blueollie

I am almost sorry I didn’t vote for Trump

Ok, yes, I still consider Donald Trump to be an unqualified amateur who lacks the necessary deportment and humility to be President of the United States.
I fear that his recklessness will get us into a shooting war; that his ham-handedness will wreck our economy and heaven forbid what will happen when we get our first genuine crisis.

But, well, look at what is happening:

1. A Trump supporter in Chicago is whining about being…bullied? Uh, Trump is the quintessential bully. Oh, let me make it clear: I do NOT approve of threats and the like; if I saw someone vandalize their business, I’d report it to the police right away.

And for what it worth, I do business with companies that are run by Republicans all of the time; I go by things like customer service, how I am treated, how they treat their workers, etc.

But if others want to make choices with their dollars or to denounce their choice, well, that is just “freedom”, no? And remember that Trump bullies people all of the time.

2. Many Trump voters are…worried about losing their Obamacare and/or Medicaid. Seriously? Hey, Trump made much of his money via cons and stiffing contractors. And you thought that he’d tell the truth to you? OMG…I am dying with laughter:

An aim of Republican legislation is to reduce private premiums, but Ms. Sines’s son, who along with her other two grown children signed up for Medicaid under the expansion, has been warning that their coverage could be “in trouble,” she said. She cannot believe Mr. Trump would allow that to happen.

“I can’t imagine them not keeping it like it is now,” said Ms. Sines, who runs a group home for the elderly.

Mr. Waltimire said he hoped to return to the police force, and the health benefits it provides, this year. But with no guarantee of good health — he was injured in a fall in 2009 and has had circulatory problems ever since — he also hopes other options remain available.

“It’s kind of hard for me,” he said of having free government coverage. “I’ve always worked all my life. But like my counselor said, sometimes you just have to say thank you and move forward.”

3. And those who live in impoverished areas just KNOW that good jobs are coming back:

“I voted for Trump 100%,” says Barbara Puckett, a 55-year-old mom, who lives in the small and friendly town of Beattyville. “It’s the most hopeful I’ve been in a long time now that he’s in there.”
Trump won 81% of the vote in Beattyville. People here love that Trump doesn’t “sugarcoat” anything. They feel he understands them, even though he’s a billionaire.
“Donald Trump’s got all the money he’ll ever need,” says Steve Mays, judge-executive for the county and life-long Beattyville resident. The 49-year-old says he’s never been more excited about a president than he is now. “Trump will be a president for the common man.” [..]

“If you got a job here in Beattyville, you’re lucky,” says Amber Hayes, a bubbly 25-year-old mom of two, who also voted for Trump. She works at the county courthouse, but is paid by the Kentucky Transitional Assistance Program (K-TAP), a form of welfare.
Coal, oil and tobacco made Beattyville a boom town in the 1800s and much of the 1900s. Locals like to bring up the fact that Lee County — where Beattyville is located — was the No. 1 oil-producing county east of the Mississippi at one time.
“Growing up in the ’70s? Yeah, this was the place to be,” says Chuck Caudhill, the general manager of the local paper, The Beattyville Enterprise. He calls the town the “gem of eastern Kentucky.”
Today, the town is a ghost of its former self. The vast majority of Beattyville residents get some form of government aid — 57% of households receive food stamps and 58% get disability payments from Social Security.
“I hope [Trump] don’t take the benefits away, but at the same time, I think that once more jobs come in a lot of people won’t need the benefits,” says Hayes, who currently receives about $500 a month from government assistance. She’s also on Obamacare.

Uh huh. I am sure that businesses are itching to set something up in this town. ROTFLMAO.

Hey if you vote for a known con artist, you are voting to get conned.

March 20, 2017 Posted by | economy, politics, politics/social, poverty, social/political | | 2 Comments

Understanding different types of Trump supporters

Yes, I admit that there are some Trump supporters that do fall into the “basket of deplorables”; there is no denying that. No, it isn’t half of them but it is certainly some of them.

I’ll focus on the more mainstream ones.

One group includes the poorly educated, “lower middle class to poor” Trump supporters. Yes, Trumpcare and many of Trump’s proposed economic policies will hurt them more than most. So what is going on? This appears to be the best explanation I’ve read.

