Another Lie From 45…

When the Putin Puppet ran for office, he promised he would bring back coal jobs.  Is he going to do it?  The coal industry doesn’t seem to think so.

In this article from The Guardian, a coal executive named Robert Murray talks about how excited he is that the coal industry is going to be freed from all of those onerous regulations that keep them from destroying the environment for profit but he also makes clear that the jobs aren’t coming back and suggests 45 should “temper” expectations about coal mining jobs.

The jobs didn’t leave because of regulations.  The jobs left because of technology changes in the industry and competition from other sources of energy, most notably natural gas.  Actually, it’s Capitalism at it’s…um…best?  A better product is being offered for a better price.  If coal can’t match the benefits of other options, coal’s day has passed.

There’s a quote in this article that caught my eye: Mr Murray opines that, “We have to get the government out of the manipulation of energy markets.”  I know he believes it.  To a guy like him, the only people who should be “manipulating energy markets” are the masters of the fossil fuels.

I’ll tell you this: coal is yesterday’s news, like all of the fossil fuels.  I know they’re not going down without a fight but they’re going down and it’s not because of regulations.  It’s because there’s a better way, now…

Here They Come Again…

I know that powerful individuals in this and in other states are enemies to a general national government in every possible shape.
– Alexander Hamilton, Federalist #85

I don’t want to abolish government.  I simply want to reduce it to the size where I can drag it into the bathroom and drown it in the bathtub.
– Grover Norquist, Americans for Tax Reform, 2001

The GOP is threatening “tax reform” again.  By now, we’ve all seen what they mean by “tax reform”: more for those who need the least, less for those who need the most.  The part that bothers me more than any other is the idea that those who need the most, need the most because of those who need the least.  (Yeah, just linger on that a minute.  It’s important.  I’ll wait.)

The American people are constantly being told that the best plan is to give all the money to the pampered elite and then, magically, everyone will have more money!  It’s always the “magically” part the GOP leaves wanting in detail.  Ask them to flesh out the mechanism of the magic and they mumble.  They treat is as a “no brainer”, which it must be since using one’s brain easily exposes the falsehood of the position.  By now, most of us have noticed that every time this particular piece of…nonsense gets floated, the lower classes suffer.

Schools suffer, infrastructure suffers, emergency services suffer.  Life gets harder for the average American in just about every measurable way.  Rich people just get richer and really don’t understand all the commotion from the rabble.

Reagan launched his ‘Hate America’ scheme quietly.  (“The nine most terrifying words in the English language are: I’m from the government and I’m here to help.”)  Ever since, we’ve been treated to the fairy tale of trickle down pseudo-economics.  After 37 years of this, it’s clearly obvious that the only thing that trickles down is misery.

But, apparently, they’re bringing it, anyway.  To this point, the so-called “President” has been thwarted in his biggest efforts.  This, I fear, will be different.  The Putin Puppet benefits personally from tax cuts for the wealthy and the Congress critters benefit personally from tax cuts for the wealthy so everyone with a voice on the subject is on the same page.  Those of us who have to carry the burden of the rich man’s benefits…need not apply.

So…it’s time for the next fight: stop “tax reform”.

Personally, I prefer the “income redistribution” model that made America great in the first place.  I know, I know, I just stepped in it, didn’t I?  I dared use those words that conservatives spit as though “income redistribution” is a bad thing – or, perhaps, as though “income redistribution” isn’t exactly what’s going on via their “tax reform” in the first place.  But I’m also quite aware that the corporate media has been amazingly successful at demonizing the idea of “income redistribution” so I’ll be happy just trying to stop this next round of tax rigging for now.

I’ll tell you this: it’s no accident the GOP wants to choke the financial life out of our government.  It’s the only way they can destroy it, once and for all…

An Open Letter to Bill Maher…

Bill…can I call you Bill?  Oh, okay, Mr. Maher, then.  I watch your show every week.  I’ve been a fan going all the way back to ‘Politically Incorrect’.  We don’t always agree but then, it would be weird if we did, wouldn’t it?  As it happens, we agree on many things.  I share your outlook on Marijuana.  I share your feelings on political correctness.  I’m a Progressive.  Like you, I’m an atheist.  We agree more than we disagree but I’ve got to tell you; on the subject of Islam, I’m beginning to be concerned about you.  It appears your emotions have overwhelmed your rational mind on the subject and the situation seems to be getting worse.  On your March 24, 2017 broadcast, you became more emotional than I’ve seen you on the subject since Ben Affleck called you a racist.  For the record, I think Mr. Affleck was wrong – over the top.  But now it looks as though your own emotional involvement has caught up with Ben’s energy.

You swatted away comparisons to Christian outrages as “false equivalents” without first giving them any consideration.  Just, “No”.  And you seemed really angry.  Your position, if I understand it correctly, stands on two legs: violent acts of some people who are Muslims and polls.  I’m asking you to consider a couple of thoughts on those subjects that seem to have evaded you for the moment.  One, there are no atheists in foxholes and, two, polls are inherently biased and often, spectacularly wrong.

