blueollie

Are you angry? So what?

I keep seeing this as a theme: Trump says something stupid and Mitch McConnell tries to get a vote on a truly dreadful bill, and people get ANGRY. But so what?

I think that Trump speaks very clearly here:

Yes, on occasion, a Lindsey Graham might stroke his chin and say he is “troubled”…but ultimately he votes for the Trump policy in question.

Yes, there are protests ..

But that isn’t going to change anyone’s mind. How much power do these people have? And those who might feel compassion for them are already NOT voting for members of Congress that back this dreadful “wealthcare bill” (yes, the ACA has problems, but an upper end tax cut won’t fix them).

This strikes me as a situation similar to that of airline customer service. Yes, the airlines don’t care because, well, they don’t have to. Each airline has more or less a monopoly on certain routes, so if you are going to fly…well, you basically HAVE to fly them. (this is one reason I want high speed rail…for competition )

So what are we to do? I really don’t know, but here are my “off the cuff” ideas:

In the short term, how do we pressure the Republicans when we basically have zero leverage (Trump supporters won’t change their minds and Big Money is indifferent to the rest of us)

1. Target the most vulnerable Republicans (as we are doing in the Senate); the ones who will need votes beyond the Republican base.
2. Pressure big business. If we find some billionaire threatening to withhold campaign funds unless the Republicans fall into line, find their biggest investments and boycott them. Our money, put together collectively, does have some clout.

In the long term, we need to win back at least one chamber of Congress and win the 2020 Presidential election.

And even here, I’ve seen two different paths discussed.

1. Seek to win back that small percentage of Trump voters who voted for Obama in 2012. Though there aren’t that many of them, there were just enough of them to tip the scales in 2016.

See this thread:

or

2. Forget about them and focus about exciting our own people and getting them to show up.

Now how do we excite the base? Here is where the “Bernie” vs. “Hillary” war continues to rage.

July 3, 2017 Posted by | Democrats, politics, politics/social, republicans, social/political | | Leave a comment

Why Trump gets away with it: hatred of liberals.

Yes, once again, Trump was tweeting stupid, disgusting things.

And yes, Sarah Sanders Huckabee defended Trump doing so.

Now, yes, Mitch McConnell might have enjoyed the cover to try to get to “an agreement on principle” to a still toxic health care…er…”wealthcare” deal.

But yes, Trump’s conduct is disgusting, and even many conservatives agree. Trump does this all of the time. But they defend it because:

Yep…he is their son-of-a-bitch. And they despise us and everything we stand for.

The elite Republicans (Ryan, McConnell, Graham, McCain, Priebus, Pence) all stand to gain something; here is a nice list as to what each might gain.

And so it goes.

June 29, 2017 Posted by | political/social, politics, republicans | | 2 Comments

They don’t even try to hide it

Yes, the vote on the toxic Senate version of “Trumpcare” has been delayed. Of course, this bill fixes NONE of the problems with the ACA but instead cuts taxes on the wealthy. I am not sure how cutting Medicaid (on a percapita basis) and giving the wealthy a tax cut on investment income is supposed to be good for anyone except those who need it the least.

And yes, Big Money is pissed; they don’t even try to hide their contempt for the rest of us. But have the Republicans become so terrible that even they have to take a step back?

I honestly don’t know.

Right now, the Republicans say (with varying degrees of exaggeration) that the ACA needs improving. I agree with that. But their solution: kick people off of Medicaid and give tax cuts to the rich? Oh my goodness…

Can’t Mitch McConnell, for once in his life, say “no” to Big Money?

Workout notes: weights plus an easy 2 mile walk.

weights: rotator cuff, hip hikes, toe raises, pull ups (5 sets of 10, went well), incline: 10 x 135, 5 x 160, 7 x 150, military: 15 x 55 seated, supported (dumbbells), 10 x 45 standing, 10 x 90 (each arm) machine, rows: 2 sets of 10 x 55 each arm, 10 x 110 machine.

Of note: when I was doing my 15 x 55 while seated, I noticed the pressure I put on my seat. I had 110 extra pounds..and that is more or less how it used to feel to sit when I was at my fattest.

June 28, 2017 Posted by | politics, politics/social, republicans, republicans politics, walking, weight training | , , | Leave a comment

Did Trump outsmart Obama?

I read this article about how the Obama administration handled the Russian meddling in our election issue. Here is the Washington Post article on the subject.

The upshot: Obama found out, told the Russians to “cut it out”, they didn’t and the Obama administration responded weakly. Reason: remember Trump babbling about the “election being rigged” and the threats that he might not accept the results if he lost?

That put Obama between a rock and a hard place. If he went public, the Republicans would accuse him of “rigging the election” for Hillary; remember that one of the things that the Russians did was to spread false stories. But if he responded weakly…well, you see what happened.

