Thursday, December 22, 2016

Schumer for Trump's Trillion Dollar Infrastructure Plan

Senator Chuck Schumer hasn't changed his mind about major stimulus spending just because the President is now a Republican.
Incoming Senate Democratic Leader Chuck Schumer says he likes the sound of President-elect Donald Trump’s proposal of a major infrastructure plan, as long as it meets certain Democratic criteria.
“We think it should be large. He’s mentioned a trillion dollars. I told him that sounded good to me,” Schumer told ABC News' Jon Karl and Rick Klein during their podcast “Powerhouse Politics.”
But Democrats will insist that the package not be, for example, all tax breaks to investors.
“We’re not going to oppose something simply because it has the name Trump on it, but we will certainly not sacrifice our principles just to get something done,” he said.
Schumer also said Democrats can find common ground with the incoming president on trade, saying he doesn’t agree with all of Trump’s proposed solutions but does agree with his “diagnosis.”
“I’m more close to that than I am to Barack Obama or George Bush’s [positions], and so are a lot of Democrats,” Schumer said. [emphasis added]
Looks like this major addition to the national debt will be bipartisan.

Tuesday, December 20, 2016

Missed a Bullet in Newt Gingrich Losing in 2012

Newt Gingrich has turned out to be the Looney Tunes character* that National Review portrayed him as in 2011. The supposedly strong Constitutionalist Newt Gingrich:

Apparently moral and financial rules against political corruption are only for middle class and poor occupants of the White House. If you're rich enough, you can take as much money as you like.

Even worse, because a mere ripping off of money isn't as bad as actually corrupting the system, the pardoning power is to allow Executive Branch officials to do unlawful things with impunity. Hmm. That will be a fun idea when the Democrats get back in power.

Newt is the very definition of how "brilliance" is often the opposite of wisdom and integrity.

H/T Cheri Jacobus
*Actually Marvin the Martian is undoubtedly superior to Newt.

Friday, December 09, 2016

Carrier to Use Tax Credits to Automate

You knew this was coming, right? Remember Trump's defense of his business practices by saying a businessman's first duty is making money for his family and his company? Carrier believes that too. And, truth be told, you go out of business if you don't make a profit.

Part of the $7 million Trump/Pence/Indiana tax incentive deal was Carrier's promise to spend $16 million on their Indiana facility. Sounds good. Carrier is putting down major roots in Indiana. But not in terms of jobs. Most of that is going toward automation because that's the only way the company can stay in business.
"We're going to...automate to drive the cost down so that we can continue to be competitive," he said on an interview on CNBC earlier this week. "Is it as cheap as moving to Mexico with lower cost labor? No. But we will make that plant competitive just because we'll make the capital investments there. But what that ultimately means is there will be fewer jobs."
As with farming, because of automation U.S. manufacturer production is booming even though jobs have declined. Production is up 150% in the last 40 years.
All together, U.S. factories are actually producing more products today than they did in the post-World War II era, according to the Federal Reserve's reading on manufacturing output. Output at U.S. factories is up 150% in last 40 years. But U.S. manufacturing jobs have plunged by more than 30% in that same period. And automation is a big reason why.
That also means both food and manufactured products are a lot cheaper than they would be if production required lots of human labor. So, it's a big win for the U.S. standard of living.

This post is dedicated to my friend MaxRedline who has long warned about the law of unintended consequences in most feel good labor schemes.

Thursday, December 08, 2016

Will Republicans Support Bringing Regulatory Agencies Under Control?

One of the most undemocratic parts of our government is the power of government agencies to make rules which have the force of law immediately. Rep. Todd Young of Indiana has introduced a bill to require congressional approval of "all new major regulations" from federal agencies.
(Sec. 2) States that the purpose of this Act is to increase accountability for and transparency in the federal regulatory process by requiring Congress to approve all new major regulations.
(Sec. 3) Revises provisions relating to congressional review of agency rulemaking to require a federal agency promulgating a rule to publish information about the rule in the Federal Register and include in its report to Congress and to the Government Accountability Office (GAO) a classification of the rule as a major or non-major rule and a complete copy of the cost-benefit analysis of the rule, including an analysis of any jobs added or lost, differentiating between public and private sector jobs. Defines "major rule" as any rule that is made under the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act or that the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs of the Office of Management and Budget finds has resulted in or is likely to result in: (1) an annual effect on the economy of $100 million or more; (2) a major increase in costs or prices for consumers, individual industries, federal, state, or local government agencies, or geographic regions; or (3) significant adverse effects on competition, employment, investment, productivity, innovation, or the ability of U.S.-based enterprises to compete with foreign-based enterprises.
Requires a joint resolution of approval of major rules to be enacted before such rules may take effect (currently, major rules take effect unless a joint resolution disapproving them is enacted). Provides that if a joint resolution of approval is not enacted by the end of 70 session days or legislative days, as applicable, after the agency proposing the rule submits its report on such rule to Congress, the major rule shall be deemed not to be approved and shall not take effect. Permits a major rule to take effect for one 90-calendar day period without such approval if the President determines it is necessary because of an imminent threat to health or safety or other emergency, for the enforcement of criminal laws, for national security, or to implement an international trade agreement.
Senator Tom Cotton supports it and hopes President Trump will sign the bill.
Cotton said in an interview that he supports the passage of a bill that would require an up-or-down vote from Congress on major agency regulations. Currently, those regulations automatically go into effect unless Congress explicitly votes override them. “I’d like him to sign that bill,” he said of Trump.
So far all Republicans in the House (except  four who didn't vote) approved of this legislation. Only two Democrats voted for it. Now it goes to the Senate.

Will Senate Republicans and President Trump support this brake on unelected bureaucratic control of the country? This is as important as keeping originalists in the majority on the Supreme Court. It is a much easier method of controlling authoritarian legal/political activism than the case by case method of the courts.

H/T John Fund

Tuesday, December 06, 2016

Republicans Now the Party of Government "Guiding" Business

Imagine me agreeing with liberals (36%) and Democrats (33%) more than conservatives (24%) and Republicans (23%) that the free market doesn't hurt us. Or that the President shouldn't be giving benefits to individual private companies (Dems 54%, Republicans 22%).

Where are we headed? Towards more government control, my friends. Look for lots more government spending and lots more government rules. And maybe an odd tweet or two directed against you if you dare to publicly question any of it.

