Wednesday, December 20, 2017

Tax Bill Like a Rose

The GOP tax cut bill that Trump calls a "big, beautiful tax cut for Christmas" is like a rose. It looks pretty and smells nice but it contains a stem of thorns that will make you bleed.


Thursday, November 30, 2017

Net-Neutrality Versus the Internet Toy.

Americans have a wholly different opinion of the Internet and its uses than the remainder of the world. To the vast majority of account holders, the "internet" synonymous with that expensive hand-held device that constantly needs to be updated and recharged. It displays static and moving pictures and makes addictive sounds to keep their attention on the glowing screen even to the exclusion of their imminent collision with motor vehicles and fixed objects in their walking path. So highly integrated is the services available on a wireless device that few account holders can identity what part is Telecommunications (phone), which is message-push and what part is the actual Internet. To them they pay a monthly subscription fee and the content is magically there for the consumption.

For this demographic of Internet users the Information Pipe is mostly one-way to them. Content providers pump Intellectual Property into the pipe and it comes out the other end and the subscriber is happy. While they play their addictive games, a small bit of data is sucked back to the provider through a smaller pipe and the provider learns incrementally more about who likes their IP and what else they might like.

Gaming is huge. Video is huge. Both are highly competitive and lucrative. Photo-sharing is also huge as evidenced by recent platform acquisitions where one company buy the other for several billons of dollars. But all this technical and financial stuff is of zero concern to the subscriber who only wants his Pokemon GO app to not freeze.

Americans are slowly adopting internet-based services such as banking, finding a bar or a parking spot in the city, paying for parking in the city, hailing an UBER or Lyft or reserving a city bike. None of these services are controversial enough for an ISP to internally regulate customer access. Few transactions would even raise the virtual eyebrows of the NSA or DHS.

In other parts of the world, internet users are highly connected in massive numbers and they are more of a business customer rather than a player.

The internet is many thing to many people. Even in their most outrageous email message only a percentage or so of users have ever sent content that the NSA would even be remotely interested in. Few have visited controversial websites and fewer still have ever created one. Yet there are internet users who have expressions to make which are beneficial to the world at large. Clean water causes, climate protections, anti-fascist and social justice for everyone are just some of the causes for which people post to the Internet and others search it.

Yes there are those people who have nefarious purposes and with equal ease spread their negative messages. They seek to use the Internet to spread their brand of free speech.

It is not the place of the owners of the physical communications lines to decide who can say what, when and at what price. That is the purview of society itself and law enforcement agencies when the free speech turns into violence.

In the present struggle between the Net-neutrality versus monopoly telecomm industry there are factions which have great stakes in the outcome. The telecomm industry peddles great monetary influence to obtain direct results from the decision makers and the ancillary levels of support which can hand them the ultimate control over the public channels of communication.

On the consumer side of the issue, millions of Americans have no opinion either way since they are the Internet-toy players who will play at whatever price and with whichever toy manufacturer makes the toys.

Then there remains the socially conscious and controversial users who will be the ones who are stifled and subjugated to the will of the ISPs which will have their hands on the valves of the pipes. We have already seen the impacts of the consolidation of power wrought by the corporate media powerhouses. Allowing even the hint of bias in the flow of information is a detriment to America as a democracy and  an extension of monetized control of everything. 

Sunday, November 19, 2017

Corporate Tax Cuts Never Equals Jobs

A primary tenant of corporate philosophy is to obtain as much productivity out of as few human workers as possible. They love cutting wages, benefits and relocating to a less expensive labor market. So the question is: why would a corporation invest a tax cut in the creation of jobs? The answer: they wouldn't.

They know how much they are willing to pay, how many people are required to meet production quotas. If they truly needed more labor to expand production, they would borrow the money, as they always have. Higher wages is a perpetual cost. Therefore the corporate managers seek to lower the wages as far as possible regardless of the detriment to their labor force.