So, he figured that Clinton would win anyway..and she didn’t (sort of).

Now Trump is crowing.

Now, in public, Trump denied that Russia was behind the hacking. But what if he knew that Russia was behind it (or even actively colluded, though we don’t have solid evidence of that as yet) and he judged that Obama’s sense of fairness (not wanting to appear to tip the election toward Clinton, which could have backfired) would make Obama respond weakly?

It could be that we got played.

June 25, 2017 Posted by | 2016, politics, republicans | , , | Leave a comment

Democrats: offer a “yea” vote on AHCA if they remove the tax cuts

Let’s be blunt: the AHCA (aka “Turtlecare”, “Cheetocare”) is nothing more than a repeal of the high end tax hikes on the well-to-do. Period. The rest is to make reconciliation work.

So, let the Democrats in the Senate offer to back the Senate version if The Turtle takes out those tax cuts.

Play chicken with ’em.

Note: I hate The Turtle (aka Sen. McConnell) but he is a sharp politician; evidently he set it up so that wavering Republican Senators can get political cover by suggesting small (but inconsequential) amendments.

June 22, 2017 Posted by | Democrats, politics, politics/social, republicans, republicans politics | , , | Leave a comment

Oh boy…dark days ahead

Tomorrow, Georgia 6’th Congressional District will vote on a replacement for Tom Price’s old seat. He won 62-38 in 2016, but resigned to take a post in the Trump administration. Though Trump narrowly won the district 48-47, this seat was considered safe..until..recent events.

The Democrat Jon Ossoff got more votes than anyone else in the primary, but narrowly missed the 50 percent threshold to avoid a runoff. So now he is locked in a tight battle with Karen Handel with the polls being so close. Ossoff did have a 7 point lead in one of them, but most have been 0-2 points with Ossoff leading; the latest had Handel up by 2 (but the day before, Ossoff was up by 1 and 2 points).

In other words: toss up.

And in the Senate, Mitch “the Turtle” McConnell won’t let anyone outside of his narrow circle see the Senate’s bill, and he will force a quick vote on it.

My guess is that he wants to avoid public scrutiny AND to keep Trump out of the loop. And if it fails..well, he wants to move on to tax cuts.

I think that is the way to read this: whatever gets them to tax cuts the quickest…that is, tax cuts for the wealthiest among us.

I am not sure how much he will put into the health care bill itself.

Workout notes Bonus walk with Barbara after weights (2 miles)

rotator cuff, hip hikes, calf raises
pull ups: 5 sets of 10 (ok)
bench press: 10 x 135, 4 x 190, 8 x 170
incline: 10 x 135
military: seated, 15 x 55, then 10 x 45, 10 x 40
rows: 2 sets of 10 x 55, 10 x 60
yoga: abs, 1-2 sun salutes, headstand (good?), plank for 2:30

I saw Barbara on the way home and so walked a leisurely 2 miles with her.

Note: I am getting the old “piriformis tingles” again; brought on by the onset of longer, faster walks, I think.

June 19, 2017 Posted by | political/social, politics, politics/social, republicans, republicans political/social, republicans politics, walking, weight training | , | Leave a comment

Disgusting…

I got a late start (but sleep!) and walked 10K: 19 minutes warm up, 4.2 miles (10 laps of W. Peoria, doing parking lot intervals; about 3 on, 2-2:30 off), a bit less than I mile back.

27:29/26:12; I was 5:3x for the first 4 laps and mostly 5:1x for the next 6; one 5:20 (lap 9) and 5:04 (lap 10). But the heat and humidity was revolting.

Speaking of revolting: Will Bunch as an interesting op-ed. It is worth reading: it is about the marriage of Donald Trumps authoritarianism with general GOP greed (cut taxes on the rich at all costs).

I highly recommend reading the article. It is genius, really.

Trump: needs adoration. He gets it this way: to his lesser educated base, he promised to make “America Great Again” (say, post WW II) by making things “like they were”. His base gets this in return: liberals are infuriated by the things Trump says and what he pushes for. Hey, if the “libtards” are upset, he must be doing something right, correct?

The wealthy base: gets promises of tax cuts. That is what the modern GOP is really about, though the sell hatred of the liberals to their lesser educated base. And it is an easy sell; vocal, unreasonable liberals are easy to find.

So, the poorer Republicans lose Medicaid and the “lower to middle of the middle class” ones are no closer to seeing the return of good paying middle class jobs (think: automation, plus the loss of union power), but the GOP gets away with it by pointing out that we are sticking up for Loretta’s right to use the women’s bathroom.

We suck as politicians and the GOP base gets conned over and over again.