Sunday, December 04, 2016

Credit to Sarah Palin; She's Against Crony Capitalism Again

After making no criticisms during the last year about Trump plans to punish Carrier for moving its jobs to Mexico, Sarah Palin has finally discovered that government interference with Carrier policies via threats or bribes might be crony capitalism.
Foundational to our exceptional nation’s sacred private property rights, a business must have freedom to locate where it wishes. In a free market, if a business makes a mistake (including a marketing mistake that perhaps Carrier executives made), threatening to move elsewhere claiming efficiency’s sake, then the market’s invisible hand punishes. Thankfully, that same hand rewards, based on good business decisions.
But this time-tested truth assumes we’re operating on a level playing field.
When government steps in arbitrarily with individual subsidies, favoring one business over others, it sets inconsistent, unfair, illogical precedent. Meanwhile, the invisible hand that best orchestrates a free people’s free enterprise system gets amputated. Then, special interests creep in and manipulate markets. Republicans oppose this, remember? Instead, we support competition on a level playing field, remember? Because we know special interest crony capitalism is one big fail. (emphasis added)
Palin calls such government interference "corruption" and "socialism". And says government interference in homes, schools, churches and businesses "is never the solution. Never."
However well meaning, burdensome federal government imposition is never the solution. Never. Not in our homes, not in our schools, not in churches, not in businesses.
Gotta’ have faith the Trump team knows all this. And I’ll be the first to acknowledge concerns over a deal cut by leveraging taxpayer interests to make a manufacturer stay put are unfounded – once terms are made public.
Though Palin has faith that the details of the deal will show that Carrier wasn't offered tax rewards not available to other businesses, it's obvious her faith in Trump and his team has been misplaced all this time. Let's hope she finds her way back to conservative and freedom loving principles.

Not Good for Anyone: Businesses Making Decisions to Please Politicians

But more broadly, this [Trump/Carrier type deals] is all terrible for a nation's economic vitality if businesses make decisions to please politicians rather than customers and shareholders. Yet America's private sector has just been sent a strong signal that playing ball with Trump might be part of what it now means to run an American company. Imagine business after business, year after year, making decisions based partly on pleasing the Trump White House. In addition, Trump's hectoring on trade and offshoring distracts from the economic reality that automation poses the critical challenge for the American workforce going forward.
The real political divide in the country is between those who look to the past and state power keeping basic features of the past intact for the good life and those who look to new forms and change in the future for the good life.
In her 1998 book, The Future and Its Enemies, Virginia Postrel saw the major dividing line in American politics as less left vs. right than the "dynamists" vs. the "stasists." The former values change and experimentation, as messy as those things can be. Dynamists live in anticipation of the future because they just know it will be a great place. The stasists often are nostalgia-ridden and willing to use top-down control to keep things as they are or try to shape them into familiar forms. Today they fight globalization, tomorrow it might be robots and artificial intelligence in order to "save jobs."

Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Draining the Swamp? Trump Swelling It with Carrier

Carrier gets a sweet deal from President-elect Trump and VP-elect Pence to keep jobs in Indiana. 
In the end, UTC agreed to retain approximately 800 manufacturing jobs at the Indiana plant that had been slated to move to Mexico, as well as another 300 engineering and headquarters jobs. In return, the company will get roughly $700,000 a year for a period of years in state tax incentives.
But Indiana is still losing more jobs than it is gaining. It will keep 1,100 jobs and lose 1,300.
Some 1,300 jobs will still go to Mexico, which includes 600 Carrier employees, plus 700 workers from UTEC Controls in Huntington, Ind. The company has plans in place to offer displaced workers employment and relocation in UTC’s aerospace business, or to provide funding for reeducation.
Apparently Carrier isn't new to this game. They've already gotten lots of tax breaks. But, with Trump's campaign posturing, they were able to get more.
This is congruent from what we know about the sort of tax breaks Indiana and Indianapolis has already offered the firm. Back in 2011, the city gave the company a six-year property tax abatement, which allowed them to forgo paying $1.2 million in taxes, according to the Indianapolis Star. The company has also taken advantage of funds the state allocates for job retraining, and had reached a deal with Indiana to return several hundred thousand dollars for contributions it made to the company’s retraining programs as a part of the state’s Skills Enhancement Fund.
Though most small businesses would jump through hoops to get a $63,600* subsidy per employee for years, it may be small potatoes for Carrier's parent company. The real problem is the stick of a Trump administration taking away United Technology's military contract business if the company doesn't make Trump look good on this.
Furthermore, there is reason to believe that this deal isn’t just about the tax breaks. The New York Times points out that United Technologies may very well be more concerned with angering the President than it is with saving the small amount of money relative to its overall revenue that the Mexico-relocation would provide. “While Carrier will forfeit some $65 million a year in savings the move was supposed to generate, that’s a small price to pay to avoid the public relations damage from moving the jobs as well as a possible threat to United Technologies’ far-larger military contracting business,” according to the Times.
Isn't this exactly the sort of carrot/stick strategy Republicans and conservatives would have praised had it been the Obama administration "urging" energy companies to support policies combating climate change (né global warming)?

Good life in the swelling swamp.
*This is for jobs paying $20 to $25 per hour. That's $800 to $1,000 per 40 hour week; $41,600 to $52,000 per year before withholding. So, depending on fringe benefits these are likely "free" employees.
Even with that, however, once the layoffs were to begin in mid-2017, most of the workers would have had a hard time finding jobs that paid anywhere near the $20 to $25 an hour that veteran line workers earn.
Most anyone could run a profitable business with free labor. Nice!

Saturday, November 26, 2016

Ben Sasse

I not only like this man, I think he has more understanding in his little finger than the people in the highest offices have in their whole body. And when he talks, he explains so that people can understand.

Thursday, November 24, 2016

Oh give thanks to the Lord, for He is good . . . [though] we have behaved wickedly

Abraham Lincoln's proclamation, October 3, 1863
1 Praise the Lord!
Oh give thanks to the Lord, for He is good;
For His lovingkindness is everlasting.

2 Who can speak of the mighty deeds of the Lord,
Or can show forth all His praise?

3 How blessed are those who keep justice,
Who practice righteousness at all times!

4 Remember me, O Lord, in Your favor toward Your people;
Visit me with Your salvation,

5 That I may see the prosperity of Your chosen ones,
That I may rejoice in the gladness of Your nation,
That I may glory with Your inheritance.

6 We have sinned like our fathers,
We have committed iniquity, we have behaved wickedly.
. . .
44 Nevertheless He looked upon their distress
When He heard their cry;

45 And He remembered His covenant for their sake,
And relented according to the greatness of His lovingkindness.

46 He also made them objects of compassion
In the presence of all their captors.

47 Save us, O Lord our God,
And gather us from among the nations,
To give thanks to Your holy name
And glory in Your praise.

48 Blessed be the Lord, the God of Israel,
From everlasting even to everlasting.
And let all the people say, “Amen.”
Praise the Lord!

