Sunday, September 29, 2019

Trump the Thin Skinned

The Hill: Trump demands to meet whistleblower, warns of 'big consequences'

Now let's see, Trump the guy who name calls everyone he dislikes and retaliates against everybody who he perceives has wronged him is mad at Rep. Adam Schiff (D-Calif.) and wants to meet the whistle blower...

Either he is as petty, impulsive and foolish as he often seems, or he is trying to manipulate his "True Believers".  Because Schiff has Freedom of Speech on his side and no Trump does not have the right to know who exposed his stupid conversation.  And please remember that these are just White House notes...  Not an actual transcript...  We have not seen this yet because Trump and Crew buried it in a top secret server that is usually used for top secret communications.

President Zelenskyy: Yes you are absolutely right. Not only 100%, but actually 1000% and I can tell you the following; I did talk to Angela Merkel and I did meet with her I also met and talked with Macron and I told them that they are not doing quite as much as they need to be doing on the issues with the sanctions. They are not enforcing the sanctions. They are not working as much as they should work for Ukraine. It turns out that even though logically, the European Union should be our biggest partner but technically the United States is a much bigger partner than the European Union and I'm very grateful to you for that because the United States is doing quite a lot for Ukraine. Much more than the European Union especially when we are talking about sanctions against the Russian Federation. I would also like to thank you for your great support in the area of defense. We are ready to continue to cooperate for the next steps specifically we are almost. ready to buy more Javelins from the United States for defense purposes. 
The President: I would like you to do us a favor though because our country has been through a lot and Ukraine knows a lot about it. I would like you to find out what happened with this whole situation with Ukraine, they say Crowdstrike... I guess you have one of your wealthy people... The server, they say Ukraine has it. There are a lot of things that went on, the whole situation. I think you're surrounding yourself with some of the same people. I would like to have the Attorney General call you or your people and I would like you to get to the bottom of it. As you saw yesterday, that whole nonsense ended with a very poor performance by a man named Robert Mueller, an incompetent performance, but they say a lot of it started with Ukraine. Whatever you can do, it's very important that you do it if that's possible.
President Zelenskyy: Yes it is very important for me and everything that you just mentioned earlier. For me as a President, it is very important and we are open for any future cooperation. We are ready to open a new page on cooperation in relations between the United States and Ukraine. For that purpose, I just recalled our ambassador from United States and he will be replaced by a very competent and very experienced ambassador who will work hard on making sure that our two nations are getting closer. I would also like and hope to see him having your trust and your confidence and have personal relations with you so we can cooperate even more so. I will personally tell you that one of my assistants spoke with Mr. Giuliani just recently and we are hoping very much that Mr. Giuliani will be able to travel to Ukraine and we will meet once he comes to Ukraine. I just wanted to assure you once again that you have nobody but friends around us. I will make sure that I surround myself with the best and most experienced people. I also wanted to tell you that we are friends. We are great friends and you Mr. President have friends in our country so we can continue our strategic partnership. I also plan to surround myself with great people and in addition to that investigation, I guarantee as the President of Ukraine that all the investigations will be done openly and candidly.. That I can assure you.
The President: Good because I heard you had a prosecutor who was very good and he was shut down and that's really unfair. A lot of people are talking about that, the way they shut your very good prosecutor down and you had some very bad people involved. Mr. Giuliani is a highly respected man. He was the mayor of New York City, a great mayor, and I would like him to call you. I will ask him to call you along with the Attorney General. Rudy very much knows what's happening and he is a very capable guy. If you could speak to him that would be great. The former ambassador from the United States, the woman, was bad news and the people she was dealing with in the Ukraine were bad news so I just want to let you know that. The other thing, There's a lot of talk about Biden's son, that Biden stopped the prosecution and a lot of people want to find out about that so whatever you can do with the Attorney General would be great. Biden went around bragging that he stopped the prosecution so if you can look into it... It sounds horrible to me.
And as for that good prosecutor and Biden's "bragging...

So as is usual...  Trump did something really stupid and self centered and he wants to blame everyone else.  Now the question is will the True Believers start researching and thinking for themselves...  Or will they swallow whatever Trump chooses to feed them?  Thoughts?