This is my summary of the article: yes, the repeal of Obamacare and the cutting of safety-nets (including Medicaid) hurts them. Cutting “Meals on Wheels” hurts the elderly in the region as well.

But: what these people really want is for the long lost jobs to return; jobs with health insurance and retirement plans (both indirectly subsidized by the government in terms of tax breaks). Government run safety nets…those are yucky programs that “other people” rely on:

Why are economically struggling blue collar voters rejecting a party that offers to expand public safety net programs? The reality is that the bulk of needy white voters are not interested in the public safety net. They want to restore their access to an older safety net, one much more generous, dignified, and stable than the public system – the one most well-employed voters still enjoy. […]

ike most of my neighbors I have a good job in the private sector. Ask my neighbors about the cost of the welfare programs they enjoy and you will be greeted by baffled stares. All that we have is “earned” and we perceive no need for government support. Nevertheless, taxpayers fund our retirement saving, health insurance, primary, secondary, and advanced education, daycare, commuter costs, and even our mortgages at a staggering public cost. Socialism for white people is all-enveloping, benevolent, invisible, and insulated by the nasty, deceptive notion that we have earned our benefits by our own hand.

My family’s generous health insurance costs about $20,000 a year, of which we pay only $4,000 in premiums. The rest is subsidized by taxpayers. You read that right. Like virtually everyone else on my block who isn’t old enough for Medicare or employed by the government, my family is covered by private health insurance subsidized by taxpayers at a stupendous public cost. Well over 90% of white households earning over the white median income (about $75,000) carried health insurance even before the Affordable Care Act. White socialism is nice if you can get it.

The article also describes the tax breaks we get for our pension plans.

When Democrats respond to job losses with an offer to expand the public safety net, blue collar voters cringe and rebel. They are not remotely interested in sharing the public social safety net experienced by minority groups and the poorest white families. Meanwhile well-employed and affluent voters, ensconced in their system of white socialism, leverage all the power at their disposal to block any dilution of their expensive public welfare benefits. Something has to break.

And so, Bernie like populism will flop with that group.

The business CEOs
I remember my days in the submarine Navy. Both the officers and the enlisted men came from the top of their respective groups, at least in terms of intelligence. As far as the officers I worked with: typically A engineering students in college who has done well in Nuclear Power school They were very hard workers (16-18 hours a day at sea, 12 or more in port) were typical, and they knew the technology (e. g. nuclear power plant) inside and out.

But with those hours and that focus…let’s just say there wasn’t time to focus on the finer points of social policy or macro economics; whatever matched their intuition sounded good.

Business CEOs are probably similar: very smart people who know their business and their industry inside and out…but probably not that interested in this that don’t directly relate to their business in the short term. Hence, to them, Trump indicates and end to the “class warfare” that Obama waged..finally…lower taxes and fewer regulations! So attitudes like this are probably common.

Oh, there are long term problems. For example, if income inequality gets to be so great that few people have disposable income left, who is going to buy their stuff? If regulations made businesses so unprofitable, why did CEO pay rise so steeply? What will happen if/when Trump either gets us in a war or a trade war?

But lots of 14-18 hour days doesn’t give one a lot of time to ponder things beyond their own narrow interest.

March 18, 2017 Posted by | political/social, politics, republicans, social/political | , | 1 Comment

And I waste my spring break….

I am just having too much fun on the internet.

Now THAT is my kind of toaster! (this is what this is making fun of: Kellyanne Conway, of couch kneeling fame, claimed that some microwaves have spy cameras)

Cheetocare My “friend” Carmen Johnson and my twitter buddy Diana Archer dubbed this health care train wreck “Cheetocare”. Roughly, it cuts taxes on the upper 2 percent in return for underfunding the Medicare trust fund and not expanding Medicaid …and ..in effect, kicking older people off of Obamacare by allowing the insurance companies to increase the multiplier from 3 times to 5 times (how much more an older person must pay for insurance). Here are some sources: New York Times, Vox, Vox on Medicaid.

If there is a silver lining, it is that poor, red, southern states will be hit the hardest with a “per-capita” Medicaid rating.

