Final Pick For Border Wall

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Thank you Don Asmussen – “The LIES behind the TRUTH, and the TRUTH behind those LIES that are behind the TRUTH.

Sinking Ship

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From our friends at the Daily Kos

The rats are fleeing the White-tanic.

Trump Facts & Tarriffs

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First some selected Krugman’ quotes on trump facts and tarrifs, A Ranting Old Guy With Nukes:

1.  Regarding being “factually challenged:”

…you can’t help noticing that his opinions seem a bit, well, factually challenged. No, we aren’t experiencing a huge wave of violent crime carried out by immigrants. No, we don’t give away vast sums in foreign aid. And so on down the list. Basically, what he imagines to be facts are things he thinks he heard somewhere, maybe on Fox News, and can’t be bothered to check.

2.  Regarding tariffs on steel and aluminum, Trumps justification is “national security.”

After all, we can’t be dependent for our aluminum on unstable, hostile foreign powers like … Canada, our principal foreign supplier. (Canada is also our biggest foreign supplier of steel.)

Meanwhile, in the days since Trump’s announcement, he’s tweeted out one falsehood after another. And I don’t mean that he’s been saying things I disagree with; I mean that he’s been saying things that are simply, flatly wrong, even according to the U.S. government itself.

He has, for example, declared that we have large trade deficitswith Canada; actually, according to U.S. numbers, we run a small surplus.

The best argument I have heard against the steel & aluminum tariffs is the following:

  1. Steel and aluminum are not consumer products. They are used in the production of goods — for example beer kegs and automobiles.
  2. Imposing the tariffs raise the production cost of steel and aluminum goods.
  3. The tarrifs may have a minor positive effect on US employment in steel and aluminum production but they will make US steel and aluminum products less competitive.
  4. The result — reduced balance of trade and increased cost of US goods.
  5. If the tariffs result in a trade war things just get worse.

Does this sound like winning? So much for the the wonders of tariffs to increase US production. Hell of an idea Mr. Trump!


Trade-Wars Trump

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According to Krugman:

“Donald Trump is belligerently ignorant about economics (and many other things). But up to this point that hasn’t mattered much. …

But there was always reason to be concerned about the possibility of crisis — either a crisis created by outside forces, like some kind of financial collapse, or one created by the administration itself. In that case the Fed’s rationality wouldn’t be enough. And it’s starting to look like we have a trade policy crisis on our hands.

“Trump has always had a thing about trade, which he sees the way he sees everything: as a test of power and masculinity. It’s all about who sells more: if we run a trade surplus we win, if we run a trade deficit, we lose”

This is, of course, nonsense. Trade isn’t a zero-sum game: it raises the productivity and wealth of the world economy. To take a not at all random example, it makes a lot of sense to produce aluminum, a process that uses vast amounts of electricity, in countries like Canada, which have abundant hydropower. So the U.S. gains from importing Canadian aluminum, whether or not we run a trade deficit with Canada. (As it happens, we don’t, but that’s pretty much beside the point.) …

So we can’t “win” a trade war. What we can do is start a cycle of tit-for-tat, and when it comes to trade, America — which accounts for 9 percent of world exports and 14 percent of world imports — is by no means a dominant superpower.

A cycle of retaliation would shrink overall world trade, making the world as a whole, America very much included, poorer. Read On.


Robert Reich – On Rise-Up Economics

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How to build the economy? Not through trickle-down economics. Tax cuts to the rich and big corporations don’t lead to more investment and jobs.

The only real way to build the economy is through “rise-up” economics: Investments in our people – their education and skills, their health, and the roads and bridges and public transportation that connects them.

Trickle-down doesn’t work because money is global. Corporations and the rich whose taxes are cut invest the extra money wherever around the world they can get the highest return.

Rise-up economics works because American workers are the only resources uniquely American. Their productivity is the key to our future standard of living. And that productivity depends on their education, health, and infrastructure.
Just look at the evidence. Read On

Quotes About Donald Trump

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Selected Quotes About Donald Trump – From Goodreads

“Like Hitler, the President used the word lies to mean statements of fact not to his liking and presented journalism as a campaign against himself.”
― Timothy Snyder, On Tyranny: Twenty Lessons from the Twentieth Century

“Donald Trump is worse than any horror story I’ve written.”
Stephen King

“Facts are threatening to those invested in fraud.”
DaShanne Stokes

“Discrimination does not ‘make America great.’ It makes America weak.”
DaShanne Stokes

“Trump’s America is not America: not today’s or tomorrow’s, but yesterday’s.

Trump’s America is brutal, perverse, regressive, insular and afraid. There is no hope in it; there is no light in it. It is a vast expanse of darkness and desolation.