Friday, September 27, 2019

East Carver Schools Equity Strife

MinnPost Video attacking equity efforts inflames racial controversy in Eastern Carver Co. Schools

Apparently Sean's schools are facing the same challenges as mine...  What to do when lucky kids with two great English speaking successful parents do well in school, and unlucky kids with a less strong support system struggle?

Here is the Alpha News video being discussed.

SW News ROAR involves Ellison

East Carver Schools Equity Page

ECCS Achievement and Integration Plan

And they are into PBIS also...  Oh my...

I keep hearing non-teachers complaining about funding, however it sounds like the biggest problem in the classroom is "what to do with really disruptive kids"...  It seems that these districts in the name of "Equity and PBIS" are not removing the kids that actually put the teachers and other students at risk because they are worried about the race based statistics being different between groups.

It is a little amusing watching this highly affluent mostly white district have these arguments.  I think all of them should be thankful for their demographics and great schools. :-)

ECCS vs RDale MN DOE Report Card

What to do about Surprise Billing?

NYT In California, a 'surprise' billing law is protecting patients and angering doctors

And here are the dark money people trying to scare you with all those TV commercials...  Doctor Patient Unity...  Here is their perspective...

Brookings Assessment
KHN Assessment
IS Congress Stalls

Now my family has some pretty good healthcare insurance, yet even I can relate to those surprise $5,000 and $10,000 bills that seem to come in from no where...

Thursday, September 26, 2019

Why One Should Treat Their Staff Well

BI Trump is facing the biggest firestorm of his presidency because his own staffers blew the whistle on him...

and of course instead of being concerned about the content of the whistle blower report...

FOX News Lindsay Graham wants to know who talked to the whistle blower

I find this quote most interesting... 
"It is imperative we find out which White House official talked to the whistleblower and why. Why didn’t they lodge the complaint?" Lindsey Graham
Duhhh…  Trump and the GOP want to punish Whistle Blowers !!!

Tuesday, September 24, 2019

Formal Impeachment Inquiry to Begin?

WAPO Pelosi Announces Plan to Start Formal Inquiry

NYT Trump Says He Will Release Transcript

CNN Whistle Blower Wants to Talk to Committee

At least it is never dull in the USA.
They do not nearly this much fun in China, Russia, etc. :-)

The Wealth Tax Proposals

VOX Bernie's Wealth Tax Explained
VOX Warren's Wealth Tax Explained

Now I am often confused about what the correct answer is when it comes to taxing assets that increase in value...Especially when a person dies...

I mean currently a lot of the capital gains are never taxed because of the basis being stepped up for the person who inherits.  On the other hand, many of the assets like farm land and houses only appreciated at about the rate of inflation.  So they really are worth about the same in relative cost to when they were bought.

Now Warren and Bernie's proposals are even more challenging.  They apparently want to track and tax people's "wealth".  I mean what can go wrong with this...  Thoughts?

Sunday, September 22, 2019

Social Security Report

Brookings: Why Everyone Should Care About These Trustee Reports

Annual Trustees Reports provide estimates of the financial status of Social Security's Old-Age and Survivors Insurance (OASI) and Disability Insurance (DI) Trust Funds under current law. Recent Reports call for informed discussion, creative thinking, and timely legislation to address expected future deficits. Many policy makers have developed proposals and options to address this long-range solvency problem. Listed below is a broad range of policy options that would address Trust Fund solvency and other issues related to Social Security benefits and financing. Many of these options are part of comprehensive proposals intended to restore Trust Fund solvency.
We group the options into categories, as shown below. We also provide a summary list of all options (PDF version).

Saturday, September 21, 2019

So Trump True Believers

Is it okay if Trump did use tax dollars and foreign policy to try and get dirt on his political opponent?

Here is some FOX and WSJ coverage...

"The Wall Street Journal reported Friday that, in a July phone call, Trump repeatedly asked Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky to work with Trump lawyer Rudy Giuliani on a probe into Hunter Biden. The call came a month before Trump put a hold on $250 million in military aid to Ukraine -- a hold that was eventually released after objections from the Senate."

Thursday, September 19, 2019

Isn't Trump For Less EPA Over Reach?