But, it is my guess that this bill will either crash and burn in the house or be DOA in the Senate. Even conservative outlets such as Newsmax and Breitbart are denouncing it as Ryan’s plan. In fact, Newsmax is actually proposing “Medicaid for all”; weaker than “Medicare for all” to be sure, but..well…when Newsmax moves somewhat close to what I can live with…these are strange times.

As far as the rest of the Trump agenda: well, lots of CEOs seem to like what they see. I get it: they spend a LOT of time on their own businesses and are pretty good on managing things on a short term basis. Of course if things get so bad that few have money to patronize their businesses…well, I suppose in their eyes, that is some theoretical construct that they don’t have time for now. Micro is their thing, not macro.

Upshot: don’t expect them to move away from Trump for all of Trump’s shortcomings.

Basketball notes: Fun NIT game in Champaign last night; another one in Normal tonight. I’ll write a complete report tomorrow.

Workout notes:
Treadmill run: 10 minute warm up (every 2 minutes), then 10 x 2:30 at 6.7, 2:30 at 5.3 recoveries. I had an extra break when the fire alarm went off (false alarm) so I did one 3 minute interval with a 2 minute rest to make up somewhat. 1:00:44 for 6 miles, 1:02:52 for 10K.

March 15, 2017 Posted by | health care, politics, politics/social, running, social/political | , , | Leave a comment

They lie and get away with it…healthcare, wire taps, etc.

First, here is Trump’s claim that President Obama released 122 prisoners from GITMO who returned to the battlefield. Uh, 113 of these were released by President Bush:

But none of this will matter to a Trump supporter.

What about Trump’s claim that he was “wiretapped by Obama”? Well, here is what they find convincing. I actually agree that an impartial investigation is called for; let’s see the evidence used for the relevant FISA warrants. But this article does have a useful list of good article about intercepted intelligence between Trump campaign officials and the Russians.

Here is a more thoughtful article about KremlinGate and what happened. Upshot: you don’t have right to privacy when discussing things with potential spies.

And we move to healthcare. Yes, the Republicans want to give the wealthiest another tax cut and repeal some of the unpopular things from Obamacare..but things that were necessary to make it work. And they want to allow companies to charge older people 5 times more (rather than just 3) and end out of pocked subsidies. My guess: Senate will filibuster and the Republicans will say “we tried” (while breathing a sigh of relief).

March 7, 2017 Posted by | health care, politics, politics/social, republicans, tax cuts | | Leave a comment

So Sessions lied under oath…

The Washington Post reports:

Then-Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-Ala.) spoke twice last year with Russia’s ambassador to the United States, Justice Department officials said, encounters he did not disclose when asked about possible contacts between members of President Trump’s campaign and representatives of Moscow during Sessions’s confirmation hearing to become attorney general.

One of the meetings was a private conversation between Sessions and Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak that took place in September in the senator’s office, at the height of what U.S. intelligence officials say was a Russian cyber campaign to upend the U.S. presidential race. […]

At his Jan. 10 Judiciary Committee confirmation hearing, Sessions was asked by Sen. Al Franken (D-Minn.) what he would do if he learned of any evidence that anyone affiliated with the Trump campaign communicated with the Russian government in the course of the 2016 campaign.

“I’m not aware of any of those activities,” he responded. He added: “I have been called a surrogate at a time or two in that campaign and I did not have communications with the Russians.”

[Trump administration sought to enlist intelligence officials, key lawmakers to counter Russia stories]

Officials said Sessions did not consider the conversations relevant to the lawmakers’ questions and did not remember in detail what he discussed with Kislyak.

“There was absolutely nothing misleading about his answer,” said Sarah Isgur Flores, Sessions’s spokeswoman.

Oh, there is sure as hell was! Yes, he could say that he didn’t talk about the campaign with the Russians, and that could well be true. But what about “I did not have communications with the Russians.” is unclear? He did not say “…about the campaign”.

And why in the heck could he not say that he had a conversation and say “it wasn’t about the campaign” or “I can’t remember what we talked about”? Meeting with a foreign official isn’t a crime.

It sure appears to me that the entire Trump administration is incompetent.

