Monday, August 29, 2016

Scapegoat: How Trump Misleads Angry American Workers on Immigration and Wage Stagnation

by Nomad

Economic experts for both sides of the political spectrum tell us that Donald Trump is dead wrong to blame wage stagnation on flawed immigration policies. That hasn't stopped him searching for scapegoats and misleading the angry American Workers.

During his lengthy acceptance speech at the Republican convention, the Republican nominee Donald Trump blamed lower wages for American workers on immigration.
He said:
Decades of record immigration have produced lower wages and higher unemployment for our citizens, especially for African-American and Latino workers. We are going to have an immigration system that works, but one that works for the American people.
The speech was filled with an eighteen-wheeler full of balderdash so a statement like that probably went unnoticed. However, stirring up middle-class resentment like that is exactly how Trump managed to rise to his precarious place in American politics. 

Wage Stagnation and the Plight of the American Worker  

It is true, wage stagnation is not something that Trump just made up to win votes. It is real and it is causing widespread hardship due to income inequality. Wages have simply not kept up with the cost of living. Add to that the general expansion of non-wage benefits, fall in the price of consumer goods and rise in the price of services, such as education and healthcare and you have a lot of home-grown misery out there.

Lawrence Mishel, one of the authors of a series of recent reports from the Economic Policy Institute (EPI)
"Since the late 1970s, wages for the bottom 70 percent of earners have been essentially stagnant, and between 2009 and 2013, real wages fell for the entire bottom 90 percent of the wage distribution."
The report also pointed out that the Great Recession of 2008 didn't create this problem. It only compounded and exacerbated an economic effect that stretched back some 30 or more years.

Most importantly, the report finds that wage stagnation is not an accidental thing. Policy makers have created (or at least, allowed) the problem of wage stagnation.  A very wealthy minority with undue influence in Washington were allowed to rake in enormous profits based on frozen wages and increased productivity. 

Trump casually blames immigrants for the problem and yet cannot supply any evidence for this idea. And in turn, his working class fans seem oblivious to the peculiar fact that they are listening to a billionaire acting like an authority on low wages. For some reason, they believe that this man can actually sympathize with the plight of the American worker. There's a lot of suspension of disbelief going on, it seems.

So perhaps it is not all that extraordinary that Trump can get away with blaming undocumented workers. That's something that President Obama attempted to make clear in his State of the Union
Immigrants aren’t the principal reason wages haven’t gone up enough; those decisions are made in the boardrooms that too often put quarterly earnings over long-term returns.
Experts argued that Obama was too forgiving when he used the phrase "the principle reason." That was wrong. There was no relationship at all between wages and immigrants, Obama's critics said.
If one wishes to find the real reasons for wage stagnation, there are plenty out there.

Thursday, August 25, 2016

Donald's Middle-East Duplicity: The Shocking Truth about Trump's Anti-Islamic Smoke and Mirrors

by Nomad

As the Republican Party's fading hope, politician Donald Trump has capitalized upon and expanded anti-Muslim tensions and fears. However, as a businessman, Trump has no qualms about making lucrative deals with the very same people he has painted as America's biggest threat.

Total Shutdown

Back in December, the Trump campaign announced in a written statement Republican nominee to be would, as president, demand a “total and complete shutdown of Muslims entering the United States until our country's representatives can figure out what is going on.”
Even for a bombastic man like Trump, those were stunning words. Both sides of the political spectrum were speechless.  

In fact, it was one of a series of statements that ruffled some feathers. In November, a month before his announcement, he had said that as president he would "strongly consider" closing down mosques and proposed that mosques in the United States be monitored for terrorist activity.
(In fact, as Trump probably already knows, mosques have been the subject of FBI surveillance and infiltration since the time of Bush. And as a result of this, the federal courts have been wrestling with legal questions about possible rights violations to religious freedom, freedom of association and privacy.)

Scholars also questioned the constitutionality of a "religious test" for immigrants. 
Even technically, how would be possible to ensure the accuracy. It only takes one terrorist to tell a fib and Trump's plan is torpedoed. Terrorists, as a rule, tend to be hesitant about excessive self-disclosure.
A lot like Trump, actually. 