Psalm 106

Wednesday, November 23, 2016

Trump: They've used you. They've stolen your votes . . . and given you nothing.

"Politicians like Hillary Clinton have failed you, and they've failed you badly. It's all talk. It's no action. They have failed. They've used you. They've stolen your votes for decades, and they've given you nothing. I will give you everything. I will give you what you've been looking for thirty, forty, fifty years. They have given you nothing, and you need something new." (emphasis added)
Donald Trump, May 2016
Donald Trump has "moderated" some of the positions popular with his voters.

1. He's not so high on torture. Yay!
"After sparking controversy during the campaign by saying he would allow waterboarding, Mr Trump suggested he had been swayed by James Mattis, a retired general being considered for defence secretary, who told the president-elect at the weekend that he “never found it to be useful”."
2. He may keep the climate treaty after saying he was going to cancel it and stop all payments of U.S. tax dollars to U.N. global warming programs.
In an interview with the New York Times, Mr Trump said he would “keep an open mind” about whether to abandon the climate treaty.
Also, probably why Sarah Palin isn't on the short list for heading up the Department of Energy. (Or apparently on any list. Kellyanne Conway said a couple of nights ago: "I haven't seen her as part of the cabinet mix." 6:25 mark)

[Update: Apparently Palin is on the list for Secretary of the Interior.Up against Jan Brewer among others.]

3. He will not prosecute Hillary Clinton. Okay with me but not with lots of the people who voted for him and believed he would appoint a special prosecutor.
The moves were capped by Kellyanne Conway, Mr Trump’s campaign manager, saying the president-elect had decided not to prosecute Mrs Clinton over her handling of secret information, arguing the move would help her “heal” from her loss. In the interview with the New York Times, Mr Trump said: “I don’t want to hurt the Clintons.” 
4.  Trump was going to "drain the swamp" of personal enrichment in Washington, D.C., but now, meh--at least regarding his own enrichment.
Speaking to the New York Times, Mr Trump pushed back against allegations he is using the presidency to advance his business interests, saying that conflict of interest rules did not apply to the president. 
For all Trump voters who believed him, my condolences.

Friday, November 18, 2016

Problem for Trumpcare: Ban on Pre-Existing Conditions Is a Primary Cost Driver for Health Insurance Premiums

If you like your perks, you can keep your perks--but at a cost.

Philip Klein of the Washington Examiner explains in health care terms why there is no such thing as a free lunch.
President-elect Trump has made waves by saying that though he plans to repeal Obamacare, he wants to keep the aspect of it that bans coverage for those with pre-existing conditions. But this is not possible without broader changes to the healthcare system.
The pre-existing condition ban is ultimately one of the primary drivers of the premium hikes we're seeing within Obamacare. The reason is that with insurers forced to offer coverage to anybody who applies, they incur higher medical costs, and they thus require more signups from younger and healthier people — but those signups aren't materializing in a large enough volume to offset costs.
The problem with the pre-existing condition ban is that it's a perfect example of how bigger government begets bigger government. That is, once lawmakers ban pre-existing conditions, they have to come up with a way to make it affordable. Otherwise, insurers could just say, "Sure, we'll cover people with heart problems, but for $2,000 a month."
There are some proposed fixes.

1) Have a high risk pool subsidized by the government. (The old it doesn't cost money if the government pays for it trick.)

2) Allow people to sign up only once every two years instead of every year. (Why Avik Roy thinks this would make a significant difference is beyond me. Younger people don't usually think: "I can make it for a year at a time without health insurance, but two years is way too dangerous." I don't think so.)

3) Health status insurance (which is kind of the old catastrophic insurance). (This would bring more people into the insurance pool, but not a lot more money, and it's money that's lacking.)

4) Klein doesn't mention the single payer insurance plan, but some suggest that. Sort of the VA expands to cover everyone. (Given the VA's poor showing in some areas, this probably wouldn't be popular and has the same money problem as idea 1.)

Klein ends with a warning:
So, there are various ideas out there for addressing coverage for those with pre-existing conditions, but it would have to be done as part of a broader effort to replace Obamacare. Republicans couldn't simply repeal all of Obamacare and carve out the pre-existing condition provision without decimating the insurance market.

Monday, November 14, 2016

Dems Lose 870 Major Elected Positions Since 2008

Here's a warning about tying your political future to a narcissistic star. 2008 seemed to be a wave election with Democrats taking control of the federal government (including a filibuster proof senate) and state governments as well.

However, Democrats have lost 870 major elected positions since 2008.

And having one star who makes the major decisions is dangerous business.
The truth — as exposed by Clinton's stunning loss to Donald Trump on Tuesday night — was that the Democratic bench was (and is) remarkably thin, a sign of both the relative ill health of the party downballot and the isolated appeal of Obama.
. . .
The reason for the “Clinton or bust” strategy was simple: There simply wasn't anyone else. Vice President Biden was a possibility, but the death of his oldest son, Beau, in May 2015 effectively sidelined him. (And at 73, Biden isn't exactly a spring chicken.) Beyond Biden and Clinton, name someone else who looked ready to make a serious run at a national nomination. There isn't anyone. (Trust me, I have thought about virtually every possibility.)
Contrast that to what the Republican field looked like as the 2016 election shaped up: A dozen and a half candidates including a handful of 40-something rising stars (Scott Walker, Marco Rubio, Bobby Jindal, Ted Cruz) as well as a number of other prominent voices (Jeb Bush, Chris Christie, John Kasich) within the national party who had deep and impressive résumés. And a true outsider who was making his first run for president.
In 2008 Barack Obama sucked all the air out of the room for Democratic leaders. In 2016 so did Donald Trump. In fact he gave some of the rising Republican stars adjectival names that will stick: Little Marco, Lyin' Ted, Low Energy Jeb. Not a bright thing for him to do or for Republicans to tolerate (if not celebrate).

Sunday, November 13, 2016

Will Republicans End the Filibuster (Already Weakened by the Short-Sighted Democrats in 2013)?

On November 21, 2013, the Democratic-controlled Senate ended the filibuster to block approval of executive and judicial branch nominees (except for the Supreme Court).
Under the change, the Senate will be able to cut off debate on executive and judicial branch nominees with a simple majority rather than rounding up a supermajority of 60 votes. The new precedent established by the Senate on Thursday does not apply to Supreme Court nominations or legislation itself.
The Democrats were able to employ their newly won power for 13 and 1/2 months. On January 3, 2015, the Democrats lost their majority in the Senate.