Businesses paid off legislators to vote on "right to work" laws that circumvent collective bargaining. They support elimination of overtime pay rates. They support lowering or eliminating minimum wage rates. All of this financial dickering shifts the cost of living to people who are not part of the corporate shareholder family.

Along with laws to facilitate the reductions of compensation for employees, the corporate culture is working hard to lower or eliminate corporate taxes. In short they don't want to pay the cost of living for their workers by any means.

If a tax cut did not exacerbate deficit spending and an increase in the National Debt it would be far more palatable. In the past, make-a-believe Economists claimed the debt could expand as long as it was less than the growth of the GDP. The double trouble is the growth of debt far exceeds the growth of the GDP. And most of the actions taken by Congress slashes the spending which does contribute to the GDP. A trillion dollar reduction in tax funded spending is a trillion dollars lost by the large corporate entities. Why aren't they complaining?

All corporate entities are aligned together against all Labor. Labor loses when they cannot use collective bargaining like the corporation do. The only hope is to vote out the perpetrators who take from the working class and give to the wealthy class.

Thursday, October 19, 2017

Presidential Tuna!

If nothing else, Donald Trump is a businessman. This characterization doesn't presuppose he is a good businessman. As a businessman, he sees all aspects of society, economy and human endeavor as a cost-benefit couplet. If the benefits outweigh the costs then there is cause to look further into an acquisition. If not, he is disinterested and shows it in every fiber of his being.

Exemplary of this attitude, Puerto Rico, after being devastated by Hurricane Maria he took a lackadaisical approach to mustering and delivering food, water, medical supplies and personnel to the island to stem the coming humanitarian crises.

Meteorologists looked at the satellite imagery and combined data from multiple sources and determined Puerto Rico was in for the thrashing of its existence. They knew it was coming for a week or longer. Maria blew in and blew out as hurricanes are wont to do. The initial damage was total electrical grid failure, no water purification systems on line, food and medical supplies disrupted, hospitals left without power FOR WEEKS AFTERWARDS. Somewhere around a dozen people initially lost their lives. As numerous as they were, the situation was only going to grow worse. It did.

As it has become abundantly clear, businessman Donald Trump was not interested in "buying." The cost exceeded his threshold for cost-benefit analysis. As with all natural disasters, the initial cost in lives and lost health is the smaller portion. In the weeks since Maria moved on, the response of the American government to a population of its citizenry has been abysmal. The people who are there on the ground are doing the best they can with the supplies and transport systems available. Even Jesus would have needed 3300 loaves and 1320 fish to feed the 3.3 million. That is every day.

The language Trump uses in indicative of his attitude. Texas and Florida apparently have a far higher value to the businessman than does Puerto Rico. After all Texas and Florida are full-fledged "States" while Puerto Rico is a mere "possession." Says the President of all three regions, we will stay with Texas and Florida as long as it takes after the Harvey hurricane. Then about Puerto Rico after Maria, FEMA cannot stay there indefinitely. While the second statement is technically accurate, FEMA will not be the agency to rebuild the destroyed property and infrastructure. The E in FEMA stands for Emergency.  After the regions are stabilized and people are not dying of hunger, dehydration, dysentery, and for want of shelter and medical care, then this great economy of ours is supposed to step in and work tirelessly to make whole the lives and property which were damaged.

There is no convincing this man he has an obligation to every citizen and resident of this country, not just the ones who praise his name.

Along the same lines as hurricane relief is the military itself. Military contractors who make weapons and supply ancillary services are of great value to this President. After all they are owned and operated by businessmen too. The shareholders and management are paramount. Labor, on the other hand is not.

A soldier is an "asset". He or she can perform tasks which are in accordance with the desired of the businessmen they protect. Veterans are "liabilities." Like tanks with the turret blown off or a Humvee hit by a RPG, they have served their purpose and need to be marginalized or else the cost-benefit ratio becomes skewed and the purchase obviated. The tank and Humvee can be written off as a loss only to be replaced in the next Trillion Dollar military budget. The veterans who lost limbs, eyes and faces will continue to cost the budget every year. PTSD and chemical exposures continue to be denied by the brass due to the open-ended cost associated with such an admission of culpability for treatment.

