in the future ,but take care not to " smoke our own opium". Keep the pressure on Iran, but don't allow the situation  to actually explode.


Wednesday, April 19, 2017

China / North Korea Gambit

Here's a theory:

The crisis on the Korean Peninsula was all a set up by China; working with its client dependent state North Korea.

China will get North Korea to back down in exchange for trade concessions from the US. 

 More importantly, the US will acquiesce to China regarding the South China Sea;  as well as ultimately removing US troops and missiles from Japan and South Korea. This will all play out over time.
This will cost China very little but the US will essentially cede economic and military dominance in Asia to China. Sadly, Trump and the Progressive were going that direction anyway.

North Korean belligerence was all a set up for the benefit of China. Otherwise what does North Korea get out of its aggressive behavior. They gain nothing from war, but  will get absolute protection from China after they "back down".

In other words, the Chinese and North Korea have set this whole thing up for China's benefit; all the while, Trump takes credit for reducing the North Korean nuclear threat. 

Trump will say he's the winner, but in reality he will have been played.

Someday historians will ask , who lost Asia?  The answer will be Donald J. Trump. 

Thursday, March 30, 2017

Seismic Shift in World Order

With the rejection of the TPP and the US withdrawal from the world stage, Trump and the Progressives will have ceded world dominance to China and leadership of the Free World to  Germany, or perhaps no one at all.  Russia will only grow stronger.

Presumably Trump is doing this to put America First, but in fact loss of American global dominance and free world leadership actually makes America less prosperous or secure, and consequently not as great as we are today.

Every knowledgeable person I know says the US always gets what it wants in international  trade agreements, and our NATO and other military presence globally underpins much of our economic dominance, as well as our security.

America First, anti-trade and isolationism, will actually hurt America , both morally and economically , and will make America less secure.


Monday, March 27, 2017

Trump the deal maker?

Donald Trump's " legendary" deal making is based on making a deal with someone and later reneging on the deal or screwing the other side, and then moving on to making a deal with someone else; not caring who he screws or hurts in the process.

Things are different with regards to government since the people who he may have to screw to get his deal made will be the same people that he'll  have to be dealing with in the next deal that he tries to make.

The business community at-large has recognized Trump's deceitful techniques ; that's why no reputable banks will do business with him, few contractors and vendors will work with him, and fewer  and fewer business people will make deals with him. 

However, there is a veritable endless  supply of people for Trump to make deals with worldwide. It will take a lot of time to run out of them completely.

On the other hand, the government and Congress has a limited number of people. When you start reneging on deals or screwing them, and then have to work with them again subsequently , they will not forget or forgive.

President Trump may "win" some in the beginning, but if he continues to "win" the way  he's done it in the private sector, he'll quickly run out of suckers to screw.