Thursday, December 1, 2016

Keep Your Government Hands Off My Medicare

Hey, I like that Donald going and telling those Carrier bosses they can't move those jobs to Mexico. That's what I'm talking about.
Now he can build that wall and keep those Mexicans from coming here to get those jobs. And raping. 
And he can slap a 35% tax on everything they make coming into this country and he can lower the corporate tax rate to 15% so the big shots in the corporations can stay right here in the USA making things.
But the thing is, I don't want to be sitting in front of no keyboard, operating no robots. I want my old job back, running the forklift.
My Mom and Dad are telling me they're losing their Social Security, so they'll have to move in with me. Maybe we can get a mobile home and park it in our driveway for them, just as long as that thing is made right here in the US of A. I'm proud to be an American, which is now great again.
Mom's a little overweight and got diabetes but she lost her doctor when they changed Medicare to a voucher program. 
Dad's voucher covered $50,000 for his heart surgery. Trouble is, the bill was $500,000, which I'm told is ten times the voucher, so we have to find a bankruptcy lawyer now.

Those damn Democrats got us into trouble with Medicare. I wish they'd keep their goddamn government hands off my Medicare. I got it when I was 55 because I hurt my back and was out on disability and now they're saying all I get is a voucher. 

It's all Hillary's fault. Her and Obama. She's so crooked. Is she in jail yet?

Wednesday, November 30, 2016

The Only News That Matters In The Rust Belt

So here's the news all those Rust Belt Trump voters were waiting for: Vote Trump, keep your jobs.
No regrets (yet) in Indiana, Pennsylvania, Wisconsin, Michigan or Ohio.

Trump to Announce Carrier Plant Will Keep Jobs in U.S.

Sunday, November 27, 2016

The 1919 World Series and the 2016 Election: When the Fix Is In

Still, it really doesn't matter,
After all, who wins the flag.
Good clean sport is what we're after,
And we aim to make our brag
To each near or distant nation
Whereon shines the sporting sun
That of all our games gymnastic
Base ball is the cleanest one!

The team from Chicago should have beat the team from Ohio, but lost.
It was 1919 and the fix, we now know, was in.
"Say it ain't so, Joe," summed it up.
Nobody likes to think something as sacred as baseball could be rigged, fixed.
But if you were going to fix something, then you hide it in plain sight. You start bawling about how you can't trust even the most sacrosanct of things and you get the whole world, most especially the opposition, insisting even bringing up the subject is heresy, and when the outcome is a surprise, well the one thing it cannot be is what you said could happen and they said could not.
It's a classic double ploy, the deeper game.

There's only one thing that could be the fly in the ointment. That one, independent, check which, in the past, kept things honest: The exit polls.  You might be able to catch the final pipelines in four or five key states, hack those, and nobody can tell because nobody knows how people voted on those secret ballots. Except for the exit polls, where every 4th person walking out is asked how they voted. That is not hackable.

But here's the thing, if the pre voting polls are discredited by the voting, then who will believe any polls, even exit polls?

Check mate. 


The Reality of Our National Divide

Out of the shock, confusion and anger over the Trump win, the stages of mourning progress from anger, through bargaining to denial toward acceptance. 

President Obama, typically, was the most insightful, when he observed the way he had won was going to every fish fry in Iowa, a trenchant criticism of Hillary Clinton's failure to do that. She relied on outspending Trump 5 to 1, sometimes 9 to 1 on TV ads, on organizations for her "ground game" while Trump kept flying to rural areas, suburban areas, holding rallies for 40,000 people and then appearing constantly on CNN, Fox, MSNBC, everywhere on TV and radio and Twitter.

He and his team came up with a more 21st century campaign strategy, which bypassed traditional media, ignored debate preparation (which few of his voter's minded) and focused on the "forgotten."

Just look at the map of where his voters were and where Hillary's voters were.  While 62% of the population lives in urban areas along the coasts, the vast majority of the geography of the nation is occupied by the losers in our capitalistic game.His appeal went beyond the yokels of  "Deliverance," to a lot of people whose prospects are pretty dim for the rewards of "The American Dream" which is a stupid way of saying, "Acquiring wealth."

What It Meant for Clinton to Win Illinois

Visiting Cleveland once, I was struck by what my cab driver said about selections for the All Star baseball team, and how few Cleveland baseball players would be selected and how the New York Yankees always have lots of All Star selections: "Well, nobody notices Cleveland."
When the Chicago Cubs beat Cleveland in the World Series, I thought, "Uh-oh, there goes Ohio for Trump. Now the resentment is going to boil over."

When I left New York City, after 8 years of schooling there, I moved to South County, Rhode Island, a land of farmers and lobsterman and I looked around at the people living there and thought, "This is where the ragged people go," to quote Paul Simon. Look at that map. That is where the ragged people are. 

