Friday, April 5, 2019

The Final Farewell......

After 10 years on Blogger it is time to say goodbye. It’s been an interesting up and down run, one that has been both fun and frustrating. In fact with so many ill-informed and hyper partisan folks out there it has even been maddening from time to time. I know our American politics have always been somewhat lively and partisan, but, I honestly don’t recall any time in my adult life that they have been as divided and nasty as they are right now. Trump bears a GREAT deal of responsibility for the rapid deterioration of civil and rational discourse over the last 3 + years.

When America elected its first bi-racial President division took on a new and more sinister face. I say this not because Barack Obama actively attempted to divide our nation, I say this because the white conservative/republican/Evangelical alliance against President Obama set about to insure his Presidency would fail. You may remember the republican leadership actually verbalizing their desire to see Obama fail. When he was reelected it sent the conservatives and republicans into meltdown.

With a growing economy and an ever improving job market at the end of President Obama’s second term Americans elected one Donald J. Trump to the most powerful job in the free world. Unlike Obama, a man who wished only to unite all Americans, Trump set about dividing Americans along socio-economic, cultural, and racial lines.

Trump has been called a narcissist, a misogynist, a bigot, a racist, a xenophobe, a crook, and a mendacious story teller among other undesirable character traits. All true to a very high degree. As many of my associates and acquaintances would say, Donald Trump is a real piece of work. I assure you they don’t mean it in a complimentary way! For an excellent perspective on Trump be sure to head on over to Progressive Eruptions.

Interesting enough I was once a staunch conservative and a successful business manager for most of my adult life. Until I realized (belatedly) that the modern conservative (republican) agenda is in fact a scam. Conservatism was once about fiscal responsibility and making an honest attempt to maintain a manageable federal debt. No longer is this the case.

Today conservatives/republicans TALK the talk of fiscal responsibility, reducing deficits, and the federal debt. Yet in reality they spend like drunken sailors on the MIC (Military Industrial Complex) and maintaining the USA war machine. At the same time they ignore the nation’s infrastructure and minimize the importance of the social safety net. IE, their words and actions clearly demonstrate that conservatives and republicans really don’t care about the middle class, the disadvantaged, or the working poor. Conservatives and republicans are ONLY concerned about cutting taxes for corporations and insuring that their multimillionaire and billionaire buddies are able to avoid paying their equitable share of taxes. In short their attitude is I got mine, screw you. IMO (In My Opinion) the majority have zero social conscience and fail to realize their present course may very well result in a major social/economic upheaval of gargantuan proportions. If and when it happens is ain’t gonna be pretty. Mark my words.

As for the blogosphere? Let us just say that the wealth of misinformation and totally false information is astounding. Unscrupulous individuals with misguided agendas spend their time pushing boat loads of bullsh*t that ill-informed and uninformed folks believe simply because it is what they WANT to hear and believe. It is made worse because we have a president, Donald J. Trump, that is as guilty of willfully spreading misinformation and outright lies as anyone in blogistan. Either right or left blogistan.

I consider myself a classical liberal. Although, for most of my adult life I identified as a conservative. Now, at 67 years young seeing where conservatism has led us, to Donald J. Trump, I find myself questioning how I let myself be hoodwinked for so many years. It really has been very clear since GWB, and maybe even as far back as Ronald Reagan, that Republicans, many conservative, and even some Evangelicals have become the consummate hypocrites. Like the old saying goes, better to find out late than never.

While I have refused to join the Democratic Party since leaving the Republican Party over ten years ago I plan to support every effort to defeat President Trump in 2020. The democratic presidential field has some promising candidates. If Joe Biden decides to run he likely will be my early on favorite. However, I must say Kamala Harris and Beto O’Rourke are both impressive. Rounding out the front four, albeit in the back, is Bernie Sanders. No matter which democratic candidate secures the party’s nomination they will get my vote. I encourage every knowledable and patriotic American to do whatever they can to insure the defeat of arguably the worst president in American presidential history.

I still believe America will figure out that Donald J. Trump is a malignancy on our democratic republic. And, I believe it is possible she will get it right in 2020 and send our national malignancy packing back to where he came from. The pressure now being brought to bear on Trump by the democratic majority in the House as a result of the Mueller investigation and the Southern District of New York is both proper and a very good thing. Truth always has a way of finding the surface. When it does justice will be served. One way or the other. The foundations of our representative democracy is solid and it is sound. It has withstood many difficult challenges over the course of its history and it most likely will be able to withstand the huge fart that Americans allowed to blow into the Oval Office on January 20, 2017.

As this final post goes up I want to say thanks to ALL of my readers who happened to stop in over this 10 year run. For their positive comments as well as their criticisms. They have been appreciated in more ways than some could ever imagine. My readers, both supporters and detractors, have taught me more than I ever imagined they would 10 years ago when I first entered the troubled waters of America’s political blogosphere.