As to the first point, it seems most important to me that the “Muslims” who intend harm to America and Americans – aside from the occasional sympathizers who spring up from around the globe – all come from pretty much the same place and it cannot be a coincidence that the place they come from shares a common history of oppression and repression at the hands of “the West”.  (Specifically, Great Britain and the US.)

Simple math makes clear this is not a problem of Islam.  The Pew Research Center estimated that in 2010 there were 1.6 Billion Muslims in the world.  The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights estimates the size of ISIS’ forces at somewhere between 80,000 – 100,000.  That works out to .00625% of Muslims actively fighting.  That means that 99.99375% of Muslims are NOT trying to kill Americans.  Suggesting that six thousandths of one percent of any given population represents the entire population seems…specious at best, particularly when those that do mean us harm share a far more common thread: the vast majority of them come from places where the US has “projected her strength”.

When a people who have been subjugated, demoralized, and exploited for four and five generations finally declare they’ve had enough and begin to fight back, the oppressors might well attempt to demonize them as “terrorists.”  It’s common, in fact.  But one man’s terrorist is another man’s freedom fighter.  Either way, it’s war and war is insane.  It’s a well-known fact that in the insanity of war, fighters will turn to anything – anything – that might help them make sense of the events they’re experiencing.  They might even turn to their invisible super-friend for help and support…because there are no atheists in foxholes.  It just happens that in this case their invisible super-friend is named “Allah” and not “God”.  I submit that desperately grasping for hope from one’s religion is NOT the same as fighting for or because of that religion – even if the optics of the fight have been usurped by religious fanatics…

Ah, but you’ve got polls.  The polls you point to indicate that Muslims the world over support the tenets of Islam.  Let’s set aside the obvious problems inherent to polling like who did the poll?  What was the methodology?  How large was the sample?  Let us instead cut to the most basic difficulty of polling – and I feel funny even saying it because I know you know: when it comes to polls, people lie.  On every subject from sexual practices to sugar – people lie.

When a question of executing a heretic is nothing more than an abstract concept, people will often give the answer they feel they “should” give.  I suspect the poll findings would be very different if one restricted the poll respondents to people about to lose their own child to execution for “disrespecting the Prophet”.  Maybe not.  For sure, there are extremists in every religion.  But I’d bet there is a difference between an abstract concept and an actual reality in most cases…

So I’m asking you – as a friend – all right, no, as a fan whom you’ve never met, to take a step back and reconsider your position from a more…pragmatic perspective.  Do it for fairness.  Do it for honesty.  Do it for your health.  Carrying around that kind of energy is pernicious…

How the ACHA Wasn’t Enough…

Well, tired of winning yet?  Yeah, I know, gloating a bit and, truthfully, I don’t much like gloating.  (Bad idea.  Fires up the competition…)

So the Republicans had to pull their ‘American Health Care Act’ (aka, “TheGOPDon’tCare”).  But it’s important to remember: there are only two reasons they couldn’t make it happen: 1, it wasn’t cruel enough to the most vulnerable members of our society and 2, it didn’t do enough for the pampered class.

I’ll tell you this: you’d better keep your powder dry because I’m pretty sure they’ll be back – probably when nobody’s looking…

Must Have Been Blazin’…

‘The Blaze’ is a far right conservative media outlet founded by well-established far-right nutball Glenn Beck.  If you search ‘The Blaze’, their tagline comes up as “Authentic.  Unfiltered.  Fearless”.

Recently, one of their more obnoxious presenters, Tomi Lahren, went on ‘The View’ and said she’s for less government and in her mind, that included leaving the government out of women’s personal decisions regarding abortion.

According to the BBC, Ms Lahren said: “I’m someone that is for limited government, so I can’t sit here and be a hypocrite and say I’m for limited government, but I think that the government should decide what women do with their bodies.

“Stay out of my guns, and you can stay out of my body as well.”

That seems like a fearless, authentic pro-choice comment.  So, ‘The Blaze’ filtered her ass right out of the picture – suspended for now but the word is her show is going to be cancelled altogether.

…and conservatives love to tease progressives about unrelenting lockstep political correctness…

The Smirk Says It All…

You know that feeling you get when you want to laugh – but you can’t ?  Maybe your toddler covered himself with toothpaste and made a huge mess.  You need to teach him right from wrong but he looks so silly.  Maybe you made an inappropriate joke and someone is telling you why it wasn’t funny but the joke just keeps playing in your head and, in fact, it was funny.  Perhaps you’ve completely failed at “humanity” and you’ve figured out how to inflict pain and suffering  on huge swaths of the most vulnerable Americans – all so you can give rich people even more – and you can barely contain your glee.  It’s the mouth gives you away.  You try to sit, all serious and important but the edges of your mouth keep involuntarily pulling up at the edges, betraying your true feelings.

Paul Ryan has managed to come across as one of the more sane members of the House (admittedly, a low bar) through most of his career – until now, anyway.  He’s finally able to unleash his “vision” on Americans and he doesn’t seem to give much of a fig about who he harms or how he harms them – so long as the rich get more.