March 2, 2017 Posted by | politics, politics/social | | Leave a comment

Trump’s Bigly Address to Congress…

Well, the bar is so low that Trump got credit..for not calling anyone a loser or a hater. And yes, this speech was a 6’th grade version of what you’d expect Presidents to say, provided you didn’t want details, or if you overlook the lies and distortions. Here is a “Fact Check” via Factcheck.org (click the link for details).

In his first address to a joint session of Congress, President Donald Trump stuck closely to his prepared remarks, but ran afoul of the facts in some cases.
Trump said the U.S. has spent $6 trillion in the Middle East and “with this $6 trillion we could have rebuilt our country.” The amount spent so far is $1.7 trillion, according to the Defense Department.

He cherry-picked the findings of a recent report, saying it found immigration costs U.S. taxpayers “billions of dollars a year.” The report said immigration “has an overall positive impact on long-run economic growth.”
Trump said “94 million Americans are out of the labor force,” a figure that includes the retired, college students and stay-at-home parents. The vast majority — 88.5 million — said they didn’t want a job.

Trump said he would “promote clean air and clean water,” a vague claim that came hours after he had signed an executive order to roll back a 2015 “Clean Water Rule.”

And the president repeated claims we’ve fact-checked before on border security, welfare, job creation since he was elected, health insurance and crime. For instance, he said the U.S. left “our own borders wide open, for anyone to cross.” But the border patrol budget and number of agents have both doubled since 2001.

As far as goals: sure, some sound good (family leave, repair of infrastructure) and I hope he gives serious action on these. But how? Details were non-existent.

And as much as I want infrastructure repair, I remain deeply skeptical.

And I found his use of the widow to be disgusting. There are serious questions about that raid, and he has avoided taking responsibility.

But my guess is that this speech played well with those who supported him most strongly.

March 1, 2017 Posted by | political/social, politics, social/political | , | Leave a comment

Is this storm here to stay?

1979:  The Great Red Spot, in the region of Jupiter which extends from the equator to the southern polar latitudes, as seen by the space probe Voyager 2.  (Photo by MPI/Getty Images)

1979: The Great Red Spot, in the region of Jupiter which extends from the equator to the southern polar latitudes, as seen by the space probe Voyager 2. (Photo by MPI/Getty Images)

I know when there is a rainstorm, I think: “it can’t last forever”. Well, here is Jupiter’s “Red Spot”. It has been observed for 187 years and was thought to have been observed 350 years ago. Yeah, in terms of astronomical time scales, that is perhaps a nano-second. But it is a long time for a human.

And so I come to something that has been on my mind a LOT lately: our new “so-called” president.

Yes, in my bubble, Trump is an unmitigated disaster, headed for either impeachment, removal via the 25’th Amendment, or destined to resign because he wants to take his ball and go home.

Ah, I’d love that. But I really do not see that happening.

Yes, Trump’s numbers are at historic lows for someone this early into his administration. (40 percent by the Gallup). But he is at 86 percent among Republicans. And the reality is that many (most) who voted for Trump simply do not care about the things that we care about.

Now, I disagree with some of what is in this Isaac Simpson blog post, but there are some good observations here:

Here’s a fact you that might surprise you: most Trump voters do not care if he collaborated with Russia to take down Clinton. If that was what was necessary to destroy Washington, then it was worth it. Trumpians, many of whom have had their lives destroyed by Wall Street and by an establishment that, fairly or not, they connect directly to the MSM, are so angry that they’ve entered means-to-an-end mode.
To put yourself in the mind of a Trump voter, a good analog would be if a country known for meddling in American politics, let’s say Israel, had hacked the RNC on Hillary’s behalf, then exposed some corruption-containing RNC emails to the public. These emails were then used to defeat Trump. As a Hillary supporter, would you care? Would you really call for Hillary’s head?
The point is, if you think Trump supporters are going to be like Nixon supporters and lose faith in their candidate if it’s proven that he acted nefariously, think again. They won’t care. They’ll interpret a Trump impeachment as a nothing but a usurpation.