June 13, 2017 Posted by | political/social, politics, politics/social, republicans, walking | | Leave a comment

Giving Trump supporters some credit

I watched the climate change stuff with interest. Yes, Trump pulled us out of it. But as President Obama and others pointed out:

1. Businesses and energy firms have already made some good advances…and we won’t retreat from those and
2. Other countries can make the agreement stronger because they won’t have to water it down just for us; they will be taking the lead.

So, the planet might not be hurt as badly as our world leadership, and ironically, our businesses.

Yes, withdrawing from the agreement wasn’t really popular anywhere, but this is not something that most people feel intensely about; it is not a big emotional hot-button issue for most.

Now about those Trump supporters: some on the left seemed to think that Hillary Clinton was “just as bad” as Trump, or “worse”. Some even said that openly…”what is the difference>?”

Evidently, millions and millions of Trump supporters COULD tell the difference, and here we are. So in that sense, the Trump supporters are smarter than the super hard core Bernie bots (the ones who didn’t switch to Clinton for the general) and the Stein voters.

And so, I feel so embarrassed for our country…but am realistic enough to recognize that the buffoonery that we are displaying to the world accurately reflects large swaths of our population:

the Trump supporters who will do just about anything “because the liberals hate it” and those who put up with Trump’s incompetence because they think that they can grow even richer via deregulation and tax cuts.

June 1, 2017 Posted by | Republican, republicans, social/political | | Leave a comment

Forget about Impeaching Trump…for now.

If you read my twitter feed, some are under the impression that Trump will be removed from office. Nate Silver does a very detailed analysis and concludes:

All that work … and I’m still not going to give you a precise number for how likely Trump is to lose his job. That’s because this is a thought experiment and not a mathematical model. I do think I owe you a range, however. I’m pretty sure I’d sell Trump-leaves-office-early stock (whether because of removal from office or other reasons) at even money (50 percent), and I’m pretty sure I’d buy it at 3-to-1 against (25 percent). I could be convinced by almost any number within that range.

The easiest-to-imagine scenario for Trump being removed is if Republicans get clobbered in the midterms after two years of trying to defend Trump, the Republican agenda is in shambles, Democrats begin impeachment proceedings in early 2019, and just enough Republicans decide that Pence (or some fresh face with no ties to the Trump White House) gives them a better shot to avoid total annihilation in 2020.

In some sense, then, the most important indicators of Trump’s impeachment odds are the ones you’d always use to monitor the political environment: presidential approval ratings, the generic congressional ballot and (if taken with appropriate grains of salt) special election results. What makes this time a little different is that if Republicans think the ship is sinking, impeachment may give them an opportunity to throw their president overboard first.

And I’ve seen credible arguments that…Trump could well end up getting reelected in 2020! (yeah, I know…it is a Salon article, but this article strikes me as being credible).

Trump’s approval, while dismal for a new president, isn’t at historic lows (though low FOR THIS POINT in an administration). The Real Clear Politics approval average is just under 40 percent. His Gallup poll approval is at 37 percent. But it is at 84 percent among Republicans.

That might seem hard to believe, but remember that lots of Republicans do not trust the New York Times, Washington Post, or CNN. This is what they are seeing:

They are much more likely to be up in arms about what some obscure liberal arts professor said than about serious issues like this one:

President Trump asked two of the nation’s top intelligence officials in March to help him push back against an FBI investigation into possible coordination between his campaign and the Russian government, according to current and former officials.

Trump made separate appeals to the director of national intelligence, Daniel Coats, and to Adm. Michael S. Rogers, the director of the National Security Agency, urging them to publicly deny the existence of any evidence of collusion during the 2016 election.

Coats and Rogers refused to comply with the requests, which they both deemed to be inappropriate, according to two current and two former officials, who spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss private communications with the president.

Trump sought the assistance of Coats and Rogers after FBI Director James B. Comey told the House Intelligence Committee on March 20 that the FBI was investigating “the nature of any links between individuals associated with the Trump campaign and the Russian government and whether there was any coordination between the campaign and Russia’s efforts.”

Trump’s conversation with Rogers was documented contemporaneously in an internal memo written by a senior NSA official, according to the officials. It is unclear if a similar memo was prepared by the Office of the Director of National Intelligence to document Trump’s conversation with Coats. Officials said such memos could be made available to both the special counsel now overseeing the Russia investigation and congressional investigators, who might explore whether Trump sought to impede the FBI’s work.

Things like Trump’s embarrassing mathematical error in his new budget (he double counted the projected offsets to his proposed 2 trillion dollar tax cuts) will be seen as, at worst, “liberal lies” and, at best, the “he said, she said” part of partisan politics.

If that sounds incredible, well, we are not behind their propaganda wall.