And yes, we well educated city folk do look with a certain contempt at these rubes, and that is not lost on the rubes. In some ways, the losers in this economic competition seem to embrace their status. I see twenty-five year old men every day, dressed in a football jersey or a hockey jersey, wearing blue jeans and a Red Sox baseball cap, and unlaced athletic shoes, looking like over grown eight year olds, and right next to them are a few kids dressed exactly as they are. It's hard to pick out the overgrown child who is the father, as they walk down the street. He's usually the one with the most facial hair. The wife, typically, looks like the only adult in the family.  She looks her age. Often, the wife accompanies this man/child to his doctor's appointments as she would be there for the visit to the pediatrician, because everyone knows the father/man/child won't be able to comprehend what the educated professional tells him. 

It's pathetic. It's prevalent. And it's a symptom of dysfunction. It's not that these men are stupid; they're defeated. They've given up. They've been told from grade school they'll never make it and they have become a self fulfilling prophecy.

And along comes Donald, a clear winner in his slick suit and his ties, and he tells them he knows how to make them winners. Just sign up for Trump U. Just vote for me. Notice he did not do the Mitt Romney dungarees and open neck shirt thing.  It would have looked like pandering. He is a billionaire and proud of it and he's gonna tell you how you can be a winner cause he's a winner and knows how. 

The slick part of the story is it took the ultimate city slicker to appeal to the dispossessed masses, the forgotten men and women. This is nothing new: Just watch day time Evangelical preachers who flaunt their wealth and tell their audiences:  Send me money and God will reward you with wealth. 
Yup, and that Red Slice Is Where Trump Focused

Much talk about whether or not we would be better off without the electoral college. It sure would change the number of people who actually vote--people in safe states would matter again. But, right now, people in Idaho have roughly 30 times the voting power people in New York have.  Of course, that's a rigged system. But isn't that the bone we tossed?  If we had a straight popular vote, then the government would not have to listen at all to people occupying the rest of the country, and when you drove from New York to Seattle, you would be passing through hostile territory, much as the wagon trains once did when those parts were occupied by Comanches. 

Well, maybe we haven't progress all that far, but occupying territory must count for something. 

Anyway, I'm pulling into the station of acceptance. Trump figure out how to disrupt the system and none of the smart guys at Harvard or 538 really saw it coming. In a capitalist, free wheeling society, that guy wins.

Tuesday, November 22, 2016

David Brooks on HItting the Emotional Pause Button

David Brooks, throughout the campaign, could not disguise his contempt for Donald Trump, an honesty for which I had to like him.
But now he says those who are dismayed by Trump should pause, and in humility, listen to those to whom Trump's  bombast spoke, to acknowledge they were the people hurt by the Ted talk disrupters who spoke of sea changes but never bothered to think about the people left behind.
They gave "exciting speeches about disruption but don't known anything about the people actually being disrupted."

He notes the voters of the "post truth" era to be concerned only about their own loss of financial security and comfort, enough to vote for a Trump (or a Hitler) as long as they can get their jobs back in the coal mine or in the factory, jobs which are concrete, not some vague promise of "retraining."
These are people who do not believe they are good for anything other than working in coal mines. They told reporters, "I'm 59. What can I learn new? I want my job back." That job was mining coal.
I heard a voter from Vepo County, Indiana interviewed this morning who was talking about how his county is filled with "real people," not the people you see on TV or in Hiliary Clinton ads.
He had voted for Obama and would have voted for Bernie, but he also thinks in terms of "real people," which, I took to mean, white, Christian people like him.
"It wouldn't kill us Trump critics to take a break from our never-ending umbrage to engage in a little listening."
Listening to what? To low information, ignorant people who don't care what coal does to the planet, as long as they can come home with their lunch pails and feel respectable again? I should listen to this guy who thinks Muslims, colored, Brown, Black, Hispanics are not "real" people.
Screw him and may he rot in his coal mine.

"The globalists gutted the American working class and created a middle class in Asia," Stephen Bannon says.
Of course, this is not true. The Trans Pacific Trade Pact might have created a middle class in Asia, by insisting the Chinese pay their factory workers more than slave wages, so we can pay our assembly line workers more than subsistence wages here in the USA. But so far, we have no such agreement and  all this globization has only enriched the factory owners, not the workers.
Globalization wasn't a plot by the international Jewish conspiracy to enrich itself and foreigners. That's the subtext of Mr. Bannon's conspiracy theory, when he talks about "globalists." This is the old "International Jew" thing dating back to Henry Ford and other conspiracy dwellers.
lobalization was a force which swept the globe when the internet and ships and airplanes tied the world together and made Hong Kong as close as Peoria. 
Hillary tried to say the coal miners, the steel workers could compete with the Asian factory workers, but nobody heard that.
"They took our jobs!"  screamed the Rust Belt yahoos.  It was like an episode of South Park.

So after we listen to these half wits, what to do?
For my part, if I were in Chuck Schumer's position, it would be total war.
Vote against anything Trump proposes, including the infrastructure program, which you can point out is simply a scam to enrich his rich friends, and will provide nothing but privately owned roads and bridges.
Vote against them when the try to "fix" Medicare and Social Security.
Get out of Washington and visit Iowa and Wisconsin and rural Pennsylvania every day and tell them they are getting screwed.