Nevertheless, Trump's supporters roared in delight and put their hands together. Finally, a candidate was taking the radical Islamic threat seriously, they claimed. 
President Obama, Trump has repeatedly pointed out,  refused even to use the phrase "radical Islam." Actually, Obama has made it clear why he thinks labeling terrorism according to religious beliefs is a mistake. It was, the president said, "a political talking point. It is not a strategy."
“If we fall into the trap of painting all Muslims as a broad brush, and imply that we are at war with the entire religion, then we are doing the terrorists’ work for them.”
After all, when is the last time you heard a Republican call the KKK- a big time supporter of Trump-  a radical Christian group?

Tuesday, August 23, 2016

Why Pointing Out and Righting an Injustice is Everybody's Business

by Nomad

It's disheartening to think that the color of a person's skin can still have such a effect on people's attitudes. It makes me depressed to think that, in this day and age, it is still necessary for a white person to step in for whatever reason.  
On the other hand, it's even worse to think that a person would look the other way and not step in when they see unfair treatment.

Friday, August 19, 2016

After Destroying the GOP in November, Will Donald Trump Go After Fox News Next?

by Nomad

TrumpHere's probably the best explanation for Donald Trump's strange presidential run. As crazy as it seems, in a Trumpish way, it makes perfect sense.  

Like Poe's purloined letter, sometimes the obvious explanation is hidden right under your nose.
Nothing has been quite as inexplicable as this election cycle. It's hard to get a grip on the insanity of it. Most of it is coming from the Right and Donald Trump. Without resorting to a psychological ailment, coming up with an explanation for Trump's decisions and behavior isn't easy.

The Hiring of Ailes and Bannon 

The June's issue of Vanity Fair, however, offers one theory that makes pretty good sense. The writer postulated that Trump's run for president was nothing less than an ingenious form of self-promotion. Not an earthshaking observation, I understand. 
According to insiders, Trump was never interested in being president. And, no, he hasn't even been making a big fat joke (my pet theory)
Actually, his entire campaign has been a promotion of his next business project, the creation of his media empire, a la NewsCorp's Rupert Murdoch. 
Fox News but without the decency and intelligence.

Thursday, August 18, 2016

Ditat Deus: How Red-State Arizona's Failed Policies on Poverty Just Got a little Worse

by Nomad

Arizona is a showcase of Republican policy when it comes to helping needy families. But that's not meant to be praise. Poverty has become an intractable problem and legislators seem to be intent on making life more difficult for the poor.

No Hope, No Change

Arizona's state motto is Ditat Deus which in Latin, translates as "God Enriches" and, for some Arizonans that might be true, but for many others, God seems to have all but forgotten them. Actually, it's not necessary to lay the blame on divinities but on the easily-distracted Republican legislators. 

When the US Census Bureau updated its poverty estimates last year, the bad news about Arizona should have been hard for state officals to ignore. The state ranked third in the nation when it came to the percentage who were at or below the federal poverty line. That's an estimated 21 percent of the state's population.

You'd think those numbers would set off alarm bells that past policies just weren't working. You'd think politicians would realize that changes had to be made as soon as possible. 
That's not what happened. 
Last summer, coincidentally, Arizona became the first state to cut poor families’ access to welfare assistance to a maximum of 12 months over a lifetime.  With the passage of the law, Arizona will have the harshest limit of all the states, most of which offer benefits for five years, the duration allowed under federal law. 
As a local source noted last month:
It means an estimated 2,500 people — including 1,500 kids — will no longer qualify for the modest stipends the program provides. The average payment is $278.
Democrats lawmakers and advocates for the poor struggled in vain to keep the program at its two-year limit went unheeded.

In the debate, Republican Sen. Kelli Ward, R-Lake Havasu City. delivered the standard Republican approach to poverty: 
“I tell my kids all the time that the decisions we make have rewards or consequences, and if I don’t ever let them face those consequences, they can’t get back on the path to rewards. As a society, we are encouraging people at times to make poor decisions and then we reward them.”
It's a pretty pathetic excuse for parsimony. Reagan taught us that the poor don't need our pity or our assistance. And ever since then, the conservatives have been saying that poor have only themelves to blame. We must assume such a rationalization allows them to feel superior and look at themselves in the mirror.