The Democrats were able to block Republicans from using the same power for another two years while Barack Obama was president. But, on January 20, 2017, President-elect Donald Trump, will assume the presidency. Then the Republicans will be able to use that unfettered appointment power against the Democrats for at least two years.

So far the loss in power for the Democrats is turning out to be 23 and a half months (January 20, 2017 to January 3, 2018) vs. 13 and 1/2 months of gain (November 21, 2013 to January 3, 2015). Not quite a 50% failure, but close.

The question now is will the Republicans be equally brainless and end the filibuster on Supreme Court nominations (and legislation)? Will Senator Mitch McConnell heed his own words?
“You think this is in the best interest of the United States Senate and the American people?” asked the Republican leader, Senator Mitch McConnell, sounding incredulous.
“I say to my friends on the other side of the aisle, you’ll regret this. And you may regret it a lot sooner than you think,” he added.
Regret has come to the Democrats in less than four years. Will Republicans be willing to destroy one of the nation's jewels of checks and balances* for two years of power and one supreme court appointment that at best will put things back to the status quo ante? Get out the popcorn.
*The filibuster is a delaying tactic that ensures important decisions have the acquiescence of at least 3/5ths of the States through their senators. If 2/5ths plus one senator are against a nomination or piece of legislation enough to hold up Senate processes, it means the issue is serious enough to be considered further until 3/5ths of the senators clearly decide to oppose the filibuster. It is a protection of the significant minority from majority overreach and gives 21 states protection from being crushed by the other 29.

Whatever New Voters Were Found Both Trump and Clinton Lost Old Voters

Turns out not only were more people fired up about Barack Obama than Hillary Clinton in 2008 and 2012, but more were fired up about Mitt Romney in 2012 than Donald Trump in 2016. This is not good considering the U.S. population ticks up 2 to 3 million people each year*.

Even when you add in third party candidates (as in the chart below) significantly fewer people cared to vote this year.

Not really a surprise with the two most disliked major party candidates since polling began. But, still sad that fewer and fewer people and a smaller percentage of the voting population think it worthwhile to vote.

Saturday, November 12, 2016

Remember Trying to Explain to Trump and Trumpers Why Winning with More Delegates Rather Than Votes Didn't Make an Election Rigged?

Remember trying to explain to Trump and Trumpers why winning with more delegates rather than votes didn't make an election rigged? Apparently the message finally got through! Heh.

Strange how when your side wins what used to be horrible, anti-democratic and against "we the people" is perfectly okay.

Democrats have been really great at this, and Republicans are proving themselves to be just as capable.

Remember when the filibuster was a fundamental tradition of the Senate and needed to prevent majority overreach? Watch all the arguments against it by "conservatives" and Republicans when it is used against the Trump/Republican agenda to block the will of the "we the people" minority who won the election fair and square like George W. Bush in 2000.

Too few understand the importance of the electoral college and the filibuster any more. They both are part of the checks and balances system that slows down the rush to legislate and use government force for this or that popular idea.

Friday, November 11, 2016

Republican Healthcare Insurance Proposals Mired in Obamacare Expectations

I've been following some of the commentary on Republican proposals for replacing Obamacare.

Seems Republicans and President-elect Trump want to keep the popular portions of Obamacare. Inability to be excluded for preexisting conditions and kids staying on their parents' plans until age 26 being two of them.

Some are saying the money problem with preexisting conditions is that people don't have to buy insurance until they are sick. The fix is supposedly to require that people have ongoing insurance if they get to keep being covered. Thus, you force people to pay for insurance when they are well if they want it when they are sick (the usual carrot for buying any kind of insurance) ever onward.

But, how that differs from the pre-Obamacare model of not being accepted if you have a preexisting condition is a question. If you already had healthcare insurance then you would already have been accepted before getting your condition. So preexisting condition would not be an issue. (However, the change would help those who were dumped when a serious health condition came on or for those who had a preexisting condition as children before ever getting their own health insurance.)

More importantly, the individual market is not presently a big generator of health insurance premiums. Only 7% of people currently covered do it through the individual market. The elephant in the room is employer coverage. That amounts to 49% of the coverage given.

It's hard to find apples to apples statistics, but Kaiser Foundation research shows that the average individual employer covered plan cost $6,251 per year in 2015. By contrast the 2015 average "second lowest cost silver plan" for "a 40 Year Old Non-Smoker Making $30,000 / Year" before subsidies was $3,192. So, employers pay about double the average rate as individuals for an individual policy. That would make employer covered policies the biggest income producer for health insurance companies.

So, the employer mandate requiring companies to cover their employees is much more important for health care insurance providers than the individual mandate requiring individuals to buy insurance. This is both in terms of the premiums paid (about double) and the number of policies issued (about 7x more).

Obamacare's nice benefits cost money. So, if we're going to keep requiring health care insurance companies to provide them, we can't expect health insurance costs to go down. Or at least not without insurance companies being forced to pull out of markets or go bankrupt.

Full service healthcare for everyone is a wonderful goal. But, it costs lots of money. And when people don't directly see how much a service costs and have a stake in paying that cost, non-essential services will be recommended and accepted just because they're available at little or no extra cost. Similarly, high cost peripherals will be used because they are as readily available as lower cost options. In almost every other area of life (food, clothing, transportation, education, recreation, technology) you choose the level you want and pay for the level you choose. But, if the "Virgin Mobile paylo healthcare plan" costs about the same as the "iPhone healthcare plan", who wouldn't choose the iPhone version?

There needs to be a clear incentive for the individual to cut medical costs to services and supplies that are important or essential. Until then we're fooling ourselves about this plan being substantially better than that plan. Right now the Republicans do not have a plan significantly different than Obamacare.

Thursday, November 10, 2016

Donald Trump Mellows or Returns to Type--Whichever You Prefer

President-elect Trump on Hillary Clinton:
Hillary has worked very long and very hard over a long period of time, and we owe her a major debt of gratitude for her service to our country. (emphasis added)
Actually, I agree with this statement. I'm not a Hillary hater even though I think she is vile at times. Shoot, I even stood up for her against the poor treatment the media gave her in 2008. (here, here and here) So, this is not a new position for me.

I don't want to see her in prison any more than I wanted to see Richard Nixon in prison or Bill Clinton in prison. I don't like punishing presidents for less than true "Treason, Bribery, or other high Crimes and Misdemeanors" (and am not sure what high misdemeanors might be even after reading Justice Story's Commentaries on the Constitution).

President-elect Trump on President Barack Obama:
“I have great respect. . . . I very much look forward to dealing with the President in the future including counsel. . . .Very good man — very good man.” (emphasis added)

(minutes 1 to 4)

The meeting lasted for 90 minutes instead of the 10 to 15 minutes scheduled. There was super-friendliness between them. Obama said very positive things about wanting to make Trump a success.