Enter the Republican excuse for a “replacement” plan for the Affordable Care Act.  They call theirs the ‘American Health Care Act’.  According to the Congressional Budget Office, it will eliminate health care for up to 24 million people.  The Affordable Care Act is credited with providing coverage to 20 million people who didn’t have it before.  One does not need to be a math genius to see that MORE people will be without health insurance once Ryan is done with them than before the ACA.

But, hey, they’ll only be old folks, poor folks, the disabled, and kids.  The Ryan/Trump plan is SO cruel, even Tucker Carlson of Fox “News” says it goes too far.  Ryan just shrugs.  “We said we were going to repeal all the Obamacare taxes…”  Watch the clip.  (…if you can.  This is my first foray into “clip-inclusion” and I may have screwed it up…)  Ryan seems to be having fun with the entire subject.  NOTHING is as important to him as giving rich people the break they so sorely need.

It’s the smirk that irks.  He seems to be having such…fun with it.

The only saving grace is that he seems to be the only one.  I guess his district is pretty safely gerrymandered so he’s not too worried about potential backlash but many of his colleagues are not so sanguine.  They see elections looming and they’re worried people might hold them responsible for their actions.  (It seems like that should happen, sooner or later…)   They fear they won’t be able to blame Democrats since the Democrats have no power in Congress.

So, they’re already introducing changes.  The GOP has long depended on the support of old folks who have come to realize this Ryan/Trump plan does them more harm than good so the plan now offers higher tax credits to seniors.  Lest the GOP be seen as too soft, though, they’ve included a provision to make it even tougher on the poor.  According to Reuters, “U.S. House Republicans are working on changes to their healthcare overhaul bill to provide more generous tax credits for older Americans and add a work requirement for the Medicaid program for the poor, House Speaker Paul Ryan said on Sunday.

Because, you know, those poor people just have it too easy in life…

I’ll tell you this: I don’t know if this affront to humanity is going to pass or not but it’s rare when one gets to see a “person” having so much fun at the mere prospect of inflicting so much pain into so many lives in such a short period of time and, for me, it’s that smirk that gives him away…

Am I wrong or am I right?

Rachel and Trump’s “Taxes”…

I dislike false information whatever the source.  False charges give cover to genuine charges, making it more difficult to separate which is which.  The thing that bothers me the most is that there’s so much very real stuff to legitimately attack there’s no reason to stoop to insinuations and baseless accusations.  Besides, the truth is, I lean left so I expect more from progressive information providers and I’m always a bit more disappointed when bullshit comes from the left but that’s my own bias.

Having said that, I’m pretty disappointed in the “Trump taxes” pseudo-story highlighted by Rachel Maddow.  I used to be pretty fond of her but, I confess, I haven’t watched regularly for a while.  MSNBC seems to be ground zero for the liberal bubble and it scares me to spend too much time in either bubble.  It’s FAR too easy for them to pull a person in, as it were.

I know that she’s been asking a lot of questions about the Trump/Russia connections.  I’ve also noticed she hasn’t drawn any conclusions; just asked some leading questions.  I don’t like that, either.  It’s a technique I first noticed on Fox “News” years ago and, as I’ve already said, I expect more from the left.

People on the right commonly note that people on the left are “so easy”.  We take the bait far too quickly.  People on the right are…well, right about that.  We do and I suspect that, in this case, that trait was used against Maddow.  Most Americans want to see Trump’s current taxes.  It’s not prurient.  There’s a massive amount of relevant information in the taxes besides what came in and what went out.

But Maddow knew she didn’t have THAT information.  In short, she had a summary sheet that showed how much came in and how much went out with zero detail.  A rich guy brought in a bunch of money and paid out a bunch of money?  12 years ago?  That’s not news.  It warranted a mention at the end of the show.  “We received this document – anonymously – that purports to show that Donald Trump brought in a lot of money and paid out a lot of money.  12 years ago.  There was no other information.  We didn’t want to be accused of “sitting on” it so we posted it on our website where people can see it but…I wouldn’t waste my time.”

But, from what I understand, that’s not what happened.  First there was a pre-show Tweet: We have Trumps taxes.  Then there was an hour-long special dedicated to the “taxes”.  Okay, so she’s no accountant but somebody should have been able to explain to her there was no useful information in that document before she went on.  I suspect she went on with it – like that – because she knew it would be a ratings grabber.  But you know who said that?  Donald Trump!  And what do you suppose the White House is going to do from now on as she asks more and more questions about Russia?

Worse, upon further review, it turns out that a solid case can be made that the original leaker of the “taxes” might well have been the Donald, himself.  If that’s true, she totally got played – because people on the left are so easy.

I’ll tell you this: it seems to me that for a single ratings bump Rachel Maddow damaged, perhaps surrendered, her credibility.  At the very least, she handed her opponent a cudgel to use against her at will.

Am I right or wrong?