CNN Trump Threatens to Use EPA regarding California Homelessness

VOX Trump Demands California and Manufacturers Conform to EPA

So supposedly GOPers are to be for States rights and less Federal government intervention within states.  So of course this is another sign that Trump is really a RINO.

Who could have imagined Trump trying to force states to comply with his "emperor's decrees"? :-)

I hope the law suits go well, since I am a real State's Rights conservative...  Not one of those Federal power grabbers like Trump and his supporters. :-)  And for your enjoyment!!!

Loose Lips Sink Ships

NYT Watch Dog Org Refusing to Update Congress
regarding whistle blower complaint involving Trump
saying things he is not supposed to say to a foreign leader.

WAPO More Details

I am so surprised... Trump's big mouth getting him in trouble? :-)

And more from this supposedly transparent President.
Trump Suing Again to keep tax records hidden.

Monday, September 16, 2019

The Strike at GM

CNN Business UAW GM Strike Kicks Off

Detroit FREEP GM CEO Compensation 281 time median worker

GM Jobs Pay Well + Great Benefits

Detroit News Comparisons
"Detroit carmakers are expected to point to the pay gap between them and foreign producers like Toyota and Honda with plants in the United States. With benefits and bonuses included, GM hourly employees make $63 an hour, Ford workers make $61 and Fiat Chrysler workers make $55. Foreign producers spend about $50 an hour for workers in U.S. plants, according to data from the Center for Automotive Research.

From 2014 to 2018, GM's labor costs per vehicle increased 14%, Ford's was up 8% and Fiat Chrysler's was up 42%, according to CAR"
I have no idea who is more greedy, the Union or the Executives...  However as they squabble I am sure their competitors will be happy to steal market share.

And then there is that HUGE QUESTION...  Are Liberal American Auto Buyers willing to put their money where their mouth is and support these American Union workers?  Or will they keep buying their high foreign content cars?  Or those made in the Southern lower cost states?

One more thing...  Temporary employees are very important in US Manufacturing jobs because of the cyclic nature...  My previous employer would be up to ~1000 employees on over time and then would need to scale back to about 600 during slow times.  It was not very fun at all...

Sunday, September 15, 2019

Where do the Beggars Come From?

A few years ago something changed in my neighborhood...  We started getting a steady stream of new and different beggars near the off ramps of 494 and Rockford road.

I have to wonder if there is a bus driving these pan handlers around or what?

The reason I say this is because the beggar changes daily. Sometimes a woman in a wheel chair, the next day an older gentleman, the next day a younger guy, etc...  Now if it was my local poor neighbors I would assume I would often see the same person or people...

And apparently these supposed poor can make some good cash in the burbs.  Here is an interesting Reddit discussing on how much "they can earn".  Here is a Brooklyn Park story.

I sure wish people would STOP giving to these folks...  If you want to help then give your money to organizations that help the insane, homeless, addicted, etc.  Thoughts?

Friday, September 13, 2019

CEO Rational Gun Control Letter

NPR CEO Gun Control Letter
  1. Back ground checks on all gun transfers
  2. Process to remove guns from mentally unwell people
I will never understand why people are against these common sense changes. The only thing I can come up with is that they want to support the illegal and undocumented exchanges that enable the criminal and insane folks to easily get very dangerous weapons.
Over there I have been asking Jerry the following questions.
  1. What do you want to do to save these innocent victims?
  2. Or is their dying an appropriate cost so people can have certain guns with no record of ownership or personal responsibility?
  3. How to stop legal guns from flowing to the illegal market?
Obviously he has given no good answers...
CBS How Dangerous People Get Guns
VOX US Guns vs Other Countries
US Guns in Mexico and Canada
NY Gun Pipeline
I truly believe that freedom comes with responsibility. If I am free to own and use a deadly weapon, I am responsible to ensure MY weapon stays secure and out of the hands of mentally deranged and/or criminal individuals.

We know that the guns are being purchased through legal channels, and then diverted to mentally deranged and/or criminal individuals. Thus enabling the deaths of thousands of innocent unsuspecting citizens. And yet anti-gun control people fear holding these gun diverting citizens to account even as the children die.