And many have lost trust in the mainstream media:

In Trump’s case, you have a paradigmatically anti-establishment candidate versus a powerful and brazenly biased media known to be as corrupt as the politicians it covers. The New York Times has admitted that it ignored Trump supporters during the election, and has essentially acknowledged its own bias. The people funneling money into politics are often the same ones who own the media companies that are doing the reporting, i.e. George Soros. It’s not a stretch to believe that MSM was so threatened by Trump that it spent tens of millions of dollars trying to find a way, any way, to take him down. By being outwardly hostile to the MSM, Trump, the ultimate outsider, baited them into this battle. If the MSM takes down Trump, it’s hard to see it as anything besides Goliath defeating David. And, no matter what the facts are, it will be Goliath defeating David in the mind of the Trump voter.

As incredulous as it sounds to me (and to most of my friends), Trumpkins view Trump as “David” rather than Goliath! (wrap your head around that one).

And Trump supporters really do think that he is doing a great job and simply do not understand what the problem is.

But less than one month into Trump’s term, many of his supporters say they once again feel under attack — perhaps even more so than before.

Those who journeyed to Trump’s Saturday evening event on Florida’s Space Coast said that since the election, they have unfriended some of their liberal relatives or friends on Facebook. They don’t understand why major media outlets don’t see the same successful administration they have been cheering on. And they’re increasingly frustrated that Democrats — and some Republicans — are too slow to approve some of the president’s nominees and too quick to protest his every utterance.

“They’re stonewalling everything that he’s doing because they’re just being babies about it,” said Patricia Melani, 56, a Jersey native who now lives here and attended her third Trump rally Saturday. “All the loudmouths? They need to let it go. Let it go. Shut their mouths and let the man do what he’s got to do. We all shut our mouths when Obama got in the second time around, okay? So that’s what really needs to be done.”

And hey, things have changed.

At last night’s Peoria Democrats Presidents Day Dinner, I hung out with a lot of like minded friends, and was shocked to learn that Trump carried MY OWN CONGRESSIONAL DISTRICT (IL-17); one that Cheri Bustos won easily. Yep, it is true: Trump won 47.4-46.7 in a district that Obama carried by 17 points.

Bustos warned that Democrats appeared to be indifferent to those affected by the loss of manufacturing jobs; not showing up in areas hit by factory closings and the like. She noted that she was the only Midwestern Democrat on her committee.

Now of course, I do not approve of lying about those lost manufacturing and good paying blue collar jobs; they are NOT coming back (example). And there is a reason that liberals migrate to the coasts; I sure wish I could too! Hell, I was at a Democratic dinner, and it was opened with a highly sectarian prayer (FATHER GOD, “In Jesus Name”)…it seemed like an Onion parody of the Bible beaters.

So, that is my gripe. My solution? From what I’ve read, right wing populists in Europe have been taken down by ordinary, hum-drum politics. Oh, we won’t win that 40 percent the consistently approves of Trump. Forget about that. But by holding President Trump accountable for the outcomes of his policies, we might just pick off enough of the “mushy middle” to win it back in 2020.

Yeah, screaming about Trump’s noxious personality and his social sins might feel good to us, and while that won’t actually help Trump, it won’t win the election for us. The professional politicians have their work cut out for them.

Upshot: I’ll continue to vent with my friends, but I also realize that my venting, while being a nice stress release, is NOT part of the hard work of winning the next election. I have to ask myself: do I REALLY want to do more political walk routes in “broken sidewalk” neighborhoods? (If you are a Democrat, you will always do walk routes in the poorest neighborhoods…it would be nicer to be a Republican!) I did these from 2004-2012 and I have NOT done it since…hmmm…

Oh well, the gym and academic work calls…

February 21, 2017 Posted by | Cheri Bustos, Democrats, IL-17, political/social, politics, politics/social | , , | Leave a comment

Hurting the feeeeelings of Trump supporters…

Yes, I want my professional politicians to take pains to be civil to all of their constituents, including those that did not vote for them. Yes, our current President does NOT do this; he sets the worst example I’ve seen in a senior political leader.

But not I am seeing “are liberals helping Trump” type statements and these arguments are being taken seriously by those I respect. It seems to go something like this: “well, a small percentage of those who voted for Trump are having second thoughts but the liberal meanies are keeping them in the Trump camp”.