Does that sound like how President Obama has talked about any Republican in the last eight years? Certainly not his attitude toward House or Senate leadership. Or his attitude toward outgoing President George W. Bush. That was pretty icy. No kissy-kissy even though Bush went out of his way to welcome Obama to the White House.

So, is this all just "hail-fellow-well-met" stuff like the upper class usually does to each other? Or is the friendliness due to the fact that Trump has been a liberal all his life up to eight years ago and has really not changed that much.

Perhaps the insults were not Donald Trump but his act. The "believe me" statements were not what he believed, but an act.

The good thing about either Donald Trump suddenly mellowing or having put on an act and actually being a mellow guy all along is that he will not be the "burn down the house" agent of change that many of his followers think he is. He might turn out to be a mellower version of Hillary Clinton--not driven as far left as she was by Obama and then Sanders.

In other words, we may have missed the bullet of a contentious far left presidency under Hillary and only be in for a moderate left presidency under Trump.

Wednesday, November 09, 2016

Looks Like We're Going on Another National Spending Binge

Looks like we're going on another national spending binge. This time compliments of Republicans.

From President-elect Trump's speech last night:
We are going to fix our inner cities and rebuild our highways, bridges, tunnels, airports, schools, hospitals. We’re going to rebuild our infrastructure, which will become, by the way, second to none. And we will put millions of our people to work as we rebuild it.
The inner cities will be fixed (!) under the Trump administration. Well, that's good news.

The federal government will rebuild our highways, bridges, tunnels, airports, schools, hospitals. (Why would anyone think that bridges, tunnels, airports, schools and hospitals should be a local responsibility? Obviously, Washington, D. C., knows better than the local folks do.)

And millions of people will be put to work on short term federally-funded projects. That should fix unemployment.

Lots of money running through the federal trough. That should drain the swamp.

Lots of money that won't get funded through taxation but through borrowing. That should help the national debt.

This was a "bring us together" speech, and it certainly did the trick. Why, oh, why didn't Republicans not only back but encourage a big increase in Obama's meager "second stimulus" in 2010? We could have been on the same page six years ago. Our economy would have been humming by now.

Monday, November 07, 2016

Poor Sarah Palin Attracts Small Crowds for Trump

Sarah Palin has been called back in to campaign for Donald Trump after living too far away to attend or speak at the Republican Convention in Cleveland this summer.

Yesterday and today she spoke to some small crowds--50 to 100 people. Even her larger crowds at Fayette County Airport (about 200) and Alpena, Michigan (about 700) are nothing like crowds she attracted in the past. More like a normal politician's crowd.

Here's her facebook photo of the crowd in Zanesville.

Her appearance at a Detroit tavern drew about 50 and a fight. Here's a newspaper photo.

Some people in the tavern protested and were tossed out. When they tried to come back in an inept Palin/Trump supporter sprayed them with pepper spray. Unfortunately the wind blew the spray back into the tavern.
“The guys who were put outside were beating on the window, and some guys went outside,” the eyewitness said. “Then the protesters were trying to come back in but then the next thing I knew there was pepper spray. Me and the rest of the people sitting near the door couldn’t breathe all of a sudden. Of course the man was trying to spray it at the protesters, but the wind took it back inside.”
Gateway Pundit reported that a "leftist goon" did the spraying.  Jim Hoft links to the report done the next day which posted the photo above. But, apparently didn't search well enough to find the report done the night before which printed the above account. So much for blog fact checking. I wonder if Hoft will do any sort of retraction.

Saturday, November 05, 2016

Make American Selfishness Great Again?

I've laid out in many posts the most serious charges against Donald Trump's policies and character. But, here are two lesser points that rankle.

1. What sort of person wants the poor to subsidize them? I've had some hard financial times in my life, but I've never wanted to grab money out of the hands of people much poorer than I. Still, that's what the "make Mexico pay for the wall" Trump boast is about.

Mexico is so much poorer as a country than the United States. I know that by per capita adult wealth the U.S. isn't the richest nation in the world (we're number 4 at $352,996 per adult). But statistics lie. The United States is hands down the richest country in the world. Mexico isn't even close. Nor are any of the countries Trump wants to beat on trade deals. When is the last time you heard a trade tirade against the wealthiest nations?

1. Switzerland
2. New Zealand
3. Australia
5. Iceland
6. Norway
7. United Kingdom
8. Sweden
9. Luxembourg
10. Singapore
11. France
12. Belgium
13. Denmark
14. Canada
15. Italy

So, who is supposedly eating our lunch? #53 Mexico at $25,949 (NAFTA!), #59 China at $22,513. It's hard for me to work up anger at trade policies with countries that have 6% per adult of what Americans have.

I lived in Brazil #73 for awhile. I have nothing but compassion for the many poor in that country. For the kids begging on the streets. The people living in favelas. People who pull junk carts around on hot days up and down hills trying to make a living. People who work hard.

I just can't work up a feeling of being victimized by people who have a tiny fraction of the wealth that I have. I am so incredibly rich compared to the rest of the world even though my net worth is in the bottom 20% in the U.S.

2. Punishing American companies for taking manufacturing jobs out of the U.S. to much poorer countries.

Much worse are the people like me who send money to charitable agencies that give money to the poor in those countries without making them work for it. Right? No, but isn't giving people a job what we want? Not only for the poor around the world, but for the poor in our own country? We don't want people on welfare. We want them working. Work builds character and gives self-respect besides adding goods and services to the local community and beyond.

It seems these two positions above of Mexico pays for the wall and no American company jobs abroad support the "it's all about me" selfishness and entitlement mentality that is pervading American culture. It's make American selfishness great again.

It's like complaining that the disabled get too many special benefits and privileges. Ramps, parking spaces, social security benefits. Who would argue for leveling the playing field so there are no special accommodations for the disabled?

In the Old Testament, there were special rules for the poor. Their "surety" was to be given back each night. They were allowed to glean after the first picking on other people's land, and land owners were told not to go back over their fields but to leave what was left for foreigners, the poor and animals. Actually, that's part of the story line of the book of Ruth.

A society that doesn't value self-discipline and sacrifice is a society in collapse. A society that looks on the goods of the poor with greedy eyes is despicable.

Thursday, November 03, 2016

Pew Research: Harder for Clinton Supporters to Respect Trump Supporters than Vice Versa

I didn't see this coming. Maybe because of the "Put her in jail" chants with no corresponding "Put him in jail" chants. Though there is low level chortling about Trump ruining his brand and literally paying for it in low revenues in the years to come.