Thanks again. Enjoy life and don’t sweat the small stuff.

Social Security is not a retirement savings plan; it is a social insurance program. It's a contract that says, as a society, we will look out for you and your family when you can no longer work. 

Jeff Bingaman

Update May 16, 2019:

Thursday, April 4, 2019

Irony In The Era Of Trump...

Who's Your Daddy

The above header was found on a right-wing weblog that is an ardent Trump supporting sheeple site.

How the irony of this header is lost on the site owner and its faithful is comical. Almost.

By Chuck Todd, Mark Murray and Carrie Dann:

WASHINGTON — You have a problem on your hands when a man who’s pleaded guilty for lying to Congress is perceived as being more honest than you are.

That’s precisely the situation President Trump is facing when a Quinnipiac poll released Tuesday found voters saying — by a 50 percent-to-35 percent margin — that they believe Michael Cohen more than his former boss.

The only groups who believe Trump more than Cohen are Republicans (79 percent to 11 percent), whites without college degrees (50 percent to 37 percent) and white men (51 percent to 37 percent)...


By Glenn Kessler, Salvador Rizzo and Meg Kelly April 1

It was only 200 days ago, on his 601st day in office, that President Trump exceeded 5,000 false or misleading claims.

Now, on his 801st day, the count stands at 9,451, according to The Fact Checker’s database that analyzes, categorizes and tracks every suspect statement the president utters. That’s a pace of 22 fishy claims a day over the past 200 days, a steep climb from the average of nearly 5.9 false or misleading claims a day in Trump’s first year in office.

Of course, not every day yields 22 claims. The president’s tally expands when he’s giving a speech, usually at a campaign rally. At such events, he runs through many of his favorite lines, such as that he passed the biggest tax cut in history, that his U.S.-Mexico border wall is already being built and that the U.S. economy today is the best in history. All three of those claims are on The Fact Checker’s list of Bottomless Pinocchios...

Wednesday, March 6, 2019

America's Trade Deficit Grows For Third Straight Year, Hitting All Time High......

The Commerce Department said Wednesday that — despite more than two years of President Trump’s “America First” policies — the United States last year posted a $891.2 billion merchandise trade deficit, the largest in the nation’s 243-year history.

The trade gap with China also hit a record $419 billion, underscoring the stakes for the president’s bid to reach a deal with Chinese President Xi Jinping as soon as this month.

The department’s final 2018 trade report, which was delayed by the partial government shutdown, showed that the United States bought far more in foreign goods than it sold to customers in Africa, Asia, Europe and North America. The shortfall topped the 2006 record of $838.3 billion, set as the housing bubble was peaking, and marked the third consecutive year of rising deficits.

A broader measure of the nation’s trade performance, which includes the services sector, showed a $621 billion deficit. That reflected a deterioration of more than $100 billion from the figure Trump inherited from president Barack Obama.

It has been evident for months that Trump was not shrinking a trade gap that he calls “unsustainable” and that he says represents a major transfer of wealth from Americans to foreigners. Over the past year, even as he imposed tariffs on foreign-made solar panels, washing machines, steel, aluminum and assorted goods from China, imports roared ahead of exports.

The president thus begins his reelection drive with a core campaign promise unfulfilled — and with a recent flurry of economic research showing that his embrace of tariffs is damaging the U.S. economy.

Economists say the trade deficit is swelling because of broad economic forces, including a chronic shortfall in national savings that was exacerbated by last year’s $1.5 trillion corporate and personal income tax cut. As cash-flush businesses and consumers increased their spending, purchases of imported goods rose while the overvalued dollar weighed on exports.

“Macroeconomics end up ruling. You can’t wish it away. You can’t tariff it away,” said William Reinsch, a former Commerce Department official now at the Center for Strategic and International Studies.

The Commerce Department report comes amid indications that negotiations with China over a broad trade agreement may be in their final weeks. China has offered to buy a reported $1.2 trillion in additional American products over the next six years in a deal that reportedly would ease each side’s tariffs, usher in changes to Beijing’s state-led economic model and include tough new enforcement mechanisms.

But most economists say that such increased Chinese purchases probably would only divert U.S. shipments from other foreign customers, shrinking the trade gap with China but leaving the global balance largely unchanged...

America is waiting for you Trump. We won't hold our breath.

More below THE FOLD

Sunday, March 3, 2019

Rational Nation USA is Winding Down to its April 4, 2019 Closure......