And a small percentage it is, as 87 percent of Republicans approve of his job performance (Gallup, as of 19 February).

So, is there evidence that liberal snarkiness toward Trump supporters is hurting? I do not see it. Think of it this way: did the open white hot hatred that many conservatives displayed toward Obama and his supporters hurt them?

Now before you say “yes but”: yes, I agree that most Trump supporters are NOT evil, stupid people. I do think that many simply didn’t know any better and that some simply voted for the tax cuts, thinking all of the incompetence and corruption would not matter that much.

Some, I think, are gullible (hint: coal and big time manufacturing are NOT coming back).

In any event, my problem with Trump is his deportment, his thoughtlessly saying false stuff, and frankly his apparent incompetence for this type of job (and apparent violation of the “you can’t profit off of your office” rule in the Constitution. Policy: well, the Republicans won; my ideas lost. That happens..we should have run a better campaign.

But I am not going to tell my friends that they should act like political operatives 24/7…not that it would do any good.

Sure, writing or saying “If you voted for Trump, you are evil and I hate you” isn’t going to change any minds but, well, most of us are not politicians nor ambassadors.

February 20, 2017 Posted by | political/social, politics, social/political | | Leave a comment

Why I find President Trump so depressing….

No, it isn’t about policy. Yes, I did not like President Reagan’s policies. I didn’t like many of the first President Bush’s policies, and did not care for the second President Bush (from the Iraq war until the final 2 years of his term…when things started to fall apart, he started to act appropriately)

And if someone like VP Pence was in charge:

Suppose Mike Pence were president now. Tax-reform legislation would be hitting the floor of the House. A competent White House staff, headed by people with intact reputations for honesty, would be hammering out the compromises necessary to repeal healthcare reform. A functional National Security Council would be generating options for responding to Russia’s cheating on arms-control treaties and aggression in Ukraine. Democrats and liberals would be assailing congressional Republicans on immigration and abortion—not espionage and treason.

So, a conventional Republican as President would have me up in arms, but about the right things: policy. Yes, let’s debate that. Yes, if they win an election, the losing side (in this case, mine) has to do some sucking it up.

It is all part of being a citizen. Sometimes your ideas do not win the day.

But that isn’t what is going on now. Instead we are getting this:

So is appears that President Trump is only the president of his base..no one else. In reality: he is probably more about the ultra wealthy than anyone else; we shall see. But he is reaching out to those who voted for him, period. He attacks our public institutions and private citizens.

Never in my life have I seen a president do that. Every president of both parties have made it a point to at least try to reach out to those who didn’t vote for them. Until now.

As far as his press conference, well, just read a fact check.

I’ve never felt so alienated.

I understand where #notmypresident comes from. He really doesn’t represent me, and frankly DOES NOT CARE that he doesn’t. I’ve never seen such a thing in my lifetime.

Oh, there are many other issues that bother me too; there is that he doesn’t appear to know what he is doing for starters. There is the fact that his opponent got close to 3 million more votes; rural America has way too much power. I don’t mind a rural person’s vote counting as much as mine does; I have a big problem with it counting for so much more than mine does.

The future: I have no idea. I think that the stuff going around about Trump either quitting or getting removed from office is wishful thinking.

February 18, 2017 Posted by | politics, social/political | | Leave a comment

The real reason the Republican Congress will continue to support Trump

Let’s be blunt: this is all it really is:

Oh yes, I saw parts of the train wreck that passed for the President Trump press conference.

And yes, I’d like to get back to arguing with Republicans about things like policy; right now we are arguing about following the rule of law and about basic competence. And yes, while past presidents have told an occasional whopper, fibbed, etc., what President Trump is doing is highly unusual. For example, who in the hell lies about having “the greatest Electoral College victor since President Reagan? Hint: George H. W. Bush, Bill Clinton (twice) and Barack Obama (twice) had larger Electoral College Victories.

But, for now, the Republicans think that they can get what they want, though maybe Trump’s incompetence may slow down, and perhaps even stall the more noxious parts of the Republican agenda.

February 17, 2017 Posted by | political/social, politics, politics/social, social/political | | Leave a comment