Monday, August 15, 2016

Future News Headlines: GOP Nominee Trump Quits, Announces his Entire Campaign Has Been "Sarcasm"

by Nomad

"Gotcha!" says Donald Trump, in a recent news spoof in the North Carolina Charlotte Observer.

A recent satirical op-ed piece by Walker Lundy of the Charlotte Observer reports that the GOP nominee Donald Trump has announced his intention to delete his entire campaign and endorse the Democrat Hillary Clinton for president.
Furthermore, the presidential candidate gave this startling admission.
Trump said the only point of his campaign was to show how stupid and gullible many Republican voters are.
Even though he had been a Democrat for most of his life, Trump declared, he knew that if he ran as a Republican and said "increasingly ridiculous, idiotic, racist and sexist things" he had a good chance of picking up a lot of votes. 

Beyond Belief

Of course, he says in the Lundy spoof, Trump had never imagined that he would "win the Republican nomination and poll 40 percent or better in a national race against Clinton." 
(Ask me two years ago and I would have definitely said the same thing.)
He also pointed out that he had offered no real solutions to any of the country’s problems and nobody, even the news media, took much notice that “there was no there there in my campaign,” he said.

Friday, August 12, 2016

Long-Time Admirer Hints the Kind of Financial Education President Trump Plans to Offer Americans

by Nomad

An article in a magazine for the unashamed 1% by one of Donald Trump's avid supporters and long time pal claims that  Trump isn't merely a billionaire property developer. He is more than the Republican nominee, Trump is a teacher and he has lesson to teach all of America. 

For People Who Like to Dream of Being Rich

If the ads are anything to go by, the target audience for Jetset magazine is not the average Donald Trump voter. 
The median household income of a Trump voter so far in the primaries is about $72,000, based on estimates derived from exit polls and Census Bureau data. 

Not the kind of person who may be shopping around for a Tom George yacht ("Because you can.") an Island retreat in the Bahamas or a Magellan Jet. 
The pitch for one yacht maker aims at the snob appeal. "We Don't Need Everyone to Read This."
Outside of the ads, the articles include: 

The Beauty of Believing- Critical Factors in Business
OPM- (Other People's Money) The Power of Using Debt 

According to its mission statement, Jetset Magazine is "the definitive authority on connoisseurship for ultra-affluent consumers." It's safe to assume that JetSet is a magazine for the most pampered of the 1%. 
But perhaps I am wrong. 
It could just be a magazine for people who feverishly dream of becoming the pampered rich. 

Back in 2015, JetSet magazine had another article that caught my eye, It was entitled "Why America Needs Donald Trump." The article is full of glossy photos of Donald Trump. One shows the mogul seated at an empty walnut table abroad his private jet, looking decisive- or bored, or petulant. Who knows.

With the plentiful peppering of "we" and "I", the author of the article, Robert Kiyosaki, offers an insider's insight into the man named Trump. 
Only a person who has known Trump on a personal level, it seems, can explain this very complicated man. The author wants to share a few things, personal things, about Mr. Trump.

Uncontrolled or Out of Control?

But first of all, there's one thing you have to know.
Trump, says Kiyosaki, is for real. Really real.
Meaning, perhaps, that Trump isn't a cartoon. He isn't some kind of ugly, silly prank on American voters. That news might have come as a relief a year ago. 
Not so much anymore.
Today, the "reality" of Trump is much more worrying. At this point, it would be more comforting to think Trump was a cruel practical joker.

Saturday, August 6, 2016

Donald's Dust: Asbestos, the World Trade Center and The Dangerously Wrong Opinions of Trump

by Nomad

Trump's love for the cancer-causing material asbestos goes back for decades. Trump has boasted of its effectiveness and safety before the Senate. Tell that to the firefighters, cleanup crews, and first responders who were exposed to the 400 tons of asbestos that blanketed the streets of Manhattan on September 11. 