This brings us all the way to you and me. A supporter of Donald Trump has a dollar value whereas the voters who voted against him or did not vote hold no value for his businessman thinking. You may support that businessman, but do not expect he will support you.

This contention can be seen in every directive he makes and every fact he fakes. Seniors are too expensive for Medicare. Social Security is too expensive to maintain. You do not have an income great enough to not pay taxes. Your roads and bridges do not matter. Maintaining your health is a liability while resource extraction enterprises which make you ill are assets. Your pre-existing condition makes you unworthy of treatment. It is neigh impossible to name a single effort of the current Administration which benefits anyone with less than $1 million annual income. You, we, are not part of the business model the President seeks to follow to make America great. 

Sunday, February 26, 2017

Deconstructing the Administrative State

What part of Steve Bannon's rhetoric is not something that should raise the hackles of sedition and treason? How is it that one man and his handful of appointed individuals have the authority and power to completely alter and reshape the entire Federal government all without a vote in the US House and Senate?

By acting the part of a despotic dictator, Donald Trump has been able to subvert a dozen federal agencies, bureaus and administrations merely by appointing people to head the organization who also have a pledged agenda to dismantle the self-same organization by administrative decisions. Steve Bannon himself has stated his personal goal of Deconstructing the Administrative State of the Federal Government. While he appears to have the ear of the President and a number of members of congress, he has zero mandate to make such sweeping changes.

There are some parts of his agenda which possibly are beneficial to the US economy. The Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) was widely panned as a treaty which would subvert American Sovereignty to foreign and multi-national corporations who could file claims in civil courts seeking monetary remedies for lost profits when government regulations curtailed their plan or increased their costs. However, on the other side of the coin, it did create a cadre of partners who would work together to benefit the group at the expense of those on the outside.

The United States has excelled in its Administrative State to the benefit of the middleclass. We have been able to limit the intrusion of profit-driven interests into the essential services that humans need in order to be comfortable. Such comfort and standard of living for the middleclass stands in direct opposition to shareholders of the corporate culture here in the US and around the world. Owners and Labor both vie for the same income dollar.

When allowed a free hand, all corporations push the envelope further and further toward their domination of the ubiquitous marketplace, of the labor which makes their profits a reality,  and of the environment in which they exist. American Constitutional checks and balances among the three branches of government has up to this Presidential Administration kept the Equilibrium. Without rules, regulations, watchdogs, and consequences anarchy is what develops and destroys any semblance of order.

Without a national government we get such scenarios as Somalia and former Soviet Union. Somalia has no rule of law and it is every man for himself. Violence and death are the main tools of the business trade in that country.

Russia, the main entity of the former-USSR dominates the region and now today does as it pleases. Actually in is not what the country wants but that which its President dictates will be done.

Deconstructing the Administrative State will only benefit the investors of corporations which seek to boost profitability by neglecting what corporations refer to as "externalities." Examples of externalities are what becomes of the coal ash after the coal is burned. The mining company is in the business of extracting coal from the ground as their primary interests not of handling the ash afterwards. They can price their product while neglecting the damage the use of that product does.

The HFCS, sugar, transfat, tobacco, alcohol, opioid producers all are happy to provide their products just so long as they do not have to consider the toll on the health care industry.

Coal mining concerns, hydraulic frackers, oil well drillers, nuclear power plants all produce their medium of energy while not considering carbon loading of the environment, earthquakes, poisoning of aquifers, or what to do with millions of tons or radioactive wastes.

All of these industries need supervision and controls placed on them by the Administrative State which Steve Bannon and Donald Trump want to dismantle. Without such quality controls and the taxes to pay for essential services, America would be no better than a Third-world Country. Taxes and controls built this nation. We cannot allow a small cadre of men dispose of it.