Let Bernie, the only Democrat with any credibility left, carry the message.
Hope Bernie is enough of a patriot to help groom his owner, younger successors.
But fight them on the beaches; fight them in the fields; fight them in the hills and never surrender. And if this country lasts a thousand years, future generations will look back and say, "This was their finest hour."

Sunday, November 20, 2016

Feeling Great Again?

Margaret Bourke White

Today's big insight is Mr. Trump meant one thing to those who voted against him and different things to the coalition who voted him into office. 
The Good Old Days

For those who voted against him, this election was about values, about voting against a man who agitated today's version of the Ku Klu Klan at his rallies with chants of "Make America Great Again," which was widely heard as "Make America Hate Again" or "Make America White Again," a man who proclaimed Muslims hate us and "they" are chopping off heads, as if the Muslim grocery store owner in Dearborn or the Muslim physician in Massachusetts are all of a cloth with those head choppers in Syria and Iraq. This vote was a vote against a man who said women who have abortions should be punished (after he said he didn't think so.) This was a vote against a man who clearly had no regard for "truth" or "facts" in that he said Mexican wetbacks were rapists, only to amend that to say, well some of them are okay, but you know what I mean.  This is a man who said no judge, born in Indiana could impartially preside over his trial if his parents were born in Mexico. The list goes on, but you get the point. 
When America Was White

I could have included his "grab them by the pussy" remarks, or his birther assertions, and many others, but the essence of the man, is he is a business guy who really doesn't think much about any of these issues, but just latches on to whatever is convenient. So he was for the War in Iraq, but then said he hadn't really thought about it.  His initial response to transgenders in bathrooms was they could use whatever bathroom they wanted to, until he heard from his conservative backers.
And Everybody Had a Job

It all came down to the now famous remark, his backers did not take him literally, but they took him seriously.
And There Were No Worries

They took him seriously when he promised to open shuttered factories and mines to return them to the good old days (Make America Great Again. Make America the way it was, when we had a good life, a more secure life.)  He found out what they wanted to hear and he said that. 
And We Burned Coal

And they believed it because they wanted to and because Ms. Clinton did not make those promises. 
The Democrats took as an article of faith that the Blue Wall was theirs by entitlement, much as Ms. Clinton had earned the nomination by being a dutiful woman, who had waited her turn. She was the opposite of a disrupter.
Mr. Trump did not spend money on local state offices, TV ads, canvassers--but he got his message out more effectively than any of those old, 20th century techniques was able to do. 
And The Media Behaved Itself

And, for the most part, none of the "pundits" or "experts" could see it:  whether they were political scientists studying their flawed polls, or Mark Shields, listening to his friends at lunch in Washington, DC or any of the CNN panelists, could see or hear or understand what Mr. Trump was doing with his rallies, his Tweets, his constant presence on TV.
And The Goverrnment Knew Whose Side It Should Be On

So the disrupter undid the Democratic grip on the Mid West heartland. Like any good businessman, like Don Draper of Mad Men, he looked into the hearts and heads of those consumers of mass marketed messengers out there and understood what they wanted and spun the story they wanted to buy.
Advertising and marketing are not about what people ought to want; they are about what people actually do want, as selfish and small minded as that may be. 
And now we have the hyenas swooping in--Stephen Bannon, Jeff Sessions, General Strangelove.  When you buy the Kool Aide, you drink it.

We Had It Made!
NB: All photos (except  the last) are by Margaret Bourke-White

Friday, November 18, 2016

Trump You

Listening to the details of how Trump University operated sounded eerily familiar.
First you have this famous, rich guy saying, "I will tell you how to become rich."
Then he assures you, "I have hand picked each faculty member."
Then he says, "Just watch this free introductory video."
The video says, "Now pay $1,500 for the first course," which in fact is not a course but an infomercial to sell you on buying the next "course," but this one is for $15,000 and the next is $35,000, as you progress for your "degree," aided by individualized tutors, all hand picked by the big man.
I am not a crook.

And you have to wonder who could be this gullible, who could fall for this con, who would listen and nod when they are told to simply run up their credit card debt because within 6 months, you'll be making $50,000 using the secret lessons Mr. Trump wants you to learn on your way to wealth and happiness.

Who would believe this sort of obvious scam?

Who indeed?

Who would believe those factories are going to reopen and rehire all the workers and the coal mines are going to re open and sell all that coal?

We got trouble, big trouble in River City.
You can fool some of the people all the time

Just keep your government hands off my Medicare.
Don't worry, Paul Ryan's going give you a voucher.
You can use that when you have your heart attack, get hospitalized and get your bill for $500,000 for the five day stay and you can use that voucher, which ought to cover the meals and room for the first three days.
Oh, Barry, we hardly knew ye

Making America Great Again.