Pew Research:
Nearly six-in-ten registered voters who back Clinton (58%) say they have a “hard time” respecting someone who supports Trump for president; 40% say they have “no trouble” with it. Nearly the opposite is true among Trump supporters, with 56% saying they have no trouble respecting someone who backs Clinton and 40% saying they do have trouble with it.
Blacks (50%) , Hispanics (53%), senior citizens (49%), and those without a college degree (46%) are the most accepting among Hillary supporters. White Women (68%) and college grads (66%) are most negative among Clinton supporters.

Trump supporters 65 and over (48%) have the hardest time respecting Clinton supporters. Younger Trump supporters, 18-35 (69%), find it easiest.

Monday, October 31, 2016

Hmm. Which Is the Stupid Party?

The old saying is there's a stupid party and an evil party. I always thought I knew which was which. But, now I'm wondering.

Who would have thought that the Democrats would be helpless to expose the corrupt underbelly of Donald Trump? And where is big media help?

No one has yet come forward with Apprentice footage to further show Trump's sexual predator nature. Nor has the New York Times released that supposedly damaging interview Trump gave during the primaries. What??? I thought NBC was part of the mainstream media. I thought the New York Times was part of the mainstream media.

The LA Times supposedly kept damaging video footage of Obama from public view. No one has cracked Obama's university transcripts. By contrast, Joe the Plumber had all his private information spilled immediately, and Sarah Palin's emails were made public. But no one has got to Trump's draft evasion records of his "bone spur" that magically disappeared not to mention the tons of info on sleazy wheeling and dealing with public officials and mafia types.

The court system has put off the Trump University case and the civil rape case until after the election. But, the FBI has outed the new Hillary emails before the election even though they don't know what's involved. What???

And then there's Trump's threat to make the press subject to legal action if it publishes lies. What's that going to do to Trump's favorite Pulitzer newspaper The National Enquirer? I mean among the Enquirer's milder lies are that Oprah was supposed to have died years ago, and Bill Clinton isn't supposed to live long enough to see election day.

This election year the Republican party has been its regular doofus self, but so has the Democratic party. This year the Democrats have connived and used Executive branch lies, but the Republicans have done better in welcoming Russian/Wikileaks help in exposing national security information along with a flood of other private information.

I'm having a hard time deciding which party is more evil. Maybe there are two stupid, inept parties, and both are evil.

Tuesday, October 25, 2016

Tuesday, October 18, 2016

Oregonian Daily Circulation Declines 20% in 2016

[2020 Oregonian paid circulation information is here.]

The Oregonian saw a decline in daily circulation from September 2015, to September 2016, of more than 20%. Annual Statement of Ownership reports show a paid circulation in September 2015, of 121,573. That dropped to 93,232 in September 2016.

Even worse the drop from four years ago, September 2012, has been 57%--down from 219,997.

Sunday paid circulation is also down, but only 6.8% from 2015 (167,458) to 2016 (156,071), but down 23% from 2014 (203,031).

Not good news for the owner Newhouse family which has made controversial decisions to keep their publishing empire afloat. Even worse news for Oregonian employees.

Friday, October 14, 2016

Ben Carson's Sprint to Appalling

Ben Carson has become the spokesman for situational ethics at best and amorality during political campaigns at worst. He's for Judeo-Christian ethics except during political campaigns in times of crisis ("when the train is going off the cliff"). (video below)
5:25 Carson: “Here’s what we need to be thinking about. I love the fact that all of a sudden you want to talk about morality in our country. I would love us to bring back our Judeo-Christian values and begin to teach those things and emphasize them at a time other than a political election. Let’s do that, but right now the train is going off the cliff.” . . .
8:00 Joe: Do you think Judeo-Christian values apply during campaigns or only after campaigns?” Carson: Now let me tell you what I actually said, and I’m glad it is on the tape. I said I would love for us to engage in a conversation on Judeo-Christian values, and I would love for us to bring morality back and we need to do it at times other than a political campaign, but we’re not doing that. Right now what we need to do is concentrate on the reason that two out of three Americans feel that our country is on the wrong track.”
He also doesn't think truth is important during times of crisis.
4:40 Carson: “It doesn’t matter whether they’re lying or not. What matters . . . Listen, it doesn’t matter whether they’re lying or not, what matters is that the train is going off the cliff.”
Carson doesn't understand the First Amendment.
8:40 Carson: “In the media, the reason that you are protected by our Constitution is because you’re supposed to be objective and on the side of the people and helping them. When you take sides it is absolutely distorting (garbled: the original?) intention."
The First Amendment gives everyone freedom from establishment of religion, free exercise of religion, free speech, right of assembly and petition of government along with guaranteeing freedom of the press. 

None of those is based on being "objective" or "unbiased". One actually assumes bias in individual free speech and free exercise of religion. If you didn't believe in one religion over another, you probably wouldn't be practicing it. The "reason" we are protected from government interference in these areas is that the government has no right to control our political or religious beliefs or harmless actions related to those beliefs. Part of liberty is the unalienable right to only answer to God for our beliefs. Acts that are harmful to the public, yes. Beliefs, no.


Thursday, October 13, 2016

Obama Makes More Moral Sense than Franklin Graham

President Barack Obama:
"When finally the guy that they nominated and they endorsed and they supported is caught on tape saying things that no decent person would even think, much less say, much less brag about, much less laugh about or joke about, much less act on."
. . .
"You claim the mantle of the party of family values, and this is the guy you nominate?"

Compare with Franklin Graham:
"The most important issue of this election is the Supreme Court. That impacts everything. There’s no question, Trump and Clinton scandals might be news for the moment, but who they appoint to the Supreme Court will remake the fabric of our society for our children and our grandchildren, for generations to come."
No. What makes the fabric of society is the moral values and principles of our citizens. They are what impact "our children and grandchildren, for generations to come."

Supreme Court decisions, like Supreme Court justices, come and go. Sure, they have impact, but they can be changed. But, if we believe the end (Supreme Court justices) justifies the means (immoral and indecent leaders), we are already lost.