The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing.” Attributed to Edmund Burke, including by John F Kennedy in a speech in 1961. Burke didn’t say it, and its earliest form was by John Stuart Mill, who said in 1867: “Bad men need nothing more to compass their ends, than that good men should look on and do nothing.” Thanks to Andrew Marshall."

Thursday, September 12, 2019

The Slimy NC GOP Politicians

VOX NC GOP Politicians Vote While Others Mourn
AP GOP Holds Unplanned Vote
From Sean over at the End of Democracy
"If you want to talk about what's going to take down democracy, it ain't gonna be the debt. The original author had it right -- if it's going to happen, the unprecedented in recent history efforts by one party to shatter political norms and disenfranchise the other one is going to be the start of it. Just look at what has happened in North Carolina in the last year: a House election had to be tossed out because of Republican voter fraud, the Republican lame-duck Legislature (which only holds the majority because of gerrymandered map that has been found illegal by courts) voted to take power away from the incoming Democratic governor, and just yesterday voted to override a veto while Democrats attended a 9/11 memorial, breaking their promise to other lawmakers not to vote while that was happening. "
I thought this terribly disgusting non-democratic non-patriotic sleazy action deserved it's own post. I sure hope some court can over rule it.  Or that the voters toss the unscrupulous lot.

This comic may not quite fit, but it seems pretty accurate. I mean if you add the anti-choice and anti-LGBT+ crowd it would be nearly perfect.

SCOTUS Allows Barring Asylum Seekers

Wednesday, September 11, 2019

Anti-Vaxxers Spread and Cause Fear

VOX America is in danger of losing its “measles-free” status

Another reason why I really dislike the anti-vaccination conspiracy movement.

Speaking of which, my anti-vaxxer relation still has not answered any of my questions.
"By the way, I am still waiting for your answer to my ethics question.

And here are my interesting ethical questions:
•If people fail to vaccinate their child(ren) for fear of a rare event.
•And other children suffer or die because of that choice.
•Did those parent(s) do the ethical thing?

Remember that you made the argument that people with good nutrition, good healthcare, etc have little to fear from some of these viruses... But we know that viruses can't pick who gets them... :-(

So which ones should the child not get and why?

More Details "

Tuesday, September 10, 2019

End of Democracy?

Politico: Paper Predicting End of Democracy
"Rosenberg, a professor at UC Irvine, was challenging a core assumption about America and the West. His theory? Democracy is devouring itself—his phrase — and it won’t last.  
As much as President Donald Trump’s liberal critics might want to lay America’s ills at his door, Rosenberg says the president is not the cause of democracy’s fall—even if Trump’s successful anti-immigrant populist campaign may have been a symptom of democracy’s decline.
We’re to blame, said Rosenberg. As in “we the people. ”Democracy is hard work. And as society’s “elites”—experts and public figures who help those around them navigate the heavy responsibilities that come with self-rule—have increasingly been sidelined, citizens have proved ill equipped cognitively and emotionally to run a well-functioning democracy.  
As a consequence, the center has collapsed and millions of frustrated and angst-filled voters have turned in desperation to right-wing populists. His prediction? “In well-established democracies like the United States, democratic governance will continue its inexorable decline and will eventually fail.”
Now isn't that a cheery prediction.  I am not sure if I agree that we will fail due to Right Wing Populists though.  I do agree that we will struggle as long as citizens demand more back from government than they are willing to pay into it

Saturday, September 7, 2019

Tax Payers Funding Trump Properties Again

VOX The US military may have spent millions to help prop up a Trump resort
CNBC Pence Stays at Trump Resort: 180 miles from meetings
The Bulwark Trump's Doonbegdoggle

And if this one turns out to be true, I hope every real fiscal Conservative turns his back on Trump.

Politico Trump's Resort Stopped Losing Money?

Or this Forbes Piece...

I wonder how many millions of tax payer's dollars flowing to Trump properties will ever be considered  "too much".  And since it is actually all "borrowed / deficit dollars, Trump is actually stealing from our kids and grand kids.

Thursday, September 5, 2019

Brazil Adventure

Okay I made it to Sao Paulo Brazil, and yes they wonder about the news we get from people outside Brazil. I will not get up to the Amazon region since it is no where near here. (see below)

Anything you want me to ask? Here are some things I have learned already.