Many of us simply do not associate with many (if any) Trump supporters; we are hearing different things than they are. Note how “clumpy” this precinct level map is; Hillary Clinton won the popular vote by close to 3 million votes, but, on an individual level, we are likely to interact mostly with those who see eye to eye with us. Yes, I live in a county (Peoria, IL) that barely went for Clinton; my Congressional District (IL-17) elected Cheri Bustos (Democrat) but was carried by Trump (barely); Obama won it by 17 points in 2012. (2016 by Congressional District, by County)

So, I have to disagree with her here:

Interviews with Trump supporters are the only way I come to grips with, well, how delusional the Republican rank and file is.

And these are the people who vote for all of those Republicans in Congress. And now, Trump has big money behind him (tax cuts).

But between now and 2020 lie the 2018 midterms and those are huge; the President’s party usually loses seats.

But that means flipping some “swing districts” and IN SUCH DISTRICTS, “impeachment” does not play well there.

So, I’d like us to focus on winning at least one chamber (maybe two?) in 2018, and would settle for a legislative stalemate between now and then.

Realpolitik.

Workout notes
5 treadmill miles; slow warm up (2 miles just over 22 minutes; 5.2 going up .1 every .5 miles) then 3 miles of .25 faster, .25 walk (3.7 mph); .25 segments were 6.7, 6.9, 7.0 (two reps at each level). Just enough to get sweaty (197.5 before, 194.3 after).

May 23, 2017 Posted by | political/social, politics, republicans, republicans politics, running, social/political | , | Leave a comment

Removal of Trump from office: yes, there is a downside

First of all, I have no training in law; I do not know (for sure) whether Trump did anything impeachable or not. It appears to me that he violated his oath of office in at least 3 areas: violation of the emoluments clause, obstruction of justice (trying to hinder the FBI’s investigation into possible collusion with Russia during the election) and his grotesquely reckless giving “beyond top secret” information to Russia (though he DOES have the power to do so).

I have read that while the Constitution says “High crimes and misdemeanors” as the standard,

Fifth, this may well be a violation of the President’s oath of office. Questions of criminality aside, we turn to the far more significant issues: If the President gave this information away through carelessness or neglect, he has arguably breached his oath of office. As Quinta and Ben have elaborated on in some detail, in taking the oath President Trump swore to “faithfully execute the Office of President of the United States” and to “preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States” to the best of his ability. It’s very hard to argue that carelessly giving away highly sensitive material to an adversary foreign power constitutes a faithful execution of the office of President.

Violating the oath of office does not require violating a criminal statute. If the President decided to write the nuclear codes on a sticky note on his desk and then took a photo of it and tweeted it, he would not technically have violated any criminal law–just as he hasn’t here. He has the constitutional authority to dictate that the safeguarding of nuclear materials shall be done through sticky notes in plain sight and tweeted, even the authority to declassify the codes outright. Yet, we would all understand this degree of negligence to be a gross violation of his oath of office.

And yes, I find this convincing.

The downside: the biggest one for me is that if Trump leaves office before his term is up (whatever reason) then:

1. He is going to be replaced by a conservative, and almost certainly, one with a lot more political skill. That is, the Republicans will still control both chambers of Congress and the executive AND have someone who is better situated in getting their agenda passed.

2. The replacement will have a good shot at reelection and

3. The Republicans in Congress can play the “we placed patriotism over party” card and probably better positioned to retain their seats.

So there are political minefields here. BUT, right now, I am worried about disaster and would trade Trump for some conservative who is more emotionally stable and rational, even if it hurts us politically.

I still see impeachment as a longshot though:

And yet, outside the inner circle of Republicans with access to the commander-in-chief, Trump’s popularity remains respectable, even solid. The conservative base is largely unaware of the constant revelations of Trump’s gross incompetence, or has been trained to ignore them as propaganda emanating from the administration’s enemies in the deep state or the liberal media. In red America, Trump remains a hero at best, and a competent, normal president at worst.

Recognizing competence is not a strength of red America. Remember that Trump was elected by people who see Trump as themselves, had they been born into money. And many of them probably sincerely believe that THEY could do a competent job as president.

Workout notes weights, 2 mile run, 3 mile walk.
weights: rotator cuff, 5 x 10 pull ups, incline presses: 10 x 135, 7 x 150, 3 x 160 (strict hips), military: 20 x 50 dumbbell (seated, supported), 2 sets of 10 x 45, rows: Hammer: 3 sets of 10 x 200. headstand.

run: 20 minutes (2.08) 10:38 mile 1, 19:16 mile 2 (6.7 at 8 minutes then up by .1 ever .25 miles)
walk: 5K Bradley Park course (easy)

May 17, 2017 Posted by | political/social, politics, politics/social, republicans, republicans political/social, running, social/political, walking, weight training | | Leave a comment