John Witherspoon (Thanksgiving Day, 1782):
"It is a truth of no little importance to us in our present situation, not only that the manners of a people are of consequence to the stability of every civil society, but that they are of much more consequence to free states, than to those of a different kind. In many of these last, a principle of honour, and the subordination of ranks, with the vigour of despotic authority, supply the place of virtue, by restraining irregularities and producing public order. But in free states, where the body of the people have the supreme power properly in their own hands, and must be ultimately resorted to on all great matters, if there is a general corruption of manners, there can be nothing but confusion. So true is that, that civil liberty cannot be long preserved without virtue. A monarchy may subsist for ages, and be better or worse under a good or bad prince, but a republic once equally poised, must either preserve its virtue or lose its liberty." (emphasis added)

Wednesday, October 12, 2016

Only Gridlock Can Save America Now

David Harsanyi:
This time around, both of our big-government candidates deserve to grapple with gridlock for the next four years. There’s simply no better antidote to the authoritarianism and corruption that’s infected our political causes. In fact, if Republicans somehow hold the Senate, they should also have the spine to preserve the even 4-4 split in the Supreme Court to stop a potentially progressive judicial branch from further empowering the state.
For those who believe stopping runaway government is a political liability, remember that despite the incessant warnings from Democrats, the GOP was not punished for its obstinacy. It won two wave elections and more than 900 local seats during the Obama years. Imagine what it could have done with competent leadership.
. . .
From a conservative perspective, surely even a timid Congress is more useful than one which “fixes” Obamacare and overturns the Hyde Amendment and passes anti-gun legislation and revisits cap and trade — and proposes dozens of other bills Republicans allegedly haven’t prevented. This is all going to happen if they lose. In the end, Trump won’t only lose the presidency; he’s going to help Democrats create one-party rule.
Heh. Great minds!

First meeting of U.S. Supreme Court (1790 and 1791)
This is my basic position too. I'd love to see the Supreme Court remain at eight justices. First, for practical considerations given the impossibility of confirmation of another Scalia. Second, for philosophical reasons in that I would like to see the court return to its original structure of needing closer to 4 out of 6 (67%) votes to "make policy" than 5 out of 9 (56%).

1869 Supreme Court (photo by Matthew Brady)

Sarah Palin In Decline

Poor Sarah Palin. Her decline has settled in.

One cannot help but feel compassion because of the family difficulties she has had this year. Her husband was badly hurt in a snowmobile accident. Her son threatened suicide and assaulted his girl friend.

Politically, her chosen candidate could care less about her. Trump isn't using her as a surrogate, and didn't want her at the Republican Convention (because Alaska is so far away).

She bends like a pretzel on issues she's felt strongly about before. Now talk of sexual assault (grabbing women by the crotch) and adultery is just locker room talk between boys (though one of them, the one she wants to become President, was 59 years old at the time). "The old Bush and Trump braggart comments were beyond abhorrent and offensive, though both boys apologized for them."

Rightly, neither she, Bristolnor I felt the same when Mike Tyson, a mere 45 year old, indulged in some "boy talk" about wanting to see Palin herself sexually assaulted.

When Trump proposed a new taxpayer funded entitlement giving women paid maternity leave, there was only silence from Palin. This despite years of rightly warning of the danger and "slavery" of rising national debt and the need to free people from dependence on government programs.

Then there's her PAC, SarahPAC. It's latest report shows receipts of $450,000 in 2016 through September. Receipts last year totaled $950,000. So, 3/4ths the way through 2016, she is a little behind what she was at midyear in 2015. It's a 36% drop in donations. Bad news, but not as bad as SarahPAC's expenditures vs receipts. It has spent 50% more in 2016 than it received, though it narrowed the gap to 10% overspending in the third quarter.

The woman is drowning. So sad because she has so much talent, insight and was one of the truly gifted political speakers of the last decade.

Saturday, October 08, 2016

More Popcorn (and Prayer) Needed

Update: Thought I was kidding about Trump supporters saying all men do this?

Here's video of Scott Baio saying all men talk about grabbing women's crotches and trying to get married women to commit adultery with them. And that women need to "grow up" and accept that kind of treatment from men. (full interview)

The candidate is better than his supporters. At least Trump apologized because he knows it's shameful. And, of course, Melania also said it was unacceptable and offensive and needed to be forgiven. Apparently, Melania needs to "grow up".

Hillary supporters are saying how awful Trump is for doing things Bill did (which at the time they claimed were just things guys did and had nothing to do with being unpresidential).

Trump supporters are saying how Trump is just doing things all guys do, even though when Bill did it the stuff was horrible and disqualified Bill from being president. And disqualifies Hillary from being president because she's married to him.

Then "evangelical" leader Tony Perkins, whose Family Research Council holds an annual "Value Voters Summit" says having the same values is not important in his support of Trump, but having the same concerns is.

And Ben "let's be more civil and caring" Carson is now, according to his spokesman, as okay with grabbing people's crotches and being a serial adulterer as he is with political candidates lying about their opponents, saying they have the character of child molesters, are serial adulterers, and their fathers have been a party to presidential assassination. It happens. The flesh is weak. It doesn't mean you're a bad person.

Which does go along with Trump's (and Dr. Robert Jeffress') assessment that Planned Parenthood, even though it kills hundreds of thousands of babies each year, does many wonderful things. Undoubtedly there are many good things ISIS does too, besides blow themselves up from time to time.

All boiling down to "anything is okay for my candidate to do as long as their side loses".

We're going to need a lot more popcorn (and prayer) to make it through the next four weeks.

Tuesday, October 04, 2016

Trump GOP Makes California Win Impossible?

There are 108 electors pledged to Donald Trump in California. Fifty-five of them for the Republican Party and fifty-five for the American Independent Party with two who are on both lists.

The problem is that only 55 electors can be voted for on behalf of any candidate. If Trump's name had been listed twice, once for the Republican Party and once for the American Independent Party, voters voting for him on either line would have cast valid votes.

But, he is listed once. So, voters voting for Trump are voting for both sets of electors. Thereby, they nullify their vote just as if they voted for both Trump and another presidential candidate.
"Section 6902 of the California election code says, 'At the general election in each leap year, there shall be chosen by the voters of the state as many electors of President and Vice President as the state is then entitled to.' California is entitled to 55 electoral votes."
. . .
"Section 14285 says, 'The voter shall, by using the provided marking device, place a mark in the voting square, rectangle, or other specific voting space following the names of the candidates for that office for whom the voter intends to vote, not exceeding, however, the number of candidates to be elected.'
"The California Secretary of State could have solved the problem of separate presidential elector lists for each of the two parties by placing Donald Trump’s name on the ballot twice, once for each party. Because this was not done, the only two Trump electors whose vote total can be ascertained are Ron Gold and Thomas Hudson. And even votes cast for them will be invalid, because all Trump popular votes will be overvotes."
Either the California Republican Party has become #NeverTrump or lost all understanding of how elections work.
"The California Republican Party was free to have nominated the same presidential elector candidates as the American Independent Party. The AIP turned in its list first, so the Republican Party was aware of the AIP names. But the Republican Party, which filed its slate at the last hour before the deadline for electors, chose to ignore the AIP list and submit different candidates. The AIP had been suggesting a joint list to the Republican Party ever since August, and had even offered to let the Republicans choose 50 members, but the Republicans ignored the AIP request."
And the Democrat California Secretary of State was happy to oblige them.
"Donald Trump’s name is on the November California ballot as 'Donald J. Trump, Republican, American Independent.' There is only one space on the ballot to vote for Trump. Therefore, all votes cast in that one space for Trump are overvotes, because they are casting a vote for 108 elector candidates. No California voter is permitted to vote for more than 55 candidates for presidential elector. When a voter casts a vote for more candidates than are to be elected, that is an “overvote” and the vote is invalid."
Kind of goes with the strategic genius of the guy at the head of the ticket. But, some Republican somewhere may think of a fix--maybe someone who pays attention to election rules.