The Conspiracy Theory that Trump Doesn't Talk About

For a man who enjoys his conspiracy theories, Donald Trump seems pretty ignorant of some of the most interesting ones. One 9/11 conspiracy theory that made the rounds involved the suspicion of an inside job and billion dollar insurance fraud. 

For what it's worth, the theory runs something like this:
Six months prior to the attack, the WTC was privatized and, after drawn-out negotiations, finally leased to a private developer. On July 24, 2001, just six weeks before 911, that $3.2 billion bid by the Silverstein Group- made up of property developer Larry Silverstein and investors Lloyd Goldman and Joseph Cayre- was accepted.
A noteworthy milestone. It was the first time in the building's 31-year history that the complex had changed management, the first time it had been leased to a private entity.

According to the theory, the WTC wasn't exactly the prize catch that the developer had been lead to believe. on the other hand, the problem was not exactly a secret.
The Port Authority, according to some sources, considered the WTC a headache. The city had attempted on several occasions to get permits to demolish the Twin Towers but was turned down due the known asbestos problem.

The conspiracy theorists will tell you that
it was well-known the only reason the building was still standing until 9/11 was because it was too costly to disassemble the twin towers floor by floor since the Port Authority was prohibited legally from demolishing the buildings.
The owners of the towers were looking at a hefty bill ($200 million) for mandated "renovations and improvements, most of which related to removal and replacement of building materials declared to be health hazards in the years since the towers were built." 
We are talking primarily about asbestos. 
That figure for clean up would have reportedly represented an entire year's worth of revenue from the WTC.

Tuesday, August 2, 2016

Mr. Pence, We Need to Talk about Donald

by Nomad

Trump's VP Mike PenceFormer Indiana Governor Mike Pence probably thought it was an honor to be asked to be Trump's VP choice. It's turned out to be just the opposite.

From the moment he   said "yeah, sure" to the offer, Donald Trump' running mate, Mike Pence, has found himself in series of ridiculous situations. 

There's no question that Trump didn't really want a running mate. Sharing the limelight isn't one of Trump's attributes. Selecting a VP was a mere politically-correct formality. Nothing Trump took too seriously.

By agreeing to become Trump's running mate, surrendering his post as governor of Indiana, Pence effectively destroyed his own political career in the pursuit of illusionary higher power. 
Pence ought to have known better.
After all, Trump didn't suddenly become the egomaniacal monster he is at this moment. It took a lifetime.
Obviously, Mr. Pence. your ambition superseded your common sense, There will be a price to pay. That price will be your continual humiliation before the entire nation. 

Flashback: The Hard Work and Sacrifices of Donald Trump

by Nomad

Let's take a look back twelve years to the time when the Khan family lost their son. What kind of sacrifices was Trump making at that time? What kind of hard work was he actually doing?

When Muslim-American Khizr Khan, father of the dead US serviceman, spoke speech at the DNC, he claimed that Republican nominee Donald Trump had made no sacrifices for his country.

Trump indignantly claimed that this was grossly inaccurate. He had made a lot of sacrifices.

He told an interviewer: 
"I think I've made a lot of sacrifices. I work very, very hard."
Out of curiosity, I decided to go back to the spring of 2004. when US Army Captain Humayun Khan was killed in Iraq. What heroic and sacrificial things was the real estate mogul doing around this time?

Two months before Khan was killed, Trump was indeed working hard. There's no question about that. After being the butt of jokes for some long, Trump agreed to host a   Saturday Night Live show.

In one sketch Trump appears on stage, wearing a lemon colored shirt and a banana
colored tie. He dad-danced with SNL players dressed in chicken costumes.
A clip of this particular sketch was not included in the DVD box set, but here are some screen captures. 

Not too surprisingly, he seems to be enjoying the attention and applause.  

This must have about the same time (May 9) that Capt. Khan from Iraq called his mother back home for Mother’s Day. Ghazala Khan would later tell a Washington Post reporter
"Whenever I talked to him, I started to cry..He always said to me, 'Don't worry. I'm safe.' "
It was to be the last time she spoke to her 27-year-old son.