Thursday, February 16, 2017

History is His Story

I knew a year ago in February 2016 that the world, more specifically the United States, has passed through some unseen portal into a completely Biz-ar-aye version of what we knew to be logical, ethical and justifiable. Those events played out at the wildlife refuge at Malheur, Oregon. Several dozen heavily armed white men and women took over a Federal wildlife refuge and buildings to protest the ownership of real estate by the Federal government. After 41 days of essentially doing nothing, the occupation was terminated with a traffic stop along a snowy rural highway wherein one many demanded to be killed to become a martyr. Lavoy Finicum was given that status as he orchestrated his death at the hands of a tyrannical government.

After all the hoopla was over and the Federal trials were conducted, the outcome was a universal not guilty verdict for all involved who pled not-guilty. The four main leaders were likewise found not guilty even though they continued to face other criminal charges in Nevada for other similar crimes.

All the while meetings between conspirators and state-level elected officials took place where in the position of the occupiers was both condoned and praised as heroic against the nasty federal government. The US Congress even has proposed legislation that would facilitate the transfer of ownership and control to the states by Law rather than lawlessness. Every notion of propriety was destroyed in that altercation and the positions GOP Legislators took in response.

So even as black and other minorities were being killed daily by police for "crimes" far less serious than armed insurrection and sedition, the white men all got to leave, save the one who chose to "fall on his sword" for the cause. This is when the upside down nature of the world became highly evident. It heralded the next year of TTPT events and outcomes. (Totally Twisted Political Twatwafflery).

The lead Republican presidential candidate could say and do the most outlandish thing and exhibit all the negative behaviors that made it impossible for a lesser Republican to be given the time of day due to not being conservative enough, family oriented enough, Christian enough, spousally fidel enough, and patriotic to the GOP cause enough. Little did anyone realize, the GOP itself was in the process of deprecating all of those attribute both to favor their loutish selection and their own skins. All too often a politician would berate an opponent only to be caught being exactly the same. The Undiscovered Lie used to be a career killer. But today they are "political capital assets" needed in order to prosper.

So we jump ahead. Donald Trump has bested Hillary Clinton by every means possible that includes, Gerrymandering voting districts, voter suppression in the form of challenging all persons without a photo ID, challenging voters who names are similar in other districts, alleging widespread fraud, alleged tampering with voting machine tabulations, organized misinformation/disinformation (aka Fake News) and all the other usual suspect shenanigans of the electoral process. Let's not get bogged down in those allegations and accusation.

So here we are with a GOP controlled House of Representatives, a GOP Controlled Senate, and a GOP controlled Presidency and Vice Presidency. This Trifecta of dominance had been avoided by the electorate in most elections for many decades. Rightfully so was the answer too. There always was the constitutionally prescribed "Checks and Balances" among the Three equal Branches of government. The President has the responsibility to appoint the Judiciary Branch people and the Senate has the responsibility to confirm or reject the appointee. But when the Legislature and the Executive Branches are similarly aligned they have the power to determine the political allegiances of the Judiciary.

Members of the Trump Team have (allegedly) conspired with Russian agents, their President, spies and cyber attackers  who would assist Donald in becoming President in a Manchurian Way to assist them with global fiscal and energy development policy. Now with the SPECTRE of being labeled treasonous, Russia's Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov meets with US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson on Thursday in Bonn. Tillerson states that the US and Russian might work together as allies of "certain" things. Wow! What a deflection from the scandal of Flynn talking with Russians before, during and after the November 2016 Presidential election where the allegations are Russian intelligence operatives guided the Us election toward Donald Trump and other alleged American government officials, FBI Director James Comey, sandbagged Hillary Clinton to favor Trump in the 2016 election.

If the USA and Russian are "friendly" and "allies" how can Flynn's actions be counted as treason? Even as we try to characterize political actions as unpatriotic, treasonous, as sedition or merely unwise, the rules are being changed right before our eyes. There is some form of "mission-creep" going on that rights the wrongs after the fact. It is like one can actually alter the Past.