H/T John Fund

Saturday, October 01, 2016

Trump: Motherhood Shouldn't Mean Taking a Pay Cut (Even If You Don't Work)

Motherhood "shouldn't mean taking a pay cut"--even if the mother isn't working.

Paid maternity leave means getting paid when you don't work.

That's an even better deal than the military get. The military only have the old jobs held for them. They aren't guaranteed pay from those jobs when they aren't working.


Don't get me wrong. I'm absolutely for paid benefits including maternity leave. If the business owner(s) can afford to pay and want(s) to pay, go for it.

I'm not for forcing businesses to give benefits or for forcing tax payers to pay for those benefits. And I'm definitely not for driving up the national debt. But, apparently modern GOP conservatives are.

H/T Stephen Miller

Friday, September 30, 2016

Pew Research Center on Religious Liberty and Good/Bad Effect of Various Institutions

Pew Research Center gives insight on where Americans stand on religious liberty and on which major institutions are helpful or hurt the nation.

All religious liberty issues are under water, but small businesses and little girls with men in the public bathroom with them come closest to getting approval.

News media, large corporations, banks and labor unions are under water.

Pew Research Center: Difference in Conservatives and Liberals Bashing and Praising News Media

Pew Research Center has done some interesting polling on what liberals and conservatives like and dislike about the media.

The right sees the media's best point as reporting the news; the left as "providing a service to the public" ("such as informing people or acting as a watchdog").

The left is fairly evenly divided on what's wrong with the news media: biased, poor news choices or lying. The right is pretty sure the main problem is the news media is biased. I'm guessing biased is a step more moral/competent than lying or misleading.

Tuesday, September 27, 2016

Argh! Cruz Flames Out

Senator Ted Cruz
It wasn't the fact of Ted Cruz's endorsement of Trump.

There are such things as political realities. And most of the Republican candidates said on the debate stage at one time or another that any of the other candidates on the stage would be superior to Hillary Clinton.

It was how it was done and is being explained.

He should have done it in Cleveland if he was going to do it. The wait won him no new friends and created lots of enemies.

Saying he, his wife and his father have forgiven Trump sounds very Ben Carsonish. Very nice of them, but it doesn't change Donald Trump's character. For the good of the country we shouldn't allow a presidential candidate (or a president) to slander whoever stands in his/her way. What's to stop such a president from putting innocent people in jail or seizing their property just because they block some desired action. Actually, sounds like what the BLM, EPA and Asset Forfeiture Program are currently doing.

Then there's how Cruz explained his tipping point.
And as you know, the developments last week were a major reason why I made the decision to vote for Trump in November, because on Friday, he put out a list of 21 judges, and a couple of important things. One, as you noted, he put my friend and colleague, Mike Lee, at the top of the list. Senator Mike Lee, I think, would make an extraordinary Supreme Court justice to replace Antonin Scalia. But secondly, and this was the most important part of the list, and much of the media missed this, when he put it out, he explicitly committed that the only people he would consider are the 21 names on the list. Previously, they had put out a list of 11 names, but there had been no commitment other than these are among the people we will look at. On Friday, they locked themselves in and said these 21 are the only ones up for consideration. That was a major new development, and it was a major new development exactly along the lines of what I had urged in Cleveland, which is that I wanted to see our nominee defend freedom, defend the Constitution, and the Supreme Court is going to be right at the crossroads of determining whether the Bill of Rights remains vibrant in protecting our liberties, or whether it is rendered a dead letter by a Hillary Clinton judicial activist Court.
"[Trump] explicitly committed that the only people he would consider are the 21 names on the list.... On Friday, they locked themselves in and said these 21 are the only ones up for consideration." !?!?!?

Less than five months ago Cruz said Trump is a pathological liar. But, now Trump's word is his bond? Maybe Iran's word is now worth something too.

I have a lot of respect for Ted Cruz's courage in standing up to the Republican political establishment and calling them out for their duplicity. But, it seems his judgment is not as towering as his courage.

Two Republicans who have done the anti-Hillary stand better are:

Senator Ben Sasse and wife
Senator Ben Sasse (who has had a light touch in the midst of making serious points) and
Carly Fiorina

Carly Fiorina (who is just flat out a great, hard hitting speaker).

Both are very anti-Hillary without telling lies or fawning over a terribly flawed Republican presidential candidate.

Tuesday, September 20, 2016

Monday, September 19, 2016

DNA and Genealogy

We've been doing some genealogical research using dna tests recently. It has helped us find the family from which one of my great-great grandfathers came from. We still don't know the actual person who was his father, but we know his father's ancestors.

It's fascinating that the imprint of father to son continues on so clearly in the y chromosome so that test is pretty determinative.

One site, familytreedna gives you a visual presentation of how your chromosomes match up to other relatives. Below are three visualizations of the chromosome match between 1) both parents and a child, 2) both grandparents and a grandchild, and 3) a second cousin.

both parents chromosome match with a child (the gray areas not compared)

both grandparents (one one side) match with grandchild (gray areas not compared)
2nd cousin chromosome match (gray areas not compared)

Crazy Voter Morals

Clintons at Trump wedding
It's okay for a former businessman to lie, change his political position on a whim, say offensive things about people because . . . he's new to politics.

As though a businessman naturally has lower moral and civil standards than professional politicians who scrape the barrel on both.

One would have thought normal people, including businessmen, had higher standards than politicians. But no, apparently they have lower standards and are to be given a pass for having lower standards.

It's okay for a total political being to lie, change her political position on a whim, say offensive things about people because . . . she isn't the former businessman who donated big bucks to her political campaigns and charitable foundation.

Giuliani, Trump, Clinton
As though backing people and being "friends" with them is something you turn on and off from one day to the next depending on what your goal is any given day.

No wonder the country is in such a mess if average people treat their friends (and customers) like that and teach their kids to do the same. Though, to be truthful, the business people I do business with are far better people than the presidential candidates of the two major parties.