And that is a vision of America that most of the people in this country cannot and will not abide.”
Charles M. Blow

“They want us to be afraid.
They want us to be afraid of leaving our homes.
They want us to barricade our doors and hide our children.
Their aim is to make us fear life itself!
They want us to hate.
They want us to hate ‘the other’.
They want us to practice aggression and perfect antagonism.
Their aim is to divide us all!
They want us to be inhuman.
They want us to throw out our kindness.
They want us to bury our love and burn our hope.
Their aim is to take all our light!
They think their bricked walls will separate us.
They think their damned bombs will defeat us.
They are so ignorant they don’t understand that my soul and your soul are old friends.
They are so ignorant they don’t understand that when they cut you I bleed.
They are so ignorant they don’t understand that we will never be afraid, we will never hate and we will never be silent
for life is ours!”
Kamand Kojouri

“Honestly, people are definitely dumber. They just keep passing stuff around. Nobody fact-checks anything anymore — I mean, that’s how Trump got elected. He just said whatever he wanted, and people believed everything, and when the things he said turned out not to be true, people didn’t care because they’d already accepted it. It’s real scary. I’ve never seen anything like it.”
Paul Horner

Gutless on Guns

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What are the Senators and Representatives thinking? 300 mass shootings in 3 years. Forget “thoughts and prayers.” There is a solution — Recognize that children have a right to education and to feel safe. Regulate gun ownership and insure that it is an earned privilege not a right. The second amendment does not prohibit gun regulation.

How about no assault rifles; no automatic or semi-automatic weapons; serious background checks (minimum age, mental health, criminal record, etc.; require non-perpetual licensing and training;  no political donations from gun manufactures and from the NRA.

I have lost total respect for both congressional parties. It is time to listen to kids, teachers and the police. They are afraid and rightfully so. Republican politicians only fear loosing NRA money and the votes of gun nuts!

It is way past time to standup to the gun lobby, congress and the gun nuts. We have to do something meaningful, something to protect our children — Enough is enough!

Also see Guns, Mental Illness & Public Policy and NYT Opinion Today Feb. 15, 2018

Fact-Checking State Of The Union Speech

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Nicholas Kristof’s Fact-Check of Trump:

The role of the press isn’t to applaud politicians but to provide accountability, so here’s my on-the-fly commentary and fact-checking of President Trump’s State of the Union address to a joint session of Congress tonight. This isn’t a formal column but my play-by-play assessment in the form of selected tweets. Hang on!

Tweets worth a read.

Wall Street Making Big Mistake

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Levin Report: Trump Warns Stock Market Is Making a “Big Mistake”

It’s only one tweet. But there’s so much to appreciate:

1. When Trump says the stock market went down because of “good news,” what he’s referring to is the fact that many have attributed Monday’s drop (as well as last Friday’s) to the strong U.S. employment numbers which, among other things, are leading traders to fear higher wage demands and rising inflation, at a time when the economy is getting a giant, yuuuge stimulus in the form of the tax cuts. Trump was actually warned by a lot of people, who he didn’t listen to, that given where unemployment was—at a multi-year low—and the relative strength of the economy, now was the exact wrong time for a stimulus. (“Passing the tax reform bill is like throwing a small cup of gasoline on a fire that’s already burning,” one expert said.) But he did it anyway, because he’s stupid, and now the markets are worried about a recession (which Trump was also warned about).

2. You know he has literally no idea how modern financial markets operate and that his basis for the stock market is a bunch of guys holding up little pieces of paper and shouting on the floor of the stock exchange.

3. Isn’t it great that Trump believes he can bully and intimidate the “Stock Market” like he does his political enemies? What’s he going to do to the “Stock Market”? Fire it? Send it back to its country of origin? Demand it produce its long-form birth certificate?

4. We’re calling it now: the president is one indignity away from giving the stock market a derogatory epithet. Watch your back, Liddle Stock Market! Fake Tears Stock Market! Low Energy Stock Market! Sad!

3% Growth is Still Nonsense

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From Krugman, my favorite Keynesian – the introduction and the punch line:

It’s a sure thing that Donald Trump will spend much of his State of the Union boasting about the economy. So this seems like a good time for a refresher on some basic macroeconomics – and the reasons why the expansion of 2017, which continued the long expansion that began in 2010, is in no sense a justification for wildly optimistic growth projections looking forward.

[data] suggests a potential growth rate – growth consistent with constant unemployment – of maybe 1.5 percent. And 2017 isn’t an outlier.

Why is potential growth so low? Unfavorable demographics are one big culprit: the baby-boomers are getting old (you kids get off my lawn), so the working-age population is barely growing. Oh, and cracking down on immigration is, you know, not likely to help on that front.

Productivity growth is also lackluster, despite all the hype about robots and all that.

So if you think about it, 2017 offers no evidence to support big talk about future growth. On the contrary, the fact that unemployment declined despite not-so-fast growth is a sign that growth will be a lot slower going forward, now that we don’t have a lot of unemployed Americans to put back to work.