Rational Nation USA, a site devoted to truth and integrity is winding down. After 10 years it is time to accept that Americans, with their love of Twitter, Facebook, and other social media, do not really want to discuss issues honestly and with sincerity. They much prefer to gather in chat rooms (weblogs) with folks that share their same narrow views. This is especially true of rightwing conservative Trumper sites. For this reason the proprietor of the Rational Nation USA weblog is shutting down operations on April 4, 2019. Until April 4, 2019, the site will occasional post issues of interest. On April 4, 2019 the site will post its final closing remarks on Blogger.

Following are todays posts that may or may not be considered of interest. Depending on your partisan pollical leanings. Articles will have a lead in "teaser" but no opinions by the site proprietor will be made. Feel free to leave a comment, although there is no guarantee any comment will be responded to by the blog proprietor. In today's glaring political animosity and incivility it just ain't worth the effort.

Don’t Abolish Billionaires

Billionaires are in notably bad odor with many people on the left. Socialists have long held that large stores of private wealth are tantamount to violence against those in need. But regular nonradical folks not on the left are fed up, too. Howard Schultz’s potential independent White House bid is simply infuriating, and it’s maddening to feel helplessly tangled in the gilded web of global intrigue emanating from the president, his plutocrat dictator pals and America’s retail overlord, the philandering Jeff Bezos.

Thanks at least in part to Bernie Sanders and the sizzling rise of Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, this dry wick has met a spark. Enthusiasm for radical leveling is whistling out of the hard-left fringe and blossoming into a mainstream mood.

Ms. Ocasio-Cortez’s policy adviser, Dan Riffle, contends that “every billionaire is a policy failure” (that’s the tagline on his Twitter handle) because “the acquisition of that much wealth has bad consequences” and “a moral society needs guardrails against it.” He’d like to see the 2020 Democratic primary contenders answer a question: Can it be morally appropriate for anyone to be a billionaire?

It’s a compelling litmus test. I’d also like to watch would-be Democratic nominees take it. However, I hope that they would stick up for the idea that it can be morally kosher to bank a billion and that the existence of virtuous three-comma fortunes is a sign not of failure but of supreme policy success.

The empirical record is quite clear about the general form of national political economy that produces the happiest, healthiest, wealthiest, freest and longest lives. There’s no pithy name for it, so we’ll have to settle for “liberal-democratic welfare-state capitalism.” There’s a “social democratic” version, which is what you get in countries like Sweden, Norway and the Netherlands. And there’s a “neoliberal” (usually English-speaking) version, which is what you get in countries like Canada, New Zealand and the United States.

You may prefer one version over the other, but they’re not all that different. And in comparative terms, they’re all insanely great. The typical citizen of these countries is as well-off as human beings have ever been. These places are the historical pinnacle of policy success.

Trump demanded top-secret security clearance for Jared Kushner last year despite concerns of John Kelly and intelligence officials

President Trump early last year directed his then-chief of staff, John F. Kelly, to give presidential son-in-law Jared Kushner a top-secret security clearance — a move that made Kelly so uncomfortable that he documented the request in writing, according to current and former administration officials.

After Kushner, a senior White House adviser, and his wife, Ivanka Trump, pressured the president to grant Kushner the long-delayed clearance, Trump instructed Kelly to fix the problem, according to a person familiar with Kelly’s account, who spoke on the condition of anonymity to describe internal discussions.

Kelly told colleagues that the decision to give Kushner top-secret clearance was not supported by career intelligence officials, and he memorialized Trump’s request in an internal memo, according to two people familiar with the memo and the then-chief of staff’s concerns.

It is unclear how Kelly responded to Trump’s directive. But by May, Kushner had been granted a permanent security clearance to view top-secret material — a move that followed months of concern inside the White House about his inability to secure such access.

Kushner’s attorney publicly described the process as one that had gone through normal channels, a description that Kelly did not view as accurate, according to a person familiar with his reaction.

The former chief of staff, who left the administration at the beginning of this year, did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Trump’s push to get Kushner clearance — and the chief of staff’s concerns about it — was first reported by the New York Times, which also reported that then-White House Counsel Donald McGahn had concerns about Kushner’s clearance.

House Judiciary chair: "It's very clear" Trump obstructed justice

House Judiciary Chairman Rep. Jerry Nadler (D-N.Y.), whose committee would be responsible for starting impeachment proceedings, told ABC’s George Stephanopoulos on Sunday that "it's very clear" President Trump obstructed justice.

Near the end of Michael Cohen's testimony yesterday, Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez asked the former fixer whether President Trump had ever run an insurance fraud. Cohen said yes, naming three Trump Organization executives: Allen Weisselberg, Ron Lieberman and Matthew Calamari.

Why it matters: Cohen offered no proof for this allegation — and given his record of lying, his claims can't be believed without evidence. But by making this allegation — and coughing up the names of the executives — Cohen gave House investigators and federal prosecutors yet another trail to chase.